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Showing posts from 2014

I am a Rocking Librarian

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Today I received one of the best presents that a teacher could receive. A sixth grader gave me a note expressing her love for books, and the things that I do for her and all the students in the library. She calls me "hands-on," and I agree. I work very hard to be hands-on---how did she know that? However, I believe that I do what I do because it is my job; it is not special to me, but I am sure glad that Julia thinks so. 
This is what I do to create a quality library program in my school for Julia and the other 449 students at Patrick Taylor. I want to figure out ways to get my students to love books and reading as much as I do. That is hard to do with 11-18 year olds who would prefer interacting with their many electronics and gadgets rather than books. I understand; I like tech, too. I want the kids to be successful when they begin a research project. I want kids to use information in an ethical manner. I want kids to visit the library by choice because it is an active an…

Love Having Reports Shine Light on School Libraries' Importance

“In a twenty-first-century school, libraries and librarians are more important than ever for student success,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia.

Senior Project with a Focus on YA Authors

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I am writing this post to brag about the president of Bookmarked and share some links showcasing her wonderful writing skills and ability to offer insightful reviews for the books she reads. Destiny has been in the high school book group since she was a freshman, and she is an avid reader and reviewer. Bookmarked members have been writing reviews and nominating books for YALSA's Teen's Top Ten since 2010. The group also reviewed books over an 18 month period for SLJTeen. During that time Destiny had six book reviews published as well as an author interview which you can read here
When I heard that Destiny was looking for a mentor for senior project, I knew just the person, but there was a problem. Destiny wanted an internship with an anthropologist. Lucky for her we couldn't find someone like that to mentor her. I have known Susan Larson a long time, and I knew that the two of them would make a connection. Susan was the long time book editor for the local paper and curr…

Making a Livebinder Interactive

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I have designed several tools for students in Mrs. Higgins' science classes to use for a specific project. When Mrs. Higgins and I sat down to talk about the balloon car project for her 9th grade physical science class, I knew that a Livebinder would be the best way to collate the tools for the students. Usually, there is a link to the library OPAC as the first tab in any tool used for research. This time I decided to create a bibliography of all the print material and just insert the bibliography in a tab. I also pulled the books and had them ready for the students on a cart, but with the bibliography I really didn't need to do that. I always thought of Livebinders as a take only resource, not a give and take. I happened upon a blog post from Livebinders with a link showing how to create interactive tab/s. I loved the idea of adding a padlet inside my binder. It is super easy to use an embed code in one of your tabs. 





For the balloon car project, the students had to conduct…

Taking Thanksgiving Week Off

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I am always working. Even at home I am constantly thinking about ways to improve library programming, and I usually have an electronic device - iPhone or iPad - at hand reading posts on twitter and seeing what is the latest and greatest in ed tech in the classroom. Sometimes we just need to stop, clear our minds and interact with family and friends without work on our minds. 
No, I did not go cold turkey on electronic devices over the nine day break. I still checked my email and made a few Facebook posts for school and the library, but I didn't post here or to the library website or plan the lessons that I will be teaching next week. I just needed some time away. While away I read two and a half books in print and finished an audio book. You could say that those were work because I was reading books that my middle book group will be reading. I just find such great pleasure in reading well written literature that it didn't seem like work to me. Just so you know I finished list…

Downside of Being a School Librarian

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I have spent the last 30 years working in public schools in Louisiana. I have to say, except when I taught in a classroom that was federally funded, that I never had the funding that I needed to run my program. When I became a librarian in 1991, I knew immediately that the budget from the district and the state would not be enough to maintain and improve the collection. There were some block grants and some school money that helped in the early years, but I knew from the first time that I stepped into a library that I would have to hold fundraisers if I wanted to provide my students with a vibrant program. You can't run a library on nothing though I wish that you could. 
When I arrived at PFTSTA eight years ago, the district gave me a budget to match our student body of 175 students. I was starting a library from scratch at a new school. I needed funding. The principal, at the time, had received grant monies to outfit the school, and luckily, she was generous with the library. Yo…

Louisiana Book Festival 2014

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Two years ago, I took a group of about 9 members of Bookmarked to Baton Rouge for the annual book festival. We skipped last year, but there were so many young adult authors who were attending this year that I thought it was a good time to go again. Since the students had to get their own transportation to Baton Rouge which is about 90 minutes away, it cut down on who could attend. I had two members of Bookmarked join me as well as a sibling who attends a different school, and two members of BRiMS who spend every lunch period with me. The kids all had a blast. From 10:30 until 4, we attended three author sessions and three author signings, ate lunch, visited the exhibitors and authors hawking books at tables and climbed the steps of the state capitol. 

Our first stop was a 30 minute presentation by Ruta Sepetys, who I call my friend and who visited us at PFTSTA in 2013. Ruta says that Chris' Wiltz's book, The Last Madam, was the book that pushed her to try her hand at writing.…

SLJ Summit 2014 Learning

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I just had a very intense but wonderful weekend in St. Paul, MN with 200 other school librarians. Every year, for the last ten years, School Library Journal has sponsored a weekend where librarian leaders from across the US can convene and learn and talk and network and figure out how school librarians will save the world. We will you know, even if it is only one book or one kid at a time. It is called the SLJ Summit.

The conference is free, and the many vendors help to provide meals and receptions where the librarians can spend time talking with their colleagues. It is very cool to be in a room with the many people that I follow on Twitter or through their blogs. It is impossible for me to process everything that I learned and talked about last weekend, but I thought that I would list some of the highlights here so that I can remember what the weekend meant to me.


The Summit opened with Mark Edwards, who is superintendent of schools in Mooresville, NC. He is an active advocate for sc…

Sometimes Getting Nominated is All you Need

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The other day I received news that I was nominated for an Outstanding Educator Award from the University of Chicago. Every year, the university asks freshman to nominate a teacher from their high school who have made a direct impact on them. Patrick Taylor alumnus, Thomas Sostarics, nominated me. After receiving the letter, I texted Thomas a big thank you, and he responded by telling me that it was the least that he could do for all the support that I gave him and all of his classmates over the years that they attended Taylor. I feel so honored that he thought so much of me. Thomas was always an outstanding student, and when I wrote recommendations for him for college, I ended this way, (Thomas) "is going to be a real asset on any campus where he lands, and he will take advantage of every opportunity that you offer him. This is one of the students whom I will miss most of all when school starts up in the fall of 2014." It is so true. I miss him each and every day, but I kno…

Thank you, Chris Grabenstein

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I met Chris Grabenstein at a conference last March, and I was delighted by the way he captured an audience's attention. I knew that my students would love having a chance to talk to him. So I selected his book, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library as the read for the middle school book group in October. It was difficult to find a date that worked for both of us, but a few months ago we were able to confirm a date for skyping with him. BRiMS had the best time talking and listening to Chris because Chris Grabenstein is a hoot. He was very entertaining, and no question went unanswered. Some of the kids had some super questions for him, like asking him how living in New York has influenced his books. You can find out more about this Skype session and see more pictures by visiting the library website here.

Bookmarked President Writes Post for The Hub

Over the summer, Destiny Burnett entered a contest to write for the YALSA blog, The Hub, during Teen READ Week. She along with 30 other teens are being published all month long in this well read blog. She wrote a wonderful post on diversity in YA literature, and it was published today. Open here to read her post.

Excited about Teen's Top Ten 2014 List

My book group, Bookmarked, helped to nominate the books that were on the list for Teen's Top Ten. Teens around the country just finished selecting their ten favorites from the 25 nominated titles. What a great list it is! I can't wait to share the list with my students. I know that they will be thrilled too. 
Watch this video from YALSA announcing the titles or see the list below.
Teen's Top TenEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (Macmillan/St. Martin's Griffin)Splintered by A.G. Howard (ABRAMS/Amulet Books)The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (Tor Teen)The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Penguin/Putnam Juvenile) Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends)Earth Girl by Janet Edwards (Prometheus Books /Pyr)The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau, Joelle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (Random House/Delacorte Press)Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (Macmillan/Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)The Eye of Minds by James Dashn…

Recap of Teen READ Week 2014

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Every year, I enlist the help of members of the high school book group, Bookmarked, to help me plan and execute all the activities for Teen READ Week. Because let's face it, it is the middle school students who get excited about the games and contests that we plan. There are always some high schoolers who participate, but it is the younger ones who get into the spirit of the week with gusto. This year was no different. Each day students could answer the clues for the guessing game that we play in some variation every year, as well as another special activity for each day during lunch. 
When we began planning, none of us was taken by the theme Turn your Dreams into Reality. The idea of careers and jobs just didn't seem very exciting for TRW. It turned out to be a great theme. Our clues for the guessing game revolved around the jobs of our favorite book characters. For the jar that we fill with items where students must guess the correct number, we stuffed Pay Day bars and 100 …

First Book Fair at PFTSTA

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The first book fair ever to be held at PFTSTA ran from Monday, October 6th through Thursday, October 9th. It was a long four days but definitely worth it. We sold $4700 of books, posters, pens, erasers, etc. I had lots of help at the cash register from the members of Bookmarked and BRiMS. They did a super job of helping make it all happen. The middle school students had a great time picking out fun reads, but surprisingly, the high school students did, too. Not much more needs to be said except the place was packed on Wednesday during the middle school grandparents' breakfast. Unfortunately, I was too busy to take pictures while the special visitors were in the library shopping with their grandchildren. Below are photos that capture the week for me. 











None of those pictures of students with books in their hands were posed. The kids were engrossed in the titles that they found for sale on the shelves. 

Getting Ready for Teen READ Week 2014

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Last week was book fair and next week is Teen READ Week. As the week progresses, I will post pictures here. Per our usual game plan for TRW, the library will be hopping with lots of activities, games and contests every day at lunch. Members of Bookmarked helped me plan and will be my assistants next week. I have got all the supplies ready to go, and I can't wait for lunch time on Monday. 
Turn Your Dreams into Reality  @ PFTSTA LibraryTeen Read Week 2014Prize for guessing the correct number of candies. 1. Annual Library Book Mark Contest: Two winners-one from middle school and one from high school-will receive a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card, and their bookmark reproduced to give away to the PFTSTA community. You can visit the library for a hard copy or open here: bit.ly/TRW14bookmarkcontest and print out from the web.
All bookmarks are due in the library by Wednesday, October 15th at 2:30PM.

2. Dream Jobs Guessing Game: Every day during Teen Read Week, you can visit the library t…

Donors' Choose Project Funded

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Earlier this week, I found out that my project for buying books for my middle school book group was funded on Donors' Choose. I am thrilled, and I know that the kids will be also. Because of the kind donations, the students will be reading the following books during one of our monthly meetings: