Showing posts from May, 2014

Jewell Parker. Rhodes Visits via Skype, Ninth Ward Project Complete

Thursday, the 22nd, may have been the very last day of the school year, and the very last hours of the day, but the seventh graders still had one more piece to complete in the Ninth Ward Project---sitting down and having a chat with the author of the book that started it all, Jewell Parker Rhodes. Jewell and I have become friends, but she is also extremely busy. When I contacted her in early March to set up a skype, she was more than willing, but she had difficulty finding time in her hectic schedule when she could meet with us. She sent me an email right before our last week of school to ask if we still wanted to talk to her. It took a bit of work, but we found 30 minutes in between her packing to go away and the last minutes of school for the skype to happen.

Jewell did some reading of Ninth Ward and Sugar. The first book takes place in 2005 during the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, but the other takes place on a sugar plantation in Louisiana  just after the Civil War. I love he…

Marr and Armstrong Share Love of Norse Mythology

On Monday, May 19th, we were treated to a visit by authors, Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong. They are friends and co-authors of the series, Blackwell Pages, which is a trilogy telling a fast-paced adventure story about some kids who are descendants of the Norse gods. The story explains how these descendants of Thor and Loki join together to find a way to save the world from destruction during Ragnarok. The authors spoke to the entire sixth grade and seventh grade classes in two presentations. That made it easy for me because I could take lots of pictures during the first presentation, and then concentrate on what they were saying the second time around. I am not always the best multi-tasker.
Both authors have many books for older teens, but this series is designed for the middle grades. The impetus of these books was threefold. First was their own children--their sons wanted them to write books with great adventures that have a connection to mythology. The two authors have been fri…

Teen Day at the RT Book Lover's Convention in New Orleans

I was not familiar with the RT Book Lover's Convention until one of the other librarians in my district mentioned that she was going. At first I didn't really understand why she was so excited. RT, romantic times, did that mean a convention about those books with hunks baring their chests on the cover? I guess that there is some of that because I saw signs advertising Harlequin romance novels in the hotel.

Traditionally, on the Saturday of the convention, teens are invited to spend the day because there are over 100 young adult authors who participate in the panels and sessions during the week long convention. I invited the outgoing president of Bookmarked, Paris, and the incoming president of Bookmarked, Destiny to go with me. It really is a good deal because it costs over $400 to attend the full convention, but it only cost $30 for one teen and a chaperone to attend. We chose to go late in the afternoon after the giant book fair where all the authors signed books. We got to…

Invitation to Val/Sal Luncheon

In the Jefferson Parish school district at the end of each school year, there is a special luncheon to honor the valedictorians and salutatorians for all of the thirteen high schools. All the principals are invited, some central office staff, and the two students from each school are asked to bring as a guest, a teacher who had an impact on their lives. This year, I was invited to attend by the valedictorian. Lauren has been at PFTSTA since 6th grade. She was a member of Bookmarked since she was a sophomore. At the end of her sophomore year, she was inducted in the National Honor Society, of which I am the faculty adviser. This past school year she served as the NHS president. She was an outstanding president who served as a strong leader, a hard worker and a super team player. As she leaves PFTSTA, I know that she has what it takes to succeed as she continues her education and seeks a fulfilling career. I was honored to be her guest, and when she introduced me as a person who is the…

Fund for Teachers Fellowship 2014

It all started way back in the fall when Lisa Valence and I read about a grant that would pay for teacher's professional development in the JPPSS district newsletter. We thought it would be a good way to get a group of us teachers to one of the summer conferences like ISTE or BLC. The application was due in late January. With the move to the new facility in late July, I was backed up and never got a chance to work on the grant. Until..... We were going to have two days off for bad winter weather---sleet and snowy conditions--in southern Louisiana!!! I went around to four teachers, each from a different department, and asked if they would be available on our snow day to work on a grant. We input the info with the rubric on a Google Doc and divided up the sections. Each person wrote a section. Then Lisa and I did some editing to make sure it sounded cohesive. Our English teacher, Cheryl Bordelon, read it for clarity and smooth transitions as well as the nuts and bolts like grammar. …

Dinner with Penguin Publishers at IRA

The International Reading Association met in New Orleans this past weekend. Unfortunately, I could not attend the conference because I had so much to do for the PFTSTA graduation which was Saturday. I was really sorry to have to miss it; there were some amazing young adult authors there making presentations. However, when I got the invite from Penguin for dinner at Restaurant R'evolution with three authors, I told them I would be there. 
In February of 2013, Ruta Sepetys visited us at PFTSTA. The kids adored her; I adored her, and I couldn't wait to visit with her at dinner on May 10th. Actually, I got to sit next to her and chat throughout the entire dinner service. If you haven't read her book, Out of the Easy, you need to because it is marvelous. Ruta explained some of the impetus for the story came from her work with women on death row. She wondered if someone could turn their life around if they divorced their family. The protagonist, Josie Moraine, is the daughter …

Poetry Month in the PFTSTA Library

By the time that April rolls around, I am thinking about the end of the school year, which for us is May 23rd. I love the idea of National Poetry Month, but unless we start planning early, I run out of time for special activities in the library. Book displays are easy In past years, I have sent out a poem a day in an email to all students and staff members. That was always fun trying to find just the right poem to send, but this year, I tried not to feel that I failed when it didn't happen.

I did plan and execute two activities, one for just the 6th graders and one for the entire student body. Lisa Valence and I have planned many great collaborative lessons over the years, but now that she is only teaching math, we have not figured out how to collaborate very often. She was looking for something fun for the 6th graders to do before spring break. I suggested we do a lesson on poetry and require the students to write poems using math vocabulary. Open here to find the presentation th…