Showing posts from August, 2014

Remembering Katrina Nine Years Later

Yesterday was the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I also happened to finish Julie Lamana's book, Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere . Now in retrospect, it seemed to be a fitting way to commemorate the occasion. This work is an outstanding middle grade novel. Our seventh graders have read Jewell Parker Rhodes' Ninth Ward over the past several years , and Lamana's book is equally as gripping.   Lemana follows a family from the Ninth Ward that has to escape the rising waters by climbing into their attic and eventually onto their roof. Death faces them square in the face and when they finally get rescued off the roof, the family also gets separated. It was a hard book to read and took me longer than it should have considering its intended audience. I think that it was due to the subject matter. The one thing that bothered me about the story was at the end when Armani gets a ride into New Orleans on the 2nd of September to try and find her missing family member

Encouraging Reading

I have noticed the circulation statistics of the book collection has dropped over the last couple of years. This concerns me. So one of my goals for this school year is to get more kids reading. I hope to help them learn how to find books that they love and for them to keep searching for titles that speak to them. It is hard these days to get a handle on what the students are actually reading. Some are reading, but not books found in the PFTSTA library. When I quiz the students, I discover that they are buying books, checking books out from the public library, downloading books onto their devices and even listening to audio books that they download from the public library. Yes, I know that students are reading, and I am happy that they are finding good books, but not all of the students are choosing to read for pleasure. Okay, I know that I will never win over 100% of the student body, and I know the older students feel inundated with reading for their AP courses, but I have decided t

New Year, New Computers and Finally, Stools

This year, the students will be using Windows 7 on their school issued laptops rather than XP. The students new log in credentials will only work on computers running 7, and the library computers could not be upgraded. I will be getting some brand new desktops for the library, but until then, I have two computers set up for students.  Seniors Last year after arriving in the new building, I set up the computers on the counter, but the students had to stand to use them. No stools were purchased to use at the counter. I waited a year and decided that stools were a necessity. The pictures above and below show some happy students using the library's resources.  New 6th graders

New School Year Begins With a Focus on Collaboration

The students first day of school was August 8th. Last year we had moved into the new building, and the library wasn't ready for prime time. I didn't open until August 22nd, three weeks after the start of school. This year, I had students in the library on the first day.  It was a soft opening, so the library wasn't over run with kids, but it was nice to have a functioning library on the first day of school.   There are some changes in our district this year, and some of our schools are changing grade configurations.  That means librarians who are entrenched in elementary school now must serve middle school students in their libraries.  That is an issue because the library's resources were developed for grades K-5. It costs money to upgrade the resources for the additional grade levels. The other issue is how will these librarians serve the older students.  I got an email today asking me to share lessons that I teach to my middle school students. That is an inter

Why I Love Teaching

Tomorrow I start my 34th year of teaching. Wow, that is a looooong time. You know what? I still love what I do. Part of the reason is because I have worked in several different schools at several different grade levels. By making these moves I have been able to stay fresh and interested, and I have also had to do a lot of learning along the way which to me has been energizing.  Years ago when I told my principal of the elementary school where I had worked for 12 years that I was leaving and moving to a library position serving middle and high school, she asked me why. She said that she believed working with younger students was so much more rewarding for the teacher, and that teachers of younger students made a bigger impact on those students' lives than teachers of older students.  I beg to differ on that point.  This will be my 9th year at Patrick Taylor Academy, and over my time teaching there, I have served as a mentor for a number of students. Students who still c