Saturday, December 29, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
SO I am planning on having a nice relaxing break - picked up some new books at the library today and am hoping to get to read some of them in between parties and hearing my kids complain that they are bored (and this had BETTER not happen after Tuesday, Santa, as usual, plans to be VERY good to my kids this year!)
I hope that all of you educators out there have a FABULOUS break and to everyone else, a MERRY Christmas and a VERY happy and healthy 2008.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Liz at Tea Cozy linked to a great post from Alix Finn about parents who want to push "older" books on kids, just because they feel that if their child is in 4th grade and reading a middle school book, well then, they must be destined for greatness.
Another thing that I have run into a lot is when books are made into movies. I have 1st graders asking for different Harry Potter books or Narnia books and they tell me they can read them because "I saw the movie". I know this has been at the center of the debate on The Golden Compass movie, many christian and Catholic organizations are saying, the movie doesn't bring religion into it, but the books do, and if kids see the movie (which is pg-13) then they will want to read the books. Is The Golden Compass appropriate, content wise for a 2nd grader - well, I don't think so, I don't think many of them would "get-it". But then again, should a 2nd grader (who is usually about 7 or 8) be seeing a PG-13 movie?
I think that parents need to take an interest in what their child is reading, but I also think that they should try and steer them to books that would interest them, not necessarily challenge them. I was having a conversation about this very subject the other day with a parent at my school. She was complaining that some book series seem to get darker as they progress (she mentioned HP and Spiderwick Chronicles) and while she lets her 3rd grade daughter read the first 2 HP books, she said she is waiting to let her read the rest until next year or even 5th grade when she thought that she could understand the content better. - WOW, if only all parents thought like this!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Here is a picture of my two sons and I at the event, I even bought new Pj's for the occasion!
Sunday, December 9, 2007
This year as part of my month long holiday celebration I am doing a week on having a "green" Christmas. I will be reading the book Night Tree by Eve Bunting (which she wrote in 1994, way before being "green" was fashionable). After we read the story we will be making Christmas ornaments for our feathered and furry friends. I had a hard time coming up with an ornament that was not so messy (think, peanut butter and birdseed) so, with the help of my daughter, we came up with making froot loop cereal ornaments. The kids will string froot loops onto pipe cleaners and twist them together. Then they can go home and hang their ornament on an outside tree. Not sure how much birds like froot loops, but I am sure that the squirrels will love it!
Friday, November 30, 2007
a gingerbread baby masterpiece!
Gingerbread house I made with my son last weekend
Monday, November 26, 2007
Research Skills Lessons
Grades 4 & 5
Winter Holiday Web Quest: Bring your students down to the media center for some holiday research using our GCPS databases. I will pair them in groups of 2 and I will send them on a hunt through our databases for information on winter holidays. They will need to find the answers to specific questions using the GCPS databases.
Holiday Dictionary Dash: Holiday words are highlighted in this FUN dictionary game.
Story Time all grade levels welcome!
Week of November 26 – Holiday Kick off with a Sweet Treat
Story time: Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
We’ll decorate paper gingerbread babies after the story (and maybe even have a gingerbread treat).
Week of December 3 – Hanukkah
Story time: The Magic Dreidels by Eric Kimmel
We will play a round of the dreidel game after the story.
Week of December 10 – Going Green For the Holidays
Story time: Night Tree by Eve Bunting
We will make a Christmas ornament for the student to take home and hang on an outside tree for an animal. I will also have handouts for having a “green” Holiday.
Week of December 17 – Kwanzaa
Story time: Seven Spools of Thread by Angela Shelf Medearis
I am still looking for an activity for my Kwanzaa book, so if you have any ideas out there, PLEASE leave a comment - this is a holiday I am not too familiar with!
Monday, November 19, 2007
I'm Thankful for:
my new job
dark chocolate M&M's
Starbucks white chocolate mocha (non-fat milk no whip)
tap dancing class
mu just re-soled red cowboy boots
red wine (a nice Pinot)
and last but not least, the Red Sox winning the World Series!!!
And I am jumping ahead a little, but while I am at it, here are things I have to look forward to in 2008
seeing Bon Jovi in concert in April
seeing Mo Willems in March at the GA Children's Lit Conference
my new niece or nephew being born in June
hopefully a new job for my husband (something that he likes AND he makes money at)
watching another great season of Red Sox baseball
hopefully watching my oldest son pass 6th grade
discovering great new books to share with my students (and blogging about them too!)
Happy Turkey day everyone!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
This is another book by the young adult author duo of Cohn and Levithan who brought us Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. This is the story of neighbors and best friends Naomi and Ely. One is gay (Ely) and one is hopelessly in love with the other (Naomi). They are cool, hip NYC kids who are going to the local university (NYU) and trying to figure out life. When one of them kisses the others boyfriend, the gloves come off on their friendship and also on how they view their lives, which up to this point, were tied together in so many ways that without each other they are not sure who they really are.
I loved Nick and Norah for the his and hers chapters and different voices that Cohn and Levithan gave to each character. This book has the same, except that there are more characters to keep track of and more character voices to wrap your head around. As in Nick and Norah, you have the hip lives of cool New Yorkers. I love NYC and sometimes wish we had moved to NYC instead of Atlanta way back in '91, so maybe that is why I love books set in the "naked city". I loved that Naomi is a bit of a bitch and that Ely is your typical gay college student (I pictured about 3 guys I knew in college whenever I read Ely's dialogue.)
I was just glad that I had a weekend free enough to actually sit down and get through a whole book - and this one was worth reading!
Liz at Tea Cozy
Mindy at Proper Noun
2nd gen librarian
and Rachel's website and David's website
** on Rachel's website she tells us that Nick and Norah will be made into a movie - WOOHOO!**
Friday, November 16, 2007
The result was Biography Stew. SO each year I dress in a chef hat and apron, call myself Chef Schmidt (say that 5x fast) and we cook up a biography stew. I have listed the ingredients below that we add to a big pot one by one, with me explaining why this ingredient goes into a biography. I also explain to the kids that not all the ingredients go into all biographies. The best part of the lesson for the kids is that they get to EAT the stew (which looks surprisingly like a trail mix). The best part of the lesson for me is that after this, the kids actually seek out biographies to read.
Biography Stew Ingredients
Yellow Raisins: Represent the person’s birth date and place
Corn Chex: Represent family members, because some family members can be a bit corny sometimes
Goldfish Crackers: Represent childhood and school life, because fish gather in schools
Bugles: Represent hobbies, interests and activities, because sometimes we like to blow our own horns
Pretzels: Represent anecdotes, because all people have interesting stories in their lives, with twists and turns, ups and downs, just like a pretzel.
Chocolate chips: Represents career, because when a person makes a lot of money or has good fortune, we say that he/she is “in the chips”
Cheerios: Represent the reasons for fame, because we cheer a famous person’s successes.
M&M’s : Represents later life/old age, because the M&M’s stand for More Mature
Black Raisins: Represents death, because we become shriveled and then the lights go out.
I guess I should also mention, I like this lesson SO much, it contributed to the name of this blog!
Monday, November 12, 2007
As he was introduced and walked up to the podium, my friend's mother who was with us whispered "ooh he is SO cute!" and he was. Oh and he has that FABULOUS Australian accent! He started off his talk with a personal story and then he turned the tables on us as he described what the story illustrated and how he did it using details. He talked a bit about writing The Book Thief and then took questions. He answered the questions in such detail. In answering some of the questions, he told us that he does not think Max and Liesel get married, but had more of a brother-sister relationship (I agree) and that the book has been optioned for a movie, but if it does get made he will not have ANY part of it. He also told us that the characters from the book may show up in other works of his, but he will NEVER write a sequel to the book. I have to agree, although it was SUCH a powerful book, I think he got it right this time and there really is no more to say.
I did get my book signed and he drew a little smiling person next to his signature - not something you expect from a YA author!
If you have not had the chance to read the book, I will tell you, it is LONG but well worth it. See a great video book trailer for this book here.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
He was a professor at Emerson College when I was there (although I never could get into his Children's Literature class!!) and I he is a truly gifted speaker as well as gifted writer. How can you not love Joey Pigza!
Also, if all you have read is his children's books, you need to go out RIGHT NOW and get Hole in My Life, his autobiography.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Anyway, as I was preparing for a lesson today on using World Book Online with 3rd graders I found this contest and this HILARIOUS video by two guys named Rhett and Link. The video describes the contest, which is asking students to make a 2 minute video on evaluating websites but the video also helps describe some aspects of evaluating websites. The contest deadline is November 30th, so not that much time, but the video is a great teaching tool in and of itself. I used it today with a group of 5th graders and they loved the video and I think they really "got" what the guys were saying about evaluating websites. I hope that World Book keeps the video by Rhett and Link up even after the contest is over, or even better, that they have these two guys come up with some more videos on research topics! You can watch the video without having a subscription to World Book online, but to have access to the database your school (or district) must subscribe.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Speaking of Thanksgiving, here are some great FREE downlodable projects. One of a turkey and another feathered friend here. Thanks to SegaTech blog for the links. I must admit I have not tried either one of these, but I am planning on having my 9 year old help me!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I am dressed as a pirate today (left over from last years Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character day) and it also happens to be that my son matches me. Pictures to come tomorrow.
the best costume at my school today - a kindergarten teacher dressed as Shrek - green make-up and all - he looks great!
Monday, October 29, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The books is called Into The Wild - and now I am DYING to get my hands on it. Of course my local bookstores do not have it in so I am off to Amazon - I am SO excited to read this book now.
Here are some reviews, one by Jen from Jen Robinson's bookpage and Betsy from Fuse #8.
Check out Sara's blog from this week, she is visiting schools in "our" town, she went to my old elementary school on Monday and is visiting my old middle school on Friday. Who knew our small little hole in the wall town would one day be in a book!
oh..and GO SOX!!!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
GO RED SOX!!!!!
The game is called dictionary dash and it is a way for me to make learning about the dictionary and practicing using the dictionary fun for the kids. I take the students vocabulary words and/or spelling words for the week. I go ahead and look them up in the dictionary ahead of time and write down the page number I find it on and the guide words on the page where I find the word. Then, I type up the words in this cool program that goes along with our Smart Board - the program has a "window shade" that I can pull down to reveal words - so I type out the words I want them to find and below that I type in the page number and guide words. I have the kids start with their dictionaries closed, then I "reveal" the word and the mad dash begins to find the word in the dictionary. When they find the word, they are suppose to put a finger on the word and raise their other hand. I call on them and ask them to give me the page number and the guide words. I reveal the answer to see if they get it right, and if they do *sometimes* I give them a prize (usually a piece of candy). The kids get SO into it and they love finding the words. As we go through the game I point out things like where the pronunciation of a word is in the definition, how they find out how to make a word plural etc..
I started doing this lesson this week with grades 2 & 3 and it has not only been a hit with the kids, but the teachers have loved what I am doing too. I told the teachers that have signed up for this lesson to make sure they sign up again and around the holidays I will do a holiday word version of dictionary dash.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind. In 2007 the issue is the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.
You can find out more about the day by clicking here.
My post on the environment is going to be about Saving the Ocean. I grew up spending my summers on the coast of Massachusetts on Cape Cod. The ocean is MY special place, all is right with the world if I am looking at the ocean (so HOW did I end up land locked in Atlanta, who knows!) But I do know that our oceans worldwide are in danger. Pollution is rampant and what people and companies throw into the ocean is just sinful (and pretty GROSS!)
Here are some websites dedicated to saving our oceans:
Saving Our Oceans documentary film: A documentary about the state of our seas and the issues of disappearing fish.
Save the Bay: A group dedicated to stopping pollution in Narraganset Bay in Rhode Island
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute: WHOI is the world's largest private, nonprofit ocean research, engineering and education organization.
Save Our Sound: Our goal is to protect Nantucket Sound in perpetuity through conservation, environmental action, and opposition to inappropriate industrial or commercial development. The Alliance supports formal designation of Nantucket Sound as a marine protected area.
I thought I would make the "day" last a little longer and post some children's books on the subject of "saving our oceans" later this week.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
She is a 5th grade teacher in Truro, MA (on Cape Cod) and she has done some really neat things in her career. A few years ago she was part of a team from weather bug that chased tornadoes in the mid-west. I would love to have a teacher like Megan.
I believe she is out to sea for five weeks. I can't wait to read about her journey!
Check out the Teachers at Sea website for more info. on the program.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
This site is maintained by his sister and includes some pictures of James and links to other sites about James Marshall and his work.
This site is SO cool. It is an archive from Horn Book with interviews of authors that appeared on NPR in 1986. In addition to the James Marshall interview, there are interviews with Robert McClosky, Rosemary Wells and a review of The Polar Express by a group of students in Wayland, Massachusetts.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
And of course, who can't be just a little happy that the Yankees lost last night and are 2 games in the hole in their series.
Baseball in October, another reason why October is my favorite month of the year!!
Watching the game on TBS last night, all the promo's featured a song and pictures of my man, Jon Bon Jovi - ahh - could life get any better???
My real question is, when will that old librarian stereotype finally be retired??
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
I try and steer the students toward "good" books, things that *might* just change their lives, but I guess all a teacher can do is lead their students to water and hope that they take a sip.
I for one do not purchase "character" books for my media center. I have noticed that their are some Nickelodeon character books in my media center now, but I can assure you that there will be no more purchased, at least while I am there. Of course, I do have a HUGE collection of Captain Underpants books, and for some reason, I don't mind those as much, maybe because there is not a Captain Underpants TV show?
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Starting tomorrow the 2nd annual Cybil's awards will begin taking nominations for your favorite children's and young adult books. Check it all out at the Cybils site!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
He has a great article on Scholastic on making reading FUN.
Although, I can tell that his daughter is still fairly young, he mentions in the article that
"You may not know this, but you are a very cool person (to your kid, at least). Seriously, pretty much everything you do is cool. If you mow the lawn, that's cool. If you eat chocolate ice cream, that's cool."
My eleven year old thinks that NOTHING I do is COOL and his almost 10 year old sister is *almost* at that point also, she only thinks about 10% of what I do is cool and only if it involves me buying her something!
Sunday, September 16, 2007
how would someone find you in a crowd?
medium height, brown hair, I blend so well into a crowd, that unless I wear something memorable, people wouldn't find me!
if your house had a secret room what would be in it?
a comfy chair, a laptop, books, magazines, some red wine and dark chocolate and most importantly no phone or kids!
where do you like to walk from your house?
I live in suburbia, so the only place I can walk to in my neighborhood is to the neighborhood pool & tennis complex and to my neighbors houses.
How will you change as you grow up?
hopefully gracefully and without too many wrinkles!
what kind of animal would you like to be?
I am not a huge animal person, so i have to say that there isn't one animal I would ever want to be!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
In talking with some of the students (grades K-5) many of them said that their PARENTS made them participate and some of the smaller kids didn't even know mom & dad had turned in the slip or that they had "won" anything. The kids that are motivated to read in order to be invited to the celebration are usually the kids who would be interested in seeing/hearing a "real live author" speak to them, in other words, the kids who READ anyway and need no motivation to do so.
So there was my question, what kind of program could I instill at my school that would motivate those kids who really HATE to read. Those kids who really struggle to read and because of that HATE to do so. In in a school climate (all over the country,really, not just my school) where test scores seem to be the only indicator of something "successful" what will motivate these kids to read more so that their reading test sores would go up?
Unfortunately, I haven't figured out an answer yet! Part of that reason is, I think I need to look at the students at my school and figure out what would motivate those kids (both boys and girls) who are struggling readers. Somehow a party with an author just isn't it. Reading articles like this at Teacher magazine has helped me to get a little more insight into some things I might do with individual students, but I am looking for something that will motivate the masses (in a school of 1100 students, it is THE MASSES!).
For now, needing to have something to give the Principal, I have dusted off the old reading program, made a few tweeks to it and it will be going out to parents in two weeks. But I think I am going to use this year to really do a little research into WHY the kids who participate do so and what motivates THEM to participate in this. I am working on some things for Children's Book Week in November that I might be able to use as tests for student motivation. I want to see if seeing a professional athlete reading a book to the student motivates them to pick up a book? If listening to a book being read on a podcast or on cd would motivate them? What if the reading contest was more like the baseball playoffs and it was more like a book competition with a big trophy and a party at the end? Somehow, people seem to think trophy's motivate kids, hence why we get a trophy for every season of baseball/football/basketball - enough with the trophy's for just participating, does it really motivate anyone?
Sigh, I wish there was a magic answer to this and the magic answer was, we wouldn't need to motivate anyone to read because everyone loved it and it was part of every student's everyday life. Excuse me while I go find Cinderella in my fantasy world.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Can life get any better??
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Today we had one of those meetings and I came out of it feeling so overwhelmed! The problem is, there are some FABULOUS media specialists in our county and when they come to present to us, they pull out all their stops. The woman today, who is actually the media specialist at my son's school has done great things, I have seen her media center and it is a happening place. But I think to myself, HOW am I ever going to measure up. I guess I must have had these thoughts 5 years ago when I started my first job, but then again it was a school half the size of my current school and I really had no "peers" telling me what great things they are doing. I did take some things from this woman's presentation that I can use in my media center but I guess that I am still a little under water and not sure how to get floating comfortably again. I am still doing orientations and while important, especially for the kids to meet me, I can't wait until I can really get into what I love to do, which is to teach kids research lessons, do fun story times and plan some fun PARTIES in the media center (Polar Express anyone?)
For something a little more useful, here are some APPLE websites that I shared with my teachers this week:
Check out some websites and activities on Johnny Appleseed. He was born in a town in Massachusetts not far from where I grew up (and home of the most DELICIOUS Macintosh apples!!)
Check out the story of Johnny here;
Check out some fun Appleseed activities here:
Check out information on the Georgia apple festival and also listings of the types of apples grown in North Georgia and where to pick them yourselves.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
I attended the Decatur Book Festival this weekend and heard presentations from author Melinda Long (who I am trying to have come visit our school this year) and an illustrator panel with Caldecott award winner Chris Raschka (The Hello Goodbye window), Judy Schachner (Skippy Jon Jones book) and two local illustrators. It is always interesting to me to hear from creative people like this and how they come up with ideas and how children’s books actually get produced, it amazes me how LONG a picture book can be in production. I also got lots of STUFF. Here are some interesting things I picked up:
Where the Wild Things Are exhibit: Until September 30th at the Breman Museum in Midtown Atlanta. Original art by Maurice Sendak and children’s activities related to his books.
Visit http://www.thebreman.org/ for more info.
16th annual Book Festival of the MJCCA. November 3 – 17th. Some great authors will be giving presentations, including Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief, lawyer and author Alan Dershowitz and the authors of the book Three Women, Three Religions, One Quest for Common Ground. Check out the website for more details: http://www.atlantajcc.org/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=SE-BF07&category=SignatureEvents (I am going to try and attend the presentation by Markus Zusak on Sunday November 11, if anyone is interested in joining me!)
The Wren’s Nest, the historic home of author Joel Chandler Harris located in Atlanta is offering lots of programs for students this fall. One program is a reading challenge. Read five Brer Rabbit stories, then go to the website (see below) and download the Reader’s Tee form. Have a parent or teacher sign the form then visit the Wren’s nest and receive a COOL free t-shirt. Visit their website for details on this contest and other activities. http://www.wrensnestonline.com/
I picked up a flyer that looks VERY interesting. It is called Paper Back Swap. It is an online book club of people who “swap” their paperback books for just the price of shipping the book. I have not tried it YET, but I think I will be checking it out. Their website is http://www.paperbackswap.com/
One of my FAVORITE things to do in Decatur is go to the children’s book store Little Shop of Stories. It is just a great place, what is there not to love about a book store that has an ICE CREAM parlor attached to it! They have some great activities and book clubs throughout the year. Sign up for their newsletter and check out what they have to offer. They also host MANY authors throughout the year and do special educator presentations with some of these authors. They hosted Patricia Polacco last year and she was FABULOUS! Their website is http://www.littleshopofstories.com/
I picked up a flyer about Georgia Project WET. Their website includes information on Project WET (which is water education programs for teachers), Georgia River of Words (an environmental poetry and art contest) and also information about volunteer opportunities with Adopt a stream and Rivers Alive. Check out all this great environmental information at http://www.gaprojectwet.org/
One more thing I found over the weekend. The Atlanta magazine SKIRT! Is having an essay contest for girls in grades 5-8. Pass along this info, to anyone you know who might be interested.
“To celebrate the historic moment of a women running for the White House, skirt! Wants to hear from girls in grades 5 though 8 about why they should be President and how they would make a difference in the world if they were elected.
Your Campaign Package: be creative…design your own bumper sticker. Be Thoughtful…tell us about your campaign issues. Have Fun///Hillary Clinton’s campaign song is “You and I” by Celine Dion. What would yours be? Surprise us with your ideas and presentation.”
Prizes in each grade level will receive $150 and selected entries will appear in the magazine in January 2008. Entry deadline is November 15, 2007 and must include name, address, phone number, age, grade level and school. Send entries to: Skirt! 107 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30305 or e-mail Stephanie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Now, I hope that someone will get her the Clementine books by Sara Pennypacker as a baby gift!!
Friday, August 31, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
He also touches on the fact that so many of middle and high schools are overcrowded. I am in the MECCA of large schools. My current school has an enrollment of about 1100 students (K-5), believe it or not, we are not overcrowded or even over the projected enrollment for our building size, we are just a HUGE school. Now, many of the middle and high schools in this area do not face the problems that Mr. Kozol talks about, such as the schools looking worn down since many of the schools in my area are new, but I am certain that many of the schools are affected in many ways because of their sizes. One of the quotes from the article that I loved was : "I believe aesthetics count a great deal in the education of our children. Beautiful surroundings refine the souls of children. Ugly surroundings coarsen their mentalities. It's one of the most decisive ways in which we draw the line of caste and class between two very different sectors of our student population." It makes me feel good about what I do in the media center in terms of making it a bright and inviting place to be."
I now have to go check the book out of the library, I am very interested in what else he has to say on the subject of education in America today.
Another note, or should I say a complaint. It has been over 100 degrees almost every day since school started (10 days ago) and many of our classes are not going outside for recess because the air quality if very poor and our poor PE teachers, the gym is not air conditioned, so PE is a very HOT activity no matter where they have it. A year or so ago the Georgia Assembly tried to pass a law that stated that school could not start in the State of Georgia before the 4th week of August. While next week is the 4th week of August and it is predicted to be almost as hot (I hear it might cool down to 89!!), I think for the health of the students and staff, they need to look at this again. not to mention how much they are spending to cool off the schools!
Luckily for me, the media center at my school seems to be the coolest spot in the building!
Sunday, August 19, 2007
and Raptor never goes out of the playground with his books....
and Raptor always uses a shelf marker....
one more, Raptor in front of my office window, isn't the mural FABULOUS!
Sunday, August 12, 2007
And thanks to fuse#8 I can add another reason to not like the First Lady very much. She is poised to become a children's book author. While she WAS a school librarian and hence has a few more qualifications to write a children's book, say more than any other first lady, the idea of another celebrity book is just, well icky. Even worse, will be the fact that I am SURE that I will have parents asking me to buy it for the media center as soon as it is published.
And on a totally unrelated note, school starts tomorrow for my kids (and my students) and right now my 9 year old daughter is dancing around the house asking to go to bed and singing "I can't wait to go to school!" - I'm not sure how I ended up with this kid!
Saturday, August 11, 2007
I came across a video called Did You Know the other day that really makes you think. It was created by an educator in Colorado last year and he has updated it. The music is a little annoying, but the statistics are really amazing. As educators I think that we need to think about how different life is for our students than it was for us and how different their adult lives will be. The creator of the video explains why he made it at his blog, The FischBowl, I think it is one of those things that every educator should see before they head into school this year.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Tomorrow is my official first day of school. I have had a few days of training at the county office and at the school since I am new to this school, but tomorrow is day 1 of my 190 day contract. I have been busy this weekend getting supplies and navigating my new laptop (provided by the school) and doing lots of thinking. Thinking about all the ideas I have for the new school year. Thinking about how I can take those ideas and make them into meaningful lessons for the students. Thinking about how I am going to get the teachers on-board with me so I can do all these cool lessons with the students.
As Tom Hanks types to Meg Ryan in the movie You've Got Mail
" Don't you love New York in the Fall. It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils, if I knew your name and address."
So, although here in Atlanta we are far from Fall (I think the high will be in the 90's tomorrow) I am thinking about bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils and the start of what I hope will be a great year.
Monday, July 30, 2007
I have wanted to start a book club at my school since I became a media specialist,but really, I have never found the right time or the right group willing to go ahead with me (plus my after school time is so busy with my own kids!) This book has once again brought the idea of a book club back into my thoughts. Since I am starting at a new school (and a much BIGGER school) I am trying to think of a good way to start some kind of book club. If you have started a book club for kids I would love to hear some ideas, the book has some great ideas to get me started, but I am sure there are some other great ideas out there too!
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Back a few weeks ago the NYTimes had an article about Hip Librarians. I was disappointed to see that they did not include any school librarians aka media specialists in the article, but I was happy to see that maybe, just maybe the days of the little grey haired lady with the glasses and cardigan sweater are almost over! Since becoming a librarian, I have really tried hard to not be the stereotype (and in Catholic school that is even tougher, the stereotype of a Catholic school librarian is a NUN!) and even though I am a librarian AND a Mom AND close to that big 4-0 number in age, I like to think I am semi-hip - hey, I keep telling my kids that for my big 4-0 birthday I want a tattoo - that's hip, right (although the PAIN factor might make me chicken out!). But the things that the article says make these librarians "hip" are things I do, I go out to bars and drink (although not every night), go to rock concerts(last one was Eric Clapton) and I love pop culture and technology. I may not dress in thrift store chic (I like my Ann Taylor Loft!) but I don't wear sensible shoes and cardigans either.
Here (raising a watermelon martini) is a toast to breaking the stereotype for librarians everywhere!!!
Monday, July 23, 2007
I read a TON while on vacation, a combination of adult books and kid lit, a few mini reviews to come.
Right now I am freaking out at how much I have to do before the students come on August 13th. I forgot how hard it is to start a new job. The summer before I started my last job, I was still in school and spent most of the summer preparing for my new job (it also counted toward credit for grad. school). This year I have thought about things, gone over to the new school twice, but really, haven't done much to really "prepare". So now in addition to trying to school shop for the kids, getting my oldest son to football practice every night (it starts next Monday) and getting my house back in order (maybe by the time school starts the suitcases will be unpacked and put away!) I will be freaking out at what seem right now a HUGE amount of things I need to do to get ready for next school year. I didn't think I would be this nervous about the new job, especially because I know HOW to be a media specialist now (my last job was my first as a media specialist and my first in education) I just need to learn how to do it at a different school - piece of cake, right?
Saturday, July 14, 2007
I get back to "reality" in a week and then I actually have to start thinking about my new job and start working (1st day of school for the kids is August 13th - WAY to early!)
Hope everyone is having a great summer and we'll be back soon with lots of library stuff!
Monday, June 25, 2007
thanks to MTV Movies Blog for the info and picture.
Friday, June 22, 2007
This is the story of what happened in nineteen minutes at Sterling High School. When a boy, who had been bullied all his school days starts a rampage in the school and leaves 10 dead. The story is told in flashbacks and first person accounts of a Judge, her daughter, the boy, his mother and a cop involved in the case. It is a chilling tale, especially for parents because it asks the question, how do you as a parent know if you are doing a good job and how do you know if the actions your children take are because of what you did or did not do. I think that teens reading the book will identify with many of the emotions that are spilled out in the book by Josie (the daughter) and Peter (the boy).
I have never read anything by Jodi Picoult, but I really enjoyed how the story unfolded and how you got different perspectives throughout the book.
I think that because I have children, and I think everyday if I am doing things "right", I was really moved by this book, if not also terrorized by the thought that in an instant things can change, even in the "safe hallways" of my kids school.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
My hometown boys, the Boston Red Sox were in my adopted hometown of Atlanta this week. We had tickets, but the only one that got to go was my oldest son (see next item for why we couldn't make it) and although the boys from beantown gave one to the Braves on Monday, they got them on Tuesday and Wednesday - WTG SOX! And by the way, we are still in 1st place, can't get too excited yet, it is only June, but hey, being in first right now is a nice place to be.
And the best thing to happen this week has been my youngest son. He is 6 and playing on the all star baseball team for our park. His team is now 10-0! They won their first tournament on Saturday (trophy and everything) and we are now playing in the district tournament. Of course since they keep winning, they keep playing, which is wreaking havoc on our home life, since we have to be at the ballpark every night, but it has been a lot of FUN (although we will all be happy this weekend when it will all be OVER for the season!) Here is the link to their picture on our parks website - pretty exciting stuff for a 6 year old!
Monday, June 18, 2007
What I am hoping, is that when I get back to school, there will be girls waiting to check out their first Nancy Drew book. At my old school, we had an ancient set of Nancy Drew books. They were popular when the 3rd or 4th grade teachers assigned a mystery book report. I am hoping that the movie starts a whole new generation on Nancy.
Monday, June 11, 2007
This woman has an agenda and wants everyone to follow it. She is the kind of parent that makes my skin crawl. They have a set of values (which is good) for their family, but they want the whole world (or at least their whole world) to adopt the values too, and that is just not good.
I could go on and on about this subject and this woman, she really makes my blood boil. But for now, I am just glad that the Gwinnett County school board (who is now my employer), the State of Georgia School board and the State of Georgia supreme court is doing it's job by blocking the removal of Harry from the shelves. I can't imagine working in a library where I cannot guide a child to Harry and see their faces after they have stayed up late for a week to finish the first book and hurry back to me to get the second one.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Now, as a school media specialist dealing with girls (and boys too, my 6 year old has a webkinz also) I wonder how these new computer games/toys can be incorporated into learning. I know for my daughter, it is just fun. But I also know, she has to read the website, and some of the games that she plays on the site have some math and reasoning skills involved. I wouldn't classify the website as "educational" but it is not all bad either. I think as I start planning my lessons for next year I might consider some of these games that the NY Times has mentioned (and that my daughter plays) and see where I might incorporate them into learning.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
I am in the middle of the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I have seen quite a few bloggers reading this lately and all are loving it. So far, the book is making me think. I really could do with more of the stories about her family and less about the political/socio-economic ramblings of WHY we all need to think about where our food comes from, but I guess she needed to include that in the book to get across WHY her family chose to do this food experiment. The premise of the non-fiction book, is the author and her family move from Tuscon, AZ back to their roots on a farm in rural Virginia and decide to live for a year eating only foods that they grow/raise themselves OR buy foods that are locally grown/raised. She includes essays in the book from her 19 year old daughter and from her husband. She also includes recipes and sample menus of how they managed to only eat foods that were in season.
Last year my 6 year old started a garden in our yard with my Dad. My son had been fascinated with my Dad's large vegetable garden and he wanted to start his own. Last year we ate tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers from the garden and my son couldn't have been prouder when he came in form his garden with armfuls of vegetables. This year my Dad could not come down to help, so I helped him get it ready and helped him plant. He choose the plants and we have quite an eclectic mix - tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, watermelon, pumpkins and some herbs (that was my contribution!) I don't think that living in my suburban neighborhood I will ever live like Ms. Kingsolver, but I feel that the book did open my eyes to HOW we get our food and what we can do in small ways to help out our environment, say by planting our little garden.
I just wish that we would get some RAIN here. We are in a pretty bad drought (lots of water restrictions) and although we do water the garden everyday, I think things would grow a little better if we had some good soaking rains!