Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Here is a slide show of the holiday fun we are having here in the media center - I think I like Whrrl better than Slide.com., but Whrrl is now blocked at school (sigh).
I hope that everyone out there has a FABULOUS holiday season!!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
SO, how did it go, you asked? It went well. The kids were a little nervous, so some lines were delivered a little too fast, the kids who we have been telling to GET LOUDER were still reading a bit too softly to be heard, but overall it went GREAT!
Some things the teacher and I are going to do for the next go-around (which we will start after the holiday break):
~ have smaller groups - we will be doing 2 different stories, so I think that will give the kids more lines to say
~ video tape the kids earlier in the process so they can really see what they are doing right/wrong
~focus a little more on the difference between the book and the script (we will do this because the goal is for them to write their OWN script from a book)
As luck would have it, today in School Library Journal there is an article written by Avi (YES that Avi) about the benefits of using readers theater - what PERFECT timing!
I recorded the kids doing a practice run of it last week, but am having problems uploading it to Ourmedia (I haven't uploaded anything to them in a LOONG time, so maybe it's not working anymore??) so if/when I get it up I will put the link on here.
The other class performs on Thursday!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Thanks to JacketFlap for this great widget (this WAS the buzz word at AASL!).
Speaking of holiday shopping, can you believe that it is only 26 shopping days until Christmas (and even less til Hanukkah) - I for one am giving my young nieces and nephew a new book and new pj's to go with the book - you can never have too many books or too many comfy pj's in which to get into when reading said book! Of course my teenager and teenager wanna be only want gifts of the electronic kind (Xbox 360 and a cell phone are on their lists)..sigh.... luckily my youngest son has the right idea, he has asked for bacon for Christmas - yep - actually he was specific, he wants Canadian Bacon - good thing Santa has to cross Canada before he gets to us!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Julie A. Walker, Executive Director of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has asked us to forward the information below widely. I hope you will participate on behalf of all school librarians and our students.
Late in October, I sat in on a webinar regarding the National Educational Technology Plan. If you have not done so already, I want to urge all of you to go to the site: www.edtechfuture.org . The developers are seeking input on all four aspects of the plan: learning, assessment, teaching and productivity / infrastructure. At the time of the late October webinar, the developers expressed concern about the LOW VOLUME of comments they had received. They are particularly looking for examples of districts doing INNOVATIVE things.
I urge those of you who feel that school library media specialists can bring value to this planning process to register and to comment. I noted a number of topics of importance to the field:
Lifelong & Lifewide Learning
Measurement of equitable access to learning resources
Equality of access (including gap between home & school)
For those of you interested in an overview of the slides from the webinar hosted by the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training (NCTET) and PBS, “Shaping the Future of Education Through Technology” with Jim Shelton, Assistant Deputy Secretary, Office of Innovation and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, they can be downloaded here: http://www.nctet.org/calendar.htm Please register and comment before the end of the month.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Well, I do have some other things to say about the conference but if you are a school media specialist, start saving NOW for AASL 2011 in Minneapolis- really, I can't believe I have waited this long to attend a national conference. What I came away with was SO incredible and I will be talking about it and dissecting it more in the next few weeks as I have time to really go through conference notes and websites, but here were some highlights:
* stumbling into the Bloggers Cafe (and not realizing where we were) and meeting Joyce Valenza and Buffy Hamilton first thing on Thursday (both of whom are just MADE of awesome!) and listening to some great presentations and meeting some other FABULOUS media specialists and even a corporate librarian from GA. Here is the link to the wiki from the bloggers cafe.
* Listening to opening speaker Danah Boyd - wow - she had some great things to say, I wish I could have my staff and parents listen to her presentation!
* Attending the Smackdown (wiki here) - this was the BEST session of the whole conference - I am SO glad I went in early and got a seat!
* The exhibition hall was great too - I got some free books (including an ARC of the new John Green/ David Levithan book - SOO excited about this), some coupons from other vendors and I stumbled onto a great publisher - Sylvan Dell - their books are beautiful and they have a GREAT subscription e-book service! It will take me weeks to go through all the STUFF I came home with!
I promise more from the conference, but Book Fair starts tomorrow and I better get some sleep!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
This convention is only 3 hours away (by car) and we are staying with my friends brother who lives in Charlotte. This might be my one and only national convention that I get to go to, so I am going to try and make the most of it! I am excited to hear the speakers and attend the sessions and also to hopefully meet up with some online friends.
I have a feeling I am going to be VERY tired on Saturday when I get back!
Friday, October 30, 2009
Just wish I had more time last night to make pink cupcakes to share at school today - maybe next year!
Today our school systems cable channel is coming here to film a segment for a series they have called the Author in You with local Atlanta author ( and my friend) Laurel Snyder - they usually put up a link to the show once it is live, so I will be sure to add it to the blog. Check out some shows that they have done in the past here.
Monday, October 26, 2009
My new favorite photo sharing slide program - whrrl is now blocked in my school (knew it was too good to last) so I tried slide share - here is my first attempt at a slide share presentation
oh and it was my 40th birthday on Saturday - I have never been bothered by my age, but this year I seemed to be hit with it - 40 is OLD - LOL - but I had a great weekend with friends and family and a great party on Saturday night, so it made turning 40 not so bad!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I am also on week two of my readers theater project and it is going REALLY well. This week we gave out the scripts to the kids and they did their first read through. They seem really excited about doing this and with the class today, they had some GREAT comments for each other after our first read through. Next week we will work on better fluency with the text and reading with more emotion and "voices".
next up - my FAVORITE story time of the year - BOO Bubbles!! Plus I have to figure out a great book character costume for Halloween - any suggestions?? I've already been a pirate, the bus driver (from the Pigeon books) and Lilly from Lilly's purple plastic purse, the paper bag princess and Abe Lincoln - hmmm.......
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Yesterday my school got to be part of Mo Willems simulcast! It was SO much fun! After lots of headaches getting the technology to work in our school (thank you to my AWESOME technology guru at our school and the awesome Internet guy in our county who made it happen) it all went off with out a hitch. My only disappoint with the program, I was REALLY hoping he was going to show us his dinning room (the one with the chalk board walls) so I guess this means that I will still have to hold out for an invite to his house for dinner - I'll even bring desert Mo - really I will!
Between watching this yesterday and watching the video : Eric Carle: Picture Writer this week with my story time classes, I want to quit my job and go work in an art studio - one problem, I have NO artistic talent what so ever. But it does make me want to go out and buy new colored pencils and crisp white paper!
Thanks Hyperion & Mo for letting me be a part of this!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
For today's first class we will be explaining to the students WHAT readers theater is. I am going to show them this video of a group of teens doing a readers theater performance at a public library so that they get a REAL sense of what they will be doing. I also have a short United Streaming video on creating your own readers that I will show them. The teacher and I have already chosen a script from the book A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon that we will be using as our first script, so to introduce the kids I will be reading the book. We will introduce the scripts at our next meeting next week. Our plan is to meet once a week with these kids and work with them one week on the script and then having them perform the script the next week. We will video tape the kids so they can see themselves performing and also so we can critique their performances.
This project is a perfect example of why media specialists need to TALK with each other. This idea came from a media specialist in my county that I talked to at a meeting we had a few weeks ago. She was describing what she did with a readers theater project at her school and I knew that I wanted to try something here. The hardest part in doing something like this is getting a teacher to work with you and sign on for a project that will be a few weeks in length.
I will update here on how the project is going and what we will be doing each class session that we meet.
Monday, September 28, 2009
On a happier note, we are celebrating apples in the media center this week. Check out my Whrrl story about our story time and art project.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
After we read the book I do a little science lesson with them. I created a Whrrl photo story to show you highlights from our story time.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
On another, sad, note this article came to me today from SLJ about a district in California closing all their school libraries. This is SOO sad to me, not just from a professional aspect (is MY job in jeopardy one of these days?) but it saddens my heart. My guess is, the kids that these schools serve are the ones that NEED access to books and NEED to be taught by a librarian how to search and how to use a library and be shown how AWESOME libraries can be. I hope that somehow they can find the money to keep these libraries open.
And one more article.. one that made me YELL "Someone else gets it!!" after I read it. It is an essay by Susan Straight on the reading program AR (Accelerated Reader.) She says what I have believed for years and have told many a parent and teacher when I have been approached and asked "When is our school going to get AR?" I of course have other issues with it, including the cost and the time it takes to manage the system, but in my heart, the issue I have with it is exactly what Ms. Straight has with it, kids read for the points and are not reading for the pleasure of reading.
I had a tough end of the week last week dealing with some issues about working in a HUGE district and feeling like the "suits" just don't get it...just don't understand what it is like for us in the trenches. I am doing my best to get through my feelings and not blast the district, but it is times like these that I miss being in a small private school (of course I do not miss the small paycheck though). But I am determined to start this week out right. I am doing my LAST orientations this week and will finally get to what I love most about my job, story times and collaborative lessons with teachers - YAY!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
image from the American Library association
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
It was easy to use and I could post a link to it on twitter and facebook right after I saved my photo story. You can also send it out as an e-mail. I can see some definite uses in education and one of the best things - it is NOT BLOCKED (at least yet) on my school computer!
hope you enjoy my virtual tour
Friday, August 14, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
In a follow up to last weeks post about too much technology, I had a technological encounter that made me think that all this technology IS worth it, although maybe in smaller doses.
One of my followers on Twitter gave a @ shout out to one of her followers, someone I did not know, but thought I would check her out. So I followed her (buffyjhamilton) and then when I went to her Twitter page, I noticed she had a blog - so I checked it out and - wow - I found another Georgia Media Specialist. The blog is The Unquiet Librarian , and she has a great blog post up now about how she put together back to school packets for her teachers. Of course this inspired me and although I don't have time to get free stuff from vendors like she did, I am working on getting something similar together for my teachers - so thanks Buffy for the ideas!!
So many of the teachers and librarians I am following on Twitter seem to be using Twitter in schools, even if it is just using it as a networking tool or as a notification tool for parents/students. My problem with this is, Twitter and all social networking tools are blocked on our district servers. While I am glad that Facebook is blocked (would be WAY to tempting for me during the day), I do see the benefit of using Twitter and other social networking sites (Flickr is another one that would be great to use in schools). So how do I go about preaching to the technology powers that be in my district to unblock these sites?
I am thinking of offering a Web 2.0 workshop for some of my teachers - basically just to teach them some basics of blogging, podcasting, what social networks are and how to Tweet, I just don't know how I can do this without access to most of these sites at school.
Back to school tomorrow to work on the studio and make sure all is up and running for the first day of school broadcast!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
on the boat going to Martha's Vineyard
Jason Varitek up at bat, Fenway Park
Monday, June 22, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
In all seriousness, I think this is a great idea for an organization and look forward to checking out some of their titles - now if they could just write one about the 2004 World Series, then I might be happy!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
As I end my second year in public school I am reflecting on what we did in the media center this year... here are some highlights:
* Had author Laurel Snyder come in and have a lunch & learn with a special group of 4th graders
* Had illustrator Michael White give presentations to all 1100 of our students (PTA arranged & paid for this)
* Had FABULOUS author visits with Deborah Wiles (grades 3-5) and Nina Laden (grades K-2)
* had two fairly successful book fairs, which in this economy, I was quite surprised at!
* had an AWESOME used book fair, where we raised $500 for the local Children's Hospital
* helped to host our school's annual Polar Express Night
* did countless story times and research lessons to students - my favorite story times of the year had to be Make Way for Ducklings and Boo Bubbles. Oh and we did send letters to the President and to Mo Willems (we've heard back from Mo, still waiting on Mr. President!!)
So now I have time to bask in the sun and hang by the pool - well sorta - I am *hoping* to get some good planning in - since so many grade levels hear my story times I try not to repeat too often, so I try come up with new things every year - and sometimes (well, most weeks...) that means I am barreling through Target or WalMart on a Sunday night looking for the materials I need for the storytime project I will be doing with 300+ kids that week - not the wisest use of time or money (in most cases, MY money). BUT as always, I am sure the summer will go too fast, my boys are still playing baseball (does it EVER END I ask) and my daughter and I still have a dance recital to get ready for. I have a STACK of books I can't WAIT to get my nose into and I have a few author events that I can't wait to get to too - (Laurel's book party at LSOS on June 1st - can't can't wait!!).
Happy last day of school!!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
To check out my program, check out my school blog (which I have ignored since October... I'll try to do better next year...)
I already have a STACK of books I want to read this summer and a list of projects a mile long -but first, we still have baseball games and dance recitals to get to - hopefully after June 15th I can get some good summer fun going! But for now, our neighborhood pool opens this weekend - I see some poolside reading in my future!
Friday, May 8, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Well I recently heard about a few programs that combine baseball and reading - what could be better, I ask??
Kevin Youklis, first baseman of the Boston red Sox (YOUK!) has teamed up with New England Mobile Book fairs to offer a reading incentive program as part of his charity, Kevin Youklis Hits for Kids, called Youk's Kids Reading group. You can sign up on the website and every member gets a $5 gift certificate on their birthday to spend at New England Mobile Book fairs. There is also an essay contest, which you could win lunch with Kevin (how COOL!!). Thanks to Terry at Reading Tub for the link.
Speaking of Red Sox'a players - if you live in Massachusetts your kids can get into summer reading by participating in the Mass. Teachers Association's Red Sox Reading Game. The spokesperson for this program is none other than Sox catcher, Jason Varitek, who just happens to live not far from me (hello, Jason, wouldn't you like to come read to some enthusiastic baseball fans during the off season... we're not far from your house.... give me a call...ok). The program is run through Massachusetts schools, and the cool thing is, winners can take their teacher to a Red Sox game - my aunt went with one of her students last year and she said it was a BLAST!
Now closer to home in Georgia, I saw in an article in our local paper that the Gwinnett braves will be donating tickets to students who participate in the library reading program, I have not seen anything about this on the Gwinnett Braves website, but will keep looking.
Lots of other major and minor league teams have reading incentive programs over the summer, check out the teams website to see what your favorite team is up to this summer.
If you are looking for some new baseball themed books, check out this list of new books from Kids Reads - even though there is a book about the Yankees included, there are some great new books I can't wait to check out this summer!
This just in - go on over to the blog - Get In The Game - Read (this is the blog where Terry/Jen got their Youk info.) Lori is running a contest to win a new Babe Ruth book by David Kelly. Go on over and check it out, enter the contest, but be forwarned - I am planning on winning the contest - ha ha ha...
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
A few weeks ago I noticed that another independent book store that I have loved had bite the dust - Armchair bookstore in Dennis, Ma (on Cape Cod) had been a mainstay in my summer vacation for years and I was so sad to see that they had closed this winter. They always had some great book signing during the summer and I loved to browse their shelves. I discovered the Beacon Street Girls series there one summer and they always had a great selection of local books by New England authors. If I was in a different place in my life I would LOVE to buy the store and live on the Cape full time, but I guess it will have to wait.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Now if Bon Jovi could just be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of fame......
Hope it is nice and sunny and warm where you are today - it is summer weather here in Atlanta and it feels FABULOUS!
*thanks to Mo Willems for alerting me of this news!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
But all is better in beantown, the duckling was found yesterday, leaning against a street sign - I am guessing frat prank (and if my husbands fraternity was not now defunk, I would blame the RDO boys from Emerson!)
As a total coincidence - I was planning on using that book for my next storytime - I love the story and for me, growing up around Boston, I love to share the area with my students, many of whom will never make it up this way.
Off to my first Red Sox game tomorrow to celebrate my oldest son's 13th birthday (YIKES, I am now a mom of a teenager!) but first I get to go see author Matt Tavares - author of one of my oldest son's favorite picture books - Zachary's Ball - he happens to be doing an author visit at my aunts school - how cool is that!
Friday, March 27, 2009
She talked to the kids about writing and how she finds inspiration in her own life. She showed the kids slides of her writers notebooks and one of my teachers commented that she LOVED that she showed the kids the lists she makes in the notebooks- this teacher makes the kids do lists for writers workshop and she said the students can never figure out WHY they write lists. The best part of her presentation for me was the very end. She talks about her book Freedom Summer - and while I have always thought that it is a very powerful book, hearing her describe the events that made her write it is... well.. even more powerful, especially for someone who did not grow up in the south in the 1960's.
This author visit also felt like having an old friend come over for a visit. Deborah and I have only met once before this, but she was good friends with author Coleen Salley who I had the pleasure of hosting last year (which was her last school visit before she passed away last fall). During lunch we got to talk and "gossip" as Coleen called it and it was so much FUN!
My clerk Cindy, Deborah and myself
Monday, March 23, 2009
Here are my top 6 questions I have been asked by parents and responses I WISH I could give (but didn’t).
Suzy lost her library book so we just bought this one at Borders to replace it, it was cheaper than the $15 you were asking us for.
Well gee, the book you lost was a library bound, hard cover book that had been labeled and bar-coded for our library – what you brought me was a paperback of the book – NOT THE SAME THING!
Alice brought home Harry Potter yesterday from the library and we just don’t read things like that around our house, so can you make sure she doesn’t check it out again or any other book like that and make sure she checks out appropriate books.
Of course, I will make sure to check on every book little Alice checks out and I am SURE that you and I see eye to eye on what is appropriate for your 3rd grader to read – may I suggest Lolita as her next book….
Johnny is a VERY advanced reader for kindergarten, can you make sure he ONLY checks out books on a 5th grade level.
I think it is great that Johnny is such an advanced reader, but since he still sucks his thumb while he is in here for story time I am not sure he will do well reading Old Yeller – spoiler alert – the dog dies.
I know you said the absolute last date to turn in the reading forms was a week ago, but I just forgot, so can you let Jane take part in the reading celebration, thanks.
Sure, I just put a random date on there for no reason – I have spent 5 hours figuring out a schedule that works for all the teachers and has the appropriate number of kids in each celebration, what’s one or two or 15 more.
Hannah read the book she bought at the book fair last night, it must be too easy for her, so she wants to return it and get another one.
Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize I had quit my job in the media center and gone to work at Wal Mart. Because of this question I now have a HUGE sign saying there are NO RETURNS at the book fair.
So, you REALLY need a degree to do your job??
No, the $20,000 and 2 years I spent in grad school to get my library science degree was just for fun. You know, all I do all day is read stories to kids, that’s it – the books magically appear on the shelves, the 5th graders teach themselves research skills and the book fair just appears one night in the media center – we think the fairies are to blame, I can see why you are wondering WHY I need a degree in library science to do my job.
I feel better now!
Friday, March 13, 2009
This is from the PW article:
"For every person photographed in Davis Square with Waldo on the day of the concert, Candlewick will donate one book to the charity of U2’s choice. For every band member photographed with Waldo, they offered to donate 1000 books. Candlewick didn't contact U2 directly, but it was hard to miss the bespectacled children's book character roaming the neighborhood, or the attention local media gave both the windows and the literacy offer.
How cool - I knew U2 was in town and playing in Somerville (my Dad's bank actually had to close early because they were closing the streets in Davis Square) but I didn't realize there was a bookish twist! U2 guitarist the Edge sent a photo of himself and Waldo into Candlewick and they will be donating 1250 books to a Somerville charity in U2's honor.
and just in time for St Patrick's day!