Friday, December 27, 2019

Mid Year Recap-Programming

As a librarian I talk books.. but there is SO much more to being a librarian!  One of my favorite things about being a librarian is having the space to have programming of all different kinds! I know that many libraries have maker space opportunities..and that is AWESOME! I do mine a little differently.  Whenever I have an idea for programming the first thing I do is go to for inspiration. This blog will be FULL of pictures!
I also begin the year with goals that I set for myself.  For advocacy I think it is important to set goals and then also continually update those goals.  At the end of each six weeks I also have a newsletter that I share with my school admin and library admin.  I can also share that information with our community through social media.  To make these newsletters I use Piktochart. I do pay for this service as I use it a TON!

I am extremely lucky to have an admin that understands the need for various programming, a district that values librarians, a clerk that is AMAZING and does so much behind the scenes items, and an amazing team of interventionist/specialist that is always willing to go above and beyond! All the things I am going to share I have done some form or fashion without a clerk.  

We are all very busy people, but we also make time for things that are important.  For me it is important to be involved. I try to make at least one sporting event per grade level per girls/boys.  I also try to make it to at least one choir concert, band concert, orchestra concert.. and this year I finally made it to a Kickstart program!  It is amazing what the kids think when they see me in the stands.  Programming also happens with staff as well.  

Sports team schedule posted in the library

We have a bulletin board in the workroom that I have taken over.  During the month of October it was a BINGO board, November was a thankful board (December I failed) January is going to be what brings you JOY

This year our school had a Homecoming Week.  The library hosted a station before school for 8th graders to be able to create either a garter or mum ring. We had over 100 students take part in this.  Directions are made using Canva (my other favorite program)

In October I also attempted the Pumpkin Book Character contest. We had 5 entries and although low, I still like offering programs that might interest just that one student!

I have had a total of 4 Cub Clubs now.  We start our Cub Clubs with a fun headband, then kiddos and parents head over for a story time full of songs, books, movements and more.  Then participants head over to complete a couple of crafts.  I create the flyer in Library Aware.  You can find all my materials in this Google Drive folder. For each station we have all the materials prepared and also a sample made.

November headband

Fingerprint tree

December headband

Reindeer ornament

Dreidel  sun catcher 

November 6th, the library was transformed into Camp Know Where for Stranger Things Day that Kara Noah set up.   The library hosted some fun 80's style maker space activities to get ready. We had a friendship bracelet making station, a scrunchie making station (we used hot glue.. although I would love to sew next year!) and fortune teller station. The actual day of Stranger Things Day staff and students were invited to dress up in their best 80s outfits. Students that had pre-registered were able to do a fun Stranger Things breakout after school.  The library was packed with over 100 students in groups of 4 or 5 completing the themed Breakouts.

One of my favorite programs I have started this year is a Dance Club.  I had a K-Pop club last year (which was great) but I wanted to be more structured (and let's be real.. I like K-Pop as much as the next person.. but I couldn't handle an afternoon a week watching videos with screaming girls.. I love them though!)  Our feeder High School has dance programs, so I contacted the main dance crew director at Nimitz shared my crazy idea..and went with it.  This year each six weeks the library will host a dance club that sort of shadows the high school. I have NO moves.. so I am thankful for the mini "workshops" Flipgrid and youtube.  During the 3rd six weeks we focused on Ballet Folklorico, the 4th Six Weeks will be the Kings, and the 5th six weeks will be the Vikas.  My hope was that each six weeks whoever was interested would come for an hour on Mondays after school.  It turned into something SO much more amazing.  The Ballet Folklorico group came over one time and taught some steps, and came back a second time! Not only that they then gave our students a chance to learn a whole dance to be used in the Nimitz Dance Showcase.  It was amazing, and now our students have a chance to see what other programs will be available when they get to high school.  I have NO dance experience.. and can't move gracefully at all- but the library has the space! We have also been invited to be in the next couple of dance showcases that are coming up.  There were only 4 that participated, but I can not even begin to tell you the JOY I saw on their faces after they had performed.  It was worth every bit of extra time!

Our ukulele group is still up and running.  The Uke Can Do it Club meets weekly on Thursday mornings- we even performed a couple of songs for the Christmas on Crandall event.

I love programming, but I also love working with teachers and increasing instruction in the library.  I also make it my goal to leave every day by 5:15pm (I also manager 4 Destination ImagiNation teams and am a Girl Scout leader.. and I am married to a very understanding and supportive husband)  I leave school satisfied that even though I might not be the best librarian, I am providing opportunities, mentorship, and a space for middle schools to thrive (middle school is hard!)

There are so many things I want to do in the new year, but one of the first ones I am doing is participating in Celebrate Your Story! Are you in the Texas area, if so.. you should check out this 2 day conference being put on by Todd Nesloney.  I am talking Bringing the Sunshine

 I end this overfull blog with a couple of more pictures!

My ugly sweater- a book snowman

Did you know that my parents are Texas Santa and Mrs. Claus? I was able to spend time with them walking around the Stockyards last weekend (and- Texas Santa has donated 2 of his BEAUTIFUL handmade pens as door prizes for Celebrate Your Story)
The most wonderful team to work with! These guys inspire me daily!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Cub Club October

I am deep into my second year as a middle school librarian and I LOVE every minute of it! One of my goals this year was to increase family involvement (and increase parent check out) When I was an elementary librarian, I had programming called Late Night in the Library. The concept of those was that parents and students would come after school for programming. During this programming students and parents would work together to complete tasks.  Middle schoolers are just a tad different (in that they don't always want to be seen with their parents). 
This year, I created a Cub Club.  The Cub Club is a toddler time for 2 year old to 5 year olds.  You can find out about my first Cub Club here.  Although I only had 4 children attend the first Cub Club, I was not ready to throw in the towel!  Because, 4 kids is still more than no kids.

This month, I changed the time to be right before lunch and I had 4 DIFFERENT kiddos show up! The theme this month was Pumpkins and Monsters. I even invited Cub Club Members to show up in their costume (we had a cute unicorn and a Hulk)
Flyer made in Library Aware
In planning Cub Club I realized I needed much shorter and active books.  I start planning at the beginning of the month and create a schedule for myself to do during the time.
My Cub Club has:
-Welcome activity (this has been a head band both times)
-Hello song
-Action song/finger play
-Action song/finger play
-Goodbye Song
-Kids are able to complete activities and check out books

You can find all my notes/files for October here

For the activities I do, I try to make them very easy (they are little fingers) and also super affordable (ie free or very cheap) Each station has a sample with all of the materials ready to go and at the moment I am plan for 15. I hope to grow this program, but I want it to be an organic growing. I already have people asking when the next one is in November! The Cub Club is geared towards children/parents in the immediate community but it is open to anyone in the area.

5 Little Pumpkins- children counted out 5 pumpkins and added them to the fence along with the rhyme

Of course I had to be in costume. Max from Where the Wild Things Are
Sun catcher  Jack-o-lantern. Used tissue paper and construction paper on contact paper.  Everything was already pre-cut

Bat Headbands
Children working at the stations after the stories

Child working on the pumpkin
Two of the kiddos (who I am sort of partial to their whole family!)
I am So excited about our next Cub Club! Picking out books this week to talk Turkey!! This Cub Club was also during Book Fair week, so parents and kids could go shopping as well. Do you do any programming for toddlers? What are your favorite things to do? How do you increase your family engagement?

Friday, September 20, 2019

Dot Day and The First Cub Club!

We are officially in the 5th week of school and the library has been BUSY! not only that, but the students and staff never cease to not only amaze me, but also inspire me.  As always this blog is full of lots of ideas and LOTS of pictures!
This year I wanted to really work on building relationships with students and staff to help find them those books that they were just going to enjoy so much.. and if they didn't enjoy it to at least know that I am there for them to try again! You can find what I did at the beginning of the year here. Guys, I had over 700 book talks.. and I have also had conversations with lots of kiddos how I either did a great job at recommending a book, or how I failed. I am ok with both of these as I am learning more about what students like and they know I am listening.

At the end of last year I wrote a blog about my ALL the ideas I had for this year.  You can find my "brain dump" here. One of my big things I wanted to increase this year was parent involvement, and I have already done several things to hopefully increase parent involvement.   I had a booth at open house and also our Popsicle's with the Principal.. and on Dot Day we had our first Cub Club!

One of my FAVORITE days is International Dot Day.  You can find last years blog about all that I did (and it has links to all the other blogs that I have written about for Dot Day) Dot Day is based on the book by Peter Reynolds that reminds us of the importance for making a mark and seeing where it takes you.  In elementary land we did SO many activities, but in middle school land it is a little different.  I LOVE middle schoolers, but sometimes they give me the side eye when I do things.. but I go with it and still offer it. Today we celebrated Dot Day in a TON of different ways!

Dot Day
Last week I invited staff to come to the library with a pair of canvas shoes to paint dots on.  I have such a supportive staff that played along and the shoes looked amazing!
This was created in Canva and shared with Staff

Although Dot Day is celebrated on September 15th we chose to celebrate on Monday September 16th.
This was shared with students through announcements, Google Classroom, and in the library
 Our Digital Learning Coach created this Flipgrid challenge. We only had one student participate, but I did see several working on it throughout the week (remember.. middle schoolers are a little different!)  We did have lots more decorated dots this year for our bulletin board
Interactive Bulletin Board

Before school on Monday morning I had a super simple activity set up.  It was bookmarks with the stampers being the erasers of pencils. Students were invited to choose a word for the year. I found the Word of the Year printable here.

My LIFE class had a ton of fun with the Quiver app making their dots come to life!

I LOVED all the different activities and I loved that the staff and students are always willing to do different things. However, my favorite part of the day (and the one I was MOST nervous about!) was our first Cub Club!  As I said.. one of my goals is to have more parent involvement and more community.  Thanks to the creative naming by our very own Dean Richmond the Cub Club is a toddler storytime for kiddos that are from 2 year old to 5 year old.  The theme first this first Cub Club was of course Dot Day!
Flyer that was posted on Social Media and also shared with our parents
First station kids made their own Dot Day headband

There was singing involved! Max made his first appearance of the year

Dot collage station

Dogs Colorful Day

Here was my agenda:
-while arriving create dot headbands
-Hello Song
-Read the Dot Book
-Shake Our Sillies out song
-Polka Dot Pants
-Polka Dot Pants song (we didn't get to this)
-Dogs Colorful Day (and did a felt matching activity)
-Goodbye Song
-Attendees create their own Dot picture and color dog and add dots
-check out books

To ensure it worked I had several 8th grade students stationed at various spots in the school to help parents/kids get to the library (the library is upstairs at the back of the building)

I only had 4 kids the first time (okay.. 3 of them were staff kids.. but 1 was a community member!) I have also already heard from other community members that they hope to make the next one (which is already scheduled for October 30th!)

Things I will do different:
-work more on how to get books/look at books
-more active books
-when singing/songs I am going to have egg shakers or other instruments that kids can hold

Overall I was SUPER pleased with it! Do you celebrate Dot Day? What did you do? Do you have a toddler time in your library? Do you have any tips or tricks?