Wednesday, January 9, 2019

A New Year!

Okay.. okay.. so I am almost 2 weeks into the new year, but I finally sat in my office and thought about my goals and vision for this year.  I also realized, that I have a #40by40 list that I started (you can read about it here) that I have a year left to do! (you can also read about my first update here) This last month has really had me step back and realize that I LOVE staying busy.. but I want to focus more deeply on my busyness. During the Christmas break... I am usually going, going, going. Because of some different circumstances I had to stop and not go anywhere (yes, I am fine) and it was much more enjoyable than I realized. Now, does that mean I am going to stop doing the things I do (ie. Destination ImagiNation.. although it is DI season which means I am pulling my hair at times, Girl Scouts, LibraryLand and more..) of course it doesn't! I just want to be more present and prioritize when I am doing these things.. so not only I get the best experience out of it.. but so do those that I am working with.

But.. an update on 40x40.  So, I LOVE Instagram.  My friend Renee turned me onto Jordan Page with Fun Cheap or Free and she talked about planning out your whole year.  (I am also doing Focus on Finance this month with her budgeting ideas) You know I like to plan! So, I took my planner and put in when I could accomplish some of this list (realistically) within the next year.. and planned other odds and ends that she recommends.

1. Book and pay for a vacation to Ireland- This one might have to be on my 50x50 list as much as it pains me to say. I WILL do it though!!!
2. Take mom to New York- This is another one that might not happen this year, but hopefully in the next 5!
3. Take a trip to New Jersey- Another one that hopefully will happen in the next 5
4. Tour a vineyard- Goal is March 2019
5. Drive Route 66- SO.. this is one that I am talking to my parents about! Thinking maybe July or November 2019
6. Camp in a National Park- Girl Scout Troop 1810? Not scheduled yet
7. Go on a haunted tour Done!
8. Go to Canyon with ElaineDone!
9. Float the River- Planning on June 2019
10. Go Skiing- I don't know if this one is feasible this year, but maybe in the next 5!
11. See the Grand Canyon- See number 5
12. Go on a girls weekend- Y'all.. this is being planned right now! So January 2019
13. Go fishing with my dad- See number 5
14. Take a wine tasting class- Planning on June 2019
15. Get 3 tattoos- Done
16. Indoor skydive- Planning on February 2019
17. Learn to drive a stickshift-??? I need to find some friends that have stickshifts!
18. Renew our vows- So we are looking at doing this for our 15 year anniversary- but that would be 6 months after I turn 40
19. Have photos taken- I want to do this around the same time we renew vows
20. Host a game night- Goal is April 2019
Life Goals
21. Learn to crochet- Summer project!
22. Attend a New Years Even party
YAY! I just attended my first ever New Years Eve party this year!
Thanks for the invite Marci!
23. Write an article for Family Fun- This is an ongoing one
24. Write a poetry book- I don't know if I really want my poetry published- I think this was a goal because I needed 40 goals, but who knows what will happen this year
25. Learn to make moms biscuits Done
26. learn to make dads gravy Done
27. learn to make William's Death by Chocolate Crepes- Goal February 2019
28. Learn to make bread from scratch- anytime.. I love bread! I know that this will happen this year. I have been cooking so much more as it is!
29. Make a photo book of my photos- I am so going to have my own coffee table book this year!
30. Make a t-shirt blanket- Real talk.. I have SO many t-shirts.. I am looking into a place that can do this for me. I mean, I am crafty.. but I am going to be okay delegating this out.
31. Send birthday cards- I have been doing!
32. learn to play a song on a guitar Done
33. meet Bill Murray- He was in Dallas.. maybe he will be back.
34. Watch all the Liam Neeson movies- Haven't even started on this!
35. Do 40 Random Acts of Kindness- I am going to be honest.. I think I am pretty good at this anyway.. but I am going to do 4 intentional ones a month
36. Go to a drive in movie- Goal of June 2019
37. Get new luggage- this will happen when I get my traveling goals in gear.
38. Watch a meteor shower- Goal is May 2019
39. Be in a better place with credit- Guys, I have been working on this HARD.. I don't know if I will ever be to a place where I can say done though
40. Purchase a groupon and use it- I am going to have to use a groupon if I want to do all of these things!

So, my list is fairly doable in the next year.. there are some things that I am going to put off for a few years because, lets be real,  doing activities cost money.
I finished my vision board tonight. My main goal is going to be my 40x40 and prioritizing me and my family (which includes my families in Girl Scouts and School :)

Have you set goals for yourself? How do you keep track? I hope your year brings one of adventure, laughter and love!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Rocking Around the Library Books

December brings a super busy month in most areas.. and the Lamar Middle School Library was super active this month! I LOVE working in middle school, but I am still learning the things that interest students. I am a member of several Librarian Facebook groups, and I love this idea that Jennifer Warren shared on Learning Librarians about Cardboard Gingerbread House competition!
I took her ideas and created a Canva document that I could then put into Library Aware and promote the picture through Twitter and Instagram. I only had 6 entries.. BUT.. I love each and every one of them! I already have students asking me when I am doing the next contest.
Rules that I adapted from Jennifer Warren
 Because there were only 6 entries, I am rewarding all entries with 1st place prizes.. and did a Peoples Choice Award for an extra gift certificate.

This month I also had a chance to pair up with our art teacher and read Silent Night. Students in her art class then created silhouettes that I used to decorate the library.
Some of the finished products

 I also had several activities available for teachers. With the 7 days of Holiday Programming that I was able to help organize, I had 2 crafts available in the library and festive photo booths.
Selfie station where participants stood behind the glass and became an Elf.

Painted wood blocks for snowmen and books for book trees

 I was able to have some great decorations!  Every week I have the 18+3C program come in and help me with various activities in the library. This includes finding books, deleting books, organizing books and creating bulletin boards. The 18+3C program is a work based program that helps train students that have various disabilities to get jobs after high school. I LOVE working with these guys!

 I also have some wonderful Library LINKS students.  These are 8th grade students that spend a class period with me daily doing all different items and they created this beautiful book tree this year!

Finished book tree

One of my goals this year was to have 2 Late Night in the Library events.  I was going for one in the fall and one in the spring.  With middle schoolers being a little different in their needs and expectations, I scheduled it for after school-6pm.  I was going to have ornament making, card making, a coding activity, the public library would be there and photo booth.  About a week before the event was to take place, I was volunteering at our feeder elementary school (of course it is also my FAVORITE elementary school.. because it is Elliott) Several middle schoolers were also volunteering and mentioned how they wanted to do a Breakfast with Santa too.  After chatting with them, I realized I needed to add a Santa.

I put it out to Facebook that I needed a Santa and I had Lee and Lisa step up! I also had my awesome friend Rachel volunteer her time!

 The Idea:
1 Have stations set up that were fairly self sufficient
2 Have Rachel at the photo stations to help maneuver people through
3 Have another volunteer at the hot chocolate and cookie station
4 I would continue to walk around monitor all students

I did not ask for volunteers this time, as I had NO idea how many students would come (my hope is always at least 4) and I also had to see how it would run (I LOVE volunteers, but sometimes for the first time around.. it is a little more work because I have to train them!)

I created all my station signs in Canva and set up stations. Keep reading for the reality.

The Reality:
1- The stations were fairly self sufficient.  The one where paint was involved did require me to use my teacher voice and explain how to take care of items (as in.. we had to close down part of this station) Let me preface this with- I am totally fine with various craft/messy items in the library.. well except glitter! So, I had no problem with paint. Students were doing fine until several chose to make poor decisions.
2- GREAT idea to have another adult volunteer at the photo booth station.  It was an extra set of eyes.
3- SO glad I had a volunteer at the hot chocolate station!!! I filled up a 60 cup percolator 2 times, and we had 2 other pitchers of hot water available. We went through 120 cookies and that much hot chocolate.  
4-I did monitor students, but I am thankful that I had some teachers come up and help monitor as well.  

I of course always hope for at least 4 kids. I didn't know how this event would run. I had over 120 students show up!

What I would do different:
-Volunteers- although we have some great student council/NJHS students on campus- when I do this again, I am going to ask for high school volunteers.  They can get hours, and I can have extra eyes on stations to help keep things going and restock.
-Time- Since Late Night in the Library is a come and go event, I don't think I will have it until 6pm.  By 5:30pm, most everything had been gone through.
-Backpacks- Since kids were coming in right after school, we had a ton of backpacks that I didn't even think about planning for.

Late Night in the Library in elementary I really focused on parents working with their students.  I know there are a TON of great parents out there of middle schoolers.. but I have also found that middle schoolers don't always want to be seen with their parents.  So, this Late Night in the Library was really focused on the students.  I did have a few families show up.

Things coming in the new year:
Reaching parents- I am going to try a Toddler Time and also a crafting/creating time
Focusing on siblings- I am beginning to see the drop of books checked out.. so I am going to focus on students reading to their younger siblings
Another Late Night in the Library
A couple of more contests

What activities do you do in your library to bring in students?
SO thankful for this lady right here!!

For Ugly Sweater I was the resident Elf on the Bookshelf.  You can't really see, but the elf is playing a ukulele and there are books on the tshirt bookshelf.  Each book is labeled with a different club/organization I am involved in.
Have I mentioned that I wouldn't be able to do any of this without some amazing support from my team, my administrators.. and my awesome clerk?  Not only that.. but being a first year middle school librarian I am SUPER thankful for my middle school librarian team, librarian mentors both in district and out of district, and the previous librarian Cindi Rockett for already creating such a great program for me to walk into! I know I have lots of growing to do, and I know I surround myself with the best.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Fall Festival and Book Preview for Teachers

I love being involved and on the go, and this last week was one busy week.. and one where I had a booked calendar. Along with all the after school things there was still regular library schedule.
October 26th- Set up the book fair
October 27th- I participated in the North Texas Library Expo. It was a great day of learning! I shared 2 presentations.  U is for Uke...Beyond the Book Club and co-presented Keeping It All Together.
October 29th- Girl Scout Meeting.  This meeting we learned about the Teal Pumpkin Project
October 31st- Destination ImagiNation meeting
November 1st- Uke Can Do It Club Meeting and our schools fall festival
November 2nd- took down the book fair and had goodies for teachers.. and then met my Girl Scout troop for an overnight at ATT Stadium in Arlington.  (I did finally win a workweek fitbit challenge this week!)
This weekend I have slept!

I do love to stay busy, but I also like to be successful.  In order for me to be successful I am a planner!
Fall Festival
The idea behind the fall festival was to create an event where parents and students could learn about the different content areas, learn about what our school has to offer, do activities, shop the book fair, and earn a free dress day in the process.  Each content area was asked to create a tri-fold board that showcased their content (guys.. these boards that the content teams created looked AWESOME!) Each content area was also asked to host a game.  Now.. remember.. I am in a middle school now.  I like things that are easy set up.. easy clean up.. and also fun for students and teachers.  I created this editable Google spreadsheet for departments to sign up for station and then disperse the duties.  There were some GREAT treats for staff that helped.

I know how busy teachers are.. so I tried to have everything together and ready to go for them. I created another Google Spreadsheet that included the time, area, needs, materials, set up and clean up. I also printed this off and taped to the back of the station signs I created. 
A program that I use a ton is Canva.  All my materials for the Fall Festival were created in Canva and used the free features. I also created all of the flyers and images in Canva to use for promotions.

One of the station signs

Punch card for students to turn in

Book Fair promotion. Using Canva and Bitmoji

Student council station
Overall I feel like the Fall Festival was a success. It was my first one to work on in a new school. One thing I know about myself... I LOVE planning these things.. but man.. I get so overwhelmed! I cried at least 4 times on Thursday.  I also am always worried about what people will think and if they will still like me when I come up with these crazy ideas.  I know I can't do things on my own.. and I know I need help.  I had lots of nightmares leading up to this event (almost like the first day of school)
Things for next year:
-Training Student volunteers better
-Having people to help direct traffic better
-Stagger which way people are going. Some places got super packed super fast!
-Promote more for parents to come

This is the back of a sign that includes the station breakdown

The Public Library even had a station!

On Friday we had a PLC day.  I also just finished receiving all my new books to add to the library this year.  So, I decided that on Friday, I would have goodies for the teachers! I used Piktochart (my other favorite product!) to create these.  I put notes in teachers boxes and invited them to come at any point during Friday for a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate) and teacake cookies and to take a look at all of the new books that are about to be added!

I loved that I even saw some educators that don't always make it up to the library!
I ended the week spending the night with my Girl Scout troop at ATT Stadium.

I am forever grateful the people that go along with my crazy ideas and let me be me.  I love what I do.. and I am a super happy person, but real talk guys.. I am one that has a ton of self doubt and anxiety.  I know I am quirky.. but I am always afraid I am too quirky and too needy.  I love programming and planning because I feel as it is a way to prove to myself and others that I am successful.

What whole school programming have you done in middle school? I am always looking for ideas!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Dot Day 2018!

One of my favorite days is coming up! Okay.. so I have a few favorite days, but Dot Day is one of my FAVORITE library days!

I have written about Dot Day more than once. You can find ideas here/here/here/here/here/here/ and here.  I have had the chance to collaborate with some amazing art teachers and I love that the teachers usually play along!

This year is a little different.. as I have moved to middle school.  I have LOVED every minute of it, and I love the teachers, but I knew that I was going to need to changed up Dot Day just a little bit.  I am unsure how much participation will happen.. but I am going to try!  I usually share after Dot Day what we have done, but I wanted to share my ideas early this year for some middle school librarians that might be on the fence.

This blog is a little longer than most, but there are lots of pics and links of ideas that you can easily do as well! That is the great thing about any event.. take what you can do and adapt!

Dot Day is based on the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds and talks about the importance of making your mark and seeing where it takes you.  The book was published on September 15th.  In 2009 Terry Shay introduced The Dot to his class, and Dot Day was born.   Every year on September 15th ish people all over the world celebrate Dot Day.  You can find more information on the Dot Club website.

The past few years I have done activities during the day and in the evening. This year I am doing a couple of activities in the morning on Thursday and Friday.  

I sent my staff this email:
Hello Fabulous Friends!
I hope everyone had an AMAZING 3 day weekend!
Every year on September 15th ish people celebrate The Dot.  The Dot is a picture book that focuses on everyone making their mark and seeing where it takes you. You can find more information here.
How can you participate?
-Monday September 10th 3:45pm-5:00pm I will have materials in the library where you can make your own Dot Day headbands.. all you need to bring is a headband.. I will have a few available.. see attached picture)
-Friday September 14th- wear dots.. and tweet about Dot Day (#dotday18)
-Take a group picture on Friday September 14th at 3:45pm in front of the Lamar sign wearing your dots!!
Tweet about Dot Day.. get your name in the drawing
Wear dots on Friday the 14th- get your name in the drawing
Join in the group photo- get your name in the drawing
That is a total of 3 chances!  What is up for grabs.. 5 (yes.. 5!) $5 Sonic Gift Cards!

For Students
-they will also be invited to wear dots with their Lamar uniform on Friday
-in the morning on the 13th and 14th there will be hands on activities in the library
-throughout the week students will be invited to share how they are going to make their mark by adding their story to a Flipgrid
This is the post on website, and will be on Twitter and is also on my bulletin board outside the library.

Throughout the Week
-I have a Flipgrid up for students to share how they are going to make their mark
-I had an awesome parent volunteer cut out dots for me so students could decorate them.

-I am working with the LIFE class and we are going to do Kandinsky style dots using construction paper.
-After school I have invited the staff to come make a Dot Day headband. I ordered this felt (now.. it is 4x4) and am asking teachers to provide their own headband.
headband I made last year.

My current Facebook profile picture, love that I could add Dot Day to it!
-During the morning I am going to have the library open from 7:30am-8:05am with materials to make Dot Day bookmarks.  I got these bookmarks on Amazon and will have sharpies out.  In the morning I am going to have Mrs. Gomez pass out 50 dots to students.  That will be the ticket to get in the library.  Although I would LOVE to have more students participate.. I have to think space. I will have materials available so if a student stops by and would like to make one.

-I am encouraging students to wear dots with their school clothes.
-Friday morning I will have materials set out to make pom pom pencil toppers during the 7:30am-8:05am session.
-I am super excited because 2 sections of AP Art will be joining me in the library to hear the Dot and possibly do a Dot activity. I LOVE the idea of Zentangle Dot that is done here with 6th graders but I also love this idea of giving students a quarter of a circle.
-I am encouraging staff to wear dots (I mean.. there is a possibility of them winning a Sonic card!)
-I plan to take a picture after school of staff wearing their dots.

I am in love with my letterboards! I plan to use this one as a photo prop throughout the week.

Did you know that there is even a Breakout Edu game! I can't wait to check it out.
My awesome Digital Learning Coach Kara Noah is even putting a Twitter challenge out to the district about Dot Day!

There are SO many Dot Day resources and connections that can be made (check out Shannon Millers latest blog). Just like anything it can be as little or as big as you want to make it! I don't know how well Dot Day is going off this year in my new library, but I am excited to try.  Even if only a handful participate.. that is still people making their marks.

What kind of mark are you going to make and where are you going to let it take you?

Monday, September 3, 2018

Welcome Back!

Yay for 3 day weekends! A time to relax...and after the first weeks of school reflect. At the beginning of the school year, I wrote about my Summer (you can find it here) and all of my moves.

Being the new man on campus, I am all about relationships (okay.. I lie.. I am actually ALWAYS working on relationships.. I like to be involved and I like to make sure others know that I appreciate them!)

The first thing I needed to do was orientation for students.  I am following in the footsteps of one amazing librarian! I searched for ways that I could introduce myself and the ideas I had for the library and came across Andy Plemmons blog.  It was EXACTLY what I was looking for.  I know that when I go to the library, I always go to the same spot. I loved his idea of setting up chairs all over the library to have students look at something different than where they might normally go.

Orientation.  I used a very basic Google Slides full of bitmojis (which I am slightly addicted to right now) and used Andy Plemmons idea of a first lines and introduced myself and the library.
Overall it went well.  After students came back from looking at books I asked them if they found any books that might interest them.  I of course had ones that said no.. and I promptly replied back.. That is great! Thank you for being honest, and that just means I want to chat with you about you might like.

The first day of school I also passed out handmade bookmarks.

 Things that I heard from middle schoolers in the first 2 weeks of school:

I look like the first Spiderman

I look like Ellen Degeneres 
Another student told this administrator she looked like me!

#collegcolorsday #irving2college #iisdlamra

I have been sharing all of my Middle School Librarian stories on my Beeinthebookends account (I even have a ghost in the library!!)

Things coming up:
-iPad rollout.. We are a VILS campus I can't WAIT to integrate even more into the library!
-Dot Day! Yes, I am still doing Dot Day- I am just modifying it a bit for middle school
-Banned Books week (the conversations that I get to have with middle schoolers is awesome!)
-Global Read Aloud
-the start of book clubs
-the start of the ukulele club! Yes! They came with me!

I have missed my elementary peeps, but oh my goodness.. the fun I have already had in Middle School has been wonderful! It has been great because I have already had so many people welcome me in.  The one thing that I need to catch up on.. BOOKS.  I know lots of picture book authors, so I am trying to quickly get caught up on YA books. SO much to learn!

If you love Bitmojis as much as I do, check out this blog by the Daring Librarian

There are SO many people that have helped me find my way in this new library.. but this woman right here answers at least 5000000 questions I have a day! Thanks Mrs. Gomez for being so supportive and still smiling when I ask you that one more question!

My word this year is perspective.  Change is hard, but I am SO glad that I changed my perspective and tried something new! I am only 2 weeks in.. and I can't WAIT to see what we do in the library this year!