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?

Monday, August 26, 2019

The First of A New School Year!

I can't believe that I am 4 weeks into year 18!  Year 18 as an educator and year 15 in my current district. I have had the opportunity to be a PPCD teacher, a PDD teacher, a LIFE teacher, an ITS and now a Librarian! Education is never a dull moment.
Beginning of the year also means meeting new staff, meeting new students, and making new memories. I walked into a middle school library last year SO nervous, but SO excited! I came in after an awesome librarian with lots of great procedures and processes. I spent the year weeding and finding my way.  This summer, I moved furniture and got ready to begin my 15th year adventure.
This blog is FULL of what is going on in libraryland the first few weeks of school from what I am doing with parents, to staff, to beginning lessons with students.  In other words, there is lots of pictures and lots of ideas

At the end of last year I had a Brain Dump where I wrote down lots of my ideas for this upcoming year.

One thing I want to increase is Parent Involvement.  For our Meet The Teacher Night I created a tri-fold board that told about all the different things the library has to offer. I also had an incentive for parent library cards! A parent could earn their child a free dress day IF they signed up for a library card and IF they came and used the library card! Last year I had a big old goose egg of parents signing up for library cards! This year- I have already signed up 18! Parent cards have been passed out, now just to see if they will use them!
Sign that was with Tri-fold board
Tri-fold I used for meet the teacher that included hours, goals, and information on events and library happenings

Reminder half sheet that I included with the parent card along with a book mark that listed hours and information

The first of the year is important for parents, but it is also important for teachers!
Ways teachers could earn their name in a drawing

Goodies for the teachers!

I decided that this year I wanted to approach the first time in the library a little differently.  For ALL of 6th grade I did my regular orientation.  It is pretty basic, but I really focus on the students understanding that I want them to find books they enjoy.  You can find my Google Presentation Here (it is BASIC!) (side note, I LOVE watching 6th graders as they come into a much larger library!)

For ALL grade levels I have this CRAZY idea that we are going to start working on this week. I don't know if it is going to work.. and it is going to take a village to pull it off.. but we will see!
Middle Schoolers are such awkward and amazing kids! They are trying to find themselves, be cool, and survive.  But, I have also seen them travel in packs when it comes to the library just plucking a book off the shelf and not paying much attention to it and often times losing the love of reading.  Now, I am NOT saying I am doing things right.. and this is NOT all students, but it is a large majority.  I want to star the year off on a different foot.

I purchased 3 licenses of Reading Personality Tests by Mrs. Reader Pants (one for each grade level) Teachers gave these fun little quizzes (they are like those magazine quizzes) Students are taking these quizzes and then when they come to the library they will sit in their "genre"

At each "genre" table I have set up with books that fall in that reading personality test along with a bookmark that came along with the Reading Personality Bundle (this bundle is AMAZING!)
While students are perusing the books on the table they will also have the opportunity to complete 2 different Digital Breakouts (I do have some prizes that will be drawn for those that finish the breakouts)
Digital Breakout 1
Digital Breakout 2

Here is the crazy part! While students are at the tables doing some book tasting and completing digital breakouts, I will be working one on one with students to hopefully find that book that might hook them.  Even if I don't find that right book.. I mean I can't win them all.. I will at least had some one on one time with each student so they know and understand that I am invested in them! I of course could not see ALL students in a class period doing this idea, so I have enlisted our academic specialist, interventionists, Dean of Students and other people that can pop in throughout the day.

I am SUPER excited about getting to know the students a bit better and learning even more about their likes and dislikes.
I am so excited to see what this year brings! I had the privilege of working with Mrs. Gomez last year and her showing me the ropes, and I am SO excited to work with Zoe this year!

Bring on year 18!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Idea Brain Dump

Of course it is the last day of school and my brain is overloaded with ideas! Ideas that might work.. ideas that might not.. but ones that if they are not written down will be forgotten!

This blog is solely being used as a purpose to house my thoughts of things I might want to do next year and the random Bitmojis are only to break up the text.

Look Books
I LOVE all the posters of the different awards I get, but real talk.. I don't really have the space for them.. and I forget to take some down.  So, I might have posters up for a couple of years.  This year I am going to try something different. I am going to cut apart the posters and create a "Look Book" of sorts with the different awards.  I think students might even pay more attention to that as well.

Parent Involvement
Coming from elementary I was used to seeing 1 to 5 parents in the library a day.  They would bring their younger kiddos and check out books for themselves and their home. Our district does and awesome job and lets parents check out 10 books at a time.  The librarian before me had a punch card system.  Every time they got a punch for bringing their books back.  After 5 punches they received a free book.  I also added in after those 5 punches a reusable library bag.  Middle school is different... middle schoolers don't really want to be seen with their parents.  We do have some parent volunteers, but I want to try to get them to come upstairs to the library.  This last year my goal this year was to have a 30% increase in parent/community circulation. I had a BIG FAT 0!! But, having SMART goals makes your rethink why you wrote it.. if it was appropriate.. and what you might do different.
I have ideas!
-During registration I am going to have sign up ready for parents to get their own card
-Have a display of all that the library has to offer (we have a whole parent section and a lending library type thing for adults!)
-Have ready made fliers or bookmarks that have important dates on it so they can mark their calendar (ie. Book Fair, Late Night in the Library)
One of my other SMART goals was to offer parent training.
Next year I would like to start a monthly story time for parents to bring their non school age kiddos to have a story time and mini lesson.  One of my SMART goals was to also have parent training.  I hope to do this as well.  I want to try to get those scheduled mostly at the very beginning of the year so parents can add it to their calendar.
Will these ideas work.. I have NO idea, but I do want to increase parent involvement and reading at home!

Book Clubs
I have a confession.. I am TERRIBLE at book clubs.  I am GREAT at programming (at least I feel that I excel in that) but Book Clubs are not my strong point.  I sat down with our Dean of Students and we talked about some ideas for next year.  We are applied to be a Project LIT School last year, and started reading one book. Let's just say it was a flop. This year though...
I have ideas!
-Yes, we are still going to do Project LIT- they have a whole middle grade selections this year! Middle schoolers (just like any reader) has super varied interests and reading interests.  So, we are going to host monthly meeting.  If you are part of the Project LIT club you just read one that is on the list that interests you.  When we come to a meeting you share what you read (maybe do a Flipgrid) converse with other students that are reading books in the Project LIT list and choose a new one if you would like.
-I am going to do this same thing with our Bluebonnet and Lonestar list.
I know that as an adult I sometimes don't want to read what everyone else is reading, but I want to talk about what I read.  It is about reading and conversing right?

Morning Activities
The library is open every morning (goal is 7:30am) reality is 7:45pm.  I went to this awesome session during TLA where they talked about different programming that they have.  Most of the times students come up and use the library to chat, read, work on homework and catch up on their latest Youtube channel.  I am still going to have this, but I hope to a couple of mornings a week have an idea in place.
-One librarian talked about TedTalk Tuesday where they showed TedTalks
-I am going to do a Wellness Wednesday where I work on mindfulness and other coping skills
-We are thinking about one of the book club days being offered in the morning and the afternoon.. but we need a name for it.

Not that I condone the throwing of the paper! But.. I just officially finished my FIRST year as a Middle School Librarian! Check my Instagram Feed for what my library looks like now.. because.. hopefully this summer I will have some furniture moved (but I will also be taking a #digitaldetox starting June 16th.. so I will be back the end of July!)

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Top 10 of 2018-2019

I can almost taste summer.. just 2 more days away.  Although I will turn off the library lights for the last time this year on Thursday.. I will officially start a much needed break on June 16th!
So, last year around this time.. I made a leap.  A leap that I was so nervous about.. but yet so excited as well! I had been an elementary special education teacher, then an elementary instructional technology specialist, and then an elementary librarian.  After 16 years in elementary.. I moved to Middle School.  Now guys, I didn't just move to any middle school, I moved to the BEST one! You can find about my changing perspectives here

Today I finished my Year End Review  (I used Piktochart to share my information)
At the beginning of each year, I create a list of SMART goals.  This helps me stay on track and think about why/how I am implementing items.
You can find all my SMART goals here


1. Being able to learn from the most AMAZING library clerk! Gomez taught me SO much about middle school, working with middle schoolers, and systems that help make the library run smoothly.

2. The #Skurtcrew- It is important to find people that you can trust and work with. These ladies are AMAZING! They were always there for me, answered all my questions.. and were just an amazing support and wonderful friends!
3. Learning that there is a ghost in my library! You could always tell when Fred was around.  He would push books off the shelves.  These books would usually flip once, always land face up.. and also land about 2 feet away from the shelf (I have a whole Ghost Instagram Highlight at Beeinthebookends)
4. Working with some amazing librarians! Ones that are ready to collaborate.. ready to learn.. ready to try new things.. and ready to listen.  I am lucky that I have librarians all over that continually support me!


5. Going to games and seeing the kids outside of school! I didn't go to as many games as I wanted to, but I LOVED cheering on the Lamar Lions! I can't wait until next year to go to even more games!

6.  Destination ImagiNation in Middle School! I have done DI forever (and I LOVE it) but I sure did enjoy working with these middle schoolers! I also got to work with the Nerdy Birdys (which I have been doing since they were in 3rd and 4th grade!) Also.. I was smart enough to burn my chin with a hot glue gun!

7. Attending the North Texas Teen Book Festival with a bus full of kids (and some amazing adults!)

8. Being able to volunteer and work with some of the most amazing people. Words can not even begin to express how thankful I am that I had the help that I did this year.  Not only that, but I am so thankful for an admin that let this elementary school librarian come in.. and do some crazy things! I am also super thankful for the BEST STAFF ever to always try new things!

9. Library LINKS.  These 8th graders were what kept me going.  Did I cry a little when they walked out the door for the last time.. of course I did (I mean.... after my 5th period girls left, I couldn't hold it in anymore.. and then to read what they wrote in my yearbook?)

10.  My Ugly Sweater that I created- I became the real elf on the shelf.

There are SO many things that happened in the library this year.  I really focused on helping staff and students know that they library is a place where everyone can belong.  I had big shoes to fill, but I have enjoyed creating my own space.  My circulation numbers were not where I wanted them, I didn't get all of the things done that I had in my smart goals.. but I feel as I made a difference.  I know where I want to go next year.. I have ideas... and I look forward to continue to grow!
Other highlights
-started a K-Pop Club
-all 5 Destination ImagiNation teams placed at Regionals
-continued the ukulele club
-had 2 late night in the library that had over 100 participants each time
-hosted 2 bookfairs
-weeded over 120 boxes of books
-added over 700 books to the library
-attended some amazing conferences (TLA and North Texas Library Expo)
-I also took the best school picture I have ever had, but then again at the beginning of the year I was told I looked like Spiderman?

-being named Employee of the Month for September

-publishing an article over Bitmojis for the ATPE magazine

I know that I wasn't able to include all the things that made this year amazing.. please know that if we ever crossed paths, I appreciate you!!

What a great year of new perspectives, but this next year I my word is priority! I am starting off this summer with some #digitaldetox. So, catch you guys on the flipside! I will be back at the end of July!