Friday, November 5, 2021

You've Been Book'd Middle School Style

 Although I work in a middle school- I LOVE using picture books for lesson starters, mentor texts and more. November is Picture Book Month and I knew that I wanted to do something to share my love of a good picture book. Using picture books at the middle school and high school level is important to help with higher-order thinking skills. Check out this article from School Library Journal for more information.

If you don't follow Shannon McClintock Miller and her blog, take a moment to go do that now.  I have seen her talk several times about a You've Been Book'd program that she does, and I wanted to make it work for my middle school. 

I looked through my own collection and pulled some that had multiple copies of already.  These were mostly past Bluebonnet winners (Bluebonnet books are our Texas list for 3rd-6th graders)  After looking through my own books, I then reached out to other libraries.  My goal is to have one book per staff member.

When I first started this idea, my goal was to have a set of books per content team (about 10 books) that they could circulate through their team. This went along with Shannon's idea.  However, in middle school- you might have now understood my big flaw with that idea.  If a social studies teacher read a book to their class, they would also hear the same book from their math class and ELAR class, and electives class.  

Here is my current plan and how I organized it:
-I have 10-12 copies of 10 different titles
-I divided these titles into 5 content teams (ELAR, Science, Social Studies, Math, Electives) which each content team has 2 picture books that they can read
-On Monday I will put this flyer along with one of the books in their box (these were created in Canvas)

-The teachers will be invited to read their book to their class and exchange it with a member of their content team to get another one.
-If teachers want to do more than just read the book to their class, I have also created a Google Slide that has a starter along with a resource that they can do more with

-Once the teacher has read the book to their class or classes that day they will mark their name off on the list so I can see who participated.

If all teachers participate, that will make it so each student has heard 10 books.  When choosing books, I tried to be mindful of what the different content areas were and that these books would be beneficial to their current lessons.  I hope this will lead to more collaborations.

Have you done a You've Been Book'd? How did it turn out?

I am also super thankful to the other libraries in our district that let me borrow books for this project.  If it is successful, I will do it again during the spring for Read Across America. 

Today we are celebrating Stranger Things Day-I am pretty happy with how it has turned out this week. You can see my blog here Let's be real- anytime I have a chance to dress up.. I am all for it!

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Stranger Things Day 2021

 If you haven't watched Stranger Things- you are missing out. Working in a Middle School, Stranger Things is all the rage (the number of posters, books, and other Stranger Things items I sold at the book fair last week remind me that it is still a popular show)  Netflix declared November 6th Stranger Things Day as it is the official day that Will Byers went missing.  You can find more here

There are LOTS of links embedded in this blog along with options for you to force copy what I have created. Feel free to use (but I do love credit) Look for the links that say Click Here

In 2019 our school hosted a Stranger Things night and it was AMAZING! Thanks to all the organization of Kara Noah (if you don't follow her on Twitter- go do it now!) there was an Escape room that was set up around the school.  There were so many students and staff that participated.  During the day students and staff were invited to wear their 80's or Stranger Things clothes- how could you pass that up?

Last year, due to Covid, we still invited students and staff to dress in their 80's clothes. There were LOTS more people dressed up, but coordinating pictures was a little harder. 

Can we just talk about how this is the same outfit though???

Last year I created a Stranger Things Digital Escape Room. I created one for school and one for the Public. Want to try your hand at it- I have opened it up again. 

Want to try to make one of your own but don't want to start from scratch-CLICK this link and it will force copy

This year Stranger Things Day is coming up and wanted to share what we are doing:

Friday- November 5th- we are inviting students to buy free dress passes to dress up in 80's clothes or Stranger Things attire.  After school on Friday, we are hosting a Movie Night with an 80's movie (we just had one this last Friday and over 100 students joined us)

Last Friday I hung up Have you seen this boy poster (I also let my principal know I was hanging these up.. as they were a missing kid poster. I hung these up in various places all over the school.

Every day this week I am going to have questions associated with Stranger Things for students to answer through a Google Form.  They will need to either solve clues, do a little bit of research, or answer trivia questions.  I am also going to reshare the Stranger Things Escape Room for students to complete as well.  The daily ones will let students answer whatever they think the code is, so the answers are not in here. I figure each day I will do a quick check. You can find the answers in my document here

Monday- Students will be solving the code from the letter. Click here for the questions and Click here to force copy

Tuesday- Students will be solving the code for the lockbox. Click here for the questions. Click here to force copy

Wednesday- Students will solve a Morse Code challenge. Click here for the questions. Click here to force copy

Thursday- Students will solve the bike number lock challenge. Click here for the questions. Click here to force copy.

Friday-I will be posting the Full Escape Room that was posted above. 

For students to access each one of these daily activities I will be posting in their Canvas course and I also created a daily poster for each day for students to scan the QR codes.

Prizes I have: Stranger Things Stickers, Stranger Things Posters, and Stranger Things Books. I have started doing participation drawings.  It also depends on how many participate.

I also found this Stranger Things Escape Room that gave me lots of good ideas.

I don't know how many students will participate, but I hope a few do.  I had about 5 participate in the October contest. I have a feeling I will have more that will be participating in the Cardboard Gingerbread Contest.  I am also knee-deep in planning Holiday activities for teachers- this year- the theme is Home Alone (although, I don't know if I can ever top Elf!)

November is Picture Book month and this week I am working on putting together an activity for my whole staff that will focus on this.  I haven't completely worked it out how I want it to look, but I will share when I do. 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Only October- Brewing with Ideas

I am going to start this blog off with: I don't know about you, but I am TIRED! I haven't really been able to put my finger on exactly why this year has been so much more than any other year, but I ran across this Tweet today- and it was a PERFECT Summary- I highly recommend you read the whole thread- you can find it here

I LOVE being a librarian and I love what I do- but that doesn't mean that it hasn't been a tough year. I have been trying to find myself and figure out what is going to work with students (who are also trying to figure out how to navigate school again too)  

Our first six weeks were a busy one.  There were orientation lessons, collaborating with different content teams, and lessons over databases. Not only that- but over 1000 students visited the library- not during their library time. I use Piktochart to share a 6 weeks report- you can find it here.

Our school:
Middle school 6-8 with over 700 students
VILS campus- each student has a device with monthly data
We Still have access to Canvas

October Contest

I am a member of several Facebook groups that have people that are always sharing AMAZING ideas!! After reading some of them, I decided to offer my own. (Here is what I did last year during October) I have done Book Character Pumpkin Contest in the past, but last year with us being virtual- I did a virtual Ghost Book Character Contest. I wanted to offer Book Character Pumpkin again, but Kristina A. Holzweiss brought up a great point that not everyone has the materials or the funds- you can find more information from her Tweet here  Then, I saw Jenifer Warren post about the Cardboard Haunted House Contest and I wanted to do that too! You can find the winners here (they are AMAZING!) So, I am letting students choose what and how they want to participate


There are three categories:
-Cardboard Haunted House
-Book Character Pumpkins (2 ways to participate)
-Book Character Ghost 

Click here on this link to force a copy that has the different breakdowns of each category   

To advertise this challenge I have posted in student Canvas courses along with posting to our Instagram account. This weekend I pulled out my own craft supplies to create a Haunted House and plan to post pics/videos on Instagram Stories.

Mum's and Garters

If you know anything about Texas- you know that Mum's are a big deal! Homecoming is much more of a High School event, but we have started having our own celebrations.  We have had daily themes, and the library has been open before school for 8th graders to be able to come up and make their own mum and garter.  The school has provided all of the materials. It has been fun to see the different ways they are decorating with the same materials


I LOVE what DZ_Library is doing with First Line Friday-I am going to start this next week- but maybe call it #HauntingReads or #TheFirstLine- super easy to do and what a great way to promote books on social media

November is around the corner- and I feel like I am finally finding my footing again.  It is also Picture Book Month.  I LOVE everything that Shannon McClintock Miller shares and I love her You've Been Booked. I am going to take her idea- tweak it a little bit and use it during the month of November.  I will share once I have figured out how I am going to do it.

Stranger Things day is in November as well. Last year I created a digital breakout room, this year I plan to do something as well.

What are you doing to encourage participation in different programs?  Are you on Social Media? I am always looking for more people to follow to be inspired by.  

Monday, September 6, 2021

3 Favorites to Begin the Year

Three weeks are finished and I had to take a moment to my top 3 things so far this year.  Just a reminder- I teach in a middle school 6th-8th grade.  We have about 800 students and are a VILS campus so all of our students have devices.

Number 1

Portable Personal Waterproof Voice Amplifier Wired Headset- you can find it on Amazon Link Here I had one of my amazing Girl Scout moms text me for my Amazon wish list- I didn't really have one, but I had been eyeing this headset.  It was my LIFESAVER as I had sometimes 2 classes at a time in the library for my orientation lesson (it also made me so happy that I was able to teach classes in the library after it being so long)

Number 2

Sign-In Station. When students visit the library before school, during the day, or after school and they are not with a class they sign in.  I created this a few years ago, and it is a great way to easily keep track of who has visited the library and why.  I use a Google Form. I have 2 computers available for sign-in, but I also have a page that I made in Canva so students can just scan the QR code or type in the address. If you would like the form that I use- this will force copy LINK HERE

Used my Bitmoji and created using Canva

I love the easy graphs that Google Forms Give me

Number 3

Some of my amazing new earrings! I have gotten into fun earrings this year and Exalting In Beauty has some awesome ones!!

Although we are in person- I am still keeping up with my monthly calendars.  I will be keeping this on my Canvas course, but also posting it on my bulletin board. You can force copy September calendar here

We ended our 3rd week with #collegecolorsday anytime I can get a picture I am ALL about it!

Up next- National Literacy Day, Dot Day, and more! What have you done this year to get you through? What are your favorites?

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Library Orientation 2021

Just finished my 20th first week of school with students and I had forgotten how tired the first week of school tired is!

The first week of school was all about badges and books! I saw 36 classes for about 20 minutes each where I took badge pictures and checked out books.  

This week the focus will be our digital resources and checking out books again.  Thanks to our fabulous other Middle School Librarians I am sharing this presentation with teachers to put as a small group assignment during their ELAR block.

The last slide is a Tic Tac Toe board (thanks Erica and Donnie for creating!)

Online Library Tic Tac Toe Google Doc- this LINK will force copy

Official library orientation is coming up. With this last year, I have 7th graders who haven't been in a library since 5th grade!

For orientation, I have a short slide show where we will go over some basics, and then I will be sending them on Google Digital Breakout to find different items throughout the library. This orientation slide and digital breakout should only take about 25ish minutes altogether so the rest of the class periods students can find books. 

The last slide in the orientation has a Link or a QR code to our Lamar Library Escape Room. I got the idea for the Escape room from Donnie and Hope (I just tweaked it a little.. have I mentioned how thankful I am for the various librarians I learn from??)

I don't know how this year is going to go- but I do know that I am excited to see students in real life and in the library again!

Can we also talk about these uber-cute shirts and how much my new clerk Suzanne is making things happen? Thanks, Arielle for the awesome library shirts!

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Start of a New Year

The first day of school is just around the corner, and I can't believe I am about to begin my 20th year with students. Our librarians have been back since July 26th.

This next week begins in-service for teachers.  So, of course, I have some challenges ready to go to entice the teachers to use the library and all of its services.

I created a menu of services in Canva (you can find the template here) If you have not signed up for a free Canva educator account, I would highly recommend it.  I saved it as an image and put it 4 to a page in Google Slides and printed them off in color.  I then had my amazing clerk Suzanne Lautaret cut them apart and laminate them to use as bookmarks.  During one of our staff training this upcoming week, I plan to pass out the bookmarks and share with staff the interactive menu I created using the image and Genially. You can check out my finished product here

I also created another challenge using the same template for teachers for the first week back (it is the second page of the Canva Template)
This is the email I sent to staff on Friday:

It is that time for a Library Back To School Challenge! The challenge will officially run August 9th-August 13th with 9 winners are being announced on Monday, August 16th!

*SPECIAL PRIZE!* for Monday, August 9th!!! $10 Giftcard to Starbucks AND $50 to spend at the Fall Book Fair!!

Monday, August 9th is #NationalBookLoversDay you can get 2 entries for this *Special Prize!*

  1. Tweet your favorite book or author and tag @lmslionsread #irvingreads and #NationalBookLoversDay
  2. Join in on some TikTok Fun! Find a middle school-appropriate book and let me film you! All you have to do is pretend to be reading and look up from the book.. or find a book in a random location and wave at the camera (look up #fullhousetheme) You must find me on Monday to do this challenge.

These entries MUST be done on Monday, August 9th! But you have time to find that book!!

Library Back to School Challenge- up for grabs- 5 $5 Gift Cards to Sonic 5 $10 Gift Cards to the Fall BookFair.

This year is all rainbows, unicorns, and magic! You can find the challenge is attached, but here is also the entries

There are 7 possible entries for each staff member (names will be entered into a drawing and randomly selected!)

Recommend-Head to the Library, find a book you would recommend to a student or staff member, write a sticky note why and we will display it
Online Database- Share one Irving online database or resource that you are excited to try or use through twitter-Tag @lmslionsread and #irvingreads
You Decide-email me with one way that the library can support you and your content
Give an online book shout-out- Share your favorite read or author on Twitter and tag @lmslionsread and #irvingreads
Booksnap-Create a #booksnap and share on and tag @lmslionsread and #irvingreads
Investigate-the other Materials that the library has to offer-email Keller something you found
Visit the Library on Friday, August 13th for a treat and to see our new books

Prize information- I am using Scholastic dollars.. and out of pocket. I am also baking a ton of Cakies on Thursday and individually wrapping them for staff to come to grab on Friday. 

Back to school also means creating new goals. I use the program Piktochart to create mine and send 6 weeks updates to admin and share online. You can find the goals here

We have meet the teacher on Tuesday and I plan to have a photobooth and activity going on in the library.  

On the first day of school, I also get to school super early and take the first day of school pics for teachers and students with a letterboard. It is one of my favorite things to do!

Please enjoy my latest TikTok if a Librarian was kidnapped back to school addition. 

Here's to year 20. I don't know how it is going to look or what is going to happen but with my trusty trapper keeper and great friends, it is going to be a GREAT year!

Next up- planning for orientation.  What do you do to get ready for staff and the first day of school? I am also SUPER pumped because I had 2 sessions accepted to TLA and to TCEA (which is #22 on my #50by50 goal list!)

Monday, June 7, 2021

Summer Reading

We have made it to the summer!! Well- I am doing summer school.. but I consider it's summertime! Summer means more time for reading books, hanging by the pool, and catching up on life.

I love all the programming that our public library does (You can check out Irving Public Library Here) and this year the theme is Tails and Tales.  Since I am doing k-2 early enrichment I chose to go along with the same theme.

I used Canva to create this image

I had a chance to plan with the 3 other librarians (Christine, Ericka, and Wendy) and we came up with several ideas. 

Our first week of summer enrichment was short:
*We chose to have all classes come into the library to check out books (1 class at a time in increments of 20 minutes)
*We put up a Tall Wall- this was an area where we invited students to compare their height to those of different animals. For each animal was a picture of the animal (from one of our digital databases) and a QR code that led the students to a Pebble Go article.

*We had a pawprint Scavenger Hunt. We put pawprints up at the nurse's office, cafeteria, art room, PE room, and library. These sheets had a pawprint picture, QR code that led to Pebble Go and a Picture of the animal. In hindsight- I wish I had clues and the picture rather than the name and picture of the animal. 

    --both Tall Wall and Pawprints were created in Google Slides
*We invited staff to dress up as if they were going on an adventure the first day. I found some cute binoculars from Wal-Mart for $5, a hat from Party City and threw on a pair of khakis and dark green shirt (I of course also created a TikTok

Lesson Ideas:
To go along with the Tails and Tales I chose a book for each week.
The Three Billy Goats Buenos by Susan Middleton Elya and Miguel Ordonez- a fairy tale
What Do you Do if You Work for the Zoo by Steve Jenkins- non-fiction
See the Cat- Three Stories about a Dog by David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka- tails
Jackrabbit McCabe and the Electric Telegraph by Lucy Margaret Rozier and Leo Espinosa- tall tail

I will see each class for about 25 minutes every week where I do a lesson and check out books. Teachers also have the option to sign up for another time during the week to check out books. 

This week we looked at the words Tails and Tales and talked about the differences and what they meant.  We then shared different animals that had tails.

After some collaboration, we also created a Summer Reading Bingo. This Bingo board was created in Google Docs and invites students to use our Summer Reading Website, go on virtual field trips, check out all the things that our local library has to offer, and more. Click this link to make a copy of your own.

My personal goal is to read 10 books this summer. I had a chance to read 2 over this last weekend while I was on the road to visit family.

What are you doing to promote summer reading? I hope to also do some things with my middle school students- more to come!