Friday, January 27, 2023

January in the Library

 Welcome to 2023! I had grandiose ideas of what I wanted to get accomplished- and then reality hit!

Teachers started back to school on January 6th, with students starting back that next Monday.  I spent most of my winter break working at the pool lifeguarding and other odds and ends (thank goodness for it being indoors!)

The Friday that teachers came back I used this time to work with my Destination ImagiNation Teams.  Destination ImagiNation is for kindergarten- college level students where teams made up of no more than 7 members compete in different challenges. I think I have been doing Destination ImagiNation (DI) for about 13 years.  You can find more at the website here This year I have 4 teams.  I have a team of Seniors (the Nerdy Birdys) that I have been managing since they were in 3rd grade.  I have a team of Juniors (the PEEPS) that I have been helping manage since they also were in 3rd grade.  The Nerdy Birdys and PEEPS have combined this year to become The Flock.  I also have a brand new team this year in high school called the ELVES.  Competition is fast approaching so tis the season for stressing out (but I love it!)

When preparing for the month, I first get my Google Doc lesson plan calendar going.  This changes year, to year, but I like how I am scheduling it this year. 

What has worked for me this year is to have one Google Doc per month with each page representing a week. After my dates are put into the calendar I then plug in the different dates from my Outlook calendar and also the district calendar.  By doing this, I can easily have a calendar ready for me to collaborate with teachers and grade levels.

I started all of this planning- and then germs hit and knocked me on my rear for almost 2 weeks! Some of the things I had planned for the beginning of January- got moved to the middle of January.

Things Planning for this Month

-Goals for 2023
-Preparing for Keep Irving Beautiful Service Project
-Promoting new books (and making sure they are ready to be on the shelf)
-Weekly Poll

Goals for 2023

Amanda Chacon (@thegoodread) posted on Future Ready Librarian page about how she was ringing in the new year  (Nikki Robertson also shared how she did hers)  The idea was to have books that invite students to try new things in the New Year.  I don't have as much space for displays, so I changed mine up just a little bit.  I created speech bubbles for different things the students might want to try.  You can find my Canva template here

Keep Irving Beautiful Card Making

Before the holidays we had a Keep Irving Beautiful community service project.  Keep Irving Beautiful has so many projects that they are always doing to build our community from picking up trash, to planting trees, to so much more.  During the Christmas season, they invited community members to create cards that KIB could deliver to nursing homes.  What a super easy way for us to give back to the community (and let's be real, perfect community service and KIB took care of making sure it got to where it needed to go!)  They do this for Valentine's Day too.  Our school will have a card-making session at the end of January (on my February blog I will share all that we do) but I start promoting.

New Books

Don't you just love the smell of new books! In the fall when we have lots of new books come in, I do a book preview for staff first.  This was a smaller book order, so I created a TikTok that I could share on social media and also created a cart that was easily accessible.

Weekly Poll

One thing that I had been wanting to start, and I knew I would the first of the school year was a weekly poll.  I have been following Nicole Graham (@GrahamLibrarian) for awhile and one of my favorite things she has posted recently was a passive programming poll.  I started with Who Will Win and had Cowboys and 49ers.  

The poll station is set up right outside the library.  For our first poll, I stood in the hallway and asked students to have them participate.  

For this last week, I put the poll up- and guess what- the kids came to me!! (which was of course the hope, but let's be real.. sometimes it takes a bit!) The second week I did best fast food burger. I have loved the different conversations and arguments that students AND staff are having over the different polls.  Next up is best fries... and then I think I will do favorite Valentine Candy.

February is just around the corner- and I am almost prepared for it! I will share all that I am doing in February soon.  Right now I am gearing up to be at TCEA for one day, but some of the things that are coming up for February:
-Valentine Cards
-Blind date with a book
-More Polls
-World Read Aloud Day
-Blind Date with a book
-Dino Hunt 

and I am sure more!

What was your favorite thing that the library did during January?  Do you have ideas ready for February?

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

November in the Library

 So, I realized that I had not shared in my blog since last March! I have been sharing much more library land happenings over on TikTok (akbusybee) and Instagram (beeinthebookends)

First an update:
I moved schools!! I had the opportunity to move to a high school (same district) At this high school I am the librarian and the DLC (Digital Learning Coach) I miss my middle schoolers, but I sure am loving high school.  I also got my lifeguard certification so I could lifeguard for my Girl Scout troop.. but I don't know if you have kept up with the news this summer- pools were short staffed! So, I also now lifeguard and teach swim lessons- currently working on my water aerobics instructor courses.

Before I get into all that I am doing.. want to give a little background on my new school
-Our campus serves 9th-12th graders
-Our campus also has what we call grad lab
-Our campus also serves students in our Nigh Owl Academy

Let's get into November.  Here are the things that I have planned with templates, links and more! November for me is also going to be a little crazy.  I am in the process of moving houses, I am attending the TALL Texan Leadership Institute, I am traveling to New York with one of my Girl Scout troops, and I am traveling to my hometown to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary.. so this Busy Bee is WAY busy this month!

Book Club

I have a confession to make- I have never hosted a book club.  Last month was my first one.  What I decided for my book club is that I would focus on a theme rather than an actual book.  October 31st was our first book club where we focused on Ghoulish reads.  Students that signed up in advance were able to come in share about their books and we made candy pumpkin catapults (another confession- this is my first year in the library here.. so I am working on building relationships.. I only had 2 students sign up) I had some extra students in the library during this time, so you know- start small and it will grow!

The month of November my focus is Nonfiction November.  Here is the template to the Canva that I created  On the flyer that I make for school it also has a QR that links to a form that students fill out.  The reason that I need that information is that my book club happens during the day.  It is also good data to have! I am not for sure of the activity that we are doing yet- but I will share once I do have it.

Stranger Things Day

If you are a fan of the show- you will probably already know this trivia.  Stranger Things Day happens on November 6th- the day that Will went missing.  I have written about Stranger Things Day here before

Here is the social media post I am creating to share- you can find the template here (also- I took these pictures at the Stranger Things store.

There are so many great Breakouts that have been created and so many ideas that are out there on the web.  I created my own Digital Breakouts last year through Google Slides.  Since I am at a new school- I am doing what any smart person would do.. and reusing them.  Last year I posted a new clue each day, this year I am going to have them posted around the library on November 7th (when we are celebrating Stranger Things Day.

My plan:
-this week I am promoting that we are celebrating Stranger Things Day on Monday November 7th.  I will promote through social media and on announcements.
-since I am doing during the day, students will need to sign up by Friday to participate during SWAG on Monday
-all students and staff will be invited to wear their best 80s outfits
-I am inviting students and staff to share their favorite 80s or Stranger Things music so I can make a Spotify playlist
-During our SWAG time (SWAG is just like a "homeroom" that we use during the day) the students that signed up will be able to come down to the library to participate in the digital breakouts
-I do have prizes and incentives- there are some great affordable stickers on Amazon (I would always recommend going through the stickers first before giving them out!) and also some fun off brand Stranger Things jibbitz that I found.
-I also went to the Stranger Things Store this summer and took some pictures- I think I might have students use these to create their own scene.

The Breakout
I will print these posters in color. You can find my template from Canva here  Also, on the posters that I am printing for school they will have a QR code on them that lead to the Google Digital Breakout that I made.  Don't worry- I have those too!!

These will force you to copy

Virtual Escape Room- The Letter
Virtual Escape Room- The Code
Virtual Escape Room- Morse Code
Virtual Escape Room- The Bike
Full Virtual Escape Room- This one will take a little bit more time

For The Letter, The Code, Morse Code and Bike- any one that is playing can get through it even with wrong answers.  For the full Virtual Escape Room you must have the right answers to proceed!  What are the answers you may ask...this is the document with them so you can help students (or yourself!) get through.

The Answers

Feel free to edit/change (or you might even find a mistake) and use yourself.  I would love for you to share and also tag me in any photos or other ideas!

Scavenger Hunt

If you don't already follow Melissa Corey on Twitter- go do it now!! She shares the best stuff- and also shares the templates to go with it! She shared a cute ghost hunt template during October and then came out with this cute Turkey Scavenger Hunt. My high schoolers loved it!

Here is the template to mine (but she shared two- both are SUPER cute!)

The end of the month (after Thanksgiving) I am also collaborating with my art teacher to work on holiday cards as part of a service project for Keep Irving Beautiful.  We will create cards to donate and then Keep Irving Beautiful will pass them out to Nursing Homes. My next blog I will share how I do some of my social media such as my #FirstLineFridays.

What programming are you doing in the library? What exciting things do you have coming up?

Hopefully I included everything that I am doing in November.  If I missed something or didn't change a sharing setting- let me know. It is going to be a wild month! 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Library Month 2022

Sometimes in Libraryland I am SUPER far behind and other times I am a little ahead of schedule.  My life has been full of Destination ImagiNation for the past month (and.. my Nerdy Birdy Trio competed yesterday at state.. and are now headed to GLOBALS at the end of May!) I am ahead of schedule though in preparing for Library Month.

In this blog you will find:
-Ideas to do for School Library Month
-Infographic that I share with staff/community
-Canva templates for Library Week activities (week template and daily Instagram posts)

Library month is in April and many school libraries celebrate Library Week the first week of April.  You can find lots of ideas and goodies American Library Association website  Emily Hopkins with TCEA just shared a great article about different ways you can support your local library.  

You can find it here--->School Library Month-Make Your Librarian Feel Valued this April

Using the National Library Week as a planner is a great way to easily advocate for your library. As a librarian, we do so many activities that affect not only our school but a broader community.  We know what we do, but sometimes feel awkward really taking a moment to educate others in what a role a librarian really plays. Preparing for National Library Week is a great way to take a moment and point out the things we do.

At the beginning of the week, I share an infographic with staff and administrators through email, but I also share it through the various social media platforms to share with our community. I have created this in Piktochart



Not only is it a great time to share what the library does, but also a great way to engage students in various programming that promote the library.  I created a weekly calendar to go along with ideas from the ALA.  You can find the full template here---> Library Week Canva

Each day is a different activity.  I will share this at the beginning of the week but have also created daily posts that I can share through Instagram and Twitter.  You can find the full template here ---> Social Media Canva Template

Monday-Stuck on Lamar Staff- passing out water bottle stickers. I found these on Amazon and they are a huge hit (it is important to take a moment to really look through stickers before you just pass them out although they say okay for kids and teens.. some are questionable)
Tuesday-What is your favorite thing about the library
Wednesday-Create 2 bookmarks- one to keep-one to share- We are currently working on kits (and by we, I mean my amazing clerk Lautaret!) 
Thursday-Make a book recommendation

I plan to also share my social media platforms to share daily as well what goes on in the library and of course, there are going to be some TikToks! 

Do you do anything special for National Library Week?

Another big thing that happens in April is our Texas Library Association Conference- are you headed there? If so- I LOVE selfies and would love catch up! I have a chance to present 2 sessions!

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Read Across America 2022

When I look at programming, one of my favorite things to do is look at calendars and upcoming events.
Anyday I can put on a Tutu and a Tiara-
Such as today was 2/2/22 which is not only a GREAT Twosday but also a Palindrome!
To celebrate, April Richmond (my counterpart Campus Leadership Ambassador) put on the Ultimate Twosday! Since it is also a palindrome- we had Desserts-because Desserts spelled backward is Stressed!

But, right around the corner is also Read Across America. I wrote last year about the different things I did here. Although Read Across America Day is March 2nd,  I am going to be celebrating all week long.  Last year, since we were in a hybrid model, I had read alouds each morning with students and staff.  I still plan to have at least one read aloud on March 2nd, but that is still in the scheduling stages.  Below is my week graphic that I will be sharing. I made it in Canva (if you haven't signed up for an account- get on it!) You can find the template for it here

Each day of the week I will also be posting a promo on our social media accounts and inviting students to fill out a form or email me to be possibly featured on our social media accounts and of course prizes!

I took her idea last year and updated it to coincide with North Texas Teen Book Festival. Guess what- North Texas Teen Book Festival is IN PERSON this year on March 5th! If you have never heard about the North Texas Teen Book Festival- check out this totally FREE event that happens in my backyard

Can't make it in person on March 5th- never fear, the Educator Day is March 4th- and it is virtual.  The author's lineup for both of these days is amazing.  The first North Texas Teen Book Festival is the reason that I took the leap to become a librarian.  There is just something about seeing 10000s of teens so excited about meeting authors that have changed their lives. Did I mention that it is FREE?

I am currently working on an updated Read Across America NTTBF style right now.
The links that are on the books lead back to information about the author through and the link that is underneath each book leads to information about the panel that they are on.

What are you doing for Read Across America? Are you headed to North Texas Teen Book Festival? I am so excited to share the virtual event with my campus. I am so thankful for all the different things my community puts on to share the importance of reading.  Check out The Irving Public Library on Twitter and YouTube
Speaking of YouTube you can find tons of past author visits from the North Texas Teen Book Festival. Check out this promo video from the last in person event in March 2020

Other than NTTBF, my next big event is the Texas Library Association Conference- are you headed that way? I am so excited to attend in person again!

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.