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.  

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!