Saturday, October 20, 2018

Woodstone Reads

I posted a month ago about my reading goal that I shared with my students for our school to talk about reading more this year.  Besides our reading interest activity that we did at the beginning of the year, I have shared with them some other ways we can talk about books.  Our district is using Seesaw this year so I created a folder in each teacher's class called Woodstone Reads where students can keep an online running log of the books they have finished reading.  Each time they finish reading (or listening to) a book - any book - the take a picture of the cover and record a sentence or two about the book and who might like the book. Other kids in their class can see these posts, comment on them as well as get ideas for good books they might want to read next.

I also shared with 3rd and 4th graders that I would like to start featuring some book talks on our morning announcements.  We read the Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominee Grandpa's Hal-La-Loo-Ya Hambone by Joe Hayes and then I showed the students 4 different scripts they could choose from.  I adapted the scripts from these that I found online.  We have not had any submitted yet, but I am hoping those are coming soon.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Reading Goals

Instead of doing my traditional "where are things in the library" orientations for 3rd-5th grade this year, I decided to do a reading interest inventory and goal setting activity with them instead.

Over the summer I had been looking at reading interest inventories from Pernille Ripp's website  and Donalyn Miller's book The Book Whisperer and then with my librarian friend, Natalie Watts, combined ideas together to form one of our own.  

 So after reading Hooray for Books to them and talking about my own reading goal for the library this year (read about that here) we went through the reading interest inventory.

There were check boxes about what types of books they like to read.  What were their three favorite books?  What was the last book they read that they liked?  What was the last book they read that they didn't like?  But one question that I was most interested in was... about how many chapter books did you read from start to finish last year? And then I had the answers of  zero, 1-5, 6-10.  I explained that I wanted them to be honest and that maybe they hadn't read a chapter book last year because they only read nonfiction or graphic novels. Or maybe they hadn't found a chapter book they liked so they kept abandoning in the middle.  I had a feeling there were quite a few zeroes and I wanted to let them know that for whatever the reason I wanted them to be honest.

At the end of the inventory, I asked the students to think of a reading goal.  It could be a small, short term goal or a bigger, year long goal.  I told them to look back at their answers on this inventory to maybe get some ideas.  I gave some examples like if they checked that they only read graphic novels that maybe their goal could be to try a different genre.  Or if they did not read for pleasure at home, maybe their goal could be to read for 15 min at home for a week and see if they like it.  We did talk about being realistic and reasonable for their goal.  

Each afternoon that first week after school, I was very excited to sit down and look at these inventories.  I must admit, I was a bit disappointed, I thought I was going to find some profound answers to and revelations in them.  That I was going to finally have the answer somehow to getting our students to read for pleasure.  Most of the students set a number goal... to read 11 or 15 books.  But here are a few other goals that were set by my students...

This student had not found a book that they "loved" yet.

I liked this one so much I had to tweet and Facebook it!

And while most of the students had a goal that had SOMETHING to do with books or reading, you know there always have to be one or two of these in the bunch...

It is a goal, but...

So while I didn't solve the reading problems of the world, I realized that we are not used to setting goals for ourselves.  I did learn a lot about what kind of books my students like and don't like based on their answers.  We are going to revisit these goals in the middle of year and check our progress.  So more conversations to come. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Books are Meant for Sharing

One of my big goals for our library this year is to talk about books and reading more... to become more of a community of readers. That is not just me, the librarian, talking about books, but the students and teachers talking and sharing about books as well.

During the first week of school when the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders came to the library for the first time, I started by reading Hooray for Books! by Brian Won.
This book was perfect because turtle had shared his favorite book with zebra and when he went back to zebra to ask for it back, zebra had liked the book so much he had loaned it to another animal who had loaned it to another animal and so on.  Which demonstrated my goal that books should not be kept a secret!  Books are meant to be shared and when we find a book we like, we should talk about it! I explained to the students about my goal for us to talk about books more and share books that we like with each other in different ways this year.  

I am excited about this goal this year and can't wait to see all the sharing of awesome books we do!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Unlucky #13

You may or may not have noticed that I completely ignored this blog for almost the entire 2017-18 school year. In fact my only post was on September 17 :(

If I am being completely honest, I did not feel like I was on my library game at all last year.  I thought I had reached my peak and was now on the downhill slide to becoming one of those "old" librarians that has no new ideas.  I wasn't able to conjure the spark and innovation that I had previously brought to my job.  I still loved being a librarian but I was definitely having an off year and I was beating myself up.

I couldn't figure out what had brought on this sudden decline in my exuberance for librarianship.
*Could it have been that my assistant broke her ankle the 3rd week of school and not having her there to run the library and keep me sane threw me off kilter for the rest of the year?
*Could it have been that I had a senior in high school getting ready to spread his wings and attend college 7 hours away?  Was I subconsciously worrying about losing him and not able to focus on my work?
*Could it have been that the year before I had taken on too many responsibilities at the district level and had lost touch with my students?

Who knew?  I just knew that I felt like I was in the toilet of librarianship.

Then one night last week, in the middle of the night, after we had moved the college bound son to Oklahoma Sate and he was settled into his dorm.  I realized that I was heading into my 14th year as a librarian... which meant that last year was my 13th year.   

And it hit me!
That was the problem!

I was suffering from the unlucky 13th year!

So I am happy to say that the curse is over. I have found my stride.

And I am back!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


I am been seeing a lot of hype about Flipgride from my PLN on Twitter so I decided to give it a try during my Bluebonnet Orientation.  I tacked it on to the end of the lesson when some groups had finished the QR Code sorting activity.  I gave them written directions to follow on how to make their Flipgrid and asked them to say their name, teacher's name, what Bluebonnet book they are interested in reading and why.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

When Your Own Kid Mutes You on Twitter

I have a 17 year old son who is on twitter basically to follow sports teams.  When he started on twitter of course I followed him and he followed me back.  I won't lie.  I was a little thrilled that he could now see into my life as a librarian and see me as a professional instead of just "mom".

And then I found out he wasn't.

I found out he MUTED me.  I asked him if he had seen a tweet I posted and he said he hadn't.  I asked him why not and he said because I "talk to much" on it.  I told him that we ridiculous and he he replied back, "Mom.  There are some night when you go on and on and on and have these weird A1, A2 things.  I don't even know what you are talking about.  I started laughing and told him those were twitter chats and that was how I learned things from other educators on twitter.  "Yeah, well it's annoying! So I muted you", he answered back.

At TLA this year, I was honored to receive the Texas Association of School Librarians Honorary Virtual Media Presence Award.  I sent my son this text and this was his reply.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Edible Book Festival

That's right I said Edible Book Festival and no we didn't eat books.  I am on the Board of the Friends of North East Libraries group and for our spring membership meeting we wanted to do something different.  Our board ran through a number of ideas until one member remembered seeing something about an Edible Book Festival so we looked it up and decided that was the perfect event for the spring.

What is an Edible Book Festival?  You can read about it here  but basically t's a celebration of books and reading.  Participants create an "edible" book that depicts a title of a book, characters from a book, or a play on words of a title.

The planning of this event was a bit crazy because we really had no idea what to expect and the concept is difficult to understand.  But we ploughed ahead planning a two hour event on a Sunday afternoon.  Entries were judged on Best in Show, Best Children's,  Funniest/Punniest, and People's Choice.  While local chef celebrities judged the creations, we had a crepe making demonstration by a chef at the Culinary Art Institute.

Leading up to the week of the event, we had 11 entries register which we thought was great for our first go-round.  By Friday afternoon, 26 registered and the day of the event we had 37 show up!!

We had some pretty creative entries and were thrilled with the event.  We are looking forward to making it bigger and better next year.  Here are just a few pictures from the event.

Creepy Carrots 

Adult Entry

Funniest/Punniest Winner

Not all were cakes - Cookie Dough


Best Children's Entry

People's Choice Award

The "Hangry" Games

Best in Show Winners: The Nest made from Rice Krispy Treats, Honeycomb Toffee, Rice Paper and Fondandt

Crepe Demonstration