#imwayr It’s Monday! What are you reading?! 4.21.14

What Are You Reading? was first hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. If you’d rather follow folks who are reading books for grown ups, you should follow her Monday meme. I am  participating in the kidlit version of this meme (although sometimes I actually read books for grown ups).

I did LOTS of reading over spring break…so, needless to say, my break was AWESOME! My two favorite reads from this past week were Five, Six, Seven, Nate by Federle and Counting by 7s by Sloan. You should read them both. Now.

In Print: Yesterday, I finally started reading the newest Origami Yoda book, Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue. These books crack me up and kids love ‘em.

Listening to: Mary Poppins by Travers. Would you believe that I have never read this book? I’ve seen the Disney film, of course, but I have never read the story behind the story. My husband and I saw Saving Mr. Banks during the break (which is a wonderful movie, by the way, especially if you are a little in love with Disney like I am) and I really wanted to read the book after watching that movie. The book (like the movie) is so magical and fun…it is hard to believe that the author was not magical or fun. 

At school: Back to reading about birds, doing fun poetry programs, and starting to wrap up the school year (what?!) – there are less than 40 days left. That’s just crazy. 

What are you reading?


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Maker Corps Camp Week 1 @make @makeredorg #possibilities #myjobisfun

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was selected to be a part of Maker Corps at EdVenture this summer. I AM SO EXCITED to learn more about the Maker Movement and how best to incorporate it into what I do in my elementary school library. I just finished watching the Google Hangout for Week 1 and unpacking my Possibility Box.


Each week there will be an invitation to share what we create. The first invitation is to share what we are most interested in/excited about when unpacking our box…I have always been a nerd for school supplies, so what I pulled out first was the markers and notepad. I also got out the box of legos. I am reading books and talking about birds with my Kindergarten classes right now and am generally a lover of early morning bird songs (thanks, mom). So, I integrated all of that into a stop motion movie. You can check it out at this link: http://youtu.be/li2BrC8f3VA 

I can’t wait to take this box to school next week and let some of my kids explore! They will make something MUCH COOLER than me, for sure!

So fun! Can’t wait for Week 2!



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#WhyLib – My Teacher Librarian Origin Story

If you follow lots of school librarians on Twitter like I do, than you’ve been seeing a lot of #WhyLib blog posts lately…I’m loving it! So, in honor of School Library Media Month, here’s my story! Check out more #whylib stories (and add your own) at this Padlet!

I went to college with really no idea about what I wanted to do as a grown up. I liked to read, so I was an English major. I liked to watch movies, so I was a Film Studies minor. These choices were based solely on what I liked to do for “fun.” I was not giving much thought to the future at that point. I lived at home and I wasn’t too worried. I don’t think my parents were worried??? Maybe? Looking back, I think I would have been nervous for my child if I were the parent! Anyways, when I was in college, a Barnes & Noble opened near my house. I applied for a job there because it seemed like fun to work at a bookstore and THE DISCOUNT! At the time, I was taking a Children’s Literature class as part of my undergrad degree. This was the first time I was rereading kidlit as an adult and I was LOVING it. It was by far my favorite class in all of my English major program. I got the job at B&N, and I was spending a lot of time working in the Children’s Area, since I was falling back in love with those books. The Supervisor of the Children’s Area (Molly) was in library school. At first, I was totally surprised to learn that there was a “library school.” I had been going to the public library my whole life and never really thought about the people who worked there. I certainly never thought about the librarians in my public schools. Molly inspired me to learn more about library school and the various occupations you can have as a librarian. That’s when the seed was planted. I continued working at B&N (and Walden Books) through college. When I graduated with my BA, I applied for a job as a full time library clerk at the Richland Library. That’s when I really started to learn more about libraries and what sorts of jobs were available (reference, children’s, branch librarians, etc.) I was also working with someone who connected me with some school librarians. I was still really loving children’s literature and I guess I seemed like a pretty good teacher, so various people were telling me I should look into school libraries. I started volunteering at a couple of schools in the school library. I would tutor, shelve books, watch, and learn. I LOVED all of this public library experience and school library volunteering  - so, I applied to library school. Here’s the rub – I was NOT a good high school student or a very good  undergrad student, to tell you the truth. Basically, my grades stunk. I was not sure I would even get into library school once I applied, however, I guess at that point, I would have been perfectly happy keeping the job I had. Good benefits, decent pay – I would have been fine. LUCKILY, the library school was nice enough to interview me and not just go with what was on paper about me. They gave me a chance. And, I’m so glad they did…I LOVED every class I had in library school (except maybe Statistics) and I was a star student. After struggling in school since middle school, I was finally getting good grades and staying focused. Clearly, I was meant to do this! I ended up going through library school on the school media track. That way, I have my teacher certification, but if I ever wanted to, I could get a job in any sort of library – public, academic, special, etc. This degree ROCKS and I can’t imagine doing anything else…what is your story?


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#imwayr It’s Monday! What are you reading?! 4.14.14

What Are You Reading? was first hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. If you’d rather follow folks who are reading books for grown ups, you should follow her Monday meme. I am  participating in the kidlit version of this meme (although sometimes I actually read books for grown ups).

SPRING BREAK! I hope to get LOTS of reading done this week…here’s what I am reading RIGHT NOW!

In Print: Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan (still) AND Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle. I LOVE Nate. This is the sequal to Better Nate Than Ever. So good…lots of laughs. You should read it.

Listening to: The Impossible Knife of Memory by Anderson SO GOOD. Anderson is one of my favorite young adult authors and her books are almost always difficult to put down. This one makes me want to stay in my car, just to listen to more. 

At school: SPRING BREAK!

What are you reading?


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Week 32 @npeslearningcommons

Week 32 was the last week before SPRING BREAK! Break is so late this year that I think EVERYONE (students AND teachers) was ready for it. I’m not doing anything special for my break…just spring cleaning, reading, seeing friends, and spending time with my dogs and hubby! Sounds perfect, right?

Here’s how we spent our week in the NPES Learning Commons:

*On Monday, my principal told me the good news that MOES donated a big chunk of money to our Donor’s Choose project. So awesome! So many THANKS to you, MOES! And, so many THANKS to my principal for making it happen. We are much closer to actually getting it funded now. Help us if you can? 

*I had a visit from a graduate student on Monday who will be a librarian in my district starting next year. I have visits from these types of graduate students often, but I’m not sure I ever mention it in my blog? I really enjoy visitors like this, because they ask lots of great questions and sometimes really make me think about what I’m doing and if I can do it better. They also often share what their plans are in their libraries and I get good ideas from them. Well worth the couple of hours it takes to show them around :) I also enjoy having interns for the same reason…our intern’s last day was Tuesday. She has done a fantastic job with us and I wish her the best of luck in the future!

*2nd grade Lunch Bunch finished The Year of Billy Miller by Henkes on Friday. They loved the book and I loved Lunch Bunch! I was nervous that this would take a REALLY long time, but we finished in 2 weeks, which was perfect. Last year, when I did Lunch Bunch with 4th graders, it seemed to take FOREVER…we still had a great time, but it was really dragging out. This go around worked out a little better. I wrote a little about Lunch Bunch last week…10 2nd graders (2 from each class) came to the library everyday with their lunch and ate while I read. So easy!

*Makerspace Moments continued this week. We had kids show up for each time, so I think that is a success! I kept the same spaces as last week. I will switch out a couple for after Spring Break.

*We have a class set of iPads in our library. My assistant and I keep a checkout calendar in Outlook. Teachers (including myself) schedule the iPads for their class when they need them. They are used A LOT! I often plan things with my 5th grade Media Technology class where they will be using the iPads, but sometimes, someone else needs them at the same time…usually, that is no issue at all, because Media Technology is in a Computer Lab. However, this week, we were still MAP testing, which means I did not have the lab for Media Technology. And, another teacher had already scheduled the iPads for the same time. So, we had to be in the library (where I have 6 desktop computers and a handful of laptops), and do something that was not focused on a technology tool (a little silly when this is a Media TECHNOLOGY class, right?) What I came up with was Technology Leader Trading Cards. For the first part of this lesson, I came up with a list of Technology Leaders…some, my students had heard of before (like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc.), others, they did not know who they were until they read their biographies. I had folks on my list who create video games, websites, and other cool technology-related stuff. It was fun to hear, “oh! my guy created Minecraft” or “my guy works at Google!” after handing out their information…I had printed out articles about each person (from Biography in Context on DISCUS) and students read the articles, underlined what was interesting to them, and then drafted what they would put on their Trading Card on a template that I gave them. When we met again later in the week (this time in the Computer Lab), they went to Big Huge Labs and used the Trading Card Creator to make their cards. They did a great job! It actually worked out well to not have computers the first day, because they stayed focused on finding the information in their print article.

*I continued my bird lesson with Kindergarten.

*I focused on poetry and banned books with my USC students.

That’s about it! Now = SPRING BREAK!

How was your week?


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#imwayr It’s Monday! What are you reading?! 4.7.14

What Are You Reading? was first hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. If you’d rather follow folks who are reading books for grown ups, you should follow her Monday meme. I am  participating in the kidlit version of this meme (although sometimes I actually read books for grown ups).

In Print: Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan AND Now I’ll Tell You Everything by Naylor. I LOVE the Alice series. The first one came out in 1985, and I think I’ve been reading them since then! Now I’ll Tell You Everything is the last one in the series and I’m very sad to see it end. 

Listening to: Nothing! Time to request more stuff from the library…I finished Ask the Passengers and Stitches by Anne Lamott last week. Both were VERY good reads. 

At school: Birds with Kindergarten…this week I’m reading Tap the Magic Tree by Matheson and Birds by Henkes. I’ve also started a Lunch Bunch with 2nd graders and we are reading The Year of Billy Miller by Henkes. 

What are you reading?


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Week 31 @npeslearningcommons

April is here! This is one of my favorite months because there is so much to celebrate. It is National Poetry Month, School Library Month, and there are all kinds of fun “days” to get excited about – Easter, Draw a Bird Day, Poem in Your Pocket Day….

This week, we kicked off our April events and had some other fun too.

On Tuesday (April 1), we started Makerspace Moments (learn more about what this means here). I am doing this throughout the month. I got some of my logistics from Dr. Linda Waskow’s SCASL conference session. She has set Makerspace Times (when her schedule allows) and gives each teacher some passes they can use to send students to her Learning Commons during a Makerspace time. I am doing something very similar…I gave each teacher in 1st – 5th grade 3 passes. During Makerspace Moments times (9 – 10am on Tuesdays; 9:15am-10:15am on Wednesdays; and 1:45pm – 2:15 on Fridays), they can send up to 3 students to the Learning Commons to explore our Makerspaces. We have 3 spaces set up. The idea was to change them out each week, but I think I will keep the same ones this week as I had last week and switch them out after Spring Break. The 3 spaces are: Rainbow Loom Bracelets; Makey Makey; and Book Spine Poetry. At the Rainbow Loom space, there are lots of little bands and a loom, however, most kids prefer to create the bracelets with their fingers. The Makey Makey is connected to a computer and most kids created a keypad to run Munch Mouse from the Babymouse website (we are still Babymouse crazy at NPES!). My intern pulled a bunch of books for kids to use for Book Spine Poetry at our poetry space. We have the books in a box on the table with paper and pencils for kids to use if they want to write down their poem after they create it. Each area is set up at a table with directions. Kids came in and just got to work. We had some 1st graders, 2nd graders, and 5th graders this first week. The bracelet space was the most popular and the poetry space was the least popular. I think this is a good start to Making in our library. I got the exciting news this week that I will be a part of Maker Corps, so I hope to learn more about how to create “true” Makerspaces…stay tuned!

5th grade Media Technology students created animated presentations on Keynote on the iPads. Our Technology Integration Specialist came up with this cute lesson and the first day we were together, they did fairly simple math problems with matching pictures. The second day, I read This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and they created animated LIFE equations. So cute…you can see some of their finished work on our school webpage. 

My intern planned Kindergarten lessons for 2 classes. I told her that they were starting life cycles in their classrooms. She knew they had learned about penguins earlier in the school year, so she decided to focus on penguin life cycles. She read Pierre The Penguin by Marzollo, went over some penguin facts, and then sent them to centers. Her centers were read a book about a penguin, color a picture of a penguin, read a book about penguins on TumbleBooks, and play a matching game. I am also doing life cycles with the rest of Kindergarten, but I am focusing on birds. This week, I read Tap the Magic Tree by Matheson and then read about birds using Pebble Go.

There are 3 bird centers they visit after checkout:

*a seed sorting/math activity…this is MESSY! I made 3 “birds” out of cups and feathers. I asked students to see if they could make a smart guess about how many scoops of seed it will take to feed their bird. They write down their guess and then actually scoop bird seed into the bird. They count as they are scooping and then write down how many actual scoops it took.

*Explore birds on Pebble Go. In the whole class activity, I read general information about birds. When they are at this center, they can explore whatever kind of bird they would like.

*Draw a bird. I have directions for how to draw a bird on our tables and I ask them to draw a realistic bird. We are cutting their birds out and putting them up in the library around our Poet Tree (get it?)

We started POETRY BREAKS this week. My intern and I hit 2 grade levels. A Poetry Break is an easy and fun way to read some poetry. Basically, you just break into a classroom, read a poem, and leave. Very easy.

Last year, I did my first Lunch Bunch and have really been wanting to do it again…this week, I got my chance! I am doing a Lunch Bunch with 10 2nd graders. They are coming to the library everyday for lunch and eating while I read to them. I am reading The Year of Billy Miller by Henkes. I thought that we would probably be reading it for the rest of the year, but I am surprised that we are already half way through! I may even get to do another Lunch Bunch before the end of the year.

My USC class focused on Biographies.

And, I sent out our April newsletter this week.

I think that’s about it (whew!) How was YOUR week?


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