Saturday, May 30, 2015

Professional Reads

The first 11 years of my teaching career I hardly ever read a professional development book. Honestly I can only think of two professional book though I'm pretty sure I read a couple more. How sad is that?!

My excuse? There just weren't any good books that applied to Deaf Ed. I think that's an excuse a lot of Deaf Ed teachers use (totally including myself here!) for a lot of subjects related to Deaf Ed. 

Then I became the librarian for Jonathan Kegler last year. He brought some amazing, inspiring men to come speak to our school. Men like Damen Lopez, Todd Whitaker, Dr. Eric Thomas, Principal Kafele, and Dave Burgess. He bought us some of their books too. 

I devoured those books!

This year Mr. Kegler brought some of the same men back plus a few more. He brought Craig BoykinDr. Stephen Peters, and Robert Jackson. He also bought us their books. 

Students and teachers Sykped with Jon Gordon. That was so cool and my first school Skype. I can't wait to do that again!

I decided at the beginning of the year (teacher code for August not January) that I would read one professional book a month or twelve for the year. I'm a little short on my reading. I've read 8 books so far. I'm going to read four more this summer to reach my twelve for the year goal. 

The following books are what I've read so far this school year:

Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller
The Time is Now by Jonathan Kegler (eBook form only)
Do You Know Me Enough To Teach Me by Dr. Stephen Peters
Closing the Attitude Gap by Baruti Kafele
Greatness is Upon You by Dr. Eric Thomas
The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon 
The Shark and The Goldfish by Jon Gordon
My Life, Your Inspiration by Craig J. Boykin. 

So here I am so excited about reading 8 professional books when I got to thinking... ís that really a lot of books?

My world changing question: How many professional books do you read each school year?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Book Fair

There's just nothing like Book Fair tired! 

After setting up, running, and taking down the Book Fair, I could sleep for days. 

I want to sleep for days. 

My daughter's private school got out for the summer last Friday. She asked if she could go to school with me and help out. I said yes!

On our way back to our house the first day she went to school with me she said "I'm exhuasted. I didn't know your job was so tiring."

Yes, yes it is. 

She was a great helper! She did a little of everything. She ran the register, helped students pick books, past out free bracelets, gave out dum dums to those who donated, ran errand and did anything else that needed to be done.

I could get used to having her at school with me! 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Positive Phone Calls

When I was a Deaf Ed teacher it was very easy for me to stay in touch with my students' parents. I never had more than 8 students at a time. And I was pretty close to all of them. It was easy to make a positive phone call. 

When texting became a thing it became even easier for me to stay in touch with my students' parents. None of them ever abused my phone number. They only contacted me when it was necessary. 

Now that I'm a librarian it's been harder for me to reach out to parents. I don't have students' phone numbers so if I do decide to call a parent I have to contact the teacher and/or the PEIM clerk to get a number. Which just seems like a lot of work. 

Yesterday and today I have had two students helping me inventory all the library books. Both students have had a rough year so I decided make a positive call home for both students. 

I talked to one parent this evening. I praised the student, said what a hard working he is, how interesting he was to talk to and how much fun I've had with him these last two days. Mom paused when I was done talking (I thought we had lost our connection!) and said "He's had a very rough year. It's so good to hear you say some nice things about him." I wanted to cry. Cry for him and his rough year. Cry for her and all the negative comments she's had to listen to about her baby, this boy that she loves. And I wanted to smack myself for not making more of these calls home. 

I haven't called the other students parents yet because I will need a translator but I can't wait to make another positive call home!

I challenge you to make a positive call home!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Letter to Myself #EduLS

This weeks Educator Learning Series (#EduLS) is to write a letter to yourself about this school year. I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and do my Slice of Life and my #EduLS all in the same blog post.

This has been an awesome year!  It's my second year in the library and I'm starting to feel like I have this job down.  I still have room for improvement of course but I'm much more comfortable in this librarian skin this year than last year.

I was on a flexible schedule this year and was able to really be a librarian.  I had student and faculty book clubs.  I was able to help the teachers more.  My displays were better.  My lessons were better. My library just flowed better.

My book club students and I brainstormed during our last meeting on how we could make the book clubs even better next year.  They want to research books to read, watch the movie if the book has one, they want me to send out reminder letters of upcoming meetings, and make posters of book club dates to put up around the school.  I thought these were all excellent ideas that we can easily implement next year.

I want to collaborate better next year.  I did better this year than I did last year but I still feel this is where I can improve the most.  I plan to pick one or two teachers to work with at the beginning of the year and hope to add a few more as the year progresses.  I hope that working with one or two that they will tell other teachers what we are doing together and word will spread and other teachers will be more willing to let me in and help.  I need to teach them what I have to offer, I need to stop expecting them to just know what I can offer.  Another idea I got from my librarian twitter chat (#txlchat) is to host a planning session in the library. I'll provide snacks and as I hear them talk about different lessons I can start pulling books, finding websites, finding apps, pulling up databases, etc for them.  I ran this by our curriculum specialist and she thought this was a great idea.

I have 20 magazine subscription this year.  According to TLA standards that's excellent!  But I want students to be able to check them out next year so I need to do some work on that.  I also want to organize them better.  Right now they are all just thrown in the magazine rack.  I'm going to label the slots with the magazine's name.  I want it so that students can see what I have better.

My library webpage is up and running.  I'm very proud of it!  Our high school librarian worked hard on her webpage last summer and was gracious enough to share the basic template with the rest of the librarians in the district.  I have everything done except the policy page.  Next year I would like to add some videos about new books, me reading books, and who knows what else.

I read 7 (I'm on my 8th) professional development/motivational book this year.  I've NEVER read so many PD books before in my life!  I am a better person and librarian because of these books.  I plan to continue this practice for forever!

Overall I'm very proud of what I've done in this library this year and can't wait to improve more next year!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Last Day of 6th Grade

The LAST DAY OF 6TH GRADE FOR MY DAUGHTER?!? How did that happen???  I thought it was such a cliche when people would tell me "Enjoy this time with Reagan, time flies!" How fast could time REALLY fly?

What a stupid question!  Time REALLY flies! 6th grade is over.  She'll be in 7th grade next year.  7th grade!

6 more years of grade school.

6 more summers at home.

6 more vacations.

6 more birthdays at home

6 more holidays at home.

6 more years where I make the rules.

6 more years I have to teacher her about life.

6 more years I have to teacher her about the world.

6 more years that she's just mine and my hubby's.

6 more years I don't have to share her.

6 more years.

6 years.


Time really flies.

First day of 6th grade

Last Day of 6th grade

BOGO Book Fair

I'm having my last Book Fair of the year.  I started today since Monday is Memorial Day and we don't have school.  I wanted it to be open 5 days and didn't want to go into the last week of school.

Yesterday my hubby came up and got the boxes down for me then had to run back to work so I did the rest of the set up.  My back and knee were killing me when I was done so I ran... well, it was probably more of a limp, drag my leg than a run but run sounds so much younger, to the Advil when I was done.  Sweet, sweet Advil!

Having a Book Fair the second to last week of school is crazy.  But I do crazy well so here I am the end of the year, close to loosing my mind, back tired, knee hurting and having a BOGO Book Fair. Fun times!

I keep reminding myself that I'll rest when I'm dead.

There hasn't been 3 Book Fairs on this campus in a while.  From what I could tell in my Scholastic Toolkit it's been at the very least since 2012.  2012 is as far back as I can see but I really think it was before that by the teachers' reaction.  All the teachers who have been on this campus before had never heard of a BOGO Book Fair.

This Book Fair is really for the teachers and the students.  I don't make any money from it although I do get Scholastic Dollars.  I've got my wish list started! I spend money well too!

So wish me luck and peace for my sanity and no aches for my body as I work this last Book Fair the second to last week of school!

Sunday, May 17, 2015


New Kids On The Block!!!!

I've been to every concert they have had in Houston. My daddy & childhood BFF's dad took us when we were in junior high. They are good dads!

When NKOTB made their come back in 2008 I got my mommy's group (three of my besties) to go with me. We've been to three concerts together. Then one bestie moved. So three of us went to the next concert. 

And this year only two of us were able to go. We still had a great time!

Nelly opened the concert. I wish he'd stayed on stage a little longer. I really enjoyed his performance!

TLC was next. I'm not a huge fan but I did like their performance. 

This little boy nearly hit my bestie in the face a few times. 

It was really loud! So we stuffed cotton in our ears. #WeAreOld

And then NKOTB came out! They play old songs and new songs. It was a great mix! 

This is a picture of Donnie. We were having a moment. We made eye contact... through the big screen. It was very magical. 

I love me some Donnie! He's always been my favorite. I love those bad boys... it's why I married a preacher... Ha!

Till me meet again New Kids!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cover to Cover

Do you read a book cover to cover? 

I do. 

Literally cover to cover. 

I read:

...the copyright page. I like to see if it has the one sentence summary. (Have you ever tried writing one of those? I was a LOT harder than I thought it would be!) I also like to see if it has the genres listed. 

...the dedication page. I wonder who are the people the book is dedicated too. Who are they in the author's life that get a book dedicated to them. I want a book dedicated to me. Just sayin'. 

...the table of contents. Although not in detail. I'm afraid one of the chapter titles might be a spoiler. 

...the story. Duh!

...acknowledgements. In one of Liana Moriarty she wrote something like "I want to thank my husband for sleeping beside me in the dark even knowing how my mind works." So true Moriarty, so true! Bless him for that! But if I hadn't read the acknowledgment I wouldn't have that little nugget to hold on too and laugh about. 

So my question that will change the world: 

Do you read a book cover to cover?

You never know what gem you might find between the covers. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Wordless Pictures Books

The last 3 weeks that the library is open for business I decided to "read" a different wordless picture book each week and do a mini lesson.


I put the books under my Elmo.  I felt these types of books needed to be seen blown up on the Promethean Board.  I really wanted the students to be able to see the details in the pictures.

I didn't require them to raise their hands like normal.  These books just seemed like they were suppose to have students hollering out thoughts and ideas.  It was a bit chaotic but oh so much fun!  If they got too out of hand I would close the book and say quietly "I can't turn the page to find out what happens next until everyone is seated on their dot." (In one class I had a PreK nboy tell me I was pretty.  I said Thank you but you still need to sit on your dot.  These kids crack me up!)  Everyone would settle back down and we would continue on.

Before we started reading I explained that there were really no wrong or right answers. Since there were no words we each might "read" the pictures differently and we need to respect each others ideas.  This worked pretty well.  There's always a student who corrects other classmates.

We also discussed how some of these books looked like graphic novels and what the difference was between graphic novels and comic books were (it was good for some of the teachers to hear too!).

We also learned how to read a graphic novel.  The students enjoyed hearing how it was one of my former 6th grade Deaf Ed students who taught me how to read a graphic novel.

The first week in May I "read" Bow-Wow's Nightmare Neighbors by Mark Newgarden.  I started out asking what the title of this book was.  When they told me there was no title we discussed where else we might be able to look to find the title.  This brought in vocabulary for parts of a book.

The students loved the spookiness to the story.  They thought the naughty cats were hilarious!  

They brought up the book the next week.  We did a little compare and contrast with the other wordless picture books we read.

I also set up my Promethean Board as a station with Bow-Wow's website.  Two students were allowed to play on the board at a time since I only have two pens to work with.

The second week we read Tuesday by David Weisner.  This is not a true wordless picture book as it has some words in it but not many.

We started out predicting what the book was going to be about just looking at the cover.  We discussed what the title might mean and what time the clock read and what that hour meant.  Some students pointed out the hand in the corner and made guesses at who/what that hand might belong too.

Students REALLY enjoyed the ending of the book.  Spoiler alert! Stop reading this paragraph if you have not read this book!  They had so many ideas why the frogs flew at night on a Tuesday.  When we got to last four pages one page reads "Next Tuesday, 7:58 P.M."  The students all hollered "They're going to fly again!" But when I showed them next page the shadows were not frogs.  So they guessed what animal it might be.  The last page shows them pigs flying.  They all started screaming (definitely not an old school library!).  I settled them down with telling them I had two serious questions left.  Once they were quiet and seated back on their dots I asked "What do birds sometimes do while flying?"  I would get all kinds of answers until some one would get brave and say "Poop?" I would say "Yes... hmmmm, I wonder what would happen if a pig pooped from the sky."  We all gagged yelled grossed and had fun with a little bathroom humor... I'm not too old for a little bathroom humor!

This week I'm going to read The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett. This is on the 2x2 list for 2015-2016.  I normally don't like to read next year's books this year but I wanted to stick with the wordless picture books.  So I broke my rule.

Students noticed the sepia coloring of the pictures and how the only colored item was the bicycle. We discussed why the bicycle might be green. They also focused in on how we could only see the month of the happy people. 

The older students predicted what was going to happened more than the younger students did. They also dug deeper into the emotions of the characters. 

For all the books I stuck to the following questions.  

What pictures helped you tell the story? What was your favorite part of your story? Have you had an experience like the one in the story?

I changed them up a little to fit each book a little better and each book/reaction/class brought on new questions I would ask them.  The new questions were generally generated from an idea that a student shared.

I really had fun with these books.  I hope you try them too!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I Can't Take These Two Any Where!

We ate dinner at some friends house a couple of nights ago. They had the college kids from church over. This is finals week and they wanted to be kind and feed them. 

They made Tex-Mex. Pork tacos, cilantro rice, black beans.  So yummy! The guacamole was to die for!  They also had dessert. Delicious brownies. And marvelous lemon bars. 

I was so full!

Then these two... 

I can't take them any where! 

Percy Jackson & the Lighting Thief

I took my daughter out school early and I took a 1/2 day off yesterday. We went to see the Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief play at SFA. 

She loves Percy Jackson. She listens to the audiobooks all the time. In 3rd grade her class studies Greek gods and she's loved them ever since. 

We ate lunch on campus. Mostly because I want her to know what a college campus "feels" like. Because not going to college is not an option. She is going to college. 

Then we walked across campus to the theater. 

There was an issue with the actors costumes. The van that the costumes were in had a jammed door that no one could get opened so they didn't have complete wardrobes. The play was cute anyway. 

I'm glad we get to do fun things like this together!

Book Processing

We did STAAR retesting today. I didn't test but I did monitor. 

I walked around on the hour & checked on teachers & the other monitor walked around on the 1/2 hour. 

On my off time I processed Spanish & biligual books. This batch are fiction. 

When I process I ALWAYS forget a step. Every. Time. 

This time I forgot to write the barcode number on the inside page. 

I always remember just as I think "Yay! I'm done with these books!" Then I remember. Nope. I forgot something. 

I've thought about making a sign with all the steps. But some of my books come processed and I just need to add some personal things and some I have to completely process myself. So to make a sign would be a little tricky since I don't have to do all steps everytime. 

Maybe I should make multiple signs. Like "Books That Need Full Processing" and "Books That Need Partcial Processing."

I need to figure something out because this is getting annoying. Ha!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Summer Count Down

I used to count down to summer.  I had a place on my board where we counted down.  I diligently erased the number every morning and loving wrote the new, lesser number.  The number bringing me closer to summer.

When I was a Deaf Ed teacher.

Before I became a librarian.

Then it changed.  I think there are many reasons for this change.

1. Although I loved being a Deaf Ed teacher I love being a librarian more. #lovemyjob #bestjobever #librarian

2.  I see more students as a librarian and I notice poverty more.  The majority of my students are on free lunch with a few on reduced.  School is the only place some of them get meals. Which they won't be getting during the summer.  

3.  Since I see more students I also see more of their home lives.  And I know that school is their safe haven. Summer is a long time to not feel safe. 

4.  I have a marvelous principal who very gently taught me the error of my ways.

5. I'm older now.  Not that 38 is old and wise but I'm not young and naive.

Who am I to let these kids see me celebrate, count down, to when I don't have to be with them?  How would that make me feel to see that happen to me?

So I don't count down anymore.

Where kids can see me.

I totally count down in my head but I find I don't actually start counting down until some one else on campus mentions it.

It feels weird to not be counting down.  Doesn't society tell us we are not suppose to like our work? That we are suppose too hang on till our next break?  That our work is something we HAVE to do not something we GET to do? 

I GET to go to work. I GET to introduce students to new books. I GET to help teachers find what they need for their classes & students. These are not things I have to do. I GET to do them. 

Don't get me wrong. I love my summers. The late mornings. Slowly drinking my coffee. Endless hours to read. 

But I won't count down in front of my students. 

This is my new normal!  Hopefully I'll teach another teacher this new norm and it'll be something that spreads.  Adding just a little more positive to a world that can be so negative.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day

Mother's Day.

A day to celebrate moms. 

I have a wonderful mama. She taught me how to be a good Christian wife and mother. About two months after my daughter was born I called my mom crying and told her I was sorry for everything I even did to her and I loved her so much. Having my own kid changed everything I thought I knew about my mom. Kids have a way of doing that. 

I have the best mother-in-law. She loves me like her own. She has always been there for my hubby & me. She always puts us & her other son first. She is the most unselfish person I know. 

My granny and grandma are strong, smart women. Women who also put their families first. 

I am a very luck lady!

Saturday, May 9, 2015


I can't seem to get well and stay well. 

I got over broncitis then a few days later got a weird stomach thing that turned into a migraine. 

Then a couple of days after than I got a minor earache. Even though it was minor I was just so tired of being sick I nearly lost it at the minor earache. 

So we are spending another weekend on the couch. Trying to build my immune system back up. Trying to rest. Trying to let my body do its thing. 

I'll probably OD on vitamin C. 

For a girl who's a mover and a shacker. Who likes to be on the go.  Who's papa called her, her mom, and her granny road lizards because we were (are) always on the go.  

Two weekends on the couch... sadly, is starting to get old. 

I'll try to remember this feeling so I can slap myself in the fall when life suddenly gets unbelievely crazy and all I want is a little time to just lay on the couch. 

Netflix here I come!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Road To Recovery

Two shots, one prescription, two over-the-counter drugs, and eight days later I think I'm finally recovering from bronchitis. I spent all day Saturday on the couch.  I only moved for food, water, coffee and bathroom needs. It was the best day ever! 

I'm headed off to church this morning. To return to my couch soon as possible.

I still cough a little in the mornings and a little at night. I do have my voice back! So I finally get to read to my students again next week.  :-) 

I am so over being sick!

I'm looking forward to next week and feeling back to normal. Y'all have a great week too!