Monday, February 29, 2016

New Car

We got my new car this past weekend (if you didn't read about my PT Cruiser being backed over by a garbage truck you can read about it here). I don't know about you but I don't like the buying a new car process. It's long. It's boring. It's a lot of waiting. And I'm never quite sure if I'm being taken advantage of or not.

But buying the GMC Terrain was a bit different. We test drove a couple of vehicles earlier last week after doing some research for crossover vehicles. After we got back to town we decided on the Terrain. We called the salesman back and told him the price we were able to pay. He told us he could work with our number. We gave him some personal info to get the ball rolling. 

A cool thing about Buick GMC I didn't know about before we decided on the Terrain is that they give an educators discount. How cool is that?!? That was a really nice surprise!

We went back this past weekend to sign the paperwork. It still took about two hours from the time we walked in the door to the time our salesman showed us how to work everything and we pulled out of the lot. But compared to our other vehicle purchases that was down right speedy!

Reagan helped me get the radio stations set and my phone connected to Bluetooth. It certainly has more technology than my Cruiser (but I still miss it). 

Also the new car smell is giving me a headache. Yea, I know, #FirstWorldProblems. Ha!

This picture is of me and my Cruiser a couple of hours before we said our final goodbyes. (I have no lipstick on. My mom is going to be furious! Ha!)

Library Lessons

Last week I read CDB! By William Steig.  I read this to everyone, PK-5th.  It's a book filled with pictures with captions written in code.  You could almost call it texting language these days.  Each letter stand for a word.  So the title CDB! means See The Bee!  The accompanying pictures help the reader decode the caption.  Luckily there's an answer key in the back to help you if you get stuck or want to check your answers... we used it... a lot.  Ha!

I started the lesson with the title and pointing to each letter as I said it. Then I'd point to the bee on the cover and ask them "CDB?"  I usually had to repeat the question before it starting to dawn on them that I was asking See the bee?

I then explained I was going to read a book in code and they had to help me read it.  Most classes read each page themselves and I just helped when they got stuck.

We had so much fun!  I found that even the struggling reads could read this book.   They weren't looking for words.  They could just look at the letters and say them. Some of the more logical students struggled with the book.  They were looking for the words and couldn't see them.

There's a page with a man lifting weights wearing very little clothes.  I hid the page when I got to it and made a big deal about them not being able to handle the next page and I was just going to skip it. As you can image I got a choris of NO!!!!!  We can handle it!  I asked them if people who lifted big, heavy weights wore a LOT of clothes or a little clothes.  Most said little clothes.  I explained that the pictures of the man on the next page had on little clothes and it is a little funny but I didn't want crazy laughing... to which I demonstrated crazy laughing.  They thought that was pretty funny.  Then I demonstrated the kind of laughing that was acceptable.  We all agreed that they could "acceptable" laugh and I showed the page.  We all giggled like little school girls... it is kind of funny.

I highly recommend this book!  We had so much fun with it!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Sharing Library Ideas & Practices


A cool thing happened this week! The three tech/librarians in this picture with me came to visit my library. They're from Tyler ISD.  My former principal is now a principal in Tyler. He told them about my library and about the great things happening there and suggested they pay me a visit. 

Here's a little background. Tyler ISD does not have certified librarians anymore. Their instructional technologists run their libraries with a paraprofessional to run circulation. They would like their ITs to have a librarian certification (and some do and others are working on the certification) but don't require it. Nacogdoches ISD has 6 elementary schools, 4 have certified librarians. All the secondary schools have certified librarians. 

They were able to see a lesson with 3rd grade (I'll blog about that lesson on Monday). Then we were able to sit down for about 45 minutes and talk. 

They really liked my lesson and how interactive it was. Sneak peak, I read CDB! By William Stieg. 

We discussed the following topics:

*circulation numbers
*how many books students check out
*reading incentives
*programs (like book and LEGO club, Read It Forward)
*self check out
*librarian meetings
*professional developments for librarians
*what I do about lost books

If was good to share ideas and practices with another district. It leaves me wondering if this is something that could be done on a larger scale with more districts. How much could we learn from each other? Could we convince more or even all districts that they NEED certified librarians?  That we are more than book shelvers. We help with reading scores on so many ways!  We help mold a love of reading. We don't just scan books in and out. 

Moving on... I had to take a selfie before they left. I put the picture on our school's Facebook page and on Twitter. Then our district shared it so more people will see it. So cool!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thankful Thursdays

I've been thinking about what to blog about each day.  I do really good Monday through Wednesday because I know my prompt/topic but I struggle Thursdays through Sundays.  So I did a little searching and with the help of my friend and fellow librarian Sonja over at the Sassy Bibliophile I found the following topics/prompts.

Mondays I do my library lesson from the week before which fits into the "It's Monday! What are you reading?" prompt.  If I've read anything for myself I include it in this post too.  I like going back and reviewing my story time lesson.  Seeing what worked and what didn't and if I plan to do this lesson again what I might change or add.

Tuesday is my Slice of Life.   Here I write about what's happening in my daily life.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  It could be school related or about my personal life.  I visit Two Writing Teachers website and see what other bloggers Slice of Life are all about.  I enjoy the comments I get from other bloggers.

Wednesday is Wordless Wednesday (sometimes it's Nearly Wordless Wednesday).  I scroll through the pictures on my phone and select one to post.  I LOVE taking pictures on my phone.  I have a bazillion pictures on my phone so I'm never desperate for a picture.

I'm thinking Thankful Thursday.  On the Happy Librarian Challenge Bingo Board there is a square for keeping a gratitude journal.  I don't like writing, like physical writing, like pen and paper writing so I thought I could do my own version and keep my "journal" here on my blog.  Thursdays seem like a good day for that.  I have so many things to be thankful for but sometimes the negative sticks out more than the positive.  I think taking the time on Thursday to really think about all the things I have to be thankful for will help my outlook.  It will also go along with my OLW, positive.

I'm still thinking about Friday and Saturday.  I've cruised the Internet and seen some ideas but nothing is jumping out at me screaming "Pick me!  Pick me!"  Do you have any ideas for Fridays and Saturday???  What do you do for those days?

I found this meme for "Shout Out Sunday." I'm thinking about doing that.  The... directions... for lack of a better word say "Shout out Sunday is a simple meme in which we talk about new (and old) blogs that we love, posts that stuck with us that particular week, books that we just have to mention, and songs and/or TV shows/movies/videos. It is a fun way to get to know us (and you) better, as well as finding new blogs!"  I might include people who made an impression on me during the week too.

I'm excited about finding topics to write about each day.  I think this will help me blog everyday.  I know I can do it since I participated in the Slice of Life last March and will be doing it again this March.  I want to take what I learned doing the Slice and apply it to all the other months of the year.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Brandi, Emily and me
I need to change the title of my Wednesday posts to Nearly Wordless Wednesdays. Ha!                                                                                                       For the last 3 years my BFFs and I have gone to a Ladies Bible Retreat called Women of Worthiness (WOW).  There are usually over 300 women in attendance with four guest speakers.  It's an awesome way to rejuvenate the soul.  Not only with the Bible lesson (which are a huge part of that rejuvenating) but being with your best friends for the weekend and also seeing so many christian women in one place and knowing you're not alone in a world that can some times make you feel like you are the only christian around.                                                                                                             If you've never been to something like this I highly recommend it.  It will do your heart and soul good.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Signs and Displays

I have signs and displays all over my library. Everything I read, blogs, books, professional magazines and every professional development I go say librarians should have lots of signage. So I do.                                                                                                                                                     I have signs everywhere.  I started with the areas I get asked about the most then branched out from there.  Some of my signs I like more than others but on a whole I really like what I've done. I still want to add more.

Here's problem though. Students ask me all the time where books are located. Like graphic novels. I have a huge sign for them. It takes up the whole window. It's brightly colored and has "graphic novels" written on it. But they don't see it. The big tree that says "Poet-tree," yeah, no one ever notices it until I point it out. It's frustrating. So unbelievably frustrating to work on these displays to help students and they don't notice them.  Or maybe a better way to say that is that they don't use them.  Maybe they see them but don't realize their meaning?

They are helpful when I can't walk over and show students exactly where books are found. It helps to say "Do you see the globe that says 'Read Around The World'? The book you want is over there." That IS helpful.                                                                                                                   So what does that mean? Have I not taught my students about sections of my library well enough? Have I not taught them to look at the signs? Am I expecting to much from elementary students? I don't know. I just don't know. 

I do a lesson at the beginning of the year about where to find books in the library. I point out the signs and displays. I read a book about different "addresses" of books. Maybe I need to do a refresher lesson mid year or maybe quarterly.

I really want my students to be aware.  Looking at signs and displays goes beyond a school library or a public library.  Or even a book store for that matter.  There are signs and displays all around our world.  At ball parks, on the streets, in office buildings, etc.  I'd like the lesson of noticing the signs and displays in our library to carry over to the real world.

Until my students get there, I'll do my job and teach.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Library Lessons

Last week in the library I read Hug Machine by Scott Campbell to Pre-K through 2nd. It's on the Texas 2x2 list. It's an adorable book about a little boy who is a hug machine. He hugs everybody and everything he can get his arms around.

I started the book with the inside flap.  It says Hug Checklist at the top of the page then there are pictures of people, animals, and things on it. I asked the students if they thought the hug machine could hug all those people, animals and things by the end of the book. I got varying answers. At the end of the book there's the same page but everything has check marks by it. Some students would tell me "that's a lot of hugging". Ha!

I did my best to read the book in a robot voice... the kids bought it but I'm no Jim Dale that's for sure! I made my voice deep for the whale, sad for the porcupine, tired when the hug machine got tired. Adding voices to a read aloud really makes a book fun.

There's a page with a porcupine on it asking if he can be hugged. I made a show of touching the porcupine's spikes and exclaiming "ouch". The little kids giggled. The older kids gave looks of confusion. Were the spikes really poking me? Was my "ouch" real? I wish I had snapped a picture of their cute little faces. 

There's also a part in the story where the hug machine tells us he eats pizza to refuel. To make the book a little interactive I had them fill in the blank when I read the sentence "I like to eat ________." Students yell pizza. Then I asked "Who likes pizza?" Everyone's hands flew in the air. Of course!

I ended story time with this video. I'm sorry but the video is so stupid BUT the kids LOVED it. LOVED it. The 90-Second Hug Machine is interactive. Some classes really got into it and hugged each other some classes didn't and just sat there and giggled. I tried to find that naughty student in each class who probably doesn't get a lot of hugs because of their behavior but probably really needs the hugs and had them be my hug partner for the video. 

Mid year our Deaf Ed teacher read this book to her class and did a lesson. She made this cute finger puppet for me that she taped to my check out computer. Some of the students noticed it and pointed it out to me. 

For 3rd through 5th I showed the Winner of the Bluebonnet Book Award video. We were all a little surprised by the winner. None of my students voted for DJ. As we were watching the video they would give hints for the top three winners. Some classes guessed better than others. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

What a Week!

This has been a week! And it's not even over yet.

Monday started with the garbage truck rolling back into my parked car.  You can read about that here.

Tuesday I get a text from Reagan's school that they haven't received her tuition check that I have electronically drafted automatically every month.  Long story short, the bank put a hold on the check because no one knows where it is and they reissued a new one.  I also have something wrong with my toe.

Tuesday the collision place reported that my car is totaled. Which is sad but a good thing is the guy told me the motor mounts were going out and that's why my car shakes... I thought it shook because it was old.  I had no idea something was wrong with it.  He said it getting rolled into was a blessing in disguise because I'll get more for it than I would of it I tried to sell it or trade it in.

Wednesday I wrote up two 3rd graders for looking at inappropriate things on one of their cell phones. I love how they quickly start swiping at their phone when they see me coming.  Eyes going from phone to me just as quickly has their fingers swipe.  Cuz... that's not making you look guilty.  I looked at the history, looked at one picture and quickly decided to let the principal investigate the rest.

Today is my last work day this week.  I took Friday off because my two besties and I are going to a Ladies' Bible Retreat Friday night and most of Saturday.  I am REALLY looking forward to that... especially after this week.  The librarians are also being honored at our board meeting this evening. I'm looking forward to that.  I had to get a chauffeur, aka a college student from church, to drive me around this evening since Reagan is on a field trip and we aren't exactly sure what time she'll be back so Jay will need to be ready to pick her up when she gets back to school.  I'm bribing my chauffeur with paying for his dinner.  It worked.  The way to a college student's heart is through his stomach! Ha!

So far today has been a good day.  I'm determined to have 4 out of 7 good days this week!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Just Like Any Other Monday

Reagan had President's Day off but I did not.  She and Dad got to spend the day together.  Their plans were to spend a little time at his office at the church building and then go to lunch with some people from church.

Normally we eat a quick breakfast together but since they got to sleep in I decided to treat myself to Dunkin' Donuts this morning.  I got their apple smoked chicken link sandwich since it's easy on the waist line.

Once at school the nurse was telling me about needing to print out pictures from the Valentine's Day Dance the school had this weekend.  I found her a coupon online and volunteered to print them for her.  She's not very techy.

When she brought me the memory card I realized it would not fit in any of my computers.  And her camera didn't have a cable to hook to the computer so I couldn't do it for her.

My principal called me shortly after and asked if I'd run to Walgreens and print them for the school. Excited to leave campus for a bit I quickly agreed.

I got the photos printed and since I was out I decide to run by McDonald's for a free coffee.  Every Monday in February McDonald's gives teachers with an ID a free coffee.  It was on my way back to school so why not?!

Back at school I parked in the same spot I always do.  Went inside, signed back in, and headed to clinic to give the nurse the pictures.  While waiting for the nurse to finish up with some students I hear my library phone ring.

It's the secretary.

My car had been hit by the garbage truck.      
The driver said he'd put the breaks on, got out of the truck to move some cones, when the truck started rolling backwards... into my car.

He said at least my car stopped his truck.

That did not amuse me or make me feel better.

The school district police came out to get our info, take pictures of my car and write a report.  She asked me if I parked my car like that.  I clarified "Do you mean in the parking spot or sideways like it is now?  Because I was in the parking spot.  The garbage truck pushed my car out of the parking spot."  I don't know why I find that amusing but I do. I've got to laugh at something here.

I take my car in Wednesday to have them do an estimate for damages.  No one has looked at this but the collision guy and a car friend of mine both say they are going to total it.  With it's age, the high mileage, and the damage being extensive they don't think they'll repair it.

This was the first car I ever drove that I truly like and enjoyed driving.  I'm not looking forward to saying goodbye or buying something new.

What started out as a nice Monday quickly turned south.  But with my OLW being positive this year... at least I wasn't in the car, no one was hurt and we have another truck to drive so we are not without transportation.  It all could of been a lot worse.  This is just a bleep on my radar this week.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Library Lessons

This weeks lessons had to revamped.  My orginal plan was to read some Valentine's Day poems to 3rd-5th grade.  I had read the poems and had marked which poems I wanted to read to them.  But when I read them to the first class the poems did not roll off my tongue.                                                                                                                                          Side note: I learned a valuable lesson here.  I had read the poems before hand to myself but I did not practice reading them out loud.  That would of made a huge different!  I'll practice reading them out loud from now on.                                                                                                                               The book of poetry was copyrighted 1976, the same year I was born... 39 years old (which turned into a math lesson).  Not that that makes it a bad book but by the blank, bored out of my mind stares I got I decided it wasn't relevant to them anymore.  Plus with fumbling the words so much... anyone would of been bored.  After we trudged through 6 poems I said, "I'm guessing by the looks on your faces you did not like this book."  I got a chores of "NO!" and head shakes.  So I learned my lesson and decided to read the same book to the older kids as I was to the little kids.  

And they loved it!  I read There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose! by Lucille Colandro.

I know that big kids like to hear little kid books too.  I know that.  But I forget sometimes.  This book was a hit for everyone.  I got all kinds of reactions from the little kids exclaiming things like "She's gonna be so fat!" to the big kids questioning "I wonder if the thorns hurt going down?" which was something I had never thought about.

After I read the book I used print outs I got from Crazy Speech World to do an activity.  As a group we ordered the items the old lady ate.  If there was a disagreement on what went next I had them old up the first little of the item in sign language they thought was next then I'd check the book (cuz I can barely remember the order myself!).  We had to have a little discussion about sportsmanship when the right students were right.                                                                                                                                          If I do this lesson again I think I'll print more of the activities and put students into groups then we can share our activity when we're done.  I have students for 45 minutes.  I usually like to spend 10-20 minutes reading and doing an activity then do check out and stations.  In my head this book and activity was going to take longer than it did. We could of easily done more activities.

I really enjoyed reading this book and doing the activity with the students!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Almost Wordless Wednesday:  Reagan and I have been wanting Harry Potter Tervis Tumblers for like, forever!  But they didn't have them.  NOW. THEY. DO!  I bought us two each... I'll probably go back and buy the other three.  We LOVE Harry Potter! Always.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Library Lessons

Image taken from
Last week I read It's An Orange Aardvark by Michael Hall to Pre-K through second.  It's on the 2015 Texas 2x2 list.  Students LOVED this book! When I read "carpenter ants" there was always one student in the class who would call out "That's our school!"  Which lead to a discussion of all the different ways to use the word carpenter.

Pre-k especially loved sticking their tongue out to see if it was as long as the aardvark's.

I also had students fill in the blanks for the colors.  The sentence was "It's orange and blue."  I'd pause after and and the students would fill in the color.  One of the carpenter ants was drilling holes in the stump and made a wrrrrr sound.  I didn't think about letting students make the sound but one class did so I ran with it.  I encourage all the other classes to do the same.  We just had fun with this book!

After I read the story I showed this short Sesame Street video of a real aardvark.  We compared and contrasted the book aardvark to the real aardvark.

On a side note, they were testing in an office connected to the library one day last week.  I had a 1st grade class in the library.  I told them we had to be super quiet since they were testing.  BUT  I still wanted them to participate in the story because I think that's one reason why they enjoyed the story so much.  They were soooooo cute whispering the colors and the wrrrrrr sound!

Image taken from
I finished reading The Misadventures of Salem Hyde: Big Birthday Bash by Frank Cammuso to 2nd-5th grade.  It's on Texas Bluebonnet list for 2015-2016.  Students are loving Salem!  She's a witch who gets into all kinds of trouble without even trying. Since Frank came to our school for an author visit they are going crazy for his books!  I'm debating continuing the series with them. I might put it up for a vote.  If they want to keep read then I'll have to beg the student who has the 3rd book checked out to give it to me.  Ha!