Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Jay was obsessed with the sheep in Ireland!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What's Your Favorite Thing About Your Job?

At a recent conference a lady asked "What's your favorite thing about your job?"

This caught me off guard. 

Normally people ask "What do you love about your job?" Which allows for a list of things I love. And I do have a list. 

But asking what my favorite thing is about my job made me feel like I needed to pick one thing. My very favorite thing. 

So after the lady asked me I felt like I sat there like a dork silently thinking about my one favorite thing. I felt awkward. She probably thought nothing of it. Ha!

I finally said "Those 'ah ha' moments." Because really this does encompass a lot of my favorites. 

When a student and I find a book they end up loving. 
When I teach students how to find books in the library and they get it. 
When students help me shelf books and they do it right. 
When I start a club like my Code Club and students excel & thrive in it. 
When a student who hates reading learns to love read with my help. 

The list is long my friends so I'll stop here. 

It's such a simple question "What's your favorite thing about your job?" But it's a question that's stuck with me and made me think frequently about it. And made me blog about it. Ha!

What's your favorite thing about your job?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Five For Friday-Ireland

1. Driving on the wrong side of the road.  What an experience!

2.  Sheep!  Sheep everywhere!  Sheep in the roads.  Sheep on the side of the road.  Sheep everywhere!

3. Oh the rain!  It rain off and on everyday except one day when it did nothing but pour.

4. A 10 hour plane ride is not fun.  Not fun at all.
5.  The conference was awesome.  I learned so much from attending session.  I was amazed at how many people were interested in our project.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Invasion of Frogs

Ok... maybe my title is an exaggeration.  Maybe it wasn't an invasion.  And maybe it wasn't frogS.  Maybe it was just one frog.

But why?!

Why does a killer frog jump in my house the night my husband isn't home?  It's like the murderous frog knew Jay wasn't home.

I let Maggie, our black lab, out to potty last night and I see something slink in the house.  I thought it was a gecko.  I followed Maggie on outside to make sure she did her business and contemplated my next move with (what I thought was) the gecko.

I decided to get a plastic cup to capture it then put something heavy on top to hold the cup down.  After that I didn't have a plan.  I sure wasn't going to get it outside.  I did think if I saw the neighbor I might ask him to come get it otherwise... it was going to be waiting for Jay to get home.

When Maggie and I got back in the house I quickly realized my mistake.  It wasn't a gecko.  It was a frog.

I really don't know which is worse.

So I get my trusty plastic cup and a water bottle to put on top for weight and head to the corner of the breakfast room where the frog sits in the corner.  Maggie, my trusty protector is by side with her ears alert and eyes on the prize.


She charges the frog before I do which sends it hopping behind the breakfast table.  And makes me scream like a little girl.  Which makes Reagan come running out of her room to check on me.

I local the frog again and quickly capture it with the plastic cup and sit the water bottle on top.

My brave 14 year old daughter uses a paper plate and a bundle of bunched up paper towels to get the killer frog out the back door.  Thank goodness for her bravery cuz that vicious frog would still be waiting under the plastic cup for Jay to get home.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thankful Thursday

While in Ireland Reagan turned to me and said "Thanks Mom for doing what you did to get us here."

Oh my soul!

All the guilt I felt for working summer school and leaving her at home more than 1/2 the day all of June just evaporated.  Knowing not only did she understand that my hard work got us to Ireland but also the extra hours I put in and the extra duties I worked helped pay for a good portion of the trip.

These are all things Jay and I have tried to teacher but I think this trip really made an impact on her.  Hard work really does pays off.  Sacrificing our time and saving our money really does pay off.

And really, how often does a teenager sincerely thank her parents?  I didn't thank mine until after Reagan was born and I realized all the sacrifices they made for me.

I'm treasuring this moment in case I don't get one again until she has kids of her own.  Ha!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Beach vs Mountains

It's hard to tell but that little dot is Jay.
One of the things I found interesting while we were in Ireland for my conference is my preference for the beach verses my husband's preference for the mountains.

Every time we pulled over on the side of the road to enjoy the scenery Jay always tried to climb the mountain and I always tried to figure out how to get down to the beach.

I know I love the water and Jay does not.  I know I'm the first one to jump in the pool at a hotel.  And I'm the first one to plan a trip to the beach.  I know I'm the one who talks about tubing down the river or heading to lake.

For some reason seeing our choices in action on our trip really made me notice it.

I love water.  I was a water baby.  My parents put me in swim classes at 6 months old and I've loved it ever since. We had a pool when I was kid that I spend all summer in. Except for the days I got swimmers ears.  I can remember bugging my mom everyday till I was able to get back in the pool.

I remember my mom and aunt taking my little cousin and I to the beach a few times each summer. We use to go camping on the river and tube all day.  We'd also camp by the lake and swim all day.

I love the water.

Jay nearly drowned in high school on the lake.  One of his buddies noticed him going under and was able to grab him and get him to shore.  Needless to say he does not have the love of water that I do.

Back to Ireland.  That's one of the awesome things about Ireland.  The beach and mountains are all
The beach at Ventry-Coumeenoole.
right there together.  Some of the houses have front porches that faced the beach and back porches that face the mountain. That would be the perfect house for us except we might never see each other. Ha!

Don't get me wrong.  I do love the mountains but I'd pick the beach over the mountains any day!

What do you prefer?

Monday, September 25, 2017

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

For Pleasure:

I finished listened to Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. It is a young adult historical fiction set in 1941. Lina & her Lithuanian family are taken from their home by Soviet officers. Lina, her brother, their mother are separated from their father. They end up spending 12 years in an imprisonment camp working in terrible conditions.  They are malnourished, mistreated and watch new friends die. 

For School:

Last week I read Are Pirates Polite? by Corinne Demas.  Tuesday, September 19 was Talk Like a Pirate Day so I wanted to read a pirate book and dress up like a pirate.  The students LOVE it!  This is the second year I've done this and will keep doing it as long as the kids keep loving it.  Are Pilates Polite? teach children about manners in a fun piratey way.  We learn that sometimes pirates push forward in battle but they never push in line.  We learn that pirates never interrupt.  Don't you want to have manners like a pirate?!?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


I've been trying to decide how to write about my time in Ireland. 

Do I go day by day? Do I write about our sight seeing? Do I write about the conference? Do I write about the conference in general or my present?  Do I write about the looonnnngggg flight? Or the sheep? So many adorable sheep!

And when I do write about these things how do I organize my thoughts? And all the bazillion pictures we took... do I add those? If not all the pictures how do I choose just a few pictures?

All these choices!

It doesn't help organize my thoughts that when people at school have asked me how Ireland was all I have had time to says is "Ireland is beautiful. The conference was great! The food was yucky."

Those 3 short simple sentences aren't enough for a blog. Ha!


The conference. I think I'll start there since it's the whole reason I ended up in Ireland. Specifically my presentation. 

The conference is call International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement. IARSLCE for short cuz mercy that's a mouth full!

I quickly learned this conference was geared for university faculty and staff. I always got funny looks from other attendees when I told them I was an elementary librarian. Then I'd explain I was presenting a project a professor and I did together. Then everyone (yes, everyone) would then nod and smile in understanding. Ha!

The professor and I did a PechaKucha.  It's Japanese for chit chat. Luckily the secondary lead librarian had taught us librarians about a PechaKucha so I had some prior knowledge. 

Our presentation was called "A Reversal of Service-Learning: When Young Students Teach Student Teachers." We did 20 slides in 6 minutes and 40 seconds. 20 seconds for each slide was not nearly enough time. Ha!

There were 4 presentations in one session. After all the presentations the audience was able to ask each set of presenters questions. We had 3 professors ask questions. After the session 2 of them came over to ask more questions and got our contact info. 

At lunch another professor asked if she could sit with me and ask more questions. While we were talking and eating 2 of her colleagues walked up. She introduced me as "This is one of the presenters in that awesome session I told you about."

Dude! How cool is that?!?

She went on to say that the professor and I need to write a paper on our project and offered to send me lit reviews. 

I made so many great contacts.  I learned so much about what colleges and universities have to offer the community. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Five for Five

1.  Tired

2.  There's no tired like the end of the first week of school tired.

3.  My feet are tired.

4.  My back is tired.

5.  T. I. R. E. D

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Houston Flooding

I had a different post ready for today but after the rain, the flooding, the evacuations in Houston, Texas due to Harvey I decided to scratch the other post and do this one.

My parent's house in Houston has never flooded.  Their street has flooded but it's never gotten over sidewalk.  I never worry about them.  That neighborhood was build in the 70s and it was built well.

Until Harvey.

At 10:00 last night my mom texts Jays that they are having to evacuate to a shelter.  Thinking about my parents in their late 60s sitting in a shelter was more than I could take.  So I started texting friends.  They couldn't get to my BFF or my bestie house.

They tried to get to my dad's hunting buddy's house but they couldn't get their either.  Since they have a hunting dog they couldn't take to the shelter they ended up going back to the house and riding it out.

I text both my parents this morning.  My dad is going to need a lesson in texting etiquette!

Me: How did it go last night???
Dad: Get back to you later.

So that was comforting.  I mean a little info would of been better than that.  Like "Knee deep in water. Get back to you later." or "We're good.  Get back to you later."  Come on Dad!

About 30 minutes later my mom texts me:  We got to bed about midnight.  We are still high and dry. Been glued to the TV this morning.  A surrounding neighborhood has 4-5 feet in the houses.  It's looking like we may only get street flooding.  I can handle that.  We should know more around 2:30 or 3 today.  Will keep you posted.  Love you

Now that's an informative text!

I'm trying to think positive about my grandparents who live inside the loop and my granny who lives further north of Houston and about my parents.  Prayers would be appreciated!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I'm listening to Airborn by Kenneth Oppel.  It's an adventure where airships fly through the air.  I have to admit it took me awhile to understand the ships were flying (insert eyeroll here).  There are new lands to be discovered and creatures never seen before.  People die, airships crash, pirates attack, kids are kidnapped and so much more.  I'm really enjoying this book!

I'm still reading True Grit by Charles Portis as part of our town's One Book, One City program.  I've seen parts of the movie and have never read the book before.  I'm not really into westerns but this book is more than just a western.  I'm about a 1/3 of the way through the book.

I started The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. I'm trying to apply the Danish word hygge to my life. What better way than reading a book about it!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Teaching Training

Today was the 1st day back for teachers. My 1st day was Monday. 

I'm pretty sure my face looked just like the face of the 15 and up in the meme. I know the 1st year teacher looked like the one in the meme.  Bless her heart. She wanted to follow all the instructions to the T when the rest of us just want get "it" over with. Ha! 

I thought of the meme a lot today. 

Today we sat through safety training and T-Tess training. And maybe some other stuff but after awhile my brain went numb. Ha!

I passed out 6 Advils to teachers with headaches. 

I sat in a cafeteria with no AC for hours. Being hot makes me angry. Another teacher brought in a fan that I sat directly in front of with my hair in a ponytail. 

My hands were shaking. I'm blaming it on the pain meds I'm taking but I looked up the side effects and shaking isn't a side effect. 

Tomorrow is a work day. Work days are so much better than training days. 

I think if you have 10 or more years experience you should be able to be exempt from the routine trainings like the safety training and T-TESS training. I mean we get it. Rock Star teachers are only proficient. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Letter To Myself

Dear Self,

As you start year 15 in the world of education I want you to remember a few things.  This may be your 15th year but none of your students have been in school for 15 years.  They are not as jaded as you. Although some of these babies might be close to as jaded as you.  So ask yourself, "How can I be the difference for them?  How can I help chip away at the jadedness we both have?"  Remember you can't reach them all but you can sure try.

You've been at this current school for 3 years and have had 5 principals.  That's a lot to deal with.  It's a lot of inconsistency.  It's hard of the students.  It's hard on the parents.  It's hard on the faculty and staff.  No one is denying it's hard.  It.  Is. Hard.  So what are you going to do with that? Fake it till you make it?  Although, I know you're tired of faking it.  Maybe you should try the saying you found of Pinterest, "Faith it till make it." 'Faith it' seems much easier than 'Faking it'.

So pray more.
Leave work at work.

If this is hard on you at 40, you know this is hard for 4-11 year olds.  So be there for them.  Be the consistency in their lives that they might not have at home or even at school as a whole.  Set expectations for the library.  Model those expectations.  Be consistent with your rules and procedures. Teach the love of reading.

No matter what kind of day you're having don't let the students see anything but that you are happy to see them, you love them and want the best for them.  Be that adult in their lives.

Remember who you are and what you've done for the library, the school, and the students.  Don't let anyone take from you.  You know what you've done.  You know what you've done.  You know what you've done.

You know what you are good at and you know what you need to improve one.  Pick 3 improvements and work on them this school year.  How can you encourage the love of reading?  How can you reach those who hate reading?  What new clubs can you add to the library program?  How can you help improve testing scores?  Cuz it all comes down to testing scores doesn't it?


*Faith it till you make it
*Don't let idiots ruin your day

The last one... your not trying to be flippant just... real and truthful.  Just trying to make it through the day.



Monday, August 14, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I finished listening to One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth.  After Devin's grandfather dies he is invited to a home where children are fed and cared for after some one witnessed him do an act of kindness.  Only the home turns out to use the children for their youth.  Devin makes some friends and together they find a way out of the craziness.

I started listening to Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriot.  Suzume watches her father get killed. She barely escapes and does so by discovering a hidden power.  Through turns of events she could never of guessed at she finds her mother married to her father's best friend and she's now disguised as a drudge.

The town I live in is participating in the One Book, One City program.  Of course I'm participating! Ha!  So I'm reading True Grit by Charles Portis.  I'm looking forward to all the activities the public library has planned for this program.

For School:

All the librarians in my district vote on a professional development book each year.  This year we picked Your School Rocks So Tell People by Ryan McLane and Eric Lowe.  I'm so inspired by this book!  I do all my school's social media and our webpage.  I'm looking forward to trying out some of their suggestions.

What are you reading that I need to add to my To Be Read list?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

On our way back to our house after visiting the in-laws
Maggie stuck her head up on Reagan's
shoulder.  My sweet girls!

Five for Friday

1.  This is my last Friday before heading back to work.

2.  We are celebrating Reagan's 14th birthday tonight.

3.  There will be boys there!

4.  We are making s'mores in our firepit.

5.  14.  How did we get to 14?


Every August I take one day to make as many breakfasts as I can.  I'm not a morning person and being able to reach into the freezer and grab a health pre-made breakfast makes my mornings go just a little bit better.

I started at 9:45 Tuesday morning and ended at 2:15 (I did take a 30 minute lunch break).  I went through: 4 dozen eggs.  24 white corn tortillas. A pound of turkey sausage crumbs.  10 turkey sausage links.  A large block of cheese.  Lots of foil. Lots of sandwich size baggies.  5 gallon baggies.

56 individual breakfasts, 8 smoothie packets, 2 sore feet, 1 aching back later my freezer is stuffed full of yummy, healthy breakfasts to grab and eat quickly or to eat on the go.

Through all that I forgot to take pictures to post here.  Oh well!

Here are the links to what I made:

French Toast Overnight Oats packets (minus the liquid)

Smoothie Packets (minus the liquid)

Breakfast Taquitos

Breakfast Burritos

Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

English Muffin Breakfast Pizza

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

It Burns!

Reagan and I picked up a rotisserie chicken and some rice from the local grocery store after I got out of a training yesterday afternoon.

It was raining and all I could think to do after putting away the other groceries was to take a shower, put on some comfy jammies, and snuggle up on the couch.

So before eating dinner I jumped in the shower.  Got comfy, heated up dinner then Reagan and I sat down to dinner. 

I ate a couple of bites of yummy chicken then shoveled in some rice.  It was scorching hot!  It burned the very back of my throat.  Why I didn't spit it out is beyond me.  I mean it was just Reagan and me. It's not like I was in a restaurant trying to act like I had manners.

Instead I let it burn the back of my throat.  Genius.

Next thing I know I drip ketchup in the middle of my collar bone.  

Apparently I'm new to eating.  Never a dull moment! 

Monday, August 7, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I'm almost done listening to Gone by Michael Grant.  It's the first book in a series.  I've enjoyed this book so much that I plan to read the other books in the series.  As soon as a person turns 15 years old they disappear.  Poof right into thin air.  All these babies to 14 year olds are left alone.  The other children are trying to figure out what happened to everyone.  To make matters even weirder some of the children have powers.  Some are more powerful than others.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

We've been having district librarian professional developments this week.
We did an Instagram challenge.  I hope you enjoy
this picture as much as I enjoyed
taking it!

Lead Librarian

It's finally official!  As of yesterday I am the lead librarian for the elementary librarians in my district. This is definitely a new roll for me.

I'm excited to:

*test my leadership skills
*learn how to be a good leader
*to help support the other librarians in my district
*demonstrate to the school district what librarians can do
*share my knowledge
*learn from the seasoned secondary lead librarian

This is an exciting step in my career.  I think I'm ready for it!

Monday, July 31, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Wearing?

Listening to:

Gone by Michael Grant One minute everyone is there then suddenly some are gone.  Those left are trying to figure out what happened to those who are gone.


Born In Fire by Nora Roberts  I wanted to read this book because it's set in Ireland.  An artist signed with a business man who will make her rich though that's not why she signs with him. Passion ignites between them!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Five for Friday

1.  I just completed my first week as the lead librarian for the elementary librarians.  Ah!

2.  We had a girls' night last night.  Much! Needed!

3.  Reagan and I are headed to Tyler today to visit the in-laws.

4.  I didn't get to swim this week cuz the neighborhood pool turned green.  Yuck.

5.  I can't wait to eat Andy's Frozen Custard while in Tyler! Yummy!

Girl's Nite

My Nac girls and I are having a much needed girls' nite tonight.  I'm not sure I've ever written "girls' nite" without writing "much needed" before it. Ha!

We are celebrating one of their birthdays.  Two of them have birthdays back to back.  Some times we celebrate their birthdays together and some times separate.

I prefer separate.  Cuz then we have an excuse to go out twice! Ha!

We'll eat dinner then head to Starbucks for coffee and dessert.  Come on night time!

Five For Friday

1.  I had migraine two days this week.  Fun times.

2.  I decided to go to Houston a day earlier than planned cuz I just need out of this town.

3.  My parents, Reagan and I are going to the Monument Inn tomorrow.  I don't think I've ever been.  Maybe as a kid???  I can't remember.  My parents have taken Reagan a lot.  When she was little she told them she wanted to go feed the "eagles."  It took my parents hours to figure out she meant "seagulls" not "eagles" and wanted to go to the Monument Inn.  Ha!

4.  I'm using my new luggage, the one I'm taking to Ireland.  I'm practicing packing it.  I like my other luggage better but it was too wide by 3/4 inches.  I didn't want to run the risk of having to check it so I bought a new one.

5.  Yesterday I bought a pair of palazzo pants.  When the lady checking me out asked if I bought them for a reason (I thought it was a weird question but I think she was just making conversations) I told her yes that I had tried them on a month ago but didn't buy them.  I've been thinking about them the whole month and decided if they still had them I'd buy them.  She laughed and I got a new pair of pants.

Last Full Week of Summer

This is my last full week of summer.  Next week I have 4 days of professional development.  The week after that I have one day of training then I'm back to work on Thursday.

After teaching summer school all June, I really tried to cram in all my summer fun in in the month of July.  I think I did a pretty good job.

I don't have that "I'm ready to get back into a routine" feeling I usually have at the end of summer. I'm sure that's because I worked all of June and have only enjoyed a summer-lack-of-routine for 4 weeks.

I am ready to see the students.  To see how much they've changed and grown over the summer. Though honestly, I'm not ready to go back. At. All.

I had one meeting and left with a headache that turned into a migraine by night time and lasted until 10:00ish the next morning.  It came back that night and lasted again until the next morning.  So yeah.  I'm not looking forward to the stress or what it does to my body.  Fun times.

Monday, July 24, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's a rainy Monday here in East Texas.  It was cozy to wake up this morning to the sound of thunder and rain hitting the roof.  All I could think about was coffee, a couch, and a good book.  What are you reading on this rainy day?

Thanks to Audiobook Sync I listened too:

Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall:  Sugar lives in a dysfunctional house with her bed ridden obese mother and her obese middle brother.  Her mother and her brother are both verbally and physically abusive.  Her oldest brother escaped their house and has lost all his weight and changed his behaviors. Through an unlikely friendship and the with the help of her oldest brother Sugar starts to make changes in her life.

The Dorito Effect: the Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor by Mark Schatzker  I have a love/hate relationship with books like this.  I prefer to be blissfully unaware about the food I'm shoving in my mouth.  Yet books like this insist on informing me about nastiness of today's food. This book makes me want to start a garden and raise my own animals for slaughter.  Then I remember I'm a city girl and thought of getting my hands dirty in soil and with gross animals reminds me I'm just going to have to be ok with eating all the yucky things this book tells me about.  Sigh

I've started a couple of different books set in Ireland (for my Ireland trip) but have had a hard time getting into them so I've set them aside.  I started Nora Roberts series Born in Fire.  I'm not very far into the book yet but I think I might actually finish this one.  Can you recommend any books set in Ireland?  Preferably not a historical fiction.

Manic Mommies Reunion Podcast

Back when I was a stay at home mommy, in 2005 I found a podcast called Manic Mommies.

If memory serves me well (and it never really does) I had a Palm Pilot back then.  I would have to download the podcast from my laptop onto a sims card, insert it into the Palm Pilot then search through all my music until I could find The Manic Mommies podcast.  It wasn't as easy as it is now to download a podcast!

Although they were working mommies and I was a stay at home mommy, we were still mommies. We still had the same worries, the same concerns, the same joys, and the same love.  Their two oldest sons are the same age as Reagan.

I loved listening to them.  I loved knowing I wasn't alone.  And when I started working part time then three years later full time they were still there for me.  Our similarities grew.

Back in 2014 they released their last episode.  It was a sad day for me.  I had spent 9 years listening to these mommies.  Spent 9 years listening to their laughter, to their complaints, to their wins and their losses.  They were a small part of my life.

After raising money for a cancer institution they reunited for an episode.  They did this in 2016 also. Somehow I missed that episode.  So last week I downloaded both the 2016 and 2017 reunion episodes.

Their voices took me back.  Took me back to the good old days.  I listened to them back when we still lived in Houston.  When I was still a stay at home mommy.  When I still worked for a district I grew up in and loved.  When I lived 35-45 minutes from my best friend.  When I lived 15 minutes from my parents and in the same city as the rest of my family.  To a time I was happy about everything in my life.

And I started crying.  I cried for the good old days.  Cried because I missed them.  Cried because it was nice to hear that they still have the same child raising issues I have.  Cried because it was just good to hear their voices.

And then I decided to stop crying and enjoy the moment.

I do wish I hadn't listened to both episodes back to back while I cleaned my house.  I wish I had savored them and listened to one later.  But honestly I couldn't help myself.  I just had to listen to both.

Now I'm waiting for the 2018 reunion!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Reagan had two friends from school over this week to watch as many Star Wars movies as they could before they had to leave.

One was a BOY!  Eeeeeeee!!!!!  He is the 1st boy in our house that's not a family friend.  Ahhhhh!!!!

Reagan might not feel this is a milestone but boy (pun intended!) do I.  It's a different responsibility. With all girl friends over I just have to make sure they don't do anything too stupid.  But with a boy here.  I feel like I need to make surprise appearances ever so often.

I also giggled a little.  When the girl's mom dropped her off she came in.  We shook our heads over the fact that a boy was going to be here too and wondered where the time of all girls went.  She made sure I was staying at the house the entire time.  When the dad drop off his son, he didn't come in or ask to talk with me.  I just happened to walk the other mom out and catch the dad driving off.  He rolled down his window and we talked for a minute.  Boy dads verses girl moms.  Ha!

We bought each of their favorite candies, got their favorite drinks, picked up popcorn from the local movie theatre (cuz it just tastes better), ordered pizza, rolls and salads.

I got my bathroom cleaned, clothes washed, blogging done, and a book read... in between surprise appearances.  Ha!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Wordless Wednesday-MahJongg Weekend

After playing MahJongg we had to eat at my favorite custard place,
Andy's Frozen Custard!

Reading Other People's Blogs

Since I didn't keep up with my blog in June it also means that I didn't participate in the Tuesday's Slice of Life put on by Two Writing Teachers.  Which means I wasn't reading other people's blogs either.

I'm back at daily blogging.  Back to posting my Tuesday Slice.  And back to reading other people's blogs.

I knew I missed blogging.  Missed putting my thoughts into black and white words.  Missed writing about my life, the books I read, taking pictures of the little things in my life and sharing.

What I didn't realize is how much I missed reading other people's blogs.

I have a ton of blogs I follow in my Feedly but their not real people.  I mean, they ARE real people but they aren't the teacher with a little blog they keep up with for themselves.  They are professional bloggers.  They do blog about their life but they also blog advertisements and stuff for money.

I missed the... I don't know what word to use here... amateur (maybe) blogger.

I like reading about the little things.  Like the teacher blogger who was moving states, changing from a suburban, financially fluent school to an urban school with no money.  Or the mom blogger who found some journals from her childhood who took some time to read through them and remember her old self.

I missed those simple things.  I didn't expect that.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I listened to The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner (Children's Circle Stories #2) by Terry Pratchett.  It's a series of funny short stories ranging from a terrible toothache to a time-traveling television.  I'm not a huge fan of short stories.  Just as I really get into a story... it's over... cuz it's a short story. Ha!

I also listened to My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson.  This book is a work of fiction loosely based on a true story about Indians and Eskimos going to a Catholic school in Alaska.  They had to learn the Catholic ways, there were many lessons learned mostly negative. The students were taken from their families.  Many of the students didn't have the means to go home frequently so only went in the summer.  The culture and lifestyle the children were accustomed too was ripped out of them to learn how to be "normal" children.

I also finished listening to American Night:  The Ballard of Juan Jose by Richard Montoya.  In a nightmare of sorts, a Mexican immigrant meets Sacagawea, the KKK, Teddy Roosevelt and many other historical figures in this satire.

I'm still reading Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter.  Bob Lee was one of the best snipers in the Marines until he was shot.  Years after getting out of the service Bob Lee is approached by military men to test shoot their new bullets.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

MahJongg Weekend

Today starts our Girl's MahJongg Weekend!  Lara, Marcie, Janet and I look forward to this weekend all year long.

We play in the Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith County MahJongg for Memory.  We buy a table and play all morning and afternoon.  We drink coffee, have great conversations, laugh and play MahJongg.

A couple of years ago we decided to stay the night and do some shopping.  Ever since that year we've stayed the weekend and shopped for two days and eat at restaurants that we don't have in our town.

It's nice to get away and get with friends, play games, shop, and eat good food!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Jay's happy place: a baby in his arms and her toddler sister
laying on his legs.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ireland Proposal... ACCEPTED!

Back in February I partnered with an education professor from the local college.  She asked me to demo my (Half) Hour of Code to her future teachers.  You can read about it here.

Then she came back and asked if I'd go with her to a conference in Ireland and present what we did together if the proposal was accepted.  You can read about it here.

Y'all!!!!!   The proposal was accepted!  I am so unbelievably excited I don't even have words to express it!

As a family we decided not to take a vacation this summer so that my family could go with me.  So all the money we saved for vacation will go to Ireland.  I taught summer school to add to our Ireland fund.  My husband is preaching in some extra gospel meetings and I'm attending some professional developments that pay me, all that money is going to Ireland.  So I have about 2/3 of the money saved.

Unfortunately my district will not pay for an international conference.  All the grants I've found online had June 1, 2017 deadlines.  I've contacted some of the venders I spend quite a bit of money with to see if they sponsor teachers to attended professional developments.  One does not and I haven't heard back from the other 3 yet.

So I started a Go Fund Me. I'm hoping to raise money for the conference, my part of the hotel for 4 days and my flight to Ireland.  If you are able I would GREATLY appreciate your help!  I would also appreciate my link being shared with others over social media, email, etc.

This is an amazing opportunity for me to showcase my library and to learn from international educators!

Monday, July 10, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Y'all.  Y'all I listened to the longest audiobook ever.  Ever.  Known.  To.  Man.  Ok, not really but it felt like it.  As part of the Audiobook Sync 16 weeks of free audiobooks I downloaded The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff two weeks ago.  I just finished it this morning.  I was super excited to listen to this book because I'm fascinated by the Salem Witch Trails.  We went to Salem for a day a couple of summers ago while we were in Boston for our family vacation.  It's such a fun little town. We visited the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, walked around town, visited shops and the Bewitched statue and ate lunch.  So I wanted to listen to the audiobook and add to my knowledge of the Salem Witch Trials.  But sweet biscuits, it was long!  It also felt choppy.  It jumped around from person to person.  It was hard to keep up with.  When I went to rate it on Goodreads I saw that it averaged 3 stars so I didn't feel to bad about giving it 3 stars too.

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes is nominated for the Texas Bluebonnet Award.  I wanted to read this book because 9/11 is the first event that happened when I was an adult that I truly understand the implications of such an attack.  It was a powerful book for me.  I understand what 9/11 did to us as a country.  I can sympathize with the 1st responders.  But I had never thought about the effect of the attack on the people working inside the Twin Towers.  As I type that I realize that sounds ridiculous.  I mean why wouldn't I think about the after effects for those people?  Some how I didn't though.  This fiction book did that for me though.  It showed me how even 15 years later this tragedy still effects people in awful ways.  And not just the people that experienced it but even their families who have to deal with the depression, illnesses, etc of their loved ones.

I started Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter after watching the Netflix series "Shooter."  I didn't realize "Shooter" was based on a book until the 2nd to last episode.  So after watching the series I put the eBook on hold.  I'm 17% of the way through the book (according to my Kindle).  I'm glad I watched the series first.  There's a lot of military lingo and info on guns that I think would of bogged my mind down if I didn't have a bit of background knowledge already.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

For Pleasure:

I listened to The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez.  This audiobook was a part of the 16 week free audiobooks by Audiosync.  It took me a couple of chapters to get into this book but once I did it was great!  Some parents in Cuba had to make the hard decision to send their two children to America in the 1960s to escape Castro's control.  The story takes us through the heart breaking decision to the children's new life in American and everything in between.

I also listened to The Souls of Black Folks by W. E. B. Du Bois.  It's a non-fiction, historical book that studies the lives of black people at the turn of the 20th century.

This week I'm listening to The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff.

I just finished The Power of Our Words: Teacher Language That Help Children Learn by Paula Denton.  I had NO IDEA how many things I said wrong to my students!  This book has REALLY helped me rephrase my directions, redirections, praise and consequences.  I find myself thinking "how can I phrase this?"  Or rephrasing sentences I've said.  THIS BOOK WORKS!

I'm also reading Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes.  It's on the Texas Bluebonnet list.  I wanted to read this book because it's about September 11th.

Five for Friday

1.  We had Vacation Bible School at church.  Our theme was "My BIG God and me."  My bestie and my topic was "God Created Me."  We centered our lesson on Psa 139:14-I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  We teach the same lesson all week in the same room but our students change everyday.  I really like teaching this way!  We only have to study one lesson.  We usually write a two lessons, one for the older kids and one for younger kids.

2.  Reagan went to an over night, week long religious camp.  It's the same one I went to when I was a kid.  Then she went to a 2 day basketball camp at the local college.  She's going to be on the high school this coming school year!

3.  Basketball practice started this week.  It's weird and exciting and sad to see her on the high school team!

4. My BFF and her 3 boys are came in town yesterday.  We are taking her oldest two and Reagan to a three day Bible study at a church in a town close by.

5. Summer School is OVER!!  I had a lot of fun doing lessons with such small groups of students.  But I'm past ready for a little break!

The Things We Choose and the Things That Choose Us

I was reading one of the Nerdy Book Club blogs  a few weeks ago and this sentence jumped out at me "I was pondering all the things people choose, and all the things that choose us."  My OLW for 2017 is "choose".

I've thought about all the things I can choose but I never stopped and thought about the things that choose me.

My first thought to this was that I could choose how I react to the things that choose me.  Which is a complete and total truth.  But at the same time that's not the same thing as things in life choosing us.  We don't always have a choice.  

In the blog, Laura Ruby talks about getting breast cancer.  The cancer chose her.  She'll have to cancel signings, slow up on her future works for a while, etc all taken from her because of cancer.  Which was not her choice. 

How many things in my life happen to me that I don't choose.  Like yesterday, Jay's truck wouldn't start. The battery was dead.  I did not want to end my day jumping his truck.  Taking it to get a new battery only for the place to be closing soon.  To me having to jump the truck again before I left for work so he could get a battery before he went to work that morning.  Luckily he has a very flexible work schedule and can do these kinds of things.

There seem to be a lot of car wrecks happening to people I know on Facebook.  They certainly did choose that.




So much of life is us making chooses.  But so much of it isn't.  And we have to learn to roll with that.

Wordless Wednesday-Camp Pick Up

We picked Reagan up from camp...
in these shirts! 😂😂😂

It's Been a Busy Summer!

I didn't mean to leave my blog unattended for most of the month of June!

It just happened.

I've been keeping my library open for summer school.  We go from 7:30-2:30 so that's kept me busy. I still want to do all the fun things that come with summer after summer school.  It's not tiring, just busy.

My role in my district is changing.  It won't be official until July 31 so I haven't posted much about on social media. But I'm still doing the work that comes with that job.  It's a learning curve!  My brain's having to work a little differently.  Ha!  That's kept me busy.

Basketball practice started back up for Reagan this week.  She's on the high school team now.  So that adds to our week.

I've been doing an online PD book study through my district.  I LOVE the book!  We are working through The Power of Our Words by Paula Denton, EdD.  I'm glad I'm reading it and doing summer school at the same time.  I've been able to practice, refine, analyze, and try again what I'm learning. I'm planning a blog post on it!

Yesterday it hit me how much I've been missing writing.  The writing bug has bit me!  So I'm back!  I hope not to miss any days in July!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


I started last year... I think... to look back over the school year and reflect on that school year.  I'm not much of a reflector but I'm trying to learn.

2016-2017 School Year:

*Only one teacher participated in my Texas 2x2 program.  I need to revamp how I do this program.  I need to make it easier on teachers.

*We had 2 author Skypes.  It was better with smaller groups.  I'm going to remember that for next school year.

*We had 1 author visit.  When an author tells me that their program really isn't for a lower grade... I'm going to listen next time.  Ha!

*I started a (Half) Hour of Code club.  My students LOVED it.  I had a huge interest.  I need to find a way to include more students even though I don't have more technology.  Maybe do two different days a week?

*I had 20,626 items circulated this year.  I had a drop in magazines so I need promote those better.

*eBooks.  I need to promote eBooks better.  Maybe add posters in the library and in the front office for parents to see.  They just don't get used.

*The Little Free Library is a success.  I occasionally have to fill it with new books.

*My Book Clubs read 7 books total this year.  I loved adding 2nd grade in mid year.  I want to add them at the beginning of the 2017-2018 year.

*LEGO Club is always a hit.  I wish I had a bigger wall so I could add more students.  They all want to be in LEGO Club.

*I really want to gentrify but the amount of work it takes is keeping me from doing it.  I just need to do it and stop thinking about it.

*I want to add more makerspaces in the library.  I need to work on funding and what kind of makerspaces to add.  I need help running them and keeping them maintained.  I also need to decide if they'll be a station in the library or a club that meets once month or more.  Or maybe a combination of that.

Monday, June 12, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

For Pleasure:

I Could Pee on This Too: And More Poems by More Cats by Francesco Marciuliano is a hilarious book of poems from different cats perspective.  I'm not a cat person (I prefer dogs) but I loved this book of poems!  The poems were just so... cat. Ha! Does that sentence sense? Cats are so aloof and each poem depicted that so well.  I laughed out loud many times and made my family stop and listen to ones that really tickled me.  I don't normally read poems but since it was on my reading challenge I thought I'd get that box checked off.  I'm glad I did.  I think I'm going to start reading more poetry.

Freakling by Lana Krumwiede is a free audiobook from the Audiofile Sync summer program.  I finished listening to it last week.  It's about a world where some of the people have a power called Psi.  They can move and manipulate objects with their mind.  An incident happens that causes Taemon to loose his Psi and has to be sent away to the "Dud" farm.  Taemon accidentally leaks some of their secrets that causes some... problems.

Boys by Anna Ziegler is also a free audiobook from the Audiofile Sync summer program.  This book is based on a true story that took place in the 1960s.  An infant boy was in an accident that cause a doctor to encourage his parents to raise him as a girl.  The book explores the complexities of sexual identity, love, and family.  It's a very moving story. I can't image what the people in this story went threw.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was a POWERFUL book.  I know it's a fiction book but it really helped me understand the Black Lives Matter movement and helped me understand poverty in ways I hadn't understood before.  I highly recommend this book!

I listened Of Beast and Beauty and Beast, both fractured fairy tales.  I'm not a fan of fairy tales or fractured fairy tales so I hate to really say anything about these novels.  I will say my dad loved them so I'm sure they are a perfect fit for fairy tale lovers out there but just aren't my cup of tea.

For school:

I was assigned to read two novels on the Bluebonnet List and write 20-25 questions.

Best Man by Richard Peck is the journey of a boy from 1st grade through 6th grade.  We begin and end with a wedding.  Archer is a kid who doesn't pick up on life around him.  He needs things spelled out for him to "get" things.  His best friend and uncle are always there too help.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Five For Friday

1.  We pick up Reagan from camp tomorrow.

2.  We are so glad to see her and hear all the stories she has to tell us from the week.

3.  We take Maggie with us cuz she misses Reagan too and Reagan misses her.

4.  There's a certain... smell... to after camp clothes and suitcases.

5.  Reagan usually sleeps for a long time after she gets back!

The Beginning of the Year vs The End of the Year

Thursday I ended my 14th year in education.  As I stood on the sidewalk that morning for my morning duty watching the students walk (well, run until I told them to walk) in I thought how different the beginning of the school year is verses the end of the school year.

The beginning of the school year is filled with such hope and newness and fresh beginnings.  It's a new year in a new grade with new students or a new teacher.  The posters we stuck on our the walls are straight and untorn.  Our markers all have caps that match the color of the actual pen.  The pencils are sharp and have full erasers.  The colors are sharp and clean.   The glue bottles are clean and unsticky.  The binders close right and are fresh and clean.  The students uniforms still have buttons, no stains and the zippers work.  The teachers might have a couple of new outfits not yet ruined by dirty hands. Everything, our hopes, our dreams, our exceptions, our rooms, our supplies, are clothes are fresh, clean,  and hopeful.

But the end of the year.  Oh the end of the year.


*  The posters are ripped.  And hanging sideways.


*  The markers are dried out and the lids don't match the colors.


* The pencil is barely able to fit in our hands cuz they're so short and the eraser... what eraser?


* The zipper on the uniform pants won't budge.  Just pin it with a safety pin or two.


* This new shirt has a stain on it.  Whatever.  I got kindergarten lunch duty anyway.  Nothing I own is safe anyway.


* Glue this down... What?  The glue is dry.  Ok... tape it down.  Wait.  I'm out of tape.  Whatever.  This was just a filler activity anyway.


It's amazing the different between day 1 and day 187.  I always wonder what day is it specifically that we give up on.  Or maybe it's not a specific day.  Maybe it's an accumulation of events that makes up throw our hands in the air and say whatever.

But then the summer passes and we show up in August with fresh hopes, new, clean clothes, new supplies and we are ready to do it all over again.  Because we love our jobs.  We love our students. We love to learn.  We love to teach.  And thankfully we have forgotten that "whatever" feeling... until it shows back up at the end of the year.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Just Breath

This morning two students walk up to me with a huge stack of books.  Most of them are paper back so I immediately know they're not mine.

Student 1: We got these books for you!

Me:... where did they come from?

Student 2: From that white box out front of the school.

Me: (breath) The Little Free Library?

Both students start to deflate.

Student 1:  I didn't know they're free.

More breathing.  Cuz it's not like I haven't promoted our Little Free Library MULTIPLE times.

Me: Yes, it's our Little Free Library.  You can take a book and leave a book.

Students 1 & 2: Oh....

Me:  Please go put all the books back. (breath)

Both students go to put ALL the books back in our Little Free Library.  I stand there breathing some more.  Then I start laughing.  Cuz really... what else is there to do but laugh?  As both students walk back by me I notice they've each kept one book.

1 1/2 more days.  And I'm totally counting down!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Five For Friday

1.  2 1/2 days left of school.

2.  2 1/2 days never seemed so loooooonnnnnnnggggggg.

3.  I'm taking a lot of deep breathes and going to my happy place.

4.  I'm reading for pure escapism.  And I'm ok with that.

5. 2 1/2 more days... not counting this one cuz it's 8:23 in the morning and almost done anyway.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New Kids On The Block Concert

I still love NKOTB!  I've been to every concert in Houston since I was in junior high.  I'd post a picture of me in junior high with all my NKOTB gear but... my junior high years were not good to me.  lol

This past Saturday they performed at the Toyota Center in Houston.  And as usual they were awesome!

Boys 2 Men and Paula Abdul opened for them.  I did not enjoy Boys 2 Men.  I know their songs and all but I just didn't like their performance.  They kept asking the audience to sing parts of their songs and all I could think was "They're your songs, sing them yourselves!"  But my friend who loves them really liked their performance.  So they were probably better than what I thought.

I really enjoyed Paula Abdul's performance.  I loved all the animations that was done of the screen behind her. Sometimes it was interactive which was cool.  It made me think of my students in my (Half) Hour of Code club and what a cool job this could be for them.  And then I immediately stopped thinking about school and got back to enjoying the concert.  Ha!

NKOTB, ahhhhhhhh!  They were amazeballs!  I love(d) their songs.  I loved their performance.  I loved their interaction with the audience.  I loved their wardrobe.  Well, except for Donnie's romper.  I mean really.  A romper? Sigh.  Anyway, I just love them!  They sang all their oldie but goodie songs and some of their current songs.

Donnie's my favorite.  All the picture I took were of him. Ha! He sang "Cover Girl."  It's my all time favorite song!  I still know all the words.  I can't remember what I need to do without a to do list but I can remember the words to that song from the 1980s.  Ha!

Before the concert we ate at Pappadeaux in downtown.  I loved sitting upstairs at the restaurant and seeing buildings above us and the people walking down the sidewalk below us.

When we drove into downtown my bestie, Brandi said she was claustrophobic with all the cars and people.  I laughed cuz what makes her claustrophobic is my happy place.  I love the buildings and the cars and the people and the hustle and bustle.  It's totally my happy place.

Saturday was an awesome day.  I spent time with my parents and my granny and her boyfriend.  I spent time with good friends.  I hung out downtown.  And the cherry on top, I got to see New Kids On The Block in concert.

Keep Hangin' Tough!

Monday, May 22, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I finished Teenage Diaries: Then and Now by Radio Diaries.  This audiobook is part of the free Audiobook Sync 16 weeks summer series.  These stories were put together by NPR.  They had 30 hours of recording and narrowed it down to create this audiobook.  It's like listening to one of their podcasts or their radio shows.

Being a teenage is hard.  Listening to these teens' life stories reminded me some lives are much harder than others.

I started listening to Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes.  It's also part of the free Audiobook Sync summer series.  The story is set up like a poetry slam.   Random high school students with different backgrounds, different races and different problems join a poetry reading type club.  They learn about each other and form a bound no one expected.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

BOGO Book Fair Week

This week is my BOGO Book Fair.  The adults are so excited about buying one book and getting one for free.  You really can buy a lot of books at a BOGO especially if you buy a series package. I had a precious girl buy two series packages and got 4 books for $10.81.

But boy!

Does the BOGO confuse the little guys.  And by the second day I'm ready to pull my own hair out of my head cuz I can't think of a different way to explain a BOGO.

I hold up fingers and show them if you buy one (one finger goes up) you get the second book for free (hold up second finger).  But if you buy a third book (three fingers up now) you need to find a fourth one cuz it's...  that's right, free!

Still... they don't get it.

So I told them to bring me even number of items and asked what even number are... which lead to blank stares.  I count by 2s.  Me: 2, 4, 6, 8... Students: Who do we appreciate?!?

I totally set myself up for that one.

And still... they bring me odd number of items to purchase.

Bang head on counter.

I tell them to go find something else in XYZ price range cuz... it's a BOGO and it'll be free.

I breath.

And I remind myself I do the BOGO for the students to get books before summer and for the teachers who deserve a discount on books and for me to get some extra Scholastic Dollars.

It's all worth it, I try to tell myself.


The next student who brings me odd number of items to purchase.

Sigh.  9 1/2 more days of school.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wordless Wednesday-KNOTB

I'm going to the New Kids on the Block concert this weekend!!!
This picture is from the last time they were in Houston.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My Morning

7:31-I break up a fight between two students.  I think I have it under control but they go at it again. These students are almost as big as me now that it's the end of the year.  I know I can hold at least one of them back but not two at one time.  So I holler for one of our paras.  He helps me get them separated and calmed down.  I send the one to class who I know I cannot calm down but his teacher can and I keep the one I know I can calm down. I get him calmed down and send him the long way to class so he doesn't pass the other student's classroom.  Since it was "just" shoving I didn't write them up.  I did call all of their teachers and the AP so they could be on alert.

7:33-I fuss at two students calling each other's mama a crack head.

Good Morning!  Glad to be here!


Monday, May 15, 2017

Five For Friday

1.  I'm going to go to the New Kids on the Block concert tomorrow!

2.  I get to see Donnie!  I love bad boys... so I married a preacher.  Go figure.  Ha!

3.  Donnie and I always make eye contact... over the big screen.  I know he's only looking at me!  It's magical.

4.  I've been to every concert they've had in Houston.

5.  I've been listening to their new album "Thankful" over and over so I can sing along!  Whoever I sit by is gonna love me. Ha!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

For Pleasure:

I listened to Feed by M.T. Anderson through the free audiobook program AudioBookSync.  This is a futuristic, science fiction, dystopia, young adult book.  The concept of having a chip put inside you that runs commercials, chats, maps basically everything our smart phones do, is intriguing and a little scary.  Titus and his friends are hanging out on the moon in a club when Titus meets a beautiful girl. They are having a fun time until a hacker takes over their feed and causes problems for everyone.

I reread New Moon by Stephenie Meyer.  Work has been rough since after spring break.  I just need to feel at home right now.  And I feel at home in the world of vampires and werewolves and sleepy little town called Forks.

For School:

I read Surf's Up by Kwame Alexander This book had me hooked at frog preferring to read than go to the beach.  Although I think I'd just take my book to the beach. Ha!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Five For Friday

1.  It's been a long week.

2.  My mom had a procedure on Monday.  Everything looks good and she's recovering well.

3.  My Book Fair started today.

4.  Reagan is helping backstage in a play at school tonight.  They started a run through at 11:45 this afternoon and they were still going at 2:45....  That's all I gotta say about that.

5.  I'm tired.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Five for Friday

1.  It's Teacher Appreciation Week.  We've had sooooooo many yummy treats and nice gifts!

2.  I'm sooooooo full!

3.  It's Cinco de Mayo.  We had a potluck at school. Yum-o!

4.  I'm sooooooo full!

5.  Our music teacher put on an awesome Cinco de Mayo show!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Building Community Partnerships

This year is the first year I partnered with the community.  Both times they contacted me.

The owner of a couple of businesses in the community made t-shirts for the students in my Book Club to wear.  The students were ecstatic to receive the shirt!  So was I.  Ha!  This was a great way to show the students that someone was watching them and seeing the great books they were reading.  It was a celebration of reading and being a part of a group.

After reading an article about my (Half) Hour of Code club an education profession from Stephen F. Austin State University contacted me.  You can read about it here and here.  Through this contact we have partnered on some future projects for my school.

The Nacogdoches Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. adopted out school last year.  They occasionally served our faculty and staff breakfast or lunch.  They give us small gifts like a coffee mug, they set up the Polar Express experience in the library and volunteer for different activities we do at school.  The next service project we are working on together is a book drive for St. Jude's Superheroes.  Students are being asked to donate a new book no more than $5.00.  This is a great way to get our students to give back.

Here's my thing... I sat in my library and waited for the community to contact me.  In my 4 years as a librarian and 11 years as teacher of the Deaf this is the first time I've worked with the community. That's a long time.  Too long really.

My goal for next school year is to reach out to the community and find partnerships myself.  In doing this I'm not only asking myself what they can do for me but what can we do for them.  A partnership has to be a give and take.  Let's be honest, schools are great at taking.  Taking monetary donations, item donations, food donations, school supply donations, uniform donations, coupons to restaurants etc.  But what are we doing for them?  Yes, we are educating children and yes, that really is enough. BUT what are we teaching our students?  Are we teaching them to take, take, take?  How can we use these partnerships to teach our students to also be givers?

I'm still working on answering these questions myself.

With the business that gave us the t-shirts, they served us.  We did not provide a service for them.  I did post on our school's Facebook page and on our school's website about the donation so that they received some free advertisement.  I did have my students write Thank You notes, I wrote one myself and included a picture of us in the shirts but really we didn't do anything for the business.

My partnership with the professor at the University is a bit different.  The professor is providing us with future teachers to work on different projects and she's actually coming up with the project ideas and proposals (I hope to start doing that too).  But we are so providing the students, the space, and the time.  We are working together to build a strong learning environment.  One of our future projects includes the community around our school too.

This is the first time we are partnering with Delta Sigma Theta to give back.  I'm very excited about this and hope that a lot of my students participate.

Because of these three partnerships I reached out to the Computer Science department at the university. asking if any of the professors could be a guest speaker during my (Half) Hour of Code club.  I wanted my students to see a real person doing a real job using coding skills.  We have a lot of fun coding but I wanted them to see they could make a career out of this too.  None of the professors were able to come but the dean suggested a senior student.  He was awesome!  You can read about it here. Again, they provided us with a service.  I did write a post on my personal blog and I wrote an article for my school's website, the senior could use those to show how he's worked out in the community but really, we didn't do anything for the Computer Science department or the student.

In addition here are some more questions I'm working on answering myself.  Please leave your blog posts on this topic in the comments below (and on Future Ready Librarians' Facebook page) so we can learn from each other!

1. How do you find community partners?

2. How can you make it an equal partnerships?

3. What partnerships currently exit with the community?

4. What partnerships do you plan to cultivate?

5. What strategies can you use to build stronger community partnerships?