Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Reflection

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.

Whatever

*  The posters are ripped.  And hanging sideways.

Whatever

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

Whatever

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

Whatever

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

Whatever

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

Whatever

* 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.

Whatever

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.

Until...

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!

#CannotMakeThisStuffUp

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?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Guest Speaker for my (Half) Hour of Code Club

Last week Sam Jentsch, a senior student graduating from our local university in May of 2017, visited with my students in (Half) Hour of Code Club during lunch.  

Jentsch told my students about different companies that hire people with degrees in computer sciences. These companies include NASA, Google, Liberty Mutual, car companies, airplane companies, the CIA, the FBI, security and many more.  Students were most interested in Google and car companies.  I think Google won out when he shared with them that there was free candy that anyone working there could have.  They didn't seem to care much about the free food, sleep pods, bowling alley or laundry service... which was what I was most interested it!

He created a website that he shared with students.  He demonstrated how to change wording and colors on the website and showed students how to view the code for the website he created. Included in the website are links to games that will develop coding skills, links that teach how to make games, and more gaming resources.  Multiple students turned around and asked me if they could play on the website before they left.  They are super excited about it.  I'm hoping I can get them access to it in time for next week's meeting.

Jentsch explained that you have to like puzzles and math (there's a lot of math in creating games, one student was disappointed to learn there was division involved Ha!), must graduate from high school and go to college to have a career in coding.  He listed some colleges in Texas that have degrees in computer science such as University of Texas, A&M, Sam Houston State University and Stephen F. Austin State University.  Jentsch emphasized that degrees give knowledge, internships do the training.  Companies are looking for people who are life-long learners (I had him emphasize the life-long learner part.  Our students must know that learning never stops.)

Computer Science careers are projected to be the fastest growing industry because computers are not going away.  Starting salaries range from $70,000-$120,000 depending on what company you start with.  That made me reconsider my job!  Just kidding... kind of!  

Monday, May 1, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

For Pleasure:

Spoils by Brain Van Reet I'm still reading this book.  War books aren't my typical read.  Even though it's fiction I am learning about the realities of war.

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich is a free audiobook through the Audiobook Sync 16 weeks of free audiobooks program.  I started listening to it Thursday.  At first I was having a hard time following along.  So I went to amazon and looked at the sample of the first chapter.  That helped so much!  The story is written in a combination of journal entries by different people, doctor notes, video records, voice recording and police notes.  Once I saw how it was written I was able to listen for the headings.

There are 112 short chapters.  I'm on chapter 80.  I'm really liking this psychological young adult, thriller with a bit of supernatural thrown in.  Just as I think I know what's happening there's a twist then another twist and yet another twist.  I highly recommend this book!

For School:

You DON'T Want A Unicorn! by Ame Dyckman is a book that tells all the reasons why you do not want a unicorn.  I mean, who wants an animal that poops cupcakes?

#3 The Perfect View (CiCi: A Fairy's Tale) by Cori Doerrfeld is the 3rd book in this graphic novel series.  CiCi is a fairy.  Her abuela is trying to teacher her all about her powers.  CiCi, her sister, dad and a friend go camping.  Her powers are taken to a new level in the great outdoors.

Wolf In The Snow by Matthew Cordell is a wordless picture book.  A wolf pup gets separated from it's pack.  A little girl finds him and returns him to his mother but she gets lost in the snow and can't find her way back home.  The wolf pack has to help her.

Texas 2x2 List

Ocean Animals form Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick is a nonfiction picture book about ocean life. It's illustrations are interactive and the descriptions of each ocean creature is informative.

It Came In The Mail by Ben Clanton, Liam wanted mail but mail never came to him.  So he asks the mailbox to send him mail.  But then it got overwhelming!  Liam had to ask the mailbox to share all the mail with other children.

123 Dream by Kim Krans is a counting book.  The number is on each page along with the appropriate amount of items.  Readers will see the number, hear the number read out loud, and can count the items on the page.

Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon is a collection of 3 short stories all featuring Duck and Porcupine on different adventures.

The Grumpy Pet by Kristine A. Lombardi We all know that one grumpy person who doesn't get along with people who are happy, don't we?  This grumpy boy goes to the animal shelter to find a pet but... they're all happy.  He starts to think he won't find a pet until he finds a dog who is also grumpy, just like him.

Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman A little girl gets so mad at the horrible bear for rolling over and breaking her kite.  But all gets worked out with two simple little words "I'm sorry."

La Madre Goose: Nursey Rhymes por los ninos by Susan Middleton Elya This book takes the traditional American nursey rhymes and adds the occasional spanish word into the mix.

A Unicorn Name Sparkle by Amy Young is a cute story about a unicorn... wait is that goat pretending to be a unicorn?

I Will Not Eat You by Adam Lehrhaupt the beast in the cave must resist eating everything that comes near his cave.  It's easier to resist when they make you laugh.

Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith is a funny fracture fairy tale version of Little Red Riding Hood.  Little Red realizes that the very hungry lion is pretending to be her sick auntie.  Little Red has fun doing Lions hair, brushing his teeth and teaching him to not eat children and aunties... or dads.

Fabulous Frogs by Martin Jenkins I really liked this book because it illustrated the frogs true to size. I like seeing that and reading the informational text.

There's a Bear In My Chair by Ross Collins Bear irritates mouse by sitting in his chair.  Mouse gets back at Bear by going to his house.

Alan's Big, Scary Teeth by Jarvis I laughed out loud reading this book.  I cannot wait to share this book with my students!  Alan the alligator rules the jungle until beaver finds out his secret.

Blocks by Irene Dickson is a sweet book about a boy and girl with colored blocks.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Five for Friday

1.  Jay went on his annual baseball trip this week.  I'm so glad he can go on these trips.  He has now been to 25 of the 30 ball parks.

2.  I was made the lead teacher of the elective team at my school this week.

3.  I've read all the Texas 2x2s.  There are some really cute books on the list!

4.  Reagan and I are headed to Houston for the night.  I'm getting my haircut, spending time with my BFF and my parents.

5. 5 weeks of school left... and counting but not in front of my students.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Homegirl

I have had 5th grade students in my library in the afternoons helping me in the library.  They are a HUGE help!

I've given a crash course in how to process books and turned them loose... even with the tape.  I NEVER let students tape up books.  But I promise you, my books were mating in my office and multiplying like rabbits.  I had to give up control of the book tape.

After demonstrating how to process a book and leaving them a sample I usually watch them do one book, make any small corrections then leave to them to it.

It's hard giving up control like that.

I watched as one boy nearly cover the library barcode with an address label!

Me: You are about to give me a heart attack!

Different student to the boy who caused my near heart attack:  Don't give my homegirl a heart attack!

I did not laugh in front of him.  Instead I patted him on the shoulder, thanked him for having my back, walked in my office and laughed myself silly.

This is a kid who doesn't bond easily with others.  I've known him for four years now and this is the first year we bonded.

We bonded over Minecraft books.  I knew nothing about Minecraft except it was popular.  Now... I know about Minecraft.

The power of building relationships.  I had no idea it would take me four year to become this student's homegirl but it did.  And I am so glad I finally found what would build that relationship.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wordless Wednesday-Choose Happy



My One Little Word this year is 'choose'.  
Reagan found this sign at Hobby Lobby and bought it for me.  
I LOVE it!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

TxLA17

I got back Saturday from my Texas Library Conference in San Antonio, Tx.



The City:

1.  San Antonio is such a fun city!

2.  The Alamo

3. The Riverwalk

4.  The restaurants

The Conference- Own Your Profession:

1.  Speed Dating the Bluebonnets- the attendees sit at a table while the authors of the Bluebonnet books rotate tables and talk about their books.  I love being up close and personal with the authors and hearing them talk about their books.

2.  The Exhibits- ALL.  THE.  FREE.  STUFF!  Books, pens, pins, posters, sticky notes, pencils, candy, popcorn, water etc



3.  Hearing the authors speak at the general sessions- FUN! Oh... and educational.  Ha!

4.  17th Annual 2x2 Showcase: Books for 2 Years to 2nd Grade- This year the committee added TEKs to the lesson ideas for each book.  LOVE this!

5.  Building a Community of Future Ready School Librarians- I joined the #FutureReadyLibs movement a couple of months ago and wanted to go to this session to learn more about it.  I'm so glad I did!

6. Texas Bluebonnet Award Author Session-We eat, we get free books and bags and we get to hear the author of the winning Bluebonnet book speak.  I can't stress enough how much I love listening to authors speak!

7.  Kidlit vsYALit Lip Sync Battle 2-I've said how much I love listening to authors talk... the only thing I love better than that is watching them lip sync to songs that relate to their books.  OH.  MY.  WORD!  Hilarious!



8.  Texas School Library Standards Revision- my lovely lead librarian was on the panel for this one so I had to go show her love and support.  I'm very excited about these revisions and what we can do with them as school librarians to promote how awesome our libraries are!



9. The President's All-Conference Party-The Spazmatics rocked 80s music!



10.  Spending time with my district librarians outside of work is priceless!



Cons:

1. I got a migraine and missed pretty much all of one day.  M-I-S-E-R-A-B-L-E  My roomie took good care of me, checking on me through out the day and bringing me meds, essential oils, Dr. Peppers etc.

2.  This year the conference was Wed-Sat.  Normally it's Tues-Fri which gives you Sat to rest and recoup.  But with Easter this year falling in the month when it did they had to change from the norm. This year I didn't get a day to rest and recoup since we have worship twice on Sundays.  I did nap Sunday afternoon but there's nothing like relaxing a whole day.

Monday, April 24, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

For Pleasure:

Last Week I finished the 3rd book in the Lux series, Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  I have truly enjoyed this young adult paranormal fantasy series.  In this book Daeman and Katy are working with the rest of the family and an enemy they don't really trust, but have no choice but to work with him, on saving Dawson's girlfriend.  People die, friendships are renewed, & failures happen.  Some major failures happen.  The ending of this book isn't wrapped in a pretty packages. Ha!  You have to read the next book to see what happens.  I can't wait to read the next book!

I started an Advance Readers Copy called Spoils by Brian Van Reet that I picked up at my library conference last week.  This is the first book I've read about the war in Baghdad.  I'm not very far into the book. This isn't a normal read for me but one that I look forward to finishing.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What Are You Good At?

Last month in our library meeting our fearless lead librarian encouraged us to send in proposal's to present at the Texas Library Association conference.  She reminded us that we are each good at something.

And I'm sure she said something about each librarian but I only remember what she said about me. Self-centered?  Maybe... probably... Ok, yes.

She said I was good at self-promotion.

This is something I hadn't thought about.  So I thought about it.  I've actually been thinking about it for 2 1/2 weeks.

Self-promotion is such a tricky thing.  You don't want to look braggy and all "look at how awesome I am" but at the same time if you're not singing your praises who is?

I think it all started when I was an itinerant teacher for the Deaf.  As an itinerant teacher I was in and out of schools in an hour or less.  I pulled gen ed students into a room... or usually a small closet and worked with them one on one.  My multi handicapped students worked with me in a corner of the Special Ed room.  No one really saw what I did unless there was a scheduled observation.  And let's be honest, I chose the students who were going to make me look like an awesome Deaf Ed teacher for those observations.

At our Deaf Ed meetings we talked about lessons that went well.  Basically we self-promoted but we didn't call it that.

Now 14 years later I'm in the library where my admin usually does not come in unless I text/call them to come.  And I do... when the lesson I'm doing makes me look awesome.  Ha!  So that my admin (district and campus level), teachers, parents, and students know what happens in my library I put it on our school Facebook (then I share it on my personal page), on our school website, sometimes on Twitter, and in our district library showcase.

Because, really, who out there in my district is going to fight for libraries if they don't see what librarians are doing?  We are sooooo much more than a book drop.  And all my posts and tweets and articles show what a #FutureReadyLibs looks like.

Yeap, I self-promote.  But I don't do it just for myself.  I do it for all libraries everywhere.  And if you're a librarian you should be doing it too.

Actually, all educators should be doing it!  Teaching is such an under appreciated profession.  It's time we show the world what we do.

Self-promotion on 3.  1, 2, 3 SELF- PROMOTION!


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Five For Friday-No School

1.  There's no school today.

2.  There's no school Monday.

3. It's a looonnnnggggg weekend.

4.  I'm excited.

5.  I'm overjoyed!

Not Much

I don't feel like blogging today.  Not because I don't have anything to say.

I have a lot to say.

I just can't put it all out here on the world wide web for everyone and their dog to read.

I'm angry.  At a lot of people.  At the system.  At my choice (though at the time that choice was truly the best choice for me.  But now.  Now it doesn't seem that way).  At the choices I have before me now.  I don't like my options.  That makes me angry.

I'm angry with myself for being so angry.  The people don't know I'm angry.  The system doesn't know I'm angry.  I can't go back and make different choices.

So here I am.

I'm not an angry person.  I don't like feeling this way.  It's showing on my face at work.  A teacher who doesn't normally pick up on feelings asked me if I was ok.  In a note passed to me during a faculty meeting.  I felt like I was back in junior high trying to pass a note to a friend when the teacher wasn't looking. Ha!

I need to fix my face.  Fix my mood.  Fix my attitude.  But honestly.  I don't know how.

I'm trying to remember that I can find happiness if I only remember to turn on the light (Albus Dumbledore) but the light is dim and not brightening the dark every well.

Maybe I just haven't found a bright enough light.  I'm still flipping switches.  Or maybe I have and don't realize it.

Who knows.

All I know is that I'm angry.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wordless Wednesday-Flat Walter



I'm soooooo ready for my TLA conference!  
I printed out my Flat Walter and I'm ready for the selfies and tweeting to begin! 
(oh... and also the learning lol)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Blackout Poetry

I did Blackout Poetry with K-5th last week.  We had so much fun!  

Everyone got involved!  I have some really creative students, teachers and paraprofessionals!

With Kindergarten we did it as a whole group.  It worked better this way since their reading skills are still low but there were a few students who could pick out some harder words.  Then those who were reading on level or a little below were able fill in with some of the "easier" words.

With 1st and 2nd we did one as whole group but I also let them do their own.  Since I used pages from chapter books some students circled sight words while others were able to circle harder words. Usually the teacher or para sat at the table with them and helped them as needed while I ran the library.

3rd-5th I show examples of what a couple of paraprofessionals, my student helpers and I did. Then they did their own.

I did not limit how many pages they could tear out of old books.  Some students wanted me to put their's on the window but also wanted to take one home to show their family.  So it worked better to let them tear out more than one page.

This is something I plan to do for many years to come!



Monday, April 10, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

For Pleasure:

I finished Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.  I mentioned last week that I was having a hard time reading this book because it was so factual.  I was determined to finish this book so I decided to switch to the audiobook.  I am sooooo glad I did!  I ended up really enjoying the book.  There was so much history and interesting facts.  I don't know what it is about reading facts that makes me want to fall asleep but listening to them peeks my interest.

I don't normally say this but... if I'm honest... I really did like the movie better.  The characters were more developed and we really got a peek into their lives.  There was a story in the movie.  The book wasn't a story and the characters weren't the center of the book the way they were in the movie.

If you are a factual kind of person you'll love this book.  If you're not then you'll just like it.

I'm almost done with the 3rd book in the Lux series, Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  I have truly enjoyed this young adult paranormal fantasy series.  In this book Daeman and Katy are working with the rest of the family and an enemy they don't really trust, but have no choice but to work with him, on saving Dawson's girlfriend.  People die, friendships are renewed, failures happen... and now I'm waiting to see how it ends.

For School:

April is poetry month so I've been reading poetry to my students.

For Pk-2nd I read about 5 poems from Come Play With Me by Margaret Hillert.  My favorite poem is "The Book".  I told students to listen to the poem then at the end raise their hand if they could tell me why it was my favorite.  Most students said because I love books but with the PK students would name things they saw in the illustrations.  So that question might not of been appropriate for them.

With 3rd-5th I read Hypnotize A Tiger by Calef Brown.  Again I only read a handful of poems.  We discussed rhyming words.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Five For Friday

1.  I met my new principal.  That's 5 principals in the last 3 years.

2.  We are babysitting my friends baby tonight.  I LOVE babies!

3.  Jay, Reagan and I are already arguing about which one of us gets to play with her the most.  Some how I got voted for diaper duty....

4.  I think I have an ulcer from stress.

5.  It's Friday!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Shelf Challenge-Ms

I joined the Shelf Challenge about three years ago.  This challenge has really helped me weed my library.

Weeding a library can be such a scary, overwhelming activity!  My first year as a librarian I could not bring myself to weed.  But my second year... every book shook on the shelf.  No book was safe!  I was a weeding machine thanks to this challenge!

Our school library management system, Follett, has redesigned the report that tells you the age of your collection.  It now breaks it down into fiction and nonfiction.  After running this report at the beginning of the year I realized I have done a pretty good job of weeding and purchasing new nonfiction books but my fiction section... my fiction section is killing me! Or killing my collection age but it feels like a personal killing. Ha!

So this year I chose to weed fiction.  The lovely librarians over at Shelf Challenge assigned me Ms. So I headed over to the M shelf between classes Monday and got to work.

Some books were easy to weed, they were colored all over and/or the covers were just plain unappealing.  Other books made me pause.

Ugh.  The ones that make me pause.

So I headed over to the computer to see when the book was checked out last.  Then I had to decide if the book had just gotten lost on the shelf or if a book from 1991 (which in my head is only like 10 years ago... but is really 26 years ago.  Reality really stinks!) is still relevant to my students today in 2017.

This year I decided to do blackout poetry with weeded books.  So that helped with some of my decision making.

On a side note, I tweeted about the shelf challenge and it was put on the Shelf Challenge blog.  You can see my tweet in this post!  So cool!


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Visitors In My Library

Last week two librarians from another small East Texas town visited my library.  They observed me during 1st grade library time.

I read a new book, Look UP! by Jing Jin-Ho.  This book has few words and mostly pictures.  This might be one of my new favorite books!

While students were checking out books Martha jumped right in and helped me check books out to students while Lisa walked about the library helping students pick books.  Let me tell you, this spoiled me!  I've never had a fully staffed library and seeing how a library could function if it was fully staffed... let me say one word, WOW!

After the class left we had a chance to sit down and talk.  We each run our libraries a little differently so it's nice to chat and learn from each other.

We talked about everything from the design of my space (a huge thanks to my mil for helping me with that 3 years ago) to how many books I let students check out to why I'm on a flexible schedule. One thing that struck me was how different we did run our libraries.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  No two classrooms are the same.  But at the same time, I wish there was a bit more continuity from library to library.

I wish this mostly because I think if we were banded together in a common likeness it would be "easier" to show our worth.  If we are all different in how many books students can check out and the type of schedule we follow and whether we have time for collaboration it seems harder to show why the library is an important part of the learning team.

There's no real way for us to each be exactly alike but I wonder what it would like if we were more alike.  I wonder if it would make a difference in this fight to have people understand what we do and how we help.  #DeepThoughtsByLinsey

Anyway... back to my original post.  We had a great time learning from each other!  I wish we had more opportunities to visit each other's libraries.  Certainly being apart of #txlchat and two Facebook groups for librarian is so helpful but there's nothing like being there in person.



Monday, April 3, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

For Pleasure:

I started Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly last week.  And I struggled.  I fell asleep multiple times in the middle of reading and I don't do that.  It's a very factual book and not much story or a deep dive into people's lives.  I desperately want to finish this book though.  So I decided to download the audiobook.  I usually listen to nonfiction better than I read it. And I am so glad I did!  I'm really enjoying listening to the book.  If you are not a nonfiction reader like me and want to read this book try the audiobook instead.

I'm also reading the last book in the Lux series, Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  So far two alien/mutated aliens have returned.  Neither were expected!

For School:

Last week I read Look Up!  by Jung Jin-Ho to all grades Pk-5th.  Look Up! has very few words and very detailed drawings.  The lower grades quickly took over reading the few words that were in the book while the upper grades "let" me read them.  The pictures are draw so that it looks like you are looking down so all we see are the tops of peoples heads.  I had to demonstrate with the lower grades this concept.  There was lots of discussion of the meaning of the drawings.  I think this is one of my new favorite books!

What are you reading that I should add to my "to read" list?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Curation/Strategic Investment in Digital Resources

#FutureReadyLibs #BlogChallenge Week 2

Digital resources have been interesting for me in an elementary library.  We have about 150 eBooks, not many but they are not being checked out.  I'll do a lesson on eBooks and have students practice logging in so I know who can and cannot get logged in.  I show teachers and share their log ins. I have a surge of eBook check outs.

And then... nothing.  I need to reevaluated how I circulate eBooks.

Of course eBooks are just a small portion of the pie in digital resources.  In Texas we have TexQuest, "a reliable online resources for Texas public schools provided with support from the Texas Legislature."  I'm just now becoming comfortable using TexQuest and sharing it with my teachers and students.

I've pulled information from TexQuest for three different teachers.  So far I haven't gotten much buy in. I'm talking up the databases and trying to push myself on teachers collaborate with two teachers who are about to start research projects.  I've offered to do a lesson in the library or to go to their classroom and work with students in their environment.  So far I haven't gotten very far but I'm working on it!  I'm not good at taking "no" for an answer so I'm not really worried here.

Again a small piece of the digital pie.

With the open licensed educational resources (OER) becoming a big thing I feel I need to add this to my list of things to learn more about and share with teachers and students.  OER gives us access to a ton of awesome teaching, learning and research resources and content.  With the information highway changing so fast it hard for books and textbooks to keep up.  OER we can help us stay current.

OER is something I need to research more so I can lead my district and help them plan for digital resources.  I also need to include it in my collection development plan.  Just another hat on my teacher-librarian head!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Five for Friday

1.  I've got another headache.  It's come and gone since yesterday.

2.  My BFF came in yesterday to cheer me up.  I was so glad to see her!

3.  We ate Mexican food twice in one day.  I gained 2 pounds.  lol

4.  Jay and I are going on a date.

5.  It's Friday!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Getting Caught Up

It's amazing what being behind does to my brain.

With my Book Fair the week before Spring Break and STAAR (Texas' standardize test) testing this week I haven't been able to get much office work done in my library.  I have stacks of boxes on my office floor and stacks of books on my desk.

I'm in charge of typing up the questions for our Battle of the Bluebonnets.  Which is fine... not a problem.  Except.  Except that I saved all the questions the other librarians emailed me in folders in my email... and the school district changed email servers over Spring Break.  I do not have access to those folders.  A mild heart attack later I had to have all the librarian and paraprofessionals resend me their questions.  Luckily everyone had them saved!

I have two wonderful 3rd grade helpers but this mess is getting the best of all 3 of us.

Until today!  Today we are doing make up testing.  There are only 3 students/teachers involved so they put them in various places in the library and have me as monitor.  So in between monitoring I have been able to finish typing up the Battle questions.  I filled out my paperwork for 2 boxes of books I'm purchasing from MidAmerica Books.  And I'm about to tackle the stacks of books on my desk.

My brain feels like it has decompressed!  I hate being behind. I'm not a procrastinator.  It makes my brain crazy.  I'm not fully caught up yet and won't be for awhile but I at least feel like my head is above water now!


 


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Testing

We STAAR Tested all day today (Texas' standardized test). 

It's mind numbing. 

It's boring. 

It's long. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I finished Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  It's the second book in the Lux series.  This is a fun urban fantasy about aliens.  Daemon the alien is out to prove what he feels for Katy is real.  It's not just the connection they now share after he healed her.  And here enters the new kid.  Who Daemon hates and Katy kind of likes.  But he seems to have some secrets that might cause some big problems for Daemon and Katy who are trying to hid the fact that they are now connected after being healed.

I started Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.  Reagan and I saw the movie when it was out.  I put a hold on the eBook back then and I just got it this weekend.  I'm still reading the prologue.

What are you reading that I should add to my to read list?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fan

I'm hot. All. The. Time.  It started when I was 38. It's gotten better over the last year but I still run hotter than normal people. 

So to help keep me cool during worship I bought this little fan at Target. It's been a life saver!

It's not necessarily loud but with worship being a super quiet setting it does seem kind of loud. You know, white noise. 

Our 5th grade friend who sits in front of us asked our friend he sits with if I was "using one of those massagers." Ha! No sweet boy, I'm just hot! That's my fan. 

Five For Friday-Random

1.  This completes the first week back at school after Spring Break.  It was a long week.  .

2.  Jay's MaMa (pronouced maw maw) turns 90 this week.  90 years old.  That's a lot of years.  The family is having a birthday party for her... that she doesn't want.  Ha!

3.  I signed up to host one week of a blog challenge for #FutureReadyLibrarians.  It's the first time I've done something like this and I'm exciting to do it.  I'm burning my box and putting myself out there.  I also signed up for the #ShelfChallenge to help me weed my fiction section.

4.  I bought an iPhone from... well, I don't know what to call her.  Ha!  When this teacher left the middle school to become a professor at the college I took her job as the Deaf Ed teacher.  I mentored her interns and student teachers.  She's not a colleague but that might be the best word for her.  I also worked with her husband.  Anyway!  I bought her husband's "old" iPhone.  I dropped mine in the toilet New Years Eve.  It works... but looses service and the GPS doesn't always work.  So this is a fun upgrade with out the expensive price tag.

5.  My feet hurt when I stand.  My hip hurts when I sit.  The struggle is real y'all.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Back to School

I found this!  I must of never posted it.  I thought it was funny.  And even though it's old I thought I'd post it now anyway.

*********************************************************************************

By the time Thanksgiving break got here I was about ready to loose my mind.  The week long break from school was much needed to say the least!

So on Monday as I drove to school feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the 3 weeks before Christmas break I gave myself a pep talk.

"Stay calm!"

"Don't let the students actions dictate my actions!"

"I AM the adult!"

"I love children!"

7 minutes into letting students in the school building... I gave a student lunch detention.

Sigh

5 seconds after a kindergarten teacher walked up to her breakfast table she had to give out consequences to a 5 year old for calling another 5 year old a very ugly name.

#Done

But I recovered!  I thought "I cannot be #Done with this day at 7:37 in the morning.  I still have to make it to 3:45."  So I adjusted my attitude.  And planned to make the rest of the day a good day.

And it was.

It turned out to be a pretty good day.

I'm still counting down to Christmas break though (not in front of the students, just in my head)! Ha!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Revisiting my OLW

My One Little Word this year is 'choose'.  There are so many things in life that you have to choose. This year I wanted to consciously choose.  I wanted think about my options before picking or reacting.

This has probably been the best word I've chosen so far.  It works in so many aspects of life.

As I have made choices it's helped me to write down them down.  So I created a page in my bullet journal to help me keep track of all the choices I've made.  I don't typically write down the little things.  I try to focus on the ones that make me stop and think.


 


Thank You Notes

Thank you notes are quickly becoming a lost art.  I wish they weren't.  There's something special about receiving a thank you note.  Seeing the words in writing seems to make it more special than just hearing the words.

The Friday before Spring Break the professor who brought her two classes of future teachers to my library to learn about Hour of Code (read about it here) stopped by with some exciting news (read about it here) and some thank you notes.

Like a busy full time working mom and teacher-librarian trying to get out of dodge and start Spring Break... I left the thank you notes at school over the break.  Which annoyed me at first.

But yesterday when I read them I was kind of happy I forgot them. They were a nice way to start the week back at school after a week off.  I'm not an overly emotional person but some of them made me tear up.  I took a picture of a few of my favorites.





Monday, March 20, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

I had more time to read over Spring Break and it was wonderful!

I started a new young adult series called Lux by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  I finished the first book in the series Obsidian.  It's an urban fantasy about an aliening falling for a human.  The only thing that made me a bit uncomfortable were the make out scenes.  They were a bit too hot and heavy for me being that their teenagers. Yes, yes... I understand that's what teenagers do.  Ha!  I still don't want to read about it.

Daemon the hot alien (who looks human except for his beautiful green eyes) does NOT like his new neighbor, Katy.  She's become friends with his twin sister, Dee.  And brings possible danger to his family.  But love sparks and he can't resister Katy though he tries hard too.

I started the second book Onyx.  I'm about 1/2 through it too.  Besides the steamy make out scenes I'm really liking this book too.  Just some fun things for me, Katy is a book blogger, so I bonded with her over that!  And she wants to go to the ALA conference.  The American Library Association conference!  As a librarian it was pretty cool to read about those things in the books.

Right now I'm at the part that Katy thinks she's seen someone who is thought to be dead.

What are you reading that I need to add to my to read list?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Wordless Wednesday-Melvin


We went to my BFF's house.  
Reagan hadn't been there since they moved.  
She also wanted to visit their zoo (I'm joking!... kind of).  
Here's Reagan with Melvin the hamster.

Spring Break

1.  Spring Break was MUCH needed this year.  I needed time away from my school.  I needed time to get my soul right with the Lord and get back to work with a better attitude.

2.  We got to see my parents and Granny.  We always have fun together!

3.  We got to see my in-laws and nephew.  We even got to baby-sit my nephew.  We ate custard at Andy's, my favorite!

4.  We shopped till we dropped.

5.  We rested for a couple of days too.  I needed those days.

6. We went bowling with another couple. 

7. I meal planned, set all my school alarms, and set out my clothes for the week. 

8. I think I'm ready to finish out the year. I think.... 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I use to make fun of people who vacation multiple times at Disney World.  I mean, I like Disney World but I've been there done that.  Once as a tween and once with my own family.  And I had a blast!  But that was enough for me.  Now if someone paid for my trip I'd totally go back!

But now... I feel bad for making fun of these people.

Cuz...

We are going to Universal Orlando for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the third time!

Go ahead... make fun of me, I deserve it! Ha!  No, seriously I do!

We went the first week it opened in July 2010.  It was all kinds of PACKED.  We went for half a day and we really only went for me.  Reagan was 5 years old and wasn't into Harry Potter yet.  Jay likes HP but doesn't love it the way I do.

Then Reagan fell in love with HP later that year.  And we HAD to go back for her.  I promised her we'd go back when Diagon Alley was complete.

So in November 2015 we drove back.  This time Diagon Alley was open.  Oh the fun we had!

My dad more than likes HP but less than loves HP.  He's mentioned to my mom multiple times that he'd like to visit The Wizarding World.  So she started saving money, talked to me about it to see if we wanted to go (Ummm, duh!  Yes!) and then surprised my dad with the vacation.  He owns his own business so she let him pick the best time for him to leave his business.  Luckily the dates worked for us and we are going too!  This will be our first family vacation together.

It's offical!  I called in January and paid the deposit and we are all set for our third trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

I'm planning to have these shirts made for us to wear.  We've all picked which one we want to wear. And a teacher I work with is going to make them for us.

So... did you make fun of me?  It's ok if you did! Ha!



Reading Life

I read the Nerdy Book Club blog A Reading Life... Interrupted by Dr. Teri Lesesne (one of my Library Science professors... just FYI).

Take a minute to read it.

This post struck a cord with me.  1. Cancer.  Ugh.  Just ugh.  My grandma and aunt fought and won the battle with breast cancer.  I recently lost a friend and co-worker to cancer.  Dr. Lesesne describes how cancer changed her life.  It changed it in ways I, not ever having had cancer, "understood", like loosing your hair.

But she also talked about how cancer interrupted her reading life.  This was not something I would of put with to cancer.  She writes about how it changed her opinions on what reading is.  Now "ANY reading is good reading."

All this made me think about a couple of things in my life.

During the school year my daughter doesn't read much for pleasure.  And I hate that.  But I also get it. Her brain is tired.  She's read for school all day long.  Whether a textbook or a novel study that they're doing in class or 1 of the 4 summary books she has to read and write about.  Knowing that... I still hate that school, the place that should be encouraging reading is what keeps her from reading for pleasure.  Luckily she does LOVE audiobooks and listens to one every night as she's drifting off to sleep. (That makes it sound like I don't think audiobooks are reading. I do believe 100% that audiobooks are reading!)

I had to convince her that that still counted as reading though.  I finally had to pull the "I'm a librarian with a master's degree telling you that audiobooks count as reading!" card.  I might of thrown my hands in the air... and had an attitude about it... it was not my finest moment.  But really?  Why do people (adults especially) think audiobooks aren't reading?

But when summer approaches she's asking to go to the public library where we check out books and audiobooks and she reads like like the book dragon I know she is.

For me, when I was in college for both my bachelor's and masters degree I didn't read for pleasure. My brain hurt.  And I was tired of looking at books, textbooks mostly but still, I was tired of looking at them.  So I didn't read much of those 6 1/2 years.

Last school year something happened.  Every book I picked up I hated.  I can't tell you how many books I started but put down.  Or how many I forced myself to read to remind myself that I could finish a book.  Or how many of those books I forced myself to finish, listened to other people rave about and wonder why I had to force myself to read it and still didn't like it.

It made me question myself.  Question my reading life.  Even question my profession.  Was I even fit to be a librarian?

I came out of my reading funk and felt so much more like myself again.

This also makes me wonder about my students.  Part of my job as a librarian is to help foster a love of reading.  I do fun reading programs, I do Book Fairs, I do book award challenges to get students interested in books.  But how many are like my daughter and don't read much during the school year because of... school?  How many of them are struggling readers but will end up being book worms?  How many of them have other things happening in their live that prevent them from reading?

After reading Dr. Lesesne's post I hope I can remember her words.  Our reading lives do get interrupted through out our lives.  Any reading is good reading!  And as Dr. Lesesne quoted Donalyn Miller "We need to hold on knowing that we have a firm foundation, and that the reading life will, ultimately, resume."


Laughter Truly Is The Best Medicine

The week and a half before Spring Break at school was rough.  Really, really rough.  The faculty and staff found out our principal is going to another school in the district.  I'm not going to air my school district's dirty laundry out here on the world wide web but let's just say some of us are NOT HAPPY about this AT ALL and others are happy.

Spring Break could not have come a minute too soon.  A break was desperately needed!

I needed to get away from work.  Away from the faculty and staff that I love and away from even the students.  I'm mad.  So mad.  

And I needed a break from it all.

My BFF and I got together Friday night after I drove to Houston after work.  We went to dinner and vented about life, laughed about life, and caught up on life.  Then walked around Target with our Starbucks coffee.

I laughed at her because she complained her hot coffee was too hot... I mean, it's suppose to be hot!   We tried on clothes and laughed at the absurdity of how some of them fit.  

Then I found a shirt on a mannequin that I wanted.  We looked EVERYWHERE for that shirt and could find it no where.  I mentioned in passing that we should just take the shirt off the mannequin.  Next thing I know I'm holding her coffee and she's undressing the mannequin.  I could not stop laughing.  I pulled out my phone and recorded the craziness on Snapchat.  She struggled getting the shirt off.  It really is kind of hard when the arms don't bend.  Since we were knee deep in this I suggest taking the arms off.  Did you know that mannequin arms are magnetic?  I didn't... but I do now.  She popped the arms off, pulled the shirt off, handed it to me and popped the arms back on.

All the stress I arrived with, all the angry I had leaving school Friday vanished in the moment she started undressing mannequin for me.

Every time I wear the shirt I will think of her, our laughter and fun we had then!  

How Do You Know That You Have a Good Idea?

I do eventually get to my question "How do you know that you have a good idea?"  Bear with me though!

A couple of weeks back I hosted two classes of future teachers from our local college in my library to demo my (Half) Hour of Code. You can read the details here if you're interested.

Since this demo the professor came back to my library to talk with me about some exciting things.

Very.
Exciting.
Things!

She told me that she used to do a 45 minute lesson on code with her college students.  At the end of class she gave them a survey.  She got responses like "This was fun but I don't think I'll use it in my classroom." or "I don't see how this applies to the classroom."  After our demo the surveys were so much more positive!  It's one thing to learn about a subject and learn the theory but it's a whole other ball game to see it in action.

She goes on to tell me that normally colleges go out to the community and teach what they've researched and learned.  But this time it was the community teaching the college.  And not only was it the community it was my students doing the teaching.  She tells me she's going to do a write up about our time together.  She's going to use my personal blog post about it and also the article I wrote for my school's website to write her paper.  She said this way I didn't have to do any of the writing, she'd do it all and include my name as a coauthor.  I assured her I did not mind doing my part of the writing but I was also happy for her to take what she needed from my blog post and my article.

How cool is that?!?  My name will be in a professional journal!

But y'all!

This is NOT the best part.

It gets better!

She goes on to explain that there is an international conference in Ireland in September.  She's putting together a proposal to submit to present at the conference.  And she WANTS ME TO GO WITH HER!  She's knows of grants that she'll help me write to get my trip there paid for.  PAID FOR! Honestly this is the only way I'll be able to go.  If this falls through she'll Skype me in during the session.  Which is still pretty cool!  She'll find out in April if the the proposal is accepted or not.  If it is then the grant writing begins!

So I said all that to say this:  I had NO IDEA that pulling my students in to help me teach code to the college students was innovative.  I had no idea that the professor would want to write about it for a professional journal or do a proposal to present at a conference much less an international conference.

Which leads me to my question:  How do you know you have a good idea?  How do you know you are being innovative?  How do you know that you are burning boxes, as my former principal use to tell me to do?

I asked my husband this question.  He's a preacher and comes up with sermons, Bible class topic for church, VBS and studies in people's homes and writes articles for the bulletin.  He has to be creative and come up with ideas to present Bible material.  How does he know he has a good idea?  He said he'd have to think about my question. Haha!

Can you answer that question??? How do you know you have a good idea?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I stepped back into a little sleepy, cloudy town I love and reread Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.  Are you judging me?  lol  On the reading challenge I'm doing for 2017 it said to reread a book you love. This is a book I love.  It's nice to visit the people and vampires of Forks, WA again.  It feels a bit like home.

Yeap, that's me in Forks 5ish years ago.  I drug my family there for 2 days/1 night.  I had blast.  Jay and Reagan tolerated it.  Ha!






















It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. The only reason I didn't finish this book last night is because my iPad died. I totally could of plugged it in and kept reading but it was late and I knew I had to drive Reagan and I back to Nac the next day so I really needed to sleep. #adulting

This won best romance on Goodreads for 2016. When I started it I thought it was going to be another cheesy romance. But it wasn't. I mean there was a little cheese but you weren't dippin' a chip in it or anything.

We are taken between Lily at 15 and Lily at 24. She's nothing like her mom yet she ends up in a relationship just like her mom and dad's. There's a bit of a love triangle (I love a good triangle!). I'm not finished yet. I know how I want the book to end but I'm not sure how it will end. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Day 2 of Spring Break-Granny

Few weeks back my Granny fell and broke a bone in her neck. There's nothing to do but let it heal. She's doing much better now but I haven't seen her since it happened and since Reagan and I are in Houston I thought we'd go to church with her this morning. 

She looked great and was moving around like nothing ever happened! She was happy and feisty just like she always is. Ha!

On a side note I had my iPad at church (using my Bible app). After worship the man sitting behind me asked if I was from Nacogdoches. I explained that I'm from Houston but living in Nacogdoches right now. He told me that he saw my iPad with the Nacogdoches sticker on it and asked it I knew Jason an IT guy in my district. I do! It's such a small world!

Anyway, we ate Mexican food and noticed that Granny was looking tired. She said with the time change and having to get up earlier than normal because of worship she had only gotten 4 hours of sleep. 

We did go back to her house for dessert for a little bit but didn't stay long since she was fading fast. It was good to lay my eyes on her. Of course my parents keep me informed and I had been emailing her but it's always nice to see for yourself.