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


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


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!


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!