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?

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.