Monday, July 28, 2014

New Space Themed Items

I've been working hard to get some new Space themed items complete. Today I put the finishing touches on them and they are now uploaded on TpT.

The Out of This World Space/Alien Library Media Center Pack has tons of posters, bulletin board ideas and items, reading incentives, bookmarks and more!

You can check out this library/media center pack on TpT by clicking here.

You can check out this pack on TpT by clicking here.

And to complete the trio, I made an Out of This World Space/Alien Dewey Signs Pack.

The large signs come with print

and script font options.

The small signs come in a print

and script option as well.

I've also included a page of small blank signs for you to write on.

You can check out this pack on TpT by clicking here.

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Top 10 Wildcat Favorite Books of the Year

And now for the top Wildcat Favorite books checked out in 2013-2014. The books in this section are the most popular fiction series books at my school and have a higher number of checkouts than other sections.  In fact, that is how I know what books to put in this section.  I use circulation stats and observations to determine which books will go in this section.  Our mascot is the Wildcat, thus the section title.  You can read more about this section here.

with 35 checkouts.
(Side note:  I have had to mark this book as a middle grade fiction book even though it has a very low reading level because of the content.  Nate's character is disrespectful to adults and often makes fun of his teacher's weight and his father's parenting. In one book,  Big Nate Out Loud, he asks his best friend "Is that a name or a male enhancement drug?"  After discussing it with the media committee at our school it was decided to keep these books on the shelves, but make them available to the upper grades only, hoping that they would be mature enough to handle the content and not imitate it.)

with 36 checkouts.

with 37 checkouts.

with 40 checkouts.

with 39 checkouts.

with 44 checkouts.

(side note: DOAWK books have also been labeled as Middle Grade Fiction books due to content.  I asked several teachers to read the first book in the series, and then it was discussed with the media committee and decided that because Greg doesn't seem to take responsibility for his actions and basically bullies his best friend, that it would be best for more mature readers.  See comments at the end of this post for more.)

with 45 checkouts.

each with 49 checkouts.

with 51 checkouts.

and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinnley
each with 54 checkouts.

I still don't understand the appeal of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. It may not be very "librarian" of me, but since I read these books a few years ago, I will not purchase any new DOAWK books for our elementary school.  After reviewing these books, our media committee agreed that we should keep what we have, but not add any more.  There is just too much good literature out there to spend the very limited budget our media center receives on these books. Perhaps they would be a better fit in a middle school, but elementary students are very impressionable.  As an educator, teaching good character is an important part of my job.  In my opinion, these books just don't send that kind of a message. I will not recommend or purchase a book just because it is popular if it doesn't add quality to our collection and I am convinced that they would not be as popular without the movie. We have selection guidelines in our county, and I just don't believe DOAWK books meet these guidelines.  In the meantime, the 24 copies we have (which, incidentally, were purchased before I took this position and/or before I read them myself to decide whether or not to purchase more) will just have to do.  Okay, I will get off my soapbox now.

You can read about 2012-2013's top 10 Wildcat Favorites here.  Next up, the top 10 Non-fiction books checked out in 2013-2014. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Top 10 Middle Grade Fiction Books of the Year

So tons of ties in this category as well, so I will just be listing the actual top 10 as they appear in order of the report I ran in Destiny. These are the top 10 in my school library media center only.

with 10 checkouts.

with 10 checkouts.

with 11 checkouts.

with 11 checkouts.

with 11 checkouts.

with 11 checkouts.

with 11 checkouts.

with 11 checkouts.

with 13 checkouts.

And the #1 checked out Middle Grade Fiction book in our media center was
with 14 checkouts.

Next up, Wildcat Favorites...the most popular section in our media center.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Flaming Mad About the New Amazon Fire Phone Commercial

Appalled and very disappointed.  I don't know what else to say about the latest commercial for the new Amazon  Fire phone.  I turn the channel every time it comes on; I hate it that much.  I suppose it is the protective momma bear coming out, or maybe it's the techy teacher in me, but IMHO I think this commercial is just wrong.  Wrong. WRONG!  I don't usually put such strong opinions on this blog, but I really am upset with what the message this commercial sends.

If you haven't seen the commercial yet, you can find it on YouTube.  I refuse to post it as I REALLY dislike it, but it features two young "hipster" kids, one of whom states he is nine years old, using the phone, and showing off the apps they use.  My first beef with this commercial is why is it highlighting nine year olds having cell phones?  Why does a nine year old need a cell phone?  I am sure I am not the only parent/teacher who feels this way.  But my bigger beef is with one of the apps that the kids are using...Twitter?  

Don't get me wrong.  I love Twitter.  But I am also older than 13 which is what the policy is for having an account on social media sites made for Twitter...and facebook.  And there is a reason for that, not to mention a law about it.  Ever heard of COPPA?  Do nine year olds really need to be on a site where they may be "exposed to Content that might be offensive, harmful, inaccurate or otherwise inappropriate, or in some cases, postings that have been mislabeled or are otherwise deceptive"?  This comes directly from Twitter's terms of use, by the way.  Twitter also states "Our Services are not directed to persons under 13. If you become aware that your child has provided us with personal information without your consent, please contact us at We do not knowingly collect personal information from children under 13. If we become aware that a child under 13 has provided us with personal information, we take steps to remove such information and terminate the child's account. You can find additional resources for parents and teens here."   

Clearly, Twitter does not want children under 13 using their site. And I should think not, since it would violate COPPA It makes me wonder why Twitter hasn't gotten this commercial removed or changed.  Maybe they feel it would look bad considering they are for free speech. But there is also a such thing as responsibility in advertising.

I get that the purpose of the commercial is to make money and to show how easy the phone is to use, but do nine year olds really need to be used for that?  What about using grandparents to show how easy easy the technology is to use since the commercial is supposed to be funny?  Right?  Or am I missing the point totally?

The phone is sold by AT&T.  So I say shame on both Amazon and AT&T.  Totally irresponsible advertising.

Okay.  Rant over.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Top 10 Upper Fiction Books of the Year

There were so many ties in this top 10 that I couldn't look up the top 10 with the ties.  It was over 50 books.  So I am just going to list the top 10 books as they appeared in the list, even if they were tied.

#3 was When We Were Young by A.A. Milne with 16 checkouts.

with 18 checkouts.

And the #1 upper fiction book was A Dog on His Own by Mary Jane Auch with 18 checkouts.

Next up Middle Grade Fiction books.  Stay tuned!