Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Let's #tlchat About Collaboration and Advocacy

I love being a media specialist.  It's one of the best jobs in the world.  I get to share and interact with every student in the school.  It's an amazing opportunity to make a difference in a child's life.  But, this job can be a little lonely, too, especially when you are the only one in the building doing what you do. 

Most people only get a small glimpse of what goes on during the day in the media center as they are passing through. And so it can also be a misunderstood position, as well.   That is why it is so important for me to connect with other media specialists and teacher librarians as well as to spread the word about what media specialists and teacher librarians do and why we are a vital part of any school.

Being the only one doing my job in my building, even though I do try to work with the teachers in my building to create lessons that go with what they are doing in the classroom, I often feel like I am on my own for lesson planning.  But when I go to conferences and consortiums, I am with "my people" and the ideas are shared freely.

One of my favorite things about going to conferences and consortiums is getting to collaborate with other media specialists in my area.

Unfortunately, I don't always have the time or funds to attend as many conferences as I would like.
That is why I love that there are virtual opportunities to connect with others in the field.

Below is a list of some of the ways that you can connect with other library media specialist and teacher librarians as well as ways to get the word out about what we do and why we are NEEDED!

Be social online.
Join a social media group or community to connect and share with other library media specialists and librarians.  You can find these groups on facebook, Google +, and other online communities.  There are several that I a member of and I find tons of great ideas being shared.  Here are a few to check out...

Librarians Network
Teacher Librarians Diigo Group
Global TL: Librarians without borders

HERE are some other groups you might like to join, as compiled by the Global Teacher Librarian Network.

Get on Twitter.  
Seriously.  You can make some great connections on Twitter.  Just do a search for teacher librarians or media specialists and you will find someone to follow.  Once you find some peeps you like, snoop around in their lists of who they follow.  That is a great way to find others you will enjoy tweeting with. Here are some of the media specialists and teacher librarians I follow...

@librarian_tiff  (Tiffany Whitehead)
@plemmonsa (Andy Plemmons)
@cybraryman1  (Jerry Blumengarten)
@cathyjo  (Cathy Jo Nelson)
@THLibrariZen (Lynn Kleinmeyer)
@librarianprblms   (for a good chuckle)

Hash it out.
I use the Twitter hashtags #tlchat and #edtech when I tweet  about media center and library "stuff" and I also search for those hashtags.  I have made some great connections just by doing so.  You can search for other hashtags as well.  Here are a few other hashtags you might try...

#LibrarianProblems   (for more good chuckles)

Cybraryman has created a list of educational hashtags that you might find helpful. You can find that list HERE.

Participate in Twitter Chats.
There are tons of twitter chats going on nightly/weekly/monthly. They usually last about an hour and go by surprisingly fast.  Pick one that tickles your fancy and check it out.  If you like what you see, jump in the conversation.  If the pace of a twitter chat seems too fast, don't despair.  Some Twitter chats are archived so you can always go back to look at something you might have missed.  If you're not sure what a Twitter chat is or how to take part in one, you can check out THIS helpful info compiled by Cybraryman.  Cybraryman has also created a neat little page that lists the current day's Twitter chat and what time they take place. You can find it HERE.  Another great resource to check out is the TL Virtual Cafe.

Share the love.
Read, follow and comment on fellow library media specialists' and teacher librarians' blogs.  While many of us read and follow blogs, leaving a comment on a post that you found interesting is a way to encourage more posts from that blogger.  I have to admit that I don't comment as much as I could on posts that I read.  However, I know that personally, as a blogger, I feel more motivated to blog and blog more often if I know that someone is actually reading what I post.  It's nice to know there is someone out there who values my ramblings.  =)

If you need some suggestions for blogs to follow, you can check out my blog list on the right hand side of my blog.  I also have listed some in THIS Collaboration and Advocacy LiveBinder.

Collaboration is important, but so is advocacy.  Sure, "it's all fun and games" in the library, but if we want to keep it that way, we need to be sure to let others know about what we do. We need to be our own advocates.

Toot Your Own Horn.
What are you doing in your media center?  I bet it's something awesome and I bet other media specialists and librarians would like to hear about it.  Get the word out.  Tweet it.  Post it on facebook.  Share it on a blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, in a group or in a listserv.  Just let people know what you are doing.

Spread the word.
If you find something interesting about school libraries that you think others should know, share it.  Tweet it. Blog it. Facebook share it. Let's spread the word about what we do and why what we do is important.  Here are some things to get you started...

School Libraries Transform Learning (digital magazine)
School Libraries Transform Learning Infographic
A Nation Without School Libraries (Google map)
Are Librarians Still Important?
Advocacy Tool
27 Things Your Teacher Librarian Does (infographic)
AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner
Empowering Learners:Guidelines for School Library Programs
Free Online PD for Teacher Librarians (infographic...and the graphics are hyperlinked...score!)
Teacher Librarians at the Heart of Student Learning (YouTube video)

So MS and TL peeps, make your voices heard.   Let's each other and to everyone who will listen.  Let's share ideas.  Let's encourage one another.   Let's tell the world who we are and what we do!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

TpT Cyber Sale

TpT is having another sale and my store will be participating.

Just use the promo code SMILE at check out to save up to 28% on all your purchases.  The sale starts at midnight and runs Nov. 30-Dec. 1.  Fill up your carts now and get ready for some holiday shopping TpT style!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Updated Freebie

Hey everyone!  I have just a quick blogpost about a freebie I've updated.

It's the HP Reveal How To Guide.  At the time of this blog post, Aurasma (now HP Reveal) updated both Aurasma Studio and the Aurasma app in August and there were some significant enough changes that I thought an updated how to guide would be useful.

To download the updated version, just click HERE.

I am presenting about Aurasma today with a friend of mine.  You can view our LiveBinder of our presentation HERE. Wish us luck!  =)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Monster-ously Fun Bookmarks

It's almost Halloween and it's the perfect time to pass out these fun "monster" bookmarks.

You can download this set of four bookmarks HERE for free.

Or purchase this set of 16 bookmarks which includes 8 color and 8 black and white bookmarks for students to color their own.  You can purchase this pack HERE.

And if you'd like a little freebie for yourself, you can download THIS free monster calendar.

Happy Boo Day!...a day early.  =)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Spooky Book Care Fun

$14.08 on Amazon

I love using the book Never Let a Ghost Borrow Your Library Book by Karen Casale to teach about book care. This week I have been using this book with kindergarten classes and they are loving it, too. (They especially like when I make kissing sounds for the part about loving your book soooo much.  ha! ha! ha!)

After we read the book, I have them complete a little sheet to review what things are harmful and not harmful to library books.  You can download a free copy of this review sheet HERE.

What are your favorite books to use to review book care?

*I'm an affiliate for things I've bought or used personally.  If you click through any referral links (if included), at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.  Thank you for your support in this way.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Creepy Fun

Creepy Carrots!
$12.58 on Amazon

I have been using the book Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds with my kindergarten and fourth grade classes for a little Halloween fun.

I am trying to get over a little cold and don't have much of a voice, so I found this YouTube video of someone reading the book and showed it to both my kindergarten and fourth grade classes.

For my kindergarten classes, we discussed what type of book this was...fiction...and what made it fiction.  Then I let them draw their own creepy carrot.  You can download the coloring sheet for free HERE.

Here are some of the finished products.  

You may remember from THIS post that one of my requirements, er, um, goals this year is to get STEM certified.  To do that, I have to teach 5 STEM lessons. I decided to do a STEM lesson based on this book.

I found THIS fun Creepy Carrots! STEM lesson  from Smart Chick Teaching Resources on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Students had to create a fence that would contain a carrot using the fewest number of craft sticks, but the fence had to be as high as the carrot was tall.

Here are a few of their project designs.  Some were more successful than others, but they all seemed to have a good time with it.

Overall, it was a pretty fun, if not creepy week.  What fun things do you do for Halloween?

*I'm an affiliate for things I've bought or used personally.  If you click through any referral links (if included), at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.  Thank you for your support in this way.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Story Elements with a Spooky Twist

$13.80 on Amazon

One of my favorite stories to read leading up to Halloween is The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams.

I use the book to teach about the story element of character, setting and plot.  A couple of years ago I made a worksheet to go with the story.  You can snag this freebie HERE.

This year I came across a video that has a song that goes with the book. I played it for my PreK, K, and 1 classes. They loved patting their legs to the beat of the song and doing motions for all of the clothing items.  It's such a fun song!

What books do you like to use this time of year?

*I'm an affiliate for things I've bought or used personally.  If you click through any referral links (if included), at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.  Thank you for your support in this way.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monster Book Fair

We just finished with our fall book fair. Scholastic's theme for this book fair was a monster theme.

Lucky for me, I had made some products with a monster theme over the summer, so making signs to advertise the book fair was pretty easy.

My five year old also helped me advertise after he discovered the Clifford costume in all of the book fair stuff.

Setting up, on the other hand, wasn't as quick or easy.  It took about 8 hours.  Here's some quick peeks at the process.

The decorations on the table and the decorations hanging from the ceiling came from the Scholastic decorating kit which I was able to get for free from the Scholastic Dollars catalog by attending a book fair workshop and using my special code I received from my book fair rep.  Although it's valued at $69.99, I value it at a much higher price because it saves me from having to create a bunch of decor or from having to run around town to find items to match the theme.  

Before I moved out the bookcases and boxes, I went ahead and put the tablecloths on the table.  It saves me some time when unpacking to go ahead and have those on the table.

It took me about an hour to get to this point.  Keep in mind I was setting up on my own.  I did have a parent volunteer sign up to help set up,  but she was unable due to an unforeseen circumstance.

After about an hour and a half, all the boxes were in the sections where they were ready to be unpacked and the books inside of them put on display.

After about six hours, this is what the fair looked like.  It's the details that get me every time.  I do like to label as many books as I can with AR labels since we use AR at my school.  I also label each shelf with letters so when teachers are creating their wish lists, it is easy for them to put what shelf that book can be found on.  All of this takes time, but it is worth it for the fair to run smoothly the next week.

A good part of the set up time involves creating "doodad" board and organizing the "doodads." I forgot to snap a picture of our "doodad" board from this fair, but here's a picture of one from a previous fair.  I use a trifold board and tape one of each item to the board. I number each item.  Students can let the cashier know which item they want when they get up to the cashier.  It helps to prevent the little items from disappearing and since I began using the "doodad" board, more books are purchased than the junky stuff.  So it's worth the extra time.

I always dress up the front doors of the media center.  The students get very excited when they see these decorations go up because they know the book fair is just about to start.  This time around, I left these doors until the end. You can tell by my sad little monster over the door that I was a little tired by then.  But the kiddos still liked it, so I am good with it.

And now that the fair is over, I can smile about it all.  
It really was a "monster"ously good time.

Monday, August 3, 2015

#TpTBTS15 Reminder

Don't forget the TpT BIG Back to School Sale starts today.  

You can get 28% off my paid products during the sale with the promo code BTS15 at checkout.  Happy shopping!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Reflection and Goals

As a new school year is about to begin (and because I didn't do it earlier), I am ready to reflect on last year and look to the new year with fresh eyes.

At the end of last year, I created a Year in Review that I shared with the staff at my school.  You can check it out HERE.

After creating the Year in Review, I looked back at previous years and felt maybe I didn't do as much as I had in the past, so this upcoming year, I would like to challenge myself to do better.

Big Goals:
  • Collaboration    This is a big one for me.  I feel like I just touch on basic collaboration when I meet with the media committee to plan out each nine weeks.  I let them know what I have planned, but don't feel like we collaborate that deeply to create lessons.  I really would like to do more than just the same lessons over and over each year and I feel like collaboration is the key.  Finding the time to collaborate always seems to be the obstacle. *sigh*
  • Tech Centers    I'd love to design/offer more technology based centers for my patrons. This will take some time to develop and then teach, but it's something that I've wanted to do since I took this position.  This could open the door to MakerSpaces, the Hour of Code, Digital Learning Day activities, and maybe even a Technology Club after school.
  • Building a MakerSpace   I have spoken to my principal about this.  She agrees that we might be able to do something in the future so I want to start exploring what is out there now.  There is a grant opportunity offered through our county each year that might be a good starting point.  It offers up to $1,500, which could be a way to get some starter kits.
  • Technology Club   This is another one that has been on my goal list for several years.  I always have lofty aspirations for doing something after school, but doing the job of two, sometimes three people every day burns me out.  I am going to try to push myself a little more this year to get this accomplished, at least maybe by the end of the year.
Smaller Goals:
  • Author visits via Skype or Google Hangouts    I have done Skype visits before, but our connection wasn't so hot.  I am thinking that Google Hangouts might be a better option because our county is going to Google Classroom this year, starting with teachers and a few trial grades.  Next year, we will be 100% Google Classroom 2nd grade and up. This goal may or may not be feasible because we are still working out the kinks.
  • Reading Tent    This was a big hit last year, and I'd like to do it again this year.  You can read about it HERE.
  • Book Awards    I did one lesson last year during Read Across America about Book Awards, but I'd like to do more this year.
  • STEM lessons    This one isn't so much a goal as it is a requirement. I have been told that we will be a 100% STEM recognized school by the end of the year, so that means that I have to do my part to fulfill the requirements to personally get STEM recognized by our county. This involves creating and teaching 5 STEM lessons.  This can be tricky with only 30 minute time slots for K-3, including check out, and only 45 minutes for 4-5 every other week, including check out.  But I WILL, somehow, make it work.
Collection Goals:
  • Change the call numbers in the Biography section from 921 to B.  The current call number 921 causes confusion in both locating and shelving biographies.  I think the B call number might help this.
  • Evaluate the collection and determine which series might be ready to be weeded or at least replaced with newer copies.
  • Look at the Easy Chapter book section and determine if some series might fit better in the upper fiction section or perhaps create yet another section for beginning chapter books.  Some of the books I have in this section are much longer than others, and although the longer books have larger print, they still might fit better in a different section.
  • Continue weeding the entire collection to keep it fresh and up to date.
Personal Professional Goals:
  • Present at a least 1 conference
  • Attend at least 2 new conferences
  • Complete Goodreads reading challenge (Feel free to follow me on Goodreads.  I am Jnase1.)
  • Clean up blog posts and organize the Freebies page.
  • Look into the location, the requirements and cost for acquiring a doctorate degree

I have begun my Scope and Sequence in the hopes I will be able to see how I can accomplish many of these goals.  There are still some areas I need to work on, but it's a start.  If you'd like to see what I've done so far, you can click HERE to download the Google doc.

So those are my goals for the year.  What about you?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

I {Mustache} You to Check Out My New Theme Decor

I have been busy decorating the media center for the new school year.  I went with the mustache theme after discussing it with the media committee last year. It's a theme that both upper and lower elementary will enjoy, which is always a plus.  I still have a little bit more to do, but the majority of the decorating is complete.

The signs I used to decorate with are included in my

(now with EDITABLE blank signs and library/media center passes)

Here's a sneak peak:

I cut out a large mustache out of bulletin board paper to hang over the door.


I made the door signs when I was designing my Mustache Themed Library Media Center Pack to see how they would look.  I made some changes to them in the pack, but since I had already printed them out, I went ahead and used them on my doors.

These are the doors on the inside of the media center.  The parent volunteer sign is included in my Mustache Themed Library Media Center Pack.  The Tweet door is something I have used for several years now. I got the idea from the Filling the Frame with Learning blog.  You can read more about how I use the door HEREHERE, and HERE.

I updated my AR Hall of Fame in the hallway.  I used this to highlight the top word count earners in 2nd-5th grades each month.  I didn't change out the letters, although I have made new letters that match the mustche theme.  I just haven't had a chance to do that yet, but they are printed, laminated and cut out, ready to hot glue to the wall next week.  The AR Hall of Fame letters and month signs are included in the Mustache Themed Library Media Center Pack.

For the circulation desk, I tried changing out the mustache clipart for black mustaches to go with the black background and to match the black mustaches in the colored background on each poster.  I liked the look so it's what I went with in the Mustache Themed Library Media Center Pack.

I like using book jackets that I don't use for new books that come in to decorate the media center.

I have one large bulletin board on the wall as you enter the media center.  I divide it into three parts to create 3 different bulletin board displays.

The first is the Reader of the Month bulletin board that I use to highlight the 2nd-5th graders who have the highest word count in AR each month. These signs are included in my Mustache Themed Library Media Center Pack.  The Reader of the Month pictures are also placed on the bulletin board in the hallway.  The pictures in the hallway stay up all year, whereas the pictures on this bulletin board change out each month.

The end of the bulletin board is my Mustache Themed Book Return Reward Bulletin Board Set.  I use this bulletin board to encourage and reward students for bringing back their borrowed materials on time.

The middle bulletin board changes each year.  Some years I highlight different authors; some years I highlight teachers and their favorite books.  This year I decided I would highlight our media center's collection.  I am going to display
  • the number of books in our collection
  • the number of weeded books so far
  • the number of lost books each month (I hope this stays at a low number)
  • the number of checkouts each month
  • the number of class visits each month
  • the top 5 books checked out each month
  • the top 5 patrons each month (who checked out the most)
I think this bulletin board is a great way to showcase what we have in our collection and to show how much (or how little) it is being used.  I hope that this will increase visits and circulation throughout the year.

I have made this into a freebie that you can download on TpT. You can snag it HERE.  If you download it, please let me know what you think.

And here's the really awesome news.  Teachers Pay Teachers is having their annual Back to School sale August 3-4 and my TpT store will be 28% off during the sale.  Just use the promo code BTS15 at checkout.  If you've had your eye on something, August 3-4 is the time to buy!

Hope you enjoy and good luck this year!