Thursday, September 24, 2015

Another Year

I'm well into my second year as a media specialist!  These first two months have held many long-hour days, some tears, and plenty of hard work!  I've adjusted to the 35 minutes it takes me each week to type in all of my plans, AASL and Common Core ELA standards to our media center planner on ItsLearning.  I've changed out lots of ink cartridges, printed loads of posters for teachers, and set up some resource lists in the media catalog.  I've already accomplished some teacher trainings on using the media catalog and new resources that are available this year.  Like last year, I've helped one of our gifted teachers, Mrs. Wing, with the daily morning news production, and started our second year of Battle of the Books with the help of Miss Grimes and Mrs. Tate.

The kids, all 1,000+ of them, and our teachers, are what make work worthwhile.  :)  I'm still in a fixed, all day teaching schedule, completing six to seven, back-to-back, 45-minute lessons a day.  That rigorous schedule has helped me help the school counselor to teach the 1st - 5th grade career lessons, but the best parts of my days are working with the students, and/or finding some time to help students get a book they love and want to read.

I'm on my way to accomplishing some of my personal S.M.A.R.T. goals.  Literacy Committee approved LOTS of new titles, so that we can update our aging collection with a focus on fiction and everybody books.  We are also getting some high-interest interactive eBooks and some more single-use/check out and download titles.  Hopefully this will help me build student-interest in eBooks too.  They are SO handy to have on your device, and no worrying about overdue books, losing, or damaging them.  (My new Book Hospital bin stays full with tattered, well-loved books!)

I made an easy display with the information that our local public library sent on students that participated in their summer reading program.  I've also coordinated with that same library to have them attend an evening, school PTA art event so that they can help more local citizens get a library card.  (I need to sign up for my honorary card to their library since I don't live in the county where I work.  That way I can explore their resources, see how they work with our collection, and encourage students to utilize their eBooks in conjunction with ours.)

I read aloud "The Dot" by Peter H. Reynolds to my second graders, and most students "made their mark" using Paint software. When the computer lab was unavailable, other students used crayons to mix colors to make their dot.  One student even figured out and crafted a 3D dot from paper stuffed with tissue that she taped together!  Other students worked together to combine their dots to make bigger dots.  LOVE it!  Hope to do even bigger and better things next year for "Dot Day"!

I put up a simple "Fall in Love With Reading" display to showcase some fall, apple, and leaf books, both fiction and nonfiction.  

I shared loads of pictures and information about our media center renovation with a Dekalb County Media Specialist who is looking for ideas for his media center renovation.  

Most recently, I saw this idea on Pinterest, and made some easy labels for the return cart by the check-in computer.  Kids seem to be picking up on utilizing it rather easily.  Plus, it helps me get the books shelved a bit faster, especially on the nonfiction side.  It's a small, "something new", but one that I'm going to give a solid try, because as one student told me today, "I like that!  It's so organized now!"  The sign on the bottom left is for 000, 100, 200, and 300 books, since those don't get checked out as much as the other nonfiction texts.  Then I grouped 400 and 500 together due to all of those animal books, and placed 600, 700, 800, and 900 on the same shelf, because while loads of 600s and 700s are checked out, not tons of 800s or 900s are.  :)  

Lastly, I've been asked by our county board media specialist, Susan Grigsby, to be the System Media Committee representative for my region of the county.  I shall see what all that entails at my meeting in October, AFTER I savor our first fall break in my 14 years of teaching!  SUPER EXCITED!!!  Time to relax, catch up on blog post/reading, search for new ideas, and visit family and friends.  :)  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

2015 Summer Reads

Our county Media Specialist, Susan Grigsby, has asked us to post a "shelfie" of the books that we've read this summer.  I remembered that I could update my Shelfari app, and since the books that I've finished to date all fit onto 3 shelves, I snapped a picture.  These same books are in the Shelfari to the right.  Just click through. ---->

I was trying to start reading through this year's Georgia Book Award Nominee Finalists for grades 4-8, but that was starting to get costly.  So, I looked at what books I could check out from my local Gwinnett County Public Library on my Overdrive app for iPad.  ALL of the books above are digital content downloads.  All of them.  Knowing that some of them would be returned as the days ticked down to the due date actually motivated me to finish reading some of them.  

This naturally lead me to reflect on my Follett wish list for the upcoming school year.  Almost all the books in that list are hardcovers with only one eBook because of the cost difference.  It has been so lovely, as a reader, to be able to put a book on hold, and then have it checked out to me automatically when it becomes available.  Granted, I can check out up to 20 books at a time and have a hold on up to 75 books at a time through my local public library.  The limits for students on our current Follett eBooks site allows only one book check out at a time, since we have purchased only about 300 titles for 1,000+ students.  Most of those titles are nonfiction, and very few are high interest fiction or popular authors.  It is highly likely that students do not check out more eBooks because there are not current, desired fiction titles.  

Based on the level of access to digital content through my local county library, I am going to start work on how to help my students get that same access through their local library.  I'm thinking it would be a win-win for the local libraries to up their memberships, and for our students to have access to so many eBook titles for free, thereby saving our school money.  (New lesson idea!) 

p.s.  Students did have access to Get Georgia Reading (a division of Capstone Publishing) eBooks this spring and summer.  GREAT site!  They also had/have access to StarWalk Kids Media eBooks too.

p.p.s. I don't post reviews on my Shelfari, because I prefer to post to my goodreads page.  More of my friends use that bookshelf page than use the Shelfari page.  I did give each book stars though.  I suppose I should finish out my Shelfari profile, but that's for another day.

p.p.p.s.  After showing this post to Susan Grigsby, (mentioned above) she shared that she and Dr. Bray, Chief Technology and Information Officer of our county school system, have already been working on the same idea!  They are trying to coordinate how students can use their registered student I.D. to access materials through their local public library.  So cool!  Great minds think alike!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Another Year in the Books

Wow!  Another year in the books!  It was wonderful not to have to pack up a classroom, now that I'm in the library!  Finished up the 19,000+ book inventory, re-labeled over 125 books that were coming up incorrectly barcoded, inventoried and reorganized the teacher resources closet (Actual space to add more materials!),

and reorganized the reference shelves to, hopefully, make them more usable next year.

I did already see several projects that will need my attention in the fall, such as relabeling our 39 Clues books as a "series" to make them easier to find.  Will also need to re-label some reference book spines, and to try to help categorize the teacher resources mentor texts into usable topics for mini-lessons.  While we did just adopt Lucy Calkins writing materials, and I'm sure we'll be looking at ordering her mentor text suggestions, we can also still utilize the many books we have previously purchased.  I also found some great math and science texts in there too!  I love a good book project!  :)

In addition to some much needed summer vacationing, including a visit to New York's Public Library, and to Florida's Panama City Beach, I am also going to take part in a Google Educator professional development course this summer.  Looking forward to sharing what I learn!

Friday, January 2, 2015

PBS Learning Media

Well, what do you know?  A Facebook ad finally led me to something great!  

How had I not heard about PBS Learning Media yet?  It's fantastic!  Our county had allowed us to preview a different great resource over the winter break called  Lots of great lessons for a media specialist like me, but this PBS resource appears to have just as many great lessons - for FREE!  Plus, I simply adore public broadcasting and support our local system, GPB, with a financial donation each month.  And, it seems much more user-friendly with searches for media specialist standards and content standards.  Looking forward to incorporating their lessons into my lessons this semester!!!  Very excited!  Hope it works at school!!