Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Librarian as Information Specialist

  The librarian's second most important job is that of Information Specialist. As librarians , we develop our collections according to our curriculum  and teacher/ student needs.  The second part of being an information specialist is identifying and sharing resources that will support teacher created  lessons and project based learning  activities.

  So as librarians we learn our schools curriculum and our teachers lessons , and we build out collections based on these  specifications.  I am constantly speaking with teachers regarding their lessons, and if they need support material to be had in their classrooms. I build project pathfinders ( series of internet sites based on lessons/ information needed  ) that are placed on the library web page. Each time a class does a project, appropriate databases are reviewed

  As librarians, we look for print , streaming videos, databases, reliable websites, and eBooks for students and staff. The addition of electronic resources add to our roles of  information specialist. Resources of online databases and eBooks provide with further information. Instruction on how to access and use goes back to our primary role of teacher..

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

How to use your Weekly/ Daily Master List

  Do you keep a weekly  or daily master list of to do items / jobs for you library work life? Do you prioritize your tasks? This is the first step in being organized ad getting items accomplished.   Once your list is in place ( I do a daily - either in the morning or right before I leave school)  

  Then I prioritize  each item. Elimination of items that are not worth the time are  the ones I struggle with . I use a D to delegate the tasks I can give to my assistant - depending on the task - some times I can get some students to help.

  My most important items I mark with an A- ( must do as soon as possible)  and B ( ( should do but no serious consequences if ti doesn't get done right away.) 

 If you do this on a regular basis , you can begin to gt ta flow of tasks competed in the most efficient manner, Determine what is most important   and do the items  that are on your list first

Thursday, November 30, 2017


   Commonlit.org is an online library of free literature and Informational texts. Teachers can quickly locate a passage that fits with a lesson for students can read and answer comprehension questions. This can follow with discussion in small or large groups.
      Teachers can select by grade level, genre, literacy device or theme. These are mostly short pieces which comes from classic works, writing that has been  in other publications, and short works that have been donated by authors; Each text has a summary about the author and the piece. There are text dependent questions and also a readability factor to adjust font size.
    Also available are related media, audio and video clips which go along with the text. There are parent guides. For teachers there is the option to create classes and track learners. It seems that this site is full of interesting items that I feel it might be very helpful for teachers.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Using Elink

 I am using Elink for my project pathfinders. I had used Livebinders to do this previously but am at my limit for my free subscription. So I needed to find another way to curate a series of web links for students to put on the library page.
 Elink is a visual collection of web links, I find it very useful when students are researching topics for their projects.  If I know the topics the teachers are having students do investigation’s on , then I will be able to find relevant & accurate  links for them to pull from.
  Students can use the websites in the elink pathfinder  and they will have a quick easy way to find accurate information quickly.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Reading for Pleasure ( article)

  Jeffrey Wihelm recently wrote an article abut reading for pleasure and its benefits. https://www.edutopia.org/article/benefits-reading-pleasure
The first question he brings up (which I think is key) is: promoting reading is a civil rights issue. He gives data that reading for pleasure helps youth in both social mobility and cognitive progress.
He encourages all staff regardless of subject area to promote reading for pleasure. In reading for pleasure the student is engaged and immersed in the book. 
The article also gives some examples of how to share and promote reading in a school setting.

Thursday, November 9, 2017


  Read.Gov is a website which is a Division of the Library of Congress's  The site encourages everyone (kids, Teens, & adults) to discover the world of books and reading.  You will see a variety of free reading resources to explore.  There are programs to be done on line, and classic books to read online. Author webcasts( where authors speak about their  books and their work as a writer .)

  Also helpful to both librarians and teachers are the book lists that are related to research and school topics. There are  online book exhibits( Books that Shaped America- which shows covers of the first edition and gives a synopsis of why the work is important) There is also  a list of some best American literature. This is a good resource for librarians, elementary teachers , ELA ,and English teachers.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Teacher Librarian Journal

   Last week I received my first issue of Teacher Librarian ,  the October issue. This is my first issue  in probably 10 years. It looks like a really good issue!
    Back in my Elementary days I got this  and loved it. Now it seems to have a more scholarly focus. Although I have not read any of the articles ( Had surgery  this week and did Nothing!) I feel it will be a good addition to my professional learning. Also there are many items in this issue that look like they will be helpful with advocacy  to the administration.
   Does anyone else get this?   I am also impressed with the persons on the advisory board. They are all leaders on school libraries. What other journals do you get that you find helpful? 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Library Webpage and your Calendar

   I wrote a while ago on what you should have on your library webpage.  At the middle school level, I am finding that I update my webpage probably at least once a week.
  Each time a class reserves the library or my time for inquiry, research, or project based learning, I put the scheduled classes on my library calendar (and in my plan book). Also each time there is a department meeting or a professional development day at the library I put that in also. The other thing I put on the library calendar art e book clubs, and any other special actives that are held in the library.

  The Calendar is  important to my page because   teachers and students can see  what is going on in the library, and if the library might be available to use.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Letters About Literature- writing contest for students

  Letters About Literature is writing contest for students in grades 4-12. In its 25th year , it is sponsored by the Library of Congress and Dollar General.

 This is a reflective  letter writing competition whereby students write to an author about their feelings about a book and how they feel the book has changed their view of themselves or their world.  The students will share specific details about the book and their reaction to it.

  More information about the contest can be found at read.gov/letters. There is a webinar for educators and details about the contest.  Check your state for deadline specifics.


Teachers lesson plan for writing letters:


Tuesday, October 17, 2017


    My teachers can use Youtube in school and are not blocked. But when students do certain presentations and inquiry, they are at times required to added videos and clips. They are blocked from using YouTube. They can put the links in at home, but cannot view/ present when at school.

 So I am in search of something the students can use. Teacher Tube is one that can be used b7 students and teachers. There are many educational and helpful videos, audios, photo, and documents. There is also other content is available for the school scene. I will eventually put this link on my webpage and continue to search out good sites for students and staff to use.

What do you use for videos clips for your student presentations/ inquiry’s? 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Accelerated Reading at the Middle school

  We are doing Accelerated Reading again this year at my school. Last year we did not have a huge number of students that participated and read books.  So I am looking for suggestions on how to motivate the students to read and take tests.

 Each week I select three students to select from my box of goodies.   I will also give out cafeteria rewards to the two or three highest point scores each month. But I am looking for some good motivators / rewards to get more students reading and taking tests, Can anyone comment below and tell what kinds of prizes / recognition they give? Or special privileges?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Middle School Book Club

    I held  the first meeting for both 7th and 8th grade this past week. The students are really interested and ready to read. My 7th grades all boys. They selected to read Chains.  ( I love this book) So they are up and running. The 8th graders will be reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian( Alexie)

    Seventh graders will meeting after school. Eight grades during their lunch.

   We are required by administration to take attendance and minutes which we hand in.We set a date for the next meeting which was good. So now I can prepare a mini poster with dates on it to hang around the school. Last year I never thought to schedule the next meeting so I feel super organized.

  I will still announce each month when the book club is over morning announcements. Usually I start announcements about three days ahead of time.

   Does anyone else do Middle School book clubs? I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Using Non-Fiction Books/ articles with students

I am searching four ways to use and help teachers use non-fiction selections with students. Here are just two easy ideas.
1.       Teach students how to summarize, paraphrase and pull out main ideas. This shows students how to put ideas into their own words. Also this will reduce the amount of plagiarism. It will also determine if the student is understanding the material given. Start with a small amount of text.

2.       Give them choices- Use some different articles, books, selections on a unit of studies. Students choose what they want to read. Give them a variety of items on different levels-

This is where the library comes in- we can help getting together books on your topics.