Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Librarian as Program Administrator and Advocate

   The Librarian is the developer of many   library programs. We need to highlight the value of the Library and also promote the important role of the librarian as a member of the instructional staff.  We can present students at meetings (PTA, Board, Staff Dev) . We can conduct reading challenges. ( I use Accelerated Reading challenge)
   I also promote programs, services, and books in my monthly newsletter.  I actually do a twice a month brief newsletter and I also send occasional emails targeted to specific departments. I take photos to show case what is happening in the library and what the students are doing.  The other way I promote my library and programs is my monthly report to administration. 

   The other simple thing that we do is to make signs for programs to be up all around the school. And we use the morning / afternoon announcements to promote the library and its programs.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Book Talks

    Librarians use book talks to encourage reading and to showcase new or great books. There are many  different  ways to accomplish book talks. If you have scheduled classes , then you can do  book talks on a regular basis.
     If you have a flex schedule  then you will need to devise ways to share your collection, Go into ELA classes or Social Studies classes with a tote bag of books.Give book talks during lunch time if your library is open and students have 'free time"

    Book talks could also be produced into blog posts, pod castes, short videos, or other ' digital " ways. This way the promotion would be on your library webpage or the schools webpage,

    Another idea to promote reading is a 'read around' whereby staff members present their favorite books . Students would hear many different titles this way.

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.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Weekly Reading

Into The Wilderness by Sarah Donati  is a book I could't put down. A historical novel series  begins in the 1790's . Elizabeth Middletown, an educated spinster of 29, comes from England to join her Father in upstate NY. She wants to be a teacher  to the children living in the area. Her Father wants her to marry Dr. Richard Todd,

 Elizabeth has no intention of marrying anyone. But she is drawn to Nathaniel, a backwoodsman, son of Hawkeye ( Hero of the The Last of the Mochicans)

  Nathaniel's people want to buy back Hidden Wolf mountain  from her Father's property. Elizabeth will inherit  the mountain as part of her wedding gift.

 The novel is  full of action, adventure, romance, and family life in that time period. NOw I can wait to get the next in the series- there are 6 in all.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Smithsonian Learning Lab

Smithsonian Learning Lab is a free resources of digital resources. There are more than a million images, recordings, and texts for use by students and teachers, or anyone who wants to investigate digital sources.   The SLL is designed for discovery, creativity and  sharing. There are more than one million images, recordings, and texts. Search results display pictures that you can click on.  you can add notes, tag questions , save and share.

The learning lab helps build critical skills by having students  select , organizing and create new resources.  Enter a subject that interest you  in the search bar. Keywords can be from broad to specific/ Search results in an image grid but can also be changed to a list view.
There are resources and learning lab collections tabs at the top.  resources can be individual or a group. A curated group of resources will be a collection or resources.

  There are icons to help you distinguish between images, video, audio, and text, There are also learning resources( lessons , games, interactive online exhibition websites.
  users can collect resources, save them to favorites and also share resources with co- workers and colleagues.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Personal Professional Growth

  At the  Summer Institute , we were given a continuum of school Librarian competencies, This rubric is for self growth to help up develop professionally. The competencies are from AASL and PSELS ( Professional Standards for Educational Leaders)

 Out of the 11 competencies I am going to work on  #1 first- which is Mission, Vision and Core Values. Being ion the middle school and the state of librarianship  with the strong digital aspect I will have to ponder before setting my mission and vision.  I have a small budget so that will be limiting as far as the digital/maker space aspect.

  Do you have mission or vision , or core values. I am struggling with this so if any one can comment please please do!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Setting Library Goals For a New Year

   It’s the first day of school   and time to set a few goals for the upcoming school year! After our Future Read Conference I have to decide what goals I want to pursue. I am thinking of two that are most important.
    One is continuing to build instructional partnerships with more teachers this year. Last year I had quite a few collaborative projects, and I am hoping this year to have those same teachers and then add several more that I did not get to work with last year.
  Another goal that I want to pursue is to become more proficient at a few key new technologies. The specific ones I have not decided on yet, but I am thinking of Symbaloo or Buncee . Those are a few of the ones Shannon McClintock Miller showed us at our conference.

   Do you have goals for the year? What are they? Share with us in the comment section please!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

New School Year!

 Tomorrow is our first day- conference day  with staff. It will be an interesting year. Our assistant superintendent retired the end of June and we have a new  young  assistant superintend  Our superintendent retired in the middle of the summer  so now we have an intern . So we will see how that goes.
  My principal is away til next week,so I guess our Assistant Principal will be in charge for tomorrow. I am hoping to get into the Library. I did go the other day and went through the mail and put as much as I could back in place from the cleaning over the summer.

  The first thing I will do is send emails regarding library orientation and possible  research help.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

September Bulletin Boards

  Yes I know many of  you are back in school already and probably have your "Welcome back" bulletin boards already up. We go back on 9/1 and the students come for the first day on te 5th.  My beginning slogan is " Port Where Raiders are Readers!" ( Our mascot is the raiders)
  Then  a little later in the month I will put up something like the following:

Fall in Love with Reading

Leaf though a Good Book

Fall in love with  your library

Rake in a good read

Welcome Back - The books missed you!

All of these can be done with a simple background,  a tree, and some leaves!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Project Based learning- Why should we use it?

   Project Based Learning is the way most of the world works now. If you think about your life at home, and your life at work , you can see that we go through a variety of tasks and projects throughout each day. Each task requires that you learn new things and acquire new skills as you complete tasks.

   In real life , we don't spend several hours listening as authorities  in their subject area speak on and on. We  start with what we know and then we ask questions  about what we need to complete the task,

  The research shows that PBL is more effective than  the traditional lesson plan model. In Japan, Finland, Sweden and Denmark use this plan and believe it is the best way to learn. ( They score the highest on math and science tests.)

 The PBL teaching and learning approach  takes more time to plan. It also requires collaboration with other teachers.  And  it requires students have a set of skills that work with the process.
   This year, I am going to emphasize the PBL to my staff and hope to work with them to incorporate PBL into their lessons and curriculum, so I will be writing more about this as I do more research on the system.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Project Based Learning

   Shannon talked about Project Based Learning and Project Parades. In Project Based Learning, students are engaged in their own learning. PBL helps the students focus, requires higher order thinking skills, ad encouraged  and encourages partner or group work.  There is a lot of discussion among student, teachers and administrators.

    PBL is learning in which the students produce something useful to share with others. In the process of  creating the project , the student leans the inquiry  ( Scientific ) method, howto gather information and facts, analyzing data, write and record the facts ( produce the project) and then finally present the project.

     PBL emphasizes  creativity,thinking skills, cooperation, collaboration, and communication.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Shannon McClintock Miller

   Shannon McClintock Miller  was an awesome presenter a our NYLA Institute. The theme was "Future Ready Librarians :You lead the way!"  She had so many fantastic new tech tools to use with students. I will try and highlight them as I go back over notes and play with them and see how they work.

  Shannon is ten"Future Ready Librarian  and Project Connect " Spokesperson. So her first part of her information was about the spokes on the wheel of a future ready schools  framework.( New York is a Future Ready school state)

   School Librarians lead, teach,  and support their school s and districts future in education of students.As librarians we an connect staff and students to the leading edge of digital learning,

 If you look at the list below, you can see the different spokes  . Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessments  is the spoke that Shannon spent the most time discussing the newest digital  resources,
( I could not seem to copy the graphic!)


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

MakerSpaces- Evening Event

    At our Institute we had a "MakerSpaces Petting Zoo". NO there were no pets , but what we did see was 16 different and incredible MakerSpaces Ideas for our students.

     The 3 -D printer was of course the biggie~! They used student friendly tinker cards. The students would have a blast with this. and would the staff.  I think it might be best for older elementary , middle and high school students. /students  create the desired object and then can watch as the printer builds the object.

      The Lego stations of course were popular, This I think would be the most easy and affordable for most schools.  They can be used with students of all ages , as there are three different levels of kits. There are robots to be build and also lego story starters for the younger set.

     The Little bits had  electric  modules that snap together . Students create circuits that have movement, light and sound. To me this looks like a system for middle and high school age students. There are 'patterns'to follow' to show students what they can actually build.

  This is just a sampling of some of the ones that  I think would work for   my building;

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Weekly Reading- The House at Riverton

  Kate Morton has done it again with The House at Riverton !  Before WWI , Grace went to work at Riverton House for the Hartford family.  There is a movie to be made about the family and the tragedies that befell  them - and the tragic death of a family friend.  Grace,w as one of the witness actually knew the truth about what happened.

 The story is told in flashback pattern and brings to life the story of the wealthy family, and how life was lived in the 1920's and up to WWII. Grace tells the story of the family and the members of the household who worked at the house. We get a clear picture of what life was like.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Summer Institute for Librarians

 Wow- what we packed in for a day and half was amazing!  The most fun of course was the 'Maker Spaces Petting Zoo" and  the  Auctions!  
  The Petting Zoo was so cool!  The Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES  was so cool. We got to see in action and try out some really amazing maker space items: 3d printing,  green screens, Ozobots,  little bits, and dash and dot to name a few.  Would really love to do something like this in our library- even though I am really short on space.
 The Scholarship  Auction was fun!  There were great items donated by some major companies( Perma Bound, Kapco, and even some of the Maker Space companies. Then the regular auction  - there were baskets with some wonderful items that groups put together - those brought in the  big bucks. We had fun bidding- tons of laughS as librarians tried to outbid each other. The most popular were the wine baskets, and the Mo Williams baskets.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summer Institute for school Librarians

   I am so excited to be getting ready for our NYLA /SSL educational leadership institute! It is this week at Cornell University .( Ithaca, NY) The theme this year is Future Ready Librarians: You Lead the Way! 
   The presenters are Shannon McClintock Miller( The library Voice blog@  http://vanmeterlibraryvoice.blogspot.com/ )who is a library mover and shaker. I am sure she will be very inspirational and a motivator   with some new ideas.
   The other presenter is Jim Belair from Monroe.2-Orleans BOCES and an adjunct professor at University of Buffalo.  I am expecting to get some fantastic ideas from this institute. I will share some of the stuff next week in a follow up post.So check back here and see a post or two ob Future REady Librarians, and some ideas on new programs and issues.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Weekly Reading/American Heiress

   American Heiress is another great novel done by Daisy Goodwin .  Set in the 1890's , it begins in Newport, RI.  Cora Cash , as a young American " Princes"becomes a young lady, and is from one of the wealthiest family's in the East Coast.
   Her mother is intent is for her to marry well and into a title. After her debut,  she arrives in England to be brought out in English Society.  Quite by accident ( a horseback riding accident actually) Cora meets a very eligible ( but poor) Duke who rescues her. Their love story ends in a marriage that is both full of love, mystery, and scandal. A very good read you won't want to end.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

More Active Learning Strategies

 Picture Prompts- show students an image with out a caption or explanation.(For History use a primary resource from  your libraries webpage) . Ask students to identify , explain, and give evidence for their answers.  Ask students to use terms from a previous lecture or to name the processes or  show concepts ( think Science) This can be a whole group  activity, or small groups or pairs. Students can then share their ideas.

Think -Break-  Ask a  rhetorical question. Allow 20 to 30 seconds for students to think about the problem. Students can then write something down about the solution  or the problem. You can then go on to explain or expand the topic being covered.

Update Notes- Take a break for 2 to 3 minutes to allow students to compare  class notes ( with the other students)  and to allow students to fill in the gaps and develop questions.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Weekly Reading- The Lake House

     Kate Morton's  The Lake House was excellent! Although in the middle I was wondering where it all was going . But at the end I could not believe how it turned out.  The novel spans a time frame of 70 years , so it goes back and forth between the two story lines.

   Alice,in the 1930's, and her family in Cornwall- and their privileged life.  The family's country estate is well hidden  but the home of a proper English family.The tragedy of  what happened with her Father and her Mother is kept secret from the world.  ( Father's shell shocked/ disappearance of  11 month old baby Theo)

   Sara, nearly seventy years later when visiting her grandfather, stumbles upon the estate  .  As a Detective she is intrigued by the story of the missing  and adored baby, so she is determined to find the answers of happened all those years ago.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Middle School Lessons- Online Card Catalog

 Lesson for Online Card Catalog- Follett Destiny

 "Searching for a Book"

1) Review of Destiny- finding  library page, and where to find card catalog.
2) Discussion of ways to locate / or search the materials in the library.

Vocabulary: online catalog,author, title, subject, series, call numbers,  genres, keywords

 Resources needed:
   ( Students)Computers with internet access . Destiny worksheet
   ( LMS) whiteboard with internet access

Where the lesson takes place: in the library or computer lab

Student completes worksheet.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Weekly Reading/ Clockwork Angel

ClockWork Angel by Cassandra Clare is the first in a series called The Infernal Devices. Tessa is trying to find her brother and be reunited with him, He is all the family she has left, Her parents died when she was very young, and now her beloved Aunt who had taken care of her and Nate has passed. She is on a mission to find Nate.
    Tessa is doing what she needs to do to find Nate- she travels  to England. She  gets entwined with the Dark Sisters because they are the link to getting to brother - but then she is tapped. The sisters teach her how to' change' and are trying to get her ready for the Magister.

  To me this is fantasy and horror rolled into one. Will and Jem and the Institute  become Tessa's new "family". When the Dark sisters are partially eliminated, The Institute  helps Tessa find her brother- but that brings up a whole new set of problems for them. Slowly they begin to unravel  how the Shadow hunters can save Nate and the Institute.  This leads into the second book of the series so  you will want to keep reading.

 The novel is well written and riveting  until the end. And then you are wondering what will happen next?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Middle School Lessons- Library Orientation

 This is a brief outline of what I will do  when school resumes in September for my library orientation so that students will be familiar with the library.

  Orientation & Map
1) Introduction to library, personnel, policies( circulation)
2) "Tour " of Library- Like Vana  since it is so small
3)  Review of Destiny ( Online Card Catalog- shown on whiteboard)
4) Explain  how to do map, and library and card catalog activity

Vocabulary: overdues, circulation, fiction, non-fiction, biography, reference, dewey decimal system, fiction arrangement, genres.

  REsources :Worksheet- 2part- general  & card catalog activity

  Where do the lessons take place?
 Orientation- Library
Completion of map and general sheet- in library
Completion of Card Catalog activity: library or computer lab

Can you share what you do for your orientation? This will work for  grades 5-8.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Weekly Reading- Summer Time! Victoria/ Goodwin

  This is my weekly reading series again! It is so nice to have time to read! ( That is what I do best!)
I just finished reading Victoria/ Goodwin and it was excellent. We had seen the PBS special in the winter and when I saw the book  ,I grabbed it.
 Goodwin follows the life of Queen Victoria in great detail. In the end papers , she notes that she wrote the novel while they were filming the shows. She had done extensive research  and brought Victoria to life.
 Victoria is the young queen who had a hard time being taken seriously , but it was a role she was meant to do. The descriptions of the 1830's and how life was for Victoria and her family are outstanding and interesting. If you saw the series ,and loved it , I would definitely recommend this book. I Only wish there was a second book-who knows maybe there will be. I would love to read more about Victoria and Albert !

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Middle school Lessons

 I am trying to devise a online curriculum for my 7th and 8th grade students. So I am searching what others have available as lessons and online tutorials.  So Far, I have found a few that look good and will als match up with my student needs.

  What is needed first is an overview of elementary lessons because when the students get to middle school, they forget what they have learned or they do not remember learning the basics ( like online card cat, arrangement, genres, dewey decimal system, ect.)

  Also I want to focus on internet safety, digital citizenship, and evaluation of websites, and also databases.
The reference process is I will do in collaboration with classroom teachers  when they are doing research/ inquiry. This will also include Easy Bib directions .

  As I search I will look for additions and adapt them to my students, This will go on my google classroom  for student use.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summer Vacation

 Yes! It is finally here! Summer! Although for several days now it has been cool and spring like!  I will get back in the groove. I put all my school stuff away except my pile of books that I want to read ( YA 's from school) and some lessons that I want to look over , and my journals with articles marked that I want to read.
  Of course today I went to my public library and got a pile of  magazines and the book Victoria ( from the PBS special)so I will read that first.  ( I will probably do a review too)  My flowers are growing like crazy, and I will soon have to harvest some of my herbs  I Love Summer!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Active Learning Strategies

 Here are some examples of active learning strategies:
 1)Round Robin is a small group activity. Have students in groups of 3 or 4 . Students pass around a paper and each will write a fact, opinion or piece of information on the topic. Time is called at a predetermined time ( say 10 to 15 minutes) This allows students to share knowledge of a topic and discuss what they know about a topic.
2 ) Discussion  . When you have a general discussion as a whole group, have students jot down what they have heard. Do they agree or disagree, or did it give them a new idea or piece of information.
3) Flash cards- Have students make flash cards for use of study for tests or quizzes. Flash cards can also have drawings or words.
4) When students work in pairs, give them a time limit. Students will be more focused when given a limited amount of time.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fiction Arrangement by Genres

  I was trying to figure out if I had written about this before . I even did a search but did not come up with anything so I am not sure if I am repeating or not. Maybe someone will let me know if I did??

  In both our Middle and High school, the fiction books are arranged my genres and then in alphabetical order.  When I first got there , I said to myself  that It would never work and I would have to change it back to regular  arrangement.
  But now I am sort of glad that we did not. Each genre  has a different color label that goes over the call number , signifying the genre. (example purple for Historical fiction) What this does is that when a student knows he  or she prefers  science fiction, fantasy , or sports books, they can go right to that section to look for another book to read. They don't have to go the card catalog ( on line) to get books in the same genre, This also makes it easy for the library staff to recommend  other titles  in say the same genre or series
  What we did also was assign another prefix to the call letters. So for a Historical fiction book, the call letters look like this in the on line catalog   HF_Fic And.  So if students find it on the catalog , they know where to look.

Friday, June 16, 2017



      Although Toon.books.com  is  a site that is selling  their books , there is a lot of content that can be used by teachers who want to incorporate cartoons  or graphic novels into their classroom. Under the Educators tab, you can find a Comic Genre study, an article on Why Comics? And also CCSS-aligned Teachers' Guides which includes common core standards, lesson plans, and activity sheets.  There are also guides to some of their books.

        Under the Just for Kids tab, you will find cartoon makers,  read along videos, toon craft activities, and tips for parents. So I think this would be a good site for teachers who want to use cartoon and graphic novels  in their classroom.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Active learning - Why do it?

     Active learning breaks up the  lesson into shorter segments. This helps students pay attention longer ad remember more of what is covered.  Active learning encourages integrating of previous knowledge with new information gained.

     Higher level thinking skills are required  in active learning.  Students develop questions  and may be required to find solutions and information, Independent activities give student the ability to incorporate their own learning styles into the activity.

    One of the Library Media ( Information Literacy) skills that go hand in hand with active learning is  questioning. Students need to learn about what makes a good question.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Active Learning- What is it?

     In  Education. Active Learning (engaging students in activities/ projects/ problems) is the way to provide students with an interesting and effective way  to learn.
     Active learning is the practice of doing, practicing investigating the material during each class session. It is not having student’s listening to the teacher and taking notes.
    So what is it?  Active learning is designing activities around learning outcomes of each lesson or session. The students are ‘doing’ something with the topic at hand. They are reading, hearing, seeing/ viewing, investigating the topic, or, discussing materials.

       Active learning can be done singly, with a partner or in a small group.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Inventory Time at My school library.

     I am getting  the scanning for my inventory all done. There are just a couple of sections yet to do. MY non-fiction has not been done for at least 8 years! My Reference section probably even longer~! So we will see how that all comes out.
      The next  step is going back  to look for copies that were either missing or did not scan into the scanner, It is a new scanner so we do not have the ability to punch in the number if the barcode does not go in. Then we input the number into the report section if the item is  found. ( This is a step in the Destiny/ Follett system which is something new for me)
     The third step is to finalize. I am not sure if this is done though the reports , book by book, or we can d o it a section at a time.
      The inventory has gone pretty good  so far. But I also need to remember that my collection is very small and we did weed out books that were terrible shape. This collection has not been weeded in two years at least.
     But by doing the inventory I was able to learn more about my collection and what is exactly in it. This is will help me in future orders and also in helping  teachers and students when they are looking for something specific.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Teen Reads.com
   Teenreads  is a part of Book Report Network.  BookReport Network aim/ goal is to provide book reviews, articles, author profiles & interviews & excerpts news releases.
  Teen reads is aimed at students from 12 to 18. On the main page you will find ways to connect /interact with the providers by voting in their current poll, answering the current question, giving your reading recommendations or writing to the editor. This is aimed for the teens to interact with the providers and other teen readers.

Tabs at the top of the page are: reviews, authors, features, reading list, contests, teen board, blog and newsletter just to name a few. 

I plan on diving into the reviews and what’s coming soon. This site is well planned out and easy to use.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Library /reading bulletin boards for June

   Some ideas for you for your June Bulletin Boards::  It's the end of the year so get ready for lots to do!

  Summer Read- Feature covers of student favorites . Use names and say" Jeanne recommends"

  Get Carried away with Books- Balloons or hot air balloons. If you want - add titles to balloons.

   Hot Days- Cool Books- summer scene-  reading on the beach

  Photos of students  reading their favorite books in their favorite places.

  Dive Deep  Into Reading- under the ocean, fish, sharks, water plants.

Special Days:
Fathers Day
Flag Day

Friday, May 19, 2017

Awesomelibrary.org- geat site

    Awesomelibrary .org is both awesome and amazing!  The tag line on the main page is that Amazing library organizes the internet with about 37, 000 sources.
    There are 30 tabs in block form in the center of the main pages. There is also a search box. The top tabs are Teachers, Kids, Teens, Parents, librarians and College. Each of those links takes the viewer to the next level where you can find specific sites for additional topics.
   Example: Under teens, there are school subjects( Math, Language arts,  Science, Technology ,English,  Social  Studies, the arts, health & PE ) and then there are also links for activities and more( Games, projects, Friends, questions, .authors, ) Each  link takes you to a page that has links .

      My focus is to find what they offer for librarians, teachers, and student’s. I feel that this will be a valuable site for librarians, educators, and students.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Organizing Your Day Using To Do lists!

   So you have your  To Do List  and you eliminated or delegated  tasks (See   post on 5/2/17 )
A good idea to make you more efficient is grouping or batching tasks or jobs.(See The Organized Librarian- my book - offered at this blog)  This works well  with small tasks or routine items. You can batch  small tasks like filing, shelving, budget work, or items that require the same mind or time frame. 

  Some Examples: 1) Take all papers, mail, handouts, budget sheets  to needed locations in one trip, 2) Do one project ( or section of a project) at a time . Work on it until completed or the task is completed before starting another task/ project, 3) Set aside certain times for checking emails, making phone calls, 4) phone contacts  to confirm meeting times and places.

Work from your To Do list with  3 to 5 items per day. Focus on getting those items done. At the end of the day, you will see  and feel accomplished .

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Wing & Claw: Forest of Wonders- Weekly Reading

  A new series by Linda Sue Park is Wing and Claw: Forest of Wonders  really caught my attention. Raffa, a young apothecary is learning to use the woods gatherings  of leaves and herbs from his Father. He finds a special vine with strong powers. With it he saves a small bat, but the vine leaves the bat with extraordinary powers.
    Raffa continues to experiment with the vine,  but he also wants to warn his cousin  of its power. The cousin and his family have moved to the big city to be apothecaries there.
     Something Raffa discovers  is very upsetting and he needs to  find out the truth about his relatives. This puts him in some danger, This a new series - I can't  wait to read the next one to see what happens!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Using post –it’ notes to organize

   When working on projects, I collect papers and printouts.  If it is a large project with multi pages ( like 7 or more) I will label a file folder  and place the papers inside the file to keep them all together.
 But if the project is small or has just a couple of papers, and it is one I will do relatively quickly 
( within day or two), then this is what I do. I will paper clip the items together and then mark them with a small post it note.  ( On large  post -it notes  I cut them in half- the right way so they will stick.) Then I mark what they papers refer to or what I need to do with them.

   This way I can put them in  my  work basket,  and  then complete them quickly the next several days. (See small and large projects in my book The Organized Librarian!)  
  The post its help me organize and remind me what to do, and this  keeps me going in the right direction of being organized and getting stuff done,

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Symbaloo- Tech tool

Symbaloo  is an exciting tool to use - either with students or as an organizing tool for much used items It helps you organized the internet so you can find  and share resources!

   You build a webpage by first creating the title and then you can personalize with colors of your choice.You can add new sources- even articles  I think and radio stations. You chose a title , pick a color , and then up load a link I am just learning , but if you haven't seen this  it really is cool. And it is not to hard to learn.

This become a webmix. You can also search in the gallery for other webmixes that have already been done. Theses are very helpful and you can find lots of interesting links that way'

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

To Do lists

In the morning ( or at night before you go home) ,whichever works best for you, you write your to do list- right?  You might want to divide your list into three columns:
Today's Priorities                       This week to do's                                            Would be nice to do

I keep this limit to 5 items in each column. Then I go back and see if there is anything  that can be avoided or delegated. Look at the tasks that are really worth you time and energy. Get rid of anything that is not necessary. This way you can focus your day on doing what is most important and will make the most impact for you students . teachers, or patrons,. I make my list before I go home. Then in the morning, I look at my list again  and cross off items if I feel it is not worth my time.

 Then I focus on what is most important  and even get some 'nice to do  " items which is very nice feeling! 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

May Bulletin Boards

  It  is the end of April , so I am thinking of what to do about those bulletin boards.
 Here are some ideas of what I have used in the past.

Sneaking around with a good book- copies of sneakers , students will put on their favorite spring books  and put them on the board.

-"When we read we Grow.'May flowers-  Blue Back ground
  Battle of the Books - groups. scores , announcements.

"We're wild about Books!"- Jungle theme ( animals , trees) around slogan, maybe even titles on tree leaves, or book jackets if you have more room.

"Read, Return, Repeat"  Make slogan like the Recycle, Reduce, Reuse green arrows- put book jackets around that.

"Don't be angry -Read a Good Book"   Angry birds and book jackets or titles

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Elink- site for Curation or Pathfinders!

Elink is a free site where one can share information using computers, tablets,  or phones.  It is easy to publish and edit the content on the go. This will help students (and others) share online content .  So you could include videos, webinars, podcasts, articles, images, google docs and more.
  Curating with elink is a simple way to  share. You choose a template, add the links or articles, save the content  and then share your elink webpage.

It is easy to use . I use it to create pathfinders for specific student projects. Then I post on the library page and students use the links to complete projects. 
 This was one of the links in the Curation post that I wanted to try first- I made a pathfinder today for one of my teachers- It was really easy to set up! I will do more of these!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Curation:A new term for Educators

 One of our goals in education is higher order thinking skills. So we are trying to get away from students simply recalling information.  One new concept I've been reading about s curation.

Curation is the collecting and organizing of facts/ writings of high quality and then sharing those collections with the world. A student could collect: articles, images, videos, audio clips or a mixture of items that all relate to a topic . It’s like “The top 10” or “The Best of” something.  

Curation projects require students to  : Understand the information, analyze  and  organize it to make sense, and evaluate  / judge the quality  of the items. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Book Review- Where Can We have the Party?

   The animals ( Elephant, Giraffe, Monkey, and Snake) are trying to find the best place to a birthday party for their friend Chimpanzee. But each idea of a place they come up with won't work for the chimpanzee or the four friends.  

     They finally find the perfect place- Hungle Bungle Park. The friends decorate the park with balloons, ribbons, streamers , and a Happy Birthday banner.  The whimsical illustrations are soft and  make a soothing yet colorful  jumble of the zoo and its animals.

    The party was a surprise  so they all yelled surprize when Chimpanzee arrived.  The friends danced, and played games, and had lots of fun together.  When the party was over, Chimpanzee told them,"This was the best birthday party ever!"

   This is a fun birthday story for children from 2 to 7.  The jungle party with the animals is a great twist on the birthday theme. The illustrations are fun and age appropriate . All the animals are friendly  looking and happy. This would make a great gift for a child's
birthday, they will want to read this story over and over.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Budget Book- a good way to organize

      A few years back I was on my "notebook ". I organized all my important papers into three ring binders to keep everything straight and items together.   I decided last week  ( I 'm at the middle school now) that the note book organizing was the way to go  to keep like items together.  It worked at the public library  when I had a tiny tiny office,  now here my office is bigger but has even less space  and places to organize important papers.

     The first thing I did was to organize  and figure out how to build my binder. Previously I had items in two hanging file folders that were located on my desk placed in one of my file holders. Every tune I took one out to work on something ( which was weekly) the papers would either fall out or get in the wrong spot.

      So in the binder  I put  four divider tabs.  The first was labeled pending, so all the purchase orders still  out / not received were hole punched and place behind this section. I also made a section marked general in which I placed information about the  budget in general- amounts for  materials and supplies, amounts for chapter 53 ( funds for books state assigned).  So depending on the PO , I placed them in whatever tab they belonged.  These were the completed  Po with items we had received,

     Now when I have budget papers  they are finalized, I hole punch them and put them in the proper section. When I pull out the book, the items stay where they belong.  It makes it easier to grab what I need and also is much easier to keep in order.  MMMMM What else can I put in those binders??

Thursday, March 30, 2017


Teacher’s Tool kit

    This site is a great source of teachers, On the main page you will the tab for tools. It gives teachers a variety of tools that will help them plan activities and engaging lessons for students.

  There are so many good ideas here!  On the very left hand side the tools are group into categories: opening activities, partner practice, group practice, reading strategies, and games just to name a few. I found so many interesting activities here! Share with your teachers, you will be a rock star!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Re-Organizing my Desk

    Just last week I was able to re-organize and streamline my desk. I had two sets of hanging files, one of which was not often used , I wanted to get another file cabinet to store the files in but there was not any room in my office for another file cabinet. I do have  a large old teachers desk , where years ago they had some kind of space for either files or a pop up typewriter-( not sure what it was for)
     I ordered two handing file holders to go into the open pop up section. And I ordered  a smallest pencil/file/ post it holder. The supplies came the other day- the company I order from is NY based- S & B computer supplies.
    So the order was faxed on Monday and we got the supplies on thursday.
 Friday I set up the new system. Files used weekly/ monthly were placed in the new hanging file box and put in the 'hole' where the large space  is in the desk.

 Then I re-organized the files I used on a daily basis into the hanging file organizer. The two current projects are file in the small organizer that also holds pens/pencils,post it and scissors . I think it will work great and looks so much neater!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

April bulletin board ideas for library and classroom

      I've got a poem in my pocket!-- pockets with poems typed stuck in- these can be changed  weekly. Or let  students put in their  favorite poems.

     Get Graphic@ the Library!  Scan covers of some of your Graphic Novels and put on a colorful Bulletin Board.

      Get Hooked on  Books!- Fishing line with book titles or covers along the line.
( Fishing for a good Book)

     Spring into Reading with Great Books

      Sports Stories

      It's Raining Books- Put an umbrella in the corner of the bulletin board. Then place large blue and grey raindrops with book titles on them.( Again let students put up their favorites.

     April showers bring great books! ( Similar to above idea)

National Humor Month
School Library Month
DEAR- Day April 12

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

More Homework for Librarians

    The other homework I do during my evening prep: I read my professional journals ( School Library Journal) SLJ has many interesting and informative articles.  I also find many of the advertisements helpful . The book companies are great for showing covers and  starred reviews- telling about the new books.

Which leads me to my other homework from SLJ: reading reviews!  I read the reviews carefully to see if I want to purchase for my school. I also check Amazon and Barnes &Noble as part of my homework. They are great for descriptions,  professional reviews, and reader reviews .

So this post and “ A librarians homework “ keep me busy at home!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Homework for Librarains

  When I had a fixed scheduled classes, I had homework  grading papers, and planning classes.  It was a new class for me(7th grade) so I did a lot of planning!This year , I do  not have a fixed schedule. I now work on supporting and collaborating with teachers on research projects and computer projects. So now my homework is very different but I still have work that I do almost every night.

One thing I do is to carry home a  notebook . When I am at home and think of something that is needed to be done ( and I did not put it on my "next day" list  I will jot it down in the front of my book.  When I get into work   I can add add it to my "TO Do" List.

In another section of my notebook, I write down topics of  teachers research projects . This is the time I surf for links that are age appropriate an d reading lever for the students ability .This sites I incorporate into a "LiveBinder" which I put on the library webpage  under the link Project Pathfinders. These links help the student s f  to easy find the information the need,

  The other homework I do is to look for websites and links that will help teachers  in their lessons. And the  best thing I surf for is library blogs and displays on pinterest which give me lots of inspiration  for my library.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Librarians website- Librarian.net

     Librarain.net is a website for librarians written by Jessamyn West from Vermont.
She writes on many library related topics, programs she has been too, libraries she has visited, and talks she has given, books she’s been reading.
     A presenter, she also has two books   she has authored: Revolted Librarians  Redux  and  Without a net. She has a digital newsletter.

     The content is varied and interesting. If  you click  on the tabs on the bottom, you will be lead to articles which I find is a great way to scope out her topics. I also like to see what she has been reading.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tech site- Educationworld.com

    Educationworld.com  is a most helpful site for educators and for your staff.  Introduce  them to it if they do not know it. The most helpful  tags at the top is the Lesson plans, Technology, and Professional Development tips.( PD tips)

    Under lesson plans , there are drop down links  such as lesson library, 5 minute lessons ad tools and templates.  Under technology, there are web quests, tech in the classroom, and tech tools. I am going to be  checking theses out so that I can learn and share more with my staff.  All of these  helps for teachers will lead to many  good ideas and inspiration for teachers.

    Additionally there are teachers essentials,  and the latest news. At the very bottom of there is a site map which has more definitive  links and information to check out.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Get ready for tomorrow @ your Library

   No matter if you are in a school or public library , here is an easy  way to prepare  for getting more done   the next work day. At the end of each day, I  stop what ever I am doing  before my quitting time.

   If I am working on a specific project, and it is not completed I put the materials needed in  a file marked with the project name.  I place this file in my to do basket or my file sorter although I am trying to figure out which is the best thing for that.  

  If I have more than one project , then I will have two folders. I really try  not to have more than two things going on at once. The exception is if I have a monthly /yearly project  which then I will already have a file going,

  The other thing that also helps me if cleaning/ organizing my desk and whatever tools I have used that day.So I will leave with a clean desk and my projects for tomorrow.  

  Finally I will  put in my plan book or my planner, the items  that I need to work on the following day. So when I come in the next day , I know just what to do. I usually ask myself- "What is the most  important thing I must accomplish tomorrow. ( For more information  on  making each day effective see  my ebook- The Organized Librarian- tab is at the top for details)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


BooksMakeADifference.com is another website that I just discovered and am anxious to dive in and  check out its content.   The site is run by a team of women who believe in the power of books.  So they have complied this site that explores books, authors, and readers. There are many interesting looking articles on books , and authors, libraries, and different programs that libraries have. This is an online magazine  that also encourages readers to write their stories. They also have a Facebook and Twitter connection so that could be fun too. When you subscribe you can also enter their giveaways - I am going to check that out!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Middle Web- great for Middle school professionals


   This site called Middleweb is an astonishing collection of informative and interesting articles about middle school teaching for grades 4-8. There are some great articles on good questioning techniques which caught my eye. Also there are articles on teaching strategies, writing, and assignment assessment, Articles on most subjects are covered.

  The site focus is on teaching and learning. There are also news clips  and book reviews. There is also a collection of resources which I want to check out.  An additional newsletter  can be received  by signing up. If you are a middle school person ,teacher , librarian, or administrator you need to check this out,

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

March Bulletin Boards

  I am thinking about March  ( hoping it gets here soon).     There are several special reasons to highlight different days in March on your bulletin boards. So let's see what we can do.

 Spring into Reading- Flowers, insects, book jackets with titles of spring like books,

 St. Patricks Day- Every Day is a lucky day for reading.
                              Reading is Golden
                              Books to Treasure

Fly high With Reading- kites with book titles blowing in the sky

 Catch the reading Bug!

March- Women's History Month

Dr. Seuss- Read Across America

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Weekly Reading - Winter Street Trilogy

     I read all three in this series and I wish  there would be more! They were in order Winter 
Street, Winter Stroll, and Winter Storm.  Elin Hilderbrand's stories are magical and brings you right in with the characters and the setting.
    The focus is on the Quinn family and most of all it members have their own issues and problems. There are twists and turns  in this family saga. Head of the family is Kellely Quinn and his second wife Mitzi, not to be outdone by the Margaret Quinn , his first wife and mother to the first three grown children. Kellely and Mitzi run an Inn on Nantucket Island .Their son is Bart.
     You'll just have to read this engaging family story- you 'll want to read all of them if you like family stories. Now I am going to seek out some more of Hilderbrand's books  because I am believing they will be just as good.

Winter Stroll (Winter Street)