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)

Thursday, February 9, 2017


  The previous MS librarian( she is now in the HS, our Dept Chair) developed livebinders which are on our library webpage for several of the projects that the teachers needed resources for. Putting them on the webpage makes it really easy for students  when doing these projects.

  The livebinders  and the sites that are included on them  are determined by age level, topic and what the teachers want the students to find out or what information the students need
They can go to the livebinders and get the information they need for the task at hand.

  I have also developed  a few new livebinders  for newer projects  that teachers have asked  me for I will continue doing this as it helps students focus on information needed. It also helps them see what a reliable source looks like.

See my post on livebinders from  5/23/2013. Wired Wednesday- Tech Tools

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Weekly Reading- Fever

   Fever  by L.H.Anderson is another winner in my book. In fact, it appears on many award lists . Ms Anderson won the Margaret A Edwards award in 2009 . This award is given by the ALA for Historical fiction for teens and YA's

   Mattie Cook lives and works at her families coffee shop with her mother and grandfather in the late 1790''s. When the yellow fever breaks out, Mattie's world becomes more intense. Her mother falls ill, so Mattie is sent away  from the city. Her mother does not want her to get the fever.

  She and her grandfather go to the country but the fever is everywhere. MAttie is thrown into being  more grownup and resources in order to survive both her and her grandfathers sickness. She just wants to go back to the city and find her mother.

  Based on real events, Ms, Anderson brings the year 1794 and the epidemic in Philadelphia to life.  You can put yourself in Mattie's shoes as she travels back to the city to open the coffee shop and find out what happens to  bring her life back to almost normal,

Product Details

Friday, February 3, 2017

Teaching Databases

    When is the best time to teach students how to use databases? Last year I had fixed classes and I taught the databases  in isolation.( when there is not a specific purpose the use)  This year I am teaching the databases in an as needed basis. When the students have a research project or something they need to find out for their content teacher, I work with the class  and determine when to introduce/ review the ease of use of the databases that we have available.

    For example, at the beginning of the year I worked with the FACS teacher ( Home Ec in my day) to  develop  a major unit on researching a possible career. I placed the career resources on the library web page, There was a career survey , and specific sites that she wanted them to use. These were not actually databases but government sites  that we wanted them to use. 

   The language teachers did  research projects . So I showed the student  the Culture Gram database . This database madd their project extremely easy.

    I find that teaching students  databases when the are needed  for a project much more effective  for students  to actually leann about them and then USE them in their search for information.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Weekly Reading- Bella at Midnight

   Bella at Midnight/ Diane Stanley is a story of an  girl who becomes a knight and a princess by the end of the book. Isabella's other dies  when Isabella is only days old. So she is sent to a cottage of a wet nurse. Her Father does not want anything to do with her because of the reminder of her  mother , so continues to stay in the lowly cottage even under protests from  her aunt.

   Her best friend is Julian who was also cared for by the family for a while His Father  is the King , but he is the last  one of 4 brothers.  Isabella and Julian  go  their  separate ways when it they are older because Julian is of royalty , although Bella still cares for him deeply. They are reunited in rather unlikely way to come to a very satisfying conclusion  of the story.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Weekly Reading-Listen to the Moon

  I have been  doing a lot of reading. One of my favorites was Listen to the Moon ( M. Morgurego) .  This is the amazing story of the author's grandmother who 'came out of nowhere'.   ' Lucy"was rescued  by Alfie and Jim Wheatcroft and taken to their  home on the islands by Sicily.

She is loved  and taken care of , even though she is found with a blanket with  German words on it. This is during the time of the beginnings of WWI. Traumatized by something or someone , she does not speak for the longest time.
Alfie ( the son, who is  a couple years older than she) makes the most progress with her, She listens to him and he can tell that she understands what he is saying. He protects her at school.

 The doctor is also supportive of the Wheatcroft. Mary the wife and mother dotes on the girl and loves her like the daughter she never had. The town is not so good to the family, because the girl is believed to be German.

The story unfolds slowly  as 'Lucy'  gets better, A piano, a German, and time bring the story to a very satisfying conclusion, I just wish there was another book so we can see what happens next.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

February Bulletin Boards

      Now it is time to think about February and what to do about the bulletin boards.   Here are some ideas :

We love to Read!- Give pink or red hearts  to students and have the write their favorite books. Students can write I Love...   and give the title and their name. Place on BB with letters of slogan on top in black letters - Can use a light background and heart /scallop edges.

Black History Month- Place pictures of famous African Americans . You can number them, Give some clues under each one. Students can use references or online sources to find out . Students can give guesses in to you- At the end of the month, place names under each one.

Tech tie in- Tweet a sweet Book! Give students an enlarged note. Place a cute bird on each side of the BB- Students can write their favorite titles on each note and then placed on the BB.

Presidents Day- You  can do this similar to Black History Month.( Use presidents that students do not know) Or you could place some presidents  and have students find little know facts on each person.

Fiction to Film: Scan covers of books that you have in your library that have been made into movies.  Place the slogan in the middle and the covers around. A slogan to add  would be: Have you read these?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Update on the organized librarian

I had minor surgery last week and am still recovering- so no I did not forget about libraries and reading! That's all I have been doing is reading, and sleeping!  Hopefully will be able to get back in the swing of things and back to school soon!