Friday, October 11, 2013

Book Club

Book club will be meeting next week to discuss our first book. We have been reading "Okay for Now" by Gary Schmidt and most of us have been loving it! In fact, many of the students have also read "The Wednesday Wars" as a result of liking "Okay for Now" so much. Our meeting will be held on Thursday during lunch times and we will be snacking on Zaxby's! Remember to bring your own drink!

Up next is "Small as an Elephant"...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book Fair

The Book Fair is going well this week. It is technically the BMS Book Fair, but students in grades 5-8 are visiting with their classes.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Genre Sections

It has been crazy in here the past several weeks with books moving to new areas of the media center every day. Since my last post, we have pulled Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Humor, Horror, and Historical Fiction. The two sections that surprised me were Fantasy and Historical Fiction. I knew we had a lot of Fantasy books, but I had no idea we had this many.

They take up an entire aisle- both sides of it! At least we can spread some out and put some on display. Historical Fiction was a genre that I would have assumed would be pretty small. We put them on one side of a short aisle because I thought for sure they would fit in 3 sections of the bookcases. They fit, but barely.

They are jammed in so tight it is hard to get a book out and there is absolutely no room for displaying anything. We'll have to move them again once we get everything finalized. I still have one more section to pull: Realistic Fiction. The dot labels for that section are on back order, so I haven't even been able to get started on it yet.  In theory, everything that is left is realistic fiction; however, I know I have missed some when pulling and sometimes the student helpers will shelve books without realizing that the book needs to be relabeled and put in one of the genre sections. There are also many that I left because I didn't know where they would go and I figured I would have more time to determine the genre later. It may be a while before the remaining books are sorted out...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sports Books

The Sports section was a huge hit. We have about 300 Sports fiction books. Seven of these shelves were full on the first day. After two days of checkouts, this is what it looked like:

I think they liked it. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Changes in the Library: Genrefication

When students come back in a few weeks, the media center will look a little different. I am starting a project to genre-fy the fiction collection. I had been reading about organizing the collection by subjects and getting rid of Dewey for several years, and that just didn't make since to me. It seemed like a lot of work to rearrange everything into a format that basically still looked pretty confusing from a kid's point of view. THEN... I read one blog, article, something- I really can't remember- that mentioned fiction. I heard ding, ding, ding in my head, angels sang, and light shone down from the heavens! That was where my media center could really benefit. Even though I don't particularly like book stores because if I am looking for a specific book I can never find it, it does make for great browsing; and let's face it, that's what middle school kids are doing.

After discussing it with the media committee, I opted to start small with three genres and expand this school year if the kids like it. I have a feeling they will! I decided to start with three of my most popular genres: sports, science fiction, and mystery. Other genres that I will add throughout the year are fantasy, realistic fiction, historical fiction, and adventure/action. I am on the fence about chick lit, humor, graphic novels, horror, and and animal section. As for now, though, the three sections are pulled to separate areas and then the rest of the fiction is where it normally resides. Things will have to shift as I pull more and more genres.

I'll share some pics then I get my signs up, but for now, here are the steps I took to get this project rolling:
  1. Weed your collection- You might not think you need to do this, but remember, less books on the shelves means less books for you to sort through. Also, there is no sense spending a lot of time relabeling and updating the records on a book that is falling apart.
  2. Generate lists and pull the books- I have Destiny, so this was easy. For example, with sports, I just searched sports fiction and printed that list. I also searched individual sports to make sure I didn't miss anything.
  3. Label books- My books already have a ton of information
    on the spine. I have the most popular series labeled with the number in the series at the top and then I have the standard F and the first three letters of the authors last name and the AR level and points at the bottom of the spine. Some even have the lexile number under that. Additionally, books have the see through color labels over the AR info to make it a little easier for kids to find books on their level. For example, I can tell a kid to pick out a yellow book and I know that they will be getting one in the 3.0 to 3.9 range. I actually inherited this system from the media specialist before me; but it seems to work ok, so I stuck with it. Since there is already so much on the spines and I REALLY didn't want to relabel every fiction book, I chose to put a small colored dot at the top of the spine. Each color will represent a genre. It's not important that the students know what each color represents, this is simply for shelving. I chose to use these small colored dots from Brodart with the dot and protective strip all in one. They seem to stick pretty well, so I don't think I'll have much of a problem with them falling off. That was actually another reason for starting small. If these labels don't work, I'll switch to the plain dots and just use tape.
  4. Change copy call number in catalog- This is where I was bound and determined not to spend a ton of time. Maybe I don't understand what other media specialists are doing here, but it seems to me that they are changing each book by hand one at a time. That would take forever and I honestly don't think I would have even considered taking on this project if I didn't have a way to change the call number of an entire batch of books at one time. As I said earlier, I have Destiny, so this was very easy to do. Well, once I figured it out, it was easy to do. Since I had all of my sports books pulled and labeled, it was a quick task to make a list of those books in Excel. Just open Excel and start scanning. After each barcode it will automatically bump down to the next cell. Once that list was complete, I saved it as a .csv file. In Destiny, under Catalog> Update Copies> Batch Update, you simply select "Change Call Number Prefix to", enter what you want the call number prefix to be, upload the .csv file, and click update. You could also scan the barcodes in here instead of making the list. I did this when I came across a few that I had missed or had been checked in after I pulled from the shelves. I opted to keep the F in my call number and to do that, I had to use a "-" since Destiny would not allow the call number prefix to have a space in it. This is actually what took me a little while to figure out. I had originally wanted the sports books to say "Sports F LUP", but to do that I would have had to re-enter each one by hand and that wasn't going to happen. Instead, I went with "Sports-F LUP". Another reason for this is if we don't like the set up, I can do a global update and change all copies with call number prefix of "Sports-F" back to "F". The call number prefixes for the other two sections are "SciFi-F" and "Mystery-F".
  5. Clear a space for the new section- Next up was finding a spot to put these three genres. After pulling all of those books, I did have some gaps in my shelves, so I shifted the books that were left back, making space at the beginning of the fiction section for Sports. My shelves are so crammed full that I don't have room to display books, so that is one thing I want to remedy this year. I left plenty of room in the sports section to have at least one book displayed per shelf. To fit the other to genres, I had to get rid of some things at the front of the media center in the display section. The section where I featured different genres or themes each month had to be replaced with the Sci-Fi books and the magazine shelving had to be removed to hold the Mysteries. 
 Overall, the project has been pretty easy to manage. Of course, there are no students here! I am already itching to pull the next section of books because I know it will be hard when books are being checked in and out. The possibility of missing books will be much higher and with the heavy number of classes during the first semester, it will be extremely slow going. Oh well, that's the nature of the beast. I'll just keep pulling genres and shifting the unlabeled fiction back until there is nothing left! I'll post an update when I get the next genre pulled.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Summer Reading Newsletter

The news letter has been updated with links to Scholastic's Summer Reading Challenge Book Lists.

Friday, May 10, 2013


Since so few kids met the AR day goal of 350 points, I decided to do something very fun. We went to the mall and saw Iron Man 3 in 3D!!
They look real excited, don't they?

But, really, we had a great time. Several of them are hiding. You can only see 4, but there were 9 of us.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Hidden by Helen Frost (3.9/3.0)

HiddenI just finished my first of the 2013-2014 Georgia Children's Book Award Nominees. Hidden by Helen Frost was a very interesting book. It was told from the point of view of two girls. One of them tells her story in free verse poetry and the other is also written in a unique style. I didn't realize until the end when I read the author's notes that Darra's story was written that way to include another hidden story. In this book, Darra's father steals Wren's family's minivan and has no idea that Wren is hiding in the backseat. Wren is scared of what Darra's dad might do if he finds her, so she stays hidden in the garage for two days until she manages to seek out. Fast forward several years and the girls meet at a summer camp and eventually become friends.  I enjoyed this book and will be suggesting it to many of the girls. The nontraditional formatting always appeals to them, and I'll have to be sure to mention the hidden story!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Clone Board

I just found a great free app. It's called CloneBoard. We have been trying to figure out how to mirror the image of a tablet onto a PC that is hooked to the SmartBoard so that kids in math classes could work problems on the tablets and it show up on the screen and, therefore, the SmartBoard. We have also been trying to do it on the cheap. There are a million apps to control the computer from the tablet, but almost nothing to mirror it the other way around. Enter CloneBoard. When you open the app, it gives you a web address. If you go to that web address on your computer, you can watch what you are writing/drawing on the tablet.
There is a little lag time of course, but it seemed to work pretty well when I was testing it. Of course, using it in the classroom will be the true test. The 6th grade math teachers will be getting their tablets in the next week or so and we will get them set up, and then give it a real test. In case you are wondering, I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, which is what the math teachers ordered as well (Thank goodness, because you really don't want to get me started on my refusal to use apple products when there is ANY alternative). I will warn you that the free version does have ads. I have only seen ads for things like YouTube, so nothing inappropriate. However, if it works well, we will probably "invest" the $0.99 to get the non-ad version.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Guess How Many Books Are in the Media Center Challenge

The Guess How Many Books Are in the Media Center Challenge has had great participation! Teachers have been bringing their classes in all week. They say it's so the kids can work on their estimating skills, but it's really so they can look around and make a better guess!

Teacher winner: Mrs. Dorch
Student winner: Lana Posey- only 7 books off the correct #

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Speed Dating: Library Style

This week and next the kids are taking the CRCT, so by the afternoon, they are wiped out. They need something that is fun and doesn't take a lot of brain power. Enter Speed Dating. Well, not really...

If you have ever heard of a Book Tasting, it's basically the same thing. I thought that my middle schoolers would think going to a Book Tasting was cheesy, so I changed the name to Speed Dating. How it works is: kids get 2-3 minutes with a book to look it over and answer a few basic questions. When the timer goes off, they pass the book to the next person and get a new one. They spend 2-3 getting to know that book and so on until you run out of time. Since we are running a shortened class schedule this week, this activity was perfect for a thirty minute class. We had time for me to explain the process, to date about 8 books, and then for them to have time to checkout the ones they really wanted.
Here is what they used to record their results. Feel free to email me if you would like the the word document.

Monday, April 15, 2013

National Library Week

In honor of National Library Week I am hosting a "Guess How Many Books Are in the Media Center" challenge. The student and teacher who guess closest will each receive a Zaxby's gift card and a copy of The Grimm Legacy from the Georgia Children's Book Award Nominee list! Guesses are due by noon on Friday.

Also, I am so excited! I have posted before about the student created book trailers, but you will never believe what happened. Carl Deuker, author of Payback Time, actually watched the book trailer and thanked us for posting it!! How cool is that?! If you haven't checked them out yet, head over to the bmsmedia youtube channel and watch a few of them.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Just created my first newsletter using Smore. Wow! It was so easy to do. Big thanks to The Librarian in the Middle for sharing this.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

BMS READS posters

I recently finished reading Book Love by Penny Kittle.
It was a great book for professional learning advocating the benefits of self-selected, individual reading. I totally agree! Nothing impacts student achievement more. In the book, she makes posters of students are her school reading in different situations. I loved them and totally stole her idea. I took some pictures, used Fireworks to "cut out" the kids and design the posters, and then sent them to Staples to be printed. They came out looking fantastic. I have gotten so many complements from staff and the kids are loving them. Now everyone wants to pose for me!! Here they are, although you don't get the full effect unless they are in their full two foot by three foot glory.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Book Club

We had our first lunch time book club meeting yesterday. What a success! I am so glad that we worked it out to be able to meet during lunch since we don't have BLUE time anymore. For this meeting, we read The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman. Everyone really liked it because they could relate the items in the Grimm collection to the tales they remembered from their childhood. We also voted on our book for next time. 6th and 8th grade have chosen to read The Limit by Kristen Landon and 7th grade picked Ashes by Kathryn Lasky. I'm pretty excited about these choices because I already read them this summer. I won't have to stop what I am reading to read these!


Friday, March 8, 2013

The Other Side of the Story

The Media Center just got some really cool new books in. They tell the other side of popular fairy tales!

These would be great for lessons on Point of View.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Clean YA fiction

I stumbled across this while looking for good young adult books. It is a blog post of clean young adult books. If you click on the book it will take you to the review. Happy reading!

Friday, January 25, 2013

E Books

Mrs. Wilson will be purchasing some ebooks soon. Please stop by the Media Center to give her some suggestions on titles you would like to see purchased.