Friday, December 12, 2014

New Genre Section

We are adding a new genre to the fiction section of the media center. Middle school literature and the middle school reader are rapidly changing. Books are always pushing the limits of what is considered acceptable, and while that can be a good thing, we still want to protect our "babies". The new section will be titled "Young Adult" and will feature books that are more suitable for older readers. These books will be available for all 8th graders. Other grades may check them out with a permission from a parent. Books in this section will include titles like The Fault in Our Stars, Panic, and If I Stay. All of these books are popular books. They all have a waiting list a mile long and many have been released as movies. There is value in these books, they are just not for everyone.

Christmas Shop

The Christmas Shop was a great success. We had tons of students and teachers selling great crafts and food. Thanks to all of our parent volunteers for helping calm the chaos!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Long Time, No See

So it appears that I have been slacking on my blog postings... Shocking, I know. Well I just got back from an amazing time at GaETC. I am fired up and ready to go with lots of new ideas. There were tons of great speakers and presenters. If you have never had the chance to go, you need to.
Since we have Chromebooks here, I tried to go to any session that was Google/Android related. I also saw several sessions by wonderful media specialists. I got to present at the GLA/GLMA Exemplary Media Programs session and accepted the award for 2013 Exemplary Media Program at the GLMA Luncheon on Friday.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

End of the Year Wrap-Up

Wow! What a great year! We had tons of exciting things happening. This year we moved our fiction collection from ABC order by author to genre sections so that it would be more like browsing a bookstore, practiced research skills, made book commercials, hosted a book club, had 2 book fairs and a Christmas Shoppe, piloted Reader's Workshop, won the Georgia Exemplary Media Program Award, and did it all while averaging a checkout every three minutes! That's a lot of books.

Let's start with the genre shelving, because I know people are interested to see how that went. As you may know, we started with three sections to "test the waters": SciFi, Sports, and Mystery. After basically the first week of checkouts and all of the positive feedback from kids, we decided to go all in. We have the following fiction genre sections: Mystery, Sports, Action, Realistic, SciFi, Fantasy, Historical, Humor, Horror, and Animal. Thanks to the help of our wonderful in-house sub, Ms. Hardie, we got it all done in record time. If you want to see how we did it, check out this post. Overall, it was a huge success. While our circulation didn't increase by a huge percentage (it was already very high), I think the books that were checked out were read at a higher completion rate. In other words, I think the genres helped kids have more success picking a book they liked, so they were more apt to finish it. It also greatly reduced the number of times I got asked where the mystery, etc. books were. I got many positive comments from kids and parents who just love it. We also had an open house for 3rd grade and those kids and parents are excited about it. While I won't be changing the Dewey section of my library to subjects, I do love the fiction section like this.

The other topic I am really excited about is the success that we had with Reader's Workshop. The kids enjoyed it, the teacher I worked with loved it, and the principal loved it. All in all, with CRCT, field trips, and BMU, we had about 5 weeks with the kids. In that 5 weeks, the class average reading level rose almost half a grade level. Students who had not read a book all year finished 2. SUCCESS!!! Next year several teachers will be implementing it in various ways in their classrooms. I am super excited to work with them and make it a success for their students too.

As I finish up my last minute summer tasks and pack a box of books to take home to read over the summer, I am so thankful for such a great year. See you in August!

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Book Whisperer

I don't know if I ever mentioned it on this blog, but when I read The Book Whisperer several years ago I became obsessed. OBSESSED! Like I took it with me to the lake one weekend thinking I'd skim through it on the way down and that turned into reading it all the way down, reading it while Steven set up the camper (God bless him!), reading it on the boat on the way to dinner at the marina, and finishing it up on the way back that night with my trusty book light kind of obsessed. Yes, I'm a total nerd. I have a book light. I really wish I had read this years ago when I actually taught reading. As a media specialist couldn't really implement anything,  but I gave copies to several of the reading teachers and talked about the strategies, etc in reading department meetings. At one point, I even had my old principal agree to let me lead a book study for professional learning, but then other things came up that were required for our system, so those took precedence. I really felt like everyone thought it was a great idea, but didn't have enough time or were too scared to implement it in their classes. I felt like I was getting no where.

Fast forward to this year. I have a principal and a curriculum director (the old principal) who really want to see this model in action and see what it can do. SO EXCITED! I am piloting a Readers Workshop model based on ideas from The Book Whisperer, Reading in the Wild, The Reading Zone, and probably a few other places that I am forgetting. I will be working with a 7th grade teacher who took over mid year when the old teacher moved to Texas. We are starting with one class just to get our feet wet. Also, we are going to split the class into two flexible groups. Half will stay with her to work on mini lessons & CRCT review and the other half will come to me in the media center. Half way through the class period we will swap them. I realize I am very lucky to be able to run this model with 15 kids at a time. Trial and error and monitoring will be a whole lot easier than with a full class. However, once I get the kids trained as to what I expect and what is required of them, we will move back to the regular classroom and work as a whole group. Then I'll work with the teacher to take over running the model. I am hoping that we can really make this work and that the kids like it. One of my big concerns is that we only have one 9 weeks to get it right. However, the prinicpal has said if we can prove it works well in our school, then we can look at expanding into the other grade levels next year. I'd love to model it for other teachers and help them with the transition.

I have created several record keeping forms, but I'm going to hold of on sharing them until I have used them. I'm thinking I'll be doing plently of tweaking once I get started.

Wish me luck! We start on St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Book Club 1/9

Our next book club meeting will be tomorrow. 6th and 7th graders read The Emerald Atlas and 8th grade read The Apothecary.