Friday, April 11, 2014

How I got where I am

It's coming up to the end of the year and I for one am running on fumes. This year has been a roller coaster of projects, and jumping from one thing to another, and stress. But as we come to the end of the school year, I'm going to try to put it all behind me and look to the future. One thing I've been thinking about is how I got to this place.

I graduated from a small high school south of Eau Claire, and didn't go far from home for college. At UW - Eau Claire I majored in secondary education to become a social studies teacher. I loved learning about why people did what they did and how their actions rippled through time, and I wanted to share that passion with kids. However, as I was starting my sophomore year, I realized that there were a LOT of social studies education majors. I kept hearing about job competition and started to worry. I decided I should have a fall back.

Choosing library science as a minor wasn't a tough choice. I spent hours in our high school library during school, and teachers (especially in my math classes) strongly suggested that I should put away my book and pay attention to the lesson. The library science courses at UWEC looked interesting and would give me a fall back in case I needed it.

The classes were full of book titles, ways to promote reading, and the cut-and-dried world of cataloging. I loved it. Another class I loved in the degree sequence was educational technology. We created web pages, newsletters, and digital videos. It was a great introduction to technologies, that in 2005, weren't as commonplace as they are today.

So there I was, graduating from UWEC in the spring of 2006 and hunting for a job. I applied for several social studies teaching positions and a few library media specialist (librarian) positions. Mr. Webb was the one who called me to set up my interview and showed me around that first day. Holy cow, was I overwhelmed. Stepping out into the real world as an adult on your own is terrifying. But as I looked around at the school and talked with the staff here at SCC I thought it would be a great fit. So when Mr. Webb asked if I wanted to be a Panther, my answer was "yes".

That was eight years ago. And here I am. In charge of three schools instead of the two I started with. Having the experience of working with all different ages. Knowing WAY more technology than I started with. And running on fumes after a year where a fire obliterated one of my libraries. Where I had to replace every single book in an elementary that serves over 600 students. Where I still had two other libraries to run while dealing with that. Where I have run (by June) four book fairs and raised (hopefully) over $10,000 for our district. Where we struggled with technology issues. Where the kids in our district performed in amazing concerts and plays. Where our athletes won and lost, but learned that playing as a team was what was important. Where I get to go to a job where I never know what's going to happen, but everyday something amazing will occur.

So I guess how I got here is important. But where I am now...that's awesome.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Book Trailers

Want to get kids excited about books without having to read the book yourself? Step into the world of book trailers. These short videos (made by tons of publishers, library media specialists, and students) introduce a book the same way a movie trailer introduces a movie. Check out the latest a greatest book trailers on these sites.

Teaching Books --> Under "Authors & Book Resources"
If that link doesn't work, use the Teaching Books link via Badgerlink

Or just head over to YouTube and search for your favorite book title plus the words "book trailer". Chances are you'll find it!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Animated GIFs

So if you've been an the internet at all in the past few years, you should be aware that animated GIFs are a thing. To make it an educational thing, the folks at ABCya! have created a animation tool.
Click Above to Visit

Create your own story using available backgrounds, icons, and text. You can have up to 100 frames. And it's all free with no login required.
Really quick, short example

Find this and more fun creation tools on the middle school and high school libraries CREATE pages.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Giver is Going to be a MOVIE!

Check out the trailer for The Giver (based on the book by Lois Lowry). Opens in Aug 2014.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Young Adult Book Recommendation Resources

Want to find a really awesome young adult book to read? Here are some resources to check out to get recommendations for you teen lit readers!

The Lawrence Public Library "Teen Zone" 

Read On Wisconsin's "High School Recommendations" 

Guy's Read Book List
Teen Reads "Ultimate Reading Lists" 

The Book Seer

Once you've got a recommendation, stop by the middle school or high school library to see if we have it. You can check online yourself by visiting

Monday, March 3, 2014

Elementary Book Fair Fiesta!

Our elementary book fair is underway!

Location - ES Library
Dates - March 3-10th
Times - Students may stop by to browse and purchase during their regular library class. Parents may stop by during conferences on March 3 & 10, and during Dr Seuss Night on March 6.

Online Fair - Shop online from Feb 23-March 15.

We are running a coloring contest for students. Students can pick up a coloring sheet and return it by March 5th. One student from each grade level will win a book from the fair.

Teachers can also create a classroom wish list. These books are chosen by the teachers to give the opportunity to donate to classroom libraries. Profits made from the fair will also be used to purchase items.

All profits benefit our school and our students. Classroom libraries and the school library will be enhanced with new titles and Students will receive books as prizes.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Update on 5th Grade Library Class

Over half a school year has gone by, and though winter is still crushing our spirits, we have things to celebrate and achievements have been made. For my students in 5th grade library class, those achievements have been great.

For most of the fall we spent time in our class learning about the school provided Google accounts. Students who had never sent an email can now regularly use it correctly. (Though they are a little obsessed with the animated emoticons!) Students learned how to create documents in Google Drive instead of using Microsoft Word. And these documents were shared between people to turn in assignments and to collaborate. Overall the students have a good basic understanding of the parts of their Google accounts, which will support them throughout their middle and high school careers.

Simultaneously while learning about Google we also spent time discussing various internet safety topics. Bullying, security, and the fact that everything is out there forever were heavily featured. 

As first turned to second semester we started on research. Students in fifth grade have completed one research project already, based around a country of their choosing. We utilized the Big 6 research process to keep us organized, used a graphic organizer to take notes, and practiced our writing (and hand writing) skills by putting facts into a paragraph. 

Next up, will be sports research. Students will be using a digital packet in Google Drive to complete research on a sport. We will be introducing a great online resource, the Encyclopedia Britannica, which is available to all Wisconsin residents for free through Badgerlink.

So that's a quick update on our 5th grade library classes. To see more complete descriptions of activities and weekly lessons you can visit the 5th Grade Library page