Friday, November 8, 2019

Have some Common Sense (Media)!

If you're looking for sources of quality information about what kids are doing online, what you need to watch out for, and what tools can help, you need to visit commonsensemedia.org

Common Sense Media is a great place to find ratings for books, movies, TV shows, and games so parents know what is age-appropriate and what kind of content is included. They also have a fantastic parent advice section to help you navigate the challenges and possibilities of raising kids in the digital age.

I strongly encourage parents to sign up for their weekly email newsletter or connect with them on your preferred social media site/app. Links for all are on the bottom of this page.

Happy (digital) surfing!

commonsensemedia.org
commonsensemedia.org

Friday, November 1, 2019

I'm Exhausted (But Filled With Joy)

I'm back! You know that period of time you have a couple times a year where you are just running around, from one thing to another, and your routine gets shaken, stirred, and poured out? That has been me!

Not to make excuses, but book fair time is exhausting (but in the best way). Over the past few weeks, I've ran not one, but two amazing book fairs; one at our elementary school and one at our middle school. But what does that actually mean? Most people just see the book fair during those 4 days that it appears in the library. They see how wonderfully it's set up, how smoothly in runs, how we give away books to teachers and students, and they don't see all the work that goes into that (as it should be). But I want to give you a peak into what goes into running a book fair.

First, running a book fair starts 6-12 months ahead of times when you have to book your dates. This is a fight to get the dates you need during October and March when EVERYONE has their fairs and Scholastic (who we contract with) can only have so many fairs each week. So for me, this means booking it out with my rep hoping that next year's school calendar is similar and parent/teacher conferences are the same times. Always a gamble. But luckily I was able to slide into the weeks I needed as other schools shifted out.

Then you can cool your heels until about a month before the book fair. About 3-4 weeks out, you really start to feel the crunch. Here's an abridged list of some of the things that need to get done (and then double it since I was running two fairs back-to-back):

  • Book the library space on our building use calendar so no meetings get scheduled
  • Learn or re-familiarize myself with Scholastic programs and/or new tools
  • Pick and plan a theme to coincide with the book fair
  • Write and schedule email messages, website messages, and social media messages
  • Plan any contests or events that are happening
  • Count and label book fair flyers and (after writing it) letters which will be handed out to students
  • Create student preview day schedule, coordinating with reading teachers and admin
  • Write and schedule staff emails about book fair
  • Request cash box
And I'm sure I've forgetting things!

But once all that is done, you wait for the arrival of your book fair and set it up. Setting up is a really fun process because I get to see all the cool books that come with the fair! But it does take a couple of hours to get the fair set-up and the decorations out. Finally the book fair is ready! Now it is 4 days of non-stop looking, shopping, helping students find good fit books, late nights of family shopping, and in the blink of an eye it's over.

Taking down the book fair is usually very little work as we sell out of so many titles. With some amazing help I get the book fair packed up, make sure all the teacher/library purchases have been rung up, and run ALL the reports from the registers. Now you would think that would be it, right? Wrong. Now I have the fun task of counting all the cash, filling out the financial forms for Scholastic, creating purchase orders for a final payment, and placing any pre-orders that were sold. About 3-4 days after the book fair is gone is when I'm FINALLY "done" with the book fair. I put that done in quotes, since you can never really be done; there's always book fair books to process for the library and things I forget to purchase (or were sold out) that I need to put on my next library order.

So yes, two weeks of back-to-back book fairs was exhausting. But it was inspiring to see how many students were clamoring for a book. They were so excited about the books available that it made my heart jump for joy. It was also humbling to see so many parents supporting reading in our school by donating books to classrooms. Truly a blessing for our community. I may be exhausted, but my heart is filled with joy. So I'll try to be back next week to keep you updated on what is new and intriguing for our big and small Panthers in Library Land. DFTBA.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Thousands of Things for FREE

Did you know you are lucky? You live in one of the greatest states in the US....Wisconsin!

We've got cows and cheese and amazing communities and the Packers (sorry Vikings fans). But most of all we have founders of our state that knew education was important. They wrote it right into the constitution for Wisconsin in 1848, that money made by a specific section of state land and certain money paid to the state treasury department will be used for educating the citizens of Wisconsin. While this has looked different as time has gone on, currently this money is used in the SCC community to support the school library programs. But that's not all.

What makes all citizens in Wisconsin lucky? Every single individual in Wisconsin, due to this money, has access to thousands of things for free that would normally be behind a pay-wall. We call this amazing source of things Badgerlink!

Badgerlink "provides Wisconsin residents with licensed trustworthy content not available through regular search engines" according to their website. And I think this an excellent description of what it does. All the resources in Badgerlink are things you would not be able to find, read, watch, or listen to through a regular Google search. They are all locked behind a pay-wall. Lucky for us Wisconsinites, Badgerlink provides us a way to access these for FREE.

So what are some of the amazing things Badgerlink offers us Wisconsinites?

  • Resources tailored for K-12 students
  • Magazines: both popular and specialized
  • Newspapers: international, national, state, and local archives are available
  • Genealogy resources
  • Health resources: research, medication, and general info
  • Auto repair manuals
  • Consumer reports magazine
  • And many more things!
You might be asking yourself how you access all of these free resources. Well there are a couple easy ways to do that:
  1. Visit badgerlink.dpi.wi.gov
  2. Use the super, special, secret links on the SCC library website. These are curated to be the most relevant resources for our K-12 students
  3. The public library also has links to Badgerlink resources on their website.
  4. MOST IMPORTANT - Do not just try Googling for one of these resources. The super, special, secret links found in #1-3 verify that you are in Wisconsin so you can access the resources without logging in. If you are outside Wisconsin, these links will recognize that you aren't a Wisconsinite and these resources aren't for you! If you do happen to run into trouble, you can always login to Badgerlink with your public library card information in order to access the resources.
Don't you feel lucky? You can stop Googling for an answer and go straight to a well-research, quality source of information, all for free. If you have any questions about Badgerlink, feel free to contact me or stop by the library. DFTBA!

https://badgerlink.dpi.wi.gov/sites/bl/files/imce/documents/2019_bl_infographic.pdf

Friday, October 4, 2019

Turn Your Device into a Reading Machine

Did you know you don't have to enter the library to read our books?

That's right, at SCC we have hundreds of ebooks and digital audiobooks available that will turn your device into a genuine reading machine.

Now, I know what you're thinking, "Reading on a screen! I spend enough time staring at my phone." But what about taking a book with you on your run? What about that long car or plane trip where packing space is at a premium? What about forgetting your book in your locker and needing to finish that chapter by Monday? These are all great reasons to use ebooks and digital audiobooks!

At each building we have over 1,000 ebooks and several hundred digital audiobooks.

Wow! If you're not impressed by that, I don't know what will impress you!

You can access each buildings collection via Destiny Discover and then signing in with your SCC Google Account. If it doesn't work, please email me ASAP so we can find the bug!

If you have any questions about our ebooks or digital audiobooks, or would like to suggest a title for purchase, please let me know.

Have a great day! DFTBA

Friday, September 27, 2019

Mark Your Calendars

Just a quick post this week giving you a heads-up about marking your calendar's with the dates for the book fairs. These book fairs are a fantastic way to bring books that students pick out into your home. Sales also support the library program and classroom libraries at SCC. There are lots of great things happening these weeks, so watch for further information and communications coming out as we get closer.

Middle School Book Fair

Shop online October 9-22
Shop at school October 14-17
https://www.scholastic.com/bf/sccmiddle

Elementary Book Fair

Shop online October 16-29
Shop at school October 21-24
https://www.scholastic.com/bf/sccelem

NEW - Due a change at the state level, we will be collecting tax on all book fair sales. Please prepare with an extra $1-2 to cover this new charge.

If you have any questions or concerns about the book fairs, please don't hesitate to contact me.
DFTBA

Friday, September 20, 2019

To Read or Not to Read, There Really Is No Question

Books. If you picture it in your mind, you probably come up with a paper chapter book. Maybe it is your favorite book as a kid. Maybe it is the last book you read. Maybe it's a generic clip-art version of what books are. But really books go way beyond the paper copies we think of. Ebooks and audiobooks are just as valid as reading a paper book. Plus there are magazines, newspapers, interviews, and current events.

But how do you choose what kind of reading material is best for you (or your students)? Well, that's where the library comes in!

You are always welcome to ask one of the library staff for a suggestion, a recommendation, access to online resources, or help getting a hold of a specific title. But there are some tools that you can use on your own. Located on the library's "Read" page (found on the school website and linked of the library media center pages), there are a bunch of awesome tools and resources that you can use to find new things to read or to get support in reading.

Some highlights from the "Read" page:

  • Destiny Discover and Destiny Classic - Search our school library for books, ebooks, audiobooks, and more.
  • Be Read To: BookFlix, TumbleBooks, and Storyline Online are great places for students to have books read to them.
  • Get a Book Suggestion: There are a handful of links that can be used to find a book suggestion; from award winners, to parent choice lists, to amazing tools for read-alikes it's all there.
  • Current Events: There are links to great student friendly sources of news.
  • Teacher Resources: If you're looking for tools to support reading in your classroom (or home) there are some great links here.
So take a peak a at some of these amazing resources, and if you ever have any questions, please let me know!

Elementary "Read" page
Middle School "Read" page
High School "Read" page


Friday, September 13, 2019

The Flix's Have It

This week I sent a lot of emails about "The Flix's". This family of databases is a great place to send kids when they are looking for information instead of sending them to a search engine like Google, since "The Flix's" have vetted, quality information that is written with students in mind. If you're doing research, absolutely check it out.

So what are "The Flix's"?

BookFlix

The granddaddy Flix, it was the one that started it all. Pairing non-fiction books with fictional stories about various topics, BookFlix a great place to send elementary students. They can learn about a topic that interests them while also practicing their reading skills. It builds the bridge between fiction and non-fiction helping students understand that reading can be for many purposes and can overlap lots of different areas.

TrueFlix

Next came TrueFlix, highlighting dozens of non-fiction topics with ebooks, vidoes, project ideas, and curated web links. People, places, history, science, and nature - whatever you're into, TrueFlix probably has something for you. Students in grades 3-12 can support their personal and academic learning by heading here.

FreedomFlix

FreedomFlix came into existence as a way to learn about US history and government. This is a great place to send students in grades 4-10 who are interested in how the world works and who makes the decisions that run our country. It highlights our democratic system, the historical westward expansion across North America, and what is relevant to know in today's world, plus many other topics.

ScienceFlix

Now here is a database for your science nerds. ScienceFlix is amazing at tackling every science topic you can think of an providing detailed articles, videos, experiments, relevant web sites, and related career opportunities. It is absolutely amazing for 6-12 grade students.

So now you know. "The Flix's" are amazing at supporting student growth in many different areas and can be a safe place to send them when Google might be too overwhelming. 

If you need login information, you can stop by the library or email me anytime!

DFTBA


Friday, September 6, 2019

Fantastic NEW way to login to Destiny!

If you've been around SCC for a while and especially if you've been in the library, you know that logging into Destiny has been a bit tricky.

Usernames in Destiny were easy-peasy, but since the password was just a bit different from the normal password, most students had trouble remembering what it was. And the staff had completely different passwords that they could never remember!

But HOORAY, a solution has been found!

Over the summer, Mr. Konsela (our absolutely fantastic IT guru) set-up Destiny with the ability to sign-in with Google. So now students and staff can simply login with their SCC Google account and have access to everything. No need to remember another username and password!

The guest accounts are still active for students, parents, and community members who would like easy access to our ebooks and digital audiobooks. Just stop by the library or email me to get that.

You can get to Destiny Discover by visiting destinydiscover.com, by using the links on the library website, or by clicking right on these direct links.
St. Croix Central Elementary - search.follettsoftware.com/metasearch/ui/39590
St. Croix Central Middle School - search.follettsoftware.com/metasearch/ui/39591
St. Croix Central High School - search.follettsoftware.com/metasearch/ui/39602

If you have any trouble logging in, need direction on how to search or use Destiny Discover, or have a suggestion of something I should purchase for the library, please let me know!

Have a great day! DFTBA


Friday, August 30, 2019

New Year, New Attitude

"How was your summer?" is a common question in the first week of school. The asker of the question expects to hear about vacations, exciting additions to families, or projects that got completed in a teachers "off-season". However, for me this question was answered with a simple, "I was at school a lot".

Now that's not what people expect to hear. Even other teachers think that getting out of the building during summer is the best part of the job. It's a time to focus on self, refill our wells for when students are back and need 110% from us, and to be with family. But for me, it was a chance to spend real time focusing back on why I got into education.

It wasn't for the amazing pay.
It wasn't for the summer's off.
It wasn't to have the power and be the expert in the room.

It was about kids.

In the past few years, I had gotten lost in the day-to-day grind and trying to implement every district initiative to the absolute best in my tiny corner of the building. In doing so, I lost sight of what really matters - having a connection with the students. And having a connection to the other staff in the buildings I serve.

Being a library media specialist is a job of service. Service to the students who enter the library looking for a book, or a place to learn about that new thing they heard about, or just a kind ear. Service to the staff in my building who are looking for supplemental resources, who would like to collaborate and show that their content extends outside their four walls and who need to bounce ideas off someone. Service to parents who may not know what questions to ask about digital citizenship or who need help finding "good fit" books.

My new attitude is to be calm and present and be of service. "How can I help?," is my new motto. You might see me out and about in the building more often, breaking out of my little corner of the world in order to re-immerse myself with students and staff. Don't be afraid to stop my in the hallway to ask a question (or turn in a late book!). Send me emails any time of the day. Stop in to say "HI". Tell me when I'm getting to focused and need to be more present in the here and now.

So ..... How can I help?


Friday, March 22, 2019

Who got the $50? And how can I win it next?

OMG! I’m so proud of the students and staff at SCC Middle School! Everyone really took on the One School One AUTHOR program with a vengeance 2nd trimester. There were dozens of students and teachers who read one of Laurel Snyder's books in preparation for her visit April 16th.

So without further ado, it’s time to announce the random winners for 2nd trimester chosen from those who wrote a review: Congratulations to Triton Hovis, Ellie Smith, Emery Sanders, and Kaitlyn Peissig! They will each received a Visa gift card for $50. You are awesome! But really we all got read some amazing books, so we are all winners!

For 3rd trimester, back to One School One Book, but with tiny twist. To cater more to reading/interest levels we are doing one book for 5th and 6th grades and a different book for 7th and 8th grades.  5th and 6th grade students will read Lost in the Backyard by Alison Hughes, while 7th and 8th grade students will read Ashes by Ilsa Bick. Any student who writes a review for their book in Destiny Discover will be entered into the prize drawing.

Lost in the Backyard by Alison Hughes -- Pick for 5th and 6th grade
The rest of his family may enjoy camping and living off the land, but not Flynn. He would rather text his friends about sports and shoot hoops than waste time in his Outdoor Education class. While visiting his parents' friends at their off-the-grid house, Flynn gets angry and stalks away, only to quickly become lost as the backyard leads into the woods. He falls down an embankment into a ravine and ends up knee-high in a frigid stream. Poorly dressed for the weather and armed only with a dead cell phone and what he can remember from Outdoor Education and his parents' favorite survival stories, Flynn must figure out a way to survive injuries and sub-zero temperatures until he can be rescued.

Ashes by Ilsa Bick -- Pick for 7th and 8th grade
Seventeen-year-old Alex is alone on a Michigan mountainside when electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) released into the atmosphere above Earth shut down power and communications grids, trigger nuclear devices, and turn most adolescents into flesh-eating zombies. She eventually finds herself safe-or so she thinks-in Rule, where a council of church elders holds sway. But Rule is a town of factions and unease, and what Alex discovers about its undercurrents may kill her.

If you have any questions, please just let me know!
~ Ms. Olson ~