Monday, April 23, 2018

NLLD 2018

Part of my responsibilities as Legislative Chair for SCASL is to attend the National Library Legislative Day in Washington, DC in May.
I know from attending in previous years that it means more to bring my students' voices to the legislators than my own. I'm amplifying my students' voices by bringing "Why I Love My Library" postcards. I shared the template with our state librarian listserv and I have responses from 8 different school of all levels in different parts of our state. They are really sweet.
I created a Fligrid for student videos responses to the same prompt. You can see it here. I have videos from five different schools. I've selected some of my favorites to feature. I created a QR code to the videos on a card that I'll be sharing with the legislative offices. I made the background in Canva and inserted the QR code, then I printed on cardstock to take with me.



Finally, I had an idea inspired by Flat Stanley. I'm going to be taking nine books with me to DC. One from each of our districts plus two for our Senators. I'm going to be documenting the book's journey to DC and to the legislator's offices. There I'll be asking the staff (we usually meet with staff, not the legislator) if they'll have the legislator sign the book then mail back (I'll provide stamped, addressed envelopes). Because we meet with staff, I thought this might be a good way to have something go in front of the legislator himself and he'll at least here that school librarians came and have us on his mind. It will also be fun for the students to watch the journey and learn about government, their legislators, and how advocacy and lobbying work.
I opened this up on our library listserv and had volunteers from each district send a book to me. I've enjoyed seeing which books they selected to make the journey. I'll post pictures on Twitter and write an update after the NLLD event on May 7-8.

Poetry Picnic 2018

I rejuvenated an idea that I used at my former library, the Poetry Picnic. Here is my original post with the site that gave me the idea.
I changed some of the stations to adapt for high school and added a few more.
You can find all the stations here:



I had several Freshman Academic Enrichment classes and one English teacher to sign up. The favorite station was Pop Sonnets. If you don't have this book, I highly recommend it. Here are a few pictures.


Some of their work was very thoughtful. I kept my favorites to put on display.

SC Read In 2018

Each year our state association, SCASL, and the SC State Library plan the SC Read In at the State House. You can read about it here.
Students parade to the state house where there are brief speakers about the power of reading, drum line performances, the Cocky Express from USC, followed by reading on the statehouse grounds.
We had over 2,000 participants this year and a few recognitions by local press.


I shared a letter template on our state listserv so that schools could invite their legislator to meet them while they were at the State House. This is a great opportunity to advocate for reading and the impact of public and school libraries.

School Library Month 2018

I didn't wait for anyone to celebrate me this month, I simply celebrated it myself and let everyone else in on it as well. I took this as an opportunity to advocate for school libraries. I sent an email each week and gave out prizes.

For the first week of the month I sent this email to my entire staff and our superintendents:
April is School Library Month!
I'm a bit early, but I wanted to share before Spring Break.
To celebrate, please contribute your favorite memory to this Padlet wall and you'll be entered into a drawing for a prize package of books.

I'll be sharing facts about school libraries throughout the month, but here are a few facts about our own school library.

I made the infographic in Canva. I loved finding out the reading memories of the staff. I stole this idea from Colby Sharp's presentation at SCASL this year.

For the second week this was my email: 
I hope that when you hear "school library", positive thoughts and memories come to mind. Please share your thoughts on this Answer Garden.
After you post, email me and I'll enter your name into the prize drawing. Thank you to Mrs. Barbusca, Ms. Oliver, Mrs. Selman, Ms. Moye, and Mr. Chapman for adding to the reading memories Padlet.

Here are a few facts about the impact that school libraries have on student learning.
Image result for capstone power of libraries
For the third week I shared this email:
Please enjoy this short video from Jason Reynolds sharing his love for libraries.
Add a "shelfie" to the Padlet wall for another entry in the book prize drawing. Pose with a favorite book or the book you are currently reading.

If you're not already convinced about the impact of school libraries, here are a few stats from over a decade of research:
  • students earn better standardized test scores in schools with strong library programs
  • strong library programs are linked to higher graduation rates and mastery of academic standards
  • benefits are the strongest for the most vulnerable learners like students of color, low-income students, and those with disabilities
The strongest school library programs:
  • align to school and district priorities
  • utilize librarians as instructional and technology coaches
  • expect collaboration between librarians and teachers

"Why School Librarians Matter: What Years Of Research Tell Us - Kappanonline.Org." kappanonline.org. N. p., 2018. Web. 27 Mar. 2018.


For the final week this was my email: 
One more article worth sharing for School Library Month. One of my literacy heroes, Donalyn Miller, so eloquently shares why reading and access to books changes lives.
This is why being a librarian isn’t just a job to me, it is a passion. It is an honor to serve the students and staff at Wren. 

Thanks for playing along with the School Library Month drawings. Special thanks to Mrs. Teal, Mr. Chapman, Mrs. Weatherford, Mrs. Barbusca, Ms. Oliver, Mrs. Bertram, Mrs. Selman, and Ms. Moye.
After a random number drawing, the winner of the library prize pack is Ms. Oliver! Please stop by and pick up your prize.
I recognized and rewarded my top ten library patrons: STUDENT NAMES

The teacher prize was a chalkboard basket with books, hand sanitizer, sticky notes and pencils. The student top patron came in and choose a book from my prize book stash.

I also asked each of our district's librarians to complete a Google Slides about themselves, modeled after Scholastic Librarian Spotlights. Then I shared them on Twitter.

A few weeks ago, our Assistant Superintendent asked me to write up an article highlighting some of the programs and lessons I'd planned this year. It was weird writing in third person, but I did write it up and send to her. She shared as a press release for School Library Month and it was published in our local paper.
There was also a picture, but it didn't show up online. Don't be afraid to toot your own horn. Just the sharing of this article on our state association Facebook page reached over 900 people. I don't consider that a win for me, it is a win for school libraries.

Staff Easter Egg Hunt

After seeing this idea on Twitter, I shared with my partner in crime, Katie King, and we put together a staff Easter Egg Hunt.
First, we created pictures of the Easter bunny using the Capture the Magic app and had them shared the Friday before the egg hunt began, just pictures with no explanation. There are teachers still convinced that was me in a suit:)
We hid eggs with a little note inside all over the building on Friday afternoon, then had these up on Monday morning and shared via email.

Teachers had the best time looking for eggs and bringing them in for prizes. We gave out restaurant, Amazon, Apple and Starbucks gift cards, Jeans Day passes, and in the golden eggs there was a Duty Free Week pass. Of course, I had to throw some books in there as well.

This was a fun, easy morale booster before Spring Break. We will definitely do this again. I might extend it to students if I have enough prize books because several students saw it on Twitter and were very disappointed that it was only for staff.

Another morale booster that Mrs. King and I started this year is a take on "You've Been Booed" and similar games. I found a very "unique" wizard statue when I was cleaning this summer. It was simply too interesting to get rid of so I started putting it admin offices as a joke this summer. When it finally ended up back in the library, Mrs. King and I decided to start sending it around to teachers with a "I'm Magical" sign for the door and instructions telling them that someone thinks they are a magical teacher and to send the statue on to another person with a treat (candy, drink, etc), and a copy of the "I'm Magical" sign, and Keep It Secret! It has been hilarious tracking it around the building. Only Katie and our admin know who is behind it, and now you:) Shhhh!

Encouraging Student Civic Engagement

Shortly after the Parkland school shooting, as students at Stoneman Douglas began to gain attention for their gun control efforts, I made a display about the 2nd Amendment and teen/children social agents. I included a poster of our state and federal legislators with their addresses and a stack of voter registration applications.
I loved this display showcased in School Library Journal.
Students in our school worked with our administrators to plan a walkout event for March 14th. They had a banner made for students to sign and then send to Stoneman Douglas, they read the names of the victims in the auditorium (weather and safety concerns kept students inside), and had a student speak about the importance of being aware of current events and being engaged politically. Students ran the show with staff helping with details. I made a business card sized handout for them with our legislators' names and numbers on it. I already had this information handy because I'm the Legislative Chair for our state library association.
I'm proud of the students' efforts and their willingness to be civically aware and active. For our Loo Reviews during this time I shared books with teens as social change agents, like Moxie, The Hate U Give, I Am Malala and more.

My Hero, Jane Goodall

One of my science teachers asked if I would be willing to put together a lesson about Jane Goodall for Women's History Month. Boy, would I!!
Jane Goodall is one of my all-time favorite people in the world. I admire that she pursued her dreams despite the many obstacles in her way.
For the lesson, we started with listing all of the female scientists we could think of, read the picture book Me Jane, and watched a short video introduction of Dr. Goodall, then we read an article about her life on Newsela. I asked students to highlight important details from the article then summarize by creating a tweet style summary on Google Slides.

We discussed her important discoveries then did a few activities to go with it. I asked students to stand on either side of a line and, without using words, communicate to the other group that this is your territory and they should not cross the line. After a few giggles, we then watched a video of chimp territorial behavior.
Then we used plastic cups and straws with hole-punched holes to simulate using tools to gather and eat termites. Rub the straw on your hair and give it a try. After trying it, we watched a video clip of chimps using tools.

For our final activity, we did chimp vocal "charades". Students used a common vocalization chart to mimic a call after pulling from a list including pant bark, pant grunt, pant hoot, wimper, scream, food grunt, waa, and hoo. Students tried the vocalization and the rest of the class tried to guess the vocalization. After a few brave souls tried it for themselves, we watched a short video clip of a researcher discussing their communication system.
You can find all of the video clips I used here.

One of my life-long dreams came true a few days ago, when I was able to see Dr. Goodall speak in person. She came to an event at Auburn University in Alabama. Since she is 84 and it was only a four hour drive, I gladly paid the ticket price to see her. She hooted her greeting, shared how her mother encouraged her, told the earthworm and egg story (if you've read her bio, you know what I mean), shared the books that changed her like Dr. Doolittle and Tarzan of the Apes, gave her voracious reading credit for being able to impress Dr. Leakey when they met, and shared her hopes for the future of our planet. It was an amazing experience.