Thursday, March 22, 2012

April Showers Bulletin Board/Displays

We're in creation mode and gearing up to switch out our Read Across America hoopla with our April displays.This month's theme is "Rainy Days are for Reading." (Imagine the image below rotated 90 degrees - darn Blogger!) 

We're loving our Pintrest inspiration images, so here's the one that got our creative juices flowing:


Image via Pintrest from Etsy

This one also sparked a few ideas:

Image from Pintrest

Here's a peak at some of the things that are piling-up in our back room. Our main display involves many, many, colorful umbrellas. Obviously we don't buy into the idea that opening an umbrella indoors brings bad luck -- but we'll let you know in May if we see an uptick in uncooperative studyhall visitors. :)

An up close look at some of the separate elements. The clouds are multiple layers folded and stitched together on a sewing machine.

Raindrop chains were also made by stitching paper cutouts together with a machine.

The smaller display areas are going to sport origami umbrellas.There are all kinds of YouTube videos on how to make origami umbrellas - but we gave up on following tutorials when we realized our volunteers didn't have enough patience for the process. They ended up doing simpler folding, and just went crazy with the decorating aspect. Here's a sample (excuse the blown-out colors - it's not easy to see).

April is also national School Library Month. We weren't feeling the theme "You belong @ your school library," so we're only doing a small display with it (does anyone else feel guilty when they don't go over the top with big "library holidays?").

Image from AASL
What are your display plans for April?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Building an Insurance Policy

Recent budget cuts have come a little too close for comfort. Although I think my position is safe for another year, chances are good that we've got a ways to go before we get to stop worrying about annual layoffs. 

I think my building knows that I'm valuable, but I'm worried about people outside of my building that I don't interact with on a regular basis. Below is the list I've posted above my computer:


I'm hoping it serves as a constant reminder to make contact with these people on a regular basis. 

* The board - I'll make sure every member gets a copy of my monthly newsletter. Our library is also frequently featured by local news outlets, so I'll also include copies of these clippings in the mailings. 

* Parents - I've always found it tough to communicate with parents. Any other secondary librarians struggle with this? I see many different kids, but only in short chunks of time, so I don't get to know the students as well as other teachers do. Therefore, I don't feel like I have a **reason** to contact parents. 

At the moment, I currently maintain a Library Facebook page, which I encouraged parents to join during Open House back in September (only 1 actually did), and I always post updates and photos on our library Web site. 

I'm definitely feeling a need to bump this up, so my new goal is to e-mail three parents every week and share something great about their kids. I can access parent e-mails through our student data system, so it's easy to jot off something quickly. I frequently take photos of kids working on different projects, so I've been attaching those to the e-mails or including links to finished products. So far, I've only heard back from 1 parent. I think the parents just aren't checking their e-mails .  .  . Time for a new strategy?

* The Superintendent - I think she gets it, but I can do a better job communicating our activities in the library. She's also been added to the list to receive a monthly copy of our newsletter.

What are you doing differently to build your professional insurance policy in times of budget threats?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Considering Kony in the Junior High

If you're a 15-year-old, and you're on Facebook, chances are good that you've either watched this YouTube video or read a wall post about the Kony 2012 campaign.

There's lots to talk about when it comes to the Kony 2012 project. My global studies teachers plan to lead a discussion on Monday. 

Their main goals are to make students aware of the following:
  • Social media is a powerful tool, though not 100% reliable
  • To fully understand an issue, you need to look at it from multiple perspectives
  • Thorough investigation of an issue is necessary before donating $
  • There are MANY, MANY important concerns that deserve our attention
To facilitate discussion and raise awareness of the above goals, we put together a quick bulletin board today. 

If you want to put together your own Kony bulletin board, here and here are my text files. You'll have to find your own images. I included source information in the second file. Remember, these are quick summaries for a bulletin board - we may have oversimplified the issues, but we tried really hard not to make any political statements.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Read Across America -- A SUCCESS!

We're kicking off Day 2 of Read Across America this morning. Right now, Deb, our library secretary is in the back of the room reading Walter the Farting Dog -- junior high kids seem to dig it just as much as elementary students. Here's a few photos from yesterday's events.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE loved posing with the Lorax. It was a HUGE hit. We've got Lorax photos plastered all over the school.

Our readers did a great job. Kids love to read out-loud -- no shyness evident. We put a document camera next to the reading chair and hooked it into our ceiling mounted projector, allowing the kids to see the pictures as the book was read.

Lorax mustaches were the HOT item in the junior high yesterday. We had to keep making them, as they were in such high demand.

A reader enjoys a Truffula Tree pop as a reward for his reading efforts. 

The Cat in the Hat roamed the halls to drum up support and encourage students to visit the library. 

How did YOU celebrate Read Across America?