Sunday, September 30, 2012

#Bloggiesta Finish Line

Well. Got a couple things done, I guess. Found some new blogs! Got a few tags added! And a calendar ... sort of. Not very full. #lastminuteideas
But the calendar is cute. Google Anything but Perfect calendars. Free! And cute stuff to buy but the calendar is free.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, September 29, 2012

#Bloggiesta Saturday

I fell asleep last night. Super early. And missed the chat.

And then have been a little distracted today. But even that said ... I think I've accomplished some great things in the time I've spent!

1) Worked on some post labeling. I always forget to do that. So that's step one in the "Revitalizing Old Content" challenge.
2) Time Management and Organization mini-challenge ... planning calendar in the works! You'll see it tomorrow. Got three ideas for each week (I can't pre-schedule too much because a) real-life gets in the way; and b) my best ideas tend to come last minute. Hence my constant state of stress!
3) Building a Blog Audience and commenting on new-to-me blogs. That is on my Sunday-afternoon Bloggiesta list!
4) Evernote. Tonight (still need to hit the gym :X) my goal is to actually go back and read/watch some of the Evernote info I have pinned. Then tomorrow afternoon I can figure out how it will help me be a more interesting and helpful blogger.
5) Stepping Outside Comfort Zone. Still not sure what that would be. Once upon a time while my sis-in-law was in town next week I was going to have her take a couple headshots. She is a super talented photographer. But I will probably chicken out. Still fighting extra pounds and hair that when I leave the salon looks FAB but I can never replicate for myself. And there. You just got two things way more personal than you wanted. A challenge completed. :/

This morning part of my distraction was these two projects. They came from blog planning. Which led to school planning. Oh, and internet surfing because I need to come up with a book character pumpkin decorating idea. Apparently I have a touch of an attention problem. ;]


Friday, September 28, 2012

Bloggiesta Starting Line

I know this says "bro" tip but I think it can fit for all of us, no? I have been in my pajamas for an hour already. It was that kind of week! And now it's actually raining. #irony

Ahem. Back to the main topic. Bloggiesta. What am I going to do? I must admit I did not plan ahead and make goals earlier.

Let's start with the mini-challenges.

Time Management and Organization. Egads do I need that one! Find the challenge here.
I did sort of have a schedule once upon a time.

  • Monday was "What Are You Reading?" 
  • Then "Tech Tuesday." 
  • After that "Wonder Wednesday." 
  • Then ... I forgot Thursday. 
  • And "Fast Five Fridays" because seriously, sometimes coming up with a top ten was a lot!
Not sure I'd go back to that, though. Maybe for the mini-challenge ... I'm out of blog posts that I've started. The one half-finished one is probably going to stay that way. So ... this weekend ... get at least ... what shall we say. Eight ideas and posts at least started so that I can revise and finish over the next month? And maybe come up with a template for some kind of post.

Then there's the Evernote challenge. I actually already have an account. And it's already a Tech Goal. So ... Bloggiesta-specific goal will be to copy/paste comment link HTML and whatever template I come up with into an Evernote notebook.

Step outside comfort zone. Hmm. Not really sure what that would look like. Must contemplate further.

Building a blog audience. Slowly but surely. Thank you to everyone who's already stopped by! Goal ... visit 10 new blogs and comment!

Revitalizing Old Content. Interesting. Must look into some cross-linking of posts, updating a couple older posts, and adding some related posts links.

Not sure about the Let's Get Personal challenge. I sort of already do that. Have posted pics of family (not a lot but I have!) and discussed my love for chocolate and Star Wars. And love/hate relationship with the gym.

K. Off to brainstorm and comment. Maybe will hit the Twitter chat (maybe will fall asleep before it starts :/). Will be back tomorrow to report midway!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Creepy Carrots

So cute. Delivered by Amazon not that long ago. Forgot where I first read about it to even think to order.

Creepy Carrots!Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

LOVE THE PICTURES. Like the story an awful lot.

Thinking of different lesson "angles."

Got this from the Silhouette Online Store. Looks fairly simple. If the kiddos can cut their own out? We may be making carrots. And then making them CREEPY carrots.

Too strange to turn it into a healthy eating lesson? Should check on the scope and sequence if that is close.

Can I talk teachers into some writing? Creepy ... potatoes. Creepy ... jalapenos. Creepy ... tomatoes. Creepy ... lettuce. Creepy ... strawberries. I foresee funny drawings.

If all goes well some time within the next three weeks or so.


PS Check out the cute cookies on this post.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Four Hours of Tech Inservice

Normally would have JUMPED at this. Well. Not the four hours part but the "we'll give you some time" and I say YES YES YES.

Four hours. Not this coming Monday but the next.

Bookfair this week and all the accounting so that we can pay for ...
An author visit next week (KATE MESSNER!).
No love on my campus for the Star Wars Reads day. :/

Enough wallowing. Won't mention the copious amounts of chocolate and lack of exercise in the last couple of days.

1) Asked a third grade teacher to talk about the Turning Point Response Systems. Otherwise known as "clickers." I don't use them too often but teachers have a lot more reason to practice with multiple choice, no?
2) Another third grade teacher is going to talk about some SMART/Notebook stuff.
3) Still hoping to get more teachers willing to talk! They don't want to sit and listen to me, no matter how much I might have stuff to say. ;]
4) E-books. We have some that teachers can find directly from our catalog. From several different vendors so that can get kind of confusing. That will be me!
5) Databases?
6) Would love to get a teacher to talk about using audio recordings. Digital voice recorders and iTouches. Ideas on specifics for classroom use? I know what I would use them for. But this is for them. ;]
7) Video recordings. Flips, the few iTouches we have that have cameras. THEIR cameraphones? Again. I know what I would do. But regular classroom? What should I share? Or, better yet ... one of THEM share?
8) Apps. I could talk about those all day. But they don't all have regular access to school devices.


PS I MUST do something better in preparation for the next bookfair. Poor kiddos. They have no money sense. "I have two dollars" when in reality they have a ten and a five. Or, WAAAAAAAY more often ... they come up with five books and want to pay for it with $.31. "No honey. I'm sorry. You can't buy a book with that much money." Was going to laminate a few of the flyers and make a center for some practice ... but BIG SURPRISE. Our laminator is broken. Again. We got a new one two years ago because the last one was held together with duct tape. It worked better than this new one!

PS PS Boring blog post with no pics!

Monday, September 24, 2012

October Bookmarks

So KPM Doodles had this ADORABLE new clip art on her site today. And I had to get it. Had to. You should go get it, too!

I made some bookmarks. Get them here.

Oops. My screen shot previews include spell check thinking I'm nuts. OH WELL!!! *insert slightly embarrassed face but not so embarrassed to do it all over again*
Sleepy time now. Woke up way too early this morning for an airport trip and it was bookfair today!


PS For the first time we are going to try decorating pumpkins as book characters. Suggestions? I feel some pressure that mine has to set a particular standard. ;]

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I Am Still in the Middle of

several professional books. I do like to read them. I just don't read them NEARLY as quickly as fiction.

In Pictures and in Words: Teaching the Qualities of Good Writing Through Illustration StudyIn Pictures and in Words: Teaching the Qualities of Good Writing Through Illustration Study by Katie Wood Ray

I've already started taking a little of what I've learned so far in this book into storytimes. The idea seems so strange at first and yet ... IT MAKES SENSE. Teach the kids to be careful and detailed in their illustrations and characters and settings ... and that same storytelling care will transfer over to their writing. Several well known teacher bloggers did a book study this summer. That's where I first learned about it. Didn't keep up with them and still have some reading to do but I like what I've seen.

I See What You Mean (Second Edition): Visual Literacy K-8I See What You Mean (Second Edition): Visual Literacy K-8 by Steve Moline

Goodreads doesn't have this bookcover. :/
But it's a really interesting book. For as NOT mathematically minded as I am infographics are kind of fascinating. Started as a "let's play with the tech tools" I was seeing online ... and that made me realize Just. How. Much. Thinking. has to be done before a compelling infographic can be created. Data has to be collected and interpreted. Still curious as to how the K-5 part will fit in ... but if I was in a middle school I would DEFINITELY start. And not saying I won't as a currently elementary educator ... just need to think it through some more myself before I could explain it to them. Is that pathetic that I'm not sure I could complete a kindergarden level one quite yet? So I need to finish reading the book. ;]

Show Me a Story: 40 Craft Projects and Activities to Spark Children's StorytellingShow Me a Story: 40 Craft Projects and Activities to Spark Children's Storytelling by Emily K. Neuburger

This one just got delivered today (technically Friday that I'm writing this ;]). I really like the projects I see so far. The question will just be how I implement them. Loads of fun with the nieces and nephews. Definite possibilites for school. Here are a few.
1) The list of story sparks.
2) The story disk idea. I see a visit to Michaels in my future. Story Disk Chains are later in the book. They're fun, too.
3) Cut and Tell. Upcycle falling apart magazines and comics! We have a lot of those. :/
4) These Are the Stories in my Neighborhood. Stamp houses onto paper and then once the paint dries? The kids add characters or seasonal elements or whatever! Or Story City? Our first grade does something like this with decorating boxes to create a community.
5) Story Mat. Oh, these look cute. Painted onto cardboard or canvas or wood. Different settings. Actually and the little Storytelling Jar is fun.
6) The Reference Desk storytelling game.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Creating a FB Fan Page for Your Library

K. I decided to write this post after a discussion with a colleague on Friday. Awfully hesitant. The media sensationalizes all these horror stories and seriously? It's just not that hard to do. It is only my opinion so take it for whatever cred that gives it. ;] But I think it's worth trying!

I will open with this. Ask your admin for their input and follow any district guidelines in place. Whether you like the guidelines or not. That is always the smart thing to do. My admin said OK and since the district doesn't have any real prohibitions in place I went for it. I will be sad if I have to ever delete it because of policy changes. But I will. Begrudgingly. And then start the discussion as to why the policy should be changed BACK.

Also ... I don't post any pics with kids in them unless I've digitally stamped out their faces (in Picmonkey with a smiley face or emoticon ... the blurred out faces some bloggers do sort of creeps me out). Check out my page (look at the tabs underneath my blog header) on simple photo editing if you don't know how to do that.

Now ... a major distinction that may need clarification. A Fan Page is NOT the same thing as a regular FB account. It's not reciprocal like when you "friend" someone. A Fan Page allows an entity (a school library, or school, or website, or business, or church group, or WHATEVER) to share information with people in an arena where many are already spending time. Kind of like "go to their hangouts and they will come." If nothing else set up a Fan Page to post a status when you update something on the school webpage. People may not remember to GO to the school webpage (not everyone knows how to use RSS feeds!) so if you post on FB (where they already are) with the link to the new page content? They'll remember to go check it out!

You could choose either organization, institution, or community, I think. Haven't ever seen any hard or fast guidelines and the case could be made for all three. Since you can't really see the link know that it's here. And here Techipedia does a VERY nice how-to. Nicer than this one. This is more a "why" and plea to not freak out over the idea.

People who "like" your fan page do NOT see your personal information and (depending on their privacy settings on their personal pages) you can't see theirs. It's not like the friends that show up in YOUR newsfeed. You won't see all of the posts by people who've liked the page in your newsfeed. The Fan Page posts WILL show up in THEIR newsfeeds. There are different permissions you can secure to keep other people from making random wall posts on the fan page.

Now. Just tonight example. A friend commented on a post I made as our Fan Page. And one of HER friends liked a comment I made in response. She could see it because our mutual friend had commented on the Fan Page post. Now, if I've got this right that's in our FRIEND's settings and you can't do a whole lot about that (see this status update Snopes article). If it ever became a problem then you would be able to block someone who had liked your page.

I'm actually not sure myself about that "Default visibility of posts by others ...." Will have to research that one. And ... in the interests of full disclosure ... I actually had it so that everyone could post to our timeline and add photos and videos. Decided to change that tonight even though it hasn't been a problem in the ... six months? Maybe seven we've had ours. Not like people felt a great need to post things on our Fan Page wall. They just commented on posts. ;]

I don't have a huge percentage of parents or staff who participate yet but the ones who do? Appreciate when I share something for either group (and I do post new books, literacy ideas, book trailers, activities we're doing in the library for both staff and parents). I haven't worked all that hard to advertise it so far. Got a banner last spring from Vistaprint with a QR code for our page on it. Then packed it away for the summer and now can't remember where I packed it. #oops
If When I start doing more work on promotion then I'll share. Do any of you have a Fan Page for school? How do you promote it?


Friday, September 21, 2012


Well. Ready for a naptime again. ;]

I gave a presentation at our Region 20 Library Resources Roundup today. I talked too fast. :/ If you were there ... thank you for coming! Please ask any questions cause I know I flew through everything. I do that when I get nervous. I keep thinking ONE DAY I WON'T GET NERVOUS. Hasn't happened yet. Check it out on the Connecting with Authors tab. :/

Will have to do a post on Flipboard soon. Cause it is awesome. I should have shown it in the presentation today. PROVE (Cause truly, I could tell from some faces, they thought what I was talking about would take a long time. It doesn't!) how easy it could be.

And maybe a FB Fan pages post? I'm no expert but I think that people are unnecessarily afraid. I mean, the news sensationalizes bad stories. There are WAY more positive experiences than negative ones.

But. It's the weekend. YAY!
Here are some pins that I found in the last week or two that I thought were pretty cool.

Source: via Angie on Pinterest

For UGLY UGLY UGLY filing cabinet in library? Would they "let" me do it? It's a district filing cabinet. And stick with the b&w or maybe use ... like I can think of a Scholastic World Records book sitting on my desk that is falling apart. And several graphic novels (Seriously? The bindings on so many of them are NOT GOOD). Would that make it too "busy" visually?

I want to make these this weekend. But I'm not sure what book I'll sacrifice. The "matchy" part of me wants it to be a fall/Halloween book. But that would defeat the "upcycling" aspect.

HOW FLIPPING COOL. Does this really work? Only we can't ever get the library very dark. As it's a hallway ... can't turn off all the lights.

Oh, goodness. Voldemort has really been around lately. Pollen's not even high yet.

Source: via Angie on Pinterest


In October? Still deciding on some of the plans. Spider stories & non-fic again? A Mr. Wiggle's "craftivity" for PreK (will it help? They are our most difficult to get to treat the books kindly)? What will I do for a storybook character pumpkin? We've never done them before and I'm a little nervous as to how many people will participate. I don't "need" a huge showing but it will be sad if like only two people decorate and bring in a pumpkin. And I'm one of them.
Just got asked by admin this morning to work on some tech inservice for our campus for Oct. 8. THIS IS A FIRST!!! Added stress but added opportunities to preach the information literacy and don't be afraid of tech gospel.
I just got Creepy Carrots from Amazon and it is HILARIOUS. And creepy. I must include carrots in my decor in the coming month. If I get to decorating beyond signage.

And since I really don't want to make my blog annoying I will just say ... I like my October library display signs. And you can get them here for $3.

Actually. I lied. I just put stuff on sale. 15% off through Sunday. So it's like $2.55? Right? #mathonafriday


Saturday, September 15, 2012

SW Reads Day

Source: via Angie on Pinterest

Do you understand how excited I am about the idea of this? I do not think my administration and faculty are as excited *insert slightly worried face here* but hopefully I can change their minds. And make it a learning AND fun experience. I don't do big stuff all that well. We may have to change the date as it is turns out it's on an extremely bad day school calendar wise, even for like just an hour in the afternoon buddy reading activity. #timing :/

Feel the Force Writing Center
Sight Word Reading or Roll and Color? (may integrate more fairy tale ideas for the non-fans as well)

There are so many books it just sort of depends on the grade level and what you have available. Our kiddos LOVE the DK readers and the older ones some of the easier novels in our library collection. But of course we wouldn't have one to give every kid. Money. And they are not necessarily the best "read alouds."

This is kind of cool for the 4th and 5th graders. Integrates some research into mythology and cultures. Only I don't think it falls under any of the current TEKS on the Scope and Sequence and it couldn't be done in an hour or even two.

This links to a Utah County 4H Jedi Training document. Apparently it was a club. Actually looks like a lot of fun but again ... too long.

Perhaps if it wasn't like an act of Congress to get software approved I would look into some of these critical thinking games? Well. Act of Congress and ... money. It seems to come down to budget quite often, doesn't it.

 Souer fun, right? Only I'm sure I'D be the one leading it. And despite fitness efforts I'm not sure about my ability to even do some of them.
Source: via Angie on Pinterest

Source: via Angie on Pinterest

Totally just for fun. I'd probably hate the noise after a while.

Hmm. Could make it more school oriented ... maybe put some vocabulary words on little stickers over the names of the characters? Or would that be too random, SW figures with vocab words underneath them. Probably. I'm reaching here. Stupid headache again.

And while I'm not normally one for fancy nails ...


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Slightly Spooky in the Library

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Halloween decorations. And stories. No, not everyone celebrates. Not everyone would be allowed to do this. In one or two cases there have been kids who went to another classroom while we did this. We made sure they had something "fun" to do with reading while we were spooking. ;]

Most years I do a lot of read alouds that day. Either in the library or in the classroom.

(From the $1 spot at Target ... and I promise I won't post about there again for a while ... haven't even been a shopper of that area for more than a couple weeks and I NEED TO STOP!)

If it's in the library we turn off all the lights (which doesn't mean a whole lot, cause remember we have no walls and are in the middle of a major traffic hallway :/) and gather around a pretend fire made of orange "Christmas" lights. I have a flashlight that I use to read by ... plus it has a couple sound effect buttons like a wolf howl or scream. Pushed at the right time they add a nice effect. :]

Sipping Spiders Through A Straw: Campfire Songs For MonstersSipping Spiders Through A Straw: Campfire Songs For Monsters by Kelly DiPucchio

This one we actually do first before gathering around the fire. We put the book under the document camera and SING. Second grade and up. One year I randomly gave out rubber rats to kids who were singing with gusto. I was then the COOLEST. For a while, anyway. ;]

Haven't read this one yet ... but how cute does it look?
Creepy Carrots!Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds

(10/13/12 update ... Yep! It was a winner. In fact if it wasn't for how cute the kids are listening to it I would be SICK TO DEATH OF IT BY NOW as every K-2nd grade class has wanted to hear it and do some sort of activity ... be it illustrating settings (I should take pics!) or letter matching or number matching or character tree maps.)

Oh, and this one, too. Then back to the ones I've actually read already.
FrankensteinFrankenstein by Rick Walton

(I still like this one ... but decided not to use it with 2nd grade. Headless monsters were kind of gross. Cute but gross.)

When a Monster Is BornWhen a Monster Is Born by Sean Taylor

AlphaOops: H Is for HalloweenAlphaOops: H Is for Halloween by Alethea Kontis

Robot Zombie Frankenstein!Robot Zombie Frankenstein! by Annette Simon

Ghosts in the House!Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara

What a lovely little Halloween book to discover at a bookfair just before October.

The 13 Days of HalloweenThe 13 Days of Halloween by Carol Greene

Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to DanceFrank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance by Keith Graves

The WoodsThe Woods by Paul Hoppe

I Need My MonsterI Need My Monster by Amanda Noll

The House that Drac Built. I read it so long ago that I hate to put it on Goodreads (I like my "count" to be real) but it's pretty fun. Rhyming and spooky illustrations but not ... creepy.

For the older ones ... something out of any one of Robert San Souci's Short & Shivery books.
Or playing them the first few minutes of The Graveyard Book (found here). There's something super spooky about listening to Neil Gaiman (the author)'s English accent telling the story.

Here There Be Monsters: the Legendary Kraken and the Giant SquidHere There Be Monsters: the Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid by H.P. Newquist
(Including this not really as a read aloud but as one to get and maybe have on display or something. It's not perfect (random Tennyson quote) but it is COOL.

I'm sure I'll think of some more (hopefully I'll think of some more?) titles as it gets closer. Got any suggestions?


Monday, September 10, 2012

Quick 9/11 Book Reminder

Egads did 9/11 sneak up on me. Had a teacher instant message me today asking if I knew of a good book.

AAAACK! I should have been talking it up! I should have been making 15 minute appointments to go to classes and read it to them. (Sad ... 15 minutes to get through lots of classes but then miss out on a very important part ... the discussion).

One of the few "I remember exactly what I was doing" days. Listened to a CD on the way to work so didn't hear anything on the radio. I was in my second year as a HS Spanish teacher. Heard a couple "rumors" from the kids and then the department chair came in and said something.

We watched the news most of the day. I can't even imagine what elementary teachers did. SO hard to "ignore" it themselves but really not appropriate to have to watch live, that young, without parents.

14 Cows for America14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BEAUTIFUL artwork. A beautiful story that could be read ... I would say 2nd grade and up? Maybe just looking at some of the pics with 1st. It's a picture book and not even a super long one. Don't forget. Find it. I know there are others that cover that day and probably good ones ... but still, look for this one. The painting where you can see the NYC skyline in the boys' eyes? So powerful.

There are a couple "fan" made trailers out there that are cool ... until they add images of people jumping from the buildings. To me that is just not something to replay over and over. I mean, I don't know. We can tell kids people died that die. But just pre-watch any trailers you might "google" to make sure you feel like they are appropriate for your classroom. None of those images are in the book.