Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Whew! What a "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" day!

Last Wednesday as I perused Twitter I came across the SLJ Jeff Kinney webcast for the release of Cabin Fever. I immediately registered and then emailed my staff to see if anyone was interested in participating. One of my enthusiastic 6th grade Language Arts teachers responded and an idea was born. We decided to make a whole day of it with the entire team of 100+ students.

My day started at 6:30 am as I went to Wal-Mart to buy 10 copies of the book. I spent the morning getting ready for the day which started with the 10 am webcast. What a great job Kinney did getting the students excited about the new book. It was also a treat that the actors from the movie were also present. Now, we had planned everything around an hour long webcast, so when it ended at 10:40 we had to do some rearranging.

Immediately following the webcast we did a bullying activity that our counselor helped me develop. Students were able to draw or write about a time they were bullied. After students had time to respond, we allowed them to share their experiences and talk about ways they could handle these situations. Originally we had planned to have them role-play these and the solution, but with so many students in our media center with limited space it just was not practical.

A majority of students had read at least one of the books in the series, so we were able to ask questions related to the book. Prior to lunch we played a game of True or False with questions from event kits associated with the release of the various books.

After lunch we came back and did a trivia game with DOWK aficionados on a panel. The winner of each of the three rounds received candy. I took some time to introduce the book and encouraged students to make some predictions. We then did a lottery for the opportunity to be one of the first 10 to checkout the book. Needless to say there were some very excited students. The best part is that two of my most avid DOWK fans won the lottery. The dancing that ensued brought tears to my eyes.


**Thank you card from the students.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Feeling Like a Celebrity!

My time since I returned from AASL11 has been crazy, amazing and overwhelming. Placing third place in the Follett Challenge has brought a lot of attention to my media program. While this is amazing, I must admit that it is also intimidating and overwhelming. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone, but as time progresses I am finding that I am adjusting. It is nice to have recognition for my school and media program, but now I am analyzing all the places where my program is lacking. I have not done this, I have not done that and I really should focus on.... The list goes on and on. Well, I am letting that go for a few minutes. All the great things....

1. $15,000 for our media center -- AWESOME!
2. My school's name has been mentioned in multiple places

3. Manicure/Pedicure gift card from my husband (isn't he the sweetest?)
4. A day of gifts

Ok, you are probably wondering what I mean by a day of gifts. To be honest this is the primary reason that I am writing this blog entry. I need to give special thanks to my exploratory community at school. Last Monday when I returned from Minnesota, I had a day that was so special. It began around 8 am with the delivery of roses and the comment "one of us will be thinking of you every hour." Odd comment? Yes. Slow to catch on? Yes. It was 10 am before I caught on that they were bringing me gifts every hour. That's right! Every hour! Chocolate, flowers, and a multitude of other goodies. It was too much, but it is also something that I will remember forever.

Aren't those bags beautiful?! I am so fortunate to work with such a supportive group of people. They make my job easy.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

AASL11 Reflections

While the Follett Challenge was an exciting component of my recent attendance at AASL11, the influence of the conference extends far beyond that. First, it was so amazing to get to meet some of those I only know virtually.

Brandi Heinz Brown and Melissa Fuentes were the first of the virtual crew I had the honor to meet. Love these two ladies from Follett and their excitement. Shortly after the Follett Challenge announcement, the AASL attendees filtered into the Exhibit Hall. Gwyneth Jones, aka Daring Librarian, came up to congratulate me. Love Gwyneth ever since she came to NC. She fits in great with us Southerners, especially those named Jennifer, which she may believe is one of the most common names in the South after her trip. With Gwyneth was Tiffany Whitehead, who I was just excited to meet as she was to meet me (thanks for including me with such a great group in your blog post, Tiff).

Friday and Saturday were filled with great sessions, ideas and meeting more fabulous people. I ran into Diane Cordell in the Learning Commons. It was great to talk with her. I wish I could have spent more time talking photography with her, but I had to jet off to Kareem Abdul Jabbar's book signing. The things I will do for my husband. Yes, he was with me in MN, and yes, he could have stood in line himself as a conference attendee but he was off visiting the University of Minnesota (btw he claims the campus is even more beautiful than Virginia Tech). In case you did not know, visiting colleges and universities is our geeky thing to do together. Hate that I missed that one.

Other authors that I had the opportunity to stalk while in MN included Maggie Stiefvater and Joan Bauer. I did not stalk Origami Yoda author Tom Angleberger at AASL having already met him at my state conference but did get the opportunity to speak to him prior to boarding our plane to Charlotte.

A few ideas that I am looking forward to implementing into my library include a student book swap and video or audio book talks for teachers. A session on Big6 with Bob Berkowitz has inspired me to do a training for parents on the Big6 and how they can use the steps to help students complete basic tasks such as homework. While I did not attend the 23 Things session, I have been toying with this idea. A librarian in my county started doing this a couple of years ago, and I just have not taken the time to develop this. Tiffany Whitehead came away from that session really excited and inspired me with her enthusiasm.

Probably the highlight of the entire trip was lunch on Saturday. Tiffany orchestrated a lunch outing on Saturday for a few librarians and the group continued to grow while we sat there. Could not believe the number of library rockstars at one table. This is where I met so many of those who I knew virtually but had never had the experience to meet in person. Totally amazed by the energy of all of these ladies, and I look forward to learning more from them in the future.

Another great experience from AASL was the shock of my principal at this school library world. On the plane he said to me "So, you have a blog." Turns out he was doing his research about AASL before we arrived in MN and came across my blog. Kudos to him for wanting to learn more. I believe this experience was eye-opening for him. He already supports school libraries, but I have no doubt that being among all you fabulous school librarians out there really helped him learn more about what libraries have to offer our schools.