Thursday, September 30, 2010

Brookhaven Open Library Nights Mentioned in National Blog! Julia Benincosa briefly referenced us in the FCC's Blogband blog.

Brookhaven Open Library Nights Mentioned in National Blog

Julia Benincosa of the West Virginia Department of Education briefly referenced our Open Library Nights in the FCC's Blogband blog.  Thanks, Julia!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Open library night at Brookhaven Elementary from 4:00 to 7:00 PM.
Today is Google's 12th birthday. What search engine did I use before there was a Google? I can't remember!
The truth about Obamacare and Medicare cuts, according to Forbes. Finally!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sending best wishes to "my kids" at Morgantown High as they play Steubenville at "Death Valley" tomorrow! Let's go, Mohigans!
"Literacy is the road to freedom, and libraries line that road." Anthony Molaro.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Morning Adventures and Its Impact on My Flow

I am the site coordinator for Morning Adventures at Brookhaven Elementary.  Frankly, I thought I was insane to take this position, which meant I would have to wake up at 4:00 in the morning.  I predicted I would be dragging bottom by noon, which is not unlikely considering that beforehand I was beat my 3:30.  Still, I agreed to the position because I knew parents were desperate for before-school care.  I remember very well the days of worrying about my own children's morning care when I worked at the public library.

To my surprise working these extra hours has been energizing.  I use the quiet times when I have one or no children here to work on shelving, reports and the AR display.  This reminds me of how I used to get to Central Preston Junior High an hour before everyone else, just to have my Diet Pepsi and quiet time. The quietude of the early morning has proven to be quite productive for me.

Of course the quiet does not last for long.  By 7:15 I have children piling around my desk, looking at my cell phone or asking to help check-in books.  The kids need the extra attention, and I am happy to oblige, even if I do think I should have had more Diet Pepsi beforehand.

Getting up at 4:00 a.m. has not made a huge impact on my time at home.  Yes, I go to bed an hour earlier than normal, but there were many times last year that I fell asleep at 7:00.  That sounds so pathetic!  While I am mindful that I do need a full eight hours sleep, I have to make myself turn off the laptop, the lights and TV at 8:00.  I think this is a positive change.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Looking forward to the season premiere on NCIS - if I can stay awake for it!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Very grateful for the two wonderful adult volunteers I had today, as well as the marvelous 4th and 5th grade research helpers!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The greatest thing about this evening is that I have absolutely no plans!

On Personnel Change

This year's personnel changes at my school had me discombobulated when the school year began.  It was the first time this school had experienced such major changes in staff since Title I teachers were added in the late 1990s.  Of course adding new teachers is never a problem.  It's the loss of the existing faculty members that bothers me. This year we lost seven teachers.

But even though I miss my familiar colleagues, change is good.  The art teacher and music teacher have been enthusiastically received by the students.  Our two new first grade teachers are on a roll.  The new fifth grade teacher is wonderful, original and a team player. The two new special ed teachers also are bringing their own personalities to the positions and are working fantastically with the other teaching staff.  Finally, our new assistant principal is a breath of fresh air, giving our principal much needed help.  Yep, change is good.  I am thrilled that each of these teachers is here

But for what it's worth, I still miss Marcie, Nicole, Elaine, Beth, Molly, Leah and Rachael.

Monday, September 13, 2010

34 people have attended Open Library night so, and there is still an hour left. Very thankful for family involvement!
It's Open Library Night at Brookhaven Elementary!
New post to Random Thoughts: How I am utilizing the services of student volunteers this year.
New post to Brookhaven Library Media Review: How do you know if you have "good" information?
Morning Adventures starts today at 6:30 AM. Open library tonight from 4 to 7 PM. Sleep at 8 PM

First Week with My Library Helpers

Last spring I developed a Google form for rising fifth grade students to use to volunteer as a library helper.  I was really disappointed when only nine of 60 students expressed interest.  While nine would be a nice number to work with most of the time, it is totally insufficient to do the one-on-one kindergarten training I have done in the past.  I decided to ask fourth graders to be library helpers.  The response was outstanding. 

And now, of course, I have had an onslaught of fifth graders ask to be helpers, too.  My solution?  The more the merrier!  I now have about 38 recess helpers to spread across the five-day week.  This will be ideal for teaching kindergarteners how to use the library.  But how will I use them the rest of the time?

I have developed a calendar that rotates jobs weekly. These jobs are computer checkin and checkout, sorting returned books into categories, preparing date due cards, straightening shelves, shelving books, and displays.  The display job means not only setting up book displays in the library, but updating the Accelerated Reader points display daily.

In my not so humble opinion, that last idea was a stroke of genius, and I am disappointed I didn't think of it sooner.  I can never keep the AR display updated, and this disappoints children who want to see their points markers move.  The helpers thus far seem very motivated in helping maintain this display.

The first four groups of volunteers have all done quite well.  (Once again it is my special needs kids who best grasp the concepts of shelving. I always find that interesting.) I will meet with the last group for the first time tomorrow.  I am looking forward to it!

The kids will spend the remainder of this month learning their jobs.  Next month we will begin with kindergarten checkout in earnest.  Let the good times roll!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Productive morning! Helped teachers with AR logins, posted blog to , car rider and breakfast duty.

Monday, September 6, 2010

10 Days in and I Am Finally Getting Organized

 The 2010-2011 school year is finally coming together for me.  Even though the library has been open from Day One, I cannot say that I have felt "ready.". I had no schedule for the library helpers and had not begun to think about book clubs or writers club.  Now, two days into a three-day weekend at the farm, a library helpers schedule has been set and book clubs have been planned.  After the library helpers get their first week under their belts, I will turn my attention to writers club and the kinds of transliteracy activities I envision for them.

Two weeks into the school year the library is exceptionally neat.  I have always maintained that the library could be busy or neat but not both. I think the library has been adequately busy this early in the school year, but certainly the busy season has not begun. I do think, however, that I have tried extra hard to maintain neatness, since it is very important to my principal.  Even my office is (relatively) orderly!

Programatically I will experience two changes this year. First, I will be teaching an enrichment RTI reading group consisting of five second graders. Although I was initially reluctant, I am looking forward to working with this group.  My early resistance stemmed from two factors: principle and fear. In terms of principle, I have been the last elementary librarian in Monongalia County to have a totally open, flexible schedule.  It is hard to forfeit an operating plan that research has shown to be most beneficial to all students.  I will simply need to be better organized, maybe by scheduling parent volunteers during RTI time, to continue to meet the needs of all our students.  Self-checkout is also an option.

The second reason for resistance was fear of the unknown.  I have never taught reading before!  What am I supposed to do with five second graders?  Fortunately, after giving the issue consideration, I am looking forward to working with this group.  I have received and know I will continue to receive much needed support from our reading mentor teacher/academic coach, Leslie Phares. This is going to be fun!

The second programatic change is that I will be running the before school daycare program at Brookhaven under the auspices of Visiting Homemakers.  I am not sure what this program will entail, but I am looking forward to learning more.  I know it will start on September 13 and that so far eleven kids have registered.  I will find out more on Tuesday, when I meet with program director, Judy Brennen.