Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Last Book Club! Found!

Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix was the last selection for a Book Club this year. The Chick-Fil-A cow visited and brought lemonade coupons and stuffed toy cows! Pictures can be seen on their Facebook page and I will upload a picture!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Beginning of a Garden

Last Friday several classes gathered outside to plant cantelope, beans, tomatoes, and lettuce seeds in styrofoam cups. That will be the beginning of our garden at Irondale Middle! Stay tuned for more information on our progress!

Monday, April 28, 2014

School Library Month and The Declaration for The Rights to Libraries

Have you signed a Declaration lately? It may already be out and ready to sign at your local Botanical Gardens, a museum, a public library or a school library, but this is a great time to sign a Declaration for The Rights to Libraries.

This Declaration is a tool to get the word out to the world and the media that libraries are important to their communities. What better time to sign than School Library Month? Here is a link to more information about libraries do and can provide for you. If you have not been to a library lately, go check one out in your community!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How Will Our Garden Grown?

You may or may not know this, but I received a grant for starting a garden at Irondale Middle School! Special thanks to the Whole Foods Foundation for "seed" money to grow a garden!

Here is a link to a garden wall:

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Upcoming Library and School Events at Irondale

It is that busy time of year for schools when testing, grant reports, sports, and fine arts events collide. There is always time for one more though. Our next event is April 15. Fine Arts Night will include a book fair in the library where you can pick up some summer reading, a band concert, an art department showing, and other events in the school are being added.

We hope you will join us from 5:30 - 6:30 on Tuesday the 15th!

Friday, February 7, 2014

How Do You Make Budgets Stretch in a Library

The 20-day blogging challenge post today is on making budgets stretch in a school library.

You'd be surprised what you can cobble together with bookfairs, grants, donations, and BoxTops. It's not a grant sum, but without it I feel I would have a library that's going nowhere toward improvement.

Since I have about 10 seconds to write this blogpost, I will simply list what I do:

  • Two Scholastic BookFairs per year - Many times I only sell enough books to be awarded books in kind for the library, but every little bit helps and I am glad to have the latest publications from Scholastic.
  • One Barnes and Noble in-store Bookfair that I promote mostly to teachers and get a giftcard to fluff the collection
  • Our wonderful PTO donates $500 per year for my Book Club. Those books go into the collection
  • Grants from our Board - I received a grant for a BrainPop subscription for the library
  • Many different grants are available from ALA - I have won the American Bookshelf award before which added to my collection
  • I work with my public library on grants
  • I look for grants outside the box that I can coordinate for the school
  • I enter contests to win books
  • I've sold water bottles at our school carnival
  • I also attend my neighborhood's library book sale and appeal to them through a letter to allow me to look through their leftovers. I have found many brand new books that way and have created my whole audio collection in this way.
It takes a lot of work and constant vigilance. You also have to apply year after year. Applying regularly helps grant-writing skills.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Common Sense Media Lessons and How to Teach Them

Since our school system adopted Common Sense Media in lieu of i-Safe, I have tried teaching it a couple of different ways. The website features videos on these and other topics:

  1. Digital Citizenship
  2. Cyber Bullying
  3. Communicating Online
  4. Digital Etiquette
  5. Movie Reviews
  6. Following Your Digital Trail
The first year I taught we all watched a couple of videos together, discussed them, and created group posters to hang in the hallways.

The next year I tried something different. I gave all of the students headphones and allowed them to select their own videos to watch with a partner at a computer. The students loved selecting their own videos, but they watched all sorts of videos on high school levels to elementary school so that it resulted in all of them having different experiences with online digital citizenship learning.

I love the variety in teaching and aiming to perfect a lesson. Here's what I will try next. We will all watch a video together (they are all only two to five minutes long) and then I will direct them to a choice of a about five videos. Now, a few might stray a watch some of the enticing high school videos, but they can also log on at home and watch. I'll let you know how it goes!