Saturday, December 27, 2008

Books For Christmas

Of course books were among the presents at our house this Christmas. One son received American Country Churches...the other got Steve Doocy's Tales from the Dad Side. One granddaughter Merry Christmas, Curious George and the other will get Some Pig A Charlotte's Web Picture book next Saturday for her birthday. My mother-in-law got The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker which almost took a crane to lift. Her 83 year old self will definitely use it as a "coffee table book" at least for viewing. Also I gave my mother-in-law Christmas Stories from Georgia. One nephew received the book A Bad Case of Giggles Kids Pick the Funniest Poems. A great nephew received Merry Christmas, Curious George. My high school library aide got The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe whom she declared to be her most favorite author (although this was before she started the Twilight Series). My mother got 2 cryptoquote puzzle books. A friend at church got a Bible Quiz book and the title is gone from me completely. I received from my mother an autographed copy of When Summer was in the Meadow by Betsy Hamlet Nichols, a Georgia author who grew up in nearby Lanett, Alabama. If you have gotten lost in all the verbage following is a list of the titles:

American Country Churches
Tales from the Dadside
Merry Christmas, Curious George
Some Pig
The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker
A Bad Case of Giggles
The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe
A Bad Case of Giggles
Cryptoquote Books
Bible Quiz Book
When Summer was in the Meadow

Why Books Make the Best Presents....

No assembly required
No batteries needed
Does not become obsolete
Can be taken anywhere
Does not cause carpel tunnel syndrome
No small parts to lose
No annoying sound effects
No updates or upgrades needed
Never needs ironing
Easy to wrap
Good for hours of entertainment
Easy to store
Always fits
Will not cause strife at airport security
User friendly
Easy to share files with friends
Doesn’t need extension cord
Bookmarks easy to manage
Great topics of conversation
Never comes in the wrong color or size
Doesn’t need to be serviced by a dealer
Doesn’t need spare parts
Easier to wrap than footballs
Looks good with any d├ęcor
Doesn’t need watering or fertilizing
Won’t irritate your allergies
Doesn’t go out of style
Doesn’t get aphids or draw ants
Doesn’t bark or need to bewalked in the middle of the night
Won’t stretch, shrink or fade
Won’t scratch the coffee table
Won’t get stale
Doesn’t have zippers that break
Can be used over and over by many people
Not empty when finished
You can open this again and again

Thanks to Cindy Kilpatrick of Swan Hills, AB Canada for the list.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thank You PTO

A word of thanks to our PTO. Santa Shop was held this year in an empty classroom. I went ahead with the great jigsaw puzzle marathon anyway. The principal and I decided it was a great opportunity for critical thinking skills.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Every year the first two weeks after Thanksgiving our library is taken over by our PTOs Santa Shop. Although our facility is large enough for two activities to occur at the same time, my teaching time is curtailed by the noise and activity that comes with the Santa Shop. For this reason, I have developed the Great Jigsaw Puzzle Marathon to use with my classes during this time. It has developed over the years. Initially each of the 6 library tables held a 500 piece puzzle which were worked on by students from each class that came to the library for class time....thus the word marathon........ because it usually took several days to complete a puzzle.
Recently, I have just purchased 100 piece puzzles that can be completed in one class period. It is a puzzle race and the table that finishes first wins and each student at that table receives a bookmark.

"Puzzling" is a developmental skill I think. You would be surprised how many students don't know to put the edges together first. I can pick out kids who have put together puzzles with their families. They know the techniques.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bookmarks from Hong Kong Arrive

Right before school was out this afternoon we received our package from La Salle Primary School in Hong Kong. Two hundred forty bookmarks, yeah! A brief look tells me that they are excellent. Can't wait for my fifth graders to get one.

The 6th graders today began selecting their choice from the India ones we received yesterday.
Now all we have left are the ones from Canada. I heard from the media specialist at Worsley School our partner school in Alberta, Canada. She received the package we sent to them and ours is on the way.

ISLD bookmark project is absolutely one of the best activities we do each year in our library.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Today is International School Library Day

Today we received our bookmarks from our partner school in India. One school down, two to go. The package was torn and taped together, but the bookmarks arrived intact. Some had glitter, some had jewels, one had Disney stickers, but all had my students who have seen them now think we should put ribbons on ours next year.

Back to a previous post about the student who had never seen a real apple tree. This 4th grader was in the library today. I asked her if she had seen an apple tree since we last spoke. She said "no", so I then asked if she had ever seen a pear tree. Again, the answer was no. I said,"Well, come on, we are going on a field trip." Right next to a drive around the side of our building is a chain link fence that divides school property from the neighbor's house. An right next to the fence on the neighbor's side is a pear tree. Two 4th graders and I walked around the building, we looked up at the pear tree and saw pears, then we looked at the ground and saw fallen pears on the ground. The young man with us just reached his hand through the fence and picked up two pears from the ground. Each student then had a perfect fall pear. The young lady said, "I am going to get into trouble. I was just suppose to go to the library and back." I promised I would go with her and tell her teacher. So the two adventurers and I walked back to their homeroom and shared our story.
It's all about teachable moments. She still has never seen a real apple tree, but now she has experienced a pear tree. I hope that tonight, at home, when she cut into that pear to eat it that it was juicy and delicious and this is an experience she will remember for a long time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Twilight Saga Completed

Tonight I finished reading Breaking Dawn and have completed the Twilight series. My favorite of all 4 novels is the first, Twilight. Will I purchase them for my 4-6 grade, but that doesn't mean there won't be students reading them. I have encouraged some to wait until they are Jr. or Sr. High, but the attraction is now. So read, they will.

Will I go see the movie? I think so.

Funny footnote: Last weekend I called the public library to see if Breaking Dawn was in. (remember, now, that I live in Alabama and have an accent to those not from the South) Of course, the librarian that I spoke with was not a "native." I asked for "Breaking Dawn" and then she had me repeat it. Then she had me spell the first word in the title. After my response she repeated to me, "Breaking Down". I laughed and told her, "No, dawn, like when the sun comes up." And then I said to her "You're not from the Valley, are you honey?" We both had quite a chuckle. And, of course, the book was checked out!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What are we thinking?

One day this week while working with my students on their bookmarks for International School Library Day I had an interesting conversation. Two different 4th graders told me that they had never seen a real apple tree. We live in what is probably still considered a rural area. But never a real apple tree? On the same day a former English teacher/grandmother/library volunteer told me she had helped her 4th grandchild with research on a famous scientist who was famous for discoveries with quarks. Never an apple tree, but learning about quarks?
A science teacher popped through the library right about that time and spouted out "subatomic particles". I know knowledge is exploding exponentially......but..................
WHAT ARE WE THINKING??????? We expect our students to have some very basic knowledge and experiences that they don't have! This is something as librarians, teachers, parents, grandparents we need to remember.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wordle Success

After viewing a fellow librarian's blog and having an email conversation with her, I now am able to post my wordle. "I love it when a plan comes together!"
Thanks so much Pamela.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Absolute Favorite Comic Strip of All Times

link icon

My absolute favorite comic strip of all times is Arlo and Janice. This strip is the creation of Jimmy Johnson who was originally from a small town near where I live. Jimmy is a graduate of Auburn University. His strips are true to life (my family's at least) and he has been accused by many of "peeking in windows" for his ideas. He once came and visited my 5th grade classroom and talked to my students about his work. Take a look and be entertained, and bookmark the page so you can go back everyday.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wordle Word Cloud

There is such a neat site that will take words you type in or scan yourblog and make a word cloud of the words. You are able to print them out, but not post to your blog. I have had fun with the site and wish there was a way to save and put on the blog. So far no luck. I took a screen shot of the words but no luck posting it.

A fifth grade teacher and I just used the site creatively. Parenting Day is being celebrated here on Friday. All homerooms have been asked to make a poster to put up in the lunchroom for that day. We just copied the email about making the poster into wordle, created the word cloud, printed it, mounted it on construction paper, and now we have a completed poster. (Perhaps not exactly what the sponsors were looking for, but it worked for overburdened 5th grade teacher and me.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Twilight Series

One of my fifth grade teachers (thank you, Meg) hooked me up with Twilight (if it is necessary for me to say, "by Stephanie Meyer" then you haven't been around any teenagers in the last few years.) Now I am well into New Moon. A 6th grader had talked to me about it the first day of school and now I have seen several with one of the books in the series. One of our PE coaches finished Breaking Dawn, the final book, yesterday. Two mornings this week I have seen a 5th grade boy reading Twilight. Yesterday I asked if it was his sister's book and he told me yes. I told him I thought a girl would probably like it better than he did since the main character was a girl but the second main character was a boy so he could keep trying it if he wanted. Then this afternoon I recommended it to an 8th grader and she told me she didn't want to read "any sappy old romance." You know, you can just never tell.

However, it will not be a series I purchase for my 4 - 6 grade school. In the same sort of decision I made on the Uglies series, I think we need to leave some for the Jr. High and Sr. High kids to have as their own. I won't discourage those that want to read it, but they will have to either purchase the books or get them from the public library.

I have enjoyed looking at the Stephanie Meyer website and have included the link below.

So Bella and Edward, Alice and Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett, Carlisle and Esme (love that name)
I am enjoying visiting in your world. Of course, last year, Moonlight, was a favorite TV show too.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

We have been matched with our sister schools for International School Library Day.

This year we will partner with the following 3 schools

G D Goenka School, Delhi, India
LaSalle Primary School Hong Kong, China
Worsley School Worsley, Alberta, Canada

If you would like to learn more about these schools the links to their websites are provided below.

Our students are excited. We have visited all the websites. Our next activity will be to research the countries where our sister schools are located. Each class will make a poster with the information they found. Last will be the bookmarks that are exchanged with the other students. Our high school art classes have joined with us in creating some of the bookmarks since some of the schools have high school aged students. Many thanks to Julie Sikes, art teacher extraordinaire, for her willingness to assist me with this project.
I have mailed a map of our state, travel brochures, and information on the Arts, and sports in our state. Also included in the packets was a history of our state.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

New Shirts

Courtesy of one of our district's innovative high school librarians, all the Media Specialists in our district have new shirts.......Take a look!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Library Open During Orientation

We had quite a success having our school library open last night during 5th and 6th grade orientation. For the first time ever students could check out books during this time...the day before school actually started. We probably circulated 60 plus items. I was able to "on the spot" booktalk several books I read this summer to students who then checked them out.

No Talking by Andrew Clements came out of my purse and went to a fifth grader even though I was only on chapter 3. She left with the promise it would come back to me when she finished so I could finish it.

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis and Among the Hidden by Margaret Haddix Peterson, two others I finished during vacation, flew off the shelf.

Three copies of The Invention of Hugo Cabret , and of course...some Series of Unfortunate Events, Captain Underpants, Eragon, and Eldest. It was a surprise that only 1 Harry Potter left the library.

I pushed a Madison Finn to a young lady who wanted to read about was a guess on my part but another student encourage her with it saying she had read one last year and really liked it.

Reading is really an important part of our job. And how eager these kids are to also read something we liked and recommended.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Batgirl was a librarian!

Just found an interesting link on a fellow librarian's blog..

(thank you Sonja) that Batgirl was a librarian. The link is below

Lots of other useful librarian links here.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summertime Reading

My summer reading this year has been a two step adult book then a children's or YA book. Today I completed The Invention of Hugo Cabret the Caldecot winner for 2008.
There are several sources for my reading materials.....public library, books I brought home from school, the Friends of the Library book sale, and the Horseshoe Bend Regional Library Bookmobile. The bookmobile visits our school parking lot twice a month, but this summer I caught it at a nearby church. There were lots of people visiting the church's food closet, but only two others beside myself visiting the bookmobile. The bookmobile librarian who is also a college student shared some interesting info on two books she was reading......Dracula and 1984. Her premise about "Big Brother" in 1984 was interesting......Onstar in today's automobiles seems to be akin.
Several years ago I used Judy Sierra's Wild About Books as a read aloud with my 4th graders. In this book the librarian, Molly McGrew, "by mistake drove her bookmobile into the zoo."

Here is my bookmobile and my "Molly McGrew"

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Anne of Green Gables

One of the first "set" of books I ever had was the Anne of Green Gables group. My Aunt Bessie gave to me the first book the Christmas of 1956. I was 6 years old. I'm sure I was't able to read it at that time for I had only been in school for 4 months.

However, I was so enthralled I tried to write a book in the end pages. The title was all I inscribed but it was "The Home of Deddie". I wish I could go back to my 6 year old mind and see if I just got my d's and b's backwards...or if I was giving my character a pseudonym.

I still have the series on my bookshelves. Through an email I received today I learned that this is the 100th anniversary of the publication of Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery of Prince Edward Island. Of course, there is a website and on it you can sign in that you have read the book. When I registered a few minutes ago I was number 897. I'm sure more of us than that have read and loved the book and series.

Go to this site and read all about Anne and register for yourself.

You will also find activities for students and ideas for teachers.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rheta Grimsley Johnson

Had a wonderful opportunity yesterday to attend the local public library's Lunch and Learn program and hear newspaper columnist and author Rheta Grimsley Johnson speak about her career and her new book Poor Man's Provence Finding myself in Cajun Louisiana. The book billed a memoir and travelogue is an account of the people she has met and grown to love and appreciate in the Atchafalaya Swamp and the town of Henderson, Louisiana. Home for Rheta and her husband for half of each year she uses words to paint a vivid picture of the area and the people.

She was an engaging speaker and has some long time ties to our area. She attended school in Montgomery, Alabama where her parents still live. A graduate of Auburn University, she was editor of the Plainman, the campus newspaper, in 1974-75. Her first marriage (which she characterized as "many years ago") was to a local boy, the cartoonist Jimmy Johnson, whose Arlo and Janis cartoon strip ( ) I consider to be a peek inside my own home and marriage. She is now married to a retired journalism professor who once taught at UAB in Birmingham, but now she says "He is a duck hunter." She shared fond memories of our Valley area to the some 100 Senior citizens (and a few of us less Senior) who attended the event.

Rheta is also the author of Good Grief: The Story of Charles M. Schulz and America's Faces. Her newspaper column appears three times a week and is published by Kings Features Syndicate. Find out more about Rheta at

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Finished my last working day yesterday. Circulated 57,700 items this school a 4 - 6 grade school with about 1300 student population.

WOW, we were busy. Along with 62 biweekly scheduled classes and over 7000 dropin computer users, and 63,000 plus Accelerated Reader points.

Here is a list of our top 5 circulated titles

Top 5 Checkouts for 2007 - 2008

Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People

Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space

Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toliets

How Santa Got His Job

Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants

I really want to think that I promote good literature and thoughtful reading...but kids are kids.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Grits Slide Show

To salute that wonderful lunchroom staff I mentioned in the last post, I developed a slide show for them. We presented it in the lunchroom on Thursday morning (the last day for cheese grits this year). Wanted to share it with you all.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Last Day for Cheese Grits

Our lunchroom fixes the absolute best cheese grits every Thursday for breakfast. You will see teachers walking down the hall with a styrofoam bowl and a plastic spoon eating their grits before school starts. For 75 cents we get a great southern breakfast. When the May menu was posted this week next Thursday, May 15, read LAST DAY FOR CHEESE GRITS. This is my salute to our lunch room ladies and their fantasitc cheese grits!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Decision Made

I finished Pretties this weekend. Enjoyed it too, but not as much as Uglies. Decision on the series was not to include it in my 4 - 6 grade collection.Some higher level 6th graders would enjoy it, but I didn't think spending almost $60.00 on the 4 books would be a wise use of my budget. Also when my elementary guidance counselors were in the office and I ran that "hangover and drunk" by them that I had found in the 2nd book, they immediately said "Don't think so."

Interesting note, however, about the flash tatoos in Pretties----go to the following link

and look at the digital tatoo interface and read the article. Reminds me of the Pretties.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What a twist!

Finished Plain Truth yesterday. What a twist. There were hints but I didn't catch them until I thought back over the book. Read some interviews with Picoult. She actually lived a week with the Amish while she was researching the book.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Hooray for Fridays

Glad the week is over. Seemed overly long. Just got back from the bookstore with a copy of Pretties. When I finish the Jodi Picoult book I am reading it will be next.

Picoult always has a surprising twist at the end of her books. I'm already trying to guess what it will be. (That's predicting the outcome, isn't it reading teachers.) A fellow teacher loaned me this copy of Plain Truth. Everyday at school I go to her and tell her where I am in the book and what I think that day about the plot. Mini book club I guess.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

SAT Testing Gives Work Time

This week our students are having state tests. This is giving us in the library some uninterrupted time to process new books, do some weeding, and read some shelves. There is rarely any time each "normal" day that there are no students in the library and the kind of work mentioned above is hard to do with lots of interruptions. We've gotten some new series--Madison Finn, Geronimo Stilton, more Katie Kazoo, and Matt Christopher. It's nice to hear a student say, "This is my new best favorite"!

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Just finished Scott Westerfeld's book Uglies. Can't wait to find Pretties. Enjoyed the premise. I was published in 2006 according to Amazon. Part of a trilogy--and now there is a companion novel which makes four.