Thursday, November 29, 2012

Annual Annals - Books We Re-Read Every Year

An hour or so ago I posed a question to my tweeps via Twitter:

Is there a book you read annually, for a special occasion, perhaps? I read Summer's Lease by Mortimer.

The responses I received (and continue to receive) are too good to just mark as favorites, so I'm listing them here as a kind of Annual To Be Read (Again) list.  I hope you discover some new bookish traditions!

@nicoeatsbooks One of my most favorite books is Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos and I reread it at Christmas

@playthrutheday We read The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson every Christmas.

@AnIowaTeacher Before each basketball season I read this: "Leading With the Heart" by Mike Krzyzewski. Gets me in the right frame of mind!

@rachelwrites007 Whenever I'm upset I read A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith. It's my favorite book in the world. <3

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ignore the Common Core?

Hey Alaska!  What's up, Minnesota?  Hellllloooooo, Nebraska!  Howdy, Texas!

It's me!  Virginia!  Welcome to one of the most exclusive clubs in the United States of America!  But what shall we call ourselves?  The We-Don't-DO-Common-Core Club?  The Un-Common Cores?  The Rotten to the Cores?

From twitter to the book vendor tables at conferences, the world, it seems, is ga-ga over the Common Core.  And by "ga-ga" I don't mean they necessarily like the CC; I just mean that it's all about the CC.  So where does that leave the states that are not official adopters of the CC?  Where does that leave school libraries?

Of course, my state of Virginia has its own Standards of Learning and the State has demonstrated how they align with the Common Core.  But with so much of the literature we're seeing now, from recommended nonfiction series to lesson plans now proclaiming that they "Align with the Common Core!", what are you, non-Core states, doing with them?  Ignoring them entirely?  Forcing a fit with your state standards?  Concentrating solely on your state standards?

Hope to hear from you soon!



Monday, November 12, 2012

Teacher Requests - Book Lists

Some of you read my post about The Best Email I Ever Sent.  I took the responses and made them into a giant To-Do list.  It feels really great to have projects that are eagerly awaited for by my teachers!

So last week I created two book lists using GoodReads.  The first was a list of books about art and the second was a list of books about music.  They aren't comprehensive lists of all the titles I have in my collection.  I chose titles that I think have been overlooked or titles that are fiction and have an art/music connection.  The real purpose of these lists is to have a place to list new books as they come in to my library.

So far my art and music teachers have been very thankful.  Next up is a list requested by a fourth grade teacher for grade-level reads.  This is such a difficult topic to address.  By reading level?  By age appropriate-ness?  How do you handle requests for books by grade level?

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Best Email I Ever Sent

I came back from the School Library Journal Leadership Summit refreshed, rejuvenated and inspired (more on that later) but I also came back with a slew of new books. 

I could have just added them to my Library collection, but I thought I'd get more bang for my books by sending out a simple email to my staff: What can the Library provide to make your Job easier?  

I linked the question to a Google form and told my teachers and staff that each respondent would get a free book for their classroom. 

Um. Responses. Lots. 

And they're not pie in the sky requests (although sometimes those are a fun challenge) and they're not responses I feared like "It's too noisy in the Library" - they were awesome requests for things that had never even crossed my mind. 

Totally worth giving away my books. 

The best email I ever sent.
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