Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas Time's A Comin'

Hold on to your Sleigh Bells! We can make it! 7.5 days and counting.....

This semester has been a BLUR. I thought I would have ALL kinds of time to blog about the new Learning Commons. Not so much.... 

But as busy as I have been let me just say it has been WONDERFUL. I am loving the new learning commons. My schedule is busy, but I am learning how to adjust. I am going to do some posts later about projects I have done this semester with different grade levels.

There have been highs and lows of the semester. I have received some grants (YAY!) and then not received some grants (BOO!). I have had wonderful success with technology. Then, I have had days where I wanted to take a hammer to all pieces of technology in sight! However, those days have been few and far between!

Our new electives schedule is AWESOME. Honestly, it is the BEST thing we could have done for our students here at WMES. I am going to do a whole post about it.

For now, back to MAP testing. We are trying to be through before we get out for Christmas break. Holy Moly MAP TESTING. Not for the faint of heart....

Sunday, August 28, 2016

First Day!!!

....and just like that (snaps fingers) summer is OVER!!! (Insert sad face.)

I will NOT sleep tonight for sheer anticipation of a new school year. I used to get nervous for myself. Now I am nervous for my son. However, he is not nervous. He is laying in the bed insisting that we call him, "First Grader" and not by his name. He has tried on his new shoes and his new clothes and packed his bookbag. He is excited, and I am happy! I will be praying all night I am sure for him, for his teachers, for my coworkers, and for me. I pray that I will be a blessing to my colleagues and my 500 students this year. I pray that I can make a difference in someone's life and pray for the guidance to do so. Here's to the 12th year of my career!!!
Tomorrow is Monday. I got this! LOL

Summer Workin'...Had me a Blast!

Summer was busy! I thoroughly enjoyed being at home with my boys, and I did a lot of work for the new learning commons. First wonderful literary directional sign. As you can see I had a sweet little helper paint my signs for me! My wonderful husband cut the "arrows". We painted them, and I applied vinyl letters that I cut out with my sister's amazing Cricut. I love how it turned out, and I know the kids will, too!

Now, my whole "EVERYBODY" section has a theme of "Where the Wild Things Are." Here are some vinyl silhouettes I made with the Cricut! I Loooove them!

I will have a Makerspace in my learning commons this year. One thing I will have is a Lego station. So, I made a Lego table this summer! Lego bases from Amazon and a $10 table from a local yard sale site! Yay! Keep Calm and Lego On! (Can you tell that I love the Cricut??)

These huge letters spell out the word "READ" and will make a great addition to the fiction section of the learning commons! 

My wonderful husband, whom I should really call my new library assistant, spray painted my old library book carts for me! They look AWESOME!

Lastly, the fiction section of the learning commons will be "Harry Potter" themed. Here is my lovely assistant weeding a huge quote printed on vinyl cut out with the (you guessed it!) Cricut! 

I will post pictures after the decor in the new learning commons is completed!!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Why a Learning Commons?

I have been a librarian for seven years now. Our titles change yearly, sometimes daily. Media coordinator, media specialist, teacher librarian, school library media coordinator. It's easier just to tell people I am a librarian. My littles at school just call me "Libeary Girl." I have noticed when I start talking to people outside of the education realm about what it is that I actually do their eyes start glazing over. They think I buy books, check them out keep the library in order and shush people all day. Some people think I get to read all today. To myself. Haha! That's hilarious. 

Just as libraries are changing, so are the jobs of librarians. I just read the best article about turning your library into a learning commons. I could have written this article because it is filled with 100% of my thoughts about our new learning commons at WMES. My favorite quote from the article is, "In addition to transforming the physical space, I have made a consistent and continued effort with my teachers to show them that I am not just a resource librarian but a true instructional partner."  This is my number one thought! Yes, I am working on creating a new, student-centered environment, but I want teachers to use me! Use my skills! LET ME HELP YOU!!! I want to be an instructional partner, and I have so many ideas of how to incorporate informational skills and technology into every grade level's curriculum. 

So...what is a learning commons?  Carol Koechlin and David Loertscher are both considered leaders in the push for the learning commons model in libraries of all kinds, and they define a learning commons as a "physical and virtual space" that helps today's learners engage in more meaningful ways through "exploration, experimentation, and collaboration" (p. 15). I wanted to create a friendly, open environment that can be used by more than just one group of students. I asked my students last year what they would like to see changed about the media center. The majority of them said they would like to be able to check out more than one book a week and be able to come to the library MORE. My heart melted! There will be different areas in the library set up for student usage and learning. Lots of places for students and teachers to collaborate. 

It's not going to happen overnight, and this transition may span over more than one school year, but I am up for the challenge, and I am EXCITED!

If you get a chance, read this article. It explains it in much better terms!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Grants So Far

I was blessed to receive two grants before the end of the school year. The first grant was for this awesome rug, which was the inspiration for the blue, green and brown colors in the library. Several of our school parents donated to the project, as well as an anonymous donor from Apex! I love it and can't wait until it arrives!

The second grant I received was for materials for our new Makerspace (another post to come explaining this). We had several community members and parents give to this project. We will receive Legos, a marble run, and other materials for students to be creative with. Soooo exciting! The kids are going to love this new space! 


Last, I have an ongoing grant for Chromebooks. Chris had a family member from Winston who saw the grant on Donors Choose and donated enough money for me to be able to purchase three! I was very overwhelmed with their generosity! So...22 more to go! 

Hopefully this summer I will be able to find more grants to apply for to redo our new learning commons! 


Friday, July 1, 2016

From Library to Learning Commons

I am so excited to be transforming our media center from your typical "library" to the new and improved WMES Library Learning Commons. SWEET!!! I know it is not going to happen overnight, but with a lot of hard work and dedication, it is going to be AWESOME! 

So....why a learning commons? I want to create a place where students and staff can collaborate, communicate and share. 

Students and teachers need more than just a place to check out books. They need a place to actively learn and work.

We are past the age of the SHHH!!! libraries and museum-like spaces. The library is the hub of the school. It should have the constant "buzz" of children and teachers working collaboratively. 

It will be my job to provide an integrated library curriculum throughout each grade level, as well as provide an open library that is comfortable, inviting and USED!!! 

I accept this challenge, and I am EXCITED! Stay tuned for updates on what is to come!