Friday, December 12, 2008

Wow! It's been a while...

Things have been super busy. My Masters classes are almost over. And thank goodness I'm all done with my assignments. At the library, the days are flying by. I got some of my book orders in. I tried hard to focus on areas we were weak in. I got quite a bit of math and science as well as some books on music, art, cooking, and other hobbies. I got some really neat new fiction. My students are excited and can't wait to read.

Right now we have about 18,900 points. Our goal is to earn 50,000 pts by the end of the school year. If we reach this goal I will be in the dunking booth! (Yes, you read that correctly.)

Also we now have 4 millionaires in the Millionaire's Club. I mentioned this in a previous post. This club is for students who read a million words.

We collected enough Box Tops for Education to earn over $300 for library! Each box top is worth $.10 so that's a lot of box tops!

We collected 106 pounds for the Ronald McDonald House charities. We were second place in the Valley. Hopefully we will bring in the most by the end of the year and receive a presentation by Ronald McDonald.

So did that sound busy enough? I am ready for the Christmas break!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

If you read my last post, these are the same photos, only remixed using

Reading is Fun Week

This week was Reading is Fun Week (RIF) at the library. You can learn more about RIF at We received 900 books to give away to students. Our theme this year was Wild About Reading so I decorated our library really nicely to coordinate with this theme. I hung party decorations with wild animals from the ceiling. I drew a large toucan to hang on the back door of the library. We hung beautiful animal posters on the front doors along with a banner which said: "Wild About Reading Zone...Enter if you dare." In addition, I cut out paw prints on brown construction paper and laminated them. We put them on the floor in a path leading up to the front doors of the library. We set up three tables covered with a jungle patterned table cloth and laid out books for students to choose from. I also played some really great African music with wonderful beats and wild animal sounds as the students entered the library.
We set up 3 centers at the library. One group chose a book and watched an animal movie for 10 min., the second group went online to Encyclopedia Britannica's Learning Zone to learn about animals around the world, and the third groups had a coloring sheet appropriate for each grade level (connect the dots animal, animal riddles, animal fact sheets, etc.) Soon I hope to post a slide show with 280 slides of our celebration.

Create Slideshows Online

This year I have had some issues with PowerPoint. On one occasion, I worked all weekend on a PowerPoint presentation. When I got to school I tried to use my USB drive and for some reason the school laptop would not read it (although it works on every other computer I have tried.) I tried to email it through gmail. Alas is was so big it just kept loading and never attached in the email. So I gave up :-( and the students didn't get to see my powerpoint. If I had known about this website 280 slides, perhaps I would not have had this problem. You can go on this site and create your slideshow using tons of themes, links to pictures/ videos, etc. It is similar to PowerPoint, so don't be worried about learning to use a new program. It is pretty easy. Finally you can save your finished product as a PowerPoint Document or save it directly on the 280 Slides website. This eliminated the hassle of trying to email your finished product or using a USB drive. Another option, you can embed it in your website/blog.

How learning is changing...

Fair Use for Media Literacy Education

After viewing the blog Hey Jude I found this interesting video clip about Fair Use.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Millionaire's Club

We have a new incentive at the library. Students are encourage to read a million words and earn a 90% average to be invited to join the millionaire's club. At the end of the year these club members will be taken on a limo ride and out to eat. How cool right?


Wow again! Friday was rush, rush, rush! I had a small fundraiser after our Jungle Jim School. We sold Jungle Jim beaded bracelets for $2.00 each and the library got to keep one dollar per bracelet! I sold Thursday and delivered the orders to the classes on Friday. In all I sold $610! So the library got to keep $305.

Now I just need to think about how to best spend this money. first day without my assistant :-(

I am really really blessed, because my library assistant is way more talented than I am. So I am truly lucky to be able to work with her! She has wonderful attendance. This week was the first time I had to be alone in the library all day. She told me in advance(because that is the wonderful kind of person she is) that she would be out. I felt a little nervous, because my Spanish is shaky and she is like my security blanket.

My morning went awesome. No fact one class did not show up due to heavy rain. They were trapped in their portable outside. Then at around 1 pm my daughter (who attends school at the same campus) was sent home by the nurse. So I had to leave early. The library closed in the afternoon, since neither I nor my assistant were present. And you know...things didn't fall apart! I couldn't have asked for a better day.

Especially since, my daughter was not really very sick and felt better by that same evening.

Week of 11/10

Wow...this week has been crazy busy. I found out on Monday that I could be having a special presentation on Tuesday at my campus. I was very lucky to have Jungle Jim come to our school to talk to our students about a variety of animals. Monday zoomed by as I went from grade level to grade level training teachers during their conference periods. At the same time I came up with a schedule of shows for Jungle Jim. Tuesday arrived and it was lots of fun. I am including a picture of me holding a snake from the Jungle Jim Show.

On Wednesday, I took the top readers for the 2nd six week on a trip to see Sue the T-Rex at the University of Texas Pan American. We also got a tour of the campus, saw the planetarium and went for a picnic lunch at the park.

On the same day, back at the campus my wonderful SPECTACULAR assistant took care of our six weeks cafeteria party for all the students who met their Accelerated reader goals. At the cafeteria party we had 9 stations, including: face painting, snack bar, dance off, bingo, musical chairs, etc.

Thank all went really smoothly!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Library Discipline

This week is already flying by! I had my first "rough" experience in the library today. Tuesday is my difficult class and of course it is scheduled when I do not have a library aide. I had to raise my voice for the first time today. I also had to send out two disruptive students. I am looking for some ideas for that class to make the period go smoothly. Both are behavior problems throughout the school (not just the library.) When one is absent, the other is manageable and vice versa. It is frustrating having to send anyone out. I don't like to admit defeat, but I have tried a few things.
1. Having them be sometimes only.
2. Seating them apart... they yell across the library :-(
3. Seating them outside on the bench for a time out (the door is open so they can be monitored)...they refuse to move and it becomes a battle for me
4. Asked for the teachers help (some teachers will keep difficult students or sit in with them or offer advice)...the teacher basically told me "try having them all day!"

Their disruptive behavior includes: putting others down, talking back, being loud in the library, rough housing, not following library rules, talking while I'm talking, etc.

I'll report back next week to see if their meeting with the counselor today made a difference.

Thing 23- Review 23 Things

I really enjoyed completing this workshop. I also showed the directors of technology in school district and I asked if they might be interested in starting it. I even mentioned that I would be willing to lead the program. We'll see how it turns out and I will post it we decide to use it in our district. If you haven't checked out 23 Things... search for it...there are now many groups offering. I went through Library2Play. But School Library Journal is also offering a course. I highly recommend it.

Thing 22- Ning

A ning is a social networking tool that allows you to collaborate with others. I checked out the Texas School Librarian's Ning. Which is sort of like a MySpace for Texas Librarians. I thought it was neat, to have online forum for Texas librarians. Also there are photos, videos and blogs. I think nings are interesting, although I really like the list-servs better. I subscribe to LM_NET currently and I really like it.

Wiki 101

Things I have learned about using a wiki in the library:

1. Only one students can edit the page at a time. (Maybe this sounds obvious, but I didn't realize.)
2. 30 minute schedules in the library are not really enough time to get much done on a wiki.
3. Kids love the idea of writing online!
4. I need to be very organized.
5. Maybe 5 students per library visit will be able to edit the at a time.
6. It would save time to have a one user name for the session of 5 students, rather than one per child, since logging in and out is time consuming.
7. I want to do this again, but for book reviews.
8. I did a trial run with one class and now other students are interested in using the wiki.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I've got a Wiki!

I decided to start a library wiki for my students to use when reviewing books. Our first discussion topic will be Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen. Here is the link to my wiki- NSJE Library. I plan to have the students start working on it on Monday 10/27/08.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Week 6 (10/13-10/17)

Let's see...what happened last week? It's all a blur...last week I worked a lot on order processing. Coming up with a good list of books to order is time consuming. I decided I wanted to focus on science, math and social studies as well as fiction for older students. I got about $500 of fiction for 3-5, $500 of Spanish nonfiction, $500 of Math, $500 of Science, $500 of History, $500 of Teacher Requests, $500 of Award Winning Titles and $500 of "fun stuff." I think I have a good variety that will support our curriculum.

Before becoming a librarian I didn't realize that Texas libraries have standards. This is kind of like the rating a school gets for test performance. Libraries can be unacceptable, acceptable, recognized, and exemplary. Our campus is currently at the following ratings in my opinion:
Standard 1-
Standard 2-
Standard 3-
Standard 4-
Standard 5-

(Status coming soon.)
I plan to present my findings to my campus principal so we can set goals to improve our rating. My campus is an exemplary campus for test scores, so I am pretty sure my principal will want our library to be exemplary as well.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen

Please check out this teaser for Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen.

Suzy Red Conference

If you haven't heard of Suzy need to go check out her RIGHT now! I went to her conference on Wednesday and it was absolutely wonderful. At her conference "Transformers" she discusses each of the Bluebonnet Award winning books for 08-09 and gives participants a manual with 10+ pages of activities for each book. In addition it comes with a site license for your school and a CD filled with "jeopardy" like games and interactive websites and much more. It was the best workshop I have been to in a while.
You can buy her book online at her website...or simply browse all the links for the Bluebonnet books by clicking on the Library link on her homepage.

On a side note, at the conference I ran into my junior high librarian. She said she recognized me when I volunteered to read for a reader's theater (those are included in the manual too!) It was really neat to have her recognize me. I told her I have always liked to read and she said, "Yeah I remembered that about you!"

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fun librarian t-shirts

I just love google! While I was checking my gmail account tonight I stumbled upon a link in gmail to librarian t-shirts at Cafe Press. I am including a couple of shirts I found funny. Well, I could only get one to link. Here is the direct link to see more shirts. Be forewarned som are "racy."

Fun stuff for the library.

I just saw the coolest idea from School Library Journal...Joyce Valenzia never fails to impress me. In her blog, The Neverending Search, she mentions that she found an idea from Lucy and Ethel's library schemes blog. The idea is simple, use Woordle to create Dewey signs in the library. Be sure to check out the 900s poster Joyce created.
What a fun idea! I also found this wiki with some great ideas for technology integration in the education field. I haven't gotten a chance to explore it thoroughly yet.

I also checked out Valenzia's wiki called bookleads. I am so impressed with the setup of the page. I really like Glogster. I have to try that out. Valenzia reviews Glogster and Sproutbuilder here.

It's dorky...I know

I was so excited this week...I got my new name tag that now says "Librarian." I can't help but be super happy about it.

Also, I had the sweetest thing happen yesterday. I went to my mailbox at work and I found a letter inside from a student. It said something along the lines of "Dear Mrs. Marquez, I came to the lidrery yesterday and my password wasn't working. You tried to help me, but coodn't. You said I needed a new passward. Can you please get me a new passward ASAP? I like to test a lot every day. Sincerely, ___________ rm. #, teacher's name"

It was so cute that this second grader wrote to me in form of a formal letter. I replied back in a formal letter and thanked her for her patience with the delay. She came over after school ended yesterday excited to get her reply letter. It was really nice.

Parent Time at the Library

I had my first "Parent Time at the Library" on Monday, Oct. 6th from 3:15-4:30. It was a great success. In fact we had more parents than seats and my library has about 50 seats! I had lines waiting for AR testing and lines waiting to check out. I think it went really well. At the end of the day though, we had 3 large book carts of books to shelve! Oh, my it was overwhelming. On the following day, we closed the library and worked on catching up on the shelving. I am so SOOOOOOOOO lucky to have a dedicated volunteer who comes daily for about an hour to help me shelve. Also I have a college student who will be coming all week for half a day each and every day to help us organize the shelves. She has already gone through the entire fiction collection and made sure they are in correct alphabetically order! In addition, and I feel like such a lucky lady, my principal saw the overwhelming amount of books we were shelving and got us some extra help. Everyday for 40 min we will have someone come in the morning to help us shelve.

Librarian Sink Hole

Did I mentioned I fell in a new librarian sink hole? Well, not literally of course but I was called by a vendor who will remain nameless to see if I would like to preview their new books. It was the first week of school. She said I could look over the boxes and if I liked what I saw I could get together the PO and send it to her at my convenience or I could return them at no charge. She described the books to me and they seemed to be interesting titles so I said yes. It was a hesitant yes, but I was busy so I went ahead and agreed. When the books arrived I opened the boxes and realized immediately...there is no way I can keep these! They were beautiful books with no barcodes, spine labels, ar tests, or anything. I knew after processing that large order that arrived to me with half of the stuff I wanted on them, there was no way I wanted to start from scratch and put on everything myself. So I called back, and it was difficult to convince the vendor I really was NOT interested. Finally I was able to ship them back and I think I probably won't get a call next year from them. That's okay with me, I have learned my lesson. No one warned me about that one so I am spreading the word to other new librarians so it doesn't happen to them. Don't get me wrong...the books were great...and if you have the time to process them all yourself it can be a great deal...but I don't live in a slow paced world.

Week 5 New Books on the Shelf

I am proud to announce that I finally got all $10,000 of new books out on the shelf yesterday! WoooHooo! It took me so long to process all of them because they needed to be color coded according to how our library is arranged. Each book has a color code indicating their AR reading level. In addition, I really wanted each book to have the quiz id number inside so students could easily find the coordinating AR test. I know that AR sells little labels with this information, but I was not the person who placed this huge order and I plan from this day forward to order everybook with an AR label attached! Who has time to be writing on each and every book?

Monday, October 6, 2008

AR Incentives

This year I am working hard to make our reading program, Accelerated Reader, more fun for our students. AR is pushed really hard at our school. Each six weeks the top 20 in each grade level are rewarded with a field trip. In the past, the students went to a pizza restaurant every six weeks. This year, I thought I would mix it up and change around the field trips. Here is my tentative plan:
1st 6 Weeks-Pizza Place
2nd 6 Weeks- Sue the T-Rex (We have a T-Rex skeleton on display at our local university. )

3rd 6 Weeks- Quinta Mazatlan (An urban forest and wildlife preserve)

4th 6 Weeks- Chuck E. Cheese (Brand new in our area)

5th 6Weeks- Mr. Gatti's Pizza- build your own pizza event

I will post more about our library incentives at a later date.

Collection Development

I am excited because I got my library budget. I love books and I love shopping so I thought this would be FUN. I went to my Collection Development class on Saturday...ALL day. It was a long class meeting. I don't feel like it made me all that more insightful. I do like the textbook however. I plan to study my collection bit before I place my order.
During a librarian's meeting a while back I got to visit the book mobile by Escue and Associates. It was fun scanning all the books I was interested in. It was even funnier when they sent me my wishlist and I saw that I had chosen about $10,000 worth of books! I already started comparing what I want with what we have and I am narrowing the list down. Also I uploaded our collection to Perma-Bound and it is neat to see the collection analysis they have online. I plan to print that out at school today and analyze it more thoroughly.
I know I want to focus on a couple of areas: 4th-5th grade novels (especially 5th) since there are not that many novels for this group and they are having to use 3rd grade novels to supplement. I also was to increase our number of books about the arts, because that is one of our smallest Dewey sections. The challenge I am having is whittling down the list but still focusing on my target areas and still getting a little something for everyone.
When I get it ready I will post how many books in each category I ended up purchasing.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Week 4

Wow! It has been a busy week! I had my first overwhelming week this past week. I think that is pretty good. I made it until the last week of the six weeks before I felt stressed out. (I know I said week a bunch of times LOL.) Well let me break it down for you as to why I was stressed out.


Last Friday I was out all day at a Library meeting and I was already getting behind at the library.
Monday I arrived all excited about getting the week off on a good start and I found out at 8am that I would be having a professional storyteller visit the school and I needed to organize that. Well, of course I jumped at the opportunity! How neat!
I quickly made some banners to welcome her, rushed from class to class inviting the teachers, got my camera ready and then proceeded to work on Tuesday's stuff. The storyteller arrived. I posted a video in a previous blog. She was wonderful! I had a great time and I know that kids did too! When she was done I continued getting ready for Tuesday. I needed to prepare for a huge library ceremony for the winners of our summer reading contest. I needed to work on decorations and laminate.
I was out all day decorating the auditorium with the other librarians. By 3:30 I went to pick up my daughter for the ceremony (she was the winner for 2nd grade...I'm a proud mama!) We had to rush home eat and shower and return by 5:30. The decorations were all taken down by 9pm.
I got to school all excited about having time to work in the library and I found out I was administering an online test to all 3rd-5th graders! Okay so I organized the testing documentation and then supervised the testing.
More testing...ALL day!
Librarian Meeting...ALL day! I returned to campus at the end of the day and worked until 5:15. Then picked up my daughter from daycare.
I went to school to run end of the six weeks reports and process some of our new books that are still in boxes.

Needless to say I feel a little more caught up, but it looks like another busy week. Did I mention that in addition to all that I made DVDs for the Summer Winners of a slideshow of pictures? They came out super nice. If I could figure out a way to post them on here I would. Well, that's another project to tackle at a later date.

I am feeling more optimistic tonight. Tomorrow I am back on the wagon and going to give it my all! Do I still love it? it lots of work? yes! But, I feel I have found my niche!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Angela Davis Visits our library

Students in Pre-K, Kinder, and 3rd grade enjoyed Mrs. Davis' performance on 9/22/08 in the library. I had a great time too. She is a wonderful storyteller. The students were actively involved with the presentation. Her first story was a tale of friendship about a girl named Selida who has a beautiful necklace. Some other girls trick her into throwing her necklace into the ocean. When she realizes her mistake she dives in and swims to the bottom. She sees an old woman covered in sores and hideously ugly. The old woman tells her that she will only help her if Selida licks all the sores on her arms. Selida is very good hearted and wants to help so without thinking twice she licks the old hag's sores. Immediately the old woman turns into a beautiful woman. She gives Selida a necklace full of precious stones and takes her back to land. When the other girls see Selida's new necklace, they become jealous of her and jump in the ocean to find their own! (Mrs. Davis asked me to participate as one of the mean girls and a few other teachers played parts too.)
When they swam down to the bottom, the old hag swallowed them up. The mean girls begged her to let them out. They tickled her stomach until she finally spit them out. The mean girls immediately went to Selida to ask for her forgiveness. After a few weeks, Selida decided they were sincere and decided to forgive them.

The kids and I had a super time!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

#21 Photostory

I got ahead of myself and completed this one before it was scheduled. Here is a link to the post about my first Photostory.

Week 3

This week was SO busy! I went with the BRIGHT summer winners on a field trip to Quinta Mazatlan for a nature walk. The kids and I really enjoyed seeing the birds and other animals within this urban forest. Also this week I started teaching the students how to use shelf markers. I am teaching the youngest students 1-3 the shelf marker song.

To the tune of the Hokey Pokey
You put your shelf marker in
You take the book off the shelf
You take a look at the book
and see what it's about.
You do the bookey lookey
and you see if it's just right.
That's what it's all about.
***I found this song online. I don't know where it originated. You can view a video of another librarian using this song on TeacherTube. (Well of course now I can't find it anywhere on teacher tube!)

In addition I talked about how to decide if a book is just right. I will be out all day tomorrow at a librarian meeting. I think I might be coming in for half a day on Saturday to work on getting the shelves in order. I noticed since the first week back that the books were not in order correctly. All sections, but especially the nonfiction. I really never get a chance during the day to work on this so I plan to go with my kiddos to the school Saturday and see what I can get done.

This week was also a great week for me. I had two students tell me today that they thought working in a library would be a fun job. I said "I am really enjoying it."

Week 2

Wow! Sorry I have been MIA a while. I have been trying to keep up with all the demands in my life. Let me start by explaining my second week in the library. For week two I spoke to the students again about library rules and we discussed keeping the library neat. For my PK-K students we read and watched a short video. We also did a movement activity that they seemed to enjoy quite well.

I have really been feeling blessed with my new job. I absolutely LOVE working in the library. It is so busy I find that I never really catch up. I have a wonderful parent volunteer who helps me shelf for an hour each day. Also my library assistant is a life saver! She helps me with classes when the teachers need me for technology issues since I am also the classroom instructional technologist (CIT) on campus.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

One week with kids

Well, I can officially join the club and say that I have conducted library classes for one week! Everything went quite smoothly. No major snags along the way. I especially enjoyed getting to know the students who will be my frequent library customers. Some students I have seen everyday in the morning and/or after school checking out books. Here's what I did with week one:
  • Overview of library rules/ procedure
  • Signed library contracts
  • 1st-5th checked out books
  • PK-K watched a video

I went to the district office and got to take a picture for our librarian calendar. You heard me right! We have a "Wild About Reading" theme calendar this school year. I got to pose with a book on my lap and my hand in the air like I am petting a wolf (which will be Photoshopped in later.) The background is a winter woods scene. I am thinking I will probably be the December or January picture. I am excited to see the finished product and I plan to post it here as soon as it is ready.

Being a librarian is keeping me on my toes. It has been a fun challenge to balance all the tasks I am in charge of. This week I had my first teacher training. I met with staff members after school on Wednesday and I walked them through updating their web pages. I had a large turn out. In fact, I didn't have enough copies or chairs to accommodate everyone who arrived. I will hold another session this Wednesday to reach the remainder of the staff members.

On a personal note, my daughter was really sick and I have had to be out of the library. It is not any fun to miss work so soon in the school year. The good news is I had already prepared about 4 weeks worth of lesson plans. The bad news is that the books are piling up that need to be reshelved. My baby is sleeping here beside me as I balance my college homework, this blog and a personal life. Mostly I am just very happy that her fever has broken. She has had a fever off and on since Wednesday. Did I mentioned I am already sick too?

I know it will be a good year, when all I can think is I am so lucky to have this job! I just love it so far. It is definitely a big change from being in an 8th grade classroom. Oh...also my daughter Haille won the Summer Reading contest for her grade level (2nd grade)! I am super proud of her and I just had to brag for a minute!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Fair(y) Use Tale

For my Fall 08 class I just viewed this video on Copyright law:

For those of you within a school network you can also view this video at:

I enjoyed watching this video about the laws of how to copyright correctly. I am already thinking about how I can use this with my students in the library and teacher trainings. In a way I wish I could use this at the middle school level with students. I think it goes pretty faster for elementary kids. Overall, I thought the producer/ creator did a great job. I also kind of wish it came with a transcript since some of it is hard to follow. Check it out and tell me what you think!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


**Update-- I got it to work. Here is the link to my school library webpage: click on advanced email tutorial. Oh and the problem? I just renamed the file and it saved perfectly? Who knows why it didn't work the first time...just glad it works now.

Today I had a chance to make my first screencast! I know some of the staff at my campus need tutorials on our email system. So when I was asked today about how to attach a file to an email I thought: "this is the perfect time for a screencast." I decided to download a program from Wink. It was sort of user-friendly. I watched the included tutorial first and that was helpful. My finished product came out well. I didn't have a microphone so I included textboxes with notes. My main problem however is now that I am all done I am unable to embed it or link it in my school webpage.
After I arrived home tonight, I thought: I should have emailed the file to myself to see if I could do the link at home. Alas...I thought of it too late. It really consumed a good amount of time. Tomorrow I will have to try some more. In the meantime I made a print version of the tutorial until I can figure out how to upload it to the webpage.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

#20 Teacher Tube

It has been in the last six months that I discovered Teacher Tube. What I really like about it is that it is similar to YouTube except it is all educational and teacher approved. It is a super convenient source of video clips for professional development and class lessons. I took some time today to view some of the most popular videos on Teacher Tube. I learned something pretty useful to me with the following video. It shows you how to make classroom posters using Excel.

After viewing this tutorial I was able to make a poster advertising our summer reading program. I am super excited to print it out and hang it up at school tomorrow! The best part is that is was so easy to do. What is a little funny to me is, I was looking at a poster the previous librarian made which used four sheets of paper taped together. I was did she do that? Oh well...and then today I discovered this. PERFECT!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hit the ground running!

This week I finally got to start working with student data. I was able to get the students' names and ID numbers on Thursday afternoon and I have been working quickly to enter in all the data. It is a tedious chore and gives me a new appreciation for all the librarians out there. As a teacher, I never realized how much work was associated with the start of the school year.

Our library coordinator recently mentioned to me that she was once told that librarians are always just sitting around at the computer (with the implication that they either 1. didn't do anything; or 2. were probably "playing" around on the Internet.) She said she replied by saying something along these lines: "Look at this beautiful library. All those books don't get there by osmosis."

I suppose that is what I mistakenly thought about the circulation system. I guess I always thought that the names were already "in" there so how hard could it be to start the year. Now I know. In my case, our school district is changing student ID numbers this years so that means a patron by patron update of ID #, grade level, and teacher. Not only once mind you but twice...since I have to do this for both Athena (our circulation system) and Accelerated Reader. On Friday I decided I had to leave by 5:15 p.m. since it was the weekend and my family needs me. As of right now I am not finished entering in student data into either program. Regardless, I will be opening the doors to students on Wednesday. Students will not be checking out books until 9/1/08.

I am really enjoying my campus so far. My library aide is wonderful. I couldn't have hoped for a better person to work with. Also all the staff members I have met have been wonderful to work with. The principal provided lunch for us on Thursday and Friday which was a really nice change from my previous campus. Lunch was delicious. I realize this is maybe a little off topic, but I had never tried Jason's Deli's chicken salad. It is a very tasty combination of white meat chicken, pineapple and almond. It also came with a cranberry, macadamia nut, oatmeal raisin cookie that was irresistible.

I was pleased to decorate the library this week. I removed all the old posters and put up some new (non-faded) kid friendly decorations. I also added a Dr. Seuss welcome sign to the front entrance. The library is ready for the students on Monday! Hooray!

I recently read on LM_NET a list-serv for librarians about an idea for handling interruptions during library lessons. A fellow librarian suggested using quiet tickets. She said she first explained that when you drive too fast a police office gives you a ticket. In her library she does the same thing with quiet tickets. She makes laminated "Shhh!" cards and gives them to the student who is interrupting. This first time is a warning. The second time...another warning. They get the chances before getting a note to their teacher/ parents. I plan to implement this in my library. Hopefully I will be able to make my "Shhh!" cards this weekend for use in the library next week. I will definitely post an update with how it all turns out.

Let's see...what mind is racing to say the least. I am overloaded with new ideas, new people, new programs, just everything new. Oh I know...let me leave you with this quote I heard on Friday:

Experience is what you get, when you don't get what you want. --Dan Standford

Web 2.0 Awards-- My Hertiage Genealogy

I just had a chance to check out MyHeritage an online geneaology tool. It is very easy to use and has a popup guide to help you along the way. In a matter of minutes I was able to enter in my parents and grandparents as well as my husband and our kids. I liked the optional email feature which allows people who you are including in the family tree to view it and add information to it. There is also a search feature which allows you to see if there are any matches for the names you have included in your family tree. When you are ready, you can easily print out your family tree. This is a fun tool for geneaology buffs.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Web 2.0 Awards- Comiqs

Today I had fun playing around with Comiqs a website that allows you to create and publish a comic book. I chose to make one to advertise our summer reading program for my school. Here is my finished product:

Bright Summer Readers 2008 from Amy_DZ on Comiqs

I am really excited about using this website to promote my library. It is easy to use and has a picture library through Flickr using copyright free photos, or you can upload your own. If you haven't tried it out yet, I highly recommend it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Web 2.0 Awards- Lulu

Lulu is a publishing tool for aspiring authors. What I found especially cool about this site is that it has a section for teachers/ students.
Here's the dish (directly from their site):
"If you're in grades K-8, Aspiring Authors will help you create your very own book. Have your teacher register your class on Lulu and start writing your original story. Each student that completes a book will receive their first printed copy for free."

I will be definitely be looking in to this to use with our fourth graders especially since in Texas 4th grade is tested in writing on the TAKS.

#19 Web 2.0 Awards- SpanishPod

This is probably one of the best activities on 23 Things in my opinion. I liked seeing all the best web tools in one place at the Web 2.0 Awards Site. The first I decided to explore was SpanishPod. They have a pretty cool set up to help you learn Spanish through podcast/ mp3, lessons, etc. The free stuff on this site consists of podcasts. For $5 per mo. you can get a little bit more and if you're willing to dish out even more $$ then SpanishPod has lots more to offer. I went ahead and subscribed to the Spanish podcasts for free to see what SpanishPod has to offer. I am trying hard to improve my Spanish but I am on a budget.

#18 Online Productivity Tools

I signed up for Google Docs a while back when I set up my igoogle/ calendar. I must add that I have been using igoogle as my homepage and I ABSOLUTELY love it.

Now back to Google Docs. One thing I like is the ability to save my documents online and no longer have to rely on my pen drive. I didn't like that the formatting was not the same when I uploaded it to Google Docs. I also liked the variety of templates available such as this scrapbook. There is also a template for a credit card payoff calculator. Not that I need to use that as an educator but for my personal use that is pretty cool. I liked the business cards template. There is even a teachers/ students section. In addition I like that the templates are organized by type: document, spreadsheet, presentation. I think I will definitely be going her for templates.

Another option for online productivity tools is OpenOffice. I decided not to download this program at this time. Right now I am not using my personal computer and to me it is sort of a hassle to have to download it to try it out.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Librarian Training Day

Well, a lot has happened over the past two days. I wanted to write this entry sooner, but you know how life can interrupt some times. My daughter, who is fifteen months, started daycare this week after hanging out with her father and I all summer. So in the evening, she needs mommy time which limits my blogging time. Just seeing how excited she is to have me sit down and play with her makes it so special to me.

I started back to work on Tuesday. I felt like I got quite a bit done. First and foremost I want to thank the previous librarians. Whichever one(s) of you were sooooo is much appreciated. I discovered that in the storage closet there are clear plastic boxes perfectly labeled with each month's name and decorations were inside. There were handmade curtains and other misc. items. Wow! That is SUPER! Along with the help of my new library aide, who came in to help even though she is not being paid I might add, the library is starting look ready for students.

I got about three weeks worth of lesson plans done. I made a nifty checklist to have my library aide use for each week to help me prepare the lessons. I will attach it here later. Right now it is at school and this site is currently blocked. (Although I have already requested that it be unblocked.)

Yesterday, I found out I am the Campus Instructional Technologist (CIT) for my campus. This I am excited about. I really enjoy technology. I started working on my library webpage and the school home page. Right now I am looking around at other campus websites to get some ideas for how I can improve our school site. Next week I will attend a training session for CITs to help make sure we are familiar with software/ hardware issues.

Let's see....what else? Today is my first meeting with the library department. I will get to meet all the other elementary librarians. I can't wait to get jazzed up about all the new things we are doing this year. Did I mention they are providing lunch? That's perfect because right about now I am broke.

I have to send out a great BIG THANKS to Dee Lopez, my library mentor, for coming on Tuesday to my school and showing me the ins and outs of the Athena program. It was so generous of you. Every new librarian should be as lucky as me to be taken under the wing of a veteran librarian.

It's about 7:20 a.m. and I need to go to drop off my daughter at daycare and then off to the meeting. Wish me luck ;-)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Today is the DAY!

Today is my first day of work as on "official" librarian. I am sure you can tell I am pretty excited about that fact. While I was at Target yesterday I picked up two books. One to use in the library called First Day Jitters and the other one I have been wanting to read (but never had time for it due to my SHSU literature classes)--Eclipse. First Day Jitters is about how everyone gets nervous going back for their first day of school. Last night I was sooooo restless and I kept waking up... I think so that I wouldn't accidentally be late. I will have to post later tonight or tomorrow to late you know how it went.

Here is what I hope to accomplish:
1) scheduling of classes
2) shelving new books
3) becoming familiar with Athena
4) finding out exactly what my library has to offer

There is much more to do, but I guess I will just have to see where this leads me.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Using Creative Commons photos

Librarians everywhere push for patrons to be sure to use images that do not have copyrights. A while back I found out that Flickr has a feature that allows you to search for creative commons images. It was a bit tedious for me. If you click the link mentioned above, images are sorted into six different categories: Attribution License, Attribution-NoDerivs License, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, Attribution-NonCommercial License, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License and Attribution-ShareAlike License. At times this is very useful, based on how you want to use the images. But, it can be cumbersome to search each category for the image that interests you.

That is where this tool comes in handy: JohnJohnson's Flickr CC Search Toy. Not only can you search for creative commons images on Flickr. This website will help you embed the picture you want from Flickr along with an attribution. This is definitely going to be added to my bookmarks. The image below is my first attempt at using this new "toy."

Photo by Pensiero
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

I must also note that I found out about this new toy from using my Google reader to keep up with all the library blogs I read. If you liked this useful tool, you might like Cathy Nelson's blog Techno Tuesday.

#17 Rollyo

Powered by Rollyo
I tried out Rollyo, a really cool customizable search engine. The one above is for book reviews. I think this will be very useful for students and teachers. I think I will probably use this website when I train the teachers in using great webtools.

Wikis...I'm back for more!

Well, I felt a little frustrated by the last post. I want to figure this Wiki thing out and to be quite honest I love technology and I dislike the idea that I can't make something work for me. So this morning I spent some time getting to know PBWiki better. I looked through their tutorials and informational whitepages and came across Mr. Lindsay's wiki. Wow, he did a great job. Since, at times I am not that creative...I needed to see a site like this to help me visualize just what can be done with a wiki in the library. (Although Mr. Lindsay's wiki is for his classroom...not the library.)

So here are some of the things I'd like to have in my library wiki:
  • Help desk- for library issues and tech issues
  • calendar
  • to do list - for me to list things I am working on
  • about the librarian
  • about the wiki
  • student blogs
  • teacher blogs
  • lesson plans- so parents can see what their children are learning in the library
  • book reviews- students can collaborate here to recommend books to each other
  • resources for educators
  • cool stuff for kids

Saturday, August 9, 2008

#16 Wikis

Okay, well I kinda get wikis and I kinda don't. I keep looking around for a really good example to inspire me to use this in my library. Just about everyone has used Wikipedia. An online reference tool that allows users to contribute their expertise to the topics of their choice. It is a really neat collaborative tool. Wikis are that way. A meeting point that allows users to contribute to defined subjects. In the classroom/library, we can set up topics and allow users to contribute. I guess I am uncreative, because I have a hard time picturing what I would have students contribute about.

Then I found this wiki about booktalking. I went ahead and logged in (the password is booktalk) and I posted a review of a realistic fiction book. I think I am starting to get this now. I like the idea of collaborating with other people who share a common interest with me.

I also really liked Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki.

Something new I learned is that Wiki means quick in Hawaiian.

#15 Web 2.0 and its effect on the library

According to this article librarians need to prepare their libraries for the current shift in technology that is happening. There are three icebergs that may hinder the success of librarians: 1) keeping a collection "just in case" it is needed; 2) not teaching patrons how to use technology; 3) focus on bringing services to patrons instead of expecting patrons to seek us out.

How to be a librarian 2.0:
  • plan for your users
  • embrace web 2.0 tools
  • question the necessity of new technology
  • evolve and change as needed
  • plan for the future but don't take too long to decide
  • use popular web features to promote the library- google, MySpace, Flickr
How exciting it is to be a part of this shift in thinking! I feel lucky to be here to see how everything all unfolds.

Friday, August 8, 2008

#14 Technorati

Ok, so I got a little ahead of myself the other day. I didn't realize Technorati was one of the things I would be exploring in 23Things. This is a neat tool for searching for blogs. I went ahead and registered my blogs. I am curious to see if there is any additional traffic to my sites. Tagging information is essential especially if I want others to be able find my blogs. Since exploring these activities on tagging and bookmarking I have been more conscious about which tags I use.


Another social bookmarking I like is Diigo. What I like about it is that it has quite a few useful features. You can collaborate with colleagues here. You can also highlight and add sticky notes to websites (that only you can see.) In addition, and probably the coolest feature (in my opinion), you can make a slideshow of your bookmarks that you can use in staff development. Here is a quick video tutorial for using Diigo.

In addition, Diigo has groups you can join such as this one for k-12 librarians.

Within this group, I browsed the bookmarks and found this helpful article on 100 free library 2.0 webinars and tutorials. How cool is that?

# 13 - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
Here we go again. This is the third time I will try to post this. I don't know why...but for some reason the web just doesn't want to hear what I have to say about I was introduced to this social bookmarking site a while back. It is pretty neat. You can collect all your bookmarks here. You tag them and then the website keeps track of everyone's tags. What I found most useful is you can search these tags and find for instance what others have bookmarked with the tag "librarian." I found this article titled 17+ Things to Do with your online photos. Also useful is the fact that you can allow others to use your bookmarks by giving them your web address. For example, mine is Although right now I only have a limited number of bookmarks. I could see this being useful to link to my school library webpage so others could find bookmarks relevant to elementary school librarians. I feel conflicted about whether to transfer all my bookmarks over to On the plus side, we can access within my school district network while others are often blocked. On the negative side, I just set up my iGoogle homepage with my bookmarks organized just the way I like. I may just be lazy but I am truly enjoying my iGoogle homepage and I like being able to access my RSS feeds, bookmarks, email, news, etc. all in one place.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

More cool stuff

So I was browsing around on the internet tonight...yes I realize it's after midnight. Here is this really cool blog on things to do with your photos. I tried out Picnik just now and made a goofy picture of myself in neon lights. So here it is:
Kinda neat right? I haven't explored all 17 items listed in the blog I mentioned above, but something I like about Picnik is that you don't have to sign in to get an account. You can if you want to, but sometimes it is just overload to register for all these internet sites and I appreciate the choice of whether to register or not. Overall, there were some really neat effects from basic to zany. You just upload any picture you have or you can play with their samples. You can make your picture black and white or sepia, add a border, add text. Lots of fun. I think this would be fun to use on my library website.

#12 Commenting on Blogs

One thing I have been known to do... is lurk. It's hard when you're pressed to stop and make comments. These tips on making comments got me to stop and think about how important comments are to blogs. I should know, I love when I see a comment here on my blog. Lately I have been trying to comment more on the "just for fun" blogs and forums that I visit. I try my best to be a fashionable librarian and I love to read blogs about fashion and makeup. After reading these articles I have decided it is important for me to try to comment whenever possible. The authors of these sites deserve it. And, that's the whole point of reading their posts...right? To be a part of that community.

I liked what one blogger wrote (though I can't remember who...think brain...think) that blogger friends understand what it is to maintain a blog. You can relate to them in different ways than your nonblogger friends. I have developed some friendships based on blogs and forums that I might not of ever made. This is all possible through commenting. SO I should take my own advice and get busy posting already!

Back to work Tuesday!

I just found out I return to work next Tuesday August 12, 2008. I got to meet with the library district coordinator also. I enjoyed talking to her and asking a few questions. I am very hyped up about getting started in my new library! Also I made my lesson plans for the first week of library classes. I can't wait to see my library schedule. Something else cool is our district schedule changed this year so elementary students will go to school from 8-3:30 and secondary 8:15-3:45. That is super! (15 minutes less time for those of us counting!)

#11 LibraryThing

Well, last year I set up a Library Thing account and one of my goals was to keep it up to date. It is not as easy for me to keep up with it as I had hoped. Since I am taking my library science classes I am reading a tremendous amount of books. This is a great way for me to keep up with the books I have been reading. You know how it goes, a year later you're like what was that book I read? Well, Library Thing keeps a virtual bookshelf of all your titles. What is even cooler is that you can get recommendations for other books you might like. I only wish I could organize my library into personal and professional reading. That feature may be available, but I haven't figured it out yet. Also I got a custom blog widget with my recently added book covers to post on the right side of my blog.

Library Thing is a lot of fun!

Make your own free clipart like this @ with free web based tools (hundreds of image generators that run through a web broswer, no software to buy or install).
Made with free image tools @

Image Chef

Ok...just a few more fun things. - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
So this is me NOW (on vacation.) - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
This is me next week...FINALLY I start as a librarian.
***Doing happy dance***

If you'd like to try these your yourself go to

More Image Generators

This was a fun book cover I made. You can make your own here.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Librarian from the Black Lagoon

As I sit here planning lessons for the first week back to school, I came across a book trailer for The Librarian from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler. I plan to use this with my 3rd and 4th graders soon:

Monday, August 4, 2008

#10 Online Image Generators

This activity was a lot of fun. My first site to try was Comic Strip Generator.
Make your own free clipart like this @ with free web based tools (hundreds of image generators that run through a web broswer, no software to buy or install).
I thought I'd start by making something useful for the library. Above is a library day reminder.
Made with free image tools @

Meme: Passion Quilt

I got this idea from the DIYLibrarian's site. I had not seen this before, but now that I look around a little there are so many people who have participated! Such a cool thing to do.

Here is how you can get involved:

The meme:

  1. Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.
  2. Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt” and link back to this blog entry.
  3. Include links to 5 folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter/Pownce.
**As far as Twitter...I don't...yet. One day perhaps I will come back to this post and have 5 folks I follow.
Here's my second try:
I just couldn't help but make more than one!

#9 Useful Library Related Blogs & Feeds

Well as I mentioned in an earlier post, I got signed up with Google Reader and all I can saw is, how cool is that? So far it is helping me keep up with my makeup addiction. I admit it...I used to frequent many beauty blogs to find makeup reviews and now they are all sent to my Google Reader! Yippie!
I learned in this activity how to search for blogs. Google Blog Search is probably one of the easiest way to do this. Also I registered my blogs on Technorati...yes I said blogs. I also have a great blog called ReadItUp! where I review books for the library. (Check it out if you have a chance.) By the way registering your blog on Technorati is super easy. Except for some reason I kept getting logged out of Technorati, but I think that has to do with my cookies or something.

Technorati also allows you to search for blogs which are categorized, but I didn't see education as a category which was kind of disappointing.

Some cool sites I found were: DIYLibrarian and FreeRangeLibrarian

Sunday, August 3, 2008

And the results are in...

Ok so I am a bit of a nerd. When I saw this nerd test I had to take it to find out the results. I think it is more geared at guys, but here is the result: says I'm an Uber Cool Non-Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!
"From this time forward, you'll hold the title:
Uber Cool Non-Nerd"

Wordle- My first creation

If you haven't tried Wordle yet, you have to check it out. Here is my first creation:

I think this will be fun to use in the library to make posters advertising new books or to have students generate their own wordles about their favorite books.

#8 RSS Feeds

I just got finished creating a Google Reader account. It is so convenient to be able to collect information from all the blogs I read in one place. Also I think it is super cool to be able to share my favorite posts. Here is a link to my shared items. I think this will help me stay organized since I won't have to search all over the place to read all the things I am interested in. It will be especially useful to me in terms of professional growth (library/ technology related). I think it will be useful at work to help me share useful blog posts with a direct link from our library's webpage.

Bluebonnet Books 2008

A big thanks to Texas librarian, Tracy Mapus from San Antonio, who has taken VoiceThread and introduced it to the Texas Bluebonnet Award nominees for 08-09. Please check out her creation.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

# 7 Cool Gadgets on Google

Well for this activity I was already somewhat familiar with Google, however I had not seen all of these features. I do use my email through google regularly. In addition, I have an igoogle homepage where I keep my bookmarks. This way I can reference them where ever I am. I have tried Google Earth.
Some new features for me were:
  • Google Notebook- a neat way to collect information and access it from anywhere.
  • Google Advanced Search- I tried a search for librarian powerpoint and came up with a presentation about Library 2.0
  • Google Scholar- I liked that this allows the user to search scholarly journals
  • Google Picasa- This was okay, but I really like Flikr and photobucket
  • Google Alerts- This seemed interesting to me but I can't think of something that I search for regularly that I need email updates on. Hmmm...I'll have to think about how this would be useful to me

My first PhotoStory Video

Please check out my booktalk on Ginny Rorby's book Hurt Go Happy that I made with PhotoStory.

#6 More Flickr Mashups

Wow! I am just leaping for joy with all the cool things I am learning from the 23 Things project. If you have not tried some of their activities you are really missing out. I just recently learned how to use Flickr and some othe mashup services. I created this motivational poster:

I think students would really like being featured in motivational posters that are hung around school. Make your own at

#6 Flickr Mashups

First I tried Flickr Montager and I used it to create this flower mosaic:

I also created this trading card at

How fun is that! I think kids would like to have a trading card from their teachers or librarian. Each person could include a brief description about themselves and some of their hobbies or favorites. I think I will try this a gain with a more professional looking photo and include a little about myself as some hobbies besides reading. I looked at some other trading cards and I decided to try that again. Still I managed to forget to list which campus I am at. Oh well, it is just practice. I think on my final one I will include my campus, email, blogs, school hours, campus phone number, etc. Here is my second try with a little bit different picture:

More mashups in another post.

#5 Exploring Flikr

I just got finished playing around over at . It is almost impossible to stop looking at so many interesting pictures. Especially their Interestingness feature, which allows user to explore the most unique and interesting pictures Flickr has to offer. Also there is a link to creative commons pictures like the one pictured to the left here. This will allow me to search for pictures that are not copyrighted which I can use in project, presentations, reports, etc.

Recently I was able to use about twenty pictures to create a book review of the book Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby. I compiled some images from Flickr using PhotoStory and incorporated some narration to create a booktalk on this book. I hope to post it later today. So far 23 Things has been a great learning experience for me. I can't wait to get to the next thing! mamako7070