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Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Quoth me

As part of the #edublogclub year-long challenge to blog on education, this week’s topic focuses on quotes. 

If you read my blog with any regularity, you’ll see that many of my posts are accompanied by several pictures and often, a quote. As a reader, I am fond of words. I have my favorite tattooed on my body in another language. And I use quotes often: to laugh when I want to cry, to entertain and amuse, to stay humble yet often to empower, and to know myself. But I’ll share the one that I actually just shared with students today doing a book tasting in the library, showcasing the magic of books in all of their forms and formats:

DifferentCombinationDoesn’t that absolutely capture the magic of books? Twenty-six letters and so many books that I have fallen in love with. How is that even possible?

With the advent of technology to make things faster and easier, let’s never forget the power of words. Spoken or written in the past or in the future. Use bigger words, don’t use abbreviations. Find a substitute for “that’s interesting” and say what you really mean. Buy books by authors you love to support their art. It may be easy to forget, but that’s why I keep this reminder around. Words are power.

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100 Word Challenge

As part of the #edublogclub year-long challenge to blog on education, this week’s topic focuses on a one-hundred word challenge using this image:

100WordChallenge

There is a beauty and a magic in the outdoors. Growing up in the country allows you to appreciate the magic of nature be it stars, trees, thunderstorms, or high winds whipping against the house. There is something equally as beautiful about winter mornings with newly fallen snow or the hot sun beaming on your nose in summer. Whether you’re five or ninety-five, there is no greater awesomeness than Earth and its wonders. Have you experienced the Serengeti in Africa? Mount Everest? The rain forests of South America? It’s just as well to sit outside pointing to a rainbow smiling.

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2017 in Blogging, edublogsclub, Miscellaneous

 

Find your people

As part of the #edublogclub year-long challenge to blog on education, this week’s topic focuses on recommendations for first-year educators.

In addition to blogging, obviously I follow plenty of blogs myself and sometimes they’re not always education-based though provide just as much insight. Seth Godin is one of those people for me. I have four of his posts cut out and placed on my work computer. So if I was going to share a thought, it would be in relation to Godin’s post Who are you playing tennis with? I’ll wait here while you read it.

My suggestion is to find your tribe of colleagues that inspire and engage you, challenge you, and most importantly keep you happy and sane. Over ten years, I have had the colleagues who slog through each day and I have the colleagues who come to work ready to do the work and stay positive even when it’s hard.

And the best part is that these colleagues don’t have to be in your content area. Maybe they share the same lunch and would rather walk the school than sit and complain, maybe it’s the Spanish teacher that bakes and you have a sweet tooth. Of course, it could be the maintenance worker (Ah, those were the days: my FIRST first year teaching ELA and I would arrive with the first maintenance staff member. I would be walking down the hallway literally as the lights warmed up while we talked about life at 6AM).

HelloMyNameIs

Therefore, talk to everyone. You’ll be able to determine pretty quickly who your people will be. When you’re down, they’re the ones offering chocolate. When you’re angry, they’re the ones telling you to wait twenty-four hours before sending that email. When you’re happy, they’re the ones share in your excitement. And when you need a good book to read, they’re the ones pulling one off their own bookshelf to lend. You get the point. Find those people.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2017 in Blogging, edublogsclub, Miscellaneous

 

“So, professional development should…”

As part of the #edublogclub year-long challenge to blog on education, this week’s topic was around wishes, dreams, and hopes for professional development. 

This topic has tentacles professionally for me: I am a deliverer of professional development within and outside of my district and to receivers other than my actual profession, I am co-chair of my high school’s professional development committee, and I strongly believe in the continual building of professional knowledge (but also knowledge in general!) I will likely revisit this topic in other posts but want to stop to appreciate the iterations that professional development has and those that can take hold as true professional development when others would like to frown upon it.

The most memorable professional development for me seems to be at a point of need. Sessions that I attend or webinars that I watch and find myself repeating to others or integrating into my own practice years later are the ones that I needed at that moment and changed something in the way I did or thought about things. So, professional development should be needs-based. 

Who wants to always have to look presentable all the time? Recently, a colleague, my guest post wrote a follow up post on her blog Librarian Leaps in which she said that I “love cute dresses and always looks adorably professional in them”. That is the case- my wardrobe usually consists of a dress and heels- it’s totally my uniform, but I also usually change the minute I get home. And professional development is delivered conveniently via technology through webinars and Twitter where we are not physically present but engaged (sometimes more so!). So, professional development should be flexible with the ability to do it from home, from work, or anywhere for that matter and in your pajamas!

Last year I attended a group think session for our larger district that consisted of underrepresented professionals or simply small categories of professionals whose professional development needs might not always be met with the larger-scale sessions that are designed. One comment I made is that professional development days don’t always fit neatly into the assigned three or five days set aside per year for them. My recent attendance at the American Library Association’s annual conference in Chicago is my professional development, but it was not on X day on our school’s calendar. Then on X day I can do something else. So, professional development should not always have to fit in one box or on one day. Don’t try to make it fit like a square peg in a round hole.  

As I have begun running professional development, I have learned about what I like or dislike in learning I receive, likewise I value the feedback I get from participants in mine so that I can deliver what people want. I spend as much time on my presentations (discussed here) as I do learning about delivering it. And if you want tips about the secret of a great talk, I suggest this TED talk by Nancy Duarte. So, professional development should be something you give as much as you receive. 

 

I began by saying I could talk a lot about professional development, but in a nutshell, I’ve offered a few of my thoughts on the topic. What other suggestions or comments do you have?

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2017 in edublogsclub, Miscellaneous

 

My origin story

Like Batgirl, I’m a librarian. But how did I get here? Here’s the quick and dirty version:

  • I got my Bachelor’s in English education and was teaching middle school ELA when I needed to decide what Master’s track I would take.
    • Being in New York State, it is a requirement that educators have a Master’s.
  • I knew I didn’t want to go into Special Education or specialize in reading or literacy, I also really didn’t think I wanted to work toward an administrative position.
  • But I remembered a conversation with the librarian at the school I did my student teaching at who encouraged exploring a library program.
  • So after one year teaching and a few courses into my library science program, I knew that the library was likely where I would be spending the rest of my days. Why?

I wanted to know and interact with more than just the students on my roster. When I was teaching, it was only about the kids who were with me each day and I yearned for an eagle-eye view of the school. Being in the library, I can be that eagle. I also wanted a greater impact and the reader’s advisory and programming that we do at our high school library is exactly the kind of work that keeps me getting up for work each day.

And as I’ve mentioned time and time again and the reason for this blog, reading is my expertise. Over the last few years, I have begun presenting at regional and state conferences around books and am on a national committee to decide the best graphic novels for teens. And I couldn’t be happier. This is my calling.

Librarians

 
 

Hop, skip, and jump

I love when books give me a taste of something I didn’t know before and leads me to other things; one thing should always lead to another, just like thinking about chocolate almost always leads to peanut butter or reading one book by a gifted author (hi, Ruta!) always leads to reading everything she publishes.

In fact, I blogged about my discovery of “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne after reading A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry. I adore authors like Sarah Cross who revitalize fairy tales. I picked up Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast after delighting in Ericka Robuck’s Hemingway’s Girl. Even though I disliked the new The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle, I read Christina Rossetti’s 1862 poem “Goblin Market” (adored it!) And though I still haven’t read Shakespeare’s play “A Winter’s Tale” which inspired E.K. Johnston’s Exit, Pursued by a Bear, I look forward to it soon.

Switching gears from books that lead to other books, what about books that lead to field trips? I anticipate an on-site tour of the Albany Shaker site after reading Ann Sayers’ book “Their Name Is Wicks…”: One Family’s Journey through Shaker History.

BooksCheapestVacation

Living in a state like New York, and upstate no less, provides rich history lessons everywhere we turn, so I took the opportunity to dive into the world of the Shakers. And it didn’t hurt that I know the author and went to the book launch at the Shaker Heritage Site. You can see my post published yesterday after finishing the book that day. But it brought life to these people and this location.

I remember joining a book group that read the beautiful All The Light We Cannot See by Doerr and having the very real conversation about going on a field trip to France as I’m sure most book groups who read it thought about doing too.

So, what books have you read that ultimately led you to another book or embarking on an adventure? Likewise, have there been books that completely transported you to another time and place providing the cheapest vacation money can buy?

 
 

Unforgettable!

Things just came together so nicely for this week’s #edublogsclub prompt about professional learning and conferences because I knew I would be away at one. Now that I’ve returned, I’m ready to impart a few pieces of wisdom, though I know more information will seep into future posts as I had an amazing time at my first American Library Association annual conference (in Chicago!)

Now that I’ve settled back for a day, here are a few suggestions when attending a conference like ALA:

  1. LegsUptheWallDefinitely bring the comfortable shoes, though I know the temptation for those like me, were to also be a bit fashion-forward. So even if you wore the *almost* comfortable shoes to match the dress, do this stretch when you get back to your room each night since you’ll be on your feet all day.
  2. 2017-06-24 10.33.54Dress the part. By nature, I’m a dress-loving, dress-wearing kind of gal. That’s not to say you can’t be comfortable, so wear what works for you, as long as it doesn’t look like you’re going to run three miles when you leave the conference hall. Dressing the part may mean being photo ready when you meet your idol (see picture) or to use as a conversation-starter when swimming in a sea of colleagues from across the country who you don’t know, but want to get to know!
  3. Know your limits. Maybe you don’t want to stand in that line or you desperately need a mental break so you skip a session, it’s okay. Part of enjoying any conference is also enjoying the break it provides from the routine. I spent time walking back and forth between sessions enjoying the weather rather than taking the shuttles. It provided the space to go into the next session ready to learn.
  4. Remember when I said you’d be swimming in a sea of colleagues that you don’t know? Get to know them! Ask questions and listen. Promote yourself and what you do. Trade tips. Some people you’ll want to exchange cards with and others were just a fun way to pass the time and restore that good ol’ fashioned energy you get from face-to-face conversation. It’s invigorating.
  5. 2017-06-26 14.31.19Indulge in local food and try to do at least one touristy thing. I was in Chicago, so that did mean that I would have to stop for some deep dish pizza. I also took at a picture at The Bean and walked along the water in that picturesque city.

Of course, the list can go on of both personal and professional suggestions related to attending conferences, but the listicle above provides a good start. You can tell I enjoyed myself, so be sure to head to any conference with a sense of adventure.