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NC Politicians rewriting the past year

August 30, 2014

I mentioned a few posts ago that Thom Tillis and Pat McCrory were featured in a ridiculous ad about a brighter future for our children. This is the beginning of the election season’s rewriting of educational history – especially those who are in office and would like to be seen in a favorable light. Claims will be made that they teachers one of the largest raises in NC history. I wrote about those raises earlier.  

 

To get this raise, they had to take the money from other places. 

And the budget is a mess.

The NCGA has treated teachers poorly. I could list all the ways again, but I’ve already done that. As wonderful as the start to this year has been in the school house, apart from the job itself, this has been a demoralizing year for educators. 

The NCGA needs some fresh faces. Faces that support public education. 

The transparent election-year conversion on education 

First week of school!

August 30, 2014

I guess this is actually week 2, but it is week 1 with the kiddos. We reviewed procedures and everyone (but K) got to check out a book! I worked about a day a week this summer in the library. I wanted it to have a different feel this year. Changing schools in the middle of the year has some limitations (even with a smooth transition). There is just not enough time to learn the library and move things to where you want them. We did make lots of changes last year. I had great assistance from Kim, Bobbie and Stephanie. I couldn’t have picked 3 better or tenacious workers if I’d advertised! There were unused shelves and unclear division lines between sections. We made some displays and reorganized some labeling. We used index cards in places to help identify popular books and sections. All that helped with students finding what they needed. And we weeded and weeded and weeded. I was a little surprised this summer that I still found books to weed. 

This summer though, I worked on a theme and got some displays made for the theme. I color coded the sections. Picture books are red, fiction chapter books are yellow, and nonfiction is green. I’ve already seen a difference this week in the helpfulness of this. Also, to be able to say that the space books are under the rocket or the sports books are under the athletes has been great. I had almost no students come back and say they couldn’t find the section they were looking for. We moved computer tables so there is more floor space. Tables are grouped differently and in a U which allowed for even more floor space. 

IMG_0232  IMG_0233

We started open checkout 2nd semester last year with 2nd – 5th grades. I only had one checkout station which was fine for when kids came to the library independently, but was a bit arduous during class. This year, I set up two more checkout stations and assigned specific tables to them. Oh my goodness! Why did I not think of this last year? Not only did it speed up checkout, it spread the students out. We are starting this year with open checkout for 3rd – 5th, and then 2nd will start 2nd semester. 

IMG_0218    lining up at checkout

Our schedule has changed slightly this year. I see 28 40-minute classes (k-5) in 5 days. That leaves 7 periods open including my planning at 2:30 – 3:10. Last year I saw 30 classes in 6 days which left 12 open periods. That doesn’t look as bad in writing, but it does leave us with 5 fewer open times in each cycle. I’ve also got lunch time – only 30 minutes, but it will add back in 5 time slots for classes. The great news about this shift is that it will allow me to plan consistently with 4th & 5th grades this year. 

I do more talking the first 2 weeks of school than the rest of the school year. Lots and lots to review before classes can be independent users. This is all new to Ks and 1st & 2nd graders graduate to whole new levels of library use! Pretty exciting if exhausting!

Book fair is coming up September 18-26! We’ve been doing preliminary work for that too.

To end my week in the best way possible, I had a Levi date! Isn’t he the cutest!

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ice buckets & charitable giving

August 23, 2014

There has been a lot – ranking right up there with baby and pet pix – on social media about the Ice Bucket Challenge. Most of it has to do with ALS. Your friends have done it, their friends have done it, George Bush and Ben Affleck have done it. AND ALS has had a huge financial benefit. Great news for ALS! If you have chosen to participate in this icy challenge, please know what I’m saying here is in no way a criticism of your generosity and participation. The whole ice bucket thing just makes me uncomfortable. I’m a stick in the mud, I know, but I don’t like wearing my PJs to school or dressing wacky for crazy day either. I’ve been cringing since this started.

I was wondering about the beginnings of this challenge, and I ran across multiple articles that explained it. This Is Why Critics Are Slamming the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge does a decent job, and you don’t have to take a subscription or log in like so many I found. I’m not sure the title is really all that good a match for the entire article, but it does outline the history, and it gives you some more funny videos to watch in addition to telling you what some of the critics have to say.

Like so many things popular, the ice bucket challenge has morphed. The original was supposed to be a punishment for NOT giving, not something you had to do in addition to giving. Give or get drenched! It was also not attached to ALS – it was a challenge to give to any charity. In some earlier videos, there is no mention of ALS. There have also been some serious injuries – from huge buckets dropped on participants’ heads to electrocution.

 

Some of these are just funny, but some are painful to watch, and you know the person was hurt.

 

I also found this video of Patrick Stewart. I love his challenge.

 

 

He might be giving to ALS, but he might, just might, be giving to another charity, a favorite charity, a charity dear to his heart.

So the challenge really is to give to some worthy charity. I gladly accept that challenge! And I’m grateful for the reminder to give. Charities need us to be generous today, tomorrow and throughout the year.

 

Professional Meetings

August 19, 2014

Today was the professional meeting for Library Media Coordinators for WSFCS. Mixed emotions on these. I’d always rather be at my school – this week is a tough one regardless of how ready I’ve ever felt walking into it. To many things to do! However, it’s valuable to meet with others in the same job listening and talking with them about what we have in common and how our schools are different and the things we do. 

I got lots of ideas from today. Some I’d already been thinking on and some were new. I’d been planning on doing stations this year, but I heard some other ways librarians are using stations with students. We talked about different ways to do literacy, maker spaces, gaming, data uses. We had a gal from MackinVia come to speak with us. I haven’t been able to log into that, but based on what we saw today, I think it could be great! We talked about county things that are not so exciting but that are good to know like evaluations. 

Tomorrow, I have to hit the library thinking about Thursday’s open house. I need signs and signups for volunteers and the book fair. I need to find out about a drawing I’d like to have. I’ve got some ideas for signs.

And not to change the subject to abruptly, but did you know Dot Day is coming up?

 

Day 1 of 14-15 school year!

August 18, 2014

welcome-back-to-school-owl-1I love the first day of school! It’s great to see everyone and start getting things in order. I love making plans with others and trying to figure out how to make them really happen. Going out for lunch is fun. We don’t get to do that very often!  I moved tables and chairs trying for more floor space. I think I’ve got it but won’t know for sure until all the extra tables from today’s meeting. Tomorrow I’ve got a workshop. Thursday is open house. 

Whoosh! Week will be over before I know it!

In NC, our children’s future just got a little brighter

August 16, 2014

Sometimes you just have to wonder if these folks are on the same planet with the rest of us? Can they not even do their own math?

Carolina Rising Releases Statewide, “A Little Brighter,” Back to School Advertising Campaign

Gates Foundation Funds “Consumer Reports” for Common Core Resources

August 16, 2014
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Bitsy Griffin:

Oh my goodness! Could we throw some of this money into funding things that are really at issue like students entering kindergarten that don’t know their last names, virtually no planning time, and high drop out rates would be high on my list. I’m all for strong standards but even if ccss met that need, this is ridiculous.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

The long arm of the Gates Foundation reaches out to create a rating system for Common Core-aligned materials. Not content to have paid for the writing of the CCSS. the evaluation of the CCSS, the implementation of the CCSS, and the promotion of and advocacy for the CCSS, the foundation wants to take the next step to make sure no one uses anything less than stellar CCSS.

In politico.com today:

A ‘CONSUMER REPORTS’ FOR THE COMMON CORE: A new nonprofit funded with $3 million from the Gates Foundation and the Helmsley Charitable Trust launches today with plans to review textbooks and other instructional material for fidelity to the Common Core. EdReports.org will start by bringing in teams of classroom teachers to evaluate K-8 math materials. The curricula will be judged by how well it matches the Common Core and assesses student learning and by whether it offers teachers guidance in…

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