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A year of tidying up . . .

August 20, 2016

About a year in any case! Before the 2014-15 school year was over, I bought Marie Kondo’s book.


I really didn’t think there was much I could learn. I am an organizer by nature. I can whip anything into shape. Maybe I wanted confirmation, and we were near the end of our home renovations. I was ready for a deeper level of cleaning things out.

What I realized though is if you have more than one of a thing, you have to keep organizing them. You have to keep sorting them. You have to continuously remember where to put that obscure item you don’t remember why you pulled out.

So, we dug in. We kept things we liked. We gave away and discarded things we didn’t like or use. Easy right!? Well, even for a cold-hearted soul like me, there were times that it wasn’t all that easy. It was brutal to be brutal. And I thought I was. Yet, I’m still finding boxes and thinking, “that needs to go.” I put a banker’s box of electrical things out for Ron yesterday. I didn’t know what was reusable. He kept two items from the box and the rest was carted off. My biggest downfall is, “can I use that at school?” But even those items are having a shorter and shorter life span.

What we gained was space. Lot’s of space. Closets and cabinets have room to remove something without the interiors collapsing on themselves. We had enough room in closets to move other things into them. We kept furniture we used and got rid of the rest.

The one area I haven’t tackled yet with any gusto is pictures and videos. And even though I cut my wardrobe in half, I still have too many clothes. That’s my next goal – A capsule wardrobe.

Ideas Exploding In My Head

August 12, 2016

Those of you who know me in real time, know I’m an organizational fiend. You’ve made a mess of it, I can whip it into shape. Thirty year mess? No problem! And I absolutely love it!

But there are areas in which I struggle with organization. I have come to the conclusion that digitally organizing things just isn’t always the most efficient way for me. Ideas – searching, gathering, and of course organizing them for easy retrieval (oh what the heck – even just remembering they were ever a thought in my head to begin with!).

My random thoughts –

  • weeding ideas
  • lessons for mmmm lets say 6 grade levels😉
  • lessons for every subject that is taught or might be interesting to students
  • ways kids can valuably respond to literature (can they please be fun too)
  • doodles resembling art
  • hand lettering ideas
  • notebooks
  • Bible studies
  • articles on advocacy
  • yes, I want to submit a proposal
  • healthy meal plans
  • oh man, I forgot to check the Google drive for NCSLMA
  • Levi would love that!
  • what was that grant source?
  • on and on and on

This isn’t a problem when I’m working on a particular project. My brain kind of goes into automated mode. It’s still going a mile a minute, but for the most part, it’s traversing at the speed of light about what I’m currently working on. The stray thought gets swept away when I move on to the next shelf or pile of books or cabinet.

Some things I’m ready to admit about myself:

  • I can’t keep a bunch of stuff around. This includes a jumble of ideas. If I need to save something and it has no functionality, I have to hide it until I can deal with it. I know the personal psychological reasons for this, but that’s a post for another time.
  • I’m not all that good at really long term projects. Open ended things aren’t very appealing. I can do a project that will take months, but years? Forget it.
  • I change my mind a lot. I like this for a while, then I like that for a while, then I move on to whatever. This has led to a rich and varied background, and is part of the reason why the library is perfect and why I am a frequent changer of schools.
  • I shut down if too much is going on. I can do the too much for quite a while, but I hit a wall eventually, and then I become super-introvert and shut down. I’ve just started sharing this with people. I am paralyzed at times. I look like I’m functioning on the outside, but inside, everything stops. That paralyzing thing happens with ideas too. Too many directions, too many thoughts, too many choices. BAM! I can’t function.

Part of the problem is, I’m not just generating my own ideas. They are literally coming in from all kinds of directions. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumbler, blogs, chats, conferences, f2f conversations, texts. And while some of those offer ways to organize information, they just kind of hang in others.  I’ve tried including those thoughts in my bullet journal, but there are too many, and my day-to-day stuff (like I have a meeting) is easily lost among all of the other things.

So I did a search. Someone is bound to have a great idea about the organization of ideas themselves! Did you know that if you search for “organizing my ideas,” you will get the best ways to organize your bedroom, your laundry room, and your classroom? Apparently “MY” is invisible. I did have better success with “organizing my thoughts,” although most suggestions were digital. It’s appealing, but I know I can’t stick with it online – mainly because I’m always searching for the best app! I would love to be that digital to the max person. I’m just not.

So, I’m going to try a second journal – an idea journal. I’ve been terribly resistant to  having more than one. Lots of people I my journaling groups have at least two. I’ve been afraid it will feel fragmented. But I have ideas exploding in my head. It’s time to capture them before the disappear in space.



Kinders and the first weeks of school

August 12, 2016

What to do with Kinders/1st grade the first week of school. Mmmmm

Those early lessons are always a dilemma for me. I’ve got a lesson planned using David Goes to School. I’m really happy with the lesson, but I’m thinking it might not have enough pop for the first week. I’d love for the kids to check out books. So, I’ve been digging, and I found this: Children’s Book Week: Kindergarten Style

What a great idea! Essentially kids are playing musical books (without anyone being eliminated). Kids are moving, exposed to a variety of books, and then they check one out. I think this one is a definite keeper.

Library Stations

August 10, 2016

I’m thinking about stations, so I wanted to share a couple of posts from that I wrote last year. This is Post 2.

FCTL Social Media

This is my 3rd year in an elementary library. Last year, I started experimenting with stations trying to get a feel for the ebb and flow of what would work, movement, and implementation.

This year, I’ve focused on organizational issues. Do I just have random stations around the room? How do the kids know which ones are good for their grade levels? It was really important to me that most of the stations were academic in nature, but I did see value in having some that were there just for fun. And I felt like I had to start before I got a full handle on things while beginning of the year excitement was high. There have been times I thought my head would explode.

by pixaibay licensed under CC BY 2.0 by pixaibay licensed under CC BY 2.0

Luckily, it didn’t.

I divided the stations I had into three age levels – K – 1st, 2nd…

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What do you do with Kinders in the library?

August 10, 2016

I’m thinking about stations, so I wanted to share a couple of posts from that I wrote last year. This is the first one.

FCTL Social Media

I was reminded yesterday about how many times the question of kinders has come up in meetings. The time with them can seem like the never-ending story in the library. I’d love for us to share what we do in our libraries to meet their needs.

I subscribe to a preschool newsletter from Karen Cox that has a ton of great ideas. I’m sure there are others out there. What newsletters do you get? Hap Palmer has a You.Tube station.

I’ve also got some library workshops running:

  • Reading Buddies (stuffed animals)
  • Listening stations – started with book fair monies
  • Board book basket
  • Pop up book basket
  • ABC and matching games
  • Large floor puzzles
  • little chair area (I got these at the 5 and below store)
  • story sequencing
  • nature station


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American Experience: Murder of a President

August 8, 2016

imageLast summer, I read Destiny of the Republic  by Candice Millard. Possibly one of the best books I’ve ever read. Millard is a great story teller, but her subject was captivating. I’d not known much of Garfield before this except that his presidency was short. He was an intelligent, thoughtful man. He loved his family. He had huge faults, but truly cared for all citizens of the US. He was not a man to be bought. The efforts of  A. G. Bell to save his life was an amazing side story.

Today, I’m being rather lazy and I came across a program on Amazon. American Experience: Murder of a President. It’s not as good, not as thorough, not as well-rounded as Destiny of a Republic, but it is a good retelling of Garfield’s life and death – flaws and all. We have no idea what Garfield might have done as president if he’d lasted longer than his half a year, but to think about the accomplishments and character of presidents past seems a good idea today.


Nonfiction Shift

August 8, 2016

The library is far enough along that I can walk away for a couple of weeks. Nonfiction started in an odd place, so I emptied a wall and started shifting.

That empty book case will have to go somewhere else when I get back!

There are 100s of things I still want to do, but for a few days, I’m going to rest, think about conferences and lesson plans, and plan what to do next!

If you’d like to see all the pictures of this summer’s progress in one place, visit my Pinterest Board.

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