First week of school!

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. 

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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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Professional Meetings

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!

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!

56 days of summer – 35

Today, my goal is to complete the MS for this math book, then let it sit until Monday for another round of editing. I’d also love to finish with my vehicles and get the BB paper cleaned up out of the guest room! I can do mess for a short period, but there comes a point that it wears on my nerves.

Cheryl Ristow posted a video this morning of a teacher decorating his room. It is not all practical, but I do love his enthusiasm. I have done some impractical things in my room (even knowing they were impractical) because I loved the way they looked and HOPE really does spring eternal donchano. I didn’t do themes in my classrooms – well, I did, but the theme was Math. 😉 I’m doing my second one in the library now and I love how the theme can tie things together. I love the filming theme he uses. Got to add that to my Pinterest board!



Barb Kibler shared a Buzzfeed Link – 35 Money Saving DYIs for the Classroom from 2013. I realize this kind of teacher craftiness is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ve tried many of these things. I cannot tell you how many stacking boxes and cans (metal and plastic) I’ve repurposed over the years. Sometimes what I ended up making was NOT less expensive because of covering it (or, yes, even the mistakes I made), but I just couldn’t find something to fit a purpose. I would recommend finding boxes from a source other than the Post Office. Those are clearly marked that they are for USPS use only. But once you start collecting boxes, they multiply quickly.


paint chip calendar

Wool critters and day 2 of school

School start has gone well except for one thing. The AC in my room has gone out. It went out Saturday during a storm and it came back on in each of the other rooms Monday. I’m still waiting. To give you an idea of how warm things are, it was 109 in my car when I got in it today at 3p. I don’t normally leave ASAP, but having spent three days in a room with no air but fans and window breezes put me in the mood.

I’m enjoying my class. AC aside, it’s been one of the smoother school starts I’ve had.

Between school start and being hot all day, I’m still really tired. I’m enjoying the more visual blogs right now. (I am reading the short ones, but the longer posts are eluding me. Sorry guys 😉 )

Crafty Pods reviewed a book called Wool Pets. Go look at the pix they posted. They are really cute!

Week in review

PeckElementaryGoing back to school is always an adjustment, but going to a new school is more intense. You have to meet people (and they you), you have to get used to the room, organize it, rearrange it, figure out the culture of the school. They are all a bit different.

I am very fortunate to be on this 4th/5th grade team. There is a new 4th grade teacher too. She is also experienced. The entire team though has been a joy to get to know and extremely helpful. I worked in my room and with the team on Monday and Tuesday. Long days. People kept bringing in math things they found in their rooms. The organizing is huge for me. If I have tiles or pattern blocks, I want them all in the same place. Fraction strips need to all be in a box of fraction strips. Activities need to be organized by objective. It doesn’t bother lots of people if everything doesn’t have it’s place, but it bothers me – to the point of not being able to do anything until everything is organized.

Wednesday we had that great math training on those horrible little seats.

Thursday and Friday – back in the room and meetings. Yesterday morning was great. Everyone else on the hall was in some county meeting and I was all by myself. I flew through the last of organizing the room and going through papers. I signed up for 2-day district web master training at the end of September. Great management system for professional development.

This weekend, I’m working on more file folder games and some computer work and some shopping for things like bird feeders and rain gauges and thermometers. And then Sunday afternoon is open house for school start on Tuesday.

I’ve been getting up at 5:30. That needs to be moved up to 5:00. It takes 45 minutes from walking out of my door to walking into the classroom door. That’s a huge change I’m still getting used to. I broke my alarm clock this summer, so I’ve been using my phone. First night I didn’t sleep very well wondering if I’d hear it. Well of course I did because I hadn’t slept! Last night I fell asleep at 9pm and didn’t turn over until 6am.

Reading has completely gone to the dogs. I do have a light piece of fiction going (or I should say dropping to the floor because every time I try to read it, I fall asleep and drop it). I also realized I cannot keep up with the number of feeds I have coming in. Did some pruning last night.

Yesterday I had two emails from my prof at ECU for class number one in the MLS program. Wishing I’d known I was going to be changing jobs at the same time because I know I would have waited at least a semester to start!

Here are some early pictures of my room. NOT the earliest because desks and chairs were in the middle of the room then. All the stuff on the walls at this point are things the last teacher left. Most of those are gone now. Tomorrow when I go back for Open House, I’ll snap some new pix. I don’t think things will change much now. This is the largest, brightest, nicest room that I’ve ever taught in.




Worked in my new classroom today :D

And it was so much fun! I meant to take my camera, but I’m going back tomorrow. Desks are all piled up in the middle of the room right now. Book cases are empty. I was pulling everything out of the cabinets to do at least a mental inventory.

I met with the teacher I’m teaming with and really enjoyed that. She’s very helpful and full of ideas.

Then I went to orientation at the district office and got my employee badge and signed my contract! Yeah!