Teacher Appreciation Sales

Here’s the scoop on back to school sales in my area as of right now. I’ll revise as I get more information. If you know of a good deal in Arlington or the DFW area, please feel free to comment!

Mardel’s Educator Sale
July 18th 8:00AM-10PM
Link: http://www.mardel.com/education-sale-13.aspx

Office Max
8/10-8-12 (usually do something big the first day)
Link: http://officemax.com (search education appreciation)

Office Depot
8/10 at 9. Lots of freebies and coupons for the rest of the year. So apparently they moved this or the lady I called was confused…no one knew when it was rescheduled for. Sorry!
Link: http://www.officedepot.com/a/promo/bts/8/

8/10 9 AM-12
http://www.staples.com (search teacher appreciation)

Update: Just found out that Big Lots is also offering 10% off on the 10th

Jo-Ann’s Teacher Rewards Cards:
Link: http://www.joann.com/teacherrewards/

Michael’s Discounts
Link: http://www.michaels.com (search teacher appreciation)

Don’t forget all book stores have teacher discounts too. 🙂


Last week as I was coming back from lunch, I hear kids acting like fools on the stairwell. One jumps down several stairs at a time yelling “YOLO!” and before I can even say anything to him, a very shy student leans over the side and says, “You know, if you really only life once, why would you want to act like that?” Profound? I think so.

If we as a society truly believe that we only live once, why are we not cultivating and a legacy we can be proud of for years to come? Why has the motto YOLO come to mean, do whatever I want when I want and who cares about the consequences? Because I know I only live once, I want my life to be more than just selfishness. I want it to be about what I leave for those that come behind, because they too will only live once.

5 Things I Want to Be Better at Next School Year

5 Things I Want to Be Better at Next School Year


Number 1: Self-Reflection

Life is short and time is shorter. I need to be better about reflecting and being honest about what works and what doesn’t. If it doesn’t work don’t dwell…just fix it and try again. This also involves the students. No more learn and purge, I want to see them apply what they have learned at a higher level.

Number 2: Not Throwing out the Baby with the Bathwater

New doesn’t always mean better. I was brainstorming a list of cool things I’ve let fall aside; like foldables and webquests. Just because they are older doesn’t mean they have lost any value. Along with this, it also means that a failed lesson doesn’t always mean the platform is bad; maybe I just didn’t approach it correctly or have the right audience. Everyone (even a website) deserves another chance.

Number 3: Consistency

Next school year I’d like to blog consistently, create digital book talks, and upload podcasts. This year I had a lot finished but due to hosting issues they never got posted. That is a real goal for next year. For students I want to see them making more of their own Web 2.0 stuff. Our district has opened up the policy some on setting up student accounts, so I’m going to run full force and hope for the best.

Number 4: Book Talk More

This week I got to talk books for a WHOLE period with multiple classes. When does that happen? It was like crack for my brain. The students were laughing at me…but you know what? It works. Every book we discuss always gets checked out. Next year I’m going to sneak in one book talk every time kids come to the library. I might have to be quick, but I absolutely love seeing light bulbs click and this is a part of my job that is important. Sometimes I worry about the library being seen as “only about books” that I forget I am still about books.

Number 5: Balance

I tend to focus all my energy where I’m the most successful….and right now that is my professional career. When I’m not working I find myself thinking about what I’d like to do better or how I can next impact my students. While that is fine it is only a small part of who I am in the grander scheme. I am also a writer, friend, daughter, sister, cousin, singer, Bible Club director, assistant treasurer, etc. Married people may not understand this, but sometimes the longing that comes with being single creates an isolation that is tough to break through. Now, I know being single isn’t all I am, but it is a part of who I am. I’m a complex being with a lot of roles. The point is that I do a bunch of things, but do I really cherish these other roles? I don’t know, but I plan on being more present and finding out.

Library Activities-the Top 10 Reasons I’ll Repeat it Again Next Year!

Library Activities-the Top 10 Reasons I’ll Repeat it Again Next Year

This year I started doing library activities in November. These are just fun things we do in the library about once a week (except for when testing wouldn’t allow). We had a blast!!  I’ve already committed to volunteering my time again next year for this because I think that it has paid off in so many ways.

Reason 10: My principal thinks I’m a rock star now. 🙂

Reason 9: We had the opportunity to learn some new technology and websites that were only loosely connected to education (like music creation and avatars). The funny thing was the students then came up with great ways to incorporate their new skills into projects that were academic.

Reason 8: It got teachers involved in the library and some were even willing to volunteer. Teachers even came down to hang out or learn a new skill.

Reason 7: I learned what worked and what didn’t. Origami and cupcake decorating were huge…poetry and drawing not so much.  Think I had those the wrong time of year (need to do earlier or around a holiday).

Reason 6: The library opens up 45 minutes early. I’d much rather volunteer that time to do something awesome in the library rather than just do paperwork.

Reason 5: I learned some new skills and brushed up on some old ones.  Unfortunately, I find myself doing origami now even when not appropriate (like in a meeting).

Reason 4: The list we brainstormed was too long-I’ve still got a whole list to try out.

Reason 3: Students have something to look forward to once a week but are willing to come hang out even if it isn’t an activity day.

Reason 2: My morning attendance increased by 100%. Although I’m not reaching all of my targeted audience I have an audience and that is a start.

Reason 1: The kids said I have to, so I guess I’d better.

Adventures in Genrefying

My genrefying journey was a somewhat convoluted one.  I’m not sure where to start, so just going to jump in and begin.

Step 1: I attended a workshop on genrefying and thought, “I will NEVER do that in my library.” I should have known then that genrefying was in my future, because anytime I say never…

Step 2: Decided to sticker books by genre because my teachers were requiring students read books in a variety of different genres and the teachers did not know the genres well enough to help students decide what genre a book was without me (I’m good but not 715 x 40 good).

Step 3: Weeded like mad and then rearranged my collection by genre. This included rearranging the sections. I also moved manga and graphic novels over by fiction.

Step 4: This is what comes next!  After spending a year in the trial stages, I’m working on getting approval to add sublocations the library catalog so that the computer has what section the books are in so people can find easily. This is very helpful for cross genre books and also for subs. I’d also like to reconsider some genre classifications. My fantasy category is too large, so I’m thinking about breaking it down a little further.

My overall impressions after one year:

Circulation is about the same, but we are no longer doing required silent reading as a campus because the curriculum won’t allow it and teachers have stopped doing the forty book challenge as well because they were told they could not. Pause to take that in for a minute and share my sense of loss.  Next year I plan to do this through the library with a prize as a motivator instead of a requirement. Next year should be a better indicator also because I made this change in right before Thanksgiving.

Reluctant Readers love this change. They know a “safe” place to look for books they are sure to enjoy. When I see them in a section frequently that is a good prompt to me to help them find another section they will love as well. Students are much more willing to help each other find a section of books then they ever were to find an individual book.

Genre facts have been interesting. Some genres circulate much more when grouped together (action adventure, steampunk, realistic fantasy) but some like historical fiction and realistic fiction circulated less. Think I need to focus more on displays in those areas.

Avid readers struggled initially because, like me, they knew where books where visually on the shelves. Once they got used to the new system they were fine, but they were not a big fan after the first week because they are used to being self-sufficient and not having to ask where a book might be if it is a multi-genre book. I’m hoping sublocations will fix this.

For me, it has taken a little getting used to because personally I love abc order, but one of my jewels summed it up best. He is a reluctant reader (frequently in trouble and easily succumbs to peer pressure) and he usually comes into the library when none of his friends are around. Here is the conversation:

Me: “Can I help you find a book?”

Him: “No thanks”

Me: “Oh man, you won’t let me practice my super powers and help you find a book??”

Him: (he looks at his shoes for a minute and then up at me and I’m shocked to see tears in his eyes) “You have already worked your magic. For the first time I can do it…I can really find a book in the library on my own.”

Sigh. What can I say to that?

Student Advocacy

So yesterday, a small group of students were playing “Are You Smarter than a Librarian?” with me in the library before school in honor of National Library Week. One student (who rarely comes to the library) was also in the lab working on a project. Before we started the game I was sharing the history behind National Library Week and what it takes to become a librarian. The student who rarely comes to the library was halfway listening as he worked.

This boy stopped me mid sentence with this quote: “Wait a minute…wait a minute. You are telling me a librarian has to have a Master’s degree? Why? All they do is shelf…” but the poor kid didn’t even get to finish. Because you see in that group of students I had kids who I’d taught one on one lessons, students in both of the two clubs I sponsor, one student I mentor, students who participate in library events before school, a reluctant reader who can’t chose her own books, and students I’d just finished doing research with in class. I couldn’t hear all their responses, but let’s just say he left knowing that I do more than shelf books…and I didn’t even have to say a word.

It was humbling to know that my target audience really does get with I do on a day-to-day basis (for the most part).  I did help the student involved save a little face by agreeing that yes, I still do shelf books, but that is certainly not ALL I do.