Saturday, July 30, 2016

Top 10 Books for 2015-2016

This is the time of year for reflection on my part.  I look at data, programming, calendars, our Instagram account, and anything that provides information over the school year.  My biggest surprise so far has been the continued usage of our eContent.  I knew our students and teachers were accessing our items on Follett Shelf but I didn't take the time to look closely at the titles.

Here's what I found about our top eBook titles:
  • Our #1 eBook was The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.  This wasn't a surprise because the 6th graders read this as a class in ELA.  So many students made the leap from a paperback book in class to reading our library eBooks.  The statistics show that ALL of Mr. Riordan's eBooks were very popular.  In conclusion - purchase even more of Rick Riordan's eBooks.
  • The Dairy of the Wimpy Kids by Jeff Kinney eBooks were the 2nd most popular series.  These most likely were checked out by 6th and 7th graders. In conclusion - look into purchasing more eContent similar to this series.
  • The Testing, The Hunger Games, The 5th Wave, and The Maze Runner series were all very popular.  In conclusion - keep purchasing the high interest books to movies novels. 
  • Our eBook usage was very connected to our hardback usage with many of the top titles being accessed in both contents.  

Pike’s Top 10 Hardback Books:
  1. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
  2. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
  3. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  4. The Kill Order by James Dashner
  5. Legend by Marie Lu
  6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: the Long Haul by Jeff Kinney
  7. The Death Cure by James Dashner
  8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: the Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney
  9. The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen
  10. The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
In reflection  of our year, I can clearly state that our students are versatile with our content.  Many like checking out and reading hardback books while others prefer reading our eBooks.  I foresee our eBook statistics for next year to continue to climb as our secondary students will be issued  Chromebooks.  It's all about providing choice for our students. 

ThingLink VR Challenge

I have enjoyed this summer's ThingLink VR (Virtual Reality) Challenge.  Here's  a VR look at my library.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Map Your Summer Reading

Each year I brainstorm for creative ideas to market and promote reading throughout the summer.  This year I've teamed up with geography for a fun visual summer reading promotion.  Where in the World are the Pike Panthers Reading is a simple idea for our students and teachers to share geography, reading, and fun pictures to share with our Pike family. As the summer progresses I hope many partake in this fun summer reading visual. Make sure to click on the actual tackk graphic to view the interactive reading map.

Monday, May 16, 2016

ThingLink Teacher Challenge

Click on the graphic for more information on the ThingLink Teacher Challenge
It's almost time for summer and I am looking forward to some much needed rest and relation.  That being said, it's also time to take advantage of the many professional development opportunities offered during this time.  I participated in the ThingLink Teacher Challenge a few summers ago and I'm ready to partake in the ThingLink VR (Virtual Reality) Challenge this summer.  Join the amazing Susan Oxnevad for this challenge.  I promise that it will be well worth your time.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Librarians As Lead Learners

Join Becky Calzada (@becalzada), Neil Krasnoff (@TXlibraryguy), and Sue Fitzgerald (@sue_fitz) on Tuesday, May 17th at 8:00 p.m. CST for an evening of summer professional development opportunities from an amazing PLN.

May the Force Be With Your eBooks Usage

Many have asked for my advice on developing interest in the use of eBooks in their school communities.    Let's face it folks eBooks are here to stay and they should be an important part of your collection.  It's all about providing choices and eBooks should be a choice in your learning community. There is no exact formula but here is how I used my powers to launch a successful eBook program in my middle school.

Collection Development - This is one we should all be consumed with regardless of the format  If you don't have content that everyone wants to read then your collection development process needs improvement.  This is an all consuming expectation for all librarians to provide a high interest collection while enhancing the curricular needs of your learning community.   Some of my favorite collection development tools include:
  • School Library Journal
  • VOYA
  • Follett's Titlewave - I have used this one for many years now.  We use Destiny and the seamless integration between the two have helped me numerous times over the years. I have recently joined Follett Community, and I am looking forward to connecting with other educators.
  • Goodreads -This is my favorite site to help me keep track of the many series.  I have signed up for a monthly newsletter and have joined some reading challenges.  
  • Youtube - Follow publisher channels and others in your PLN who produce book trailers.
  • Conventions and/or opportunities with authors - I love to see the new gadgets, collaborate with others, along with speaking with the authors.  
  • Blogs from my PLN - Follow those who lead and we have many amazing librarians willing to share.
  • Book Clubs - Conversations within book clubs can lead to so many more conversations, friendships, and collaborations.  
  • Twitter Chats - Join the many chats including #TXLChat with endless ideas and topics.
Practice What Your Preach - How many times have I heard others say they prefer the feel of a real book while turning the pages?  Let's make this clear that we are providing choices for our students in getting them "future ready".  That includes not persuading their choices with our biases.  I model the process by using the Brytwave app, iBooks, Overdrive, Kindle app, and more.  We need to be versatile and feel comfortable in providing content in many formats across many devices. You need to be 100% enthusiastic.

Provide Learning Opportunities - Demonstrate, demonstrate, and demonstrate more.  Have demonstration lessons (I prefer to call them infomercials) at least 3 times per school year.  Start with one lesson at the beginning of the school year, revisit the process before the December holidays, and finish the year with a "kick off" to summer reading with a final demonstration. Provide these learning opportunities to parents during Open House, faculty members during meetings or PLCs, or any other opportunity and/or event.

Use Your Website - Provide easy directions on your website for FAQs.  When I receive an email about eBook access it's simple to reply with the link to our website with step-by-step directions. It's also easy to provide the website link via social media throughout the summer or school year to peak interest after I receive a new batch of eBooks on our Follett Shelf.

Put Up Signage -  Is there a better way to remind your students about accessing eBooks than a colorful sign?  Don't limit your signage to the library and make sure you offer your teachers signage for the classroom.  My favorite website to design signs is Canva.

Inclusion- Include information on eBook usage with ALL your programming.  As an example I even included listening to our digital audio books during our Let's Move It! @ Pike faculty program.

Use your librarian powers and provide your community with choices.  Encourage versatility with content usage across the curriculum and across devices.  We are preparing our students for a fast passed ever changing world.  Prepare them well.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Coloring Contest in the Library - YES!

Top 10 Reasons to Sponsoring a Coloring Contest:
  1. It was a fun activity sponsored and promoted by the library
  2. It didn't require extensive planning my part
  3. The items were easily found and purchased
  4. All students were invited to participate
  5. No creativity was required 
  6. It made a colorful display
  7. It helped celebrate School Library Month
  8. It was a new program and received much positive attention from both teachers and students
  9. It brought students into the library before school and during lunch
  10. It helped create a positive welcoming environment to all students and teachers

This year I tried a new library program and it was not only fun but a welcomed success.  With many blogging, tweeting, and commenting on adult coloring I decided to host a  bookmark coloring contest in honor of School Library Month in April.  I found awesome bookmarks on the Demco website along with some colored pencils and that's all it took.  Students were given almost 3 weeks to complete the contest and the results were so phenomenal  that I had a difficult time choosing a winner.

Here are the bookmarks from Demco.  There were 5 templates to choose from.  I had some leftover for next year as I hope to continue this tradition.

I put the bookmarks on display in a case with many students, visitors, faculty, and parents stopping to admire the colorful arrangement.  This easy to manage program brought so much interest that I continue to get requests for the coloring bookmarks even after the event is over.  Who said library programming was difficult?  Make it easy and think about adding a simple coloring program to your library for a positive overall outcome.
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