Reflections on Reading Nominees

So, it is just about February.  My book nominees should be just about read by now, and I should be getting close to gearing up students to vote.  And while that will happen, I realize I will need to change the way I do things for the younger readers next year.

I think the Building Block award nominees are the most difficult.  Not for text complexity or anything, but the fact that they have to be completely read and voted on by the end of December.  That leaves very few months to get Kindergarteners learning how the library works, how storytime works, and basically overall how to act like the young students they are.

With the Show-Me nominees, I have until the beginning of March.  That is 1st-3rd graders, so that does allow both more time and more comprehension of text overall.

Here’s what I found.  If I don’t read the same book all week to each class, my plans get all messy and discombobulated.

So, first thing I need to do next year is start off with a plan.  I have a chart on my wall, thank goodness, where I know what I’ve read to which class, but I have a sincere feeling that it is incomplete.  If I actually allowed myself the time to plan properly, I would know exactly what I read to each class as I would have it planned out beforehand.  The chart is great for everyone else to see, but not so much if I’m trying to honestly keep track, as I’m not always remembering to put the stickers on (and the fact I started the chart way after I started reading, so there’s that…).

Secondly, I think I will only read these nominees during full weeks.  When we have days off and half-days, they just throw the schedule off.  Now, there is the obvious snow/bad weather day that ends up in a day off that cannot really be planned for, but if I know weather is coming the weekend before, I can change things around.

I think I want a full-out plan for when I’m reading what next year.  I have read each Show-Me, as I was a reader-selector, but I think to really plan it out better would be best.  I don’t know what Building Block books are selected just yet, as they haven’t been announced, but I think a big master calendar with what I’m reading when would be best.  That way it will be planned out much clearer, and I will also be able to plan around short weeks.  Then, maybe my poor lesson plans won’t be all crazy looking and I will actually have an idea of what I’m reading and doing.  Does anyone else do things like that?

My First Book Fair

first book fairSo, it is official. I am running my first book fair. This is not an easy task! Between setting up, coordinating volunteers, making sure everyone has a chance to buy but also realizing that a lot of things are too expensive for my students, staying late nightly, making sure I am adding up and totally everything, keeping records (because I feel I should), and just the whole darn thing… well, it’s exhausting! I’m proud of it though. We’ve made a little money – not a lot, but it’ll be something – and I now have experience running a fair. I’m grateful for years of retail experience and my grandfather who taught me to give change without a calculator! The biggest help was from fellow librarians in my district. One gave a lot of personal tips and tricks that I believe have made me not only successful, but have kept down the number of items and books that grow legs and walk off. Tomorrow is the last day, and I’m both happy and sad. It’s a weird feeling because I know I got more books into my students hands, made a little money to help get more books for the library, but I am really going to be happy to see it go and get the library back in order! So, I now have officially run a fair!

Thoughts of a new librarian

So, I have now been a librarian for around 2 months. There are some things I have definitely learned in this time.

An hour is a long time but also a short time. I say this because with younger students, filling an hour can be a challenge. Even with older students. But when you add in checkout, well, I still struggle to get them all checked out and out the door on time. This is something I have been tweeking, but still have some trouble with.

Everyone will ask you for a book at the same time. I swear, this always happens. I get 5 or 6 students at once start asking me to help them find their favorite book or locate a specific type of book. This has been a struggle because I want to help everyone find a book that they want to read; however, having everyone talk to me at once is difficult.

Make the library your own. This is something I was told by my principal, admin intern, teachers, my professors, etc. Make it my own. Well, I did. I rearranged all my books. Not drastically, but I had to move over a section of guided reading books that aren’t part of the library collection but are housed here. They were on my smaller shelves, which I felt would be more useful if they held Everybody books instead. So, literally, the first few weeks of school was spent moving books. Am I happy with how they are? For the most part, yes. I really wish I could move my shelves farther back, but that will have to wait until summer. 🙂

Things don’t always go as planned. This is something about teaching I did forget after being in corporate America for a couple of years. I forgot to expect the unexpected, like a fire or earthquake drill, lesson plans that just don’t go right, and the like.

There is NEVER enough time in the day/week. This seems to be typical for librarians as a whole, from my understanding. Mine just seems worse. I don’t know why. Having 21 hour-long sections? I never feel there is enough time to get books shelved, much less try and repair books, fix the catalog, locate and order books, continue to label books for ease of reading level, collaborate with teachers, and so forth. It just is crazy. My professors DID warn me that the library wasn’t an easy job, and I did not enter into it because it was easy. But, I love every single minute I get to “library” in my library.

So, these are just a few thoughts of a new librarian. Next up – the book fair!