Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy Trails to Tennessee

I was honored to be asked to present at the Tennessee Association of School Librarian's summer conference.

The two presentations I shared are Learn to Love Nonfiction and PD With a Twist.

Pd with a twist from bibliogerman

You can see Monique's presentations on her blog.

The three of us presented the keynote: The Care and Feeding of Your Administrators.

After our research, we decided to focus on these four rules: recognize what we have in common, communicate and build strong relationships, seek out principal's concerns and find out how to help, and let go of misconceptions and stereotypes.
We shared our efforts to find common ground with our principals and communicate to build that relationship. Try to keep communication positive, share what's happening in the library and be aware of nonverbal communication like dress, signs, and body language.
The portion of the presentation that I shared was to seek out principal's concerns and find out how to involve the library program. If you don't know what your principal's priorities are, find out and then determine how the library program can help meet those goals. Even if they are not obviously connected try to find common ground. For example, my principal focuses on reaching our students in poverty so I've done reading and research on the topic and I have library policies and programs that serve those students. For many principals the Common Core standards are a priority so we discussed some of our strategies for helping our schools and districts prepare for the new standards. No matter what the issue, there are ways that the library can be involved in the mission of the school.

We shared the results of our administrator survey and the top five priorities of administrators. We asked the librarians to think about where they spend most of the time and energy compared to what the administrators value. Do you spend most of your time checking in, organizing and purchasing books? Notice that none of those tasks are on the top five list. Of course, it is part of our job, but we need to be sure we spend effort and energy where it will be noticed.

We really wanted to emphasize that librarians have to be leaders in their school. Be bold and don't wait on them to ask. Step up and volunteer. We hope that we inspired them to think about how they can work on that relationship next year.

If you want to read even more about working with administrators please read this post from Doug Johnson.

We had a great time meeting the Tennessee librarians. Big thanks to Karen for inviting us and all of the TASL members that made our visit run so smoothly.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Fav Graphic Novels for Book Boot Camp

My reading has been mainly focused on graphic novels to prepare for our first Twitter chat and Book Boot Camp challenge in July. There are so many graphic novels for boot campers to chose from that I thought it might be  helpful if I shared a list of my favorites (so far).

To see the three lists for July's graphic novel challenge visit our Book Boot Camp wiki

I have to say that you can't go wrong with any of the choices from this Top 10 List from School Library Journal, but my top three choices would have to be:

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (You must buy and read Smile and if you were a fan of The Babysitter's club like me then you have to check out her graphic novel versions)

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel (be sure to read his other books Bad Island and Ghostopolis)

Giants Beware by Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre. It was the May selection for the SharpSchu book club.

I recommend that you consider purchasing books from both the 6-8 and 3-5 categories on this core collection list. 
A few favorites of mine from the 3-5 list are: Babymouse, Bake Sale, Explorer: The Mystery Boxes, Lunch Lady Series, Sidekicks and Zita the Space Girl. You should also purchase the Amulet series if you don't have it already. You may feel these are too young for middle school, but my boys and special education students LOVE them.

My top picks on the 6-8 list for purchase and reading are:

(Friends With Boys and Coraline are similar to Anya's Ghost)

A few new graphic novels I'm excited about:

Peanut by Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe

Primates by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks. Jane Goodall is my hero so I can't wait to read this!

Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks

If you want to see all the books I read for this challenge be my friend on Goodreads and look at my Book Boot Camp lists. I hope these suggestions help you decide which books you would like to read for our July challenge.

If you have read a graphic novel and would like to write a review for our blog, please leave a comment with your contact info. We would love to hear from you!