Monday, April 29, 2019

SC TOY Finalist Lesson

I was thrilled to find out that I was a finalist for our state's Teacher of the Year award. I believe that I am the first librarian to ever receive this recognition in South Carolina. I'm so proud to represent school librarians and all teachers.
Part of the competition is to have a lesson recorded for five minutes and a panel watches and asks questions about the lesson before judging. I knew exactly which lesson I wanted to have them visit to record.
One of our SC YABA nominees is Glow by Megan Bryant. This book is about a girl who buys an antique painting at a thrift store. When she gets it home she realizes that it glows. She is intrigued and wants to find out more about the painting. Her story is interwoven with the story of a girl that gets a job painting the dials on watches for World War I soldiers. As the story progresses we realize that she is one of the Radium Girls.

For this lesson I created 8 different stations and had students complete as many as they could and submit a Flipgrid answer for each station. This activity is a #fliphunt. There are many other examples online. It combines a scavenger hunt with the Flipgrid tool.

The stations are below. You'll need black lights, black light flashlights, and invisible ink. I'm happy to share all the materials if you need them. You can see pics of the stations below including the three that were in the black light area for maximum glowing. It was a fun lesson. We're going to do it again next year with all of the Freshmen and they'll all be reading Glow. Megan Bryant has also agreed to Skype with us. Yay!

18-19 Literacy Service Projects

This year our book club participated in several literacy service projects.

Our Books and Barbers program gave away hair cut coupons and books for the first day of school. Our Books and Braids with Spearman Elementary went really well. Our students visit the afterschool program students, read to them, and braid hair or paint nails.

For midterms and finals I invited the SC Dog Therapy Group to our school. It was a huge hit and fun stress reliever.

We were so proud to give over 25 bags with new pajamas and a book for students in our area in need. This was our first annual Bedtime Story Pajama Drive. I look forward to doing it again next year.

Tomorrow we're going over to Wren Elementary to visit with a class that we've been reading Wishtree with and discussing on Flipgrid. We're going to plan our own Wishtree and tie our wishes onto the tree together. Here is our fabric scraps ready to go.

After seeing this idea on Twitter, I implemented it in the library. I already had this cart, but I went out and bought things that students frequently ask for like pencils, lint brush, sewing kit, deodorant, socks, band aids, etc. Now they can get what they need without embarrassment.

18-19 Reading Promotions

This year some of my favorite reading promotions has been:

1. Unwrap Your Next Read
I created a Google Form with reading interest questions for our faculty and staff. Anyone that wanted to participate could take the survey and I would choose a book for them based on their answers. Then I'd wrap the book up for the winter holidays. They could take it home for the break and return it with a short review for a book display.

2. Skype visits.
This year our Forensics class read Blood, Bullets, and Bones and Skyped with Bridget Heos. Our book club Skyped with Megan Miranda for The Safest Lies, Katie Kennedy for Learning to Swear in America, and we had Marie Marquardt visit us in person for her books. A visit with Tiffany Jackson fell through, but our students still enjoyed reading Monday's Not Coming.
In addition to authors, we Skyped with the book club from Richland Northeast High School a few hours away. We talked about Speak and Hey, Kiddo. My students loved talking to a group at another school.

Next year we already have six Skype visits lined up for our state's Young Adult Book Award nominees!
3. YABA Voting
The Anderson County Election Commission came through for me again this year so that we could vote on real voting machines. I love combining their visit with promoting books and getting students registered to vote. It pairs nicely with the new Civic Engagement Center that I set up in the library with voting information, Selective Service information, legislators contact info and other government-related information. This project was even included in a book recently about addressing life skills in the library program.
Teaching Life Skills in the School Library: Career, Finance, and Civic Engagement in a Changing World

4. March Book Madness
This event is always fun because it gives me a chance to book talk and share new books with the students. I also love finding out which one they choose as the winner. Our school chose Fifth Wave as their favorite.

5. Summer Reading
I've already visited our middle school to get our rising freshmen signed up for their summer reading. It was great sharing books with them and telling them about the importance of reading over summer break. These are their choices this year. I'll be working on rising sophomore sign up very soon.

Awards and Advocacy

I have had the pleasure of serving as our district Teacher of the Year this year. That comes with many perks and responsibilities.
One of the perks was attending the SC Teacher Forum in November. This was a great opportunity for us to network with teachers from all over the state, hone our leadership skills, and learn about the State Teacher of the Year process. My favorite part was the friends I made in those few days.
I was also excited to hear from our current State TOY, our State Superintendent of Education, and the National TOY, Mandy Manning.
I was thrilled to find out that I was a recipient of the I Love My Librarian Award this year as well as the SC School Librarian of the Year. This has been a year of recognition and excitement. I wish every teacher could feel celebrated like this. It is what we deserve all the time, but don't normally receive.

I'm trying to use the platform I've been given to promote libraries and public education. I organized a Hill Day for our district's teacher forum. School teachers of the year, teacher cadets, and student middle school leaders visited our legislators in Columbia to share our concerns about school funding, teacher salaries, testing, mental health, and more. The Palmetto State Teacher's Association helped make it happen.
The Speak Up SCASL advocacy program has been going on all year this year with different themes each month. This has been a great way to highlight the amazing lessons and programs going on in school libraries across the state. #speakupSCASL #SCASLLeg
This year SCASL and the South Carolina Library Association planned a SC Legislative Day since NLLD corresponded with ALA this year. Three of the congressional visits took place in school libraries. It was a great day of advocacy.

I've been trying to preach the gospel of school libraries everywhere I go including our state's tech conference Edtech, the SC Library Association conference, Anderson County Council meeting, CERRA Teacher Fellows conference, and other speaking engagements. I've even traveled to Columbia to testify against a public education bill that would have been very harmful to public schools. In addition to speaking, I helped organize a SCASL member spotlight event for the School Library Month and made one for each of the librarians in my district.

In a few days, many of our state's teachers will be going to Columbia for a rally for education called All Out May 1st. I can't attend because of a school trip, but I wanted to contribute. I made a template for a letter to your legislator, a postcard to use to write your legislators, a voter registration card, and I organized a story time on the steps of the State House. I'm excited that the story time slots filled up quickly and the book choices look great.