What an exciting time to be alive

January 19, 2009

I visit the bookstores at least once a month to replenish the books that seem to disappear off of the shelves or they are so loved that they look like they have been chewed up when returned.  One of those special books that always needs to be purchased over and over is “My Brother Martin” by Christine King Farris, illustrated by Chris Soentpiet.  It is a piece of  art as a sister remembers growing up with Martin Luther King, Jr.  I never tire of it and I always choke up at the words so preciously placed in the story. Chris Soentpiet was a guest at our school several years ago and I asked him about illustrating such a book of love.  He smiled and shared with me that it was an “honor”.

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Each time I read this particular book our students sit mesmerized and almost in disbelief that there was a time in this country that students of different color were not allowed to sit in the same classroom. 

I replaced the “Martin” book and happened upon another treasure that I must share with each of you.  Julius Lester, award winning author has blown me away with yet another one of his great books.  “Let’s Talk About Race”, illustrated by Karen Barbour.  Julius Lester begins the picture book  with the “hook ” of  “I am a story. So are you.” He walks us through how each person has many elements in their story – from family names and places to likes and dislikes.  The illustrations are dramatic and dazzling.  I continuously ask myself  aren’t books healing?  Again…I love my job.

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Happy New Year!

January 19, 2009

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Can you believe we are in the year 2009?    I remember thinking when I was about 10 years old that we would be driving cars that flew.  Of course, I still believe that will happen in my lifetime, I just want it to happen now.

I can’t wait to see what this new year will bring.  I resolved on the last day of school December 19th, that I would follow my Principal’s directive of really focusing on my family and not working over the holidays.  Believe me it wasn’t easy.   I found out I really have not been balanced when trying to make things happen in my school community.  I would just make things happen until I would collapse.  Now that I have seen the results of making time for self, I am even more driven to rest.  My family’s health has improved, I read a ton of books, traveled, hung out with friends and rejuvenated myself.  It was the best ever. Looking back at everything that has happened in the last 5 months has been exhilarating.  From hosting book fairs to generate funds to operate the media center, entertaining a great guest author aka Bruce Junek  to kick off the new school year, celebrating a wonderful Literary Pumpkin Festival with the best costumed book characters seen anywhere, participating in a humbling flag-raising (Veterans Day), participating in a thankful Kindergarten Pow Wow and finally icing the media center cake with “Cookies with Auntie Claus”. Woo! that was truly a trip.  Arriving back, my Principal tagged me to create a Wordle.  What’s a Wordle you ask?  Well, it is best said in the creator’s words…wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends. wordle

What a cool way to be creative. So here it is.  A word picture that is all about me.


Bringing the world into our school community!

November 14, 2008

tandberg_barcoIn this time of financial turmoil, educators are having to think differently when planning field trips and professional development opportunities.  What one would think as impossible became the possible when we were asked 2 1/2 years ago to allow educators to come in virtually using interactive videoconferencing (IVC) into our classrooms.  At first, we only had a couple of videoconferences each month and then it grew to several a month. Peers from our county and surrounding counties met in the Schultz Center for a day of training and when the trainer wanted to emphasize a strategy or concept they had been discussing earlier in the day, they would just turn to the larger than life screen and say, “let’s visit a real class working with this strategy”. Then magically the entire room of teachers tuned into a real-life application.  The video conferencing shown below is one between Jacksonville and L.A.

Can you imagine the impact this educational resource made on those lifelong learners?  As the tech wizard inside the walls of the school, I have been the “fly” on the wall and seen the benefits of this powerful tool.  Students are so use to the equipment postioned in their classrooms I don’t even think they realize it is there until the teachers start communicating with the teachers outside our walls.  Two months ago I met with two inspirational women (Elizabeth DeZemler and Jan Zenetis) who work for a company called Tandberg.  “Videoconferencing” is their business and they support the vision that I carry in my heart.  That vision is one where our administration and instructors will no longer get in to a car to attend a district meeting, they would use blogs, online surveys and video conferences to supplement traditional methods of the face to face meetings and training sessions.  This vision would not only meet the professional needs of our teachers but would also meet the field trip needs of our students.

Jan Zenetis (co-author) of the book Videoconferencing for K-12 Classrooms presented me with so many ideas and ways that we can use this powerful tool through her book.      

The dream will become a reality soon.  You can count on it.  I truly believe that by allowing the world to step into our world that we have opened the doors to immeasurable opportunities.  The virtual field trips alone that we are already planning will empower our kids and teachers as we make the world a little bit smaller and our life experiences a little bit richer.


Juggling it all?

September 29, 2008

I have always believed that an effective media specialist’s job is never complete at the end of the school day. Case in point… The day begins listening to voice mails and reading numerous emails (cries for help – troubleshooting technology needs, VCR/DVD problems and yes, even video editing).  Once the media team meets at 7:00 a.m. we divide and conquer the priorities that have to be addressed so our teachers can serve our students effectively.  In many cases, we have to troubleshoot after the students are out of the building.  I am just lucky that are team is always about serving others or I don’t know how the teachers would be able to accomplish all they need to get done.  We have each become amazing jugglers and have even giggled about our going “on the road” with our act.

The juggling of teaching classes, checking out resources, video-conferencing and planning for upcoming events, (book-fairs, Battle of the Books competition, literary pumpkin festival, kindergarten Pow-Wow, 1st grade pajama sleepover, author/illustrator visits, cultural arts festival and so much more) makes every day different and exciting. I am so lucky to be living my dream.

Can you believe that this is a pumpkin?

We truly believe that we are the one stop shop for our beloved school.

Love, The Book Fairy


Book Fair

September 17, 2008

Well, the Scholastic Book Fair is in full swing this week! The kids have been coming in and buying up books like the voracious readers that they are. It’s been a little wild, but we wouldn’t have it any other way here in the media center.

Be sure to come in tomorrow, Thursday, September 18th from 6:00-8:30 pm for our Book Fair family night.


3rd grade teacher?

September 12, 2008

So many times as a media specialist, I have reflected about my effectiveness as I create little Information Specialists. Today, I had a great experience as I started the day by introducing the OPAC lesson — or should I say review — of Duval called Destiny. The students were listening intently when one student, Alex, raised his hand and asked me if I wanted him to finish the lesson. Of course, I humbly sat down and said, “why of course, I would love for you to share with the class how to search for a book”. He began by saying, “I remember every word that Ms. KK taught me. Let’s begin.”

He walked up to the laptop attached to the projector and moved the curser to the address bar and typed….destiny.duvalschools.org. The rest was history as he gently guided his fellow students through a perfect book search. Can it get any better than this?


Artist Spotlight

September 9, 2008

Here’s another 1st grade artist-to-be. I’m telling you, these first graders have been blowing me away! Today Mrs. KK read the students one of our school’s favorite books, The Library Dragon, and afterwards I taught them how to draw their own library dragon. A lot of them really wowed me, but this one from Piper was just too great not to feature as the current artist spotlight.