Social Media is Great!

I didn’t use twitter much before this school year but I have been dipping my toes into the twitter stream and it feels nice.  I unfollowed most of the fluff and starting following school librarians, tech educators and other book lovers.  This had been great for my teaching and my library.

You can learn so much and connect with so many people.  I found out about World Read Aloud Day which is March 6.  I reached out to a my new twitter friend Shannon McClintock Miller, from Iowa, about Skyping read alouds with our students.  She graciously agreed and we have been emailing and tweeting plans that included a live pig at the read aloud!  It has been so much fun.


Remember back when we were little and you would write to an author? You usually had to send it in care of the publisher and hope that the author would actual receive it.  Well twitter and Facebook make this so easy.  At home today, in the familiar Amazon box, was Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier. I started reading it and Audrey instantly came over to see, I read it again from the beginning to her and then she took it from me.  She spent the next 45 minutes reading it over and over to herself.  It was so sweet to see.  I took a photo of her and I don’t think she even realized she was so focused on the book.

I posted the photo to twitter and then went to share it on Facebook too.  As I was typing in the author’s name it highlighted the way it does when they have a Facebook account.  After I double checked to make sure I wasn’t linking up some other random Jesse Klausmeier, (cause you never know) I posted the photo.  To my surprise the second comment was from Ms. Klausmeier herself!  She also answered my original tweet. She then offered to send Audrey a signed bookplate!  How cool it that!!  I love the quickness of twitter and Facebook.

Social media opens up so many ways for us to connect outside of our school and I can’t wait to dive more into the stream!


Happy Reading!

Okle Miller

State Conferences Matter


I went to my state conference,  FAME this past week.  I had a really good time and connected with some great people.  Not all of my friends were able to go this year, but I haven’t missed a conference since I became a librarian. Here are my reasons for never missing your state conference:


It’s fun to get away from school sometimes.

It’s true, going to a conference is still getting to go on a trip.  I don’t normally stay at a Hilton and eat at high end, nice restaurants  it’s usually Motel6 and McDonald’s, so this is a treat each year.

You can hear some great speakers, like Shannon Miller and Buffy Hamilton

 This year my conference had exceptional keynote and closing speakers.  That might not be the case every year, but usually one or the other has something you can take back with you.  Like I said, this year was super great and I made sure I was on time for the opening session with Shannon Miller and I stayed to the last second to make sure I didn’t miss hearing Buffy Hamilton.

You learn some new ways to engage your students.

You can always find some sessions were you can pick up new tips and tricks.  I learned to manage my social media better (thanks Shannon) and some great ideas for implementing book clubs that I hadn’t considered before. 

You learn what you were already doing is the right thing.

 Sometimes you don’t learn anything new in a session.  While you might think it was a waste of time, I like to stay positive and see it as validation that what I am doing with my students is right.  If another school librarian in a different part of the state is doing things the way I’m doing them, then we are both brilliant! 

 Session and workshops are great, but sometimes the most insight comes from lunch.

Session and workshops are great but sometimes the most insight comes from lunch.  That’s right lunch, when we are all looking for a table and you end up at a table with new peers.  The first day we sat with  author Christina Gonzalez, who was a delight.  The next day, Michelle Harclerode, sat down next to me and we had a great conversation about her wonderful book trailers and how things are in her district.

You realize the maybe things are not so bad at your school or district after all.

Getting to meet and talk with school librarians from around the state can really open your eyes.  We still have a certified school librarian in each of our schools elementary through high school.  After talking to others I am starting to realize how lucky we are in our district. I may not have a clerk for help,  but my students still have me and I’m glad I have one school to go to each day.


You get to meet face to face with your PLN peeps.

I follow Shannon Miller on twitter and read her blog so I was really excited that she was the keynote speaker this year.  She was also presenting a workshop that I got to attend.  It was great that she just didn’t speak and leave. I was able to really talk to her and make a connection.  She has had a big impact on my professional development and getting to connect with her in person has made it all that much better.

You realize you are not alone.

We spend much of our time professionally by ourselves.  The teachers at school may like you and support you but that don’t always “get” you.  “You have the be here for conference night?”, “You are so lucky, you get to read books all day”  Even connecting with your library peeps on school email isn’t that same as getting to spend three days together.  To really get to talk and pick each other’s brains is priceless.

When it is time for your state conference do whatever you have to do to be able to go.  You won’t regret it. : )



Summer Reading Success!

We had a great time in the library today with our summer reading celebration. Over 100 1st-5th grade students did their summer reading and qualified for our celebration.  Students enjoyed four centers: Pawsites (dog gone good websites), Canine Collars (making a letter bead necklace), Puppy Chow (making snack mix with chocolate, powdered sugar and chex mix) and Pawcakes (decorating a cupcake).  Students also got to go to the coliseum to watch Rick Martin and his dogs in the Tricky Dog Show.

I was so excited I forgot my camera for that part.  He was great and the students loved the dogs.

Here are some highlights from our celebration.

RSS Feeds

I have been spending time reading on twitter and checking out many blogs and websites of the people I follow.  I am still old school in my browsing and was bookmarking my sites.  Atleast I am using Chrome and syncing so my bookmarks follow me from home to school.  But since some blog sites are still blocked at school I went back to all the sites I found and added them to my Google Reader.  Now I should be able to read post in Google Reader even if the blog site itself is blocked at school.

I’m hoping too that using Google Reader will make my online time more effective.  There is so much to read and take in.  I want to develop my PLN but not feel overwhelmed.  Google Reader should help.

Don’t ask if you don’t want to know…

I put out my teacher survey today and have already gotten some interesting results.  It is online and anonymous so I told teachers to honest.  Yikes!  I need to work on some of the perceptions they have.  Some did not agree that I  “help my building meet our instructional objectives”, ouch!  A few did not agree that I “aid them in finding materials for class projects”.  Maybe I should have have stated: “If asked, the media specialists aids me on finding materials for class projects.”

Hopefully, as more results come in those disagrees will be a very small percentage, but I know I need to work on promoting my services and program more because I know I do make a difference in the lives of our students…and hopefully teachers.

Thanks Isaac

Thanks to Isaac I didn’t have to go to school today.  Since my school is in Tampa we were lucky that Isaac decided to travel more to the west.  All we got were some heavy rains.

I got more time today to read some of my favorite blogs and decide to start one for myself!  I titled it One School Librarian because, well that’s what I am!  Like many school librarians, or media specialists, I am alone at my school.  I’m lucky that I teach in a very large district.  We have a wonderful supervisor who is  just for elementary media and great inservices offered in district.  We also communicate daily with school email and get together once a month with our area PLC.

Even with all these wonderful resources I have started branching out to read what others are doing in the U.S. and all over the world.  I have gotten more active reading twitter accounts of educators and librarians and joining some different online PLN’s to be more connected.  I’m looking forward to exploring more this year and recording my thoughts and observations here.

Here’s to a connected year!