Wednesday, February 17, 2010

School Web Site

Oh boy - it's been ages since I posted on this blog! I've been so busy. Our school district is in the process of rolling out an entirely new website (they're calling it a Content Management System.) My school, along with three others, were selected to be the PIONEERS of the district and be the first ones to go LIVE! It's been quite a trip, let me tell you. I am sooooo glad I took LIS 753 Internet Fundamentals and Design! While I haven't had to write anything HTML or create style sheets, I had a good understanding of why things were working the way they did. (I did resort to editing the HTML one time when I couldn't get my link to open in a new window, but that isn't the norm!)

I am so proud to have been chosen (or did I volunteer? I think I volunteered) to help structure and create the library web pages. They're still under construction, but you can check out the Rose School Library pages and Lines School Library pages. Amy Rolain, librarian at Lines and I are each doing 1/2 the pages, then when they're perfect(!) we'll copy them to the schools that haven't gone live yet. That was supposed to save everyone lots of time. So far, it's been sort of frustrating, especially when it comes to my tables. Using the Schoolwires Site Manager I create beautiful tables, but when they get published to the site, they look terrible. I'm sure what's happening is that I'm getting code stuck inside of code and one supersedes the other. I should have paid more attention to the part of the class about what gets priority! I suppose I could delve into the minutia of the HTML.... but not tonight!

Within the same 24 hours that we went live with the new web site we also discontinued using our old circulation system and put a temporary one in place until our new software gets going in March!

Tonight I need to finish up my presention that I'm giving to our PTO tomorrow morning. My Student Impact Plan for 2009-2010 is to establish an audio book collection in my library. I'm making progress! I've gone from ONE audio book on CASSETTE TAPE to now having two novels on CD and about 20 picture books on CD that include either one or two copies of the book. My presentation tomorrow will be a plea for $ to purchase playaways. I also want to highlight some of the great uses of audio books. I heard Mary Burkey speak at the ALA conference this summer and she was very persuasive! I also have been talking to a parent of a struggling reader and she is very supportive of audiobooks. She's seen first hand how much it has helped her child.

My final bit of procrastination before I ... ok, to be honest, I haven't even STARTED that powerpoint for the PTO yet - some things never change... my final bit of info to share is that my students have been voting this week for their favorite Illinois Monarch Award nominee and Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Award nominee. See photos of their posters and voting (I gotta remember to take more pictures tomorrow when the kids vote) here. It's been neat to go from reading and researching the books myself, discussing the books with teachers this summer, book talking titles to students, purchasing titles for the library, reading books to the younger kids, having kids make posters, and then seeing them vote for the books. Someday I'll have to get involved in the nominating and selection of the books on the list.

No wonder I haven't had time to keep this blog up!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

_Letter_from_Death_ Illustrations on YouTube

Click on this link: to see a YouTube video made by Dave Moats made. It shows many of the illustrations from Letter from Death, a book he illustrated and I did the research for (well, some of it.) Oh yeah, and someone named Lillian Moats actually wrote the book. ( - :

I ordered a copy from and it arrived in the mail last week. How cool is that? The copy that Lillian gave me is currently on loan to a friend at work. I told my Silverstone friends about it during Ladies' Night on Monday, but my news was overshadowed by Kim's cute belly (she's 5 months pregnant) and Melissa's astonishing news that she's pregnant! (Her son, Dylan, is 15 and learning to drive!) The ladies that looked at the book really liked the look and feel of it, but with all the baby talk, no one got a chance to really delve into it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Looking for Books about Illinois Mound Builders

Third graders are studying Illinois history this year. Right now they're talking about the Cahokia Mounds. I've found only one book on this topic that seems appropriate for this age: Journey to Cahokia : a boy's visit to the great mound city. I'd really like to find more titles on this topic for my library. Any suggestions?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Read for the Record!

Yesterday I read The Hungry Caterpillar to 100 students in my library. It was part of an effort sponsored by jumpstart to make a world's record by reading the same book to over one million children worldwide. (Jumpstart is an organization working to increase preschool literacy through the efforts of college students and other community volunteers.)

I was excited to get other teachers in my building participating! Our music teacher, Mrs. Blake, read to six classes (124 students) and our art teacher, Mr. Gonka, read to two classes (49 students.) If we add in our three kindergarten classes (52 students) and a fourth grade class (26 students), our school total is 351 students!

We still don't know if we helped set a new world's record, but there sure were a lot of people reading the book yesterday.

The kids really enjoyed the book, even the older kids. One of our kindergarten teachers lent me a puppet caterpillar that "ate" felt food throughout the story. My valiant assistant tried to take pictures, but I kept moving around!

Monday, October 5, 2009


I have such a beautiful drive to get to work. I'm so lucky. A good bit of my commute is through a forest preserve. Unfortunately, most of my drives to school have been quite long lately, as it seems like every east-west route between C-ville and South Barrington are under construction all at the same time!

This morning, as I was sitting on Penny Road and being passed by the guy on the bike for the second time, I turned off NPR (yet another story about attacks in Afghanistan coming from Pakistan,) rolled down my windows, and enjoyed the gorgeous view and fall smells.

I need to get outside more.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Third Week - Going Great!

I'm in my third week now. I had a fun and relaxing weekend and didn't come to school even once! I went in to school yesterday carrying only ONE bag and it wasn't even heavy. Does this mean my dad can't call me the "Bagley Lady" any more??? My shoulders are sure loving it!

The last two weeks have been incredibly busy. I've been giving the MAP test to all third, fourth, and fifth graders during their library time. Reading last week and this week, math this week and next week. Unfortunately, this means that the kids didn't get their regular library time and so didn't get to check out any books. Also, since we had Monday off for Labor Day and Friday off for a teachers' institute day, 13 classes were unable to check out books last week! I offered all classroom teachers an opportunity to come to the library to check out, and we were swamped. I think 11 out of the 13 teachers asked for a time to come down. This week, I had more teachers ask for time to come to the library than I had openings! We had classes back to back to back. My clerk asked if I was trying to kill her!

(NO WAY! She's half the reason I love this job so much! Marilyn makes everything so easy for me. She told me this summer, joking of course, that she wouldn't retire until all the bookmarks were gone. We found hundreds and hundreds of them. So now I'm only letting kids take one bookmark at a time and I told her I'd cut the bookmarks in half if I had to, just to keep her here!)

This week was a bit more manageable, since it's a five day week. However, we are now adding second grade to the testing schedule. However, since their normal library time is in the afternoons, and we test in the mornings, their check out times won't be affected. It makes me feel so great when I hear the kids want to come to the library to check out!

I went over to the high school this afternoon to meet with some of the ladies who work there. I wanted, particularly, to learn how to order books. I also got a list of our magazine subscriptions ($260.10 out of $275 budgeted) and advice on running reports (don't do it until we get a new circulation system next year.)

I'm starting to recognize kids in the hall and even remember some of their names. Now, all I have to do it figure out how to get my full 40 min lunch!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First Week Went Well!

My first week lasted eleven days, but I made it. Here's how it went:
Day One: Fri, Aug 21 All day librarian's meeting at the high schoold, then back to Rose
Day Two: Sat, Aug 22 Dad and I spent a few hours at Rose working on SMARTboards, awesome graduation party that night at Kim and Frank's house
Day Three: Sun, Aug 23 I ache head to toe from jumping for hours in the bouncy with the kids. Dad and I spent many hours at Rose working on SMARTboards, go to another graduation party with my mom and brother's family in McHenry, then Dad and I come back to Rose to finish up the SMART boards. Thanks, Dad!
Day Four: Mon, Aug 24 District wide meeting at BHS, staff meeting at Rose, many hours spent troubleshooting SMARTboards, setting up visual presenters, a short time spent preparing for my first day. I use an idea from School Library Monthly to create a I have... Who has... game. Sample Cards: I have the first card. Who has how many books we can check out? I have three books. Who has the name of the Rose School librarian?
Day Five: Tues, Aug 25 Kids finally arrive! My first class is Ms. Solymossy's fifth grade. Also had third, fourth, and first grade, all checking out. My game was successful! Took pictures.
Day Six: Wed, Aug 26 Weird day - only two classes in the afternoon, as kindergartners hadn't arrived yet, but my awesome aide Marilyn and I got lots done. We put up a bulletin board for the book fair, go through book bags from the public library, and frame and hang up some posters.
Day Seven: Thurs, Aug 27 Third grade comes in the morning, the afternoon was NUTS! I have four classes in a row, back to back, all checking out. Marilyn's lunch takes place during two of those classes. I forgot to click on CLEAR while checking books out and accidentally check out a book about Jane Austen from the high school to a first grader! Marilyn helps me correct my mistake. Conference call with my principal and the book fair chairperson after school.
Day Eight: Fri, Aug 28 Fridays consist of non stop classes all day. It was nice to see many familiar faces, as two of the first grade classes had come earlier in the week and I knew most of the fourth and fifth graders. I am starting to get tired of reading Goldie Socks and the Three Libearans. I read it to all the first and second grade classes. Two big crates of brand new, just process books arrive in the afternoon!
(SHOCKING - I did not come in to school at all this weekend, though I did take some new books home to read. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping may be even funnier than the first Alvin Ho book!)
Day Nine: Mon, Aug 31 More familiar faces as fourth and fifth grade arrive, plus all the afternoon classes had come once before. Went out to dinner with the music teacher. Back to School Night - got introduced as librarian - weird to see the third grade team stand up without me, but it's ok. TEN parents stop by the library. Granted, five were parents of former students, but five were not! My library must have looked inviting in some way. They all said they'd never even been in the library before!
Day Ten: Tues, Sept 1 New set of plans for this week - show the book fair video to classes and let the kids preview the new books. So hard not to let them check out the new books, but I have to save them for a week so all the classes can see them. Meet with principal for my first monthly (at my request) meeting - end up creating a testing schedule to get second graders into the computer lab instead of sharing all the great things happening in the library. Next month! Marilyn and I go a little crazy rearranging furniture and actually end up taking apart part of the circulation desk and putting it in storage. We were laughing so hard we almost "peed in our pants" as my friend Tanya would say. I am so busy all day I don't even have time to check my email!
Day Eleven: Wed Sept 2 The day I've been worried about since I got the job back in March... kindergartners arrive in the library. They are so little! They color on their library cards. No one colored on their bar codes. I was so proud! We got books picked out and checked out in 25 minutes. I am totally impressed by how well it goes. Superintendent stops by during my second kindergarten class. Eeek! After school staff meeting held in the library. I asked staff if they could figure out what major piece of furniture was missing from the library.... only one person figured out that we had removed a third of the circulation desk and put a computer cart in its place! Finished filling out a spread sheet about SMARTboards to send to my boss.

I guess an eleven day week explains why I'm so tired! My TO DO list is still growing...