Friday, August 31, 2012

Crushing on the Romance Section

The kids have been back for almost two weeks and I FINALLY finished my first visit with each class. Hooray! It was fun to talk books with the kids and hear about their summer reads and what they can't wait to read this year. Now that each class has had an opportunity to come in and check out books, I can see what is in high demand. When I genriefied my fiction at the end of the year, my main motive was to make books easier to find for my students, but I never expected this arrangement to help me so much in creating a book order. My Thriller and Humor areas are almost empty, but nothing compares to this sad, lonely and barren Romance section. Untitled
I assure you these shelves were completely full on the first day of school. So full that I had books sitting on top of rows. These empty sheves tells me I have some work to do to meet the demands of my girls.
I've been hard at work this afternoon searching through Goodreads, Amazon, Follett, and some of my favorite book bloggers to find suggestions to add to this section.
Those of you who are also in middle school know how hard this is. We want beautiful covers, stories mature enough to keep the girls interested and engaged, but not too mature or sexy. We need sweet, innocent crush stories for our sixth graders and emotional drama for our eighth graders. I hope I've hit the mark with these titles.

This is what I plan to order in alphabetical order:
1. Beauty and the Beast: the Only One Who Didn't Run Away by Wendy Mass
2. Boy Crazy by Hailey Abbott
3. Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman
4. The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler
5. Freshman Year and other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zietlin
6. Friend Is Not a Verb by Daniel Ehrenhaft
7. Geek Magnet by Kieran Scott
8. In Your Room by Jordanna Frailberg
9. Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti
10. Love? Maybe by Heather Hepler
11. Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
12. Pizza, Love and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams
13. Prada & Prejudice by Amanda Hubbard
14. Rapunzel: The One With All the Hair by Wendy Mass
15. Rumors From the Boys Room by Rose Cooper
16. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
17. Secrets from the Sleeping Bag by Rose Cooper
18. The Selection by Kiera Cass (2 copies)
19. Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby
20. Shug by Jenny Han
21. Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita
22. Sleeping Beauty: The One Who Took the Really Long Nap by Wendy Mass
23. So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti
24. Throwing Like a Girl by Weezie Kerr Mackey
25. Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams
26. What Would Emma Do? by Eileen Cook
27. You Are Here by Jennifer Smith

Here are a few titles that have been popular, I've already ordered because I read and liked them or they are already on hold many times over this year:
The Encyclopedia of Me by Karen Rivers
Pinned by Sharon Flake
Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroder
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
You Wish by Mandy Hubbard
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The Boy Project by Kami Kinard
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt
Matched by Ally Condie
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Lots of Sarah Dessen and Nicholas Sparks and the usual suspects, Twilight series, Shiver series, etc.

What romance novels would you recommend for middle school? What are your popular romance titles?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First Impressions and the First Library Visit

The first time my new 6th graders see me is when I visit their elementary schools to talk about summer reading and share book trailers. I've even brought along the iPods with recorded book talks loaded so they can listen to them. It is important to me that their first impression and interaction with me is a positive one. I don't talk about rules, policies or procedures. I talk about how much fun we have, books I love and how excited I am to have them at our school.
I'm sure to include the library on the 5th grade tour in the Spring as well as the first day of school tour when they arrive. I'm there for assemblies and parent night so they get used to thinking of me as part of their team of teachers. Luckily I have several excellent teachers that go to extremes to include me so I am lucky. This year my best friend brought me two giveaway Hunger Games posters from the movie release and the idea to hold a drawing on parent night for those that visited the library. That was genius and so simple. I had 67 students and families stop by and normally I have less than 10. Definitely doing that again next year.
Here are my plans for their first official library visit. For every grade we talk about book trends and watch book trailers to build excitement about reading. This year I'm using slides that Kristen, Monique and I created for our novel staff development session last week. You may recognize them from our Nerdy Book Club post with our spectacular high school colleague, Jen Chesney.
This was one of our slides that I turned into a book display.

There will not be discussion of rules yet. The only policy I plan to share is the number of books they can check out and how to put books on hold.
Here is my book trailer playlist.
We are planning a library QR code scavenger hunt for the 6th grade's second visit. I used the cute graphic from the Daring Librarian, Gwyneth Jones, to make a handout. They will use the iPods to view our catalog, library website, and the site Your Next Read, in addition to exploring different areas of the library and answering questions about the room.
For another of the first visits we'll use this idea from Mrs. ReaderPantz. Students will use my version of her genre quiz to find their favorites. This is especially important this year because I genrefied fiction.
Soon we'll be doing a version of this book cover/book pass activity from Teen Librarian Toolbox. We'll also be signing up for Edmodo accounts and getting started on Reader's Quest with 6th grade. The teachers have already reserved a spot for me on their weekly homework handout. I'll post updates on that soon.
I hope you all have made a positive first impression with your students.
What do you do for your first library visit?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Library to Home Connection

I love working with middle schoolers, but it seems that staying connected with parents becomes more difficult at this age. Parents want to give their students more responsibility and independence and the students often sabotage parent involvement in order to protect their tween/teen reputation. One of my goals this year is to increase parent communication from the library.
I was inspired by Shannon Miller's beautiful newsletter created on Smore. Since then I have seen several other cute librarian newsletters made on this site including The Unquiet Library, my MLIS buddy Sharon Matney's newsletter for Lake Murray Elementary, and the talented and creative Valerie Byrd Fort at New Providence Elementary.
I plan to share our newsletter on our school Facebook page to keep parents and students updated on library events.

Another initiative I want to continue is Happy Calls. I read about this at the Shelf Consumed blog. I shoot for one positive parent phone call per day or five in one day for the week, but sometimes I'll admit I get busy and miss days. I try to chose students that are not always recognized and rewarded and compliment their reading, behavior and character. I've had lots of positive response from parents and students and it really does not take long.

Our first task in the Level Up Tech Quest is School-Home communication. I would love for you take a look at the page I put together and share some of the ideas with your own faculty or use them in your library. There are lots of good ideas that I've found searching through articles and blogs this summer.

This year I'm going to try for National Board certification. The convincing Tiffany Whitehead encouraged me to go for it with her this year and parent communication is one of the priorities in the porfolio. I'm hoping these efforts will help me with this portion and, most importantly, create a bridge between our library and student homes.

What do you do to connect with parents?

Are You Ready for the Reader's Quest?

This summer I participated in the Level Up Book Club. Our first read and Twitter chats inspired two new programs.  Our professional development program, Level Up Tech Quest, which you can read about here. The second idea was a reading program in the style of a game. I noticed that many games mentioned in our first read, Reality is Broken, were quests so I thought Reader's Quest would be a cute name. I started a Google doc to share with the group so that we could all share our ideas and my PLN delivered, as always. These are the current contributors:

Katy @katyvance - Secondary Librarian (6-12) at a Pre-K-12 school
Tamara Cox @coxtl- Middle school (6-8)
Jennifer Northrup @candidlibrarian - Middle school (6-8)
Tiff Whitehead - @librarian_tiff - Middle School (6-8)
Misti Sikes- @mistisikes - Elementary School (PreK-5)
Kristina Thoennes @kamtonnes - Intermediate School (4-6)

We welcome you to go and add your own thoughts and ideas. Special thanks goes to the amazing Tiffany Whitehead for creating this beautiful logo and sharing it with us. You can read about how she is going to use Reader's Quest at her school here.

My motivations for implementing a reading program include helping student set and meet reading goals, encourage reading a variety of genres and types of text, build a community of readers, and recognize reading accomplishments.

This year I'm going to use the program with 6th grade so that I can work out all the details and find out how to manage the additional workload before going school-wide. We will be using Edmodo to create Reader's Quest groups for each 6th grade team. Luckily the 6th grade teachers have already discussed using Edmodo in their classroom so we will be able to integrate this into the normal classroom routine pretty easily.

Students can earn badges to display on their Edmodo profile to indicate the challenges they have completed. Read about Edmodo badges here. You can see Tiff's badges on Flickr. These are the badges I plan to use.

  • Mustang Reader: Write a post sharing the first title you checked out from the library.
  • Summer Reader: Turn in a summer reading log.
  • Fiction Master: Read at least one book from each of the 13 fiction genres in the library.
  • Fiction Ninja: Read at least one book from 6 fiction genres in the library.
  • Nonfiction Master: Read at least one book from each of the 23 nonfiction subject area including biography.
  • Nonfiction Ninja: Read at least one book from 11 nonfiction subject areas.
  • Manga Master: Finish an entire manga series.
  • Review Master: Post at least three book reviews on Edmodo or share a book review on our morning news program.
  • Storyteller Master: Read to our special education students.
  • SC Junior Book Award Master: Read at least 3 SC JBA nominees (our state book award program)
  • SC Junior Book Award Boss: Read all twenty nominees.
  • Recommendation Master: Post at least 5 recommendations on our library displays
  • Secret Reading Missions: Complete challenges that can be found on ELA handouts or hidden in the library.
I have three library displays that allow students to contribute their suggestions.

On "Now That's What I Call Books" students can post their favorite books. It is taped on a door's window.
On the "Recommend A..." poster they can recommend a certain book like a sad book, book with green cover, etc. The full list can be seen here.

On the "Reading Takes You Places" map student put flags on the map indicating the setting for books they read.

I have ideas for the secret reading missions like rereading a childhood favorite and writing a post about it, reading a fiction/nonfiction pairing, carry a book to lunch to share at the table, take a picture of you reading in your favorite place, upload video book reviews, record Smartpen booktalks, and any other activity to reinforce lessons in ELA and the library.

A few other ideas I have to interact with students using Edmodo is to create monthly reading interview videos when teachers, administrators, parents or community members to share their reading lives, favorite books or how reading impacted their life.

I am considering having students set reading goals with me and their ELA teacher. The goals could be pages per week, books per month, time per week, benchmark testing, Lexile or anything the teacher feels they should focus on.

I'm looking forward to sharing the program with the students and seeing how the program affects our students' reading habits. I'll post updates during the year.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Read It Before You See It

My other librarians in the middle, Kristen and Monique, and I are putting together a presentation for our middle school ELA teachers to share the latest and greatest novels. You can see the list we're working on in Goodreads. We did a similar session in the Spring and we created bookmarks of trends. We were inspired by the Teen Librarian Toolbox and our high school counterpart, Jen Chesney, and decided to create a poster of the trends with book covers. I'm the graphically challenged portion of our trio so I'm not putting that together, but I did put together a poster for upcoming book to movie adaptations. Feel free to share and use if you like. We're going to print a few posters to give as door prizes at our session and I'll put up a copy in the library.

Books to Movies 2012-2013

Are you doing a similar session? How are you sharing new novels with your teachers? We will share our book posters soon.