Sunday, April 23, 2017

TxLA17 recap

Y'all.  #TxLA17 was amazing!
The Texas Library Association annual conference is always great, but this year was really superb.

Here are some highlights from my week in gorgeous San Antonio:

  • Tech Camp. Amy Mayer of friEDTechnolgy's sessions alone were worth the ticket price.
  • Jennifer Niven & my BFF, Adam Silvera
  • Shrimp Paesano. Never underestimate bonding over good food with your library peeps.
  • Seeing so many of my TALL Texan 2016 family. #clearlysuperior
  • Cory Doctorow. 
  • Talking about my fabulous TALL mentor to a group (thank you for everything, Kate)
  • Mariachi in the morning
  • Dancing to the Spazmatics at the President's All-Conference party.  Walter Betts is the man. 
  • Sam Weller discussing Ray Bradbury
  • Tuan Nguyen & Katie Halata
  • Gene Yang.  Genius.  
  • YA reading lists by the indomitable Teri Lesesne, Donalyn Miller, & Karin Perry
  • Kid Lit vs. YA Lit Lip Sync Battle
  • Talking the new draft-version of our state library standards with Donna Kearley & Liz Phillipi
  • Meeting Nicola Yoon
  • Books! Books! Books!
  • Starting my tenure as YART Councilor

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Currently {#sol17}

Currently I'm...

Creating: a poetry-rich library environment with fun interactive displays to celebrate Poetry Month! I have a black-out poetry station, some book spine poetry made by my student assistants, and a "magnet" poetry that isn't actually magnetic.  What can I say?  I don't have much metal.  We used special reusable double-sided sticky tape on laminated cut-out words.  We have windows.  It works.

Reading: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See on audiobook, Ray Bradbury's essays on writing in The Zen of Writing, and The Reader by Traci Chee.

Planning for: TLA ---the Texas Library Association conference.  It is simply the best conference ever. Over 8000 librarians of all stripes gathered together for learning and fun.  What could be better?  Oh yeah, it is in my favorite TLA city this year (they rotate)---San Antonio.  So, yeah.  The Alamo, great Tex-Mex, books and margaritas?  yes, please!

Pondering: how I can best meet the needs of my students, my teachers, my admin, my district librarians, and others; how I can grow as an encourager.

Wanting: to exercise.  I've managed to strain my calf muscles and it has set me back from moving as much as I like and as I should.  Ready to fully mend.

Celebrating: School Librarians Day (today!) and School Library Month (all of April)

Friday, March 31, 2017

reflection on a writing month {solsc day 31}

Today ends the 2017 Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life daily writing challenge.

Some days have been difficult to carve out time and headspace to write, but I made it through. I am grateful for this because it is far too easy for me to opt out if I have no accountability.
Even though I know the Muse is called by actually writing.
Even though I know writing soothes.
Even though I know writers write.
This lesson was super-solidified for me from this year.

I don't feel especially as though I've found my writing tribe, however.  I guess this lesson was also super-solidified for me this year, too.  As hard as it is for me to own up to, days of no comments, or maybe 1 comment are deflating.  Writers need readers.  We need community.  We need encouragement and atta-boys.  We need to know we aren't screaming into the void.
At least I need that.
I love this community, but I'm a visitor, an outlier, not family.

I'm getting cool with that.  I get so much from being on the welcome wagon (year 2!) and reading the slices of others. No sour grapes, at all.  I just recognize that I need to keep searching for my audience. I can't change my voice and remain authentic.  My writing improves by writing. My habit is created by doing it again and again and again.  Not everything is for everyone.  All of this is okay. It is life.

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to participate, to read so many wonderful writers, and to be a part of something so grand.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

flat wrung out {solsc day 30}

It has been a very long week.
Texas testing makes it so.
A shout-out to
   all the kids,
   all the teachers,
   all the teacher-librarians,
   all the counselors,
   all the admin,
   all the testing coordinators,
   all the support staff,
   all the parents,
who have made it through this week,
despite being utterly wrung out,
and who ALL deserve a beautiful stress-free weekend.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

On Wednesdays, we read {solsc day 29}

Wednesdays are my favorite.
My friends in the self-contained classroom come down for story time.
No matter how hectic my day has been, no matter how many reports need to be completed--everything else in the world is set aside on Wednesdays at 2:30.
On Wednesdays, we read.
And my joy bucket is always full to overflowing after spending time with these kiddos.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

DKG {solsc day 28}

Today, with all its testing craziness, was a difficult day. Folks were displaced and schedules were thrown off and bells weren't ringing and stress was high.

And I rushed, rushed, rushed through the day to meet the needs of my people--my students and my teachers and my personal children and their friends.

And then I rushed, rushed, rushed to make it back to school to lead a meeting for my Delta Kappa Gamma Chapter.  We held it in my library this evening.

Meeting with these women is sustaining.  We laugh and we talk shop (it is an organization for women in education) and we eat and we do good work for others.

Tonight our program had a chocolate theme.  What could be better than chocolate & laughter with friends to lift the spirits?

And I am now renewed and calm of spirit (maybe it was the cacao elixir we made?) and ready to rock tomorrow.


Monday, March 27, 2017

testing week {solsc day 27}

I sit in the quiet stillness of the morning.
No one else is awake yet.
The hum of the air conditioning is soothing white noise.
And I think about my week ahead.

This is a testing week here in Texas.
This will make my library weird--it sets everyone on edge, and regular classes displaced by testing will be held in there.
This will make my home weird--I have an 8th grader.  She is in Algebra instead of 8th grade math, so she won't have to test today, but Wednesday brings the English-Language Arts test.
My girl is a good tester, but the added stress is still there.

My little one will have a weird schedule.  While she is too little yet to test (her last year before the crazy hits) it will cause weirdness in her day and no recess.  We must stay as quiet as possible for all the testers.

I'm no fan of high-stakes testing.
Accountability?  Of course.
It if is real and authentic and not biased.
It saddens me that high-stakes testing has become our normal.