International Dot Week: Day 1

Tomorrow, September 15th(ish) is International Dot Day. Inspired by Peter H. Reynold’s lovely The Dot, students all over the world create some dot(ish) artwork. I borrowed some lesson plan ideas from Mr. Winner @ The Busy Librarian and so far… It’s been awesome!

I only have one class on Mondays, but I have faith that if the K3s can do this well, my bigger kids can, too! They had a lot of fun coloring and swapping their quarters to make new art together.

Last year, students created dots with a template I found online. Every student, from pre-pre-school to fifth grade, designed and colored their own dot, which I cut out and pasted all over the entire library.

This year, I wanted to shake things up a bit… and not just because I couldn’t bear the thought of tearing down all of those lovely dots. (That was the original plan: I would have students make new dots to decorate the library every year.)

Dot Day 2014So my youngest kids (pre-pre-K/pre-K) will be coloring in some dots, while older students do some dot fractions to share with their classmates and create artwork together. This year, I photographed each student with their dot and sent them home.

Our library periods are short (40 minutes a week) and I have to fit story time and book choice in, plus the art project, but today it was very doable and not too rushed. I just hope my older students can remember their library rules as well as my kindergarteners!

Last year, I wanted to connect students to their school. This year, their art connects them to each other. Next year, I hope I can find a way to connect our school with others. … connect the dots!

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Reflections on the First Week of School

hallway displayHow was the first week of school? The first day went pretty well, and I had time on Tuesday to start on the constellation display outside of the library. But I left it unfinished, because I’ve been at home since Wednesday.

The school nurse sent me to the doctor’s office that morning with a mysterious rash. The doctor sent me home that afternoon with 28,000mg total of antivirals, because I came down with shingles.

Who knew?

So I missed most of the first week of the 2015-2016 school year. This wasn’t really how I hoped to start the school year.

Instead of reading to my students and sharing all of the exciting changes in the library this year, I spent most of the week in bed with an icepack on my head. (The rash goes from the top of my head down the back of my neck.) Shingles isn’t contagious, but there was a risk of spreading chickenpox to my students or their younger family members.

What did I learn? Well, for one thing: always go to the doctor. I was going to put it off, because I had volunteered to help out at welcome night on Wednesday evening, but the school nurse and the principal told me to go to the clinic right away. I kept trying to go back to school, but my friends and family warned me away; it’s better to heal up than rush it and make it worse.

tiny seal friendSo I’ve been here with the tiny seal friend my roommate brought me home from the gift shop. Since Wednesday, I’ve been to the doctor’s office again when the rash spread to my ear. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

The only upshot to all of this was the time to read. I blew through The Accident Season, which I lucked out and got from CLAMS on release day; I’ll write a review when I’m a little more coherent. The medicine doesn’t have any noticeable side-effects, but it’s hard to concentrate when half of your scalp hurts.

Since my copies of Princeless volumes 1-3 arrived just before the start of the school year, I had Adrienne and Bedelia and Raven to keep me company.

This is not the entry I wanted to be writing after my students’ first week back at school, but you can’t always get what you want. I’ll be back at work on Monday, a little sore and a little tired, but very excited to finally see my students.

Back to School: Day 1

Back to School 2015Hi, 久しぶり! Long time, no see.

We’re back to school today, and the weather was miserable. It’s hot and rainy, and by the time I made it to school, my shoes and socks were completely soaked through. My good slacks are  a little too long and dragged through puddles, so my pants were wet, too. I won’t even tell you what this humidity does to my hair.

But as I was crossing campus for the welcome assembly, one of my students – now a second grader – gestured for me to come share her umbrella so I wouldn’t get wet, and I remembered why I love my job.

Between the end of 2014-2015 and the beginning of 2015-2016, I’ve been alone in the library for seven weeks with no students, except a few stragglers who came in to borrow or return books for the summer. I accomplished a lot, and the library is much tidier, but honestly? I wasn’t really feeling it.

Back to School 2015Then a student called me over to crouch under her umbrella, and I was so happy. Our big yearly book order came  in at the beginning of the month, so I’ve been waiting for weeks to show my students all of the exciting new things we have in the library. I channeled that excitement into making displays and reorganizing the library to create a writing center and a graphic novel/comic book corner. (Unfortunately, those shelves haven’t arrived.)

I started off straightaway with a kindergarten class after lunch. I only have one class scheduled on Mondays, but I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids. I really admire their teacher’s classroom management, and her classes are always wonderfully polite. Even on the very first day, the only mishaps we had were from new students who just didn’t know the rules.

Well, and I chose a read-aloud book I really don’t like. Whoops. This is the last year I’m reading The Shelf Elf. I’ve asked on Storytime Underground for some other school library read-aloud suggestions so I don’t have to put myself through The Shelf Elf ever again. All of our other “library” books are about visiting a public library with a parent or caregiver: Lola at the LibraryDelilah D. at the Library, Curious George Visits the LibraryAmelia Bedelia’s First Library Card, and so on. (Except for Lola, none of these books really speak to me, either.)

Except for that, I’m excited about the lesson plans I’ve laid out for this year. I mean, how can you not be totally psyched about reading Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” out loud to your fourth and fifth graders? Or Mary Walker Wears the Pants to your second and third graders? What about When the Beat Was Born?

Maybe you didn’t know this, but I became a librarian almost by accident – and yet, I had never wanted anything in my life more than I wanted this job. I lucked out. I love my work, I love my coworkers. I love books, of course. Most of all, I love my students, and I’m so happy to have them back.

Back to School 2015

“Our School Community” was a project lead by the elementary art teacher with first grade students in 2013-2014. She kindly donated the completed artwork to the library.