Friday, January 12, 2018

FAKE News?!

(for Ms. Woodson's Journalism classes )

There are SO MANY places to get information these days, but how can you be sure the info you get is actual factual REAL info and not someone trying to bend the truth?

Today we are going to explore this thought. 

1. Follow this link and do the quiz.  You might be surprised at how good folks are at making fake news look and sound real!

2. Follow this link and read the article.  If you have earbuds or headphones you can also listen to the video. 

3.  Go to Google.  Type is this question:  Is water wet?  Now, check the source of the first link that pops up.  Many people NEVER look beyond the first link that pops up. Is this site a credible source for accurate information?

4.  If you want to be sure your sources of information are credible (ones giving you real, accurate info) you can count on using the digital resources found on our library webpage.  

  • follow that link
  • hover over the word library in the bar at the top. See the drop-down menu? Click the "NHS Digital Resources" button. 
  • You will see a Symbaloo with many resource buttons.  
  • If you hover over the buttons you will see the password hints. Fill in the missing letters and you have the passwords!
  • Pick a topic and search.  See what you can find on various topics. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Here's to 2018

For the past few years, I've chosen one little word to guide me through the new year rather than a list of resolutions that never seemed to change from year to year.  Like most people, it seems, resolutions just don't work all that well for me in changing my actual behavior.

Last year my word was Cultivate.  I had grand plans.  Some worked out, but mostly 2017 seemed to be a year of misplacing my mojo.

Y'all.  It was a hard, hard year.

I'm not ready to say I've lost my mojo---but it has definitely gone MIA.

I'm pretty sure my mojo and my joy ran away together.  They are probably living it up on a sandy beach somewhere at this very moment when I am putting fuzzy socks on my feet since it is a brisk 25 degrees outside here in my neck of the woods this morning.

I am a joyful person by nature.
I don't typically run to melancholy.
Kids often tell me I'm happy all the time.
But 2017 just felt...meh.

People don't always like to talk about the hard times.
Sometimes it is viewed as being negative.
The truth is, though, that life happens to all of us.  Some good, some bad.
Pretending everything is great all the time doesn't work long-term.
I'm not about to bad-mouth anything or anyone.
I'm not even about to share details.
But I am speaking my truth when I say this year has been a heckuva hard year and I am changed.

So, this year, I'm setting out to find my missing Joy.
I know my mojo will return with it----they are besties and partners-in-crime.
I am remembering my locus of control.
I am remembering that the answer is also to love more, not less.
I am remembering that perfection is an illusion.

“I just do the best I can to face what life brings. That’s the secret, you know. That’s the way you change your fate.” 
― Alice HoffmanThe Rules of Magic

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Whaaa? It's September already?

As much as I want to keep new posts up on the blog,
As much as I truly believe consistency creates a presence,
As much as I love to write,
As much as I have a passion for librarianship,
Life still happens.

I admire the folks who can remain consistent in their blogging despite busy-ness that clearly happens for all of us, but I am apparently not one of them.  At least, not yet.

I have learned that I need "white space" in my life in order to be my best self.  I need time to think and breathe and be.  With school starting and hurricanes blowing and training a new assistant and one of my kiddos now attending my school and us both adjusting to her being in high school (and dealing with some serious mean-girl issues) and the other having after-school transportation issues-----well, something had to give.

I've come home weary and unable to "brain" well after shifting back into beginning-of-the-year school mode.
I've come home most school nights with barely enough energy to feed my family, do enough dishes and laundry to keep us rolling, and take hot Epsom salt baths.

My bullet journal and my workouts have suffered, too, and I've passed on nearly every invitation I've received to get together with friends whom I love.  Y'all, sometimes I just can't do one more thing.

And I refuse to feel guilty about it.

I think it is far too easy to fall into the trap of believing you have to do all the things and be all the things for all the people all of the time.  I don't want to let folks down, but I also know this is truth for me---if I do not practice self-care and self-compassion and listen to my gut about what I need to function as my highest self then I will run out of steam, catch every cold that comes around, feel resentful, act like a martyr, and ultimately be no good for anyone around me.

I'm beginning to catch my breath with this new school year.  I'm settling in and feeling less like I'm drowning.

And so here it is---September 9th---and I'm blogging again.

I hope your school year has started off beautifully.
Be gentle with yourself and listen to your gut, friends.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Summer PD

We were fortunate this year that our upper admin granted us time to hold some summer professional development days---two days paid, two days comp days, which was awesome.  I have never had a district admin team show as much support for libraries and librarians as my current team and it is much appreciated.

Y'all, we had a blast.

We have 2 new members of our team and another who just joined us in the spring, so not only did we do a lot of learning, we did a lot of bonding this week.  I sent out a Google form in the spring so everyone could give their input on what they wanted to learn/work on and what book they wanted for our book study this year. Everything we did was designed & taught by our very own team. Flexibility was intentionally built into our schedule so we could run with those teachable moments and move along quickly when everyone already "got it."

We went over our proposed new state standards, Future-Ready Librarian information, and maker-spaces for all levels. We worked through the process of creating a new Mission and Vision statement.


We played with an Epic Instagram Challenge I used (my fave!) to create this challenge as a way to help us think beyond our usual go-to's with photos and social media updates of library happenings. We didn't all actually post our pics on Insta, but this was practice for the upcoming year. (feel free to use it if you like it)


We had time to play with, Google, and our Texquest resources and brainstorm ideas about how to get the word out to our stakeholders about all things in library land.

We discussed Gary Hartzell's work about building influence and specifically referenced Doug Johnson's blog post about making the principal your ally.

We got our new book-study books and I AM SO PUMPED.

We broke into elementary/secondary specific sessions, too, for a bit.  Author visits and Bluebonnet Battles were planned. We came out of this week with a new shared Google Drive folder and are looking forward to building content together.

We discussed the power of Twitter chats for awesome continued growth, and are planning to do one as a team to get the newbies used to them. You just can't understand the amazingness of them until you live it.

On the next-to-last day our Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction stopped by.  We were energized as a team to see their genuine excitement and support of our library programs.  Without a shadow of a doubt, we know that they recognize that strong school libraries support student achievement---and that is super-affirming.

I want to thank my new partner-in-crime for stepping up to take the lead elementary librarian role.(She blogs over at MrsTaylorsTales, so go check her out!) We have a shared vision and are working towards excellence!

I am so energized for this coming year, guys.  What are you doing to get inspired?  I'd love to hear all about it.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Literacy Honor Cords


I'm super excited to get LIT this year with literacy honor cords available to earn from the library! I've been looking for a way to really create a culture of literacy at my high school, and I think this is a fun and important step to take in that process.

A few weeks ago I posted on the ALA Think-Tank Facebook group asking folks to share their fabulous secondary library webpages.  One of my new librarian friends shared her website and it included info about their literacy cords.  I was intrigued and began searching out info from other schools who also gave these.  I only found one other school (full disclosure I did not spend weeks upon weeks searching---this from a cursory search) who bestowed these, but I love the idea and decided to run with it.  I messaged my friend, too, and she clarified a few things about their specific program for me.

After coming up with an initial list of requirements, I met with the National English Honor Society sponsor to get input, and now I've  sent it to our principal for approval.  I'm meeting with him next week to see where things stand.  Once I have it set in stone, I'll post it on the blog.

Honor cords weren't a thing when I graduated oh-so-long ago, and I didn't realize what a HUGE deal they are to the kids until I moved up to work at the high school 3 years ago.  Dude! They are serious about these and it becomes almost a competition of sorts to see how many you can earn. 

I'm all in.  While I don't love giving trinkets for reading, I DO love the idea of treating reading as something worthy of honor at graduation.  Let's reward our students for their hard work and commitment to reading. 

Monday, July 17, 2017


Still in my #Tayshaslist reading quest, I've managed to read a couple more this week.

The Dark Days Club, by Alison Goodman, is a fantasy set in the Regency era.  I happen to be a super-fan of this time in history, and love a good paranormal mystery.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait for the second book in the series to be available.

I'm still reading The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz. Currently, I'm about half-way through it and am enjoying it so far.  The main character is on the young end for a typical YA, but it has been interesting to take a look at the time period (the story is set in 1911) and I'm quite fascinated as this book was inspired by the diary of the author's grandmother.

On Audible, I've got book Hush Now, Don't You Cry by Rhys Bowen, the 11th book in the Molly Murphy mystery series.  Weirdly, I've found I can enjoy cleaning and decluttering to this book better than anything else I've tried.  Whatever works, I guess!

What are YOU reading?

Monday, July 10, 2017

It's Monday! What are YOU reading?

I'm finding that much of my reading is falling into two distinct categories this summer.  Tayshas list books and books on hygge.  There are a few other books I'm reading here and there, but I'll put all of them into miscellaneous--a bit of leadership, a bit of pedagogy, a bit of non-fiction on non-hygge topics and a mystery or two--but for the most part I'm on a Tayshas/hygge roll here.

I took Lara Avery's The Memory Book with me to Austin this past weekend.  I was attending Texas Library Association's Annual Assembly and my meetings were staggered at weird intervals which meant I would have some reading time in-between.

This book.  Oh, my heart.  I loved it, so.  Written as journal entries into a book to help retain her memories, Sammie shows us what it is to be human.  I finished this book right before my last meeting of the day on Saturday and went in weepy.  This book is gorgeous and hard and requires tissues. Loved this #tayshaslist book.

I also took Jeff Zentner's The Serpent King with me.

I've just started reading this one, but am totally intrigued by the characters thus far.  Another #tayshaslist book.  If you didn't get a chance to listen to the #KidsDeserveIt podcast or watch it with Todd Nesloney interviewing Jeff Zentner, it is worth going back to watch. Lawyer by day, writer by night?  Dude, I need some lessons.  I have been working on book ideas for ages and find it exceedingly difficult to wrangle the time between my library work and my mama work.

My newest book purchase.  After my final meeting of the weekend, I just had to swing by Book People.  I should probably mention that it is one of my most favorite places on earth.  I could easily spend hours there.  Anyhow, I went in looking specifically for this book--it was only available through my public library on ebook, and truly I hate reading on my phone.  Also, it just doesn't seem very hygge to read on a phone to me, not to mention that it was checked out already anyway.  I started it last night and am enjoying it.  It is a beautiful little book and I feel more surrounded and filled by hygge just by reading it.

Have I mentioned that my goal is to have the most Book People-ish high school library in the world? #goals #hygge

What are YOU reading?