Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Two Cool Chicks with Cool Tech Tips

Today's post is for the after-school tech tip class Rachel Valenti and I will be teaching!


Two Cool Chicks with Cool Tech Tips


Kahoot (to create)
Kahoot (to play)    www.kahoot.it 
     example 1   example 2

Sunday, February 8, 2015

How do I #LoveTeaching?...Let me count the ways

This week's challenge for Todd Nesloney's Educator Learning Series (#EduLS) is to think about why you love teaching and post it via blogs and other social media platforms.  Amidst all the negative we hear about teaching in today's world, the plan is to add some positivity to the conversation---because the truth is, those of us who stay in education truly DO love it, or we wouldn't be here.

I've said it and said it---but it is true---I am one of the luckiest folks I know because

I truly LOVE my job. 

I always wanted to be a teacher, and I taught in the classroom for 9 of my now 24 in education. My classroom just got bigger when I became a librarian, and now I consider all the students in the school "mine."
  • As a school librarian, I get to laugh a lot.  Kids are hilarious, aren't they? They just seriously crack me up.  Teenagers are super-fun beings and I get to work with them every day.
  • Hello, my name is Sonja and I am addicted to books.  I am a book pusher as much as I am a book consumer---and I have a constant stream of students, teachers, & other librarians into whose hands & hearts I get to push awesome reads!
  • I have just enough structure in my work day to make me feel cozy without it ever becoming humdrum.  Within a few set parameters, there is just NO TELLING what kinds of adventure each day will bring.
  • Opportunities to really make a difference in the lives of others.  
  • My students keep me young.  I see in them that beautiful effervescence of youth, and hope I can retain mine longer for recognizing it living within them. 
  • My students push me to excellence.  It is for THEM that I strive to be better every day than the day before in my work. It is for THEM that I want to learn more, be more, grow more.  I want to reach them in meaningful ways and provide the education & mentoring they need.
I could go on and on with stories and photos and other lovelies about my gig---and I will--- every day this week on Twitter, Instgram, and Facebook as I continue to participate in this awesome challenge!


Thursday, February 5, 2015


Being at home with a sick kiddo, while not my idea of a fun time, does at least give me some good time for reflection.

I let January slip past me with no new blog posting, but it is lovely February and I'm back!

I have now been a high school librarian for a semester.  I have loved every minute of my new gig--and have learned (and am still learning) a lot.

Some ways the HS library is different than my MS library:

  • way more schedules going on (and I thought 3 was difficult!) We have Early College High School, 9th graders on a block schedule and upper grades on a "regular" schedule, students with no classes for some periods of the day, late start Wednesday, etc. 
  • much more emphasis on research (not a surprise, clearly---but we certainly are not preparing them adequately in MS --and I blame high-stakes testing pressure)
  • less Wimpy Kid, more Stephen King
  • something is ALWAYS going on in "my" space that isn't of my doing---meetings/after hours college classes/Saturday school/after school tutorials
  • taller kids with more facial hair!  ;)

So I am learning and adapting and growing right along with my students, as is only right. Speaking of right, here are some things I think are on point:

  • a warm, cozy atmosphere. We have couches and checkers and chess and lamps going on.  Not completely done, of course---it will always be evolving---but moving in the right direction.
  • our circulation has more than doubled each month from last year's stats.  Not that circ stats are the only thing, but I do like the upward momentum.
  • fun fine forgiveness opportunities---a canned food drive in Nov/Dec and now a write-a-teacher-a-note-of-appreciation for the month of February. 
  • we were an official location for the National Readathon Day and had a good turnout, raising over $300 (we partnered with the National English Honor Society for this event)
  • making a sort-of weekly video---called Dragons in the Stacks about library happenings shown to during Advisory classes
  • giving some techie tips workshops for teachers
  • building a connected library via social media

(and just for fun let me add I've been told I am both magical & "on fleek" this year!)

And for some balance, here are some areas I'm actively growing in:
  • out-of-the box ways of better serving my students & teachers--I will begin a "mobile library" of sorts to hopefully get more books in the hands of my kids (and I thank my friend & super librarian friend Michelle Cooper for the idea)
  • having helpful info on checking out ebooks, research, etc. EASILY accessible by the masses
  • genrefying my fiction collection (did it at my MS, but only beginning the process at the HS)
  • interactiveness 
Reflection + Action = Growth