Tuesday, October 27, 2015

This and That: Today's SOL

Fall is my favorite season and it finally feels like it has decided to make an appearance here in East Texas. With the full moon and the cool, crisp air it feels like a time for sweeping out the cobwebs and taking stock of my year thus far.

1. Still working on genre-fying the library.  This makes it sound way more tedious than it is.  Of course, the process IS tedious, but I since this is not my first rodeo, and I like to think I learned a few things the first time around, I am taking my time on this project.  It is a HUGE undertaking, so I'm making sure to work on it in bits and pieces so that I don't feel bogged down. I'm pleased with the progress.  Onward!

2.  I'm enjoying the heck out of my writing MOOC.  I've learned so much over the past month and the deadlines have really kept me on track with my writing. Only a few more weeks to go.  I'll miss it when it is over.

3. NaNoWriMo is around the corner, so I've been using my story idea to complete most of my MOOC assignments.  I guess this is my version of outlining this year.

4. M.A.G.I.C. club is the BEST.  My head boy and head girl came up with trivia questions.  As a countdown to Halloween, I send one out via remind each day, as well as post it on our Slytherin message board at the front of the library.  Kids who answer correctly get prizes--little things like small packages of pretzels and pirate eye patches, and jolly ranchers.  Seriously hilarious to see my big high school kids RUNNING to claim their prizes.

5. My refrigerator stopped working Sunday.  Ugh.  Repairman comes today.  I'm living out of a cooler.  Again.  Ugh.

6. I've read some amazing books lately.  In fact, this past weekend was glorious--slow steady rain outside all weekend and me curled up with a good book inside.  Delightful!

7.  I've been asked to do a little "TV show" on our local cable access channel.  It will be library-focused and one of the public librarians and I will host. It just all sounds like fun to me so I'm super excited about it. Currently working on figuring out all the details and making a write-up.

And that's the news from my neck of the woods.  You?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Several things have me thinking this week about beliefs about school libraries and how they are "supposed" to be.  It is better than it used to be, but oh, are they still out there.  From time to time I just need to get these off my chest.

So here's my TOP RANT:

1. Libraries should be QUIET places.  Okay, so sometimes they are. And, sometimes they are not. It all depends upon what is going on in them at the time.  Are quiet places valuable in this busy noisy world?  absolutely.  Are places that allow students (who are more stressed out than ever before) to just chill and be and chat valuable?  absolutely.  Are places that allow folks to collaborate with one another (an act that requires conversation so often) valuable?  you bet.

You know what drives me crazy?  When teachers (whom I know mean well and are often darling people-only misguided in this area) march students down to the library and then proceed to shame them, ripping them up and down when they dare to speak.  I have a young-person-in-my-life-who-shall-remain-nameless-to-protect-the-innocent whose ELAR teacher is notorious for this move, which is then followed by the whole visiting-the-library-is-a-privilege-and-I-don't-have-to-take-you move. The ole 1-2 punch.  Ugh.

A classroom should not always be quiet.  Well, the library is a classroom--it's just a really, really big one.
In the library:
Kids are allowed to smile.
Kids are allowed to laugh.
Kids are allowed to speak.

You know what?  Teachers are, too.

I'm not saying let the class get out of control (we run into that, too) but really---can we all get off the silent boat now?  Isn't it time for a happy medium, using our ability to pay attention, connect, and relate to the students to find better ways to remind them to share the space in ways that are positive for everyone.

I have found that teachers who behave this way truly truly often believe this is still the WAY libraries ARE or....that they OUGHT to BE.

I hope that if you find yourself in this category you will breathe deeply.  I know change is hard. Sincerely, I do get it.  However, sometimes...and in this case, I believe it to be true...sometimes change is AMAZING.  Look around and see how much awesomeness is going on in the library when you release the grips of control and allow students to learn & collaborate in a way that makes sense to them in today's world. Then, come on aboard---let's cruise this sea of change together, shall we?  The water is lovely.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

SOL Tuesday

I'm struggling with my writing.
I'm struggling with making it happen.
I want to write a novel.
I'm absolutely exhausted these days.
Allergies are kicking my tail.
By the time I get home, I just want to drag myself to bed.
I don't, of course.  I am a mom.
I get home and make dinner.
I take daughter-the eldest to her music lesson, where hubby meets me to pick the little up so she isn't stuck in the car waiting for 30 minutes.
It isn't that I don't want the darling little snowflake to not have to experience waiting,
It is that my nerves will break if I'm stuck in the car attempting to remain calm while she whines tonight.

I love my job.
LOVE it.
It requires a lot of energy to do it right.
Not much remains by the time I get home.
Yet, much of my To Do list does.

I lock my bedroom door.
Light some incense and fill a hot bath with Epsom salts.
I soak. I breathe.
For a few moments, I am not tasked with fulfilling any of my roles in life.
I am just me, floating in the water.  Breathing, thinking, being.

Daughter-the-youngest's voice brings me out of my calm
And back into my reality.
I can hear her out in the hallway.
I love them even when they try me.
I love them to the moon and back.

And so,
after night-night stories,
after checked homework,
after listening to hubby's day,
I breathe. I write.
My story moves forward.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


The time has come to share the magic of M.A.G.I.C.  (Magical and Gifted Individuals Club)

I was amazingly fortunate to get my fab job as a high school librarian at a school that once-upon-a-time had a Harry Potter themed club.  The club disbanded a couple of years back--life got in the way for a few of the sponsors and a lot of the kids, as life often does.  With that said, it had been a favorite and there were whispers (okay, shouts) among the students (okay, and teachers) of wanting it to make a comeback.
This year, we brought M.A.G.I.C. back, y'all.  We brought it back in a  BIG way. 

I am the head sponsor, and Slytherin Head-of-House for M.A.G.I.C and what could possibly be more fun than that???

The excitement over the first announcements, posters, and application set the school on fire.  It was like a big ole Harry Potter love-fest.  It was, needless to say, awesome.  To walk through the library listening to students argue (in a friendly but firm way) over which House was the best House made this little ole librarian's heart extra-happy.

Over 100 students turned in applications, which were actually just sorting quizzes.  OVER 100.

All the Heads-of-House met and planned our first event--the Sorting Ceremony, which took place this past weekend.

I sent out owls to all the kids with a reminder about our Sorting Ceremony.  I am so proud of these little guys--and thankful I have amazing library student assistants who cut them all out and delivered them! The students really got a kick out of receiving their message this way.

OVER 80 students showed up at school on a Sunday afternoon, y'all. Most of them brought treats, too, which earned them their first House points.

I cannot find words to tell you just how much fun was had by all. Yes, there were some surprised faces at the Sorting--but the hat knows what the hat knows, right?  We stress that all Houses are great Houses; each has its own special ways.  We'll get together with ALL Houses again for our Yule Ball, and some type of Quidditch/Tri-Wizard Tournament event in the spring.  All other events/meetings will be up to each House--the professor in charge, as well as their Head Boy, Head Girl & Prefect will help in the major decision making.

My folks are already discussing a movie marathon/wand-making party, as well as multiple book club meetings.  Life is sssssssweet, indeed.

B got her owl!

I made each Slytherin student a welcome letter on parchment cardstock, detailing the beauty of Slytherin House.
No, we aren't all evil.  Not that we care what you think.  ;)

The green wax seal on the letters for students.  Lucky my name is Sonja Schulz, eh?
I already know I'll break down and buy the Slytherin stamp soon.  I cannot help myself. 

The letters are ready.

All treats are good treats, but some are superb!

So creative!!! See the little broomsticks?  And the HP cookies?  Flippin' AMAZING.

Ready to emcee the Sorting Ceremony....but first, a selfie!

D was so sure he was a Slytherin he brought his pet snake to celebrate the moment.  Show-stealer! ;)
p.s. He was right.  He most certainly IS a Slytherin. 

What did the Sorting Hat just say???  Ah yessssssss....Slytherin it is!  M made that awesome necklace representing all Houses and wore his robe.

S reads as he is sorted.  I love this so hard!

My HOUSE.  These are MY PEOPLE.

K wasn't able to make the ceremony, so she got "sorted" at school.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Wild About Books

A collection of book trailers to show to my students this week.  HUGE thanks to those who created them for creating & sharing.