Taking time to smell the roses


I know, the picture doesn’t have a rose in it, but I’m very proud of this photo – taken just minutes ago while out “walking” the dog.  I’m REALLY enjoying my new Nikon D5000 camera!

This is Labor Day weekend.  Labor day “is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” (US DOL.gov)  I planned to take this weekend off –  to sit back and relax, get some reading done, and generally be a sloth!  However, I just can’t seem to turn off my work switch.  There are so many things needing to be done and/or planned for in the upcoming weeks/months.

2 Read or Not 2 Read – Midland Valley and I have finally gotten our book club blog up and running.  I’m still waiting on some last minute approval before I can give out applications to my students; however, Midland Valley introduced the blog to their students this past week.  I’m VERY excited about having our students interact and share book reviews/discussions through blogging.

Library Card Sign-up Month – September is library cards sign-up month and I, along with the librarian from the Wagener public library, have been asked to visit/speak with the middle school English classes on Sept. 22nd.   We are supposed to share what we are doing/offering in our programs.  Still not sure what I’m going to speak about, but I was specifically asked to share the library’s web page, the new blog, and other “multimedia for 21st century skills” – hopefully I’ll figure out whatever that means by the 22nd!  Wish me luck.

SC Young Adult Book Awards – The nominees for the 2010-11 SC Young Adult Book Awards have been announced.  As always, there is a display of these title in the library.  In addition, I am on the SCYABA book award committee and have been reading a bunch of new YA titles.  I’m really excited about many of them and can’t wait to recommend them to our students.  Being on this committee forces me to read a wide variety of YA titles I wouldn’t normally read.

WSHS Book Club – tentatively, the first book club will meet this Friday, Sept. 10th, during both lunches.  We will be adopting the Midland Valley book club monthly themes – September’s theme is Mystery.  Please encourage your students to join the book club.

Technology Workshops – the new Technology Committee for WSHS has been tasked to provide workshops for the next Early Release Wednesday.  We’ve come up with a proposal and are waiting for the okay before developing our workshops.   All TC members are working on finding and reviewing web resources.  Right now, we are reviewing the AASL Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning (2009) to determine which of the blocked sites we want to petition to have unblocked.  The classroom teachers are supposed to review and provide feedback as to whether or not they would be useful in their classrooms.  I’ve created a Diigo account for WSHS where I’ve begun bookmarking these and other useful or interesting links.

These are just a few of the items on my mind this weekend.  Others include: library advocacy, August monthly report, WSHS Drama Club (meets this Wednesday); Banned Book Week (begins Sept. 25th); pull-out classes begin soon; Teen Read Week (Oct. 17-23); signing up for another photography class; submitting a proposal for the SC Association of School Librarians conference, and making plans to attend the SC Title 1 (Oct. 25-27) and  SC EdTech (Oct. 27-29) conferences.

*Sigh* – I think I’ll just go read a book instead!  Enjoy what’s left of the Labor Day weekend ya’ll!

Looking ahead

DSC_0136Summer break is almost over (I’ve only got one full week of vacation left!) and I’m in pre-planning mode for the upcoming school year.   I thought I’d share some of my ideas and challenges in preparing for when teachers return on August 10th.

Two weeks ago our school’s leadership team met to plan for next year.  I’ve been tasked with technology staff development.  I’m really excited about this development and have LOTS of ideas brewing.

I’ll also be meeting with the Freshman Academy lead teacher, and others, about some new technology our school will be receiving (can’t be more specific just yet, but stay tuned) and how to incorporate this new tech into their curriculum.  This means I’ll be doing a LOT of research for resources and begging for help from my PLN!

In addition to the new technology, I’d already made plans to work with the FA English teachers on incorporating Information Literacy/21st Century Learner Standards as well as the new SC Internet Safety Standards into their specific curriculum.  I am hoping to develop some team teaching incorporated INTO their curriculum and not just as add ons to the standard research paper or through hit and miss projects with other classes.   We’ve discussed using the TRAILS assessment to determine current knowledge and what areas to build upon this year.

The FA Lead Teacher has also requested my assistance with titles for their new reading initiative.  Each core subject will be requiring their students to read one novel per quarter.  These assignments are in support of our school’s literacy initiative for High School’s That Work – students are supposed to read across the curriculum and at least 25 novels during the school year.

Needless to say, 2010-11 is looks like it will  be another busy year!

In the meantime, I’m currently taking a photography basics class.  The above image is one of mine!  I’m doing pretty well with close ups like plants and objects, but not so much with more distance photos.  It’s a hit or miss.  This stuff is harder than I though (using manual mode and not automatic on the DSLR).  I’m going to post some of my more successful photos to my flickr page.

Anyhoo! Hope you guys enjoy what’s left of your summer vacation!  I know I’m sure gonna!

WSHS Top 10

Each year in April, originally just out of curiosity, I run a report to determine which books are the most circulated.  I usually can guess, but sometimes there are surprises – this year, not so much.  The report also provides me with a great bulletin board and display option for the end of the year.  This year the top 10 titles are:

Number 10.  The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

“Bobby’s carefree teenage life changes forever when he becomes a father and must care for his adored baby daughter.” This is the third year the book has been on the list.

Number 9.  Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

“Having fallen for a human boy, a beautiful teenage werewolf must battle both her packmates and the fear of the townspeople to decide where she belongs and with whom.” This is the first time Blood and Chocolate book has been on the list.  I attribute the revised interest in this older title to be due to the Twilight phenomenon.  The Silver Kiss by Klause is also on the top 25 list.

Number 8.  Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

“A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda’s freshman year in high school.” Speak has been on the list off and on over the last seven years.

Number 7.  Shattering Glass by Gail Giles

“Rob, the charismatic leader of the senior class, provokes unexpected violence when he turns the school nerd into Prince Charming.” I have to plead guilty to “pushing” this title every year.  It is one of the two that I can usually entice the fellas into reading.  Ms. Giles made it so easy for me by writing such a grabbing opening paragraph.  I simply have the unsuspecting male read it and they’re hooked.   In case you haven’t picked this one up, the opening lines are:

“Simon Glass was easy to hate.  I never knew exactly why, there was too much to pick from.  I guess, really, we each hated him for a different reason, but we didn’t realize it until the day we killed him.”

Number 6.  Payback by Paul Langan

“Originally published as The gun.  Bluford freshman Tyray Hobbs, the class bully and tormentor of Darrell Mercer, is determined to get revenge on Darrell, the only boy who ever stood up to Tyray.” The Bluford High series is a relatively new series for WS.  I was lucky enough to receive a small monetary donation from our local public library’s “Friends of the Library” association to purchase two sets of the series.  Townsend Press is a godsend by selling them for only $1 each.  All of the titles in the series are constantly checked out!

Number 5.  Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

“After the death of the uncle who had been his guardian, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is coerced to continue his uncle’s dangerous work for Britain’s intelligence agency, MI6.” This is another title I “push” with my male/reluctant readers.  I tell them it’s like reading an action-adventure television show – constant action.  Usually, they’ll come back for the rest of the books in the Alex Rider series.  Very few have ever brought it back unread.

Number 4.  Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

“Bella must choose between her friendship with Jacob, a werewolf, and her relationship with Edward, a vampire, but when Seattle is ravaged by a mysterious string of killings, the three of them need to decide whether their personal lives are more important than the well-being of an entire city.”

Number 3.  New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

“When the Cullens, including her beloved Edward, leave Forks rather than risk revealing that they are vampires, it is almost too much for eighteen-year-old Bella to bear, but she finds solace in her friend Jacob until he is drawn into a “cult” and changes in terrible ways.”

Number 2.  Breaking Dawn Stephenie Meyer

“Continues the story of the human Bella and the vampire Edward whose love is threatened by their difference, a werewolf named Jacob, and other outside influences.”

— drum roll please —-

And the number one circulated book at Wagener-Salley is…..

…. as if you haven’t guessed ….

Number 1.  Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

“When seventeen-year-old Bella leaves Phoenix to live with her father in Forks, Washington, she meets an exquisitely handsome boy at school for whom she feels an overwhelming attraction and who she comes to realize is not wholly human.”

No shock to me that the most circulated book would be Twilight.  I guess to be fair, I should have grouped all of the Twilight saga together in order to give at least 3 other books a chance to be in the top 10, but I wanted to be absolutely correct in the top 10 list.   We also have a copy of The Host by Meyer and it is in the top 25 list.

For the first time since I’ve been running the report, there isn’t a Sarah Dessen title on the top ten list.  Sara Dessen and Melody Carlson books are EXTREMELY popular with the girls; however, no single title from these authors made the top 25 this year.