Sunday, December 8, 2013

December Already?

It seems like yesterday that I wrote my last post, and now the first trimester of the year is already over! As I knew it would be, this year has been very different from previous years. With a new job description and new responsibilities, I've had to put some things on the back burner (not that I've ever been terribly good about blogging, though, to be fair). Regardless, here are some highlights of my year so far.

1. A Flexible Schedule!
This has been the single best thing to happen in my professional life. I am absolutely loving this change in my program. I currently see K-2 for 30 minutes once a six-day cycle, and grades 3-6 have regularly scheduled book exchanges. Beyond that, I see classes for projects and collaborative lessons. My schedule is absolutely jammed! I have never been busier. I began the year with Library Boot Camp, and I saw every single class in grades 3-6 for 30 minutes every day for 10 days! It was a wonderful experience because it allowed me to set the tone for the year and refresh the students' skills. (Thanks, Stacey, for the idea!)  Since then, I have completed at least two research projects with each grade level. I was focused on grades 3-6 at the start of the year, and now I'm beginning to do a better job of including first and second grade in my flex schedule. I've started pushing in to the first grade classrooms and doing small database lessons. We're also going to start an opinion piece for first grade about favorite book characters this week. Should be fun!
One of the things I'm struggling with, though, is keeping track of my lesson plans. I feel a little scattered right now.  Some of my lesson plans are related to research/inquiry projects, and some of them are more straight-forward. I have plans on paper, plans in my Google calendar, and plans in my head. I used to use Atlas Curriculum mapping software, but that doesn't seem to lend itself to what I am doing. My principal does collect my plans, and she's been very patient while I stumble around figuring this out. Does anyone have any advice for recording plans with a flexible schedule?

2. Attending AASL!
I cannot express my gratitude to J'aime Pfeiffer at Capital Region BOCES enough for sending me to AASL in Hartford. This was, literally, a life-changing experience! I learned so much, I met so many wonderful people, and I had so much fun chatting with vendors. I left after 2 and half days feeling rejuvenated - and thankful for my job. When AASL is within driving distance again, I will be attending. No matter what.
I picked up a few ideas at AASL that I'm working on incorporating into my library program. I've just started setting up centers for students during book exchange, thanks to the ideas of Carolyn Vibbert, Jessica Lodge, and Cari Young. If you don't know them, look them up on Twitter. I'm just dipping my toes in, but the centers have already been hugely successful. As I get more comfortable, I'll be expanding my repertoire. The second idea is one I have not put into action yet, but hope to soon. Sue Kowalski has a group of students called iStaff, and I want to set up something similar. I'm thinking WIN time (intervention block) would be a great time, especially as a starting point. I hope to get it going in January, if I'm realistic.

Those are the two big highlights so far. I've also coordinated a day of PD with our circulation system vendor, led department meetings, and attended and presented at ELA workshops to teachers. I've also been working on interviewing for a new .5 JHS librarian ( it will be my first interview committee) and we've just started the budget process. This is all new ground for me, so it's an adventure.

Any advice for me?

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