Saturday, December 08, 2018


I am starting to feel creative again. It has been almost a year since I wrote what you are about to read. I never posted it because I felt like I was being a bad librarian for feeling the way I did.  I changed position about a year ago and the feeling and joy and love of being a school librarian are starting to come back. But please know that it took a long time to start to feel human again. This is from January of this year:

If truth be told, I have not felt like a PowerLibrarian for a while now, maybe two years. A lack of motivation has truly caused this blog to blog to be neglected. I feel like I've run out of gas. I have felt like the Power was draining faster than spiritual food, friends, family, conferences, EdCamps, FutureReady, social media, and my PLN could recharge this Librarian!

Call it overwork, burnout, a struggle to communicate, a lack of respect by administration and students, less than perfect working conditions (we actually had a work stoppage- let me tell you walking a picket line does nothing for your self-esteem), or just everything, including me, getting older. For the past 4 almost 5 years I traded my cozy elementary library for a beautiful upper elementary library with more empty shelves than books. I struggled keeping up with student demand for popular titles. We had fewer than 15 books per student when when I started. I got creative, held book drives, begged, borrowed, and spent my own money getting books into the hands of students. As I leave we are now well over the state suggested 25 books per student. I don't want accolades for doing what I love, getting students to read, I just want it acknowledged that being a teacher/librarian is two jobs. I am working two full time jobs with a below average salary and time constraints of one- doing the second job on my own dime and time. For the past 5 years I have taught as few as 31 and as many as 35 classes every 6 days while running the library and trying to bring the makerspace concept into the newly branded Libratorium.

I believe strongtly that every student should get the opportunity to make, do, and create in a safe place but providing that for as many as 900 students with little to no support takes its toll. Teaching as many as 6 classes a day (and give grades to students for projects, and classwork) and running the library with students coming at all times to do book selection is daunting. The worst is students demanding book selection while I am trying to teach or trying to put books away or catalog books (cataloging takes concentration but all students see is me sitting at the computer)- after all, I'm not really doing anything and I could easily check out a book for them. The worst of it is that their teachers keep sending them even though I have told them that I can't check out books while I am teaching. Lunch, what's lunch? I keep being told I am entitled to a duty free lunch, it does not happen- there is always someone comeing into the library for something. If I didn't teach all day I would not mind missing lunch once in a while but it is my only chance all day to go to the bathroom. If I had a clone or a full time aide things would be so much better.

I struggled for years with getting technology into the hands of my students (may I never see another powersucking netbook again), because any papers I created meant 800 or more copies. Who has time to make that many copies? Finally, a year ago came a cart of chromebooks exclusively for use in the library classes and I could stop killing trees and use Google Classroom! I promptly broke Google Classroom which was not built to handle 34 classes. I deleted the 34 classes and settled on 12 classes, a class each day for the 5th grade homerooms I saw that day and one 6th grade class for the 3 or 4 different teams I saw that day. Putting multiple classes in each of the Google Classrooms meant a little more work for me finding students when it came to doing grading but it worked.  I switched it up this year and put each 6th grade team into one class cutting down my number of classes by 2! Fewer classes and it is easier when it comes to grading so many students.

I learned a great deal as I wrote grant proposal after grant proposal. Over the years I incorporated robotics, coding, and a makerspace complete with a 3D printer into the library curriculum. I decided to teach digiital citizenship via Google Classroom and student Tinkercad accounts.

Now at the end of this year, the joy is coming back. In a new school, with new students with new challenges, the joy is coming back!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The thrill of ISTE18 while I'm still here...

I don't often reflect on the ISTE conference while I am still at the conference but I just had an incredible session and in my next session they talked about reflecting on your learning via a blog post. So my reflection is for me so I can remember how much I LOVED learning more about Hyperdocs from Katie Bradford and Brett Miller in their session. They presented their session via the hyperdoc linked here. I can't wait to go back in to dive into it more because a one hour session was not enough time to visit all the links! I am using a tag-which I don't often do- because Mandy Froehlich her session said if we tag our posts with a Danielson number from 1-4 that we can use our blog posts as part of our e-portfolio. Interesting enough the next presenter Christine Voelker presented her session, on the thrill of the hunt- OER resources, with a hyperdoc as well. These are things I can take home from #ISTE18 and continue the learning!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Ozobots and Math

I always want the Makerspace in the library to be a place of STEM learning. I designed a lesson using graph paper and the formula for area of a rectangle (Area = width times length), encouraging students to figure out the area of the graph paper and then figuring out ⅓ of the area on which they would create a maze. It would be simple just to count the spaces on the graph paper but that would take a long time. So I introduced them to this Flocabulary video on area and perimeter:

The idea is then to make a line for an Ozobot to follow using the ⅓ portion of the area calculated. The graph paper's single square is the perfect width for the line the Ozobot can follow. Or if you have the more advanced Ozobot Bit or Ozobot Evo, students can create a computer program and upload it to the Ozobot to cover ⅓ of the area calculated. The Ozobot can be programmed using simple block coding at  Then, program the Ozobot  to create the maze by itself. Or, use a Sphero, which can be programmed with the Tickel App, in much the same way with larger graph paper and use makerspace items like Lego and Keva Planks to create the maze.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary

Today, April 12th is author Beverly Cleary's birthday. Today Beverly Cleary is 102 years old. Amazing! She was born in another era, an era when the things she wrote in her books were considered controversial. She showed us what the future would look like. Happy Birthday Beverly Cleary! Here is a link with a picture of her with Dr. Seuss from when she was much younger! Beverly Cleary and the Doctor!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Fake News Posters

Now that I am a Middle School Librarian, I realize it is more important than ever to make my students aware of Fake News. What is and what is not Fake News? I am happy that I came across a set of three posters from the Washington Post about fake news. I am not endorsing any one news organization. I just like the posters which you can download for free here:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Free Technology for Teachers: A Free Teleprompter

As a former journalist this article from Richard Byrne piqued my interest. Also, my new school has a television studio and I can't wait to see it, and figure out ways for the TV Studio personal to partner with the new librarian! You can be sure I am going to offer up this great free teleprompter find from Free Technology for TeachersFree Technology for Teachers: A Free Teleprompter! Thanks Richard! You make my life so much easier with all the great techology you introduce! Just one suggestion, teleprompters usually use all caps which are supposed to be easier to read when text is moving! So, simply type the text in all caps and you are all set! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Flipgrid and Nearpod

Happy New Year with Flipgrid and Nearpod. Two of my favorite apps go great together. Woah! That sounds like a commercial! I love app smashing and when I found this video on app smashing Flipgrid in Nearpod I ran with it! Now my digital citizenship lessons on Nearpod have a video component! Hope you like how easy it is to app smash Flipgrid and Nearpod!