Setting Sail!

Tomorrow morning I set sail on my journey of being a Greenland Pirate. I have prepared my ship and set a course for a year full of technology and STEAM projects. I am, in my shy way, beginning to get to know the teachers in my school. I am greatly looking forward to getting to work with them! But tomorrow is the real challenge.

The days prior to raising my sails, the water has been a little on the choppy side. After much struggle and tons of contemplation, I prepared an interactive ‘Library Go’ game for my students during the first week that would have them exploring the library and watching videos whenever images I had uploaded to Augment were triggered. Things were working beautifully. With five days to go, I jumped on Amazon and ordered 30 sets of earbuds on Amazon Prime so that students wouldn’t be distracted by 20 other videos playing at the same time. I love Amazon Prime. I mean, who doesn’t adore free 2 shipping. Friday afternoon, since I hadn’t received a shipping update, I checked my account. My headphones were scheduled to arrive on Monday…the 22nd. A week after I was intending to use them!

Furious did not even come close to describing how I felt in that moment. What was I going to do? Three days before classes, I had nothing planned. Every negative thought I have had about my teaching career suddenly exploded in my brain and my mind was so clogged that I couldn’t focus on finding a new path. So I did the only thing I could do. I did nothing. Not a thing. I walked away from the situation and threw my attention on cleaning my house and went to the gym.

It was at the gym that it started to come together. While I focused on form, breathing, and tempo of my sets, a memory started to squirm its way forward. A few months ago, I attended a technology specialist session at the Dawson Co-op and we were looking at different ways to incorporate basic coding skills into lessons. One of the  projects we looked at included creating a double-sided ‘About me’ postcard. While playing with the builder, I commented to one of my colleagues how neat these would be as library cards.


*Insert light bulb above my head*

Here it was. The plan I needed. we will design our own library cards using Haiku Deck. The younger students will be taught step-by-step with lots of modeling while the older students will be given more freedom. They will take selfies on the iPads and build a library card that reflects their interests and preferences.

There is no problem that can’t be resolved or overcome. Clarity comes when your mind is at peace. There are many motivational quotes I could post but the point of them all is simply this…do not give up! Keep going. Find a new path. It is not the end! So, onward I go. A new plan, a new path, and waters (aka nerves) that are much calmer.

Tomorrow will be my day.



OMG. I’m in High School…again. Help!

*FLASHBACK* Last summer. The beginning of the school year is rapidly approaching and it dawns on me…I’m going back to high school. I mean, yes, I am going back as a teacher, but that doesn’t quell me nerves. Honestly, it terrifies me even more. What if they don’t like me? How am I going to make the changes that my principal is hoping to see? Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh. Deep breath. Hold. And release.

Sure, my first four years of teaching were technically at the high school. But, I was a band director. As a band director, I automatically have something that bonds me to my students – music. Besides, I didn’t have to worry about the entire student body. Just the students who were enrolled in band. I got to be in my musically enhanced bubble and I rarely let my bubble intermingle with the rest of the campus. Going back to high school as the media specialist was a completely different ballgame.

My entire media specialist career up to that point had been spent at the elementary level. Everything I did made those little guys happy. I decorated with over-the-top themes and bright colors. We did lots of fun lessons. I read to them. I can’t do any of those things at the high school level. They would literally laugh in my face. They might even call me a…oh dear…dork. I really don’t need a repeat of my own high school days!

Okay, I might have been a little worried over nothing. The librarian who retired the previous year had been in her job for a long, long, long, long, long time. The library was an incredibly strict environment that actually discouraged students from coming in. Checking out books was a process similar to passing a bill in Congress. Talking within the walls of the library was quite the sin. People were actually scared to go in for fear of being yelled at.

I had a starting point. Don’t yell at students for coming in the library. Make book checkouts a much less painless process. Let students carry on conversations. Smile at students. Okay. That doesn’t seem so hard. But what else can I do?

So, I came up with a few changes to implement. I painted the walls. I ordered new cafe-style tables and chairs. Implemented self-checkouts with the iPads. And, of course, focused my book ordering on new YA fiction instead of continuing to cram in uncirculated nonfiction. Is it enough? Will I be able to get students to use the media center? Will these changes in environment and attitude be enough to bring them in the door and checking out the materials?

*FAST FORWARD* We are now at the end of the year. My library is always full of students. We tripled our circulation numbers. Students are working on Chromebooks all over the room and chatting happily with their friends. Music from my favorite Pandora stations are playing through the computer speakers. Oh, and the high school students do like my crazy decorations.

So, yes, I was overly worried about nothing. My first year as a media specialist at the high school rocked. And year two is going to be even greater. I’m not nervous this summer. I am excited. I cannot wait to embark on this journey. Just you wait.

Lovely new furniture and freshly painted walls. Don’t we all love a good makeover?
This was just the opening to some awesome ‘Banned Book’ week displays. Kids loved the “Walking Dead” reference.
Christmas tree made of weeded books. Almost exclusively nonfiction. This monster tree was a huge hit.
Historical Fiction display that featured some awesomely nerd-tastic elements. The TARDIS, the flux capacitor, and each shelf featured a backdrop from a different time period.