Saturday, 8 April 2017

The Girl Who Drank the Moon #yabookchat questions

Q1. Initial reactions to the book?

Q2. Favourite secondary character?

Q3. Image search. Pick a character and find an image that suits him/her.

Q4. Did you like the italicized chapters? Who did you think it was?

Q5 Birds are present throughout. Why do you think birds were used?

Q6. Xan believes sorrow is dangerous. Is it?

Q7. Let's talk about how love is central to all the characters.

Q8. Favourite quote/scene?


May's #yabookchat picks

Book Reviews and pictures from Goodreads. Vote here

The Shadows We Know By Heart by J Park

Leah Roberts’s life has never been the same since her brother died ten years ago. Her mother won’t stop drinking, her father can’t let go of his bitter anger, and Leah herself has a secret she’s told no one: Sasquatch are real, and she’s been watching a trio of them in the woods behind her house for years.

Everything changes when Leah discovers that among the Sasquatch lives a teenager. This alluring, enigmatic boy has no memory of his past and can barely speak, but Leah can’t shake his magnetic pull. Gradually, Leah’s life entwines with his, providing her the escape from reality she never knew she needed.

But when Leah’s two worlds suddenly collide in a deadly showdown, she uncovers a shocking truth as big and extraordinary as the legends themselves, one that could change her life forever.

Counting Thyme by M Conklin


When eleven-year-old Thyme Owens’ little brother, Val, is accepted into a new cancer drug trial, it’s just the second chance that he needs. But it also means the Owens family has to move to New York, thousands of miles away from Thyme’s best friend and everything she knows and loves. The island of Manhattan doesn’t exactly inspire new beginnings, but Thyme tries to embrace the change for what it is: temporary.

After Val’s treatment shows real promise and Mr. Owens accepts a full-time position in the city, Thyme has to face the frightening possibility that the move to New York is permanent. Thyme loves her brother, and knows the trial could save his life—she’d give anything for him to be well—but she still wants to go home, although the guilt of not wanting to stay is agonizing. She finds herself even more mixed up when her heart feels the tug of new friends, a first crush, and even a crotchety neighbor and his sweet whistling bird. All Thyme can do is count the minutes, the hours, and days, and hope time can bring both a miracle for Val and a way back home.

In Darkling Wood by E Carroll


When Alice's brother gets a longed-for chance for a heart transplant, Alice is suddenly bundled off to her estranged grandmother's house. There's nothing good about staying with Nell, except for the beautiful Darkling Wood at the end of her garden - but Nell wants to have it cut down. Alice feels at home there, at peace, and even finds a friend, Flo. But Flo doesn't seem to go to the local school and no one in town has heard of a girl with that name. When Flo shows Alice the surprising secrets of Darkling Wood, Alice starts to wonder, what is real? And can she find out in time to save the wood from destruction?

Speak of Me As I am by S Belasco


Melanie and Damon are both living in the shadow of loss. For Melanie, it's the loss of her larger-than-life artist mother, taken by cancer well before her time. For Damon, it’s the loss of his best friend, Carlos, who took his own life.

As they struggle to fill the empty spaces their loved ones left behind, fate conspires to bring them together. Damon takes pictures with Carlos’s camera to try to understand his choices, and Melanie begins painting as a way of feeling closer to her mother. But when the two join their school’s production ofOthello, the play they both hoped would be a distraction becomes a test of who they truly are, both together and on their own. And more than anything else, they discover that it just might be possible to live their lives without completely letting go of their sadness.


Friday, 7 April 2017

Hanging on by a thread

It's Friday night of the first week back after spring break and I'm nursing a sore throat but I'm still working. Next week we get information about staffing for next year and I'm apprehensive to say the least. Initial mutterings suggest that we'll get 5 new teachers on staff which will be fabulous and that library time will remain steady at 1.0 FTE. And I know it's roughly what staffing should be for the BC public school library of 2002 and I understand that I'm fortunate to have weathered the last decade in the library so well but I'm tired. I've worked very hard trying to run a cutting edge library program and feel that a 1.0 FTE is greatly under-funding the CNB library of 2017.

As I write this, it's 8:30 pm and I still have to write up my April report for my admin - we need to meet about it next week. I also have a letter I need to write, a science 8 end task to draft up for Monday, and Tuesday's virtual field trip to shop for but I'm putting those tasks off until tomorrow because I need to reflect on the day that was. It was the usual: 2 requests for book resources to be pulled as soon as possible, finalizing some station resources, a test connection for a virtual field trip, a teacher concern about mature content in a library book, 3 teachers in to chat about projects we are collaborating on, book order arriving, supervising 3 grade 7 classes in to work on the Breakout box, a teacher in to request textbooks, and students in signing out reading material. A steady stream of people all day, plus emails and phone calls to handle.

It wasn't an abnormal day and I think that's why it's bothering me, because my new sense of normal is leaving me hanging on by a thread. And with the prospect of no increase in library time, more students, more classes, and more teachers in September, I need to change how the library operates if I want to continue enjoying my job and my sanity.

I have slowly started changing the library program but it is hard, especially when people always expect you to help. My CNB colleagues understand that I work very hard but at the end of the day, I believe that they still see me as a non enrolling teacher with the luxury of spare time on my hands.

I wish.

I've started to say "no" to covering classes. I've started restricting booking to no more than three consecutive days in the library. Now I need to re-examine how and what I teach, and how and what I assess. I have 12 weeks until the end of the school year - 12 weeks to redesign my vision of the CNB library program and I can tell it's going to be hard work.

Wish me luck.



Sunday, 12 March 2017

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

It's a long story, but the short version is that, in BC, we are looking at lots of new teacher hires as a result of a Supreme Court decision. With new positions opening up at each school, there is the potential for a lot of movement within the district which is something we haven't seen in over a decade. As a result, teachers are starting to talking about moving. 

Change is exciting and frightening at the same time. Because of the lack of movement over the years, there is a core group of teachers at CNB that have been working together for 10 years. Working together for that long means that you're comfortable in your surroundings and know how the building works. You know who you can lean on when needed and who you can rely on to push you forward. Moving means figuring out the invisible lines and divisions on a new staff and finding your own place and voice within the group. Yet it it also a refresh. Moving means you can leave behind expectations and forge ahead with new curriculum in a new space. The potential is there to reinvigorate your teaching and charge along a new path.

The next 8 weeks will be very interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing what our new timetable will look like and thus what class sizes will be across subjects. As always, I'm interested to see what library time will look like and what our M block (homeroom) will morph into.  I'm also looking forward to working with the new additions to the CNB staff and hope for me, that those changes will be enough to spur me on to try new things and recharge my own teaching.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

April #yabookchat picks!

For April, I picked 4 books from ALA's 2017 Youth Media Award winners. Book blurbs and pics from Goodreads

1. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father's extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

The only antidote to all this venom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia. But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. Dill's only escapes are his music and his secret feelings for Lydia, neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending- one that will rock his life to the core.


2. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. 

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her



3. Tell me Something Real by Calla Devlin
Three sisters struggle with the bonds that hold their family together as they face a darkness settling over their lives in this masterfully written debut novel.

There are three beautiful blond Babcock sisters: gorgeous and foul-mouthed Adrienne, observant and shy Vanessa, and the youngest and best-loved, Marie. Their mother is ill with leukemia and the girls spend a lot of time with her at a Mexican clinic across the border from their San Diego home so she can receive alternative treatments. Their world is about to shatter under the weight of an incomprehensible betrayal…

4. Arena by Holly Jennings
The RAGE tournaments the Virtual Gaming League's elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a fight to the digital death. Every kill is broadcast to millions. Every player leads a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining the masses. 

And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.

Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world until one of her teammates overdoses. Now she s stuck trying to work with a hostile new teammate who s far more distracting than he should be. 


Questions for A List of Cages

Q1 Initial reactions to the book?
Q2 Which character saw the most growth?
Q3 Is Adam realistic?
Q4 Was Adam's anger at Emerald justified?
Q5 On page 83, Julian talks about loss. How much truth is in his thinking?
Q6 What about those lists?
Q7 Favourite quote/scene
Q8 If you liked A List of Cages, you'll also like...

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Professional development

Yesterday was a Professional Development day in our district. I love PD. I love learning and I truly appreciate the time I have to explore whatever PD interests me.

This Pro D day, I opted to do self directed because I have been absolutely overwhelmed this year and just the mere thought of presenting at or attending a big district event made me shudder. What I truly wanted was a quiet day to read, learn, watch, and reflect. I know that the district doesn't want professional development to happen in isolation, but that's exactly what I needed. In my job as a teacher librarian, every day is a series of intense conversations with teachers. I'm constantly collaborating. I'm not complaining, not at all; I recognize that that is the nature of my job (and truly how I've crafted my job) and I wouldn't want it any other way. But for my PD day this February, I needed an opportunity to quietly move my learning forward on my own.

And learn I did. I caught up on all the posts in the FB group Future Ready Librarians. From the posts, I explored TL blogs, display ideas, and questions about teacher librarianship in general. What an incredible wonderful group to be a part of! I also checked out the #futurereadylibs tweets in Twitter to make sure I wasn't missing anything and watched a couple of webinars. I tackled some of my professional reading (my School Library Journals were starting to pile up). I spoke with colleagues about the new curriculum and resources we have to support it. It was fabulous to have time to invest in myself.

But my PD didn't end with the school day. Just like any other day, I spent the evening reading and trying to improve my 'craft' because learning never truly ends.