Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Two Cool Chicks with Cool Tech Tips

Today's post is for the after-school tech tip class Rachel Valenti and I will be teaching!


Two Cool Chicks with Cool Tech Tips


Kahoot (to create)
Kahoot (to play)    www.kahoot.it 
     example 1   example 2

Sunday, February 8, 2015

How do I #LoveTeaching?...Let me count the ways

This week's challenge for Todd Nesloney's Educator Learning Series (#EduLS) is to think about why you love teaching and post it via blogs and other social media platforms.  Amidst all the negative we hear about teaching in today's world, the plan is to add some positivity to the conversation---because the truth is, those of us who stay in education truly DO love it, or we wouldn't be here.

I've said it and said it---but it is true---I am one of the luckiest folks I know because

I truly LOVE my job. 

I always wanted to be a teacher, and I taught in the classroom for 9 of my now 24 in education. My classroom just got bigger when I became a librarian, and now I consider all the students in the school "mine."
  • As a school librarian, I get to laugh a lot.  Kids are hilarious, aren't they? They just seriously crack me up.  Teenagers are super-fun beings and I get to work with them every day.
  • Hello, my name is Sonja and I am addicted to books.  I am a book pusher as much as I am a book consumer---and I have a constant stream of students, teachers, & other librarians into whose hands & hearts I get to push awesome reads!
  • I have just enough structure in my work day to make me feel cozy without it ever becoming humdrum.  Within a few set parameters, there is just NO TELLING what kinds of adventure each day will bring.
  • Opportunities to really make a difference in the lives of others.  
  • My students keep me young.  I see in them that beautiful effervescence of youth, and hope I can retain mine longer for recognizing it living within them. 
  • My students push me to excellence.  It is for THEM that I strive to be better every day than the day before in my work. It is for THEM that I want to learn more, be more, grow more.  I want to reach them in meaningful ways and provide the education & mentoring they need.
I could go on and on with stories and photos and other lovelies about my gig---and I will--- every day this week on Twitter, Instgram, and Facebook as I continue to participate in this awesome challenge!


Thursday, February 5, 2015


Being at home with a sick kiddo, while not my idea of a fun time, does at least give me some good time for reflection.

I let January slip past me with no new blog posting, but it is lovely February and I'm back!

I have now been a high school librarian for a semester.  I have loved every minute of my new gig--and have learned (and am still learning) a lot.

Some ways the HS library is different than my MS library:

  • way more schedules going on (and I thought 3 was difficult!) We have Early College High School, 9th graders on a block schedule and upper grades on a "regular" schedule, students with no classes for some periods of the day, late start Wednesday, etc. 
  • much more emphasis on research (not a surprise, clearly---but we certainly are not preparing them adequately in MS --and I blame high-stakes testing pressure)
  • less Wimpy Kid, more Stephen King
  • something is ALWAYS going on in "my" space that isn't of my doing---meetings/after hours college classes/Saturday school/after school tutorials
  • taller kids with more facial hair!  ;)

So I am learning and adapting and growing right along with my students, as is only right. Speaking of right, here are some things I think are on point:

  • a warm, cozy atmosphere. We have couches and checkers and chess and lamps going on.  Not completely done, of course---it will always be evolving---but moving in the right direction.
  • our circulation has more than doubled each month from last year's stats.  Not that circ stats are the only thing, but I do like the upward momentum.
  • fun fine forgiveness opportunities---a canned food drive in Nov/Dec and now a write-a-teacher-a-note-of-appreciation for the month of February. 
  • we were an official location for the National Readathon Day and had a good turnout, raising over $300 (we partnered with the National English Honor Society for this event)
  • making a sort-of weekly video---called Dragons in the Stacks about library happenings shown to during Advisory classes
  • giving some techie tips workshops for teachers
  • building a connected library via social media

(and just for fun let me add I've been told I am both magical & "on fleek" this year!)

And for some balance, here are some areas I'm actively growing in:
  • out-of-the box ways of better serving my students & teachers--I will begin a "mobile library" of sorts to hopefully get more books in the hands of my kids (and I thank my friend & super librarian friend Michelle Cooper for the idea)
  • having helpful info on checking out ebooks, research, etc. EASILY accessible by the masses
  • genrefying my fiction collection (did it at my MS, but only beginning the process at the HS)
  • interactiveness 
Reflection + Action = Growth


Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy Holidays to YOU!

Lovely to be on our holiday break right now.  Not that I have a ton of free time, of course.  No, like most everyone I know I'm cleaning house and decking the halls and all that jazz. I've managed to squeeze in time to finish one of the two books I'm working on at the moment and drink plenty of coffee, however.  Life is, as always, gooooooood!

December has been a whirlwind.  After decorating the library with holiday cheer, I posted pics to FB, Instagram, and Twitter.  Other folks came in and out and took photos, too.  Before I knew it, this little guy had gone practically viral, which has tickled me no end!

It has absolutely blown my mind that he has traveled all over the world at this point--has been tweeted from places such as Germany, Istanbul and various locations in Asia.  The Waiting for Superman FB page shared him and he got a ton of shares from that page, too.  I love that he has spread joy on his journey and I love that others have joined in the fun, tweeting their own bookish snowmen.

Along with good ole Mr. Snowman, here, I had two other main displays for the month:

I really thought the Elvis would appeal mostly to the teachers, but several students mentioned how much they enjoyed him.   :)

I plan to do a mid-year review on the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year while on break. Not sure if I'll get to it before Christmas or just before heading back to school.  Either way, I'm really looking forward to taking the time to reflect before heading into the new year.

May your days be Merry & Bright,

Monday, November 24, 2014


I'm so very thankful for the new adventures in my new job.  I absolutely love being the high school librarian at NHS, and while I certainly still have much to learn and improve upon, I'm very thankful for the opportunity to do so.

  • I have really enjoyed working with & getting to know my lovely assistant Paula, who was already in place before I was hired on.  I know it can be difficult to "learn" new people, especially when you've trained under someone else (and were close friends with them).  Paula has made this transition so much easier for me. 
  • My co-workers are fabulous.  Yes, I still miss my friends from the middle school, but seriously this group of educators has been so welcoming and so open to new ideas.  I have great colleagues who are supportive and encouraging.  
  • The admin gives us Sonic Drink Friday's on the regular.  This speaks volumes...VOLUMES, friends.
  • My students are flipping AMAZING.  Not only has it been so cool to see what my former kiddos from the middle school are up to all these years later, but it has been very cool to meet new students, as well.  I'm so blessed to have students who have made me a part of their high school world. 
  • Each day is a new adventure.  Seriously, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to be bored in this gig. 
  • I have a whole new world of books to enjoy.  Ah, the BLISS.
  • The opportunity to work with the young writers group has been fantastic and is inspiring me in my writing, too.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Our Homecoming game was Friday night.  I picked my girls up early from their respective schools so they could experience a high school pep rally (my oldest and her best friend are 6th grade band kids--which can be discouraging as you don't sound like you want to sound yet! hoped to give them some insight as to what they have to look forward to!) and a bit later we all had dinner at the high school (the choir burger fundraiser was also Friday) and then walked over to the stadium.

It was a beautiful evening for Friday night lights.  Rain had been a threat earlier in the evening but by the time of kick-off it had cleared off, the sunset was a lovely pink--and later, the blood moon shone above us.

Right before the game started the announcer introduced the Dukes and Duchesses.   As a co-sponsor for one of the clubs, I proudly watched my kiddos standing out there in the field in their homecoming finery.  The band Duke and Duchess are also my 8th period library clerks (and I've known them since they were 6th graders!) We cheered like mad when they were announced Homecoming Queen and King!

As I sat in the stands with my girls cheering on my team, I noticed a Senior lineman out on the field. He had come in earlier in the day and we worked together when he was having trouble downloading Romeo and Juliet.  We never got it to work--turns out there was tech trouble throughout the district and I ended up ordering another hard copy yesterday so he will have it by early next week whether the ebooks are working or not.

That drummer making the crowds go wild with his awesome beats? Yep, he was working on research in the library three days this week.  And that twirler?  She and I discuss books so much that when we finally made the first library podcast she was my lovely co-host.  That drill team dancer with the amazing high kicks?  She was part of a great group of kids working on a group project in the library this week.

Kids waved, stopped by where we sat in the bleachers to chat.  I watched the girls wearing their giant beautiful beribboned bejeweled homecoming mums with pride and the boys with their matching garters. I am both transported back in time about 30 years to my own days of mums and high kicks and studying in the library, and sitting on a hard bleacher in the here and now!

I just LOVE being a high school librarian.  It is about more than the books though those are important. It is about more than the technology although I love that, too.
It is about these kids.
Yes, these are my kids.  This is my place.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Banned Books Week!

To celebrate our FREADOM I've created this Thinglink on Banned Books week 2014.  I hope you find it helpful. 

Follow THIS LINK to my Thinglink!