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Showing posts from 2016

Pinned to the Cause

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Every night, before I go to sleep, I lay out the jewelry I'm going to wear for the following day on my jewelry box.  I'm organized like that.  Guess that goes with the whole librarian stereotype. This morning I realized that the only piece of "jewelry" I had selected to add to my ensemble last night was a lone large safety pin. I dithered.  I've read both sides of the arguments: for and against wearing of the safety pin.  I was at first excited about the concept, but then the potential magnitude of the statement I would be wearing for all to see gave me pause. Was I ready to step in if I saw someone being mistreated?  I've learned through experience that the theory and practice of such are very different things.  You like to think you'll stand up for your principles and defend other's rights to their own, but it's not that easy for many reasons.

The Inspiration Behind Your Procrastination

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When I began reading The Big Thing I was expecting organizational charts, schedules, and/or tips on how to be creative like people who do it well.  I was expecting a convert, but was instead amused to learn that the author herself still struggles with her creative process on a daily basis. The Big Thing by Phyllis Korkki, on How to Complete Your Creative Project Even If You’re a Lazy, Self-Doubting Procrastinator Like Me , was a fascinating read.  Mostly because I am not lazy, neither am I self-doubting, nor a procrastinator.  I suppose that means that I am also not humble, but the point is that The Big Thing  was not written for people like me.  If I say I’m going to do something, it gets done and it gets done well and it gets done quickly.  That’s just the way I have always operated and I never quite understood why people ever struggled to get things done… ...until I read this book. My husband, like the author, has been struggling with a “big thing” of his own.  He t

You Don't Need Religion to Raise Good Kids!

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I wish this book had existed ten years ago when I was starting my family.  Parents are often vilified for choosing to raise their children secularly, but this book provides a wonderful grace-filled guide on how to do it thoughtfully.  Katherine Ozment, a former Christian, and her husband Michael, who was raised Jewish, knew they didn’t want to raise their children in religion.  They knew the negatives of a religious upbringing, but were surprised to discover how much was lost by having made that choice.  They discovered that their children missed biblical references when reading literature in school, had little sense of community, and lacked the family traditions that accompany religious holidays.   There was something missing. In this chronicle of Ozment’s search for “meaning, purpose, and belonging in a secular age,” we are exposed to her fears, bravery, failures, and successes.  Ozment also delves deeply into the psychology of why religion is such a popular choice

PARCC is NOT a graduation requirement for the Class of 2016!

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IMPORTANT: PARCC is NOT a graduation requirement for the Class of 2016 On Friday, May 6 the NJDOE and the Education Law Center reached a settlement on a case that has far reaching implications for graduating high school seniors. The settlement provides important protections for students in the Class of 2016 who have met all other requirements for a diploma, but have not fulfilled the new testing requirements imposed by the NJDOE. Key points of the settlement are as follows: By this Friday, May 13, Districts should provide information about the portfolio process to parents/guardians of all students who still need the portfolio review to graduate.  The portfolio process is available to all students, regardless of IEP status.  Districts have been granted the power to oversee the portfolio review process. Districts may:  Determine whether or not a student has met the graduation proficiency standards.  Set portfolio requirements OR collect previous classwork to fulfill the por

A Dangerous Place: Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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A Dangerous Place is Jacqueline Winspear's 11th book in the Maisie Dobbs series.  It is spring, 1937 in the British garrison town of Gibraltor.  Late 30's Gibraltar is a place of "between," full of transient people, clashing cultures, and dangerous opinions. Maisie Dobbs, the lead character, is also "between."  A woman of many talents, principal of which is as an investigator.  However, personal tragedy has led her to flee her profession, or at least she tries to.  Trouble seems to have a way of following her. Murder, lies, and wartime propaganda make this a page-turning read, but without the extreme highs and lows of typical suspense thrillers.  This book, obviously written by a seasoned author, seems to flow effortlessly.  The characters and setting are all so well detailed that the reader is quickly immersed in the history of this tumultuous time; a definite recommendation for anyone studying the underlying emotional motivations behind World War II

City of Blades: A Divine Read

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City of Blades  is the second book in The Divine Cities series by Robert Jackson Bennett.  It tells of the continuing war between two peoples:  the Saypuri and the Continentals who once enslaved them.  While reading book one, City of Stairs , isn't required to enjoy this book, it is recommended to fully understand some of the motivations behind the main characters. Saypuri General Turyin Mulaghesh - a secondary character in  City of Stairs  - takes center stage in this novel.  She is a blunt, gritty, seasoned veteran who constantly struggles to reconcile her duty as a soldier with the unimaginable amount of blood that she's seen, and spilled.  Hailed as the "Hero of Bulikov," for an impactful battle that occurred in the city of the same name, she presents a constant contradiction of self.  Is she the hero that everyone claims her to be or is she the monster that she recognizes from her own past? Mulaghesh enters retirement at the beginning of the book

The Forgotten PD: Meeting Face to Face

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I <3 professional development.  I enjoy attending conferences.  I am energized by giving workshops.  I delight in learning from my online personal and professional learning communities and even reading independently on various topics to better myself. But, in my opinion, there is a type of professional development that is under-celebrated that I have recently revisited and need to shout about. Talking to your neighbor!

Back in the Genrefication Saddle

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Almost two years ago I began a mission:  to genrefy my fiction section.  I did lots of research, attended workshops, and picked the brains of other librarians who have already made that journey. And then I had twins lol... So we are back to the challenge of genrefying my fiction section again! If you recall, I was at the point where I was applying a genre to every book in my library.  I have picked up where I left off and am currently in mysteries.  A teacher recently asked me for mysteries and it rekindled my realization that a genrefied fiction section is such a desired service for my library! I will keep you apprised, especially since I am publicly declaring that I am back on this mission.  Hold me accountable!  :)

Is Checking Out Too Big a Price to Pay?

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I did some weeding in my library today.  I placed books of interest to adults in the faculty room and books of interest to teens in the library entrance.  I sent an email to staff telling them where to find the books. I was really surprised by the response. Teachers immediately started looking at the cart before I had finished rolling it into the faculty room.  Teachers also came out of their way to visit the library in order to view the books I had put aside for teens. Why?

ESSA: Victory for Libraries!

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ESSA:  What you need to know! ESSA stands for the Every Student Succeeds Act, a new bill signed in last month by President Obama.  ESSA is basically a renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 and seeks to fix many of the issues found in NCLB (No Child Left Behind). In short, ESSA gives the states more power over how to teach our students. Basic changes include:           The number of tests and the grades tested remains the same, but states now have the flexibility in how and when they administer those tests.           Common Core is no longer required by states.           Accountability goals are now almost entirely up to the states.           “Failing” schools have more choices regarding interventions for improvement. how does this affect libraries?