Classroom Library Additions (Library Sale Fun)

1 Aug

Can I just say that library sales are pretty much my favorite thing ever? Even since before sliced bread. That’s how jazzed I am about library sales. I was visiting my local public library in search of the print version of Where She Went because the last disc of the audio-book didn’t work (major bummer). The only copy was checked out so I grabbed an audio-book at random and picked up a few other teen lit books and went upstairs for some picture books to read with my brother.

As I walked up the second flight, the sale shop beckoned me like a chorus of angels. I swear the book angels went “Aaaaahhhhhh” as I hit the landing. See, I have never (really, never ever ever) been in the library when the shop was open. Never. I popped in just to case the place, fully intending to come back. I made small talk with the really nice, sweet lady sitting at the counter and mentioned that (a) it was my first time in the shop and (b) I’m a high school English teacher.

She directed me to the teen section and I started shoving books in a cart (when the most expensive book is 75 cents, can you blame me?). I took a stack to the lady and told her I was going to pick out a few more. She tells me, “Oh, honey, I checked into it, and we have discounts for teachers.” “Oh, that’s awesome,” I tell her and pick out some more books. I’m thinking maybe 15% off? I’d be trilled with that – heck, I don’t even mind paying full price if the book is only 75 cents!

I walked out with five grocery bags FULL of books. The amount of books I have sitting in my trunk is just insane. And I paid all of $7.00. SEVEN DOLLARS. Wow.

These pictures show only half of my loot – my sister took two bags to read!

If you have the chance to go to your library’s sale shop, please go. Even if you don’t find something for your class, chances are you’ll find something great for yourself! The books tend to be a tad on the dated side, but who cares? Fiction is fiction! I can’t wait to clean these up and ready them for their placement on the shelves in the classroom.

Do you have a super-awesome place where you score books? I’d love to hear about it – comment below!

On My Way to 50

7 Jul

There’s going to be a lot of math in this post. Just a heads up. (UPDATE: I changed my mind. I was going to break down all the averages and totals and stuff for the #summerthrowdown tally sheet. And then I decided against all that math.)

In my #SummerThrowdown Throws Down at Halftime post, I mentioned that I’m approaching the second half of the challenge with a goal: to read more than 50 books. This could mean reading 50.25 or 130 books. As long as my final tally is over 50, I’ll be happy. The number itself is arbitrary. I’m not really sure why I picked 50 instead of 30 or 70. Fifty seemed like a reasonable number.

In my drive to reach this goal – and expand my repertoire – I have been visiting the local public library. I’ve checked out young adult books, audio books, graphic novels, comics, novels in verse, juvenile fiction, and even a few picture books.

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T-shirt Party!

3 Jul

Show your support & brag about your participation in #TeamElite for #summerthrowdown!

I’ve been working with Sherry over the last few days to design a #summerthrowdown t-shirt! After much discussion and attempts at creative slogans, we’re pleased to announce the #summerthrowdown t-shirt party!

The shirts will be printed on Anvil Ringer T’s which, according to the rep, run small. Use this size chart to help you select the appropriate size.

Tees are $10 each which includes shipping. Go to the Order Form to place your order! After you complete the order form, please submit your payment to meaganrae.stephens@gmail.com via PayPal. Orders received without payment will be cancelled.

The order form will be available until Saturday, July 14 at 11:59 pm.

Have questions? Email me! meaganrae.stephens@gmail.com

#SummerThrowdown Throws Down at Halftime

2 Jul

Ya’ll. You are amazing readers. I am so impressed with your dedication! As of 10:50 am CST, Teachers & Librarians have read 1337 books for #summerthrowdown! And that’s at the halfway point! I love using exclamation points!

So, here’s an update on what’s happening at this very special mid-point. Brian posted about a new data column on the spreadsheet. Not only are we challenged to read, we’re challenged to recommend the best book we’ve read for #summerthrowdown. And it’s okay if your pick changes later – just update the progress sheet!

#leagueoflibrarians currently holds the lead over #teamteacher. But like Jillian said, “No one loses when everyone reads!” (Still, let’s kick some booky booty, #teamteacher!)

I’ve read a total of 13.25 books so far. I’m totally not bragging, but the competition has only been active for what, 15 days? That’s 0.88 books each day! While I’m normally a big reader and always have a book I’m devouring, I’d probably be reading much less than that. So I’m grateful for this challenge to keep me active in my reading. I’m also setting a goal for myself: I’m going to surpass 50 books. And I’m going to broaden my interests by reading graphic novels, poetry, and even some juvenile books.

I have a bunch of novels in verse books on hold at the local public library. Major thanks to Jenn Brower for her awesome suggestions to get me out of my “I’m reading really long books and they’re taking me forever and my book count is really low because of it” funk. 🙂

Happy Reading, everyone! How many books do you think we’ll have read at the conclusion of #summerthrowdown?

Poor, poor Texas

29 Jun

Two days ago, the Huffington Post published an article about the Texas GOP’s 2012 Political Platform. The Huff Post decided to focus on the platform’s stance on sex-ed and corporal punishment (which, by the way, is actually legal in 19 states, Texas included). The literature indicates that teachers should have more authority in disciplining students rather than parents. I can entertain this idea – kids and their families hold so much power that teachers are afraid to even touch a student on the arm. Teachers (who truly are the parents-away-from-home) do need more authority. But resorting to corporal punishment? Ehh. The section titled “Educating our Children” of the literature states “corporal punishment is effective & legal in Texas.” It’s effective? In Texas? According to whom? Here’s the entire section of the party’s position on “Classroom Discipline:”

We recommend that local school boards and classroom teachers be given more authority to deal with disciplinary problems. Corporal punishment is effective and legal in Texas.”

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Clinical 1: Round 2

27 Jun

Round 1 was just observations, so there’s nothing to blog about there…Whoopee.

Ready for Round 2? I was slightly nervous. I mean, it wasn’t my first time in a classroom by a long shot. But it was my first teaching experience being observed…for my masters. That was a ton of pressure. Plus, these clinicals are being done in summer school. Suh-Mer Skool. You don’t teach the normal curriculum in summer school. For starters, there’s not nearly enough time. I have difficulty reconciling what I’m supposed to teach with what is actually being taught in the classroom.

My “assignment” for my clinical was to teach a vocab lesson. Well, if I’m going to be observed for an hour, there’s no way I can stretch vocab to fit a whole hour. Students will be sleeping, no doubt. So, using “The Cask of Amontillado” by Poe, I made a ‘window-frame’ graphic organizer and chose four vocab words I wanted them to focus on (these four words would be on a quiz the next day to test their recall). We went over the words in the book and then I modeled the graphic organizer and we put these words on it: precluded, impose, endeavored, & recoiling. Could I have chosen words with greater degrees of difficulty? Sure. But by choosing these words, I show that I know my students and their performance levels. I chose words that they are likely to encounter in other readings and in other classes…even in life. If I chose words that were unique to Poe’s story, then when would they get to use the words again?

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