This year I am starting a coding class here one class period a day! It's a new adventure - the journal Ms. Cameron gave me has the perfect quote to start the journey. I am using www.code.org curriculum and so far it's been very exciting! Stay tuned for more information as we progress through the semester!
I kept hearing about this amazing book, The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin. She spoke as an author at Tweens Read this fall and her book is getting rave reviews across all social media and librarian word of mouth. Sometimes a book touches your heart in a way that no other can. This book did that for me. It's about a young girl who loses her best friend to drowning between the summers of 6th and 7th grade. Suzy does not know how to cope with this and goes through a lot of difficult times and a "silent" time. I can relate to her in a way because when I was younger, there was a traumatic event that silenced me. The thing that made this book special was that people kept reaching out to and loving on Suzy. They did not give up on her. They kept supporting her through the frustrations and the silence. What a hard thing to do.
November is National Children's Grief Awareness Month. Thursday, November 19th, people everywhere are invited to wear blue to show support of children and teens who have lost loved ones. I have seen way too many students lose a parent at a young age, a friend, or even an uncle. It breaks my heart because picking up the pieces is hard. In Houston, there is an amazing organization called Bo's Place and they support these kids constantly.
So if you have lost someone recently or been through something traumatic, be encouraged. Things will and can get better!
This weekend I finished reading All Fall Down by Ally Carter. I am a big fan of her books and this one did not disappoint! Imagine an island where there are embassies beside one another on one street. Embassy Row. Grace reluctantly returns here to her grandfather's care after her mother is murdered. She faces the stigma of being depressed, institutionalized and generally "crazy" BUT she will not let this interfere with her investigation to find her mother's killer! If you like mysteries and suspense, this is a great book for you!
I am so excited about this book! Mindy McGinnis is a library in Ohio and a writer as well. Her books are amazing and the two times I've met her, she was a pleasure. I can't wait to check this new book out! :)
Check out our Book Fair next week, starting on Monday, September 21st! It's the best time of the year. I am excited for the fun and books! We will be open before school every morning, during lunch and after school. Students will visit the book fair with their Language Arts classes. Also, we will be open at BACK TO SCHOOL night!!! You can preview books at the Scholastic Trailer by clicking HERE!
I'm back at work today and starting to get the library ready for students and teachers. It is overwhelming because I haven't been here since my medical leave in May! There are new books to process, things to order, and piles to organize. It will get done in time.
I'm going home at lunch today because I left my book at home! I've been reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer. These have been very popular among students and a sweet friend read the whole Lunar series earlier this summer, so I wanted to give it a try. WOW! What a great read! I stayed up last night until my eyes were closing because I wanted to keep reading. Cinder is a cyborg mechanic in an ever changing world that is fighting a fatal disease. She is an orphan and has to live with a stepmother and two stepsisters. It is a fabulous story! Can't wait to see how it ends!
With the heat wave of summer upon us, reading is a great choice. Coffee shops, libraries and homes offer us comfy places to read and have air conditioning! :) I have really enjoyed reading this summer. I haven't read all sci-fi or all fantasy - I have stretched and read professional development books, required freshman reading, graphic novels, a book from 1956 and books about my faith. I have to say my favorite is the one in the middle - ROLLER GIRL by Victoria Jamieson. She captures perfectly how it feels to "grow up" and move on when friends are changing. It reminded me so much of my own transition from middle to high school...
Today I had the opportunity to go with a new friend, Mrs. North, to Houston Prep at U of H Downtown. She was teaching classes on binary coding through code.org and building connections and relationships with students. She asked me to join her and I was excited to see her in action! Last year, at SBMS we participated in Hour of Code for the first time. It was amazing. If you don't know much about it, then you must check out the video below to find out more about how many ways it can change and affect students' lives for good!
On a personal note, I completed my Hour of Code using the Frozen activities. I loved Frozen and even dressed up as Elsa for my niece's birthday party, so I was ready to tackle the code. I started and was having so much fun making all different shapes and having success. I noticed as I moved up through the levels that the activities increased in difficulty. I saw terms like 180 degrees and other math terms and I started to get nervous. See, in school, I struggled with math, especially in high school. I barely passed geometry - I am convinced it's because of tutorials that I earned my credit. Thankfully, I had a wonderful library aide, Meredith, who is a great encourager. She saw (and heard) that I was struggling so she helped me think through some of my steps, cheered me on and clapped for me when I finished. I felt like I had tackled a geometry beast. I was so proud and showed off my picture to my friends at lunch, my mom, my sisters, my niece and nephew, and anyone else who would listen! I was amazed at how much it boosted my confidence.
So this morning when I was getting ready, I noticed my Girl Scout vest hanging in my closet. That is my vest from Troop 502 in Katy, Texas! I found it recently to show my niece who is going into kindergarten this year. (I'm probably more excited than she is but that is OK!) If you notice, there is a badge with 0s and 1s on it. That is BINARY code. So that means way back when I was in Girl Scouts, most likely Brownies, I learned about binary code and received a badge. Today I have come full circle. Now I am pushing for students at SBMS to have access to coding, technology, relationships and networking. It is not all about computers. It is about how to use technology - not just computers - to help us reach our full potential. I am so thankful for the opportunity to do that at SBMS! I know it's still summer, but I am getting super excited about our upcoming school year! Get ready, Bears, it's going to be a GREAT one!
As the summer approaches here are my Top Ten Summer Ideas for 2015!
10. Go swimming- it gets hot in Houston. Take some time and enjoy the water with friends.
9. Take a class. There are free classes offered at your local libraries, the YMCA, Jo-Ann's craft store, Leisure Learning and Michael's.
8. Send someone a hand-written card. This is a treasure. We don't get hand-written notes very often anymore so receiving one is always a pleasure!
7. Eat ice cream. Just because you can! My favorite is mint chocolate chip.
6. Listen to a story or author talk. Our local book store has author talks all summer! I'll be at Jen Mathieu's Devoted book release on 6/13/15. Come join me!
5. Visit the Houston Zoo and check out the new gorilla exhibit. I know it's amazing because my sweet sister pushed me in a wheelchair all around the Zoo!
4. Read a book that has been on your to read list for a while. Enjoy it!
3. Exchange a book you enjoyed with a friend and then meet for ice-cream to talk about it. Win win!
2. Find a Little Free Library and take a book home. Then revisit and donate one of your own books.
1. Tell someone you love them and that they are important to you! That's what matters most.
Ms. Smith, SBMS