Sunday, September 22, 2019

Banned Books Week

Each fall Banned Books Week rolls around and I never feel quite prepared for it.  This year will be different.  I've spent all weekend putting together a display and activities and, most importantly, words to have the discussion.

According to the American Library Association,

"Banned Books Week (September 22-28, 2019) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular."

Every year books are challenged on the basis of gender, sex, language, racism, witchcraft, and many other topics. Libraries have a formal process for reviewing a book challenge and the American Library Association tries to document these events. Each year they publish lists of the most challenged and banned books and celebrate Banned Books Week in order to draw attention to the dangers of censorship. Libraries around the world participate in events and activities to bring awareness to these issues.

A challenge occurs when a person or organization attempts to remove or restrict materials or services based on content.  A ban occurs when the outcome of the challenge process results in the removal of the challenged materials or cancellation of the challenged services, based on their content.

For more information, visit the ALA's Banned & Challenged Books website and the Banned Books Week website.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Little Free Library

Guess what?!  I got a Little Free Library for DBS!  :)  I'm super excited.  I've wanted one for awhile and last spring I asked Mr. D if we could put one in front of school.  He loved the idea.  I was hoping to find a boy scout or someone to do it for free, but ended up asking an awesome DBS family who likes doing family projects.  They had a few kids graduate DBS and were excited to make a lasting project for the school.  I was thrilled!  I gave them free range on design and they ran with it.  The week before school started they were ready to install.

I love this family!  They are such an amazing asset to the community.

They even brought some books to get it started!

It has solar powered lights running along the inside of the roof. A very classy touch.

There is a website called that started the movement (as best I know) and maintains a map of locations. I went to registered our new addition and discovered that it's a trademarked name!  Of course! In order to use the name (which we obviously and clearly did!) and be listed on the map you have to pay a small fee and get a plaque.  Guess what I did ASAP?! :)  The plaque should be arriving in the mail any day now. 

During the first week of school I was talking to each of the classes about it and I was thrilled that so many kids had already found it and started getting books.  I love the expressions when I tell them that although it's called a "library" they can actually KEEP the books if they want to!  And add some of their own that they are done with.  The kids love it!  I'll check on it regularly and keep it stocked with books as well, just in case kiddos take books faster than they leave them. 

Sunday, June 30, 2019


Dothan Brook School will be implementing the Seesaw platform in most grades next school year.  This is an amazing tool for students to take ownership of their learning, have access to authentic audiences, and better connect with families.  Last year we used it with 2nd and 3rd graders and they loved it. Students, teachers, and parents alike!

I spent this week taking the Seesaw Ambassador training so I can utilize the program in the library and support teachers throughout the building. I'm looking forward to sharing what I've learned and helping students share their learning as well.

Check out the following video for more information about Seesaw.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Three Little Pigs and First Grade

For the past few weeks in library, first graders have been studying different versions of The Three Little Pigs fairy tale.  We talked about when it was first written and how the variety of versions are similar and different.  The story was first written in the late 1800's by  James Halliwell-Phillipps, with a more popular version written several years later by Joseph Jacobs, crediting Halliwell-Phillipps.

After reading several versions of the story and retelling it, we started making our own stop motion version of the fairy tale.

Next week we'll finish the video and students will have a chance to make their own stop motion fairy tales.  I can't wait to see what they come up with!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Book Awards and Celebrations

The Red Clover and Dorothy Canfield Fisher book awards have been decided for the 2018/19 school year.

Students at DBS were on the mark with both awards!  For the Red Clover book award, The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors, by Drew Daywalt, won the vote at DBS and went on to win the state-wide vote as well.

This funny book explains the back story of these three great warriors and without fail every child starts playing the game as soon as the book is over.

The older kids were busy reading Dorothy Canfield Fisher book award nominees all year and when they got the chance to vote the results were a tie: Refugee and Ban This Book, both written by Alan Gratz!  When the votes were tallied across the state, Refugee took the win.

Refugee is a powerful story of three separate children, in three separate periods of time, escaping their dangerous homelands and seeking refuge in a safer place.

Sadly we can't go to the award ceremony this year, but I hosted a little celebration in the library for those who read and voted in the Dorothy Canfield Fisher award.  We had brownies, ice cream, and a fun Skype session with Terry Lynn Johnson, author of Falcon Wild!  She talked about falconing, mushing (dog sleds!), and her new book.  The kids had lots of great questions for her.

The 2019/20 list is out for both awards and the books are in.  I'm looking forward to sharing them with students next fall.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Shelf markers

This week kindergartners have been learning a "big kid skill" and loving it!  Earlier in the year they each decorated a paint stick in art class, then I added bar codes and called them shelf markers.  This week the kiddos learned how to use them. They were very responsible with them.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Dorothy's List on NPR

Did you know that NPR has a podcast series for kids called Dorothy's List?  Once a month they focus on one of the book from the Dorothy Canfield Fisher book award list.  They visit children in school to find out what they think of the book, what projects they're doing related to the book, and what questions they might have for the author. Then they ask the author!  This is a great introduction to the books and an engaging podcast series for kids and adults alike.  Check it out on NPR!