Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fiction Shelving Dilemma

pic by Gibson, 2011
Today is Saturday and I woke up around 6 in the morning thinking about the Fiction shelving dilemma at my new school library. 
This is not good.
As a former middle school librarian, the fiction shelving was pretty straight forward. All the fiction titles were labeled F and that was that.  But in an elementary setting (K-5), it’s a different story (that was kind of a pun).  I have to shelve the fiction titles in a way that makes sense for my younger students, and for me.
The library I inherited has many books. I have a small section for Fiction titles. These books are labeled F for Fiction. Okay, no problem.
Then I have another section just for Picture fiction books. These books are labeled P for Picture books. Okay, I can deal with this.
Next I have a section for Easy fiction titles. These books are labeled E for Easy.  This is where things get dicey for me.
I don’t know about you, but I really dislike the designation of E for Easy.  When you have a student who is a struggling reader, the last thing you want to tell him/her is, “Here is an “Easy” book for you.  That hurts and insults them. And if you have a non-reader who can’t even read an “Easy” book, then what??  If I decide to keep an E section in this library (I still don’t know if I will), E will be for “Everyone”, and NOT “Easy”.
Now about those P is for Picture books. Many students (and lots of adults) mistakenly think that Picture books are easy to read. Some Picture books are indeed easy to read, while many are very hard to read. “Picture books” and “Easy books” (or E is for Everyone) even look the same: they are oversized books with big pictures. Can’t I just shelve the P and E books together?
As mentioned earlier, I have a small collection of F for Fiction titles. These books, unlike their E and P counterparts, all stand very nicely on the shelves. They are not oversized like the E and P books, so they don’t flop over. I like this. This makes my life easier.  But why are these books labeled F for Fiction while all the P and E books are also all Fiction?  Do you see why I woke up early this Saturday morning?
I hope to get some advice and different points of view. I need to get some S. That’s S for Sleep.

Friday, September 14, 2012

No fighting, no biting

     If your young students want to read a book with some subtle humor, then I recommend this classic by Minarik (author of the Little Bear series). Some things just never go out of style.
     Look carefully at the cover art. Two young children (Rosa and Willy) keep snipping at each other. Their older cousin Joan keeps telling them to settle down, to no avail. Joan finally teaches the two youngsters by telling them a humorous story about two naughty baby alligators (do you see the baby alligators in the cover art?). Readers will delight with the parallelism in the story.
     This book is ideal for independent reading for young readers. It has simple language and cute illustrations.  I always get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I read this book. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Little Prince

The Little Prince
     I've finally finished rereading The Little Prince. This is one of those books I recommend ALL educators and parents revisit every year. Why? Author Antoine de Saint-Exupery reminds us Grown-Ups why we must never lose sight of the importance of childhood.  When I say childhood, I mean kids age 2-99. Childhood is important business. It's fleeting and fragile as a rose. Roses, as children, need constant care, regardless how tired and busy we become.
     The character little prince meets an assortment of adult characters who I hope never to resemble. Some of these odious characters remind me of real people I know. 
     If you are interested in reading this Classic, I have a few copies in the library. You can also download it on your ereader. If you want to read it aloud, you might consider having discussions about the different Grown-Up characters the little prince encounters.  Just be prepared for some insightful observations from your young readers!
     Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Attributes of Successful People

Here is a gem I stumbled across.

Successful People…
Unsuccessful People…
Have a sense of gratitude
Have a sense of entitlement.
Forgive others.
Hold a grudge.
Give other people credit for their victories.
Take all the credit of their victories.
Accept responsibilities for their failures.
Blame others for their failures.
Read every day.
Watch TV every day.
Keep a journal.
Say they keep a journal but really don’t.
Talk about ideas.
Talk about people.
Want others to succeed.
Secretly hope others fail.
Share information and data.
Horde information and data.
Keep a “to-be” list.
Don’t know what they want to be.
Exude joy.
Exude anger.
Keep a “to-do/project list”.
Fly by the seat of their pants.
Continuously learn.
Think they already know everything.
Embrace change.
Fear change.
Operate from a transformational perspective.
Operate from a transactional perspective.

I believe its from this self-improvement book by Patrick Bet-David Doing The Impossible: The 25 Laws for Doing The Impossible
As we begin another school year, we need to always remember how important to help each other. I hope to revisit this from time to time.