#EduBlogs Week 10: North Texas Teen Book Festival

Being as this week is a “catch up” week, I thought I would take some time to blog about NTTBF17! What. An. Event! I have been excited about this event and promoting it with my students and teachers for months. I teamed up with the middle school to bring as many students as possible. We had a bus full! It was great! But I’m getting ahead of myself…I have to work chronologically.

Friday, February 3 – Educator Day…a full day!

This year, the NTTBF committee decided the Educator Day should be an all day event. And how right they were! Having up close and personal discussions and hearing from incredible authors speaking about their craft and impacting students could go on forever as far as I’m concerned. I blew up my Twitter feed both days with quotes and thoughts and memorable moments from these incredible writers. I heard from Jack Gantos, Jason Reynolds, Jon Scieszka, Sonya Sones, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jeff Zentner, Nicola Yoon, Hena Khan, Ally Condie, Renee Watson, George O’Connor, Donalyn Miller, and I’m sure I’m forgetting someone. How often in your life do you get to learn from such an incredible group of people!? I consider myself one of the lucky ones. Much of the discussion of the day centered around book diversity, the power of audiobooks, and how best to take students through the writing process.


Saturday, February 4 – NTTBF Student DAY!

It was an early morning, but our bus full of Argyle students traveled together to the Irving Convention Center where the lines were already out the door well before the doors opened! Students got in line to have an opportunity to meet Veronica Roth and R.L. Stine (eeeeeee!) as well as taking advantage of the event called Speed Dating where they were guaranteed to leave with a free book! Inside the convention center, we had the luxury of buying signed copies of books and I sure did help myself to those! From there, participants (over 10,000 of them…for real!) chose what panels they wanted to attend. Over 80 middle grade and YA authors were there to talk to them! What an experience. It was crowded and at times a little crazy, but wow! The energy in the building, the excitement, and knowing that lives were being changed really left you feeling so motivated and energized. Reading is far from dead! Kids are reading…voraciously! And they will forever remember how they felt meeting some of their favorite authors. I attended some incredible sessions from some of the authors I saw the day before, and some new ones too. The following week, AHS students who attended NTTBF all came back together and we talked about our day. It was wonderful to hear the stories from the students about what they liked best, who they met, what books they were excited to read. The time it took to plan for the event was so worth it hearing their excitement!


The date for next year has been announced…April 20-21, 2018. I’ll for sure be there and hopefully I’ll have even more kids and teachers with me!


#Edublogs Week 9: Pop Culture in the Classroom


Pop culture is all around our students…so why not use it in the classroom!? I have found that when I can use pop culture in my teaching, I can more easily get students’ attention and find common ground on which to discuss big concepts. I’ve always enjoyed using song lyrics to study poetry concepts, current events written about celebrities for analysis, images of actors and actresses in my lessons to illustrate a point or use movies to discuss themes and literary devices. And it’s just fun! It’s fun to find movie clips to show kids that they have seen before, but can look at in a new way. And of course literature. So much AMAZING YA and middle grade novels are being written and finding ways to use them in the classroom is such a powerful message to students.

Being willing to learn alongside students is significant…and not only for them. This is powerful for us as educators too. If we are trying to help nurture lifelong learners, we need to demonstrate what that looks like and be learners ourselves. We can’t just dismiss pop culture because it is weaved into the fabric of the students we teach. We must use it to our advantage.


#Edublogs Club Week 8: Student Privacy


Student privacy may not be the most thrilling topic in education, but it’s one of the most important.

It is vital that educators know and understand the laws governing student privacy. It’s hard to understand that we live in a world where student privacy goes hand in hand with student safety, but we do. I admit that I need to know more about the legislation protecting students. FERPA CIPA COPPA So many acronyms to keep track of in education! I found the blog post by Barbara Ruth Paciotti, Ms. P, to be so enlightening and informative. She really spells out what we should know about this topic and helped me remember some of those terms I have forgotten over time. You can find her post here and I recommend you take a look. Ms. P is a great researcher and blogger and I have enjoyed many of her posts! Thanks Ms. P!

I love to share pictures and videos of what my students do! I’m proud of them when they try new things and have positive experiences in the library and in their classes. And I’m thrilled to show off all we do at AHS! I am also aware of privacy. Sometimes when I’ve taken pictures or videos, I’ve had to be creative with angles to avoid showing faces of students who do not have permission to be online. And of course, I never use names! When students are using an online resource, we also remind them to never use their full names or private information online. First names only, no phone number or addresses, etc. This education does need to begin at a very young age. Students must grow up learning how to conduct themselves online and how to avoid putting themselves into dangerous situations.

As educators continue to navigate the growing world of online presence, we are learning right alongside our students. Keeping ourselves educated is so important.