Publish or Perish: My Adventure Begins


I have a predicament of sorts:  I would like to publish an academic book on exemplar texts and arts integration using the Common Core State Standards.  So what is the problem, you may ask?  Well, the market for educational academic texts is currently cornered by, well, academics.  That’s right, in order to find a reputable publisher in the educational realm, you need that omnipotent doctoral degree.  I happen to be one degree short, as I only possess a master’s degree.  I have seriously researched doctoral programs, only to discover that: 1) They carry a hefty expense, and 2) I have no desire to go into school administration, so the expense would not pay off in the end.  Blessed be the excellent and hardworking school administrators, but I am a proud librarian.

So what’s a librarian to do?

My husband has suggested that I write children’s books.  This would be a fabulous idea, if the children’s book publishing market was not in the state of decline which it is currently.  Your odds of having your children’s book published may, in fact, be less likely than being struck by lightning or winning the lottery jackpot.  So that’s a no.

The last type of book that I would be interested in writing is of the creative nonfiction genre.  That’s right, a personal narrative.  My first thought was, “Who on earth would want to read a book about my life?”  I’m a wife, librarian, scrapbooker, reader, teacher, daughter, and friend.  All of these topics have been written on a thousand times over.   So those are out.

Yet, hold that thought, the one topic that I have been searching for several months to find guidance and personal advice/information/relief is quite scarce.  That is, the conversion to Reform Judaism.  Firsthand accounts are rare, except for a spattering of blog posts and titles concerning conversion after marrying a Jewish spouse.  But what about a firsthand account of coming to Judaism, meeting/coming into a congregation, practicing Judaism in an overwhelmingly Christian South, and the list goes on and on?  Even if published anonymously, this type of text would be a great respite to those beginning their journeys or seeking to connect their experiences with that of another layperson.

So, here I am.  I’ve already written my chapter headings and have so many things to say.  I believe this book will flow from me easily, and, hopefully, help my fellow converts who feel called to Judaism.  I hope it is an inspiring text, an honest, raw, and spiritual text that lets others know that they are not alone.

And so I begin to write…

Classroom Management in the School Library

As another school year is in full swing, I have been busy implementing new behavior and classroom management rules and procedures in the classroom.  Some changes that I have found to be working and successful thus far:

  1.  Go over classroom rules and procedures from the beginning.  Have the older students write out each of your rules on an index card and sign it.  Keep it on file, because, if you have problems with behavior in the future, you can quickly pull it out and remind the student what he or she agreed to do while in your library class.
  2. Implement a positive behavior rewards system.  As with last year, I will be selecting an overall class of the week, as well as a female and male student of the week who exhibited exemplary behavior in library class.  This year I’ve made the following changes:  I am going to select a class from each grade as the class of the week to promote some healthy competition, as well as an overall class of the week.  The two students I select will be able to pick a prize from the treasure box, in addition to their certificates.
  3. If you have an electronic  Smartboard or iPad, use the website or app.  Award points to students who are on task, working quietly, showing leadership skills, etc.  Take away points for noisiness, misbehavior, etc.  Allow students to use points towards small prizes from the treasure chest.  Have students create a behavior goal and work towards it!
  4. Have a line competition.  I’ve found that if students come down the hallway off-task, then they are most likely going to be off-task in library class.  Always meet your students at the library door and watch them come down the hallway as a class.  Are they quiet?  Walking properly?  Thumbs locked behind their backs or books held correctly?  If so, have a bag with numbers 1-31 in it.  If all students are on task, select a student to draw a number.  This is how many points they will start the day with.  If they enter quietly and follow your directed expectations, allow them to keep the points.  If not, subtract as you feel necessary.  Repeat this for line up for dismissal.  Have students add up the points in their head.  Keep track of the points on a chart on the door.  The class with the most points at the end of the month will win a pizza or popcorn party.
  5. My treasure box will be multipurpose this year.  It will serve three functions: 1) As rewards for student of the week, 2) For students to accumulate Class Dojo points for good behavior, and 3) As a catalyst for students to redeem Accelerated Reader points in a “store” format where they can shop for rewards for doing well on their reading tests.

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A note about the treasure box:

I bought a pink three drawer cart from Target that I have divided into three sections:  Boys, Girls, and Both.  Each drawer has prizes that will appeal to that gender, or, the third drawer, both male and female students (Slinkys and Silly Putty, anyone?).  Keep your eyes out for sales to stock your treasure chest.  Claire’s had a 10 for $10 sale at the mall where I stocked up on little wallets, keychains, and Hello Kitty stickers for the girls.  For the boys, I made a run on the Target dollar section and clearance toy section.  Side Note:  No matter how great the deals, the price tag for the treasure chest can add up quickly.  For additional prizes, I plan on hosting two Scholastic book fairs this year to help fund the treasure chest, especially for the Accelerated Reader store.  Another idea to solicit library sponsors from individuals and local businesses.  I am still searching for interested sponsors for this school year.

What are your classroom management ideas for the school library?