This will be brief because it's 11:30 and I have to be up in mere hours for the fourth day of the fair and the parent night, but I wanted to capture some of what I've been through the last two days.
As providence would have it, despite having a severe case of laryngitis that only got worse on Tuesday (to the point where I could barely whisper), I had a dynamic duo of a grandmother and a mother from my first grade class working all day in the library, and for a few hours, a third mother as well. Thank goodness for them, because they made a huge difference to my stress levels and to help me communicate. There've been some rough patches, miscommunications, things I could have done better, a book that was taken without being paid for and written in, students in tears, and trying to juggle teaching with the book fair and having no voice, but overall, I'm astounded.
I'm astounded because everything has come together - well, the parent night remains to be seen, but I think it'll be grand. I'm grateful that my help materialized when I most needed it. And I'm beyond astounded to the point of wanting to cry with sheer gratitude that we've raised a phenomenal sum of money for our library, and the number of new books we're going to be able to buy is filling me with indescribable joy.
For the last two years, my predecessor had a modest (and by modest, I do mean modest) budget of a few hundred dollars, which gets you next to nothing in the book vendor market. She built the library mainly through resourcefulness, hard work, grants, donations, and research. When you consider that fact in conjunction with the fact that 80% of my students are on free/reduced lunches (meaning their families meet the federal indicators for living in poverty), it becomes even more astonishing and remarkable that in two days, TWO DAYS, we have raised just short of $900. And I still have a group of eager fifth graders who have to purchase tomorrow, and the parent night. Sure, there've been some really large orders - parents who are prioritizing buying books, and a handful of kids who've walked in proudly with saved up allowances/birthday/Christmas money, but it's really the little purchases that have made the difference. $5 here, $4 there - it adds up.
I'm hopeful the book fair will end with a huge success tomorrow night at the parent event, but even if it doesn't, my kids have had the best time ever, and the delight on their faces when they hand over their money and the fact that there's going to be HEAPS of new books to hand them when they ask "Ms. Bery, have you gotten any new books recently?" makes every moment of sore feet, stress, worry, and effort worth it. A million times over.
My name is Ms. Bery. I am a PK-8 library media specialist in the Boston area. In addition to being a certified school librarian, I am also certified in instructional technology, and have a strong interest in exploring and integrating technology in new and exciting ways in the classroom.
I am also a 2016 PBS LearningMedia Local Digital Innovator, and a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts School Library Association's President's Award.
Check out the Sandbox for apps and websites I've found useful in supporting student learning and creativity. I also (very occasionally) review children's and young adult literature on my book reviews page.
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