Raindrops are Falling on Our Heads

Usually on our blog, I share reflections on lessons, exciting new resources, or news of great books. Today, however, I share a leak. Over the summer, our media center experienced multiple leaks. These leaks were not new. In fact, they were leaks that we asked multiple times last year to be fixed. Each time they are “fixed” within a few hours they start again. They typically happen in the warmer months when the air conditioning is working overtime. Over the summer, the leaks damaged several books along with our ceiling above the circulation desk.

Upon our return to school, we started the year with no air conditioning. Then we learned that we needed to set the air at a high temperature in order to keep the leaks from starting, which was like not having air conditioning at all. Finally, even this stopped working, and now the air conditioner just leaks no matter what the temperature is. The worst area is in front of the Smartboard where we have increased the number of buckets on a daily basis. We have 14 buckets so far and even those aren’t catching all the water that has now made a wet ring on the carpet. Two ceiling tiles have been removed and one is on the verge of falling. Due to budget cuts, they can’t call HVAC repair services to come frequently to work on the problem and when they do come, they tell us there is no way to fix it.

So…we make the most out of it. I’ve invited students as they sit on the rug to take themselves to a swamp after a rainstorm and imagine the drops of water clinging to the Spanish moss before lightly plopping into the murky waters. I’ve invited students to imagine they are in the rain forest under a canopy of bright green trees enjoying a story from afar. We’ve welcomed the drops of water that hit us in the face and head during the lesson and are thankful for the cool, dirty drops of water that refresh us from the heat. We laugh when I trip over the buckets full of water and almost take my second bath of the day. We brainstorm ways we could use the water that is collecting in the buckets.

I have no idea when or if the leak will be fixed. I want it to be fixed so badly, but I try to be thankful for what we have. As the water drips, I think of the classroom I visited in Mexico where sunlight poured through the cracks in the tin sides of the building and rain water rushed across the dirt floor creating a muddy mess for the students and teacher. On this 5th anniversary of Katrina, I think of the many classrooms and libraries that lost everything and had to have classes in inconvenient places. I try to be thankful for what I have.

What physical obstacles do you face in your classrooms or libraries? How do you handle them?

New Books

There is a new section on the media center webpage to highlight some of the new books that will be arriving soon. These are just a few of the books that have been ordered. Be sure to stop by in the first few weeks of school to see what’s new!

New Podcast and Spring Break Check-In

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Here’s a new podcast about what I’ve been reading during Spring Break.  You can subscribe to this podcast or visit our media center homepage, scroll to the bottom, and click play.  I hope you all are having a fabulous break and enjoying some intriguing books.  Remember to record your 300 minutes of reading to earn you star on the Book Fair Walk of Fame.  See you Monday!


We have a new feature on the Barrow Media Center webpage.  It’s called Gcast.  This small box located at the bottom of the homepage will contain audio updates from me and other guest speakers.  I’m not sure how often we will update it, but I’ll include a blog post when it updates.  You can also subscribe to this feature.  Gcast allows you to record audio on your phone and immediately publish the audio onto your webpage.  I’ll most likely use this to quickly tell you about new books in our media center, but I’m sure we’ll think of other ways to use it throughout the year.  Visit our website and check it out.gcast

A Chair from My Dad

I hope that everyone had a wonderful break. I wanted to share something new in the Barrow Media Center. I received a special chair for Christmas, which now sits in our media center. It’s the chair I will sit in as I read stories to everyone. Of course, there’s a story to go along with the chair.

Last May, I was at my parents’ house in Blue Ridge, GA. We visited Arts in the Park, a local arts and crafts fair. My eye was caught by a rocking chair made out of thin, twisting sticks from the forest. I had never seen a chair like this before, but I immediately knew that this was the perfect rocking chair for me and my love of old stories. The $300 price tag was not as welcoming as the chair.

I showed the chair to my dad and he, of course, said, “I could make something like that.” He almost always says this, and it’s true. He can build practically anything he puts his mind to. I knew I wasn’t buying the chair, but my mind started working and thinking about what my own stick rocking chair might look like. I gave my dad a few ideas and dismissed the thought of him building one because I know how busy he is taking care of my Mom and Grandparents.

This Christmas, as we were opening our presents, Dad handed me a little bag with a note tucked inside. “Go to the basement. Look under the tarp. Love, Dad.” I was taken back to Christmases ago when I had to go on a scavenger hunt to find one of my Christmas presents. As soon as I saw the note and thought about the scavenger hunt, I remembered the chair I had seen in May.

Down the stairs I went to uncover the tarp. When I pulled back the tarp, this is what I saw.

The chair is made of several pieces of trees that Dad gathered from various locations on our property in Blue Ridge. The seat and arms are made from wood from the “Old House”, which was part of the plan I shared with Dad back in May. The seat and the arms are really what make the chair the most special to me. The “Old House” was my Great, Great Aunt’s house. It is hidden in the woods down a road that you really have to look to find, and it’s walls are beginning to crumble. My Great Grandfather was raised in this house and the wood used to build its walls was collected from the property where the house sits. Today it is over 100 years old. The seat and arms of my rocking chair are made from wood Dad salvaged from the kitchen area of the house.

In May, I had only thought that the chair I saw was perfect. Now I have the perfect chair. It’s a chair that holds many memories. Memories of the “Old House” where my Dad and I worked in the garden, drank water from a spring on the side of the road, and chopped wood to sell. Memories of my childhood in Blue Ridge and the trees and stream that I loved to play in and around. Most of all it holds memories of how much my Dad cares for me. He will always do anything for me and has sacrificed so much for me to make it to where I am today. I try my best to not take the things that I have for granted, and this chair will remind me of the hard work he has always put in throughout his entire life. Thanks Dad for this beautiful chair.


I love a good story.  I especially love listening to people tell their stories.  My wife and I often go to different storytelling events.  Recently, we went to Stone Mountain to the Tour of Southern Ghosts and hear some wonderful, spooky stories.  Today in the media center, I was fortunate enough to get to tell a story to two fourth grade classes who are studying Native American folktales and scary stories.  Here is a link to my story.

Book Fair Comes to a Close

I would like to thank everyone who made this book fair such a great success for our media center.  You have helped us raise money to go toward an author visit in the spring and purchase new books and technology.  This was our largest book fair and I enjoyed hearing your comments about the variety of products at the fair.  We had such a great time with our safari theme.  Just wait until you see the spring book fair theme!  We’re going to have a lot of fun with it, too.  I also really enjoyed getting to meet so many families.  Stop by anytime.

Book Fair Animal Print Day

Our book fair is off to a great start.  Yesterday, students and faculty dressed in animal prints to kick-off the fair.  We’re on our way to reaching our sales goal.  The money from book fair will help us bring Deborah Wiles, an award-winning author, to our school in the spring.  Don’t forget to visit our book fair webpage to see our goal and our progress toward our goal.

Election Centers

I recently created a Delicious bookmark account for our media center.  We used Delicious during election centers that were visited by 3rd and 4th graders in the media center.  At these centers, students learned about a whole range of repsonsibilities of the president and what it takes to become president.  Here is a brief video clip of students in action during the election centers.  Don’t forget that you can visit our Delicious bookmarks by visiting www.delicious.com/barrowmediacenter.

Click here for the video