Friday, April 6, 2018

Tearing Down the Dividing Wall & Painting the Walls with Student Selected Colors: 2nd post of the Pine Glen Learning Commons Transformation Blog Series

This blog post was originally published at

The old Pine Glen Learning Commons space consisted of a small room and a larger room.

Last summer, the Burlington Public Schools Maintenance Department (Steve Zarba, Neil Guanci, and Lee Nichols) demolished the dividing wall. They painted the walls with colors for which students voted. The paint color options were given to us by CDowning Interiors who studied our space.  

See what different a missing wall and paint color can make? More to come on the new bookshelves and furniture.

Access the first blog post in the series, Weeding the Collection: 1st post of the Pine Glen Learning Commons Transformation Blog Series, here.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Weeding the Collection: 1st post of the Pine Glen Learning Commons Transformation Blog Series

This blog post was originally published at

Having a relevant book collection is essential for students to find books they want to read. My amazing mentor, Susan Disanto (the previous Burlington High School teacher librarian), put it best, “Like movies, books have a shelf life.”
I used the following criteria to weed the collection:
  • Circulation: if the book has been only checked out a couple of times during the last five years, I may have weeded it.
  • Condition: if the book was stained, smelly, and/or had broken bindings and/or torn pages, I may have weeded it.
  • Copyright Date: if the book was outdated, I may have weeded it.
  • Quantity: if we had multiple copies of wonderful books such as The Little Engine That Could, I may have weeded some and left one. We only need multiple copies of titles with high circulation.
I love Jennifer Lagarde’s, “ just weed it” motto. I heard Jennifer speak about weeding library collections at a New Hampshire School Library Media Association conference a few years ago. Here is her Keeping Your Library Collection Smelling F.R.E.S.H! blog post I review every time I start to weed.

The May 2016 issue of American Libraries: The Magazine of the American Library Association included a helpful article, “Weeding without Worry: Transparency and communication helps ease weeding woes.” Rebecca Vnuk advised librarians to, “explain that the library is making room for new materials, making the shelves easier to navigate, and replacing outdated information with current information.” As always, I purchase current books as well as student and teacher requested books.

I donate weeded books to Big Hearted Books. Their mission is to, “keep books, media, clothing, and other reusable items out of landfills by getting them back into the hands of people who can use them."

Big Hearted Books collecting weeded books from the Pine Glen Collection.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Even though I’m an Apple girl (I love and use all Apple products), as a educator, I generally prefer students to have Chromebooks rather than iPads because Chromebooks have keyboards. I want students to have access to keyboards so they can type more quickly, easily, and accurately. Just like with cycle of reading, the more students write, the more they enjoy to write, the better writers they become... Burlington Public Schools just got 1-to-1 keyboards for 3-5th graders to complement their 1-to-1 iPads. I’m thrilled that we now have the best of both worlds.

One of the things I miss most about being a classroom teacher is holding writing workshops with my students. I’m using the writing workshop in grades 3-5 for the next couple of months to help students learn to use their keyboards well. I’m really stoked about this.