Reading Rules at Denison Middle School

Vandy Pacetti-Tune, MLIS


Webinar on Making Your Maker Space

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School Library Week

We are currently celebrating School Library Month here in the Media Center at Denison Middle School.

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We began our celebration with rewarding students who have kept their library accounts current with no overdue books.  We gave them each a Reading motivation bracelet.

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Next we recognized the hard work of our media workers.  Here at Denison, we have 34 student workers who are a part of the team who manage the library program.  I am so proud of our media workers.

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We also have some really great displays completed by our student workers as we look forward to Culture Night.

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Google Doodle Honors Life of Scientist

This morning, the Google doodle honors the life of Percy Lavon Julian, the first African American Chemist inducted into the National Academy of Science for his work with chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants.


Percy Julian's 115th Birthday

How awesome is that!


School Library Month

April 14-18, 2014 is School Library Week.  We will have the following activities….

DEAR BOOKS, Drop Everything and Return BOOKS.  It is that time of year when we should be thinking about our overdue books and returning them.  Students with no overdue books may receive a neon-reading bracelet at the circulation counter while supplies last.
Media Workers Day…Tuesday will be Media Workers Day and we will honoring the hard work of our student media workers.
More activities will be forthcoming…..stay tuned!


Book Fair

Our school is having a Book Fair from February 3-7, 2014. The Book Fair will be located in the media center. Please stop by anytime between 8:20 am and 4:00pm.

Before you come, be sure to download the FREE Book Fairs App to help you find the right fit books for your student. For more information, visit: And if you’re all booked up during this time, be sure to visit the Book Fair online at Our Online Fair is available for an extended time from January 31, 2014 to February 14, 2014.

We hope to see you there. It’s going to be the best Book Fair ever!


Veterans Day

It is the responsibility of every American citizen to teach the history of our freedom to the next generation.  We have got to stop associating important days to observe the sacrifices of our military with days off from work.

We have an obligation to teach that Veterans Day

  • falls on Armistice Day.
  • is the day that we recognize the service of the unknown soldier at the tomb in Arlington National Cemetery.
  • was first established by President Eisenhower, the President that has his face on the dime.
  • was first proposed by Raymond Weeks, a WWII Veteran, in Birmingham, Alabama.

We have an obligation to teach what it means to be a Veteran by listening to the voices of Veterans.  We should demand that every school have a Veterans Day program where Veterans are invited to speak and relay their experiences to the next generation for that is the true color of human experience.

We will always have wars–that is a part of the human condition.  I hope we will always have courageous, self-sacrificing men and women who will selflessly volunteer to protect us and our freedom.  Where will the next generation learn, if we don’t teach them the values of good citizenship?

You can be a part of assisting our Veterans.  Please visit the Wounded Warrior Project at



Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is an opportunity for students to learn that in this country, parents decide in the communities that they live in what their children will read.  Luckily for us, Polk County is a “Right to Read” county.

Students were engaged in the conversation about rights, laws, and who decides.  They were concerned that one day they will be making these decisions for their children and future generations.

Old video cases make great placeholders for actual books in displays so that the interesting books are always on the shelf for checkout.

Old video cases make great placeholders for actual books in displays so that the interesting books are always on the shelf for checkout.

This display features titles that were the most often banned last year and the most banned books of all time.

This display features titles that were the most often banned last year and the most banned books of all time.


Curricular Displays and Reserve Shelving

There are seven pre-career academies at Denison Middle School.  In order to meet the needs of these new areas, we are incorporating a special collections area with shelves for each of these new curricular areas.  This area, featured prominently in the media center provides our students and staff an opportunity to see that are collections are relevant to what is happening in the classroom and we are ready to provide resources for our students, parents, and faculty.

The special collections shelf will change as the teacher’s move through their curriculum, being updated approximately every two weeks.

The Pathways Cafe Pre-Career Academy is Denison Middle School's consumer science classes.

The Pathways Cafe Pre-Career Academy is Denison Middle School’s consumer science classes under the instruction of Mrs. Jordan.  This week the consumer science classes are focusing on employment skills and kitchen safety.


Beginning a new school year

Bring on the Steam….punk!

Over the summer, we experienced a complete renovation.  The media center was cleared to the walls so that new carpet could be installed and the walls were painted as well.  For the past two weeks, we have been returning the furniture to the media center, re-shelving books from storage boxes, and coping with the quirks of change.

One small change, which has turned out to be a big change affecting many staff members, is the change of the media center doors.  The doors were changed from a simple pull handle on the outside and a press bar on the inside to a twist handle on the outside and a panic bar on the inside.  This change seems minute, but over the course of two weeks, I have watched staff members and students have difficulty opening the door because they were not strong enough to twist the handle.  I have seen several face plant into the door when leaving because they did not press the bar fully and the door did not open as a result.  Worse still, the doors are quite heavy and several adults and students have been  either been caught by the closing door or have run into the door because they did not have sufficient torque to move door and pass through it at the same time.

Another change was an old desk for a temporary one.  The main circulation desk was damaged during the renovation.  So, while we wait for a new desk to be manufactured, we have a temporary one from the discipline office.  This desk does not have a book drop or a sorting tray or leg clearance for working at the counter.  In short, it is a pain the butt from which to work.  There is not comfortable place to sit or stand and the computer seem like an overgrown monstrosity on the counter.  Media assistants look like hunchbacks as they try to cope with the odd posture created by no leg room.

While our carpet is a lovely color and our walls our bright and clean, our patrons are not amused by the smells of renovation.  We view it as a small price to pay that will eventually fade, but there is no consoling the twelve year old masses dealing with allergies.

The renovation has made it easier for us to begin transitioning to our new media theme, Just Read, which will have a Steampunk theme.  New murals are coming to life and a new shelving pattern will provide better flow for previewing and checkout, and our seating will allow for more diversity in seating.

In any change, one must take the good and quirky, and balance them.  We are trying.  Net blog post will feature photos of our new murals.



Common Core Institute, Pinellas County 2013

As I sit in Day 2 of this training, I see one very key person to instruction that is missing… the media specialist.  In my training room, there are, of course a majority of training coaches, freelancers, and then the classroom teachers.

We sit experiencing a modeled lesson on a very tired resource, “The Tell-Tale Heart”.  No offense, Mr. Poe, but can’t we as educators select something from this century to use in our teaching.  Are there no complex text written in the last 50 years that we can find appealing for instruction?

Perhaps, if the presenters who created these lessons consulted a media specialist they may have been able to find something worthy of our students’ interests.  Instead of the awkward, archaic language of dear Edgar,…how about a story or set of stories that offer the same type of suspense but relational to our students.

How about Vivian Vande Velde’s story collection, Being Dead ?  These stories offer all the elements of suspense writing and our set in situations with which our students may be more familiar,… but I digress.

Media Specialists, Common Core is your call to action!  You should be fighting for your right to be a collaborative partner in instruction.  Teachers, you should be fighting for your right to have a media specialist with which t0 collaborate.  How many more resources are we going to allow school districts to take away from our students and from our teachers?

The media specialists is the champion of complex text, a motivated and engaged student reader, and the collaborative partner who can guide teachers to engaging text.  Pick up your sword and beat back the callous and oppressive decisions of budget makers and legislators who do not realize the true needs of our students.