The Award-Winning 5th Grade Little Free Library Project

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Our Little Free Library was presented to the school during the 5th Grade Moving On Ceremony

Today was our 5th grade Moving On Ceremony.  This is a very special day where every 5th grader is honored for their time at our school. Our teachers worked together to write tweets about each student to highlight some of their great qualities.  Another portion of the ceremony is awards.  Again, this is a very special time because so many students are honored for their many gifts:  academics, citizenship, service, creativity, and more.  Among the awards are some memorial awards which honor Barrow Buddies who were taken from our world way too soon.  The Eve Carson Service Learning Award is one of those awards.  The award is described in this way.

Eve Carson

Several ideas are important at Barrow School—learning, service and fun. Service-Learning—the intentional connection of service and learning is something we are growing here. Service-Learning adds the very important part of self-reflection to a project. Through Service-Learning you come to understand yourself and your world in a different way.Well, when we put together service, learning and fun we quite naturally thought of Eve Carson. Eve was an outstanding Barrow Buddy who continued to lead an outstanding academic and personal life. As difficult as it is today to not have Eve here, we are so thankful for her example of living a meaningful life and for the inspiration she will continue to give Barrow Buddies through the years. Each year hereafter, an award in her name will be given in honor of a service learning project completed by a class or group at Barrow Pre-K-5th Grade.

This year, I nominated the 5th grade Little Free Library Project for this award.  It exemplifies service learning because every Barrow 5th grader was involved in the project in multiple ways.  Students learned so much about a commitment to serving their community and thinking beyond just ourselves.  Today, we learned that our project was chosen as this year’s recipient of the Eve Carson Service Learning Memorial Award.  I am honored that our project will be listed on the memorial plaque among so many other inspiring projects that have served our Barrow community and beyond.  Sarah James, Barrow 5th grader, presented one of the Little Free Libraries as the gift to our school during the ceremony.  Our 5th graders should be very proud of their accomplishment that will provide more access to free books for our community for years to come.

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Mysteries of Harris Burdick Contest

Over the past month, students from all grade levels at our school have been participating in a writing contest sponsored by Avid Bookshop, a new independent bookshop in Athens.  We had over 50 students enter the contest, and I’ve heard that Avid received hundreds of entries from local schools.  Today, the finalists were announced.  They will be honored this Sunday November 13th at Avid from 1-3:00PM.  Some of the students will read from their stories and the top winner will be announced.  The top winner’s story will be submitted to a national contest sponsored by Chris Van Allsburg in celebration of his new compilation, The Chronicles of Harris Burdick.  

Congratulations to our Barrow finalists:

Amelia Ray and Hanna Lee

We hope to see lots of supporters at Avid on Sunday.

Avid Bookshop

493 Prince Avenue

Athens, GA

 

Foundation for Excellence

Tonight was the Clarke County Foundation for Excellence banquet where I was honored with the Kathryn Hug Instructional Leadership Award.  This awards banquet is always an inspiring event.  I was very honored to have David Richard, 5th grade student poet who has been featured on this blog, to do my introduction.  He did a fantastic job, and his words had me on an emotional roller coaster before I had to do my acceptance speech.  Several people asked me if I would share my speech, so here it is.

I recently heard author/illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi say that when you get to be an adult, you’re able to look back at your life and name the moments and people who impacted your path in life to bring you to where you are today.  Each of us in this room has a story to tell of what has brought us together today.

As a leader in education, I hope that

  • my spirit of transparency and making my work public
  • my collaboration with teachers, students, and families
  • my risk-taking to dive into the unknown exploring innovative technologies, texts, and ideas
  • my constant pursuit of developing myself professionally and being a model of lifelong learning
  • and my philosophy of giving students the space to participate and be creators of content rather than just consumers of information

will somehow positively impact the paths of the students, educators, and families that I work with.

This evening, I want to honor some of the moments and people that brought me here today and invite you to reflect upon your own story and how you might continue to foster opportunities to impact the lives of individuals that cross your own path.

 

Where I’m From

 

I’m from the Blue Ridge mountains

From winding dirt roads and cool, misty creeks

Beauty shop gossip and old men gathered at the post office

From Fall leaf lookers and apple pickers

Banjo music and late night revivals

I’m from pickled corn, sliced tomatoes with salt, and Sues’ Best Hamburgers in Town

I’m from the enchanted trail through the forest from Mammaw’s to home

from the rusty, white trailer by the creek, metal storage buildings, worn down vehicles,

and discount stores

 

But I’m from more than a place

 

I’m from my family and countless educators

who paved the way to where I am today

with love, encouragement, perseverance, and support

 

I’m from my dad, Joe

high school education

factory worker

mechanic

cracked, grease-filled hands scrubbed with a toothbrush and gojo after a hard day’s work

round the clock phone calls to fix it, fix it, fix it

from “You know I love you, don’t you” and “You’re going to go to college”

I’m from the perfect model of working hard to provide for your family

 

I’m also from my mom, Cindy

high school education

factory worker

Thinking of others before herself

weekly trips to the library for an armload of books

picnics in the park in the front seat of the van

I’m from “You make your own choices, but you have to live with what you decide”

 

I’m from my grandparents

Pappaw Bob, Mammaw Hazel, Pappaw Bone, and Nanny Sue

Faithful church-going Christians

“Stay in touch with the caretaker cause you never know when you’ll need took care of”

I’m from trips to Cherokee to the dirt place and yearly visits to Santa’s Land

Picnics at Vogel, waterfall tours, adventures in Helen, and late evening fishing

I’m from storytelling into a tape recorder

And made-up recipes in the kitchen

 

I’m from my wife, Denise

activist for homeless animals

Creative spirit and outside-the-box ideas

Encouraging words in times of stress

Lifelong friend

 

I’m from my daughter, Alora

eyes open to the world

helping me see everything again for the first time

 

I’m from my teachers

Ms. Burger’s comforting smile as my nerves and anxiety grew

Skilled storytelling with a thick southern accent from Ms. Deloache

And the pain of beloved artwork being destroyed from Ms. Montgomery

 

I’m from the independence learned from a space project with Ms. Pugh

and Vis-a-vis math with Ms. Shinpaugh

A push from Ms. Weaver to break past my deep-rooted fear of public speaking

and a lunchbox full of notecards for Ms. Mercier’s senior research paper

 

I’m from Mr. and Mrs. Moates

band directors who treated every student like a family member

my ticket out of a small town life with limited opportunities

 

I’m from the 59 on my first college English paper

and the ridicule of  a trombone professor

From a career-changing guidance counselor

and my critical friends

 

I’m from Mary Ann Fitzgerald

Forward thinking about what libraries should be

a professor and friend who pushed me to create information

and think of my patrons first

 

I’m from Colham Ferry and Barrow

Mentor teachers

Collaborative partners

Path-paving administrators

Innovative students

Pushing me to always reinvent my beliefs in education

 

I’m from each of these people and moments

My memories

My struggles

My foundation

Carried with me wherever I go

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Northeast Georgia District Library Media Specialist of the Year

I am excited to announce that I have been chosen as the Northeast Georgia District Library Media Specialist of the Year for 2011-2012.  In October, I will speak on a panel with other incredible district library media specialists of the year at the COMO conference and attend a luncheon where the state media specialist of the year will be announced.  I am honored and humbled to be recognized with this award.  Media specialists around our state and our country are doing critical work with our students, teachers, and families, and I’m proud to be among so many dedicated professionals.  The past 3 years in the David C. Barrow Elementary Media Center have been amazing.  The work that our students have accomplished in collaboration with the media center is inspiring.  Students have published their own work in a variety of formats from print to multiple forms of web 2.0 technology.  This year promises to be another innovative year as projects are already beginning to take shape.  Every year I look forward to what seeds get planted in my work with students and teachers and can’t wait to see how those seeds of ideas sprout and blossom into thriving learning experiences.

2011 Poetry Contest Winners

Today we announced the winners of the 1st annual Barrow Media Center Poetry Contest.  We had a staggering 156 students who submitted a poem.  After many hours of reading, debating, and discussing with others, two top poems were chosen from PreK-1st grade, 2nd-3rd grade, and 4th-5th grade.  We also recognized 43 other poets who had outstanding poems in the following categories;

Most Unique (a poem about a napkin written on a napkin)

Acrostic Poets

List Poets

Shape Poets

Digital Poets

Group Poets

Rhyming Poets

Pondering Poets

Nature Poets

Form Poets

Story Poets

Personal Story Poets

Congratulations to all of our winners!

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Battle of the Books 2011 District Champions

Once again, Barrow Elementary 5th graders have won the Clarke County School District Battle of the Books.  The Fantastic Five has read books and practiced tirelessly since December.  As always, it was so much fun to have all 14 elementary schools in our district come together to celebrate reading with a fun competition.

When we returned to school, our superintendent, Dr. Lanoue, just happened to be hear and stopped by to speak to the team and praise them for their accomplishment.  Congratulations Jack, Katy, Gabby, Olivia, and Suvitha.  You earned it!

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Exemplary Elementary Media Program Open House

Mark your calendars.  On Thursday March 3, 2011, the David C. Barrow Elementary Media Center will hold an open house in honor of its distinction as the Georgia exemplary elementary media program for 2010.  The event will last from 7:30AM-4:00PM with student showcases of work and opportunities to tour and explore the kinds of learning that take place inside the Barrow Media Center.  Everyone is welcome to attend.  RSVPs are greatly appreciated, but not necessary.  Stop by for a few minutes or spend the whole day!

If you plan to attend the Georgia Conference on Children’s Literature on March 4-5, 2011, this is a great reason to head into Athens early and explore a media center that is just one block away from the Georgia Center for Continuing Education.

David C. Barrow Elementary is located at 100 Pinecrest Drive Athens, GA 30605.  Parking is limited in Barrow’s upper and lower lots on Pinecrest Drive, but additional parking is available across Lumpkin Street at the Campus View Church of Christ.  Do not park on Rutherford Street or in any UGA lots.

We hope to see you in March.

Send RSVPs or questions to plemmonsa at clarke.k12.ga.us or call (706) 543-2676 ext 38280

Exemplary!

This week, the David C. Barrow Elementary Media Center received some exciting news.  We were named the Exemplary Library Media Program in the elementary category for the entire state of GA.  The Annual Exemplary/Exceptional Library Media Program selects  schools from elementary, middle, and high school levels to be recognized based on how well their library media program meets school improvement goals and improves student achievement.  Peer Library Media Specialists and GaDOE staff select the recipients based on the school’s written application, the principal’s narrative, a possible telephone interview, and a probable on-site visit.  Two possible awards can be obtained:  Exemplary or Exceptional.  The exemplary programs are among the top library media programs in the state and are chosen based on the GaDOE library media program self-evaluation rubric.

The Barrow Media Program was nominated in March 2010 and I wrote the narrative for our media center.  In the celebration of being transparent and public about what goes on in our media center, you can read the narrative here.  I will travel to Atlanta on August 12th to be recognized at the State Board of Education meeting.  Another part of winning this recognition is presenting our media program along with the middle and high school exemplary programs at the GaETC Conference in November.  Our media center will also host an open house sometime in the 2010-11 school year for the public and other schools/districts to visit.

I would also like to send out a big congratulations to Shawn Hinger at Clarke Middle School and Anne McLeod at Burney Harris Lyons for being named “exceptional” library media programs.

This is such an honor for our program, our school, and our district.  Receiving an award like this will push us even more to offer innovative lessons and resources for our students and collaborate closely with teachers to support the Georgia Performance Standards.  I can’t wait to see what we come up with in the 2010-11 school year!

~Andy Plemmons