Take the quiz.
Finish your scavenger hunt by taking this really, really difficult quiz. Don't worry, Sock Monkey has your back!
Take the quiz.
Wow! That is a hard question. A really hard question. I have read so many books that I love for so many reasons. I love books that are suspenseful. I love books that teach me about history. I love books that help me see someone else's point of view. I love books that explain things I didn't understand. I love books that inspire me to be a better person. There are books that are magical and fantastic. I love those. Adventure stories take me to foreign lands and show me new geography. Realistic stories show me how ordinary people can choose to do extraordinary things. Books make me laugh. They make me cry. Books make me feel so many things. The bottom line is...I LOVE BOOKS!!!
There are a few that stand out in my mind as books that encouraged me to be a reader. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck was the first book I read that made me cry, and boy did I cry! I'd rate that book 5 out of 5 Kleenex. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkein, was the first real series book I read. Once I finished that one, I just had to keep going and read the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. The movies are pretty good, but the books are excellent. Of course, I really loved the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, especially The Goblet of Fire and The Return of the Half Blood Prince. The first time I read Half Blood Prince, I was so full of questions and a desire to solve some mysteries that I turned it right back to the first page and started reading it again.
There are many other books I just love, so I've started putting them on a Resource List in the library catalog. If you click the Resource List link on the left-hand side of the screen (see the pictures below), you'll find my faves there.
Who was Mr. Prewitt, and why do we have formal day for him?
Mr. Chris Prewitt, was an assistant principal here at DATA and a truly an awesome guy. We really loved him. He was fun and positive and encouraged people to be their best selves. When a problem arose, he looked at it as a challenge, an obstacle to be surmounted, but not one he was going to let get in his way. If you didn’t know, Mr. Prewitt was deaf, but that never stopped him. He built houses in Africa, played water polo in the Deaflympics, taught high school, coached high school water polo, and went on all kinds of amazing adventures. He inspired many people to go out and be good humans (or monkeys in my case).
Over spring break three years ago, he was fatally struck by a car. The following week was one of the most difficult we’ve had here at DATA. We missed him a lot, and there were many tears and many really tough moments. Because he loved spirit days and always did spirit days most awesomely, the students decided to have a spirit day at the end of that long week to honor Mr. Prewitt. They chose formal attire to show respect for him and to incorporate a sense fun. We must have had the highest level of participation ever on that spirit day! There were all kinds of great clothes, and even Mr. Wulff and Mr. Huber had very special outfits. Despite the tragedy we had experienced, we felt Mr. Prewitt’s spirit of joy among us that day. It helped us to be glad we had the chance to know such a great person, even if it was only a short time.
With all the sadness we were feeling that week, everyone made the effort to be extra kind to each other. After that week was over, no one wanted to let that spirit fade away. Many of us decided to turn this negative into the positive (just how Mr. Prewitt would do it) by thinking about the ways in which he inspired and encouraged us. We realized his spirit could live on in us as we followed in his footsteps. We made a vow to show kindness, compassion, joy, laughter, persistence, adventure, or whatever traits of his we felt best represented him.
Today is our fourth formal day. Each year, it is a chance for those of us who knew him to remember him and remember our promises to be better people as a tribute to him. For those who didn’t know him, it’s a chance to learn about and be inspired by the difference one person can make in the lives of so many. It’s a great time to ask ourselves, “How will I make a difference today?”
Make it a great day!
How do you choose books? How do you decide which books are necessary for the library?
What an excellent question! That is probably one of the most time-consuming, but best jobs in the library. There are several ways that we go about selecting books. First of all, we have criteria that we use. A criterion is a guideline, and there is lots to consider. First of all, we need books that will be interesting to readers. If we don’t get books you all want to read, then we’re just wasting time and money. Of course, what’s interesting to you, might not be interesting to your friend or classmate and vice versa. That means we have to find a really wide variety books at all reading levels to be sure you can find a book you’d like and that you want to read. We also like books to be well-written. A book might have a good story, but if the author doesn’t put it together well, then it’s not such a great reading experience. There are lots of resources library people can use to find out if a book is a quality book. There are librarian magazines, book review web sites, and librarian tweets. And of course, librarians at other middle schools have good advice for us too.
That mostly applies to our fiction books. For non-fiction books we have to add another criterion. We want books that support what you’re learning in your classes. That also means that they need to current, or up-to-date. A book on computer technology that was written in 1999 won’t be very accurate anymore. Too much has changed since then. If I picked up a book on Super Bowls and it was written in 2005, there would be twelve Super Bowls that weren’t included. That’s more like a history book!
We love picking out and getting new books here in the Lib, but did you know you can recommend books? You can go right to library web site and fill out the Book Request Form. If it the book is a quality book and appropriate for middle school, we’ll do our best to get it for you.
Keep those questions coming!
Some of our past Imagination Station makerspace activities
How do you have time for the Imagination Station?
I wish I could say that we have lots of time for the Imagination Station! Honestly, DATA and the Library are busy places, so we have to find time during non-class hours and hope that students can find time to participate along with all of their other activities. It takes us some time to set things up and to help with Imagination Station, so sometimes we take a little recess while prepare for the next activity. Of course when students come in and take advantage of the fun activities we have in here, we love it!
If you have an idea for a project you’d like to work on in our Imagination Station makerspace, please let me know by filling out the Ask Sock Monkey form. If you have a skill and think you could help teach others how to do something, let us know that too!
Next week we’ll be starting work on our Tech Deck skateboard park, where you can come in and work on building ramps, rails, pipes and other park features. You can help design and build features as well as use your boards to test them.
Making it real
Well...yes and no. Since I live in DATA Library, I’m surrounded by books in my home, so I don’t really have to take them anywhere. I just find one of those comfy chairs and get reading. Ms. Cook and Ms. Johnson take books home all the time, though.
Ms. Johnson just finished reading the book Echo, by Pam Muñoz Ryan, who is also the author of Esperanza Rising. I sat down with her to chat about the book and here’s what she had to say.
Echo is really four stories all rolled into one. It seems the only thing they have in common is a mystical harmonica, but Muñoz Ryan weaves all of the characters and events together into a beautiful ending. The prologue starts before World War I, but the first story takes place in Nazi Germany just before World War II, a very chilling period in the world’s history. The second story, about two orphaned brothers takes place in Pennsylvania in 1935, during the Great Depression. The final story is about a young girl who moves from Fresno to Orange County, California in 1942 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the US’s entrance into the war. She and her parents are taking care of the farm of a Japanese family that has been interned, in the hopes that no one will come and take over the land while the Japanese family is gone. All they while she’s missing her older brother, a soldier fighting in World War II. This book is beautifully written, and the author leaves the reader hanging at the end of each of the three main stories. It’s not until the end that we find out about how things end up for the characters and the fateful harmonica.
I have to agree with Ms. Johnson. I think this is a great book, too. I really love Pam Muñoz Ryan!
Why do we have the comfy chairs and where did we get them?
Let me answer a query with a query. Why do you think we have comfy chairs in the library?
Thought of anything yet?
How about now?
I’m guessing you’ve come up with some ideas, and I bet most of them were right. Here are a few reasons we have them.
What high school did you go to?
That’s an interesting question. Since I’m a sock monkey, I really didn’t have the chance to go to school. I just wasn’t allowed. While I’m happy for you all, I do get a little envious sometimes, especially when I see students who don’t know how awesome it is to go to school. Despite the fact that you have to pay attention and do classwork and homework, it beats the kinds of jobs some kids your age have...kids who don’t get to go to school. I can’t complain too much though, because I get to work here at the DATA Library.
The ladies in the library, Ms. Cook and Ms. Johnson, both got to go to high school AND college. Lucky! Ms. Cook went to high school at Kempsville High in Virginia Beach, Virginia and then to college at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, where she majored in engineering. (I love reading, but I don’t know if I could handle that math.) Ms. Johnson went to Buena High right here in Ventura, then to college up north at UC Davis. (They just advanced in the first round of NCAA basketball!!) She got her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. When I asked them about it, they both said they worked hard. It wasn’t always fun, but they like learning.
Happy Ides of March! Maybe it's not such a happy day historically, but it's definitely noteworthy (worth noting).
Welcome to my new blog. As many of you may know sock monkeys are very fond of libraries and of reading. Thankfully, we have found a lovely home at DATA Library where we can hang out and read as much as we want. Of course, since we're nocturnal and only move around at night, you won't see us up and about much during the day. Here's a fun fact: Did you know that sock monkeys sleep with their eyes open? I bet you didn't. Creepy, right? Don't let it bother you though, it's just because we're stuffed animals and we don't have fully articulated eyelids than can move.
Recently, we had a visit from Ms. Lynch's classes. They had many questions for us about our library, so I decided this would a fun way to answer those questions. I will be happy to answer other questions here as well. You can submit your questions to us below, via email, or in the question box at DATA Library. You can also find the Question of the day here as well as the answer form. Follow me on the library Twitter @mizjdatalib.