A very special kudos goes out to SLMC Kate Lewis and principal Dr. Kelsey Greer from Denton Elementary for the putting together this super amazing kickoff for their One Book, One School event. This dynamic duo are clearly pros when it comes to helping to build a reading culture.
Last year´s inaugural One Book, One School event at Denton Elementary was by all accounts successful. SLMC Kate Lewis launched a Donor´s Choose campaign to purchase a copy of Crenshaw for each classroom. Kate and principal, Kelsey Greer, wanted to build upon the concept and raise the bar this school year. Not only were they going to give a book to each classroom, but they were determined to give a copy to every single student in the school to keep for their very own!
The ¨top secret" event took a lot of planning. In order to give a copy to each and every student they looked to local leaders for support. Thanks to a grant from the Town of Denton Council for $1000, and grants from the Denton Lions Club, Theresa and Kirby Matthews, Briggs Funeral Home and an extremely generous ¨anonymous¨ teacher the project was completely funded!
A high energy pep-rally was held in the auditorium where the title of the book was revealed through a book trailer and sneak preview. Cheers abounded when students learned the story was about a boy that befriended a tiny talking mouse names Ralph that enjoyed the boy´s toy motorcycle as much as he did. This book is the one and only The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.
Students were then escorted outside to line the circle drive for the big surprise. Students erupted joyously when they spied a fleet of motorcycles rounding the corner escorted by Chief of Police Mark Hicks. The cyclists circled the driveway and after parking, distributed copies to each and every student at Denton Elementary. The energy was contagious! Many students opened their books straight away while others stopped to shake hands and pose for pictures with the special guests.
Charlie, a custodian at Denton Elementary, led the processional of about 10 cyclists. A special thanks to the Davidson County Sheriff´s Office, Riding for the Son Christian Motorcyclists Association and the Guardian Nomads, a group of retired law enforcement and other public health and safety professionals for generously donating their time to come and get the students at Denton Elementary excited about reading. After the event, sponsors and cyclists were welcomed into the school library media center for refreshments and their very own copy of the book.
Students will be encourage to read a chapter per day either independently or with a parent for the next few weeks. Special dress up days, trivia questions and student interviews are anticipated to increase engagement and build enthusiasm for the event. A ¨Design a Helmet for Ralph" contest will take place, where students can enter their creative designs to potentially win a gift certificate for the upcoming book fair in November. YouTube videos will also be available featuring Denton staff each reading a chapter a day. Copies in Spanish were also provided for ESL students to share with their families.
Events were streamed on Facebook Live and can be found on the Denton Elementary Facebook page. To see more moments at the One Book, One School event unfolds, follow Denton Elementary on Facebook or Twitter (@DentonRaiders).
With the wildly successful NC Kids Digital Library having been released last February, DCPL director Ruth Ann Copley proudly announced just yesterday the addition of the newly created Teen eReading Room that is part of their NC Digital Library collection specifically for teen content. Students can access this digital content using their Student Access ID when available and with their Davidson County Public Library cards.
Davidson County Schools has been working with the the public library, along with the School Board and our legal team, to develop guidelines for collecting student data to give students opportunities to access these online resources through the DCPL StudentAccess system. Students will be able to gain access through an OPT-IN form with a one-time permission form signed by a parent or guardian. Once entered into the system, students will be able to access a host of digital resources from the public library by using their student ID numbers.
Guidelines, parent letters and permission slips will be provided to SLMCs and site technology staff through a Google Drive folder. More information will be forthcoming at the SLMC PD on Monday, Oct. 30th.
Permission slips will need to be collected and student data added to the upload file by Thursday, December 21st in order to give students access to the StudentAccess system using their student IDs in early January.
If you have any questions, please don't hesistate to reach out to Sedley Abercrombie (firstname.lastname@example.org).
#96: DCSNC elementary teachers get excited about earning digital "badges" with Digital Learning Challenges
Thanks to Libby for this great post about digital badging. If you are interested in getting teachers more excited about integrating technology into instruction, then reach out to your ITF to learn more about the Digital Learning Challenges!
With the anticipated roll-out of the Digital Learning Competencies in our district, several schools have adopted a flipped professional development model through the use of a Digital Learning Challenge website. The idea behind this flipped model is that teachers have a choice of what and when they learn, with a variety of teacher-approved tools to choose from. When a teacher selects a challenge to view on the website they have access to video tutorials, step-by-step guides, and lesson ideas for using the tool. One of the main objectives of the Digital Learning Challenges relies on the implementation of the tool.
Robin Snider and Sue Tobin were the “pioneers” of the App Challenges in our district some years ago, and I am so glad other schools have taken notice of the power of gamification, or using a rewards system for teachers. The idea is that once teachers submit evidence that they have completed their challenge they then earn a badge that is displayed on a poster outside of their classroom. This badge represents a lot more than a completed challenge, as it also provides teachers with the opportunity to mentor others to help them earn their badges. This gives teachers a chance to be Digital Leaders in their school, and they have something to show for it!
Friedberg and Southmont Elementary have both adopted the Digital Learning Challenges to motivate teachers to “amp up” their digital teaching and learning for the 2017-18 school year, while giving teachers credit where it’s due! Teachers earn .1 CEU of technology (Digital Learning) credit for each challenge they complete. If your school is looking for ways to increase the amount of digital learning and teaching happening in your building, or if you’d like to find new ways to motivate teachers to try to new digital tools, I highly suggest adopting the Digital Learning Challenges for your school! Contact your school’s ITF to get started.
Thanks to Shanna Leonard for this awesome blog post about their One Book, One School initiative.
I chose the book We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio to read as a school. This is the picture book that allows younger readers to discover the Wonder experience. Our 5th grade students are currently reading Wonder with Mr. Martin during their reading time. This book will allow us to connect as a school in an effort to #choosekindness.
Wonder will be in theaters starting November 17, 2017. After viewing the movie to ensure the language is appropriate, I would like to invite 5th grade students to meet at the theater to watch Wonder together.
Other Wonder activities that we will include are:
“Look with kindness and you will always find wonder.” R.J. Palacio
Thanks to NCSLMA President, Brene Duggins, for a job well done! Last week's conference was a big success. A number of DCS SLMCs, media assistants and ETSs attended last week's NCSLMA conference. Here are some of the takeaways:
"The conference was great- my favorite moments were Lisa Yee's address, and Mr. Beatty's heartfelt story about his life. Kudo's for the committee for getting these two incredible authors to share with us!!!" - Joanie Williams, Midway
"Came back with a reading list a mile long, and several purchases for weekend reading. What amazing author presentations and one-to-one conversations! Wish I could bring students who love these authors to hear them speak." - Rhonda Florence, Hasty
"As a first-year librarian, I walked away from the #ncslma17 conference feeling rejuvenated, refreshed, and empowered by all the wonderful things I learned from fellow librarians and teachers. I cannot wait to go back to school and determine the best ways to incorporate the awesome ideas in my school. My two fabulous assistants also attended the conference, and I am looking forward to speaking with them about what they learned as well. It was a great experience, and I can't wait to attend the conference next year! (and maybe present? who knows!)" - Carly Smith, Wallburg
"As a Media Assistant...I received several great ideas to mainstream media check in and check out for the students. EmPOWERING Elementary Library Patrons by Stacy Darwin was a wealth of information! Also, on the technical side of my job as part of the Enrichment Team, Caren Long's "Tech Integration to Get Your Spider-Senses Tingling, was very inspirational . She gave us several ideas and websites to visit for some great ideas. I had a great time!" - Lisa Hill, Wallburg
"At each session I attended I learned something practical and relevant that I could apply to improving the media center for my students - from tech tools & fundraising tips to literacy strategies & inspirational messages from authors. The Super Hero theme was fun and it was neat to see librarians walking around in their super hero attire!" - Kristi Allred, North Davidson Middle
"Make Your Ebooks Fly - Learned marketing strategies for ebooks since many teens still haven't come on board:
Megan Shepherd - The Magic of YA
Fun discussion of YA tropes (orphans, instalove, etc.) as well as a brainstorming exercise that could become a creative writing assignment. Those who attended are eligible for a 20 minute free skype visit with Megan!
My ETS also really enjoyed "More Than 28 Days" - which focused on doing more than just celebrating "heroes & holidays" when recognizing black history contributions." - Lorie Steed, CDHS
Thanks to Lorie Steed, SLMC at Central Davidson High, for this post about a collaborative lesson with teacher Chad Killebrew highlighting Banned Books Week!
Today I visited Chad Killebrew's English classes for a Banned Books Week lesson integrated into the ELA curriculum.
We started by having students read Amendment 1 from the Bill of Rights and apply it to their own lives via a "quick-write" activity. Then, with a show of hands, students shared which rights meant the most to them. They were pretty evenly split between freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Only one student out of three classes listed freedom of the press as personally important to them - but many rethought their positions once we discussed how this freedom also determines the information they have access to via the internet!
Now that students had considered the importance of basic freedoms, it was time to apply these ideas to Banned Books Week. To do so, I shared a Smore I'd created to give students a basic overview of what it means to ban or challenge a book, using information from the American Library Association and video clips from authors whose books have been banned, including Dav Pilkey (author of Captain Underpants) and Sherman Alexie, whose The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian is on this year's North Carolina High School Battle of the Books list. Students used the Cornell notes format to record at least one detail and personal reflection from each video clip.
Finally, we put students in small groups and had them use Chromebooks to research a banned book and the "Two Truths and a Lie" strategy (adapted from our recent DEN Ambassador training) to share their findings with the class. After giving a basic summary of the book, students were to share three statements related to its challenge or ban, and others in the class had to guess which of the three statements was not true. This was a fun interactive way for students to learn about different banned books, and more engaging than a simple lecture.
One thing we realized as the day went on was that we needed more time than we'd allotted to complete all planned activities - we planned for about an hour, but really needed close to 90 minutes. Since we were rushed, I didn't get to spend the time I hoped to teaching students how to use advanced search strategies and evaluate internet resources - next time I will either build additional time into the lesson or have students use Sweetsearch since its links are already vetted. We'd also originally originally planned to have students share their research via a shared Google Slides Presentation, but since we were short on time, we took a pen and paper approach and just had them jot their findings down and share with the class verbally.
Another suggestion if anyone wants to try this lesson - assign each group a specific book to speed up the process! Some of the groups in our first class spent more time choosing the book they wanted to research than doing the actual research. In later classes we assigned the books to each group. In English 3 Honors, we assigned them an American classic they might not otherwise study in class, and in standard classes, we focused on books they might already be familiar with, such as The Wizard of Oz and the Goosebumps series.
Now that we've practiced this lesson and learned from what worked and didn't, I've adjusted the lesson, which can be accessed via this Google Slides presentation - feel free to adapt or use as you wish!
A special thanks goes to Carly Smith, 1st year SLMC at Wallburg Elementary for this awesome post about hosting a "book tasting".
Last week, I did a Book Tasting lesson with my 3rd-5th grade students. While the main purpose of this activity was to connect students with quality literature that they might not have known was available in their very own library, I also used this activity to determine my next book club choice for my upper grades students.
If you're not familiar with the term "book tasting", it is an activity where students can "try" different books. In order to know if you like a particular food, you have to try it, or taste it, first before forming an opinion on whether they like the food or not. With this activity, students "try" different books on their "menu" and rate them based on their opinions of the text.
I had a consistent 30 students each week for last year's book club on Wonder that I did with Amy at Wallburg as my final grad school project, and it was a pretty solid mix of students across the three grade levels. I did have a lot of 3rd graders, too....which is why it was important for me to include 3rd grade in my book tasting lesson.
For this year's fall book club, I wanted to give students more of a choice in the book we read. I mean......how am I going to top Wonder? I chose four books that were Wonder read-alikes. Students book tasted the following books:
Our "I Can" statement that focused our learning was: I can use the parts of a book to form an opinion on the book.
I purchased tablecloths, huge round centerpieces, and fake candles at the Dollar Store and set up my library to look like a diner. I had previously created flowers out of colored pipe cleaners and attached them to plastic spoons (Remember that, Tammi?!!!) that I placed in mason jars and other clear glass jars to look like flowers in the center of the tables. I called the library/diner the Lion Luncheonette :) I wore an apron as well...had to complete the look.
Books were placed on the centerpieces and menus were set out at each seat along with an Expo marker to use when they rated each book. Students shared markers with their partner.
Before I go any further, I have to give a HUGE thank you to the librarians who sent books from THEIR collection my way so I could complete this activity. I borrowed books from Ledford Middle, Brier Creek, and Davis Townsend. THANK YOU Angie, Danielle, and Tina!!!!!!! I also had to check out every single copy of Counting by 7s in the Davidson County Public Library system. I needed 8 copies of each title....which is a bunch.
I ended up having to check out 5 copies of the eBook of Save Me a Seat and one copy of the audiobook of Out of My Mind on NC Kids Digital Library. It was a great way for me to learn more about this resource as well as getting students used to using it.
Once students were seated, I welcomed them to the Library Luncheonette. After I explained to them what we were doing, we started by looking at the parts of a book. We reviewed what was on the front cover, spine, back cover, title page, and contents, and how that information could tell us about the book we were going to "try". For our fiction books especially, I think the spine is underrated and widely overlooked in helping us determine book choice. In our collection at Wallburg, our fiction section is genre-fied and each book has a genre sticker on the top of the spine. I led students to noticing the call number on the spine (which is going to be the focus of our next lesson....) as well.
I emphasized that after looking at the parts of the book we discussed, I wanted students to read as much as they could of the first chapter. I didn't set a number of paragraphs or pages because I wanted this to be a relaxing environment.
I then led students in understanding how to rate the books on our menu. I had 5 stars under each title on the menu, and we discussed what a 1-5 rating would be. I explained my expectations for the book tasting, and then put on some soft jazz music for the 3-4 minutes students had with each book. Students were to spend the WHOLE duration of time while the music played with their book. They could only rate it after I stopped the music.
Students voted on their favorite book out of the four before checking out. They raised their hand when I called each title out. I was going to do a Google form...but that would have taken much more time. Maybe I can figure out a way to do that next time.
Overall, students LOVED LOVED LOVED this activity! They loved the setting and were excited to "try" the books I had for them. I strongly believe I accomplished my goal of getting students excited about reading. Some of my kids who normally do not seem thrilled about reading wanted to know when they could check out these books. Many were torn on their favorites because they gave more than one 5 stars.
However, I do have many things that I didn't think about/would change for next year:
Also....Fish in a Tree was a LANDSLIDE favorite among ALL of my 4th and 5th grade classes. ALL of 3rd grade voted for Save Me a Seat. So, my after school book club will be for 4th and 5th and I'll do a lunch club for 3rd after I figure out how to do that. Tina...I'm going to ask you for guidance!
Hope this helps! I have a Google Slide of my presentation if anyone would like it. Please let me know of ideas that would make this activity better in the future if you think of some! :)
Mary Howell, SLMC at Davidson County shares her plans to collaborate with the public library this year:
This year we will be working collaboratively with the Denton Public Library. Below are the dates we have set:
Times of visits will be 11:30 - 1:30. The Bookmobile will be set up in the commons area during lunches and the special programs will be floating in the media center.
We are excited to have this opportunity and share the public library with our students!!
Congrats goes to Joanie Williams, SLMC at Midway Elementary! Last spring, Joanie applied for a grant for Boldprint Books from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for the leveled book room. She just received the notification by email and will be receiving the check for $3000 next week!
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation was established in 1993 in honor of Dollar General's co-founder, J.L. Turner, who was functionally illiterate with only a third grade education. He was a farmer's son who dropped out of school when his father was killed in an accident. With determination and hard work, he began what has now become a successful company.
Since 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $127 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and schools that have helped more than 7.9 million individuals learn to read, prepare for the high school equivalency test, or learn the English language. Grant are availble for programs such as family literacy, youth literacy, adult literacy, and summer reading. They also have the Beyond Words Grant for school libraries that are affected by natural disasters.
Way to go, Joanie!
If you would like to learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Grants available, click here: http://www2.dollargeneral.com/dgliteracy/Pages/grant_programs.aspx.
For a list of this year's recipients, click here:
A special thanks to Lorie Steed for this blog post about Reluctant Readers and her Read 2 Succeed Grant. Lorie has her finger on the pulse of YA literature and is truly an asset to CDHS readers.
Overview: As a high school librarian in Davidson County and recipient of a 2016 Read 2 Succeed Grant, I partnered with English teacher Krysta Perkins to support her Sustained Silent Reading initiative. Our goal was to engage reluctant readers by purchasing several high-interest books that would appeal to varied interests and reading levels, and to ensure we had multiple copies of popular titles available to students. By reaching out to reluctant readers in this way, we hoped students who avoided reading in the past would come to embrace it. Although we hit some snags along the way and not every student responded to reading the way we hoped they would, we did find some success in reaching reluctant readers.
But first, one of the snags. Our original plan was to booktalk titles in several genres that we thought would appeal to reluctant readers, and then to bring students to the library for a “book tasting” where they could explore these and other similar titles. In the fall semester, we did just that. Students rotated around tables full of sample books from each genre and were asked to write down their favorites. The problem with this approach was revealed when I was about to place an order and realized that many of the books multiple students listed as favorites were sitting on our shelves, not checked out! After consulting with Mrs. Perkins and Mrs. Idol, the Exceptional Children’s co-teacher, we came to the following conclusions:
Though I visited these students again in an attempt to figure out what books to order based on their interests, many of them had already chosen a book by that point, either from our library or from home. I told them more than once I would order whatever books they asked for, but no one asked for anything - which looking back makes sense, as reluctant readers are often so closed off to reading they just shut down completely when asked to talk about it. So I looked instead at what they were reading to get ideas, and worked on a new plan for second semester. I also read Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer and, inspired by her methods of reaching out to readers in her own classroom, decided to try a more individualized approach second semester.
A new plan. Second semester, instead of taking students to the library to peruse full tables of books representing each genre, we kept it simple by highlighting three examples of each genre in the classroom, then asked students to indicate their preferences on sticky notes. We also told them that if none of the books we shared appealed to them, to write that down as well. We emphasized that we were looking for total honesty. “You’re the ones we’re trying to help,” we told them. We still encountered resistance, but after multiple classroom visits in which I met one-on-one with every single student, I put together a book order based on their individual recommendations. I wanted to make sure that when the book order arrived, I would have at least one book to hand to every student based on his or her request. This turned out to be a much better approach to the project, and my one regret is that I didn’t have a chance to implement it with the fall semester students. Ordering books based on student suggestions not only helped many students complete the reading and the project successfully, but also made our collection more appealing. Multiple students, not just those who requested the books, checked out the books we ordered.
Conclusions: Out of 47 students in the spring semester classes, 85% of students (40 of 47) completed the reading third quarter, and just under 79% (37 of 47 students) did so fourth quarter. Though it was somewhat discouraging to see those numbers go down and to realize that 15-20% of students were still not reading, it was inspiring to see several others not only complete their SSR reading requirements, but to read beyond what was required.
We also saw an improvement in student attitudes about reading. At the beginning of the semester, 22% of students said they did not like to read, 58% said “it’s okay,” and only 20% said they loved it. At the end of the semester, 9.3% still didn’t like reading, 44.2% said “it’s okay,” and 46.5% said they loved it, as long as they were given a choice in what to read.
In closing, here are a few more things we learned about reaching reluctant readers.
Welcome to the official blog just for DCS library media programs. Enjoy new posts from one of our many contributors and follow along to see the amazing things happening in Davidson County school libraries.