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.
Last spring, SLMC Mary Howell wanted to help build a reading culture among staff and students at South Davidson Middle School. She brought her idea to her principal, Crystal Sexton, and the "One Book One School" idea began building momentum. The idea was simple: build a love of reading and community through one shared novel.
Out of a list of suggested titles, Howell and Sexton agreed on Gordon Korman's Schooled. The original plan was for each homeroom to receive one copy and teachers could read aloud. But thanks to a generous donaton from Pit Stops for Hope, every student received a book of their very own to keep!
To build excitement, a school-wide pep rally was held first thing in the morning with the South Wildcat and "cheerleaders". Student got to preview the title through digital book talks. Celebrations will continue through this month and next, culminating in a Halloween Dance as featured in the text. Each week, students will enjoy other themed activities such as tie-dying shirts, trivia contests and special dress up days. Books were distributed later that day in language arts classes and many students started reading right away!
This year I added "Book Speed Dating" to our library orientation day to help set the tone for reading being a priority at NDMS. It has been a lot of fun! Students were given the opportunity to explore a variety of genres on the tables and select a book to "speed date" for just a few minutes. During the "date" they took time for "first impressions" and then spend a couple of minutes reading the book. If they decided to check out the book after the speed date, great! If not, that is okay, too. We did a couple of "speed dating" rotations and then students had a chance to browse the whole media center. Several students did end up checking out books that were on the tables.
I borrowed this idea from the Mrs. Readerpants Blog : click here. She has lots of great tips and suggestions. I chose not to have one genre per table; instead, I mixed genres at each table. Since I was doing this with every class in the whole school I was concerned I wouldn't be able to replenish some of the genres. If I did this again with a smaller group of students, I would probably organize it by genre like Mrs. Readerpants suggests.
It was fun for me and the teachers to see what types of books they gravitated towards, and the students enjoyed being able to move around and select their book dates!
Thanks to Kristi Allred, SLMC at NDMS, for this blog post on "speed dating". If you have an innovative idea or activity happening in your #DCSlibrarymedia center that you would like to share, send an email to Sedley to submit your blog post.
At last week's Technology Kickoff meeting, we discussed the addition of new technology, digital resources and the DLCs from DPI. Although technology is now a huge part of our job, we did manage to take some time out to get back to our "roots".
Books DO make a difference in students' lives. Decades of research support that student achievement correlates with access to books and reading materials. Children in poverty statistically have much less access to books than their middle and upper class peers, therefore solidifying the achievement gap.
In order to level the playing field, we need to be more agressive about meeting our students' literacy needs. With today's shrinking budgets, it's important to not get discouraged but find creative ways to advocate for our school library budgets and to increase our students' access to books.
Here is the slide show of your ideas:
Wallburg Elementary - Carly Smith
Hi, Everyone! My name is Carly Smith, and I will be starting the 2017-2018 school year as a first-year librarian at Wallburg Elementary School. I attended Wallburg all six years of my K-5 schooling, and my husband proposed to me at Wallburg while I was serving as an intern in the library during graduate school. Needless to say, Wallburg has always been and will continue to be such a special place for me, and I am so excited to work with and learn from the strong staff there. I graduated from UNCG in May 2014 with an undergrad in Elementary Education, where I immediately enrolled in the UNCG MLIS program the following semester. During graduate school, I substituted in Davidson County and filled two maternity leaves at Wallburg. I graduated from UNCG in December 2016 with my MLIS degree. I married my high school sweetheart, Dylan (who also went to Wallburg with me!) in October 2016. In my spare time, I like to read (...obviously!), go on walks with and just spend time with my family, go hiking, and work outside in the yard. My favorite children's books are Oh! The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss and Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I cannot wait to join the wonderful and inspiring group of DCS librarians!
Welcome Elementary - Melissa Hoffman
A special thanks to ITF, Libby Ferrell, for sharing this awesome blog post about participating in career day at Southmont Elementary.
Last month I had the opportunity to participate in career day at Southwood Elementary. As I was preparing my presentation for students I had to consider the most important aspects of my job as a technology facilitator, and wanted students to think about why technology is so important in education (and all other facets of society) today. After discussing a typical day at work, I talked about the education I needed to get here and the mindset needed while continuously working with technology.
From the four classes I talked to, the majority of the students were confident technology users that probably understand Snapchat better than I do. They also showed interest in new technologies such as 3D printers and talked about future possibilities with these advanced technology tools. Before my presentation concluded, students watched the following video of a 12-year-old app developer from California. Students listened to his story and started to consider the possibility of creating their own apps.
Fortunately, Daniel Everhart was willing to help me work with the same classes during enrichment time in the media center the following day. Students worked with a partner to design and develop an original idea for an app. They created a paper slide that illustrated their app creation and as a class they created a paper slide video so that everyone could share their ideas. Students were so engaged when they started brainstorming and putting together the concept for their new and unique app.
Thanks to Kenny Foster at West for this great blog post!
Don’t ever let anyone convince you that the library/media center can’t benefit every class in the school! We have always tried to help our Advanced Theatre class. We have helped them with researching monologues and researching costume style from previous eras, but we really got a chance to work with them in a fun and meaningful way this semester!. Our new theatre teacher, Mrs. Quick, assigned each student a character. The students had to identify with the character, dress like the character, speak like the character, and take on the character’s persona for an entire school day. With the approval of administration and help from the faculty, each student was graded based on how he/she stayed in character throughout the day. How did the media center help? We decided that a little green screen fun was appropriate for the occasion. We did our homework by locating free (public domain) backgrounds that were specific to each character. In addition to being fun, it was a great way to remind everyone about copyright laws and the beauty of public domain and fair use. Below, you will see some of the final products from the project.
Thanks to Kathy Lankford, ETS and media assistant, at Stoner-Thomas for this blog post about the Stoner-Thomas school library makeover.
At Stoner-Thomas we always wanted a Media Center like our sister schools in Davidson County, but being a smaller school with not a lot of money to purchase books, we depended a lot on donations or discarded books from other schools or our community. Donations are terrific, but it needed more. Not a lot of time is put into the Media Center, because we do not have a Media Coordinator to do the daily duties of the Media Center, nor the volunteers needed to run it successfully. Teachers would take their class to the Media Center every week and just let students pick out books to look at, most of the time books were not put back into the correct order, not because teachers weren’t watching, but, because there was no organization to the Media Center.
But now, with the help of a few volunteers, we have a Media Center to be proud of! We recruited some students to help label books by category to match the totes they were placed in, we worked several days reorganizing the books, getting rid of old books, getting some book cases, getting our bulletin boards raised, and reorganize the teacher resource section. Our "new" media center has a Pirate theme and the students and staff love it!
Teachers have started to filter back into the Media Center with students to enjoy the new look and sections that have been created. Teachers love the category totes, because they are easily displayed for students to see. Having student helpers for the Media Center has given a few students time to enjoy the books, talk about their favorite book or to let us know what books they would like to see in the Media Center. We still need to expand our book collection, but for now, we love our new Media Center.
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.