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.
Earlier this year, Kate Lewis at Denton Elementary, did her own version of One Book One School. Several have asked about her program and would like to model it next year. Thanks, Kate, for sharing!
The seed was first planted when I attended a Scholastic Reading Summit last summer. I heard John Schumacher (Mr.Schu) present a wonderfully entertaining book talk, and he spoke at length about Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate. He also talked about books that had been used for the One School, One Book program.
I was intrigued, so I bought a copy of the book and visited this site: http://readtothem.org
I read everything on their site, searched the net for other schools and what they had done, and then I contacted them. It didn't take long to realize that there was no way we could afford to use their program and buy the books for every single kid at my school. So I compromised. I first met with my principal and flushed out the ideas running through my brain. Then I made a list of activities I could do with a book, and I looked at some of the popular ones other schools had tried.
Although Crenshaw is a chapter book, I thought that all grade levels could read it during their read aloud time. The chapters are very short, the themes are universal, and many of our students could identify with them: homelessness, hunger, family bonds, imaginary friends.
I knew I couldn't afford a copy for every single kid, so I got one for every classroom teacher, staff member, and administration. I tried to include everyone. Our books were all provided through a Donors Choose grant that I wrote just before school started. It was my first attempt at a Donors Choose Project, and luckily it was funded pretty quickly. Then I made a tentative reading timeline for the school to follow and introduced it at our first staff meeting. Here's what else I can remember that we did with the book:
I paired it with books that had similar themes and shared those lesson plans with teachers and suggested other titles that went along with Crenshaw
And I can't remember what else I did.......but I think I will do it again next year with a different book..... probably a picture book and pair it with an author visit, maybe with a heritage theme.
A school-wide reading incentive program would meet the accomplished and distinguished indicators on Standard 4, element C of the SLMC evaluation.
Thanks to Shannon Jarrett, veteran teacher and first year SLMC, for this blog post about her chapter of the Tar Heel Junior Historians. To learn more about the THJH program, visit http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/learning/tar-heel-junior-historian-association.
Southmont fourth grade historians have enjoyed becoming a part of history this year as we established Southmont’s first chapter of The Tarheel Junior Historian Association, The Laker Junior Historians. They were excited to become a part of a club that provided valuable resources to enhance their learning of NC history, such as membership cards, stickers, and magazines that highlighted historical events and people in our state. Students began the year by creating a timeline of important events in their own life history. They interviewed their parents to discover more about their early history. They also learned how to use reliable sources to research such topics as the Wright Brothers and their contribution to aviation, as well as NC state symbols. They published their learning on boards using the Board Builder feature on Discovery Education.
Recently, students attended a field trip to Raleigh where they toured the NC Museum of History. They were able to enjoy projects displayed by other Tarheel Junior Historians throughout the state. Fourth grader,Kendra discussed how much she enjoyed seeing “history come to life”, especially when seeing the model of the Wright Brothers plane at the museum.
Next year, I plan to use a scavenger hunt to locate artifacts and features of the museum that correlate with topics learned throughout the year. With a focus on family history, we will learn more about our ourselves and community through genealogy research.
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