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.
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!
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.