The Battle of the Books program at Davis-Townsend elementary is very popular, so much so that the number of interested students far exceeds the available slots on the team. In order to include a greater number of enthusiastic readers, Heitman has designed an auxiliary book club that meets during lunch.
32 students were too many for a successful book club, so Heitman rallied interested staff members to divvy up the students into smaller groups. Heitman, her assistant, an EC teacher and a Title 1 reading specialist all meet with their respective groups on Wednesdays. Students attend with their dog-eared book in one hand and their lunch in the other. The small groups give students ample opportunity to dig deep into the books and engage in meaningful discussions.
Heitman chose 5 titles from this year’s North Carolina Children’s Book Awards list. Each group reads and discusses the same book concurrently, and in the spring students will be able to vote for their favorite NCCBA title. Students can check out the books, but many parents opted to purchase a set for their child.
The students’ energy is contagious and it doesn’t go unnoticed that the focus of the book club is on reading for the fun of it. If you are thinking about starting a book club in your school library, Heitman’s model could be easily adapted for any age group or book list.
A special thanks to Rhonda Florence, media coordinator at Hasty Elementary, for this post on GAW.
November 13-19, 2017, has been designated Geography Awareness Week by The National Geographic Society. Interestingly, the dates overlap with American Education Week. The week is a prime opportunity to emphasize geography with our students and their families.
So, what is geography? NGS explains it this way: “Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. Geographers explore both the physical properties of Earth’s surface and the human societies spread across it. They also examine how human culture interacts with the natural environment and the way locations and places can have an impact on people. Geography seeks to understand where things are found, why they are there, and how they develop and change over time.”
Geography and science go hand in hand. The same is true for geography and history, geography and nutrition, geography and agriculture. What region is your favorite coffee from (Sumatra, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic?) There is a reason why you like it, and it has to do with the geography of the area. Why does North Carolina have a thriving fishing industry while Kansas does not? (simple geography!) Why does burley tobacco get raised in Kentucky where it is cut on the stalk, speared and hung in the barn, to be stripped and tied after it cures? And why does North Carolina has an entirely different process?
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are important tools that can greatly improve geo-literacy. GIS brings to mind interconnectedness, and it can be used to solve many of the problems GeoWeek addresses. GIS Day is the Wednesday of Geography Awareness Week. For more information, go to GISday.org.
For ideas for Geography Awareness Week, visit GeographyAwarenessWeek.org. Other ideas include:
The North Carolina Giant Traveling Map will be debuted at the Social Studies Conference in March. After that conference, guidelines for reserving and borrowing the map for your school/LEA will be discussed.
This past year the EDHS Media Center has experienced an EXTREME makeover and with these changes, we decided one of our programming goals would be to focus on encouraging students to use the wonderful digital resources that are available to them for FREE! I have been following a few blogs this summer and while reading came across a post about “Library in Your Pocket.” The idea is that students have access to the Library and so many resources right at their fingertips, especially with devices that are carried in their pocket, their phones! The poster in the blog showed QR codes linking to various digital resources that the school had access to and I thought….well I can do that!
So I made a quick list of the resources that I would want our students at EDHS to be able to access:
I wanted to focus on getting students to access resources that would assist them as they are working on assignments, research or just needed to have an update on what is happening at EDHS. Some of these links will lead them to other resources like our Media Center Page and our Research Resources S'more. This allowed us to have fewer links to work with as we were creating a poster.
The next step is to create your QR Codes. You have a few options for this. You can use a QR Generator like www.qrstuff.com or you can use the Google Shortener (goo.gl). This is your personal preference. A Quick Side Note….if you want to see how many students are scanning the QR codes to document if the programming is successful and being used, you can take the URLs of the websites that you want to create the QR code for and use the Google Shortener (goo.gl) to get a link and a QR Code. This Shortener tracks the number of clicks/scans and will allow you to document how much the QR codes. There is a whole analytics section for each shortened URL.
Last we designed our poster! I used Google Drawing to create the poster. These have been printed on our poster maker and will be placed in the EDHS Media Center and out as well as around the school building. We will also have smaller half page versions to hand out to students that come to the Media Center.
A special thanks to Shanna Leonard of Tyro Elementary for this fun book character contest idea. But, does this only have to apply to elementary or to a book fair? What are some ways that middle and high school could do something similar?
In order to promote our upcoming Book Fair (November 14-18), our Media Center sponsored a Book Character Pumpkin Contest. This is our second year holding this competition and our student participation was amazing! We had 50 student pumpkins turned in. (Please see the Flipagram below with all the pumpkin book character entries). The students and staff were the judges this year. Every student and staff member in the school received 2 tickets. After choosing their top 2 favorite pumpkins, they placed a ticket in the cup beside their favorite pumpkin. Winners were chosen after counting the pumpkins tickets. The pumpkin from each grade level with the highest tickets received a $10.00 Book Fair gift certificate. We announced the winners over the intercom. The students were thrilled! This contest was a great way to promote the LOVE of reading and character awareness!
Veteran media coordinator, Amy Snyder, tells how she used World Book Online to collaborate:
"I collaborated with the art teacher, Kathleen Bennett, using Toucans. Ms. Bennett worked with the first graders to create toucans out of paper plates and during their regular Media center time we located facts about Toucans. We used World Book online, new books on Toucans from Capstone and other books in our nonfiction section in the Media Center. I then created a bulletin board display that is in our Media Center that has their art creations and facts on Toucans. Ms. Bennett and I are planning other collaborations throughout the school year and this was our first attempt. We also used this team teaching idea as one of our PDP goals for this academic year. It was a fun and creative way to get younger students involved in research and locating important facts."
Announced at the NCSLMA conference this past weekend: Lorie Steed from Central Davidson High School is a recipient for the Read2Succeed grant funded by NCSLMA. Lorie's proposal, entitled "Reaching the Reluctant Reader", outlines a collaborative project with classroom teacher Krysta Perkins. Lorie was awarded $1000 to put her proposal into action. In exchange, Lorie and Krysta will present on their project next year at NCSLMA conference.
Also receiving well deserved recognition is Stacy Morgan from Friedberg Elementary and Joanie Williams from Midway Elementary. Both Stacy and Joanie were accepted into the 2016-2017 North Carolina Digital Leaders Coaching Network cohort sponsored by the Friday Institute in Raleigh. The NCDLCN cohort "seeks to provide instructional technologists, instructional coaches, mentor teachers, and media coordinators with ongoing and job-embedded professional learning opportunities to build capacity in digital and personalized learning and acquire strategies and knowledge related to best practices in leadership, coaching and support of educators, students, and administrators in their schools." (NCDLCN)
Anne Marie Walter from Mars Hill University, program partner for the Library of Congress, took time to make some school visits here in Davidson County. Anne Marie worked with school librarians and groups of students doing model lessons analyzing primary sources. She visited:
Why primary sources?
Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience.
Examining primary sources gives students a powerful sense of history and the complexity of the past. Helping students analyze primary sources can also guide them toward higher-order thinking and better critical thinking and analysis skills. Primary sources:
For access to primary source sets (including lesson plans) from the Library of Congress, click here:
Churchland Media Center has been making the shift towards a Learning Center since last year. My philosophy, instruction, and focus has been on integrating STEAM into the media center so students have opportunities to experience these different areas. Last year at the end of the year, I began a set of rotations that focused on STEAM activities. After watching the students’ excitement grow as they explored something different each week, I knew this had to become a full time thing this year! I see all students for 30 minutes each week. I’ve set up the stations in different areas of the media center so the students are spread out over the entire media center.
How do I manage it? Students check out as soon as they enter the media center. After they check out they grab their large popsicle stick (that they designed the second week of school) and choose one station to visit during their time in the media center. Each station has a different colored pocket on a bulletin board.
Students put their stick into the pocket of the station they want to visit. Each station can only have a predetermined number of students/sticks and they know this by a number written under the pocket. For example, Building and engineering can have 3 people/sticks, but Reading can have 8.
Once they’ve chosen their station, they get their Station card that looks like a BINGO card but doesn’t have letters on it and they walk to that station. As soon as they get there, they get a colored dot that matches the colored label and place it on the Station card. This lets me know they’ve been to a certain station already. They are not allowed to repeat a color until they have all the colors unless I approve it for a special reason such as they don’t finish what they are creating in Makerspace and need another week to finish. At that point, I write my initials on the 2nd dot to indicate I approved it. At the end of class, students turn in their popsicle stick and Station card into a mailbox so we’ll have them next week. The following week they will choose a different station to visit.
This method helps keep things organized without me have to formulate groups for 20 classes and tell them their station. It also gives them some ownership as to what they get to choose first and an opportunity to visit with their friends while they are engaged and learning. I believe we all like to be around people we like and connect with when we go to workshops so why not let the students do it as long as it’s not disruptive? Additionally, those students who do not return their books have to wait to choose their station until all students have checked out. I’m hoping this will encourage more of them to return their books on time.
As of now, they have eight stations that they can choose from:
Building Partnerships to Promote Student Learning in the Library
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