Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day Five - Always be Prepared

While this was only Day Five for me at Pine Street, school-wide it was the 100th Day of School for the students.  1st graders dressed up as 100 year old men and women, complete with glasses, canes, and white powdered hair.  Lee Anne allowed me to conduct one of the 1st grade library storytimes.  Continuing the emphasis on the South Carolina Book Award nominees, I read Polar Opposites, Pierre the Penguin, and Hibernation Station.  Following Lee Anne's lead, I encouraged the students to explore the concept of opposites in Polar Opposites (e.g., big/little, push/pull).  We also looked at the North and South Poles on a globe and talked about meeting in the middle - the Equator.

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I finished the signage for the library display about the SC Book Awards and will add the "book bags" for voting next week.  Last year Pine Street took part in the Greenville Drive Reading All-Stars promotion.  This year they would like to increase student participation.  All students that read 5 books get a ticket to attend a Greenville Drive baseball game and be recognized along with their school.  I love community partnerships like this that encourage reading and reward students with a fun prize.  I know when I am a school librarian that I will be on the lookout for similar programs.

Lee Anne worked with a 3rd grade class on completing their Dewey Decimel raps.  The students practiced while Lee Anne rehearsed with and recorded one group at a time.  I enjoyed circulating amonst the students and providing feedback on their raps/choreography.  The final products will be shared with current 2nd graders.

After school, the Tech Know Club added captions and music to their slideshows.  Lee Anne had asked me to try to find some copyright-free music for students to use, but, unfortunately, many of the sites I found were inappropriate for student use.  This experience showed me the importance of checking carefully all web-based sites for content as well as for compatibility with operating systems/browsers and school web filters.  It all comes down to planning and preparing!

Lee Anne's ease with leading the students in book discussions and responding to their questions is inspiring.  I hope to follow her example in encouraging students to ask questions and search for answers.  Lee Anne sent my professional development presentation invitation to the faculty.  My topic is Top 5 Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers.  I look forward to this opportunity to test my skills at sharing technology tools with a professional, adult audience.  I am bribing them with snacks and hope for a good turnout.  Essential to the success of my presentation is testing out my chosen Web 2.0 tools on the library computers.  I want to present tools that the teachers and students will actually be able to use.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day Four - Planning and Flexibility

While everyday is busy in a school library, Thursday's schedule at Pine Street does leave a little more time for planning and projects.  I completed work on the Library Home Page by adding bios for Lee Anne and her assistant, Veneal.  The web page serves as the virtual home base of the media center and I feel it is important for media specialists to create a presence for parents and the larger community.  The school website is designed using a pre-set template and is not very flexible.  However, there is room to add a Flickr feed to create a digital slideshow of the library.   Pine Street really encourages student involvement in the creative process,  Perhaps we could have students take pictures of the library "in action" and then add the photos to Flickr. 

Lee Anne has given me the go-ahead to develop a reading program/voting display related to the South Carolina Book Awards.  We are focusing on the Picture Book category as more students have read/will read these titles.  In preparation, I printed cover art of all the nominated titles and cut out lots of hearts to decorate the voting bags.  I have also been familiarizing myself with the books.  I will do book talks related to many of the titles and then explain the voting process to the students.

It was fun to watch the Thursday 2nd grade reading group as they recorded their "final" product.  Lee Anne posted the audio file to the common drive so that teachers could play this for students.  One girl hoped that the recording would "go viral" - pretty media savvy for a 2nd grader!  Next week the class will begin their research project and I have compiled a list of pirates to focus on as I design a Pirate Pathfinder.

Lee Anne showed the video, "The Snowman", to her Kindergarten classes.  "The Snowman" has no dialogue, only music. Lee Anne uses this video to guide a discussion about the role that music plays in setting the tone of the film.  Analyzing the elements of a movie is a good way to incorporate media literacy skills into a school library program.

A 2nd grade class worked on searching and finding materials using the online catalog.  They needed a little help with spelling, but overall did a good job at finding books on their own.  I would love to see Destiny adapt the catalog to be more forgiving on spelling errors - maybe adding suggested spellings or choices for students.

This week has shown me the importance of planning and flexibility for a successful school librarian.  Lee Anne meets with diverse groups of students and has specific activities or story times planned for each group.  Being prepared and knowing what comes next is essential.  At the same time, librarians must be flexible: a class might show up late or teachers might need assistance immediately.  It will be important for me to "go with the flow" and handle whatever comes my way.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day Three

Day Three included additional class observations.  I was fortunate to experience nationally recognized dance educator, Eric Johnson, as he worked with students and teachers on integrating dance/creative movement with math.  The students formed fantastic shapes and used actions (hopping, jumping, galloping) to demonstrate the concepts of area and perimeter.

Lee Anne and I went over my timeline schedule of activities and she had many helpful suggestions. Next Thursday will include the pirate research project with the 2nd grade group as well as a professional development presentation for teachers. 

Jan Brett is the author of the month for all first grade classes.  Lee Anne encouraged a group of 1st graders to share their knowledge on Brett's artistic style and patterns found in her illustrations.  This week's book was Mossy. 

I devoted time to checking and updating the Library Resources page.  This page is accessed through the Destiny catalog which is convenient.  One item I added was a link back to the Pine Street School home page to make navigation easier for users.

A group of 2nd graders demonstrated an activity that Lee Anne has used to teach them to navigate the different sections of the library and to locate books independently.  Students choose a laminated call number out of a basket and then go locate the book.  When they find the right title on the shelf, they raise their hands to have their book "checked".  One young man found 12 titles - the current record.  I loved seeing the students so capable and independent. 

Lee Anne shared her budgeting system and we discussed how the economy has impacted school library programs in recent years.  When budgets are cut, adjustments must be made and other avenues of revenue must be pursued.  Lee Anne successfully fundraises through Scholastic Book Fairs.

Library Media Intern Infographic

I created this infographic as a means to introduce myself to the school community and explain what I can do and want to do during my internship.  This was created using Piktochart.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day Two - Art, Drama, Dance

Day Two in the Pine Street Media Center provided me with an up-close look at arts infusion in practice. The morning began with a Reader's Theatre rehearsal of  Melinda Long's How I Became a Pirate.  Lee Anne works with nine advanced readers in 2nd grade every Thursday and they have been preparing for a recorded performance that will be shared with their classmates. In the coming weeks this group will be doing a research project on pirates. Lee Anne encouraged my idea of developing a webquest on famous pirates to help guide the students' research.

Lee Anne gave me a tour of the school and I was impressed with the many displays of student artwork as well as the beauty of the architectural details in the original 1929 part of the school.  Several art pieces were created with visiting artists including large scale mosaic and stained glass installations.  The main hallway features a "tree" of partners, local businesses and individuals that help support the school's many activities and projects.  The upper grades have lockers for their lunch boxes, backpacks, and coats which frees up space in the classrooms.  I was happy to meet the assistant principals as well as the guidance counselors.

Lee Anne took some time to talk about what arts infusion really means and how it is implemented at all levels of the curriculum content.  She suggested that I arrange to come next Wednesday in order to observe class sessions with Eric Johnson, a nationally recognized dance educator.  The sessions will focus on Integrating Math & Dance/Creative Movement.  I am excited to have the opportunity to sit in on a session or two.  During my graduate education courses integrated curriculum was held up as ideal and now I get to see an arts infused curriculum in the real world.

Following a tour of the school, I was able to visit classrooms to observe.  Lee Anne facilitated visits to three classes - 4th grade social studies, 2nd grade, and a 5th grade dance class.  The 4th grade combined analyzing a painting with their study of the Revolutionary War and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  The 2nd graders used dance and movement to express the varying types of wind.  The 5th grade class was in the dance studio working on interpreting works by Matisse and Munsch through dance.  Creativity and expression abounded and I was struck by the students' almost universal participation and engagement in the process.  My head filled with ideas to utilize the library resources to enhance the classroom arts infused curriculum.

The rest of the day included library times for a 3rd grade and a 2nd grade class.  Some of the 2nd grade students I managed to see three times in one day - at the Readers' Theatre, the classroom observation, and in the library.  I have a feeling that I will know these students well by the end of my internship time!  I was able to provide readers' advisory to several students and I enjoyed interacting with them and helping them find books that fit their interests.

Lee Anne shared her insights on using the STAR reader test results to increase students' reading comprehension and the importance of setting individual goals and conferencing with students.  It is my impression that Lee Anne is an essential figure in maintaining the strong culture of reading and literacy at Pine Street School. I wonder if other elementary school media specialists play such a large role in this area?  Reading and literacy are very important to me and I would love to one day be involved in school-wide leadership in these areas.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day One - Exhausting, yet Exhilarating

Despite a few glitches in my own schedule, say locking my keys in my van as I dropped my children off at school, I was excited to begin my time as a school library intern.  Luckily Pine Street School is not far from my school so I was able to arrive at the appointed hour.

When I reported to Pine Street, I was warmly welcomed in the front office and even came across a familiar face or two.  Lee Anne had prepared the staff for my arrival and I was quickly on my way to the media center.  I met the Media Assistant, Veneal, as well as the shelving assistant Haleigh.

Lee Anne and I met to discuss ideas and prepare for the day. Tuesday is a busy day in the Pine Street Media Center with multiple story times, older classes conducting research, and the Tech Know Club meeting after school. 

Each grade level visiting the library involved different lessons and activities.  The Kindergarten class acted out the poem, "The 5 Little Snowmen", heard the book, When Will It Snow?, and checked out books.  Lee Anne has good behavior management strategies, including reminding students to make her their focal point.  The 1st graders took STAR Reader tests on the media center computers and then selected titles for checkout.  Lee Anne introduced me to many of the classes and the students were not shy about asking me to help them find books giving me opportunities to provide readers' advisory.  I enjoyed meeting them and look forward to seeing the same faces over the next 10 weeks.

Robert, the Follett Account Manager for our school district, met with Lee Anne to discuss new offerings and the best ways to use ebooks and Follett Shelf with Pine Street's Destiny catalog.  Expanding the use of ebooks will involve setting up user ids for each teacher and student, but as technology, BYOD and 1:1 programs expand in our district ebooks need to be a part of any library's toolbox.

Lee Anne conferenced with 3rd graders individually regarding the results of their most recent STAR reader tests and advised students on strategies for effective reading and comprehension.  The 3rd graders also checked out books and were able to access educational links from the Library Home Page. If time had allowed, this class was going to continue working on writing raps that they will perform, video and share with 2nd graders.

Throughout the day, the library work room/storage room was utilized by the reading intervention teacher.  She met with about 5 students at a time to work on reading skills.

In the afternoon, several classes of 4th graders stopped in with their teachers for checkout.  The older students seemed to know which books they were looking for and appeared at ease navigating the library.

After school, Lee Anne sponsors The Tech Know Club, a group of 10 4th graders.  The students have been using digital cameras to photograph examples of technology around Pine Street.  On Tuesday, club members selected their top choices of pictures.  Eventually the pictures will go into a video about technology at school.  I can't wait to work with this group again and have been searching out Web 2.0 tools to share.

All in all, it was a busy day and I learned so much.  Lee Anne suggested I develop a display or way to promote the South Carolina Book Award Nominees.  I have read many of the titles and was able to recommend them to some students.  They are going to report back on how they liked the books.  I even picked up some cool tips like using shelf markers to let students know where to re-shelve their books and printing a report of overdue books in advance of a scheduled class.  I am thankful that Lee Anne has been gracious enough to take on an intern and I know that I will enjoy learning and working at Pine Street.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Beginnings

As I begin a new semester at SLIS and enter my final year of graduate school,  it is time to switch hats from research blog to internship diary.  This semester I will take part in the first of two school library internships.  It is my plan to create daily entries to reflect my impressions and experiences as I work alongside an experienced School Library Media Specialist.