Currently Reading: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Tuesday, January 22
Today I spent four hours in the library at Madison Elementary. Madison’s students come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Many are the children of students at the university, so there are many who are from other countries. According to the librarian, Christi Hefner, 72 percent of students receive free or reduced lunches and the library serves 420 students total. Ms. Hefner gave me a lot of great advice and ideas to use in the future. I had the opportunity to observe a co-planning time between Ms. Hefner and the fifth grade teachers. This time, which occurs every Tuesday morning, included a discussion of each teacher’s planned lessons for the week. Ms. Hefner provided the teachers with materials they could use during their lessons. It was a casual and cooperative atmosphere and I enjoyed being a part of it.
The rest of the morning was spent in conversation with Ms. Hefner about the Common Core Standards and the changes she has made to her library lessons and activities in response to the new standards. She also showed me her system for gauging student understanding of the concepts taught (using a scale from 1 to 4) and her method for displaying and explaining to students the objective of each lesson or activity. This was very helpful for deepening my understanding of the new standards’ requirements and gave me ideas for how to meet them. I left the conversation feeling more confident in my ability to create lessons and activities to help students meet the objectives set forth by the standards. She emphasized the importance of sharing ideas with other school librarians and staying organized, two things which I will definitely incorporate into my work in the future.
Madison’s library is quite large, so I took several pictures of it (below). Pictured are the computers used to look up items in the library catalog, the Indian Education area, one teaching area (also used for Literary Lunch), another teaching area (used for the younger grades and for story times), and two pictures of the Nonfiction section and reading areas.
Wednesday, January 23
Today I spent four hours working with Buffy Edwards at the Instructional Services Center. We spent the first part of the morning adding new students at each school into the list of students with Internet access. I had no idea how much maintenance this system required! It is definitely an issue of access: if students are not added into the system, they cannot access the Internet in the library or in the classroom. Information access is something that has been discussed frequently in my graduate courses, so it was good to see it applied in this setting.
The next task we tackled was changing the sounds for the circulation program (SirsiDynix Symphony Workflows) each librarian uses for checking books in and out for students, viewing holds, etc. I created a tutorial for the librarians to use to change the sounds (see Changing Sounds in Symphony). Often an administrator’s job is to accommodate others’ needs so that each librarian can do their job with more accuracy and efficiency. It is work that is performed behind the scenes, but it ultimately has a large effect on how work is performed at multiple sites throughout the district.
Dr. Edwards also showed me how to use clicker software (CPS Student Response Systems) in conjunction with Microsoft PowerPoint. Using these two tools together will enable me to create a presentation for use during a library lesson, and assess students’ understanding at the end using the clickers. I am excited to learn more tools like these that I can use when working with students!
It was a great first week and I am looking forward to the rest of the semester.