Week 5

Currently Reading: Divergent by Veronica Roth

This was the first of three weeks at the Norman High School Library. I had been looking forward to gaining experience at the high school level all semester, and couldn’t wait to get started!

Tuesday, February 19

I really enjoyed my first day at the high school. I think it is my favorite library environment so far! The library is spacious and gets a lot of use. The staff, including the secretary and assistant, are enthusiastic and have friendships with other staff as well as the students who frequent the library. I feel privileged to learn from Calypso Gilstrap, who has been named NHS’s Teacher of the Year. I love the enthusiasm she shows for her job, her students, and for reading! She had a lot of great advice on how to reach out to teachers and connect them to the resources available in the library. She also gave me some tips on connecting students to the right book, and how to invite elective courses to use the library rather than just being a space for core courses. The library has done a lot to promote itself to students this year, and has seen circulation improve because of it. I plan to incorporate some of their ideas, such as a bulletin board in the hallway, in the future.

I have been wanting to learn how to use Interwrite Mobi software for a while now, and finally got the chance to do so! It is harder than it looks, but I’m sure I will get the hang of it eventually. This internship has taught me so much about using technology!

I look forward to spending time with the other librarian who was out today, Martha, and seeing how the two librarians work together. The high school library is less active than elementary and middle school libraries, but I like being able to connect to the students on a different level. I am really excited to be there the next few weeks and learn more about working with this age group!

The NHS Library is a very large space, and is hard to summarize in just a few pictures. There are several elements of the library that I really like, including the book towers displaying new books, and the various posters and displays the librarians use throughout the space.

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Thursday, February 21

SNOW DAY!!! I won’t be gaining more experience at the high school level today, but I did get to experience the joy and excitement of a snow day, just like I did when I was in high school. The feeling never gets old!



Week 4

Currently Reading: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Tuesday, February 12 and Thursday, February 14

This week, I continued to observe Ms. Kordeliski teaching research skills to sixth graders. She showed them a variety of research resources and did a great job of reviewing with them each day what had already been covered. I learned about some new tools to use with students in addition to Sweet Search-one of them is Animodo, which she uses for book trailers, and i-nigma.com that I can use to create my own QR codes. Pretty cool!

I also had the chance to talk to Mrs. Kordeliski about the different programs she does in the library. She does a book club with students called “Word Junkies” which meets every other week. The students are creating book trailers using Animodo technology featuring their favorite books. These trailers will be put on the Norman Public Schools YouTube channel. In addition, Mrs. Kordeliski used Animodo to create a video encouraging students to read different books over Christmas break. She showed the titles of each book and gave a brief synopsis of each. She shared this video with the teen librarian at Norman Public Library so she could use it as well. I thought this was a great way to collaborate with others in the community! Mrs. Kordeliski also mentioned using Glogster to create interactive posters and Edmodo to create a page for the Word Junkies (students post book reviews and “reading wish lists” on the page). She is familiar with many different technologies and does a good job of involving them in library instruction. I love that!

Mrs. Kordeliski does a lot with her Word Junkies group-they have the opportunity to read the advanced copies she picked up at the ALA Midwinter Conference earlier this semester, and got to vote on which author to invite for a Skype visit. I definitely want to actively involve students in similar ways in the future!

Another strength I have seen at Irving Middle School is that the window and book displays are well designed, attract attention, and change frequently (monthly). Mrs. Kordeliski creates themed displays to feature books in the collection or student work. During October she had a writing contest and set up a computer where students could submit their entries online-another great use of technology in the library! This month, she has several books (both picture, chapter, and nonfiction) related to “love” on display, and students are allowed to write the titles of their favorite new books on paper hearts and tape them to the library windows. This is a great way to allow students to be involved in the library, share ideas, and express themselves. Mrs. Kordeliski gets many of her ideas from Twitter, which she uses for professional uses only, she said. Like Stacy Ford at Kennedy Elementary, she encouraged me to “follow” several different library media-related accounts as part of my professional development.


Week 3

Currently Reading: Legend by Marie Lu

Tuesday, February 5

This was my last day at Longfellow Middle School. It was also time for the directional text lesson and origami activity with the seventh grade language arts classes! Four different classes came in, and one of the student teachers led the students through the lesson. I have been able to see a variety of teaching styles by watching the teachers and student teachers at Longfellow. I helped by passing out papers and answering students’ questions. According to plan, the lesson started with an activity which required students to carefully read a list of directions. The directions asked them to do pretty funny things, such as do “ring around the rosy” with three of their classmates. I had to stifle my laughter as I watched four boys singing and dancing together! The activity was entertaining, but also emphasized the importance of following directions correctly. We followed this with the origami activity. First, students were given written directions and asked to fold an origami card using the directions. It was very difficult to make a card correctly using only written directions! Next, we gave them both written and visual directions which provided much better results. We discussed how most people are visual learners, and then one of the teachers gave them directions as she made a card herself. Seeing it done in person makes it even easier to correctly follow directions. Students learned that people learn and understand things in differing ways, and directions can come in many different forms. Plus, they had a cute card to use as a valentine on Thursday!

Thursday, February 7

Today I spent four hours with Amanda Kordeliski, the librarian at Irving Middle School. Irving is on the northeast side of Norman and about 65% of its population receives free or reduced lunch.

It is hard to believe that I have already visited four different locations this semester! At first, I was surprised how similar Irving’s layout and design is to Whittier Middle School. I like the deep blue color scheme and dark wood furniture at this location.

I observed Mrs. Kordeliski teaching research skills to sixth graders. She used physical World Book volumes, World Book online available through the school’s web site, and Wikipedia to teach them to research a topic using reliable sources. She walked them through using the library web site to access World Book online, showed them to use Sweet Search, a search engine designed to return only information from reliable sources, and presented a Wikipedia article with inaccurate information to show the dangers of using open-access web sites as sources in a school assignment. Students were required to find three facts on a topic and cite their sources. This activity is part of a multi-week unit the librarian is doing with sixth grade teachers to introduce students to the research projects they will complete later this semester.

The rest of my morning was spent checking out books to students, getting to know the library aides and volunteers, watching the librarian interact with these individuals, and providing some readers’ advisory to a particularly selective reader. The student is in eighth grade and is eager to read, but does not read enough of a book before deciding to put it down and pick up another one. She visits the library nearly every day and the librarian spends quite a while showing her different books to see if any of them seem interesting to her. The student likes romance, mysteries, and fantasy, so we started there. I learned a lot by seeing how the librarian worked hard to connect this student to the right book (her favorite of her job, she told me). Readers’ advisory still intimidates me, but I think the ability to advise students on what to read comes mostly from reading the book myself. The librarian suggested books she had already read-she was able to describe the plot and themes of each book to the student and to name a few similar books as well. It is obvious that Mrs. Kordeliski is a voracious reader, and she reads a variety of genres. Ultimately, seeing this interaction encouraged me to continue fulfilling my goal of reading several young adult books this semester in order to improve my readers’ advisory skills and taught me to not become frustrated in the process of matching a student to a great book. In the end, the student chose The Diary of Anne Frank. I look forward to seeing what she thinks about the book!

I also love the atmosphere of Irving’s library. It has dark wood and dark hues and is very welcoming. Here are a few pictures:

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I am excited to learn more from Mrs. Kordeliski next week!


Week 2

Currently Reading: Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (I love this series!)

Tuesday, January 29

Today I again spent four hours with Terri Street, the librarian at Longfellow Middle School. This was my first opportunity to spend an extended period of time with middle school students-there is a definite difference in this age group from elementary students! One thing that I noticed in these students is the ability to more clearly express their information needs. Several students approached me and asked for specific books or for books by a specific author.

Not all students can express their desires clearly, though. Readers’ advisory has been the most difficult part of working with middle school students so far. It was easy to help students with specific requests (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, biographies) find books, but I had a hard time assisting the student who wanted a “scary” book or the one who wanted a “dramady” (his words, not mine. It turns out he wanted something similar to the The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian…who knew?). Talking with the students was a great way for me to learn what they are interested in right now and what they think is “cool” or “boring”. I have been reading a lot of young adult literature during my time in graduate school, and these kids gave me several new titles to add to my “to-read” list!

When I arrived at Longfellow today, Mrs. Street was busy administering a test to several students. This was just another reminder to me that flexibility and a willingness to be involved in every aspect of the school is an essential part of being a school librarian!

Something that really stood out to me about Longfellow is their 1-to-1 technology to student ratio. Mrs. Street, together with several other people, applied for a grant which provided funding for one Dell Netbook per every student in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. I know they have since created many maintenance headaches, but I love the idea behind putting a laptop in every student’s hands that they can use at school and at home. Teachers have been able to incorporate the Netbooks into their classroom activities, and students are gaining experience using and caring for a personal laptop-pretty incredible!

Another thing that appeals to me about the library at Longfellow is that it is a multi-use area. An Explo class uses the space for lessons and activities during third hour, which provides the librarian with more opportunities to co-teach, and the after school program takes place in the library after school. I definitely want to create a school library environment like this one, where students and teachers feel comfortable coming in and using the space!

To give you a better idea of the arrangement of Longfellow’s library, I have included some pictures of the teaching and reading areas, as well as the computer workstations, and periodicals section (below).

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Thursday, January 31

Today I spent eight more hours at Longfellow Middle School. The day started off with more testing, but soon I had the opportunity to provide readers’ advisory for students in seventh grade language arts classes (one teacher brought in students from each of her four classes today). For the most part, students were actively involved in finding a book and didn’t need much encouragement or guidance in finding something they were interested in. I think a large part of this interest comes from the teacher requiring leisure reading in her classroom. Middle school students read less than elementary students overall, but requiring leisure reading in the classroom encourages students to continue visiting the library without forcing them to read any one book in particular.

The most exciting part of my day was preparing for and participating in a planning time with the seventh grade language arts teachers (there are two at Longfellow, along with two student interns from OU’s education department). Mrs. Street and I met with the teachers and interns in the library during the teachers’ planning time to discuss plans for a lesson to take place in each seventh grade language arts class next Tuesday. Seventh grade has been doing a unit on different types of information, including informational texts, consumer information, historical and biographical information, and now directional texts.

Mrs. Street was asked to co-teach the lesson on directional texts. She thought using some how-to books on origami or pop-ups would be a fun way to teach the students how to write and respond to directions. I pulled several books about origami, paper folding, and creating pop-ups from the shelves and marked different activities which were simple and required few materials, since these would be easiest to incorporate into the lesson. I presented a variety of activity ideas to the teachers during the co-planning session, from which they selected an origami card activity that could also be tied into Valentine’s Day. We discussed what we wanted students to take away from the lesson (the objectives-which were to have students be able to follow visual, verbal, and written directions as well as direct another student verbally and through writing), and how we wanted to the lesson to work. Mrs. Street contributed several ideas to the session, and it is obvious that the cooperation between teachers and librarian have come from several years of communicating and building trust. I am excited to have the opportunity to see this lesson develop from beginning to end, as I will be at Longfellow again on Tuesday when they plan to teach it!