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