Tuesday, March 5 – Thursday, March 7
Currently reading: Matched by Ally Condie
This was my third and final week at the Norman High School Library. It will be hard to leave this setting because I have enjoyed it so much. A large portion of my time at NHS this week was spent helping the library assistant process new books. We stamped them and prepared the spine labels for the shelves. The work was a bit monotonous but helped me to better understand how the librarians organize books into the different areas of the collection (graphic novels, biographies, nonfiction, etc.). I also helped shelve books, which further increased my understanding of the organization of the collection. I enjoyed reading the titles of the newly arrived books and added several to my reading list!
I returned to Mr. Widener’s class with Martha to do another Google Presentation project with 12th grade students. The students were self-motivated and did not need a lot of assistance or guidance during the class period, apart from help with the set of laptops we brought to the classroom to the library. It is so interesting to see the change that takes place in students from ninth to twelfth grade. The content is mostly the same, but the approach is very different!
An important aspect of a school librarian’s job that I had not given a lot of thought to before this week is providing professional development. Many groups of teachers met during a three-day period this week for intelligent classroom training. The librarians and a district staff member led the professional development times, which were designed to help teachers discover more ways to incorporate technology into their classrooms. I was able to attend the planning meeting for these sessions last week, and then saw them played out this week! Many teachers do not use technology in their classrooms beyond the smartboard, projector, and document camera. Others use many free online applications and have a lot of great ideas about how to incorporate technology. It was good to see teachers sharing and creating ideas together, and many surprised me by being willing to learn new things. Several had specific things they wanted to learn-for example, one wanted to know how to use Pinterest and another wanted to learn more about Google tools. I came away with a lot of new ideas as well! The development times were some of my favorite parts of this week because I learned a lot and got to see teachers, rather than students, working together in a new way.
Another important concept in school libraries is digital citizenship. This was mentioned multiple times this week in interactions between the school library staff and the students. Martha spoke with an English class, who used the library’s set of iPads to take pictures of themselves instead of to conduct research as they were instructed to do, about the importance of taking care of and responsibly using technology that is not their personal property. This concept can be extended to plagiarism, illegal downloading, etc.-things students make decisions about in and out of school on a daily basis.
I had the opportunity to work alongside Calypso to plan a lesson for the special education class, and was able to attend a reading time with the library secretary in the special education classroom as well. It was neat to be able to spend some time interacting with the students, and I learned how to adjust lesson plans based on the students’ needs. From the planning session I learned the steps the librarians go through as they plan lessons (both formally and informally). Informal planning usually takes place in the form of a casual conversation in the classroom or teacher break room, while formal planning involves the use of a planning guide and is a sit-down, give-and-take conversation. Calypso and Martha do more informal planning than formal planning. Calypso said that she usually finds out which teachers are in the computer labs each week and then stops by their classroom or chats with them in the break room to see what materials they are using or could use. She always suggests ideas of materials to use or routes to take, and uses it as a time to tell teachers about resources the library offers. I like that she does it in a way that is convenient for teachers and also advocates for the role of the library in the classrooms. The librarians told me collaboration is less common at the high school level than at the middle school or elementary levels, and making themselves relevant in this way has been the most successful approach they have found for increasing collaboration. I am thankful for this insight and glad that I could see them do this firsthand!
I will be back at the Instructional Services Center and Madison Elementary next week. This semester is going by so fast!