Week 10

Currently Reading: Revenant by Sonia Gensler

Tuesday, April 2

Today I returned to the Instructional Services Center (ISC) to work with Dr. Edwards. I spent most of the morning covering new books with Mylar. New books, which come to school libraries in the district unprepared for the shelves, are sent to the ISC so that the staff there can put the spine labels on them and enter them into the cataloging system. I had never used Mylar covers before, so it was a great learning experience and I feel much more comfortable preparing books for the shelves from start to finish. I enjoyed seeing the process from beginning to end-a lot more goes on behind the scenes than I thought!

I felt even more prepared for the process from beginning to end after working on a cataloging project with Dr. Edwards. She received a box of materials from Norman school district’s Professional Development Center that had been cataloged as a kit, but was very disorganized and had both missing and additional materials (like I said, it was confusing). Together, we figured out which materials should be included and excluded from the kit, and how it should all be cataloged. I got to enter the information into the record using the MARC Magician program (Dr. Edwards mentioned that eZcat could also be used), and it was exciting to see the final product! I have done some record creation and editing in my cataloging course, but this was something that will actually be used by librarians in the school district. I loved getting to apply what I’ve been learning in my class in a real-world setting!

Thursday and Friday, April 4 and 5

Dr. Edwards and Dr. Koh agreed that attending the Oklahoma Library Association (OLA) conference yesterday and today should count as part of my internship hours, so I have included my experiences at the conference here. On Thursday, I attended four sessions-the Sequoyah Intermediate Masterlist, Common Core and what it means for school libraries, From School to College (on how to prepare high school students for college), and the Oklahoma Authors Showcase. 

It was good to hear the rationale the Sequoyah team used when selecting books for the MasterList. I’m happy to report that I have already read half of the books on the list (The Revenant being one of them). The session on incorporating Common Core State Standards (CCSS) into the school library was the best session of the day because I learned about a lot of great free, online resources I could use for exercises involving short informational texts at both the elementary and secondary level (ProCon.org, ReadWorks.org, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives). The speaker, Tara Hixon, was really encouraging and made me feel a lot less overwhelmed by the transition to CCSS. I am excited about the new standards for a few different reasons for many many reasons, but one of them is that it has and will continue to create opportunities for school librarians to be a resource to their teachers. By doing so, they are showing teachers the value that the library and the profession has in the school. I think I am going into the profession at a good time-I am prepared for and open to the new changes that are taking place, rather than already being stuck in a particular mindset. I am excited to work alongside teachers as the new standards are integrated into schools!

The next session was also related to Common Core. We split into small groups and talked about which skills high school students are currently lacking that they will be expected by the new standards to develop. Some of these are analysis, evaluation, creating original research questions, and synthesizing information from multiple sources and multiple formats. It was a little strange to be in this discussion because the skills most high schoolers currently lack overlap in some ways with the ones that I lacked as a college freshman. Many of the things that the presenters stated about current college students’ information seeking behaviors apply to my peers because I am still in the college age range. The age group that I am currently in is honestly made up of a bunch of lazy information seekers, so it was interesting to talk through solutions to this problem with a group of older adults and hear their approaches to solving this issue (short lectures available online and accessible by cell phone, teaching research skills in ‘chunks” so that students do not become overwhelmed, and increasing the number of short written research assignments rather than one long research paper during senior year). 

The Oklahoma Authors Showcase featured three Oklahoma authors-Tammi Sauer, Gwendolyn Hooks, and Molly Griffis. The highlight of this session was meeting Ms. Hooks after the session and asking her about the possibility of a Skype author visit next year when I am in Thailand. I thought she might be interested because she does bilingual book readings, has had her books published in multiple languages, and is currently working with a publisher in Seoul, South Korea on a new book. An international cultural experience sounds like something she would like, and she seemed excited about the idea! I truly do think that the best part of conferences is making connections with other professionals, just like that.



Week 9

Currently reading: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Tuesday, March 26

This was my third day at Madison Elementary. I can’t believe how fast this semester has gone by! Today we did a “seeds and trees” activity with PreK students, as part of a unit they have been doing. To begin the lesson, Ms. Hefner read them a nonfiction book about pine trees, oak trees, acorns, and pine cones. Then she introduced the activity, which involved organizing information graphically. I loved that she told the students that they were going to be “scientists” and “organize the information” they gathered about the trees and seeds. She always introduces new vocabulary to students during her lessons, and never acts as if a word is too long or too complex for them to understand. I love that! Students were given a large piece of construction paper which had been divided into three sections, and were asked to place images of oak and pine trees, the words “acorn” and “pinecone” and seed”, and images of acorns and seeds into categories. This was a great way to introduce the students to the concept of categorizing and organizing information. An especially fun aspect of the activity is that each student was also given an actual pine cone (gathered from my grandparents’ farm in northern Louisiana), a real acorn, and a real apple seed that they could take home. They loved feeling and studying these things, and that tactile experience is a great teaching tool. It is one thing to tell a child what something is, or to describe it, but to give him or her the opportunity to experience it for themselves is so much better. I loved working with the younger children on this activity, and thought they did a great job of categorizing the trees and seeds! If you’re curious, I have a funny quote from today: When asked what kind of tree was in the image, a little girl answered “a popcorn tree?!”…don’t you just wish!

I spent the rest of the morning working on a project for Ms. Hefner in preparation for the genre read-around that is taking place Thursday. The event will be  a good reminder for the students of the definition of “genre” and what aspects of a book identify it as a particular genre. In order to prepare, I made lists of each genre’s defining characteristics and pasted each list on a piece of green paper. Then…I laminated them! This was my first time to use a laminator. I know it probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it made me feel a bit more like a teacher. Ms. Hefner will make flip charts for the third through fifth grade teachers so that they will have a resource to turn to when reviewing genres with their students.

Thursday, March 28

Today was my last day at Madison, and was filled with more projects in preparation of things Ms. Hefner is doing with classes. The first project had to do with genres, just like Tuesday’s project. I gathered 25 books from each genre from the fiction collection so that Ms. Hefner can use them during an activity next week. Next, I photocopied reviews from Student Library Journal and Booklist. She will use these to teach third graders how to write their own book reviews. I love that she is always introducing students to these kinds of things! Then, I pulled books from the nonfiction collection about Oklahoma (history, famous Oklahomans, the OKC bombing, animals, etc.). These activities helped me to learn more about the collection, which was good. Near the end of the day, I was able to watch Ms. Hefner do a story time with a biography on Jim Thorpe. I haven’t seen a librarian do a nonfiction story time with a nonfiction book before, and I learned something from her technique-she reads the next page while turning it so that the story flows easily from spread to spread. Brilliant! I plan to practice doing it the same way she does.

Next week I will be working at the Instructional Services Center with Buffy, and going to the Oklahoma Library Association conference in Ardmore.


Week 8

Currently Reading: Crossed by Ally Condie

Tuesday, March 12

Today I returned to Madison Elementary. I was excited to be part of the Read-Around which Ms. Hefner put together for second graders. Students heard book talks about ten different biographies from ten different adults (teachers, school staff, administrators, and myself) as part of their biography unit. I did a 3-minute book talk on Boss of the Plains: The Hat that Won the West by Laurie Winn Carlson, which is a biography about John Stetson. I really enjoyed doing the book talks, and felt more and more comfortable with each group (we split up the students in order to make the groups small). I was able to incorporate some classroom management skills as I made sure they were listening and paying attention to me, and practiced keeping their attention by leaning in, making eye contact, asking questions, and using different voices. I’m not sure John Stetson was the most popular biography today, but the read-around was a fun activity and I was happy to be a part of it!

Later this morning, I observed Ms. Hefner doing a story time with preschool students. They were all so adorable and I loved the activity they did following the story-Ms. Hefner had them build a pizza on the chalkboard and create a diagram by labeling the various parts. I love that Ms. Hefner uses these times to expand kids’ vocabularies, especially before they start kindergarten!

Something else I’ve realized about working in an elementary school is that activities involve more preparation as far as cutting things out, gathering paper, etc. To prepare for a sorting activity Ms. Hefner is doing later this week as part of a trees and seeds unit, I cut out pictures of trees and seeds and created tables for students to paste the pictures into. Ms. Hefner always has something to cut out, glue, and create in order to prepare for a lesson!

I was excited to hear that Ms. Hefner was doing “Literary Lunch” today with third graders. Students can bring in their lunch and listen as she reads a novel (right now it is Freaky Fast Frankie Joe). She reads a bit each day for a couple of weeks, until she finishes the novel. Students are not required to turn in a reflection or do an assignment-it is purely a fun activity! Of course, it is a great way to increase these students’ fluency as well. I would love to do my own “literary lunches” in the future!

Thursday, March 14

I worked with Buffy Edwards again today, and had the opportunity to visit multiple sites with her. We started our day at the Instructional Services Center, where we talked about the barcodes the school district uses for each of its schools, and how the district works with publishers and each librarian to purchase books and materials such as spine labels, Mylar covers, etc.

Next we visited Wilson Elementary. The librarian, who I recognized from one of my classes, is in her first year. Buffy thought it would be a good idea to hear from a brand-new librarian how to adjust to a new school and library program. The librarian has made a lot of positive changes to the library at Wilson Elementary, including rearranging furniture to improve the look, feel, and function of the space, weeding and updating the collection, and changing some of the operations of the library in order to make it a warmer and more welcoming place for students (this involved increasing the number of books students could check out, etc.) She shared many ideas with me-her rationale for making changes to the current checkout policies, how she handles overdue and lost books, etc. One idea I really like: having students bring a bead with them to the library from their classroom and dropping it in a fishbowl when they enter the library. This tells the librarian “I have permission to be here right now” and helps the students feel empowered to move around the library and look for books as they please.

I also had the opportunity to visit Dimensions, which is the alternative high school in Norman. Buffy is the librarian there, and was excited to unveil the newly arrived Google Chrome books to the students. The kids were so excited and loved looking at their email from the Chrome books, checking out the apps, and setting their personal profile preferences. I hope to be able to return to Dimensions later this semester in order to see how Buffy does instruction with the students there. It is a small and close-knit community, and I can tell that the teachers are really passionate about these kids!

Next week is Spring Break, but I will back at Madison the week after the break.


Week 7

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!


Week 6

Currently Reading: Insurgent by Veronica Roth (what can I say…I am obsessed!)

This was my second week at Norman High School. It is definitely my favorite setting so far! It is very different from being in an elementary school or even in a middle school. The high school library is more laid back than at other levels, and although fewer students use the library to check out books, many more students come in to use the computers or other technology such as Nooks or to work on multimedia projects for a class. There is more one-on-one interaction between the librarian and student, which I like. There are fewer opportunities to co-teach than I expected, but many opportunities to provide teachers with ideas and resources for their lessons. I like the laid-back atmosphere and enjoy providing readers’ advisory to the students. Because of their age, there is a greater range of materials they can read and enjoy and I feel less restricted in recommending books to them. I can see that all members of the library staff have built friendships with the students. Cultivating friendships with students is particularly effective at the high school level for impacting students’ lives-I would love to impact my future students the way the library staff at NHS does!

Tuesday, February 26

Today I observed Martha and Calypso co-teach a class in the computer lab with a history teacher, Mr. Widener. The class used Google Presentation to create a newspaper consisting of biographical articles on historical figures. The students were required to include a primary and secondary source, testing their knowledge of different types of information sources, and to write a  “letter to the editor” pointing out high and low points of one or more of the articles (incorporating writing, responding, and summarization into the lesson). I enjoyed seeing how the two librarians co-taught together and alongside the teacher. Calypso provided instructions and Martha operated the Google Presentation, and both helped students one-on-one around the room. I liked the assignment because it included a range of information skills, and it was good to see how the librarians interacted with each student.

Thursday, February 28

Today the library assistant, Kayla, and I worked together to process books recently received in the library’s annual book order. Processing the books only involved stamping them, but when we process the Sequoyah MasterList books next week it will be a longer process. I saw a lot of books on the carts that I want to read, and this activity was useful for seeing which books students are interested in and hearing the librarians’ rationale for selecting specific books.

I am looking forward to another week at NHS!


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!


Week 1

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.

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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.