Reflecting on Stations for Orientation

Planning for the station method of orientation for grades 3 through 5 took quite a bit of time, but for the most part I think the students enjoyed being able to move around to learn about the media center.  The planning was worth it!  Before starting the orientation, I had planned about 14 different stations, which was way too many for the students to visit during our short 35 minute time period.  Sadly, some of the stations had to be cut out of the orientation experience (the Lego Wall will have to be visited another day and time, which was a disappointment for some).  At first the movement from one station to another was chaotic, but by the very last orientation class we had the transitions down pat.

The stations that remained throughout the entire orientation process were 1. a video about Borrowing and Checking Out Books from the Media Center, 2. a video about Areas of the Media Center, 3. a video about Safari (our OPAC),, and Overdrive, 4. a library card decoration station, 5. an online survey about wants and needs in the media center, and 6. checking out books in the media center.  We had an optional bookmark decoration station with a basketball theme, which was phased out through the course of the orientations.  If the students were making really good choices and following media center expectations (Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Safe), then I pulled out the iPad for the students to take a photo with the book they checked out in front of the READ backdrop for the “Photo Booth” station.  The kids really loved the photo booth!

Before beginning the station rotation, I randomly numbered off the students for groupings.  This worked well in most instances.  If I had to do this all over again, I would try to make the videos about the same length.  One of the videos was about 4 minutes long and that was almost too much; it didn’t hold the attention of the students.

As a result of the rotations, I have had a few students go to the computers to search for books independently, which is not something that has happened this early in the school year in years past.  If a student asks about where certain books are, I can pull up the Safari video and after watching they are ready to attempt searching for books on the computer and will only need a little bit of guidance to find what they desire.  I do not mind showing students where certain books are, but I want them to feel like they can find materials independently in our media center and in a public library setting.


Media Center Orientation

This school year I am trying something different for orientation.  In the past, I have made a video to show to the entire class at one time and then allowed the students to check out their library books afterward.  Last year, I showed the video and then had students visit stations (our Lego Wall, observing our media center frogs, and decorating their library cards).  At the end of last school year, I watched a webinar about using stations in the media center and I was truly inspired.

During media center orientation this year for my older students (Grades 2-5), I will have several computer and iPad stations set up for students to visit to learn more (or share more) about the media center.  One station will be a survey for the children to share about the types of books that we need in the media center.  Other stations will share resources and procedures for the library media center.  Two of the stations will be decoration stations, one for library cards (like last year) and another to decorate paper basketballs to prepare for an upcoming author visit from a local university’s basketball coach.

Here are links to the videos that I have created to use during this year’s station orientation:

Knight TV Information

Basketball Decoration

Lego Wall

Safari, Lexile, and Overdrive

Borrowing and Checking Out Books

Areas of the Media Center

Data Collection in the Media Center

Last school year my wonderful media assistant, Mrs. Thomason, and I started to collect data on the number of individual students who visit The Merry Media Center each day.  Our data collection strategy was not fancy by any stretch of the imagination.  We used an inexpensive composition notebook and marked a tally on that day’s page for each student who visited the space.  At the end of the day we would add up the number of students from the data we had gathered from the tally marks in the composition book.

This year we are going to have a cute notebook to help us remember to tally our students and a patron count sticker on each page to make sure we are counting the same information every day.

Each day we will tally the number of students who visit The Merry Media Center for individual check outs.

Each day we will tally the number of students who visit The Merry Media Center for individual check outs.


The daily count sticker will help us to keep track of the day to day service we offer our patrons.

The daily count sticker will help us to keep track of the day to day service we offer our patrons.













Something new that we are going to try this school year is that our students who come for individual check outs will sign in as soon as they arrive.  We will feature the sign-in book in our orientation video, but it is different and new.  At first this new procedure is going to be a challenge for students to remember, but with practice it will become a routine.  Our sign-in book will help us identify the patrons that are visiting the area and will give the media center staff a way to cross check the number of students who have visited each day.

Media Center Sign-In Book





Jumpstart the School Year!

Let’s get excited about starting a new school year!  Even though this will be my 8th year as a library media specialist, I am thrilled about seeing my students and getting them excited about reading!  It is always nice to have a plan and to have a list of things to do to jumpstart the school year.  I was extremely lucky my first year of being a media specialist because I had Cindy Thompson and Miriam Barge (from Clayton County, Georgia) as my media coordinators.  These two ladies knew how to plan and helped all of the new media specialists to be successful!  Luckily, I kept some of the wonderful planning information that they passed on to me and the other media specialists.

Here are a few of the items that Cindy and Miriam suggested that new media specialists do during the first month of school:

1.  Meet and greet the principal, assistant principal, bookkeeper, secretaries, and custodial staff.

2.  Set up your circulation calendar for the year (in Surpass, Destiny, Alexandria, etc.).

3.  Get student and teacher library cards printed from your circulation system.

4.  Provide laminating services for teachers.

5.  Check the supply of bulletin board paper.  Find out who supplies and orders bulletin board paper for the school.

6.  Issue any equipment that teachers have requested (document cameras, etc.).

7.  Create your teacher sign-up calendar for media center lessons.  If you want students to sign-in, then create a student sign-in calendar.

8.  Take a look at your Media Center Handbook and/or procedures to see what may need updating.  Make a note of possible changes, so that the media committee can approve these.

9.  If necessary, update student information in your circulation system, Accelerated Reader, and STAR reading.

10.  Plan a New Teacher Orientation to meet with new teachers and show them around the media center.

11.  Start scheduling the student orientation sessions.  Think through the most important information that students need to know about the library media center and plan to present it in a creative way (I like to create a video with students as the stars).

12.  Present Copyright information to teachers.

13.  Update the school website with upcoming dates, change the staff directory, and add new photos for a fresh feel.

14.  Organize the school’s Media Committee- set dates for meetings and set goals for the group.

15.  Plan ways to hook your students on reading– book talks, displays, etc.

A Merry March for the Merry Media Center


Shelf SignsThis month we have shared The Secret of the Silver Key, a Fribble Mouse book, with 2 of our third grade classes. Through this book our students have learned about using reference books and online resources to find information.

Our school book fair is currently in full swing!  We have had a large number of parent volunteers, which has made all the difference!  Our volunteers are greatly appreciated!

New Shelf Labels

Right before the book fair started, we began the task of relabeling our shelves in the non-fiction and reference sections.  The Fiction section is almost complete and our next area to label will be the Easy section.  Our goal is to make it easier to find all of the books in the media center.

Another March activity that we have hosted in the media center has been a Skype project between a first grade class at our school in Georgia and a first grade class in Canada.  Students in both classes are reading the same book and are ready to discuss the events of the book!  We have enjoyed getting to know our Canadian friends in Ms.  Gaudet’s first grade class.

The month of March has been great!  It will be fun to see what April brings!