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

Teaching Genre to Kindergarten Students

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Kump’s kindergarten class to talk with them about genre.  The students came with a great deal of prior knowledge about fiction and non-fiction books, so we hoped to expand their understandings of genres through this collaborative lesson.

Before the lesson I talked with Mrs. Kump about her expectations for the learning outcome and gathered several books from the non-fiction, fiction, fairy tale, biography, and poetry genres.  I tried to gather a variety that would be interesting to the students.

To capture the attention of my young students, I started the lesson with the video from the Wonderopolis site for What Is A Genre?.  This video does not give information, but does have a visually captivating animation of books moving throughout a bookstore.  My hope was that students would remember the animation and automatically think of books when they hear the word genre.

Of course, we started the lesson by reviewing the meanings of fiction and non-fiction.   As we explored the books and learned about a genre, the students had the opportunity to fill in a graphic organizer by drawing a picture to represent the genre.

Genre Map

Fiction- The students could draw an animal wearing clothes or talking; anything that absolutely couldn’t happen.

Non-Fiction- Some of the children drew the moon and stars; others sketched animals.  The students were reminded that non-fiction books give information.

Fairy Tale- After looking at the fairy tale books, most students drew a picture of a crown or of a magic wand to show the fairy tale connection between royalty and magic.

Biography- Students did their best to sketch a famous person.  I showed them books about Abraham Lincoln, Mary Cassatt, Thomas Edison, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Poetry- For poetry, students drew a book with a few words.  The students were not very familiar with poetry, so I read a few poems to the students (some about sports, others about sea creatures, and some about school).  I tried to explain that poems sometimes rhyme, but not always.  Also, that poems don’t usually look the same as a story book.

In the end I had students think about the different genres and each child selected their favorite type of genre to write in the final square of the genre map.  During story times in the future, I plan to revisit the genres as they naturally arise through our book choices.

The most difficult genre for me to describe at a level that kindergarten students could understand was Poetry.  If you have any suggestions, I would love to read about them!

Thanks for reading!

Collaboration with Common Core State Standards

During a recent #Tlelem chat, I mentioned to the other teacher librarians that I planned to provide lists of possible topics for collaboration to the teachers that I work with at HES.  Last year, I had gone through my Crosswalk of the Common Core and AASL Standards and had highlighted topics that were most relevant to my practice, as an elementary school library media specialist.  This document was extremely useful to me, but later realized that I needed to take this a step farther and share with my colleagues.

This year it is important to me to let teachers know that I am willing to collaborate with them.  By giving teachers possible topics for collaboration up front, I would like to forge an open line of communication and show that I am willing to work with them to help the students achieve mastery of the Common Core State Standards.  Each grade level will receive a list of suggested topics for media center collaboration with the Common Core standard listed.  My hope is that these documents will open additional avenues for working with my colleagues and increasing student success!

Kindergarten Common Core

1st Grade Common Core

2nd Grade Common Core

3rd Grade Common Core

4th Grade Common Core

5th Grade Common Core

Tree Map of Media Center Resources

Mrs. Carter’s 3rd grade class recently visited the media center to do our Fribble Mouse book study of The Secret of the Silver Key.  Students created their own tree maps of media center resources, the dictionary, encyclopedia, library catalog, non-fiction books, and newspapers, as we read about them in the story.  The students had wonderful ideas on their tree maps that I felt other students would benefit from seeing and reading.  Hopefully, the Media Center Resources tree map will help other students have a greater awareness of what our library media center has to offer


Planning for Informational Writing with 5th Grade

Informational Writing 5th Grade  (a slideshow presentation)

Fifth grade teachers and students are beginning to focus on informational writing.  One of our fantastic 5th grade teachers, Ms. Lockett, collaborated with me to teach a lesson about planning and creating notecards for informational writing.  Before the lesson, the students selected a non-fiction book on their Accelerated Reader level and started reading.  During the lesson, we reviewed the powerpoint together, started writing a plan, practiced adding details from the book to notecards, and cited the non-fiction book on their selected topic.

As a follow-up, the students will meet in small groups with their teacher to gauge the progress that they are making in preparation for informational writing.  I am so excited to read the informational pieces that they write!