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.


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





Story Times with Circle Maps

The Common Core State Standards make a point to infuse non-fiction into the curriculum.  Circle maps have been one way that I have tried to build on student learning in the area of non-fiction in our school’s media center this year.  For story time, we talked about what we already knew about “chickens.”  This information was included in a circle map and written in blue (see photo).  Then we read a fiction story, Chicken Big by Keith Graves, and a non-fiction book about chickens.  After reading, we recorded the new information that we had gained from our books on the circle map using a different color marker (red).  As a follow-up activity with some of my first grade students, they wrote about chickens and published their work at Pen.ioImage.