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


ISTE 2014 Reflections and Plans

ISTE 2014 in Atlanta was over the weekend and if I had to describe it in one word, it would be Overwhelming.  Yes, with a capital O.  When I first arrived, a line for the first set of Ignite sessions wrapped around the Georgia World Congress Center.  There were people everywhere!  So many people that I did not even get to attend the Ignite session, but things got better.  They had televisions set up around the conference center, where the sessions were being broadcast live.

Later, there were some networking events for various groups (Librarians Network, Young Educators Network, etc.), which was fantastic because I had the opportunity to meet with some of the people that I have interacted with on Twitter, but have never met in real life.  Meeting my Twitter friends was definitely a highlight of the entire conference for me!  Some of the people that I met at the networking session were Sherry Gick, Jennifer LaGarde, Donna McDonald, Okle Miller, Andy Plemmons and Tiffany Whitehead.

The SIGLIB Playground was a great place to learn on Saturday morning.  Andy Plemmons shared how he uses Google Hangouts to connect his students with others around the country.  Sherry Gick and Matthew Winner shared their Earth Pals project and how they have sponsored Genius Hour activities in their library media centers.  There were several other presenters that I would have loved to hear, but time just did not allow (Linda Dougherty, Donna McDonald, Jenn Brower, and Tiffany Whitehead).

The poster sessions were unique.  It was fun to wander from table to table to hear about the fun ways that technology is being integrated in schools internationally.  QR codes were everywhere for participants to scan and learn more about the topic being shared.  One of my favorite poster sessions was by Pascale Gendron, who presented about a collaboration between a language teacher and a science teacher  in which the students created videos to share their learning.  Another cool poster session was by Heather Miller, who shared music videos that her students had made to tell about concepts they had learned in their history class.  The poster session was titled, “Gleek out to U.S. History by Making Rock Opera.”  The video presentations in both of the poster sessions were amazing!  You could tell that the students wanted to create the best possible video for both of these projects.  Several of the poster sessions had student presenters, who were beyond excited to share their creations with teachers.  One young student (probably a 2nd grader) approached me to show his technology “How-to” videos that he had created and produced using iMovie.  His confidence and pride in his work was inspiring!  The teachers that brought the students for Discover Cedros Tech Tips should be commended for the positive impact they are making on the lives of their students!

Some of the lecture-style sessions that I attended were by Rushton Hurley, Dr. Robert Dillon, and Dr. Warren Goetzel.  Hurley and Dillon’s presentations both dealt with student-produced videos.  Each offered an interesting and engaging perspective of getting students involved and sharing their stories in an engaging way.  Dr. Goetzel presented ideas about grant possibilities for schools and school libraries, as well as giving tips on how to write a successful grant application.  The tips given by Dr. Goetzel have definitely inspired me to pursue a myriad of grant possibilities for our school’s library media center.

The exhibition hall was huge and I visited for a little while each day, but still did not see all of the booths.  I could go on for hours about the expo.

Having lunch with some of the friends that I have met on Twitter and Skype, but had never met in person until ISTE was a highlight of my trip, too!  Getting to talk face to face with Kathy Schmidt and Shawn Hinger over lunch was so much fun!  It is not often that media specialists have time to sit and share with others within this profession.  Collaboration with teachers and book fairs were just a couple of the topics that we discussed during our visit.  The construction workers that joined us just added to our experience!

During the Genius Hour panel, Vicki Davis challenged the attendees to think of three things that you want to do differently next school year as a result of what you have learned at ISTE 2014.

Here are the three things that I want to do next year as a result of what I have learned:

  1. Encourage my students to share their own personal stories (possibly through a project like the one defining moment video that Dr. Robert Dillon shared).  Dr. Dillon shared that students need to gain understanding from their peers through the stories that they write and share, which can also promote empathy.  Fostering empathy, giving students choice, and allowing students to have pride in their work is something that I think can be accomplished through promoting student video production within our school’s library media center.
  2. Pursue grants often to continue to improve and develop our media collection.  Create a reading program that can be used for grant applications and make sure that the program can be clearly understood by a variety of audiences.
  3. Use a variety of ways to present the positive story of learning that is occurring within my school to a wide audience.  The library forum on Marketing Your School Library gave me several new ideas to promote media resources to students, show parents that the media center is a real place for learning, and to spread a positive view of our school to outside stakeholders.  My first steps will be to develop a Youtube account for student-produced videos and as a place to showcase the learning within our school and to create a Twitter account to share photos of teaching and learning.



A Fun First Semester!


Students built catapults to make their cotton ball pigs fly!

Students built catapults to make their cotton ball pigs fly!

Our first semester in The Merry Media Center has been really fun! Here are a few of the exciting things we have worked on during the first part of our school year:

  • We celebrated Dot Day with 6 other schools across the United States and with 1 school in Canada.  The older students spread some joy and a few dots by creating bookmarks for our Skype friends.  Yes, there was paint in the library and it was thrilling!
  • We have started reading the Georgia Picture Storybook Award nominees, so our students will be able to vote for their favorites next month.
  • One focus of my school is on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), so I decided that we would have a few STEM activities in the Media Center.  Our STEM activities were always paired with one of the Georgia Picture Storybook nominees.  The two projects that we have completed included building A Circus Ship (to go with Van Dusen’s Circus Ship) and making a catapult to make Pigs Fly (for Jonathan Emmett’s The Princess and the Pig)!
  • The fifth grade teachers and I have partnered to share some of the Georgia Book Award titles with small groups during Guided Reading time.  Students work with me to read some of the more difficult texts that are on this book list and have the opportunity to use Nook e-readers, too.  During this group time, we have hosted two mini Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl buzzer sessions.
  • The fifth grade teachers, our guidance counselor, and I have collaborated to work with students on researching information about their chosen career.  We will continue to guide students through the note-taking and research process in the second semester.
  • We held a wonderful Scholastic book fair during the month of October and made record sales.  It will be so much fun to order new books with the funds we earned during this book fair!
  • We have hosted two local guest readers, Mrs. Debra Moore and Mrs. Donna Terrell.  Our students really enjoyed listening to them!
  • A guest author, Mrs. Kay Strickland Heath, came to visit our school.  She was fabulous!  Her stories are very interesting and her frog friend was a delight!  The children were delighted to find out how Mrs. Heath became an author!
  • Our students have shared some of the titles that they want us to order by writing their wishes on a poster in The Merry Media Center.
  • During media committee meetings, teachers have browsed the shelves to search for books on topics they are currently teaching. We are making a list of items each month that we need to add to our collection, which will help support the curriculum in a stronger way.
  • Three of our four third grade classes have participated in a Fribble Mouse book study.  The students and I read The Secret of the Silver Key together.  Each chapter introduces a new research tool, so after our reading we took time to explore each reference material together.  The students ended with a much stronger understanding of what the media center has to offer and how these materials can be useful during research.
  • Our Tiger TV student news crew has been up and running!  The new students to our crew this year are gradually gaining confidence in their new positions.  The returning students have brought a world of experience to our news show, especially in the area of video editing.

These are just a few of the projects that we have worked on during the first half of the school year.  I look forward to working with my students and teachers as we begin to move toward our second semester!  It is a joy to learn something new from them each and every day!

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