This 2017-2018 school year, our administration and school put forth a culture of #BeTheChange, in which we not only enacted purposeful times to do good within our school community-bringing snacks to firefighters or resource officers, donating books, or playing Bingo at an elderly home are some examples, but we also implemented time to reflect on how we were going to change our teaching practices in order to improve them. We took small steps to change one thing at a time, so that all students could grow as learners. As a Media Specialist, here are some of the small things I’ve changed in our school’s library program this school year:
I started having my 5th grade library helpers be the ones that create our library visual displays. (They volunteer for 1 day a week, and I assign and remind them to come during their morning work time.) I provided some ideas and the option that they do their own idea, and they are the ones that put it all together. Then, I put their name on the work with a brightly colored index card, so the rest of the school knows who made the awesome display! They work on both the bulletin board, where most students enter the library, and different shelf displays, to entice peers and younger students to read.
I opened myself up to the idea of doing something different - collaborating with Science Lab to have each class in the school use recycled materials to make a class scarecrow. This took it off of the classroom teacher's plate, while still giving students the opportunity to participate in a creative-thinking, collaborative project. It was impressive to see what they came up with in one, 45-minute class period!
Plus, Science Lab did all the heavy lifting of getting supplies donated and organized. They also whisked away each scarecrow to a central location in the stairwell, to keep the library de-cluttered. Win! Win!
I made one of my professional goals to teach teachers about new programs, like MyOn Capstone, that our county purchased for all schools, and Destiny Collections, that Follett rolled out over the summer of 2017. MyOn, if you don't know, is Capstone's 5,000+ eBooks that read aloud to students, allow teachers to assign books for projects, and have lots of other reading features in online notebooks, specific to each child's account. Destiny Collections is a tool that Follett implemented as part of their rollout of Destiny Discover. It's a place where teachers, or students, can curate content from databases, the Internet, or the library.
I tried out a new tool - SketchUp for Schools with my 4th grade classes, when I was teaching their Architecture & Construction career lesson. It was a tool that I discovered was part of our Google Chrome apps, and that naturally leant itself to an extension activity for architecture. Students built a virtual house during the first lesson, and built a turtle sandbox during the following lesson. They practiced this drafting tool program, and several students informed me that they had used it since our classes together. :D
I'm currently working on an idea my principal shared with me, for our teachers to make a book recommendation to our students on FlipGrid. So fun! I think I might also create a FlipGrid where my 5th grade library helpers share a book recommendation...
Lots of small changes that are leading up to more students who love reading and coming to the library! #SharonStrong #BeTheChange