After seeing a video posted by Buffy Hamilton showing the buzz of energy as multiple classes worked simultaneously in the library, I decided to take a moment to capture a snapshot of the Barrow Media Center. In this video clip, you will see simultaneous classes doing very separate things. Our space and collaboration allow for multiple lessons to happen at different times taught by the media specialist, teachers, and paraprofessionals. While all of this learning is taking place, students are also still able to come to the library to checkout books by themselves.
This summer for the first time I helped compile suggested summer reading lists for each grade level. This came at the request of parents and teachers. I’ve always been a bit hesitant about narrowing down to one list per grade level because there are so many wonderful books out there to read and many that I haven’t even read myself. How could I possibly make lists that would cover so many interests and reading levels? However, I made the lists, and I’m sure they have been helpful to several people.
Now that summer draws to a close, I’m revisiting the need for summer reading lists and thinking about what is really acceptable when we think about summer reading lists. Should we really expect students to read an extensive list of books over the summer and only focus on the book lists? I raise this question because I wonder where do all of the other kinds of reading and writing experiences over the summer fit onto the reading logs that come back to school in August.
For example, I read multiple blogs and online articles that come to me through my Google reader, facebook, and twitter. Last week, I saw a post on facebook about a recipe for butterbeer cupcakes in honor of the last Harry Potter movie. I’ve eaten a few butterbeer cupcakes from 2 local cupcake shops and I was curious about how to go about making them. I followed the link to the blog, read the article and recipe, and then proceeded to search for other butterbeer recipes. Other than cupcakes, I became curious about how to make butterbeer, so I started comparing recipes until I found one that sounded just right. I printed the cupcake and the butterbeer recipe, made my shopping list, and went shopping for ingredients. Back at home, I reread the blog and the accompanying pictures of the cupcake process and got busy making my own rendition of butterbeer cupcakes. I don’t consider myself to be much of a baker, but I felt like I was on an episode of cupcake wars. After what seemed like hours of work, the cupcakes were ready and I savored every bite of my first one. Then, I thought that I needed to document the final product, so I took pictures of the cupcakes. I started asking myself…what did you learn from this?…..which is what lead me to sit down to write this post.
Where does this reading experience fit on a summer reading list? It wasn’t a book, but I did a lot of reading, critical thinking, applying my learning, and reflecting. In the future, I want to open up avenues for students to share these kinds of reading experiences when they get back to school from the summer. I hope I’ll even hear some of them this year, even though they weren’t a part of the “suggested summer reading”.
Ms. Kelly Hocking just made a page on her website about the PreK weather forecasters in her classroom. You can find more pictures of the project and a few of her own thoughts on what a great job these students did.
Ms. Hocking’s Website
Natalie Hicks, spectrum teacher, made an Animoto of the whole process that the 2nd grade students went through to learn about graphic novels and how they created them. Take a moment to view it.
Today I offer you a glimpse into one moment in the David C. Barrow Elementary Media Center. I found myself stopping in my tracks today and just looking around at all that was going on in a moment in time. Here’s what I saw simultaneously:
- A group of fourth graders with their teacher making a list of books to read in the future
- A group of early learners with their teacher in the computer lab using Headsprout software to practice reading
- A group of 5th graders with their teacher at tables and the computer lab writing scenarios for future problem solving
- A class of 2nd graders presenting graphic novels they had created and sharing the process they used to create them. Parents, teachers, and other second grade classes were hearing their presentations.
- A group of upper grade students was working with their teacher to find resources for a project in the media center while others in the group quietly read in the floor.
- A small group of 3rd graders sat at a table with a timer and discussed their books for battle of the books.
In all, there were more than 125 learners in the media center fully-engaged in activities. Those are the moments that I love in the media center. Those are the moments that show the productivity and enthusiasm for reading and learning that can happen in a school library. I wish that legislators, school board members, and community members could have paused and observed this moment with me!
Today I received feedback from a survey that was given to the students who participated in leader librarians. The students were asked:
What did you enjoy most? Almost all students in the group listed “buying books” as what they enjoyed. They also listed things like using Animoto for the school to see what was done, ordering and unpacking books, and bringing more books into our library.
What did you learn from Leader Librarians? Students said they learned how hard it is to spend the amount of money that you have to buy books. They learned how to use money wisely and that it’s a big process to order books for a library. They learned how to be a “good librarian”.
If you could change something or do something differently, what would it be? They wished that they could have bought more books and checked more of the books out to read before other students got to read them. They also wished that more people could have come to the enrichment fair to see what they accomplished across our 9 weeks together. Most of all, they said they really wouldn’t change anything.
It was such a treat to hear what these 12 students had to say about being a part of the budgeting decisions in the library. We ran out of time to sit together and reflect on what we had accomplished, so I was thankful that our enrichment cluster coordinator found time to collect data from all students in the school about their clusters. Hearing these students’ voices confirmed for me the importance of giving students the opportunity to be a part of decision-making in the library.
Today the Leader Librarians’ 108 books went into circulation. These students spent the last 8 weeks finding out what books students at our school are interested in reading. They divided their budget among the categories they discovered and met with vendors to look at possible books for selection. Last night, the students presented their books at our school enrichment fair. By the end of today, only 24 books were left on the shelves. Kids came in all day asking if they could check out the books and they raced one another to the display to make their selections! Here’s a video of the Leader Librarians talking about their work.
Read my post this month on the GLMA blog about collaborative centers.
Barrow Oral History Project: A Student Perspective.
A student from last year’s oral history project shares his thoughts on the project.