Reaching Readers Through Video Book Talks

This blog post was contributed by: Jill DeFarno, elementary school librarian

One of the challenges I have in my school library is talking to all students about books and getting them excited about reading.  Due to my flexible schedule I don’t see all students on a regular basis.  Although I do lessons with all classes throughout the year, it is based on topics they are working on and so it may be awhile between lessons.  If I have a lesson that I do with all grade levels it’s on one topic such as the book fair.  In addition, it seems as if fewer students are coming to the LMC to check out books.  The times where students have come in the past is now used in the makerspace area or online with a variety of personalized reading websites.  And although I see the value of both the makerspace time and personalized instruction I don’t want books to be forgotten.  I also value the teacher’s time and know that sometimes it’s hard to find time to schedule a library lesson or book checkout time into their schedule.  

Last winter I started to think about how to make students and staff aware and interested of the different books we have in the library.  What would be the best way to reach them?  After thinking about it, I decided that video was the way to address this challenge. I would record myself talking about books, post them on YouTube, and send the link out to the staff and families.  This way my message can reach all students and teachers can play it at their convenience.   My first book talk was to promote new makerspace books I’d purchased with a grant.  Incorporating a green screen (actually green bulletin board paper) and WeVideo I created my book talk and uploaded it to Google Drive.  By the end of the year I made seven more.  I invited other teachers to join me to talk about a variety of topics.  After each book talk I put the books mentioned in a prominent spot in the library.  

It’s been great to see the students stop by to check them out.   I’ve gotten positive feedback from students and staff about the talks and suggestions on what to do next and staff who want to be included. On a board in my office I have a list of potential topics.  So far this year I’ve done three talks.  My newest topic was You Choose Books.  Click this link to watch it https://youtu.be/UtVJLbSD904.  You can also see my previous videos on my YouTube channel.  If you are having the same challenge that I am, I encourage you to give this a try.  If you’re not comfortable talking in front of the camera just record your voice holding up a book.  If you don’t have time or want to incorporate a green screen just do it from a favorite reading spot in your library or at home.  I’ve found it’s a great way to share my love of books with the stakeholders in my school.     

Advertisements

204 Library Featured in Follett Case Study re: Digital Citizenship

Contributed by Kristen Mattson, LMC Director, Waubonsie Valley High School

This blog has primarily served as a space for the librarians of Indian Prairie School District 204 to share their own stories with one another and members of our community. In this post, though, we would like to present you with a case study on Kristen Mattson’s library that was written by one of our partners, Follett.

From the case study:

digcitquote

Click here to read the full case study!

Working Together is Success

Contributed by:
Jill De Farno, LMC Director, Builta Elementary School
Nicole Fader, LMC Director, Clow Elementary School
Natalie Hoyle Ross, LMC Director, Spring Brook Elementary School

Henry Ford’s quote “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success” fit this endeavor perfectly!

Collaboration among three District 204 school librarians enabled us to bring the talented author, illustrator, cartoonist, and musician Mike Artell all the way from Louisiana to visit our students in Illinois.  None of the schools could afford to bring in Mike alone, but sharing the presentation, travel, and housing costs made the visit possible.  Mike, author of more than 35 books, writes both non-fiction and fiction.  His non-fiction books cover topics from cartooning tips, weather and space, to jokes and sports.  His fiction writing includes a Cajun spin on classic fairy tales including his book, Petitie Rouge – A Cajun Red Riding Hood which was named the 2009 Read Aloud Book of the Year by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.  

Mike’s energetic and enthusiastic style fit well with large groups and he intrigued students with stories about his life, word play from his joke books, a reading from Cajun tales, and step-by-step cartooning instructions so that our students could draw with him during the presentation.  Students were engaged as he gave advice on how to “draw what you see not what you know.”  He also encouraged the students to “read like you eat” and give all different types of books a “taste”.

Artell ended the presentation with one of his songs and had all the students and teachers sing along.     

Our librarian team divided and conquered other aspects of the prep for the visit–some provided lunch, others worked out the transportation and housing details, and another contacted the district to share with the education reporters.  Rather than each of us creating separate presentations for our students, we were able to create and share it via Google Slides.

Collaborating on this visit has percolated new ideas for creative ways to resource share within District 204  because working together really is a success.

 

 

World Read Aloud Day: A Blog Post from Two Perspectives

This blog post is about a collaborative project between a high school librarian and an elementary school librarian. Since the project was collaborative, we thought the blog post should be too! Enjoy a blog from two perspectives: written by Michelle Shiles, elementary librarian (in blue) and Kristen Mattson, high school librarian (in green).


Tomorrow is World Read Aloud Day? It would be so fun to work in an elementary school and be able to participate in something like that. I wish high school kids would let me read aloud to them. Oh well….

Wait, a minute! I have an idea!

What do you do when a last minute opportunity to collaborate with another librarian appears?  I say, “Jump on it!”  

This is exactly what happened to me on February 15th, the day before World Read Aloud Day.

Sure, it was less than 24 hours from the official World Read Aloud Day when the idea came to me, but I knew there had to be at least one librarian as crazy as I am who would be willing to try something radically different and totally last minute. So I sent out a quick email and waited to see what would happen.

Before February 15th, there was a passionate effort among the district librarians to organize a World Read Aloud celebration. I was asked to participate but passed on these opportunities due to workload, and my perception that our staff wasn’t looking for an additional library event.

So, when Kristen Mattson reached out to the elementary libraries about possibly connecting through Google hangouts to celebrate World Read Aloud Day with high schoolers, I lazily forwarded the e-mail.

Within five minutes, I had teachers at my office door and e-mails crowding my inbox. Boy, was I mistaken! There was definitely interest and excitement about this possible collaboration.

Michelle was the first to reply to my email and said she had several teachers interested in having one of our students read to their class. Now the pressure was on to find a bunch of high school kids who would be willing to spend part of their lunch hour doing a read aloud to a classroom of elementary school students via Google Hangout.

In the end, we had six classes sign up to participate, which equated to roughly 140 students who would experience a read-aloud from a high school student.

It turns out that the teachers at Michelle’s school were not the only ones interested in participating in the Global Read Aloud. By the end of the afternoon, I had classrooms from six different elementary schools on our schedule and 22 high school students EXCITED about missing part of their lunch to read books aloud in front of a webcam. I had a feeling we might actually pull off something awesome!

Teachers were enthusiastic, but a little nervous about the technology demands. Kristen ran a test hangout with me the day before, and we were all ready for the students to “hang out” with the high schoolers on the actual day. In the end, I was only there for moral support. Several teachers mentioned that they were impressed with the technology and how simple things worked during the event.

On the day of the event, every high school student that promised to show up actually did. They shuffled through the pile of picture books I had brought along from home, and got excited as they recognized titles from their own elementary school days. One student from an AP Spanish class even agreed to read “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” in Spanish to a class of English language learners!

Not only did our students see the high school readers, but they also got to see other classroom audiences across the district. Students exhibited positive behaviors during the reading and asked thoughtful questions to the readers. My favorite part was when the students silently showed excitement, through waves or silent cheers. It was fun to see other audiences bopping with delight, too.

It was really cute to see the high schoolers embrace their position as role models. They read with enthusiasm and showed the pictures to the camera. After the books were over, the students agreed to answer some questions from the audience. My favorite part of the day was when a tiny kindergartner came up to the microphone and asked, “how do you even read so good, anyway?”

This day became the perfect event. All the stars aligned and the experience exceeded everyone’s expectations. I am thankful for colleagues willing to organize spontaneous collaborations and for teachers willing to take last minute detours into celebrating fun and reading.

Who says World Read Aloud Day isn’t for high school students? I think this event might become a new yearly tradition at Waubonsie Valley High School!

 

HaneefCaroline

Our event – pictures from two perspectives!

Girls

 

#FutureReady204 Library Featured in a Follett Case Study!

Contributed by Donna Kouri, elementary librarian

This blog has primarily served as a space for the librarians of Indian Prairie School District 204 to share their own stories with one another and members of our community. In this post, though, we would like to present you with a case study on Donna Kouri’s library that was written by one of our partners, Follett.

From the case study:

At Longwood Elementary School in Naperville, IL, teacher librarian Donna Kouri has been quietly but consistently working for six years to transform both the school’s physical library space and the way the space is used. The challenge? A relatively small room in an older building. Her approach? A willingness to step outside her comfort zone, an enthusiasm for building strong partnerships, a determination to meet students on their own ground and an innovative approach to problem solving.

Click here to read the full case study!

donna

My MakerSpace Shift

Contributed by Dawn Vieira, elementary librarian

Makerspaces… it’s all the buzz in the library world right now. All around school and public librarians are finding ways to reinvent their space to give their patrons the opportunity to create. Sometimes it can be via technology such as Makey Makey or a 3-D printer, but it can also be just the chance to tinker with Legos or recycled “trash” like toilet paper rolls, cardboard and toothpicks.

I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to develop a wonderful MakerSpace/Tech Corner in my LMC at White Eagle Elementary through a very generous donation from my school’s PTA. With the funds I was able to purchase Dash robots, Spheros, OSMOs and LittleBits. The students absolutely love interacting with these devices and learning more about coding, circuits and more. The Tech Corner was always full of students laughing, sharing and learning. I soon found, however, that although it was a “Makerspace,” my students weren’t always making something. Yes, they were “making” programs via blocks of code for Dash and Sphero to follow. Yes, they were “making” tangrams and words with OSMO, but there was something missing. That’s when I realized my Makerspace was missing another component, what I call the Creation Station.

At the Creation Station side of my makerspace there is absolutely no technology. It is an area where students have the chance to explore various STEM and STEAM provided monthly activities and to just create. Legos, Squigz, Zoinks and blocks call out, “Let’s be an architect! Build something with me.” Rainbow Looms, weaving looms, and bins of yarn shout, “Interested in fashion or design? Make something with me!” Straws, scissors, paper, tape, crayons, cardboard and more call out, “Be creative! Think outside the box and explore with me.”

I first opened the Creation Station side of my MakerSpace in the fall. At this point, my Tech Corner had been up and running since January of last year. I was completely blown away by the shift in my makerspace. It was inspiring. The makerspace had a new purpose for many students, the chance to create in a different way. I overhead statements like, “Look what I made.” “How should we do this?” “What do you think about this?” and “I can’t wait to try another way tomorrow.” I couldn’t believe the engagement and incredible amount of critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication (4Cs of Education) that I was witnessing as students challenged themselves to just create. Don’t get me wrong, the Tech Corner was still a very popular, buzzing corner of my LMC, but a whole new set of students, along with my Tech Corner regulars, stormed to the Creation Station. It was a makerspace shift.

So, as you begin or continue your journey of creating a MakerSpace in your library, remember this: A MakerSpace is simply a place for students to explore and learn through creation, be it through technology or recycled cardboard. Embrace it! Encourage it! Make it!

embrace-it-encourage-it-make-it

Creating a Sustainable MakerSpace with Rasperry Pi Club

Contributed by Lynn Domek, NBCT and elementary librarian

This year I wanted to create a sustainable MakerSpace in the library to be used at any time of the day for drop in students and whole classes.  I took into account the President’s new initiative, “Computer Science for All,” to empower all American students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science and to be active citizens in our technology-driven world. From “order makes sense” to inquiry-based thought processes in the existing curriculum, collaboration and creativity could be extended to the 750 students in our K-5 building.

Our students at Welch Elementary had been exposed to LittleBits circuits and Dash and Dot robots via participation in the Illinois State Library MakeIt@YourLibrary program.  This exposure brought much excitement and collaboration to the Welch community.  With the addition of Makey-Makey and Osmo, we were on our way to having a sustainable MakerSpace.  But I was looking for something more.

So, I took the plunge and wrote a grant that was funded by IPEF that introduced SnapCircuits and Raspberry Pi into our MakerSpace.  I first learned about Raspberry Pi from following a former colleague on Twitter.  He had mentioned in a tweet that students in a Syrian refugee camp were programming with Raspberry Pi. What was this credit-card sized computer?  I looked into it over the summer and discovered MIT’s Scratch programming language and many resources for educators on the Raspberry Pi website.
I created an after-school Raspberry Pi club that lasted for six weeks.  I then added the Raspberry Pis into the MakerSpace.  I was amazed at how much 5th grade students could do regarding programming by utilizing Scratch and Python after a brief introduction.  I am looking forward to finding future computer science opportunities for Welch students and am currently considering purchasing a Kano computer and coding kit.