Oskaloosa High School and Middle School Library Annual Report June 2014 The mission of the school library program is to provide an inviting, dynamic learning environment and services that support and enhance teaching, literacy, and learning. Highlights of the Year Established extensive collaborative connections with middle school staff ● Collaborated closely with 6th grade language arts teachers to incorporate information literacy and technology skills into 2 existing units ● Facilitated PBL teacher workshop ”Primary Sources and PBL” ● Updated high school library with inviting furniture, chess boards, and puzzles ● Expanded PLN, in both face to face and online environments ● Instituted a Third Trimester Reading Challenge ●
Accomplishments Toward Meeting Highest Standards of the Iowa School Library Program Guidelines Teaching and Learning Curriculum Support The teacher librarian is a member of the building’s instructional team with special expertise in identifying resources and technologies to support teaching and learning. Over the course of the year I employed a multifaceted approach to improving curriculum support in the following ways: ● redesigned the web sites for both libraries including a special section for teachers only ● interfaced one on one with teachers to locate specific resources both print and digital for units of study ● created resource lists in the AEA SNAP catalog for teacher use including print, digital video, and eBooks ● ordered print resources from the AEA to support the curriculum ● coached individual teachers in their quest to incorporate Google apps and 2.0 web tools (i.e. Google Maps Engine Lite, Padlet, Google docs, Weebly website builder/ blog) into their teaching units
● created digital pathfinders (resource guides for particular assignments) for student use ● located, arranged and facilitated introductions of two guest speakersa Vietnam vet for 6th grade language arts; a Beekeeper for high school biology ● created and posted “how to” screencasts on my web sites ● facilitated staff development for creating classroom websites
Information Literacy Curriculum Collaboration The teacher librarian and classroom teachers collaborate to develop, teach, and evaluate information literacy learning experiences. Instruction includes access, evaluation, use, creation, and communication of information and emphasizes use of inquiry and critical thinking. As mentioned in the previous section, I created several digital pathfinders for the middle school language arts and social studies departments, providing instant access via links to information that had been evaluated by either myself, or by other librarians and researchers. Students were dissuaded from performing general Google searches as website evaluation skills are weak, at best, at the middle school level. In addition, I made brief presentations to several classes about copyright, copyright friendly resources, and the importance of citing information in all formats. Most importantly, however, was my opportunity to work in a collaborative partnership with the 6th grade language arts teachers. Together we redesigned two research units to incorporate technology and higher order thinking skills. The WWII research unit done in conjunction with the reading of 2 novels about the war focused on several information literacy skills including utilizing quality resources, deep reading, summarizing, note taking (using Google docs), copyright, and citing sources. I created a “hook” into the unit with a slideshow of primary source photos. As students viewed the slideshow they were encouraged to record questions that came to mind as they observed these extremely powerful images. The success of this strategy was evidenced through many thoughtful queries. Next, we spent several days in the lab working as a group to answer many of the student’s questions as we extracted pertinent information from a variety of sources and recorded notes that would be used to create a final product. Our readings provided an overview of WWII and of American Japanese Internment camps. Students were then asked to “jump into the skin” of a child that lived during that time period and to write a pen pal letter to another child describing his/her experiences. Finally, students shared their new learning by creating a class Voicethread (a web 2.0 tool). Each class member selected a primary source photo, upload it to the Voicethread, and paired their photo with a reading of their letter. In the Spring 6th graders read When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, a novel set in America in the late 60s and early 70s. These tumultuous times in our history are explored
in a research unit in an effort to connect with the setting of the novel. Students especially enjoy learning about the culture of this decade. To enhance their understanding of the Vietnam war, a combat veteran of the war was invited to “kick off” the unit by sharing his experiences and entertaining student questions. To begin their research the classes worked from a list of teacher generated topics brainstorming questions they wanted to explore within each topic area. Working with partners, students accessed information from a digital pathfinder, extracted pertinent information, kept notes and recorded sources of information for all types of information accessed. A few groups were given the opportunity to create a poll to collect information using a Google form. The form was then broadcasted to my professional and personal contacts. Students were thrilled to find responses from all over the country and from the UK as well, yet tabulating results was not quite as exciting! Finally, students collaborated to create class websites to share their findings. The websites were collaboratively evaluated through the use of a rubric I provided and posted on the pathfinder site for the project. Technology and Learning The teacher librarian and classroom teachers collaborate to enhance learning and teaching through technology. Examples of this standard were described in depth in the previous section. Other ways in which I collaborated with classroom teachers to enhance learning and teaching through technology include: ● Created a pathfinder for high school Spanish III/IV using Diigo, a social bookmarking site ● Created student blog site and provided instruction for use for three middle school reading classes ● Assisted in establishment of Pinterest site for recipe sharing for high school foods class ● Assisted in creation of class websites for high school career exploration students ● Assisted in creation of digital mind maps for high school career exploration students ● Assisted middle school Enrichment class in creating Google maps to mark US historical monuments using Google Maps Engine Lite ● Introduced Student News Net, an AEA news resource containing a feature that allows students to summarize articles and email them to their teacher ● Filmed three sections of middle school enrichment Readers’ Theater, edited films in iMovie and exported movies for sharing ● Assisted 6th grade science teacher in setting up student blogs Reading and Literacy The school library program promotes literacy through reader guidance and
activities that develop capable and independent readers. Both library websites have a reader’s advisory page containing links to social reading and book selection sites. The high school site contains a Livebinder I created containing direct access to Google ebook titles in the public domain listed on the AP reading list. The middle school site highlights some of our top readers holding a copy of their favorite book. This year I started a blog entitled Chapter and Verse, containing reviews of books I have been reading from both libraries. I have suggested the high school reading lab teacher encourage her students to make posts on the blog, as I believe peer recommendations are most valuable to students. Next year I hope to bump this initiative to one of the top spots on my priority list for both buildings. I hosted a brown bag eBook lunch at the high school and invited students to gather in the library to meet with the librarians from the public library who were on hand to show students how to access OverDrive, the free eBook service offered through the public library. I created QR codes containing book reviews and posted them on several fiction titles throughout the high school library. Last year I reorganized my fiction collections at both schools into genres, which has greatly improved student ability to selfselect titles of interest. This year I enhanced this reorganization by creating a series section at the middle school. I keep an ongoing list of student book suggestions and purchase those titles, provided they meet my selection guidelines. This year I also instituted a Third Trimester Reading Challenge. Annotated lists of the the 15 Iowa High School Book Award nominees and the 15 Iowa Teen Book Award nominees were placed on bookmarks. Students wishing to participate in the challenge kept a bookmark, read from the list and reported a short verbal summary of the book to receive a completion stamp on their bookmark. Those who made a serious effort, (completing more than half the list) were awarded with a book of their choice at the end of the school year. Two high school students and four middle school students successfully completed the challenge! Next year I will either begin the challenge earlier or reduce the required number of books to be read in an effort to include those students who are emerging readers. Next year I hope to host a staff/student brown bag book club at the middle school. My plan is to explore historical topics through nonfiction books and to pair them with the reading of companion fiction books set in that era. A cursory exploration of interest among staff members was met with hardy affirmation! Community Connections The school library makes connections with parents and the community Recognizing this as an area of weakness, I have made efforts this year to improve these connections by including library updates in the school announcements. In conjunction with the Spring Book Fair I offered to entertain young children with craft activities while
parents attended conferences. One of my middle school associates graciously volunteered her time for this initiative while I ran the book fair. I also offered cookies, coffee and cocoa to encourage browsing and conversation throughout the two day fair. I have been making plans to create a digital newsletter that I hope to publish at least three times next year to inform parents about how my library programs impact the education of their children, and how parents can make use of the many online resources that are available to the school district through Great Prairie AEA. A huge effort was made this year to interface with the public library, making it possible on several occasions for William Ottens, the director of the library to promote his program to our students. As a result of this outreach initiative I have been invited to help organize a reinstitution of the One Community One Book initiative that was once a hallmark of the public library program. Working with a committee comprised of the public librarian, the William Penn library director, and the owner of The Book Vault, we will be announcing this exciting event late in the summer. At my suggestion, we have selected a title related to the curriculum at both the high school and the middle school.
Library Management Updating Resources A plan for annual updating and replacing of library materials, supports, and equipment is in place. While a formalized plan has not been negotiated, it is fair to state that my libraries have been supported through the provision of adequate personnel and funding to expand my fiction collections. Realizing my dream of creating a welcoming, teen friendly environment in the high school library with the addition of casual furnishings has been greatly appreciated by staff and students alike. For the most part, students are respectful of the space and especially enjoy honing their chess skills! There are spaces available for students to create multimedia projects, so I see students visiting the library during class time to work on such assignments. As we move further into a problem based learning environment, I am hoping to see more students using the space to collaborate and to make use of the library resources. Some teachers are currently making use of the space for students to practice public presentations. Next year I am hoping to receive funds to buy digital resources to support the common core in the form of subscription databases and eBooks. I would also like to expand the middle school nonfiction print collection with current books not only to augment classroom teaching and learning, but also to offer a better selection of books to study hall students who enjoy exploring any number of topics. Professional Development Access or support for professional development for the teacher librarian is
provided. My building administrators have always been supportive of my requests to take advantage of professional development meetings and workshops. I have attended numerous meetings/workshops with area librarians at the Ottumwa AEA, and most recently have been invited to attend similar meetings with tech integrationists. I am a regular attender of ITEC in the fall, and the Iowa 1:1 conference in the spring. This year I attended the Iowa Library Association conference where I was privileged to hear the keynote address delivered by Alan November. For the past several years I have been granted professional development time to attend AEA advisory meetings in Fairfield, and this year I have added yet another commitment to meet with the organizers of the One Book One Community initiative. I never fail to come back to my desk with a head full of new ideas to improve my library programs. Time to act on those ideas can be difficult to allocate, but I have found the Wednesday professional development schedule allows for taking action toward implementing these various ideas. Those days are also times in which I can attend webinars or explore other resources to cultivate my professional growth. I will be attending a 2 day Google summit in Omaha this summer. As the middle school looks forward to a 1:1 initiative, being proficient with Google and the Google Chrome browser/apps/extensions will enable me to be a helpful resource to staff and students.
Goals for Next Year ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●
Increase level of collaboration and classroom instructional partnerships Work with all enrichment classes by offering information literacy instruction Create digital newsletter for staff and parents Update website with more content Start brown bag staff/student book club Purchase nonfiction resources to support curriculum Advance efforts to make middle school library a more inviting space Help students create information literacy screencast tutorials to post on website Facilitate student created math tutorials (Tentative plans have been discussed) Work with Math students using Scratch (MIT programming software) Present book talks in Language Arts classroom Falicitate production of student created book trailers Promote fiction and nonfiction eBooks and audiobooks currently available through the AEA