Monday, April 28, 2014

The Great Gatsby Collaborative Project (11th Grade English) 2014

We had the opportunity to work with 11th grade English teachers to bring a Common Core enrichment activity to their students. They had just read The Great Gatsby and the goal was to bring the culture of the 1920s to life in the LHS Library Media Center. We started brainstorming ideas for this activity about two months before the event. Library Media Specialist, Mrs. Misti Bell and Library Assistant, Mrs. Peggy Schaeffer did the bulk of the work on the design of this wonderful program! You can see the layout in a big part of the library below. The decorations and setup they chose were distinguished! The library looked like a ballroom!

It was decided to include the following "learning stations" in the library: Art Deco, a Charlie Chaplin silent movie, a Wordle station (students could write words or quotes from Gatsby), iPad Gatsby game/ app, Prohibition video, and the Charleston dance. Students had approximately five minutes at each station (we split them up into equal groups as they entered the library). 

(Art Deco Station)

(Charleston Dance Station- this was the favorite of the students!)

Check out this video clip of our Charleston Dance Station! 

It was also decided that we would have a "Garden Party" station. We collaborated with Mr. Tom Vance, local director of Chartwells (the food service company we outsource through at Lakeside). He read Gatsby several weeks before the program and built a menu around the garden party mentioned in the book! 

The menu featured salad, "pigs in a blanket", turkey, ham, orange juice, and lemonade.

The program was a great success! The students, faculty, and administration were all excited about taking a trip back to the 1920s! In addition, it was our second major collaborative event this school year at the high school level. I'll share about the other big high school event (10th Grade Africa Day) on a future post! 

Pictured left to right: Mrs. Peggy Schaeffer (library assistant), Mrs. Misti Bell (LMS), Mrs. Jerrie Stanage (11th Grade English), Mrs. Jennifer Garner (11th Grade English), Stony Evans (LMS)

Click here to see how we presented this program the next year in 2015! 

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

National Library Week part 2

After a successful "Library of Yesteryear" program, we decided to celebrate the present with a lunch program called "Library of the 21st Century". This was also a great time to pull out our iPads/ iPods (we featured the Morpho app), e-books (Kindles), audio books, and print materials to remind the students of our numerous services. It was also a good time for library assistant, Mr. Ray Borel, to use his talent creating promotional posters to compare and contrast the previous program with the library of today. (You can see one of my favorites below this text!)

In addition to having various"stations" around the library showing off all our current technologies, we also invited students to make presentations. Several students brought their own laptops and showed their favorite OS (Windows 7 and Windows 8). A few brought laptops and played games! You can see the tables were full of technology users in the pictures below. We have only scratched the surface on what can be done during National Library Week... the sky is the limit!

As the school year begins to wind down, National Library Week is a great opportunity to revitalize interest in the school library program! It is also a wonderful time to celebrate the various roles of the Library Media Center! 

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

National Library Week 2014

Last year we started programs at the Jr. High Library during National Library Week that went over very well with the learning community. We began by having a theme of "The Library of Yesteryear" so that we could show students how libraries have changed over the past 2 or 3 decades. We wanted to give them a taste of the rich history of school library media centers! We decided to dress in stereotypical "librarian" clothing and find artifacts we could display in the library media center during our lunch programming. We also decided to "shush" students for the introductory session. This is the second year we have used this theme successfully. Students and faculty have given us great reviews for reaching out to the learning community in this way!

This is a great opportunity to promote your library and generate some interest! Students and teachers love to get in pictures!

Pictured from left to right : Misti Bell (LMS), Stony Evans (LMS), and Ray Borel (Library Assistant). 

We were fortunate enough to have a few vintage Apple Computers loaned to us for the day by a student at the high school. The students were very interested in this older technology! You can see them in the photos above and below.

During lunch students could come in and view the different table displays of older artifacts, play board games, or play on a few old video game computer emulators that students brought. You can see the traditional library artifacts we had on display below (reel of film, vinyl records, Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, library cards from the old card catalog, bag phones (cellphones), and even a typewriter).
One student brought a vintage Super Nintendo game system. This was a popular station for several students.

I know we can improve this program to be even more enriching for our school! Consider trying something like this for your students. I think you will get the interest of your learning community... and draw some new visitors to the library media center! 

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Thoughts on Copyright (AAIM Conference Reflection)

(image from

I attended a session about Copyright and Fair Use led by Dr. Michael Mills (University of Central Arkansas) on the last day of the AAIM Conference. Dr. Mills brought up some great concepts that everyone in education should know about and incorporate into their good practices!

The first items he presented dealt with the different areas for seeking digital media to use. He suggested using the following "stair steps":

A. Use personal collections first (when possible). This is a great point. Students and teachers all carry some type of camera (and videocamera) on Smartphones. We should use them to increase the body of digital media available on the Internet! Take pictures and upload to a site such as Flickr (place the Creative Commons license on your photos so others can use as long as they cite you as the owner)!

B. Use public domain and government resources when possible ( you can specify this in a Google Advanced search by going to a .gov site).

C. Use resources with the Creative Commons license! These can be shared (and sometimes modified) so long as the owner is cited. Dr. Mills mentioned that Flickr uses Creative Commons licensing.

D. If you must use copyrighted materials and resources... use them responsibly. When in doubt, get permission from copyright holders. When you can't get permission, check your usage according to the following four points:

1. Purpose and character of the use. Is it for educational use? The use shouldn't take away from the copyright holder's right to create for money.

2. The nature of the copyrighted work. The usage can be a criticism, commentary, parody, or a transformation of the original work.

3. The amount and substance of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. (Use the least amount necessary to get the job done).

4. The effect of the use upon the potential market or value of the copyrighted work. (Again, you aren't selling the product. It is being used for educational purposes).

I left this session feeling empowered and less afraid of using copyrighted digital resources. I intend to teach the usage "stair step" concept to students and teachers in the future. I also want to read more on my own to learn more! Dr. Mills made a good point: We need to use Fair Use, or lose it!

Here are two books I have purchased to dig deeper into this important area of knowledge.

Hobbs, Renee. Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2010. Print. 

Russell, Carrie. Complete Copyright for K-12 Librarians and Educators. Chicago: American Library Association, 2012. Print. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

National Poetry Month Fun With Book Spine Poetry

April is National Poetry Month.

When I went to the high school for lunch duty (in the library), I noticed that my job partner (Misti Bell, LMS) and our assistant (Peggy Schaeffer) had been working on some great displays for National Poetry Month! My favorite displays contained "Book Spine Poetry". I had never heard of this and had to add it to the blog tonight. Book Spine Poetry is where you grab books and arrange the titles on the spine so that it is a type of poetry. Here are some of their examples today:

Peggy did this one and it was my favorite!

One of Misti's

I got motivated and did this one at the Junior High Library during second lunch.

Several students at LHS were making their own poetry by arranging books like this the entire 30 minutes of lunch! It was great to see them excited! Give it a try! I'm thinking about making a contest of this activity at the Junior High Library tomorrow during lunch.

I really must share some concepts I learned about on Copyright while attending the AAIM conference! I will add it to the next entry!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Reflecting on the AAIM Conference Day 3

I attended more great sessions today on the final day of the conference. I visited a session by Larry Wilson on video production. He showed great techniques for using a green screen (to put virtually anything you can imagine in the background of a video--- the same concept used with weather maps shown behind meteorologists on television). He encouraged library media specialists to embrace this technology!

Here is an example of a green screen setup (image from

I really want to try this with our student led book talk videos (more on that later!). In the past we have interviewed students on the topic of their favorite book. This green screen technique would allow us to transform the student into the character (with a scene as the background) of the book! I see so much potential with this tool!

Larry also talked about the "quick shot" technique. This is where short video shots are made of the subject(s) then the shot is changed to a different view to keep the attention of the viewer. Now that I think about it, this is prevalent in television and movie camera shot techniques!

Larry mentioned using iMovie for video editing on a Mac. PC users should try Video Studio Pro by Corel or Camtasia Studio.

This an example of a student created news report parody using this technique!

Too many possibilities! Learning so many new things over the past 3 days has left me energized and ready to return to school and make a difference! I can't wait to explore these tools with students and teachers!

I'll talk about copyright and fair use on my next blog! I attended a great session by Dr. Michael Mills (University of Central Arkansas) that really shed some light on what we can and can't do with copyrighted material (as educators).

I hope these posts are helpful! Please email me at and tell me how I can improve these posts!