A Day in the School Library

Sandy Bixby

Library Media Specailist

Edgemere Elementary

“Oh, you’re a librarian.  I would love to check out books and just read all day.”  Library media specialists hear comments like these all the time.  But our job is so much more than that. Peek into what has been happening in our school library during the past week.

Every week grades K through 5 arrive for 50 minute class periods.  During that time, they receive curriculum based instruction, return/check out books and utilize digital resources to enhance content.  Some classes are lucky enough to visit the library twice in a week. Our library is genrefied.  This means our books are arranged by genre, or category, instead of Dewey Decimal classification. Even our youngest students can independently find materials, regardless of reading ability, and students regularly and actively engage in organic spontaneous book discussions as they are participating in a free flowing book check out during their time in the library. So really, I don’t check out books to students. They do it independently and they do it very well. I facilitate independence and learning.

Mornings begin with open library time. Library helpers are checking in books from primary classrooms, individual students are returning and checking out books (some of my best connecting and book recommendations are given during this time because I learn what every student likes to read about), groups of students stop by to work on the puzzle in the library or create a word on the Scrabble board and play a round (or two) against Mrs. Bixby.

This week, 5th graders have begun to plan their Virtual Vacations.  Always a popular unit, students incorporate math, public speaking, research skills, digital technology skills and time management as they research a locale on a different continent.  They must create a budget, research transportation (don’t forget to account for the time change when planning your flights!), determine accommodations, learn about local culture and how to communicate in the native language using common phrases such as: Hello!  and Where is the bathroom? This information is recorded on an Excel workbook they downloaded, saved and update each class period.  They have learned how to use the snipping tool to grab components of a webpage they want to preserve, document sources, complete the day’s task AND return/check out books at the same time.  They are stewards of their own time and approach their final project, a travel package sales pitch, in any format they desire.  Will they utilize the school TV studio to make an infomercial or create a digital presentation using PowerPoint or MovieMaker or present orally with materials created using Wixie, Microsoft Word or another digital resource?  The choice will be theirs as student driven project based learning creates real life, meaningful experiences for them.

Peek into a 4th grade class, you will see creativity coupling with curriculum as students work on final projects for the Digital Media Advertising unit.  After learning about advertising bias and techniques advertisers use, students selected groups and each group was given a “mystery object” (a plumbing part, specialized bolt and so on) that they had to determine a use for, name and create a print and digital advertising campaign about the item.  Hard at work utilizing their devices to photograph, film and edit digital images, students are learning valuable 21st century skills they will need beyond the classroom. And let’s not forget writing as they create slogans and scripts and the social skills of listening, compromising and communicating with group members to make sure all voices are heard and appreciated. Oh, and they are checking out books, too!

3rd graders are celebrating National Poetry Month.  This week we learned about similies and metaphors. Students will self-select their own poetry convention to research, apply it to their writing and teach it to their classmates.  Using digital resources in the BCPS Digital Databases, ClassFlow lessons and internet resources accessed through Lesson Tiles in Engrade, students gather information and synthesize it into their own writing projects.  Oh, and they are checking out books.

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