Stephanie Tirado is our contest winner this year. Congratulations to you, Stephanie!
Stephanie's poem, which she recited at our Veteran's Day program:
From the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave
By: Stephanie Tirado
“From the land of the free and the home of the brave,”
we asked for your best and that’s what you gave.
You are the reason that we are free,
and many others around me will absolutely agree.
This ceremony is to honor and say “Thank You,”
because we are forever grateful for all that you do.
You had to try your hardest until the very last fight,
and are still sitting here with smiles so bright.
So, thank you again for battling to save,
“The land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Behind the scenes of the Veteran's Day program with the Student Tech Team (AKA Garrett):
Garrett is the first member of the Student Tech Team here at Arthur Williams! He has been shadowing me as I do some of the more 'techy' parts of my job: fixing projectors, setting up for professional development sessions, and the latest-making sure we have audio/visual capabilities for the Veteran's Day program. Garrett was the man behind the scenes making sure the volume was appropriate for each individual and the video equipment would be working properly.
Kayla Lightsey and I began brainstorming ways to bring digital literacy into her 7th grade life science classroom at the end of last year. It's hard to include digital literacy when there is only one Chromebook cart for checkout, the computer labs are being used for surveys, testing, and remedial services, and your classroom computers (of which she has three) do not work well. We had this amazing idea to bring her science classroom alive with the Frankenstuffer-in which students will create their own living organism from the parts of gently loved stuffed animals. With their newly created creature, the students will write a series of ebooks based on their Frankenstuffers while also teaching others about the standards they are learning (biomes, adaptations, food webs, etc.). We plan on partnering with the local elementary schools to have our 7th grade students read their finished books to younger readers in the community. Lucky for us, Kayla and I's grant proposal was accepted!! Now we can purchase at least 10 Chromebooks to write their ebooks and for research. We are so excited about this opportunity! I will definitely keep updating as we roll this project out with our students.
Also, for reference, I am including our grant proposal below. Maybe you have a great idea for next year's innovation grant and want a reference for writing your own grant. :)
I have been working closely with our 6th graders this year to help foster a desire to read and to work on improving our Lexile scores. Although I firmly believe reading any book will help you become a better reader, it's important to pick the right book for independent reading. When you feel confident in and enjoy what you're reading, you are more likely to read more. The more you read, the better of a reader you become. So on Wednesday's each week, I teach the 6th grade classes aspects of being a good reader and give time for silent reading and time book selection. Our first lesson was on 'How to Pick the Right Book.' It may sound elementary (especially for our adult middle schoolers), but I have found that these students have never actually been taught how to pick out a book! There is some debate (okay, a lot of debate) over what types of books students should read for independent reading. I like to think that students should read what they enjoy, because enjoyment is the way to motivating students to want to read. Things I enjoy reading are often below my independent reading level (Hello, Percy Jackson!) or I read a ton of magazines and scholarly articles, which tend to not have an associated reading level. We should not limit students on what they can read-period. However, I also see the need in scaffolding students to that point. I've lived a long life and over the years found what I enjoy, what I can handle, and when I need to read intentionally learn. So with our 6th graders (and from a lot of prodding from the 6th grade teachers), I worked with the students on how to find that 'right' book. I focused a lot on the genres and less about the reading levels, but we still covered that independent reading should leave you challenged but not too challenged.
On Monday, October 19th, our book club, the 6-8th grade Action students, and budding authors were able to Skype with April Henry, author of The Body in the Woods (the novel we have been reading), The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die, and other suspenseful murder-mysteries. It was a wonderful experience, and the students were so excited! Beforehand, our students sent in questions via a Google Form about the book, April Henry, her writing process, or anything else regarding the author and/or the books she has written. Mrs. Henry was extremely supportive in our discussion-which lasted 45 minutes!! Lucky us!! After she gave a brief talk about her life as a writer, our students were able to ask their questions. We were able to accommodate 11 of our students' questions because Mrs. Henry graciously allowed us more time, because the students were so excited.
Her books have been checked out all year. I have had to turn students in the direction of the public library because the hold list has been so long. This has been one of my favorite experiences as a teacher librarian because of just how engaged our students have been in the book, how prepared and respectful they were for the Skype session, and how motivated some of our unmotivated readers have become!
You can read about our introduction to The Body in the Woods here.
I am lucky enough to work in a county which understands the importance of the role of our media specialists and our technology specialists. This year, each month, a media specialist will host the others at his or her library and discuss librarianship. Our first visit was on Tuesday, October 27th. Mrs. Teston at Jesup Elementary School and I shared the day by giving the other media specialists a tour of our libraries. It was a rewarding experience for me learning how elementary librarians are able to collaborate so well with classroom teachers. I walked away with some wonderful ideas for future project ideas to work on with our middle school teachers. In our limited time, I was also able to update the other media specialists about the changes we've been making at ADUB. Check out all the great things our students are doing below!
We reached our goal for the book fair! Thank you everyone for a fun book fair, purchasing books in order to help buy more books for our library, but most of all-thank you for promoting our love of reading in our community! Fight Night was a huge success and we were able to send books home with students from our school and children all across Wayne County. Thank you especially to Mrs. Guillot and her church for their donation towards our pirate ship. We are going to try to rebuild it in our library for an engaging reading nook.
For those who want to know how the zombie run turned out, check out the pictures below. It was such a fun way to get our kids excited about exercise!
Hannah Wise wore a GoPro camera as she tried to escape the zombies during the Zombie Run. Get a taste for what they had to endure below.
Reading enthusiast and technology innovator