Day 17


Today was so busy! It is a Monday and that means that everyone and her brother needs new books. It was a no-prep, no-lunch day. That means that my schedule was filled every minute of my contract time. Add to that unscheduled check outs, trouble shooting, helping, etc….SHEESH! WHAT A DAY!

This causes me to reflect on the idea that as librarians become partners in teaching they still must do all of the traditional roles of a circulation specialist. That is a problem. Something will have to give…

Another thing I did today was reflect on my growth toward my professional goals. Below is the exchange between my principal and me.

On Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 8:43 AM, wrote:

Good Morning,

Below are your goals for this year.  Please indicate your progress and return by Feb. 20.  This will become part of your 2011-2012 evaluation.  If you have questions please stop by.  Thanks.

1. Customer Service Goal:
I will constantly remind myself that there is no such thing as an interruption in my role as library
media specialist. My customers, be they adults or children come first.

To this end, I will always stop what I’m doing, smile, and to give TOTAL attention to the
customer who seeks my service!

I am still doing well at this goal. It was a goal last year that I felt I had mastered but needed to continue to focus on this year. 

2. Curriculum Goal:
I will work with teachers to learn and understand all of the following:
• Standards and Benchmarks at each grade-level (focus on ways to infuse technology.)
• Common Core Standards
• Testing Focus
• Major units of study/themes at each grade-level.

Coming along swimmingly!  I have incorporated technology into every grade that I teach with a focus on the research projects I do with the 4th grade. I worked with teachers to unpack the Common Core Standards, did an inservice on using testing data (and worked with teachers on this repeatedly during PLCs). Now that I’ve begun work with BYOC I am focusing on making sure that the LMC curriculum is 100% inline with grade level units of study. 

3. Professional Development Goal:
I will work with teachers to do the following:
• Master AR & STAR as instructional tools.
• Build capacity so that more teachers can print and interpret reports

Did an inservice on this at the beginning of the year. Most teachers can interpret and print their own reports. My next steps are to teach teachers to use the Learning Progressions and the Instructional Planning reports. 

4. Climate Goal:
I will:
• Work with my PLC team on school climate issues
• Make 2 positive phone calls to families each week

My PLC is doing GREAT on the climate issues. We’ve got great stuff to share with staff whenever there is a chance…

As for the two positive phone call per week….I started strong but fell off. I am so glad you sent these goals back to me and I will begin making calls again tomorrow!

5. Collection Goal:
I will work with teachers, students, and school data to:
• identify special area’s in need of development including hi/lo readers, high interest
materials for boys, 3rd & 4th grade novels, book to support classroom themes/units of
• weed old books.
• increase circulation though use of book talks and “right book, right reader, right time”
• Label more books for AR/Reading level—INCLUDING classroom teachers library.

Weeded the animal collection (broke my heart, but had to be done.) Next I’ll week the general science section. Circulation is at an all-time high…I can barely keep up! All students know how to use “IPICK” and the “5 Finger rule”. I continue to work with individuals to find just-right books when needed.

ALL AR books are labeled as such in the library. I have developed a system to make non-AR books AR through the use of alternate tests and book reports that I grade. All 2nd grade teachers have had their class libraries labeled for AR (expect Kelli who has another labeling system.) Half of 3rd and 4th grade class libraries have AR stickers. When Shari comes back to work during MAP testing we’ll finish the other libraries. 

Last is a blog I wrote this weekend and posted this morning for a friends blogsite.

Two-Column Notes: The Twin Pillars Supporting Reading and Writing of Non-Fiction Texts

By Rita Platt & John Wolfe

The amazing processes of reading comprehension may never be as invisible as when students first start reading informational texts. For a neophyte reader of non-fiction texts, word-for-word or even sentence-by-sentence, the text has meaning. But, often students seem to walk away from these texts with nothing more than a handful of details that rapidly seep from memory. The Common Core Standards remind us that learning to gather information from books is a critical aspect of a student’s literacy learning. The Standards also emphasize the need for teaching students to conduct research and write informational texts. This means that most of us need to beef-up our teaching of skills and strategies related to non-fiction reading and writing.

As teachers who have always loved non-fiction reading we have worked to share these skills and strategies with our students. We believe that teaching students to take notes offers students the clearest path to success in reading and writing nonfiction.

When most of us where taught to take notes (or more likely figured it out ourselves) we were taught that the primary function of taking notes was to aid memory. After much reflection, we realized that this is not true. In fact, formal note-taking is more about scaffolding the key processes of synthesizing and making meaning from information. Taking notes reminds the reader to stop after every paragraph and think. This is central to learning to comprehend new text forms, especially non-fiction genres. The art and science of taking notes helps students internalize the synthesis and comprehension processes involved in understanding informational texts. And, on a purely practical note, taking the time to teach simple note-taking is, in and of itself, a valuable gift we can all give them.

After years of sharing various note-taking methods with students we have finally settled on a simple, cohesive, and effective method for teaching students to take notes. Below is a video we made for our students. Keep a few things in mind as you watch it:

1. We made this at our kitchen table.

2. The kids LOVED seeing me on video and shared it with their parents.

3. I didn’t wear any makeup.

4. I’m much prettier in person. HA!

We hope that you will find the video helpful and that you can use the method modeled in your own teaching! Either way, we’d love to hear your thoughts! What do you think of taking-notes? What would make our process better?

Rita Platt is a Nationally Board Certified teacher. Her experience includes teaching learners of all levels from kindergarten to graduate student. She currently is a Library Media Specialist for the St. Croix Falls SD in Wisconsin, teaches graduate courses for the Professional Development Institute, and consults with local school districts.

John Wolfe is a teacher on special assignment for the Multilingual Department at the Minneapolis Public School District. He has worked with students at all levels as well as provided professional development to fellow teachers. His areas of expertise include English Language Learners, literacy, and integrated technology.


About ritaplattlibrarian

I am an elementary school librarian and I love my job more than it should be possible to love a job! A Nationally Board Certified teacher, my experience includes teaching learners of all levels from kindergarten to graduate students.
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