It’s Mid-Year…How Do You Organize Your Evidence For Evaluation?

As I sit here on our 4th snow day that we have been out of school since last week, I am gathering and organizing my evidence for my mid-year PDP evaluation tomorrow and year-end evaluation.  This can be a stressful time of year if your sources aren’t together and organized. We have everything from emails to student samples to professional development notes. How do we keep it all organized? How do we know we are meeting every standard on our evaluation rubric? Do we even have enough evidence to reflect upon?

In the past, I have had difficulty with organization. I tend to jump on every curation and organizational tool that I have ever been introduced to as I love getting new information on how to store resources. But after a while, it got overwhelming knowing which one to use and would be the most effective. So far, I have decided to use LiveBinders.

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I have found that I can add tabs for each standard that I want met. Then I add subtabs under each standard for each evidence I have that meets that standard. You can add URL links, photos and documents. So far it has been very user friendly.

These are my subtabs so far for Standard 1: School library media coordinators demonstrate leadership.

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Subtabs for Standard 2: School library media coordinators build a learning environment that meets the instructional needs of a diverse population of students.

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Subtabs for Standard 3: School library media coordinators implement a comprehensive 21st Century library media program.

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Subtabs for Standard 4:  School library media coordinators demonstrate knowledge of learners and learning and promote effective instructional practices

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And subtabs for Standard 5: School library media coordinators demonstrate knowledge of learners and learning and promote effective instructional practices.

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Having multiple subtabs allows me to show the items that I am using to prove that I’ve met or exceeded that standard. The standards I am referring to are:

Rubric for Evaluating North Carolina’s School Library Media Coordinators

I sincerely hope that this information will help you on your journey to become Proficient, Accomplished or Distinguished. We are all on this journey together. I would be very interested in hearing how you organize your evidence for evaluations. Please feel free to share or comment. Happy curating and organizing!

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I went to AASL’s National Conference, now what?

I had the privilege to earn a grant from Bound to Stay Bound to attend my first ever AASL national library conference. It was held November 5-8, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. If you are not familiar with AASL and their mission, the “American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library program services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to empower leaders to transform teaching and learning.” Macey Morales, ALA Deputy Director, Public Awareness Office.

image courtesy of AASL

New to the conference this year-inviting school administrators to attend along with their registered school librarian for free. 10% of attendees were administrators.  This year through preconference workshops, author events, concurrent sessions and exhibits, we took a critical look at the value of school librarians and our perceptions in the educational world. “The value of certified school librarians continues to grow, as administrators and teachers look for education resources to better serve tech-savvy students,” said AASL President Leslie Preddy. “The 2015 conference has provided an opportunity for school librarians to explore their unique role as education leaders that shape students’ digital literacy and critical thinking skills. We have learned from attending administrators that the perception of school librarians and strong school library programs has changed  from ‘nice to have’ to  ‘critical,’ as such resources  foster digital learning and research skills.”

Not only do we have to show administrators, educators and politicians that we are vital to the overall education of the whole student, we are quickly moving to a more digital environment where digital literacy and web-based technology is critical to meet the developing educational needs of our students.  Some of the sessions were:

  • Building a School Community Using Web Tools and Digital Communication, 
  • Innovative Research Process with Interactive Technology, 
  • Prove it!  Library Media Instruction Does Impact Student Achievement, 
  • A Road Map to Making Strategic Decisions Based on Your Library Data,
  • The Digital (Literacy) Divide: Intersecting the School Library and Digital Literacy, 
  • The Digital Revolution: The Call for School Librarians to Lead the Transition to Digital Learning

One of the most insightful sessions I attended was A Road Map to Making Strategic Decisions Based on Your Library Data. In this session, Stacy Lickteig and Jo O’Garro from Omaha Public Schools discussed how school, student, and library data could be used as an advocate for funding as well as prove our value as a school librarian. Stacy and Jo both gathered data from several sources such as free and reduced student data, literacy scores, collection data, etc. to provide evidence of the value of school librarians on student achievement as well as provide background data that can be used to make important decisions in your library.

I was slightly overwhelmed at the many offerings that were provided by AASL at this conference. I was also transformed by powerful sessions and librarians from across the country that I met there. Before this conference, I was not fully aware of the benefits of AASL. But now that I have taken the time to log into the website, they offer everything from webcasts, podcasts, lesson plans sorted by topic, archived PD, etc. This is one of the greatest resources that we have as school librarians. I encourage all of you to become AASL members as we are experiencing a critical time with our profession. Each of us should become advocates not only for our career, but for the sake of our students who need us. If you have any questions regarding AASL or NCSLMA (our local state library organization) membership and benefits, please let me know.

The AASL 18th National Conference & Exhibition will take place in Phoenix, Arizona in 2017. I hope you will join me there in 2 years (start saving now). There are many grants available for first time attendees. If interested in becoming an AASL member, fill out this application AASL Membership Application and fill in my name as the person who referred you and mail it in. It’s that simple! This is an investment in you as a school librarian. Also, your state library association, North Carolina School Library Media Association is a great organization to start local. And if you still aren’t sure, join us at FSMA (Forsyth School Media Association). But the overall message is…..Just Start! I look forward to talking and sharing with you.

Fiction or Nonfiction Station

I made a new station called fiction or nonfiction. The students sort through covers and put them in a fiction or nonfiction pile. Some students fly through this, but I was pleasantly surprised by a couple of second graders who took the sorting very seriously.

The last picture is of an older class. They took a stack of difficult alphabetizing cards and turned it into a go fish game.

Library Stations

This is my 3rd year in an elementary library. Last year, I started experimenting with stations trying to get a feel for the ebb and flow of what would work, movement, and implementation.

This year, I’ve focused on organizational issues. Do I just have random stations around the room? How do the kids know which ones are good for their grade levels? It was really important to me that most of the stations were academic in nature, but I did see value in having some that were there just for fun. And I felt like I had to start before I got a full handle on things while beginning of the year excitement was high. There have been times I thought my head would explode.

by pixaibay licensed under CC BY 2.0
by pixaibay licensed under CC BY 2.0

Luckily, it didn’t.

I divided the stations I had into three age levels – K – 1st, 2nd -3rd, and 4th & 5th. I may eventually move to each grade level, but for sanity’s sake, I’m grouping.

The next area that I struggled with was major categories for stations (Zones). The categories I’ve come up with for now (this a process in flux after all) are:

  1. Puzzles & Games
  2. Pleasure Reading
  3. Listening
  4. Library Helpers
  5. Library Skills
  6. Social Studies
  7. ELA/Research
  8. Science
  9. Math
  10. Nonfiction
  11. Technology (right now, this is just computers, but I didn’t want to limit myself when I found something new)

Obviously a few of these could be combined, and I’ve got a couple that are not used at all grade levels. But I wanted to have at least 8 for k-3 and 9 for 4-5, as well as somewhere to send someone who was having difficulty working on a team. Here’s a link to a table I’ve made to help me keep me organized. (I’ll put links on here to as many ideas as I can.) The stations listed are ones that I’ve already come up with and are either out or close to being reading to go out.  I’ve got boxes in the library where I sort ideas/samples by area and level to visit again in a spare moment. Some current areas have a slim selection of items, so I’ll work on those next.

Next week, I’ll take pictures of the stations themselves. I got some this week of students working.

Addition: My friend Wendy asked a question about how we actually do the stations. I made a sign for each zone. Items in the zone are labeled with the grade levels. I color coded as much as possible.

  • K-1 – Pink
  • 2-3 – Orange
  • 4-5 – Purple

Since this was an afterthought, I made labels for the grade-levels in the colors and just taped them on many items.

There are 8 tables in K-3 and 9 tables in 4-5. Each table has color coded card on it letting the kids know where they will go that day. After we’ve rotated through once, my plans are to let 2-5 start choosing. I’ve got a chart/grid that I’m working on so students can keep track of where they’ve been to keep the same station from being monopolized.

Help! I’m evaluated on Collaboration, so how can I make that happen when teachers are SO busy?

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School is in full swing and time is limited, especially if you are an elementary librarian and teacher. So how do we find the time to meet our evaluation standards and make our lessons more meaningful through collaboration?

  1. First, we have to be mindful of the classroom teachers schedule. Respecting the time they have will go a long way in developing trust and rapport with them.
  2. Start small. Speak to them in passing (lounge, bathroom, lunchroom, afterschool, etc.) and express a desire to work with them.
  3. Take a look at their pacing guide and suggest a way to incorporate technology and information skills in their current or future unit or project.
  4. Be proactive. Most teachers will not seek us out to collaborate. Don’t be afraid to speak up and let them know you are willing to make their job easier.
  5. Say thank you. Once you have established a relationship with one teacher, others will follow.  Be very appreciative of their time and effort.
  6. Keep abreast of the latest educational tools and pedagogy. This is a great “foot in the door” to developing lessons. There are journals, conferences, workshops, social media, etc. Teachers are extremely busy and may not have time for these activities. Acquiring this knowledge will help you be seen as the “expert” and the media center as “the hub”.

Collaboration can be simple if done respectfully. When librarians and teachers work together, relationships grow, inspiration blossoms, and students are engaged. So let’s get our Collaboration on!

Collaboration lesson template (editable doc)

Collaboration lesson template (PDF)

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Images courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

What do you do with Kinders in the library?

I was reminded yesterday about how many times the question of kinders has come up in meetings. The time with them can seem like the never-ending story in the library. I’d love for us to share what we do in our libraries to meet their needs.

I subscribe to a preschool newsletter from Karen Cox that has a ton of great ideas. I’m sure there are others out there. What newsletters do you get? Hap Palmer has a You.Tube station.

I’ve also got some library workshops running:

  • Reading Buddies (stuffed animals)
  • Listening stations – started with book fair monies
  • Board book basket
  • Pop up book basket
  • ABC and matching games
  • Large floor puzzles
  • little chair area (I got these at the 5 and below store)
  • story sequencing
  • nature station

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Media Coordinator Lesson Planning Templates

Here is a template that I received when I started working in the WS/FCS district. When adding standards, I also include AASL as well as CCES and ITES. I like it because it makes me think about every aspect of my lesson, especially the activating activity questions. Plus, if you have an administrator that is big on seeing how you incorporate Marzano and Bloom’s Taxonomy, it gives you room to think that out and record it. After writing your plan, it is much easier to reflect on the success of your lesson if you can actually see what you did in each section, as it’s broken down for analysis. I usually construct 20-25 minute lessons (some are single lessons; others are lessons in a bigger unit). I hope this is helpful.

For those that wish to have a simpler lesson plan that covers the basics, I have included that as well. Have fun planning! Enjoy your week!

Media Coordinator Lesson plan template

Generic Teacher Lesson Plan