Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Blog Interaction with Catherine Trinkle - Thurs. Oct. 19 to Sat. Oct. 21, 2006

Catherine Trinkle is the media specialist at Hickory Elementary in Avon, IN.

Also a returning volunteer participant this year, Catherine is active in the professional field - writing/publishing, presenting, and serving in a number of organizational representative roles. You can find last year's e-converstions with her at this blogsite, October 13-15, 2005.

Learn more about Catherine at

Catherine has integrated new technologies into her SLMS program, coordinated a variety to reading initiatives and promotions, written and received funding from a number of grants, and orchestrated successful fundraising events. Another busy teacher librarian, she is willing to discuss any issues that relate to her work or her insights into the profession.


  1. Catherine1:41 PM

    Hi, guys! Any of you freaky for 2.0? I am totally into blogs, wikis, my bloglines account, Library Thing and would love to learn from you students what is new out there that you're being exposed to because you're in the classroom. It can be hard to keep up once you have a job! Please see my personal virtual library to see where I am and let me know what I am missing!! Go to :

    My other love is children's literature. I actually made my library's mission statement mean something to me and a goal that I keep in mind as I plan lessons. A challenge. I never took mission plans seriously until I challenged myself to rewrite one that meant something to me to live up to. You can find it by going to my school library, clicking on Media Center, Media Center home (my way to get you to look at my work on the web).

  2. Hi Catherine!

    I read on your website that you use the I-Search method to teach informaiton inquiry skills to students. I am in the middle of working with administrators at my school to adopt a research method schoolwide so that students get consistent practice with one method and have the scaffolding in place for more advanced research and inquiry. How did you "sell" this process to teachers and administrators? Do the teachers use I-Search in their own classroom when they aren't working with you? Why did you choose I-Searh over all the other models?

    I am really inspired by your idea of writing your own mission statement to make it meaningful to you. Was it easier to do becuase you were starting up a library program? What were some of the things that you learned from writing your own mission statement?

    Katie Baker

  3. Catherine,
    I have never used blogs until this semester, but I think that I do like them. I could see how they could be really useful in a classroom environment. Its much better and quicker that the snail pen pal programs I experienced.

    Last year all my friends were really into Facebook but I never got involved. As far as other classroom experience I am taking two web based classes this semester, this one and L551, and we use it all the time. In a web based class I could not imagine what it would be like without blogs. We use them to post our assignments and we even had a whole project that involved posting a series of blogs. The blog was based on a personal inquiry process that used Annette Lamb`s 8 W`s for information inquiry. We posted our thoughts and findings and commented on classmates inquiry. I learned a lot about others and myself through the process.

    I saw your blog and it is great. I like all the different categories you have that represent different things you are involved or interested in. Do your students make comments on your blog? Do you use them in your media center?

    I also love children`s literature, but find I am way behind and have a lot to learn. How do you keep up with all the new material? Do you have strategies? Do you have time to adult material or are you always reading children`s lit?

    Lindsay Haddix

  4. Catherine4:04 AM

    Here's to Katie: I learned about I-Search in Danny Callions Research for the School Librarian class and preferred it over the Big-6/Simple 3 for one major reason: When we research, we don't often have a "problem," which is a big part of the Big 6. We research because we have questions and I-Search is based on answering my questions about something. It is scaffolding at its best as even the youngest students can learn how to find the answers to their questions and believe me, high school students struggle with this. And it is so important because when the leave school, they will need to know how to find information all by themselves (they probably will not go to the public library to ask a reference question.) Big 6 has a huge advantage because of all the material available to support that approach (its all about marketing).

    How to sell whatever you choose? First, know it, like it, believe in it yourself and be ready to take over and teach it to the students. I worked with the fourth grade on this two years ago and today one does it all on her own (Most teachers don't like to co-teach or collaborate. Sorry to break the news to you, but it is true.) And I am fine with that. I have a fixed schedule (like it/don't feel guilty anymore/would get fired if I complained) so she will ask me to do one or two parts during "specials." I know I-Search so well that I can just flow into HER lesson.

    I wrote my mission statement at the beginning of this year, my 9th or so as a media specialist, the start of my 5th at this school. I can't remember why except that I knew my existing one was bogus and wanted to write one that would inspire me/hold myself accountable to what I do. "avid and capable readers," which I had two terrific teachers help me write, is in my mind each week when I write my lessons (find samples on my website under media center/media center home/lesson plans.). Capable is a keyword and reflects my belief that I am part of teaching team in teaching children how to read and how to become good readers. For more on this, if you are going to AIME, please come to my sessions: "Yo? Me Teach Reading? Yes, You!"

  5. Catherine4:23 AM

    About Blogging: I created and maintain the Young Hoosier Book Award Blog ( I will soon be posting on the AIME listserv an invitation to join the conversation. Last year, we had over 225 postings from all over the state.

    Reality check: Many, many school districts BLOCK blogs and other web 2.0 offerings. I requested that this blog be approved by our new Technology Director, who went over it with a fine-tooth comb and found it to be safe and secure for students and a valuable teaching tool.

    About keeping up: I don't watch t.v. so I have time to read grown up books, ya titles, and professional material. I have two little girls so there is no problem with finding time for children's lit. They hear it all, over and over again!! I facilitate a book club at my church and have a summer book club with my staff. I got a grant last year to get us going with free books (teachers like free things!). Let me recommend to you The Book Thief. There is no better book.

    I just finished An Unexpected Light, published in 1999, about the author's travels through Afghanistan. I loved that book and am waiting for Amazon to deliver his just-published-last-week book about his travels through Iran. The Afghan people are worth getting to know. They have much to teach me.

    I have heard teachers complain when they compare the work load of an elementary teacher with a librarian's (or secondary teacher). I am still shocked at the number of non-contract hours an elementary teacher MUST put in in order to do the job. My job must seem like a piece of cake to them. My non-contract work hours are full of blog research and making, reading, being a web detective, and other fun things that I love to do. It just isn't going to seem as hard because our jobs are so much fun. But the extra hours are there, friends. I work all througout the summer on web creation and 2.0 and reading professional literature to keep up. I have been published 3 times this year and am editing my fourt article. There is always something to do...

  6. Catherine,

    I noticed on your website that you have a couple links that deal with "Young Authors." I remember that program being around when I was in school. Do you promote that program through the library? Or, do you facilitate the classroom teacher's implementation of that program? Either way, how does it all work?

    Also, I love the discussion starters you have on your Young Hoosier Blog! There are some really helpful ideas in that list!

    Amy Acree

    Amy Acree

  7. Catherine,
    Thanks for your reply! I just visited a library media center in which the Big 6 is used and mandated district wide. Did you start the school on I-Search, or was it something that "came down" from the district level? You said that you started it in 4th grade, how many grades do you use it with now? Is there a particular grade that you introduce it to?

    Thanks so much! Katie

  8. Catherine6:09 AM

    When I researched "Young Author's Conference" three years ago there was little helpful info on the web. Mostly pictures from schools who had a conference. So many people remember their YAC from their elementary years so I was surprised that there were no resources to help a school get started. I put everything we did on the web ( to help anyone else get started, but I still wish there was a book or website full of info.

    As far as research goes, we don't have anything district mandated in Avon. At the younger levels, there is not a lot in the Indiana State Standards requiring a lot of research. Look at the second grade english/language arts standards that cover Research and Technology :

    2.4.3 Find ideas for writing stories and descriptions in pictures or books.

    2.4.4 Understand the purposes of various reference materials (such as a dictionary, a thesaurus, or atlas).

    2.4.5 Use a computer to draft, revise, and publish writing.

    Our district used a term a lot in the last two years - "unwrapping the standards." This just means figuring out the ones you must do and the ones you can not focus on. At my school, because both computer and library are 50 minute specials, we do not do many research projects. I integrate mini-lessons in my activities and read-alouds but nothing formal. Now, the big-wigs in our profession say that is wrong but I have stopped listening. My school is focused on reading and language arts; not research and technology and that is something I have to work with; not against, or I would be very, very unhappy in my profession. Look closely at the state standards. You will find some which cover research in technology but maybe not enough to justify all the hoop-la we as media folks put into our cries for more collaboration, we're the research experts, we're co-teachers, what about the information literacy standards, etc. The info literacy standards are out of date and even irrelevant. AASL is going to be revamping them in the coming few years so they reflect what we really do. I bet you will see more about students as avid and capable readers...we'll see!

    I-Search is perfect for all levels, k-12 because it is scaffolded learning at its best. When I use informational texts in my read-alouds, I talk about asking and answering questions, how to find the answers to questions, etc. I did the same thing with high school students at summer school last year. Ask questions, seek answers...

  9. Hi Catherine,
    I liked what you said about using the I-Search model instead of the Big6. It makes sense to use a research model to meet the needs of your students. Big6 has been promoted quite a bit so most people are familiar with it's name not purpose.

  10. Hi again, Catherine,

    I read this statement on your eduScapes page, "Catherine is not at all interested in teaching AASL’s Information Literacy Standards and feels the AASL’s position on flexed vs. fixed scheduling does harm to our professionals out there in the fields." Can you expand on this (if you log on, I know I'm late posting this quesiton, sorry) I'm mostly interested in your views on NOT teacher the ILS.

  11. Catherine3:11 PM

    As Elizabeth Winningham commented in one of her postings, if you are teaching the Indiana Academic Standards in language arts, social studies, health, and science (either co-teaching with another teacher or as the basis of your lesson plans in a fixed schedule), you will undoubtedly cover the ILS. There is no doubt that you will. And it is our job to help teachers teach their content and cover the Indiana Academic Standards. Our ILS aren't helpful. Teachers don't have time for them. They are so broad as to be useless. You will be doing an excellent job if you know the Indiana Academic Standards really, really well and plan your lessons around them. We can't ask teachers to teach them or even incorporate them into their lessons. There is no time. Not one extra minute in the day. Teachers have their plates full. And the Info Lit Sstandards aren't covered in the tests. I'm sorry to say it. But that is the reality we face. I think our profession needs to do something different because we preach to ourselves about the Info Lit Standards while kids are googling, teachers are doing their own research projects without the help of the media specialist, no one is interested in evaluating websites but us and all the while we're seeing media specialist jobs cut and face uncertainty with this 65% solution.

    Learn to be sneaky. Teach media literacy. It covers some of the Social Studies standards and lots of the Info Lit Standards. I have resources for Media Literacy on my website: No matter what, though, the most important thing is to teach. Kids need us. They need to be in the library with us. Their classroom teacher doesn't need to be there. We are teachers!

    I guess I feel passionate about this. I promised myself after hearing David Loertscher accuse those of us in fixed positions of not doing a good job that I would never, ever listen to anyone tell me that again. I would get up and walk out. I guess others felt the same way because I know that AIME is not interested in pushing this point right now because it is so hurtful. There are so many media specialists teaching in fixed environments who are doing amazing work with kids. And you've got to have the kids in your library to be teaching them.

  12. Catherine,
    Kudos to you for not watching tv. I have a problem breaking that habit.

    Having kids I`m sure helps you stay in touch with the literature. I work at the public library and see all the time the large amounts of book that kids check out.

  13. Hi Catherine,

    I love what you said about media literacy. This is a topic that I enjoy, and it is just so practical. I think it really teaches important life skills, and it also helps kids develop critical thinking skills. I looked at the resources about media literacy that you offered on your website. I was wondering when you start teaching media literacy to your students? Do you teach it to your youngest kids? Which projects have you found to be your biggest successes?

    Thanks for the recommendation for The Book Thief. What an amazing book.

    I appreciate your passion and your honesty in regard to fixed scheduling. I think so much depends on the grade levels of your school. I can see why this is hurtful to those media specialists (like yourself) who are doing an excellent job. Thanks for encouraging those of us who are on a fixed schedule.