Sunday, September 30, 2007

Blog Interaction with Janette Fluharty - Mon. Oct. 1 to Wed. Oct. 3, 2007

Janette Fluharty is the first SLMS joining class members for this semester's blog discussions (She was the final virtual guest during last year's class). This year is Janette's third year as library media specialist at Avon Intermediate School East, Avon, IN.

Visit her school's
media center pages at http://media-center.avon-east.schoolfusion.us/

Learn more about Janette's experience and interests at http://eduscapes.com/sms/overview/fluharty.html

Janette has again generously agreed to share her insights and practical ideas about her school library program and any other topics related to school library media.

28 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:39 PM

    Hello, Janette. Thank you for allowing us to interact with you. I am originally from Hendricks County, but when I was there, Avon was just a tiny burg with a flasher light. (I was a cheerleader at ballgames when we competed against the Orioles.) I have never participated in blogging, so I am not sure of what to do.
    I really like your media web page. Who maintains it? Do you? If you keep the web page up-to-date, do you do it outside of regular school hours? Our LMS rarely has a half hour of “uninterrupted” time, so I do not know when she could take care of a webpage. How many students are in your intermediate school? I am in a middle school with 950 students in two grades (7 & 8.) Bev, SLIS 671

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  2. Jannette,
    I live in your neck of the woods (Plainfield) and I teach 5th grade in Brownsburg. However, I am currently taking the year off to stay home with my son who was just born in June. I am trying to finish my Media Specialist certificate while staying at home. Well enough about me :-)

    I really enjoyed looking over your website. It is extremely helpful that parents can access parentlink through your site. I am always getting questions about that.

    I do have a question for you. I noticed on your website that you are having a cookie party for those students who can prove they have read three books. I was wondering how you have the students prove what they have read? As a teacher I always struggle with finding ways to hold students accountable during free reading. Our school uses the "Reading Counts" program (similar to AR) but I find that some students still struggle with these tests even if they really have read the books. I would love any suggestions you might have for quick and easy ways to assess free reading.

    Thank you,

    Brooke

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  3. Anonymous8:42 PM

    Hi Bev! I am happy to interact with all of you! Avon was a tiny burg when I moved here too!

    Thanks for the comments about my media page. I maintain it. Our corporation is using School Fusion for all our web pages and it's pretty easy to use. Usually, I log-in from home and keep it updated outside my regular hours. After setting up all the basics, it really isn't too labor intensive. I took a class with Larry's wife, Annette, and learned about web design. It was in that class that I created a media center website. Since then, I've just tweaked and added to what I created in her class.

    There are about 650+ students at East. I see 24 scheduled classes each week and also maintain an open/flexible schedule for research and special projects.

    Nice blogging with you!

    Janette

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  4. Anonymous8:56 PM

    Hello Brooke!

    You probably drive past my school on your way to work! Congratulations on your baby! I did the same thing you are doing. While on adoptive leave, I completed my MLS and when I was ready to return to work I took the media specialist (I prefer Teacher/Librarian. :-)) position at East. It was the BEST decision I've ever made. Good luck. If you ever need anything, I'd be happy to help!

    Good questions. I give the students several options for how they can prove they read their books. In the past, one of those options was to take an AR test. Since my corporation will not be using AR after this year, we are trying to encourage students to choose others ways to prove they read their books. If a student doesn't pass an AR test, I give them other choices to prove he/she read the book. Additional options students can choose from include: presenting a short book talk, completing a Grab and Go advertisement, creating a Top Ten list, creating their own ten question quiz over the book, completing a reading log for two weeks, Book Blitz (Think of book talks meet speed dating., and a few others. My files are at school but if you go to my website tomorrow, where it says Battle of the Books List, I'll post samples for some of the things I mentioned above. I hope this is helpful!

    Janette

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  5. Anonymous9:06 PM

    Greeting everyone in S671!

    I had an awesome day today and I thought I would share it with you! In preparation for this year's Battle of the Books, I am book talking 30 of this year's Young Hoosier Books this week and next week. Today, I felt like a movie star. After I presented my book talks, the kids were so excited to get the books they were practically swarming me! There's just something great about kids being excited and actually arguing over who gets to check out which book! It's new to my fifth graders but the sixth graders participated in Battle of the Books last year so they already knew what was coming and have been begging me for the books since the first weeks of school. I have a picture of a kid who was a victim of one of my book talks. I'll post on my website when I get to school tomorrow.

    Look forward to more blogging tomorrow!

    Janette

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  6. I have experienced the run on the Young Hoosier Books. I am curious, how do you decide how many of each of these books to get? Do you purchase the same number of each?
    Also, what details do you think go into an excellent book talk?

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

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  7. Anonymous5:51 AM

    Hello Janette,

    Thank you for giving us this opportunity to talk with you. One of my jobs is to update the library website, so I was very interested to see your site.

    I live in Tokyo and I work in the library of a private international school. This is my first month on the job. I am also from the United Kingdom (England).

    The school is Catholic and English speaking. The curriculum is American based and also offers the International Baccalaureate program. There are over 50 nationalities at the school.

    The school library program is entirely in English and based around the mission of the school. However, with so many students from different countries, religions and cultures (all students are at least bilingual), I feel we could do more with this multicultural environment.

    I have a few ideas, but was wondering how you would approach such a situation.

    Thank you.

    Karl, SLIS 671

    PS I hope this works. All of the fonts on this page are in Japanese!

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  8. Anonymous5:56 AM

    Hello Janette,

    Sorry to bother you again so soon.

    You sound like an excellent 'book talker.' This is something I have yet to do.

    Do you have any advice for a novice librarian on giving book talks?

    Thank you.

    Karl SLIS 671

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  9. Anonymous8:23 AM

    When deciding how many of each book to purchase I usually consider:
    1. How popular do I think the book will be? Some books I know will be hits. I definitely buy 20 - 30 of those books.
    2. Sometimes I find a really good price on a book, maybe through a book club order or at the book fair. If I can get it really cheap, I buy lots of copies. Those are ones I buy to give as incentives.
    3. If it's something I know teacher's will be able to use in the future for literature circles, I buy extra copies.
    4. Money is a consideration so if I can only purchase it in hardback, I don't buy as many copies.
    5. Seems like there is always a book that surprises me. One I don't think the kids will like that they are just crazy about. I try to leave money set aside to purchase more of that book.

    I have anywhere from 10 to 30 copies of each of the books on my list this year.

    There are several things that make a great book talk. First of all, try to think of a terrific hook, a great first statement. Whenever possible, use props and include the students. I've dressed them in all sorts of things as part of my book talks. They LOVE that and it sticks with them. It's important to find something about the book that kids will connect to and remember.

    At the end, I try to leave them with an unanswered question about the story so they want to read to find out what happened.

    Janette

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  10. Anonymous8:35 AM

    Karl,

    Check out Nancy Keane’s website. She has TONS of book talks to help spark your own creativity. The Colorado Booktalking site it helpful too. Sometimes it helps to see what others are doing.
    As I said in a previous post, I find the most memorable/fun book talks are the ones where I involve the students. I’ve dressed them up as Spy Cat, sprinkled them with glitter, used dry ice, grossed them out with a hairy rat, had them read things, etc. They LOVE it. It’s important to try to keep them guessing and on the edge of their seats.
    Of course, every book talk can’t be all bells and whistles. So this week, when I’m book talking 15 books, I try to alternate and spread out my best book talks. I have a great one for the beginning and a great one for the end and in the middle I just spread out the ones I like best.

    Hope this helps.
    Janette

    Colorado Booktalking
    http://booktalkingcolorado.ppld.org/default.asp

    Nancy Keane
    http://nancykeane.com/booktalks/

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  11. Anonymous8:45 AM

    Karl,

    What a fascinating job you must have! Here are a few ideas off the top of my head. I’ll have to think about this one for a while.

    Book Clubs: Read books from the various cultures, religions, etc. and discuss them. You could invite speakers to talk to the club. Students in the club could participate in fun research projects to go along with the book and learn more. You could create a wiki or blog to use as a discussion forum for your book club. You might be able to find virtual pen pals.

    Create displays and book talks showcasing the diversity. I have display cases where students bring in collections from home and we display their items. The student writes a blurb about the collection and we include it in the display case.

    Initiate collaborative projects with teachers where these rich cultures, religions, etc. can be explored and celebrated.

    What about a culture fair?

    Hope this is helpful.
    Janette

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  12. Hello Janette,
    Thanks for allowing us to interact with you! I am pursuing my MLS and have no experience yet in the library setting, so I could probably drive you insane with a million questions, but I will not do that! LOL!
    I have a question for you concerning the general area of collections. I recenty joined the listserv LM_NET, and have noticed several questions regarding graphic novels for the school library collection. Additionally, I have recently visited a middle school library in Elkhart, Indiana where I reside. The school library media specialist had a beautiful display of graphic novels for the students to easily observe. The display consisted of a tall bookcase set aside from other materials. A colorful sign titled "Graphic Novels," hovered over the bookcase and the figure of Superman stood on top of the case. I was not able to ask the media specialist about the display at the time. Therefore, my question to you is, do you include graphic novels in your collection? If so, how do you go about choosing the novels? And, if you do have graphic novels has there been any controversy over them from students, parents, administration, etc.?
    Thanks!!
    Michele Linn, SLIS 671

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  13. Anonymous3:50 PM

    I think it is a great idea to use alternative tests for the AR program. I think a book talk is the best solution. First, it shows that the student read the book. Second, it helps with public speaking, which I think everyone needs help with for real life. Third, it gets kids excited about reading. If the book talk is really good, it will convince other kids to read the same book. Creating demand for a title is a great way to get a book in a child's hand. Their peers are making the suggestion instead of some adult. I also suggest keeping a list on a bulleting board of what each student has read for the week, and what who wants to read it next. --Courtney Klueh

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  14. Anonymous3:59 PM

    Karl,
    I also suggest observing someone doing a book talk. I think my co-worker, Melissa, does a great job! She practices on me all the time, and I always want to read the book after she's done. She usually starts with a question, or a quote from the book. The question can be something the students answer, which will get them involved in the discussion. She also brings several copies of the book with her to the schools, so students can check them out right away. That way, they don't have to hunt for them in the library. Then, she'll make a waiting list if there aren't enough copies to go around.

    I think she chooses books that she really liked reading. It is vital that you have actually read the book before doing a book talk. Share your enthusiasm! --Courtney Klueh

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  15. Janette-

    I am a new midle school media specialist. The outgoing librarian kept very busy with the "administrative" duties of the job- book-keeping, book shelving, purchase orders, overdues, etc. I would like to shift this position into one of more collaboration and interaction with teachers and studenst. The problem is that the teachers aren't being very receptive- not that they aren't nice- I just don't think they realize what I would like to do for them. I have emailed out and offered to help on specific projects that they are working on, but the ball just isn't rolling. No one is taking the bait.

    I would love to hear any advice you have regarding:

    1. making a library program your own and not continuing in the footsteps of those before you

    AND

    2. regarding collaboration. How do you get it started when it seems like each time you reach out, no one reaches back?

    Lora

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  16. Anonymous7:07 PM

    Annette,
    I was interested in your idea of dressing up STUDENTS for book talks. I had planned to be in costume myself, but I had not considered asking students to dress up. I am not sure many "cool" eighth graders would do this. Do you have better luck with the younger students? How about boys vs girls? Thanks, Bev

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  17. Anonymous7:12 PM

    Annette,
    I am also interested in your answer to Lora's question about collaboration. Since you are so new to the job, how do you get the more experienced teachers willing to work with you?
    Bev, SLIS 671

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  18. Anonymous9:10 PM

    Michele,

    Good evening! I have a fledgling graphic novel collection. My students LOVE it. Since I work with 5th and 6th graders I am cautious about what I choose. I read reviews and articles and generally go by the rating/grade level recommendations for them if one is provided.

    I haven't had any controversy from parents or administration but a few teachers have raised their eyebrows at them. If that happens, I try to open a discussion about them so that teachers can see the benefits of having graphic novels as part of the collection.

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  19. Anonymous9:18 PM

    Courtney,

    You made a really good point when you said that peer recommendations are important.

    One of the teachers at my school created a "Grab and Go" book flyer with his Lang. Arts classes. Picture the advertisements you see in grocery stores where there are little tabs at the bottom with contact information for whatever service the flyer is advertising. If you are interested, you pull off one of the little tabs. His students created an advertisement for a book they read and put the title and author on little tear off tabs all along the bottom of the flyer. The teacher posted these on bulletin boards by the gym and it's been a huge success. Kids stopped, read the flyers and brought the little tabs to the media center to look for the books. It was such I fabulous idea that I'm stealing it to use with other classes. I think it was such a fun way for students to recommend books to each other.

    Janette

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  20. Anonymous9:49 PM

    Lora,

    Hi! Maybe you need a grand opening of the new media center!


    1. making a library program your own and not continuing in the footsteps of those before you

    One thing to consider is the physical appearance of your media center. When I started my job three years ago, I changed the decor and physical arrangement of the media center so that it reflects my personality. Just making it look different makes a statement.

    Next, I kept some of the existing programs for the first year but also made sure to introduce my own new ideas and programs. By the second year, I surveyed the staff about what they liked and wanted. Then, I pretty much did my own thing. I try to be consistant with the other 5/6 building but I do what fits my style and personality.

    Try new things and make it your own! :-)

    2. regarding collaboration. How do you get it started when it seems like each time you reach out, no one reaches back?

    I think it will take time to change the mindset of the teachers at your school. If they believe your job is that of keeper of the books, it will take time to change that perception.

    Have you tried just showing up at their doors, saying I want to collaborate with you and make your job easier? What can I do? Face to face interaction is so important.

    What about sending out little e-mail messages saying things like:
    Science teachers: Are you getting ready to teach about ABC? Did you know I can help by selecting resources? I can co-teach this project with you. Then, elaborate on this a little bit. Maybe something each week.

    Learn the curriculum, buy books and materials for units you know they'll be teaching and take them to the teachers when they come in. Suggest appropriate websites or databases, etc.

    Are there one or two teachers you could target and just be relentless? Drop by, ask what they will be working on next. Come back the next day with good resources and activity/project suggestions. Drop an article in their mailboxes, etc. I've found if you get one teacher to work with you, they'll talk about what you did with other teachers and that helps lay the groundwork for pulling in more teachers.

    Do your teachers have grade level or team meetings? Could you ask to attend the meetings so you can find ways to collaborate? Just keep sending the message that you want to collaborate with them over and over and over again.

    Janette

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  21. Anonymous9:56 PM

    Bev,

    I've found there are almost always kids who are shameless and will do anything for a laugh. I make a big deal of picking a kid to "help" me. Then, I ask if he's ready for the consequences. Does he want to change his mind? Etc. They seem to eat it up, both boys and girls.

    I always make sure to pick someone who's volunteering. I guess if no one volunteered I'd dress up myself. Both my 5th and my 6th graders love it and I have more than enough students who are eager to be my "helper".

    Janette

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  22. Anonymous10:00 PM

    Bev,

    One thing I've noticed with more experienced teachers is that they aren't always comfortable with technology. Sometimes that's a good way to hook them. I offer to make the technology side of things work and they are glad for the help. Then, I have my foot in the door. :-)

    Janette

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  23. Anonymous8:18 AM

    Someone asked about the different ways students can "prove" they read their books. I added templates for some of the activites we use at East. You'll find it under the Resources link on my website.

    I will update and add to it as the year progresses.

    Janette

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  24. Janette,
    I know it's a little late but if you're out there I wanted to say thanks for your suggestions. I think you gave me some great ideas for ways that I can try to expand the collaboration-
    I'm already reading the team minutes but visiting the meetings is a great idea.
    The other ideas are all going to be useful as well- relentless is the word you used- I guess I'm just going to have to embrace it!

    Additionally, thanks for the "makeover" library suggestions- you're right that a little says a lot!

    Lora

    PS- Love the grap and go idea! Thanks for sharing!

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  25. Hello once again Janette!
    Thanks for the input on graphic novels. I have another quick question for you. I noticed that on your mission statement, you stated that the media center program "promotes a warm, inviting atmosphere where students, teachers, and parents are encouraged and empowered to become life-long learners and effective users of information, ideas, and technology through a collaborative relationship between the media center and the classroom." Note: Above is the mission statement for anyone else who hasn't already read it one Janette's media center's website.
    Janette, the middle school I visited had recently introduced a new professional room for teachers and faculty only. The seperate room held several professional resources including journals, books, dvds, etc.
    Janette, since your mission statement mentions that your program also encourages teachers and parents to utilize it's resources to become lifelong learners, do you have anything like the school I mentioned above for the teachers, parents, etc. at your library? Do you have a seperate faculty room? Do you provide professional resources for teachers? Do you provide any specific materials, services for the parents?
    Thanks so much!
    Michele

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  26. Anonymous6:38 PM

    "Grab and Go" is a great idea! I work at a public library, so I may try something like that on my bulletin board. I'm always looking for new ideas to incorporate.

    The top half could be a review by a student or even staff to get the ball rolling. If staff starts, we could add quotes from kids who have read it.

    Thanks Again--Courtney Klueh

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  27. Anonymous8:24 PM

    Michele,

    Hi!
    Yes, we have a Professional Learning Center, an extra classroom, where we have staff meetings and professional development days. The professional collection is housed in that room. I purchase items for this collection and maintain it. My principal buys things for it that go along with our literacy initiatives for the professional collection too.
    This fall I reorganized it into categories like: Lang. Arts, Math, Science, Classroom Mang., etc. Then, I bought some big author blocks (I'm not sure if that's the correct name.) and put labels on the blocks on fluorescent yellow paper. The teachers really like it and think it's much easier to find what they are looking for.

    We have a small parent collection that is housed in the counselor's office.

    Janette

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  28. Thanks for the information Janette! It was nice blogging with you!!
    Michele

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