Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Catherine Trinkle - Thurs. Oct. 23 to Sat. Oct. 25 , 2008

Wrapping up this Fall's schedule of virtual guests is Catherine Trinkle of Avon, IN. Catherine is the school media specialist at Hickory Elementary School. She is also the webmaster for Hickory Elementary, and her professional interests center on but are not limited to the effective use of technology and the teaching and promotion of reading. Learn more about Mrs. Trinkle at

Explore the Hickory Elementary School website
Notice that you can connect to the
Media Center and Mrs. Trinkle's Homepage from the menu bar.

Catherine writes for School Library Media Activities Monthly and completes book reviews for Library Media Connection.


  1. Anonymous11:51 AM

    Hello Catherine! I am in my 2nd year as the media specialist at Oak Trace Elementary in Westfield. Before moving into the library, I taught 2nd grade at Oak Trace (and other Westfield elementaries before Oak Trace opened). I absolutely LOVE my new position! Are you on a fixed or flexible schedule? I am on a fixed, but I really like it! I am still able to collaborate with the teachers and integrate lessons with what they are doing in the classroom and I still get to see each child each week! My favorite part is sharing stories with the children! I was just curious to know what your favorite part of being a media specialist was?
    Gracia Lane

  2. Catherine,

    Thanks for blogging with us! I see that you write for School Library Media Activities Monthly and review books for Library Media Connection. How did you get started with these activities?

    What all is involved in reviewing books? I think that would be a great way to keep up on new literature, but I'm wondering if it is a lot of extra work. Do you view these activities as part of your professional work, or are they things you do at home on your own time?


  3. Hello Catherine,
    I am very interested in the Parent Listserv I saw on your web site. Is the listserv provided to you on a subscription basis or is this something your techies have put together? How is the listserv used?

    Please tell your principal, Mr. Collins, hello for me. He left our corporation to come to your school. He was the personnel director when I decided to move from the classroom into the media center.

    Cindy Newton

  4. Catherine,
    I was exploring your sight and found lots of great inforamation. I love the Tumble Books link on the student page. This site is completely new to me, but I will be using it a lot now!! Thank you. I also noticed your overdue policy. "Overdue notices for books 2 or more weeks overdue will be mailed home on the last day of every month so that parents are in the know about their child's overdue books." Just wondered how this is working for you. Do you recover enough to cover the cost of postage? Do the parents respond well to the letter?
    Thanks again for all the great information and resources. Most of all, thank you for your time.

  5. Anonymous4:23 AM

    Good Morning Catherine,
    I love your personal virtual library. Isn't it great to have a job you love? Our corporation does not have media specialists in the elementary schools. Your students are very fortunate.

    Which automation system do you use? Were you involved in the selection process? What do you like most about it and least about it? We're going to have to select a new system/software as we are currently using Winnebago Spectrum.

    What items do you inventory? How do you use the information and your automation system to enhance your program?

    Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. I'm looking forward to your responses.

    Donna Price

  6. First of all, thank you for inviting me to participate. Larry, do you remember sending me a photograph of the elk taken outside your camper? I had a student who loves to hunt and he asked me for the photography when he graduated from our school. And I miss that picture! I would love another one of your large nature photos! It was beautiful and hung right behind where I sit to share stories with the kids. That space is still blank!

    Well, good morning. Donna, I'll respond to you since you are up and running this morning. I love my PVL...Personal Virtual Library. Written by me and for me. It is my homepage and I use it every day. I am such a geek...the webmail link I positioned in such a way that I don't have to move the mouse to click on it each day. Anyway. I use Follett and have used Winnebago, which I still prefer. Winnebago for four years and Follett now over 6 and I still think of some of the advantages of Winnebago. That is a corporation decision, made before I arrived on the scene, and that won't change. I inventory everything once per year. I set Follett to start inventory the first day of school and it keeps track of what has checked out so that counts as being inventoried. Then I scan everything and use that to weed, make purchasing decisions, etc. I am using this as part of a goal this year to get more of my titles circulating. Right now, 48.98% of my titles have circulated. Given that our video circulation is DOWN due to our teachers not having time to cover much social studies/science (please, don't get me is all about the focus on reading skills...please, don't get me started!), as well as other areas that aren't big circulators, we are doing great. Last year, that number was lower as kids kept checking out the same core titles. Again, all this is helping me to make weeding and purchasing decisions. One thing I grapple with, as does every librarian, is whether to buy lots of multipled copies of popular books or to spend money on the long shots. I guess I do a mix. I have 38 copies of the 2 Diary of a Wimpy Kids and they are never available in the library. I get back maybe 4 or 5 per day and they are gone within the first hour every day.

    Hey, Melissa, I don't follow my own overdue policy closely. I wing it. I made these cute postcards to remind students to return their books. I got them "free" from Vistaprint...I just paid for shipping. I never worry about overdues...I don't even care about them, really. I never think about the cost of recovery or postage stamps.
    "We are in the money losing business," said a former principal of mine, and I have never worked for a principal who cared about lost books. Sure, you'll lose some money every year through lost books, but I promise you that administrators don't care about that! I rarely even charge parents, unless the dog really ate it or it was left out in the rain.

    Tumblebooks is great. I have 45 and 50 minute specials. I never collaborate. Hate to burst your bubble but if you are elementary there is a good chance that will be your reality. For first grade, the special is too long. I panic every week, after 6 1/4 years, about how to fill up the time. I use Tumblebooks for the last 5 or 6 minutes. The kids love 'em.

    I have been fortunate to get to teach in the library at Avon High School the last 3 years. That saves my sanity because I get to teach the research process. I have it down to 16 steps I can articulate, demonstrate, and model using a visual presenter, computer/projector, and Smart Board. All visual, all the time. The kids have let me know they like it and it works for them; they learn how to write a research paper! I have 3 articles coming out next year in School Library Media Activites Monthly detailing how when we teach research, we are helping students apply their essential reading skills: summarizing and notetaking, determinig importance, determining author's purpose, using graphic organizers, asking and answering questions, etc. This is my pride and joy, and it would be great in my future to be able to combine the two key aspect of school librarianship, reading AND research, into one job :)

    Grace, right now my favorite part of the job is the kids. My relationships are so strong this year. I have this boy for whom I have love in my heart. He is Hispanic, with limited parental support, and he is a rocket scientist. During a class discussion on needs and wants, I asked kids to give examples of each, and he said he wants books in the house. So I bought him some books and the look on his face and the hug I got were so awesome. I bought him more of his favorite...all the Frog and Toad books at Barnes & Noble...and gave them to him yesterday and he just put his arms around me while we looked at them. Then I listened to him read and was so content to be there, not thinking of all I have to do, but enjoying being in the moment, Ekhart Tolle- style. Hey, the kid doesn't have a mom. I can't replace her but I can make sure he takes the books off his want list!

    Mandy, as you can see, I love to write! That is how I got started writing articles for professional journals. I had to get my mind around the enormous implications of the National Reading Panel's work and so wrote my way to understanding their recommended five components of reading instruction. I sent it to a professor and then I contacted Larry to get his insight into how it works. It is an extra, as is reviewing books. I find summarizing to be extremely difficult. But we ask our kids to do it (a fundamental reading skill) so I make myself do the reviews. It is helpful knowing some of the new titles, too, but mostly I do it because it makes me do what we ask the kids to do, and that helps me be a better teacher.

    Well, my hair color has set...time to rinse out! Have a great day, everyone!

  7. Anonymous5:54 AM

    Good morning, Catherine,

    Thank you for taking time to blog with us this week!

    I was exploring your media center's webpage and have a few questions. First, I really like your program of cart kids to get the books back to the library before the classes come down to check out more -- how did that get started?

    Also, I saw that you allow parents to check out books under their name -- is this something that happens often? Why have you opened it up for parents?

    One other thing that stood out to me was your inclusion of I-Search -- what made I-Search a better research/inquiry method for your school? Do teachers actively engage their students in I-Search projects and collaborate with you on them?

    Thank you,

  8. Catherine,
    I know the exact elk photograph that you are talking about and I will be happy to replace that one plus add two more wildlife photographs of different animals - - I'm thinking of a fantastic shot of a group of bighorn sheep taken a few miles from the location where the elk was photographed (Both in Rocky Mountain National Park but taken a couple of years apart) and either a buffalo or mule deer print. Still carrying a camera with me anytime I'm out hiking and exploring.

    Your query reminds me to setup a page of thumbnails and let all the virtual guests select a photo print (something that I have thought about but not yet done). Give them the option and let also them choose from a select group. Thanks. lj

  9. Anonymous9:29 AM


    In your reply to someone else's post, you said that you get to teach at the high school. Which age level do you like working with the best? I know that the elementary students and the high school students are a huge jump, how to you make that jump and then tone it back down when you go back to the elementary kids?

    Thanks for taking the time out to talk with us.

  10. Anonymous4:15 PM

    I talked with another librarian who had a webpage up and she used Dreamweaver. Is that what you use? I am interested in creating a page just for the library. How much time is involved in keeping up with the site?

    Kristi L.

  11. Kara, hi! Cart Kids fit a need...the need to get books back fast. Everything we do in the library has a purpose and is the result of meeting a need. I probably read about Cart Kids in Tips and Bright Ideas in Library Media Connection. Yes, parents check out. Maybe 10 a year. I have been a resource for parents who want to learn more about their kid's reading, reading levels, authors, and interests. I make the library available and user friendly because that is just good PR.

    Kara & Kelly, I am so into I-Search. I was SO pleased to see it referenced in Robert Marzano's Building Background Knowedge for Academic Achievement, my new favorite professional book. EVERY school librarian should read it! Kara, I do NO collaboration at my school. Sad, but true. Why lie? Kelly, that is why I love teaching at the high school. But even there, because I am used to being the only teacher, I certainly become the "lead teacher" and the classroom teacher has little to do; I do all the lesson planning and instruction, again using lots of technology. And those teachers at the high school have responded very favorably. Collaboration is a big-old guilt trip in a lot of ways. I told myself several years ago after sitting in a self-esteem killing David Loertscher workshop that I would never let another LMS professional guilt me again. I can't help the system I am in. There is so much chance involved in the school you finally work in. We choose our jobs by reputation, location, and the luck of a job opening. Change it? I can't and if I worked to, I'd get fired. Sorry, David, but I 'aint gonna get fired! So I work in the system as best I can. Which age level do I prefer? If I could teach in a K-12school, I would be in HEAVEN! It is no problem at all to go from second grade to tenth grade. They have the same needs (they want to be liked and they want to have a nice time with you) and the research steps are the same. With the younger kids, you have to do more scaffolding but with ALL kids, I have learned from my classroom teacher friends, you must model, model, model.

    Kristi, I used to use Dreamweaver and now our school system has adopted School Fusion which is just a big 'ole template. I miss the creativity but it is nice, too, that I have no option anymore to devote hours and hours to web creation, as I used to, because that is time I give to my daughters now.

    Larry, thank you for sending the photographs! Just to think that the elk picture will be hanging again thrills me. I can visualize it still. I never thought I would get a replacement so it is a treat for me to get back something like that... a one-of-a-kind photograph.

  12. Anonymous7:15 AM

    Hi Catherine,
    I noticed that you do games with the Smartboard. I just learned about the Smartboard during my school media center visits the last couple of weeks. It is a really neat tool! It has been several years since I have been teaching and what an upgrade from an overhead projector! Anyway, I was wondering in what other ways you use it for media center lessons? I talked to one library aide who used it to teach searching the online catalog.

  13. Hi Mrs. Trinkle! I am really interested in knowing about your podcasts! How did you set it up, and was their any resistance from the rest of the faculty/principal to the idea? How is it being received now? Are people interested in it? Thanks!

  14. Anonymous1:38 PM

    Thanks for your input on Winnebaago vs. Follett. I really liked the Destiny Quest online catalog from of patron viewpoint. It's user friendly and so visually appealing.

    I don't lose any sleep over lost books either. I don't do as much collaborating as I'd like, but it's going to take awhile to get more teachers on board.

    Love your I Search page. I've been trying to decide which model to promote. You've created a quick guide that I'm going to use. It's now a link on my professional toolkit. Thanks!

    How do you prioritize what gets done and what has to wait? I should be doing inventory, weeding and building a virtual library - and I'm no webmaster. Students' and teachers' needs always come first. Nine hour days are the most I can give at this point in my life.

    When I started this job 2 years ago I was ready to set the world on fire. Now I'm content just to keep the coals smoldering. Sounds like a love affair gone bad..Hopefully the AIME Conference will be enlightening and inspiring!

    Thanks for all your advice.


    Donna Price

  15. Anonymous5:31 PM

    Hey Mrs. Trinkle

    I like the idea of posting the audio of kids reports on your webpage but are there any kind of privacy issues you have to face. I think it would be a great tool, and I know if I was a kid I would feel big being on the internet but is there permission you need to have granted or anything like that?

    Chad Gish

  16. Jennifer, check back on my website next week. I will post some PowerPoint games I have made for the Smartboard. They are fun! I also use it for Orientation and at the high school in the summers for research; high school students are "wowed" by it just as elementary students are.

    I used to do so much with Podcasts. I had "Radio Hickory" for awhile and the kids even interviewed author Lola Schaefer (Arrowhawk). School FUsion is new for us so I'm slow to get back into Podcasting. There is no resistance; of course, no one has time to do this so it is just one more thing out there that would be great to do if there were time :) I have a digital voice recorder with built-in USB port so I have done Podcasts for teachers, from recording, to editing, to posting. But again, time is the factor. Which makes Donna's comments great for me to read. I, too, am smoldering. For so many years I was on fire to do! To create! To try new things! But I ended up alone with all my cool creations and gadgets wondering why I was all alone and not having any fun. So I have just let go, Ekhart Tolle style (can you tell he has really influenced me??). He says for situations which are difficult or troublesome you can either accept it, change it, or walk away. Well, I love my job, though I am not doing 1/2 of what I want to do. So I'm not walking away. I can't change it. I can make small changes but I can't change the structure because there are too many other people involved. So I have worked very hard this year, since the summer, to accept. And I'm having a great year, as I said, most especially with the kids. I have recieved more "rounds of applause" and more hugs than usual and it must be because I am trying to do my very best with the task at hand, whatever that task is, and not worrying (or feeling guilty, which is hard not to feel whenever you read a professional journal, it seems! They're going after the wrong people. Go after the administrators; not me! I'm just a foot soldier). This doesn't always work...I have to be careful about what I expose myself to, sadly.

    I so admire people who work for change...people in the trenches...but I'm not one of those people. I have tried and gotten smacked down. So I have to put all that energy I have somewhere else, and right now, it is on the work I do in the library for the kids.

    Hey! Check out my own personal blog to see the kind of work I really want to do:

    The video is done on my Flip. The sound files (listen to Sophia the Reader ~ it is so funny) are done on a digital voice recorder and edited with Audacity.

  17. I guess you have to cute and paste the link; I put in but that doesn't work. Anybody know the code for making links in the comments section? Thanks!

  18. Your comments on weeding/inventory are very interesting. I am currently involved in a large weeding project, but have found no simple way to do inventory. Scanning everything is very time consuming and takes away from doing other things with our space. Do you have volunteers or certain times of year that you do these things?

    Sarah Rainey

  19. Anonymous7:54 AM

    Hi Catherine,
    I saw where you have an author visit coming up. I never thought of an author coming to a school. I just think of them visiting bookstores and an occasional public library. Is this your first author visit? How do you go about getting them to come to your school?
    Also, what other fundraisers do you have and who initiates them?

  20. Anonymous10:51 AM

    Hi Catherine,
    It's been great to read your honest comments about the realities of being a media specilist. My question is this: What sources do you use to do Collection Development? Do you have ways to gain input from your students, teachers?

  21. Hi, Chad! I have solved the privacy issue. I call parents on the phone and tell them about the project, get them excited, let them know Grandma can see/hear it, and state that I just need an okay from them. I have never been turned down.

    I sort of think we need to move past this issue. Parents trust us with the lives of their kids. We'll do good by them. And there is so much we can and should be doing with technology that we aren't. Blocking kids from so much so that they go home and freak out with the unblocked/unsupervised Net means trouble and that is what we are doing. We teach them to drive at school but block the Information Superhighway. Mistakes will be made, but we need to have a little more trust that the kids and parents can handle it. We have to teach kids how to deal with the crap they will come across so that they can handle it at home and in college. I lay awake at night worrying that China is going to be the new superpower, and my kids aren't going to have the knowledge base they need to compete.

    Sarah, know your collection and weed constantly. Don't wait. Take several weeks to inventory so you aren't rushed and can use it to make purchasing and weeding selections. Two years ago I did it all myself and that was the best approach because I learned so much! I weeded as I went and kept Titlewave open to add titles as I scanned for inventory.

    Jennifer, I have had lots of author visits: Helen Lester (Tacky the Penguin), Rhonda Gowler Greene (Google her name and visit her website; she was our BEST author visit), Lola M. Schaefer (Arrowhawk), and in February we'll have April Pulley Sayre. Author Visits are great for the school and reading motivation and a big motivator for me. I do lots of weeks of activities leading up to the visit and really get the kids excited. If you need help with this, call Shirley at Kids Ink and ask her to help you get somebody in whom you can afford. She will take care of stocking books for you to sell. Then advertise, advertise, advertise and enjoy the visit! They are easy and there are websites with advice for you if you are new to author visits.

    Keithia, for Collection Development, I read, read, read the reviews; you will see patterns and titles pop up on the best sources and awards list. I also buy multiple copies of popular books... for example, if I read aloud The Hickory Chair or The LIon and the Little Red Bird, all copies will get checked out all year so with books in my lessons, I have to get multiple copies. I also do book reviews so that helps with a few titles. When kids make recommendations, I open Titlewave and add it. I start my list in January, the day after I place my big January order. Then I will order with book fair money things that pop up. I always have money reserved for the unknown. I call this my "Titanic Fund." When I was in the L551 class I think..the how to be a school library media specialist class with Danny Callison, who to this day continues to have a positive and powerful influence on me (and I haven't talked to him in several years!), a librarian named Ellen from Spencer shared that she had NO money and the movie Titanic had come out over the summer. So she fretted about starting school in August with no Titanic books. And of course, that was a missed opportunity to connect kids with books because that movie was huge. So I always have my "Titanic Fund" to buy whatever I didn't expect in January. Like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. I was able to buy 38 from my "Titanic Fund" and they are just out the door every morning by 10:00.

    Teacher input? I'll take it whenever it is offered but our teachers, like all of yours, are swamped. They rely on me to buy the best books and tell them what they are when they ask. They trust me. I have an annual "Breakfast with Books" a couple of weeks after my big January order comes in. I ask for donations and the teachers are great about this, and I set up all the books by categories like sports, animal books, nonfiction, very popular don't-miss'-em, and I also invite the administrative team from central office and it is always so nice. Teachers/administrators see about $7,000 worth of books, get book lists that I create and make available, eat breakfast, and mostly talk. Seeing so many the new books at once excites them and gives them ideas for curriculum connections. The Junior Library Guild salesperson just can't get over that I don't use them. She tells me every year, "but you're the only one out here who doesn't use us." But honestly, I don't have any money to. I already have lists going that spend all my money, I don't need someone else to choose the books for me. I think they do a great job, but their titles are already on my list based on the reviews I read.

  22. I hope it isn't too late to ask a question!

    I was just wondering if you host any programs at your library, like Battle of the Books. I know you work in an elementary school, so Battle of the Books might not be as feasible.

    And as just a general question, do your daughters love reading as much as you do? I hope when I have kids of my own I will impart on them a love of reading. Lead by example, right?

    Thanks for answering all of our questions!

    Lauren Wiley

  23. Anonymous6:58 AM

    Just one more question if you're still checking the blog.
    What is Titlewave?

    Donna Price

  24. Hey, Lauren! This year, during "I Love to Read Week," over Valentine's Day week, we're hosting a Book Parade. Each class will make costumes and signs, etc. and a couple of kids from each class will walk in the parade with the majority of the kids lining the halls to be the spectators. I also have a Laura Ingalls Wilder Birthday Party on Februry 8 or close to that date for fourth grade girls. All usually attend. I make name cards on the computer for each girl and read that chapter from Little Town on the Prairied and then they trade cards and eat cake...yum! I also always celebrate Read Across America on March 2 with a pajama day at school. I promote our "Hickory 13" which are the 13 most popular books at Hickory with loads of interactive book talks, but no program. I've done Young Hoosier in the past but I have moved away from it...that is a huge investement in 20 titles that circulate for only one to two years and you have to keep buying the new ones each year. Only some are "best books" so I work to promote a sort of cannon for each grade every year, always adding best books to that cannon.

    Lauren, my girls love to read. I am sure I have spent many, many thousands of dollars on books for my girls. It is funny, but they Dibeled so low and ARed so low when they came into school. But they were raised Whole Language and the result is my third grader is GT and the first grader, who just got her low, low scores, is doing exactly what her sister did so I have no doubt that she will be an amazing reader as well. When my eldest was in first grade and I got all her many, many low scores at Parent-Teacher Conferences, I cried buckets of tears and cursed the early-childhood experts I listened to. No t.v.! No worksheets! No drill-and-skill! Read and talk! Read and talk! I followed all that advice, cursed it all when I got the low scores, and now my 9 year old reads faster than I do and both girls have beautiful reading comprehension. Hee, hee...sorry to those experts for all the cusing; they were right!

    Donna, Titlewave is Follett's online ordering site. You can create lists and keep them going, keep track of orders/invoices, etc., and importantly, look up books. It is a nice system.