September 29, 2017

Had a wonderful first day at Maywood Hills Elementary working with school library media specialist extraordinaire, Renee Huizenga. We first sat down to discuss some of the goals that I hope to achieve during my time there. At first it was difficult to narrow it down, as there are so many learning opportunities that this experience offers. We ultimately decided that I would focus on three areas.

First, I would like to broaden my understanding of how a school library program as a whole is executed. To achieve this, I plan to gain a better handle on Follett Destiny, the school library management program used by the Northshore School District (NSD) and many others. I have had some experience with it as a substitute teacher, though there are certain functions and features that I hope to become more familiar with such as circulating, cataloging, and reporting. I would also like insight into resources that are utilized by Renee and her students when it comes to planning, teaching, and learning.

Next, I am itching for some hands-on collection development/management experience. Renee and I discussed the fact that the school’s contemporary realistic fiction was in need of some new titles that are reflective of the needs of students. We decided that I would evaluate the current collection and put together a list of newer CRF recommendations with the potential to actually purchase. We also spoke about the potential for weeding projects, as well as those that would allow me to take part in processing materials from start to finish. Looking forward to spending some time in the stacks and literally getting my hands dirty!

The last area that I wish to focus on is planning for instruction in the school library setting and creating opportunities to develop my professional practices through meaningful learning experiences. Renee and I agreed that it would be great to do some interactive read alouds and booktalks over the course of the fieldwork. I cannot wait to get back into teaching mode after being a stay-at-home mom and student for the past few years!

It feels good to be back in the classroom and I am so excited for the new understandings that this DFW will bring! Below are some photos of Maywood’s library, Renee has done such an amazing job creating this space. One of the most incredible features is its makerspace, which I’ll introduce properly in a future blog post!

P.S. I got to put together a fall-themed display in the front window today which was a lot of fun! Kids were very interested in it!


October 6, 2017

Today I had the opportunity to get back in the teaching saddle and it was amazing! Read Madeline Finn and the Library Dog (Papp, 2016) to two Kinder classes using a Fantastic Agenda Board (FAB) to support learners. The FAB is a great way to teach vocabulary, library skills, and critical thinking and was developed by Dave Sonnen, a committee member of the Washington Children’s Choice Picture Book Awards. For more information, please click here.

I began by going over features of the text itself, such as author/illustrator and how to interpret the information found on its spine label. We then discussed some of words that we’d come across in the story that may be unfamiliar, defining them and sharing connections to activate background knowledge and build upon schema. During the read aloud, I made sure to pause at certain moments and encourage students to make predictions and inferences about the text. Thankfully the Kindergartners were mostly attentive and never know with that age group!

I also had some time to start exploring the fiction section, looking for titles that are considered diverse contemporary realistic fiction. It’s a time consuming process but it’s been beneficial in giving me a sense of the collection. Made it through about two shelves but was only able to find a handful that fit the criteria that I established:

  • Currency – Published in the past 10 years
  • Content – Not dated or set during a particular time period; focuses on issues that affect today’s youth; features previously unheard points of view; free of stereotypes and bias
  • Character – Diverse protagonists
  • Quality – At least two favorable reviews, awards, and/or recognition from reputable sources (e.g., SLJ, Hornbook)

Stay tuned for updates on this ongoing project!

October 13, 2017

Continued to evaluate Maywood’s collection of contemporary realistic fiction (CRF) today. It’s been a somewhat slow process, as I first must determine the genre and then decide if it fits within the established criteria. Since I probably won’t be able to make it through the entire fiction section, Renee and I decided that I would make note of any books that meet the definition of CRF in terms of currency, content, and character and then use the catalog to search for similar titles within the school and across the district. This way, I’ll be able to better determine what is presently available and what gaps may exist. More detail into this search process can be found here.
I also had the chance to observe an excellent lesson involving the book Thunder Boy Jr. (Alexie, 2016). Renee began by talking a little bit about the author and illustrator, sharing pictures and some details about who they are and the work that they have done. Renee then showed videos of Pow Wow Dancing. At first there were a few giggles, but she did a great job of explaining how special this tradition is, and soon they were captivated and asking all sorts of questions. She then transitioned into the Fantastic Agenda Board and interactive read aloud, encouraging students to make meaningful connections between the story and their own lives.
All in all, it was a very successful learning experience and I definitely came away feeling inspired for when I get to do some read alouds using texts that promote and celebrate diversity! Man, this really is the best job ever!!


October 20, 2017

I have to share with you the amazingness that is the Maywood MakerSpace!! Run by volunteers during recess and before/after school, the space offers STEAM-based learning opportunities where students can explore, invent, and become producers of information. Collaboration is also emphasized as kids work cooperatively to create solutions together.

Resources are purchased with various grants, as well as through donations. Some of the learning experiences that are accessible in the MakerSpace include robotics, Lego Simple Machines, and coding BeeBots. There is also an abundance of craft materials and supplies available for students to express their imaginations freely. Definitely inspired!


Beebots! Kids can practice coding by programming their movements. I got the chance to see these babies in action with 1st and 2nd graders. SO COOL!

October 27, 2017

Today I got to work on a weeding and relocation project  where I had the opportunity to weed and relocate fiction materials to accommodate Maywood’s new “bridge book” section. These transitional texts allow students to move from the easier picture and leveled ABC books to the meatier novels that require more stamina. To make room, I used criteria (duplicates; damaged; soft cover; dated cover; dated content; low circulation) to weed leveled texts currently occupying the space and process texts for removal from the collection.

I also relocated the American Girl and Dear America historical fiction series, which involved weeding, cataloging, and relabeling. This was an exceptionally insightful project, as it allowed for hands-on experience with school library collection management, an area in particular where I wished to grow. Sadly I did not snap a before shot but below is a picture of the nearly completed “Bridge/ABC” fiction section.

Also got to see a special guest today! One of the youth librarians at Bothell Public Library came in to give some booktalks and promote the Mock Newbery. All of the books she discussed fell under the theme: who am I and where do I belong? This partnership allows students to become judges of the nominated titles for the year, casting votes to select the best title of them all. Really helpful to see her model how to give an engaging booktalk that leaves readers thirsty for more. There really is an art to it and I am excited to do my first one on my next visit!

Lots of great takeaways today!

November 3, 2017

The booktalks went really well today and I had many kids who were asking for the three titles I chose as soon as it was time for checkout! I tried to do my best to show not tell and provide opportunities for students to share, connect, and interact. I also left off at points where their interest was piqued, which worked really well. The lesson also gave me the chance to promote the newly organized bridge book section, and there were quite a few who selected some of the materials. Success!

Toward the end of the day, I got to do an interactive read aloud of The Darkest Dark by former astronaut Chris Hadfield (2016). A realistic fiction picture book inspired by the author’s childhood, it includes historical events and sends the message that you can be anything you want to be. Very cool story that the kiddos did a great job engaging with!


November 17, 2017

Google Expeditions with VR today!! It was amaaaaaazing! We used them to go all over the world. We visited so many places, including the pyramids in Egypt, the Great Wall of China, Yosemite, and the Eiffel Tower. We even got to go swimming underwater with sharks! This district-owned technology was furnished through a donation and can be checked out for classroom use.

It was so cool to see the excitement and genuine wonder, and Renee did an awesome job of guiding them through the different landmarks by sharing important geographical, historical, geological, and cultural information. Love the chance to see what learning looks like in the digital age firsthand!


December 1, 2017

Today I did another booktalk as well as an interactive read aloud with Same Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw (2001). The book is about two penpals who live halfway across the world from one another. Eliot lives in a busy city in America and Kailash lives in a village in India. At first, the boys lives seem different to the other, but they soon realize they that really have a lot in common. After the read aloud, I had the kids do an extension activity where they created their own “postcards” of where they live and what their lives are like and they turned out great! The best part was that one of the students has family in India and Renee said that she would try to set up some correspondence with a class over there!


December 8, 2017

My last day! Can’t believe it is over already! I really enjoyed my time at Maywood working with Renee. Her mentorship and the wealth of knowledge she shared with me was one of the best experiences I have had during the MLIS program and in my professional life as well. The projects that I had the opportunity to work on were incredibly valuable learning experiences that allowed me to grow a great deal. I am so excited that I will be working with her for my Capstone for the remainder of the school year! Stay tuned to my blog for further updates on this and more!

For now, I leave you with some images from today’s interactive read aloud, The Colors of Us by Karen Katz (1999)…





Thank you so much for checking out my DFW blog! For more information, please take a look at the artifact links and my final reflection. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. =)