On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, I traveled east on I-70 to visit Zanesville High School. Lori Lee, Google Education Trainer and INFOhio District ICoach, greets me in the school office and we walk to the media center, which is located on the second floor. On the east side, the media center is encased in a wall of windows that enables all to see Zanesville High School (on the left) and Muskingum Valley New Tech Academy (on the right). The media center straddles the two schools. The two schools enroll approximately 900 students. Zanesville City School District enrolls 3,400 students Pre-K through 12 on five campuses: John McIntire Elementary School, National Road Elementary School, Zane Grey Elementary School, Zanesville Middle School, and Zanesville High School (http://www.zanesville.k12.oh.us/). Lori is the only licensed librarian in the district.
During my visit to the media center, Lori introduces me to two colleagues, Dr. Halle Randles, Director of Instructional Services, and Stina McKendry, Principal of Muskingum Valley New Tech Academy. What I learn during our conversation and during the interview with Lori is the significant role Lori plays in integrating technology into the curriculum – not only in the classes she teaches but also those with whom she collaborates. Lori readily admits that it was technology that drove her to the school librarian position- technology transformed her teaching and she is eager to share with others. Upon earning her school library media licensure from Marshall University (WV) four years ago, Lori became the district librarian after eighteen years as an ELA teacher.
As we walk around the media center, Lori explains how she genre-fyed her fiction collection. It was after participating in INFOhio’s Virtual Boot Camp and hearing iCoach and INFOhio Liaison to HCCA, Tracy Varner talk about genre-fying collections that Lori decided to genre-fy. She organized the fiction collection into broad genres such as fantasy, mystery, supernatural, science fiction, suspense, historical, realistic, multicultural, adventure and classics. Because of the media center’s high ceilings, Lori uses signs posted on top of the bookshelves to indicate the genres. The books in each genre have a corresponding colored dot to indicate the genre (e.g. purple is fantasy; salmon is supernatural and so on).
Two shelves house books from the Muskingum County Library System. The Linked for Literacy program is a collaboration between Zanesville High School and the Muskingum County Library System. This collaboration enables students at the high school to request books for research and/or pleasure reading. A glimpse of the books on the shelves reveals a wide array of biographies on P.T. Barnum, Brad Paisley, Jacqueline Woodson as well as fictional works such as A Blue So Dark, Code Name Verity, The Seventh Greatest Thing. As books are delivered to the library, Lori then adds them to SIRSI by creating a Brief Title and scanning the public library barcode as the title along with the title of the book. She also changes the Material Type from BOOK to COMMUNITY for the purpose of running circulation reports for the public library. During checkout/checkin the Item Search is used and the public library barcode is scanned. This collaboration requires little time and both parties are very pleased with its success.
In the area near the circulation desk, where Lori has plans to create an innovation lab, there are shelves of magazines including People, Guitar, Sports Illustrated, Seventeen, Car and Driver, Rolling Stone. Since there is a conference room as well as other work rooms surrounding the proposed innovation area, this will enable not only storage for supplies but also space for other production tools such as green screen. The production opportunities for this space are endless. As Lori develops this space, look for more photos on the blog.
Open and spacious, the media center offers lots of different spaces for students to work and relax. During my visit, students check themselves into the media center using the INFOhio Attendance Tracker and promptly sit down at the bank of desktop computers next to the circulation desk. The classroom area is easily accessible with ample seating and an interactive whiteboard and projector. Lots of posters surround the classroom area – evaluating websites, what is a citation, what is plagiarism, and how to use a search engine.
During our conversation, Lori shares some of her exciting collaborations with colleagues. One such collaboration is with a Spanish III teacher who has the students write a children’s book with illustrations. Lori introduced the teacher to Storybird (http://www.storybird.com/). Storybird enables the teacher and students to focus on the content since the illustrations are pre-loaded into the software. The Spanish teacher wrote a grant to have the top seven children’s books published. Once the books are published, the students lead a Spanish picture book story hour and do crafts with the children at the public library. This is the fourth year for this project. Other collaborative projects include the argumentative paper using INFOhio’s Points of View Reference Center; a classic author literary analysis in which students build a Google pathfinder. In collaborating with teachers she uses GoogleDocs because it enables her to give immediate feedback to students as they are creating and she can see what they are researching as they share their citations.
Lori also teaches a sophomore honors English/Language Arts class. Building on her passion for project based learning, Lori explains how she weaves technology into this opportunity for students to develop authentic projects. Each student interviews a family member and in so doing discovers a story that taught the family member something. Each student produces a journalistic piece of writing and then uses creative writing techniques and literary devices to develop characters and settings. The project culminates with the publication of a professionally produced hardbound book. The students create the cover, develop the program for the book launch at the public library as well as market the book and the book launch. The project is the subject of an article in the October 2015 Voya journal. Lori also presented her project on an INFOhio webinar entitled “Students Become Authors” on February 18, 2016 (https://www.infohio.org/events/calendar/3145) This year’s book launch is on April 26, 2016, at the John McIntire Library, 220 North Fifth Street, Zanesville from 7 to 8 p.m. Books will be available to purchase and sign. (http://muskingumlibrary.org/events/zanesville-high-school-student-book-launch-signing/)
As an INFOhio District ICoach and a Google Education Trainer, Lori is a technology leader and as she puts it “lives on the edge of technology.” She enjoys finding new technology tools for teachers that enable them to provide authentic and real-world experiences to their students.
You can follow Lori on Twitter @ZHSLibraryMedia
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