HELLO! WELCOME TO THE LIBRARY.
The WES library is a student-centered, literature rich learning environment that encourages each student to discover their place in our school and community. Lessons incorporate individual and group projects that require students to read, analyze, and expand their vocabulary. Students participate in as many hands-on learning experiences as possible to make the classroom a place where active learning happens.
ABOUT THE LIBRARIAN
My name is Kathy Hodge and this is my first full year of teaching! I am looking forward to learning great things along with the students of WES. Although I am new to public education, I have 20 years of pre-school teaching experience behind me.
Outside of school I enjoy spending time with my husband and two teen-aged children, reading, and playing my clarinet in the Strafford Wind Symphony.
Books are checked out for two weeks at a time. Students may renew most books for an additional two weeks (there are a few exceptions for high demand books) if they need more time to read them.
There are no overdue book fees, but fees may be accessed for lost or damaged books. This is handled on a case by case basis. If a book is damaged please return it to the library and we will do our best to repair it. Please do not attempt to repair books at home. We have all the necessary materials for repair in the library.
Because I want the library to be a positive experience for all students, we now have a large Pass it On section so students who have forgotten to return their library books can still leave library class with something to read. These books have been donated or are being weeded from our collection. Students are not required to return books marked with a Pass it On sticker. They can keep them or share them with someone else when they are finished reading. This is only the case for books marked Pass it On.
Borrowing limits are as follows:
Kindergarten - 1 book
Grades 1, 2, and Multi 1/2 - 2 books
Grades 3, 4, and Multi 3/4 - 4 books
Students are encouraged to find "good fit" books that they can read on their own or with little help.
APPROACH TO LITERACY
So much of what a person can accomplish in life depends on their ability to read. Instilling a love of reading and literature takes more than simply reading great books with excitement and passion. It requires helping each child find a purpose for reading and what kinds of literature speak to them. One of my most important jobs as librarian is finding ways to make reading fun. One way this is done in the library is through reading with puppets!
WHAT ABOUT RELUCTANT READERS?
Many students are reluctant readers however, it often takes just one activity, book, or genre study to turn that around. Students need a purpose for reading. My approach to reluctant readers is to show them reading can be fun and rewarding. I incorporate interesting lessons in which students can use their reading skills to help them be successful.
INTEGRATION ACROSS DISCIPLINES
I incorporate hands-on, inquiry based science topics into read-a-louds and research units. There is no better place to learn about something new than in a place full of books and computers! Science happens all around us, every day, and in the library we can investigate whatever interests us. Library science lessons range from force and motion, to the life cycle of trees, and research based lessons about fun and interesting animal species.
Integrating social studies into the library curriculum happens quite naturally. There are many opportunities to extend the concepts being taught by classroom teachers through read-a-louds and activities. My goal is to give students experiences that help them understand the world through diverse perspectives. I believe the more we know about other people and other cultures, the better our community will be. Students have deep and thoughtful discussions and are often very passionate about the social studies topics we cover.
Math in the library? Absolutely! Math is everywhere. In the library we read counting books, books about famous mathematicians, and do activities that require students to put the math they're learning in the classroom into practice such as origami paper folding. Math can be intimidating for some students but in the library it often seems more approachable. There are real opportunities to practice math concepts outside of the traditional math block.
How do toys work?
As part of a literary genre study on fables with kindergarteners we read the story Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. In this story a real mouse wishes to become a wind-up mouse that people love and play with. However, when he realizes the wind-up mouse can only move when wound and risks being thrown away if he is no longer amusing to his people, he changes his mind. This story leads to some very interesting discussions about making life choices and friendships. It also lead to an exciting investigation into how different toys work. The students are tasked with testing out various kinds of toys and determining what makes them go. It requires students learn through play, something kindergarten kiddos do best!
GRADE 1 LESSON
What is in the mystery bag?
This lesson is part of our genre study of fables. We read the book Seven Blind Mice, a tale about mice who use their sense of touch to discover what new animal is standing out by their pond. The moral behind the story is "knowing in part make a fine tale, but wisdom comes by knowing the whole." To test this, students reach into a mystery bag to feel an unknown item. They can only touch the item for a moment and only on first place they touch. The final student gets to feel the entire item. Then, we have a discussion about the challenges of identifying items without all the information. It is a fun and engaging way to get a fuller understanding of the moral behind the fable we read.
2ND GRADE LESSON
The Fantastic Egg
As part of our discussion and investigation of fantasy genre, 2nd graders are read the book Dragon's Extraordinary Egg. We discuss the features of a fantasy book and determined whether we can still learn valuable lessons from fiction stories. We also discuss how important using our imagination is when reading fantasy. To illustrate this, I show the students a mystery egg. Their task is to use their imagination and draw the fantastic creature that could be growing inside the egg and write one interesting sentence about their fantastic animal. This is a way for the students to put their imaginations to work!
GRADE 3 LESSON
Reading Graphic Novels
Graphic novels are one of the most popular genres of books checked out of the WES library. This 3rd grade lesson focuses on reading images to determine the action in a story as well as working as a collaborative team. Student groups each have one part of a story from a wordless graphic novel. As a group they determine what was happening in their part of the story and "read" that part of the story to their classmates. This lesson is designed to engage students who find traditional literature less exciting. And, although the story has no words, the ability to read illustrations and infer what is happening is an important reading skill for all students.
GRADE 4 LESSON
As part of our literary study of adventure novels, students are tasked with working as a group to write their own choose your own adventure story. The focus of the task is on collaboration and teamwork as well as using technology to tell a story. Students use Google slides to create an interactive adventure!
UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING
Teaching in a classroom of diverse learners
In a classroom of unique individuals, creating curriculum that meets the needs of every learner can be challenging. When creating lesson plans I consider the Universal Design for Learning to ensure the lesson is accessible for all students. Activities are designed to be flexible and differentiated to meet the needs of a diverse classroom. Above all else, I want to see my students become successful learners no matter what their personal barriers might be. Teachers must be flexible, patient, creative, and work with all members of a student’s educational team to ensure each student receives an appropriate education. They must also be able to communicate effectively with students, parents, faculty members, and other members of the community. Finally, teachers should be strong advocates for their students. It is important to remember that every child, despite their disabilities or differences, deserves to be treated with respect and love.
"When you teach what you love and share what you know, you open eyes, minds, hearts and souls to unexplored worlds."