Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Project Genre-fy the Fiction Section!

After a lot of thinking, I finally decided to take the leap this summer and move the fiction section of my elementary library from the traditional first-three-letters-of-the-last-name organization to a genre based organization. Now that the project is almost complete, I cannot wait to get the kids back in the library so I can show them!

Deciding Factors

There are many reasons individual teacher librarians might choose to genrefy their library.  For me, I was driven to start with the fiction section because I've noticed an alarming drop off in students checking out books by the time they get to fifth grade.  This drop off could be for any number of reasons: increased activities after school, loss of interest in the materials they see on the shelf, lack of time, or they could be overwhelmed by book after book organized by letter. I realized, too, that although my 3-5 graders don't ask for "funny" books or "animal" stories, they seem to get stuck on certain types - Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Bone, Big Nate, etc.  I have also observed that at times when the more popular titles aren't available for checkout, kids will simply go without checking something out entirely, or just randomly grab something off a shelf while on the way to the circulation desk.  Additionally there has been increase in awareness about the different genres since we have adopted a new ELA textbook series, and students are much more knowledgeable about their likes and dislikes when it comes to genres.  

With those reasons in mind, and after consistently hearing about how genrefication increased circulation for multiple school libraries through twitter chats, blog posts, and state listserv discussions, I couldn't think of a good reason not to try it. 

The Big Weeding

I admit, my process was a bit scattered as a jumped into this.  I probably could've read a lot more about the how to process, but I had a big picture in mind, and I really just went for it - fairly aggressively.

Before I even picked my genres, I started by doing a fairly heavy weeding of the fiction section (everything that hadn't been checked out in 5 years was ditched).  As I was looking over my reports to weed, I realized that there were many award winners that weren't getting circulation.  I have a hard time pitching books in good condition that have won awards, but admittedly, I don't know off the top of my head every book that has ever won an award, and our collection wasn't clearly marked, neither in the catalog nor on the shelves. So, in a split second decision, I just began frantically pulling the "Award Winners". 

If I wasn't fully committed before pulling all those books, I admit that grabbing those books off the shelf helped solidify in my mind that this was going to be a good decision.  Having a whole section to be able to point to and say "Hey kid, a whole committee said that those books are awesome" is kind of a cool thing to think about.  

Of the entire process, pulling the "Award Winners" took the longest.  I cross referenced my catalog to lists of award winners - Newbery, National Book, Printz, Kentucky Bluegrass Award, Coretta Scott King - and searched by title just to be safe.  Once the "Award Winners" were safely on a cart I was able to weed without worry.  

Picking my Sections

Once my shelves were looking trimmer, I knew I could sit down and focus on what sections - besides Award Winners I was going to use.  I took a look at a few blog entries on the topic.  Tiffany Whitehead's (@librarian_tiff) post on the Mighty Little Librarian [here] was especially helpful.  After looking through genre stickers on Demco, throwing out questions on Twitter, and consulting with my part time aide, Jayne, I opted for the following categories:
  • Award Winners
  • Adventure
  • Animal Stories
  • Fantasy
  • Graphic Novels
  • Historical Fiction
  • Humor
  • Mystery
  • Realistic Fiction
  • Scary
  • Science Fiction
  • Sports
I opted to add a genre sticker to the spine of each book. I've seen some examples of color coding, but for me the genre sticker in the fiction section made the most sense. I also liked the selection of genre stickers I had to choose from, and felt it would really help the kids visually to see stickers with the section names on them.

Let the Stickering Begin

Being a big picture kind of girl, I sometimes overlook details.  I just started sticking all the genre stickers on right above the call number, thinking it would be easier when sorting and filing. The result is a little messy looking I guess. I REALLY wish I would've added the genre stickers to the tops of the spines like Shannon Miller did at The Library Voice. Read about how she got started [here]. 

If I was unfamiliar with a book, and/or couldn't readily choose a genre for it, I selected genres based first on cataloging information located on the back of the title page.  If nothing was there, I read a little from the back cover or flap to see if words like "adventure" or "mystery" stood out, if not, I checked the catalog or looked online by searching the title and "genre".  Kind of a no-brainer, I guess, and there's probably an easier way, but I moved through stickering fairly quickly using this method. (By fairly quickly I mean I stole a few hours here and there over the course of about a month to get this done).

A Movable Collection

Even if I didn't read Miller's post before I stickered all those books I am SOoooo grateful that I read it before I started physically moving books and electronically moving data around in Destiny.

I was really reluctant to make new call number stickers and change the call numbers, to include new genre based prefixes, mostly because of the time involved, but also because if the kids don't like this after a year, I'll need to rethink the value. Thanks to some good advice from Carolyn Vibbert (@carolynvibbert) and Sharon Carter (@SharonCarter63) on Twitter I felt OK about not making all new call number stickers.  Instead, I was ready to add sublocations to the copy records.  That's where Miller's post really came in handy.

Had I not read "It's Time! We Are Moving our Fiction into Genre Neighborhoods", I never, in a million years, would have thought to add categories to the records also so that I could add visual search categories.  I didn't even really know you could modify the visual search page!  As I was gearing up to physically move the books, it also didn't occur to me that it might be better to put genres together based on interest and relationship versus alphabetical order.

After reading Miller's post, I sat down and planned out the order of my sections.  I settled on the following order:
  • Award Winners
  • Realistic Fiction
  • Historical Fiction
  • Animal Stories
  • Sports Stories
  • Humor
  • Graphic Novels
  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Adventure
  • Mystery
  • Scary
I grouped Realistic, Historical, Animal and Sports close together because in my mind they often have a strong realistic connection.  Kids who check out a lot of Humor books also tend towards the Graphic Novels.  There's also often a connection between Fantasy, Science Fiction and Adventure - with Adventure being sort of a bridge into Mystery and Scary.  So, after some small adjustments in the overall organization I'm pretty happy with the flow.  Within each of these sections, books are then organized in alphabetical order by the author's last name.

With my plan in place I started putting books on carts, and sliding things around to make room.

Cataloging Changes: Overview

For each section I did the following in Destiny:
  1. Created a Copy Category for each genre in Destiny
  2. Created Subsections for each genre in Destiny
  3. Updated Copies through an Individual Update simultaneously for Category and Sublocation
  4. Create a Visual Search for each Category/ add picture of genre sticker for the icon
From start to finish, the cataloging (along with physically moving the books) took about two days.

How to Create a Copy Category in Destiny

After you log in to Destiny follow the steps below to create your genre copy categories:

  1. Click on Catalog
  2. Library Search
  3. Copy Categories
  4. Enter the name of your category - it helps to match your genre category to whatever it says on your genre stickers if you used those.
  5. Check to make sure the "restricted" box is NOT checked
The video before will show you the process:

How to Create a Sublocation in Destiny

To create sublocations, you will need to search for a title, then click on it to view the title details.

1. Choose the Copies Tab
2. Choose the edit icon
3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and next to where it says "Sublocation" press "Other"
4. Enter all of your Sublocations - it helps if they match your genre stickers, if you choose to use stickers
5. Select the sublocation for that book and press save

Here's a video to show what I mean:

How to Add Sublocations and Copy Categories to Copies

If you choose not to change actual call numbers, like I did, you will need to update records in Destiny to reflect the physical changes you made. In order to identify where each book is in your new genrefied library, you will want to add sublocations to the records so that you can find the books on the shelf and create searchable lists for students.  To do that, you're going to need to add the sublocations and copy categories you created to every title.

This is where you need to really get physical and start pulling your genre stickered books according to genre.  Once you have all the books for a particular genre on a cart, you can begin scanning them to add the sublocation and copy category.
To update copies for categories and create sublocations do the following (you have to already have created your sublocations and copy categories before doing this step):
1. Click on the Catalog Tab
2. Choose Update Copies on the left side of the screen
3. Choose the Individual Update tab
4. Select Sublocation under the drop down menu under the copy box
5. Choose the genre from the drop down box that appears
6. Select Category from the second drop down box
7. Choose the genre from the drop down box that appears
8. Begin scanning barcodes - copies will automatically update after each scan

This video will show the process:

Creating your Visual Searches

The last big thing I did in the cataloging process to this point was to create visual searches for each of my genres.  Shannon Miller's post was a huge help for this.  I had no idea how to work with the Visual Search customization process - and let's be honest, if I hadn't read her original post, I never would've thought to do this.

You can see some awesome instructions on Miller's post "Reorganizing the Fiction Section Within Our Library and Destiny's Visual Search Too".

I put together a final how-to video to show how to do it.

What's left?

With all of the big moves complete, now I'm on to the creative piece.  To help my kids adjust to the big change I'm working on signage, section dividers and am already planning my introductory Powtoon to show kids how to browse the shelves and locate a book after looking it up in Destiny.  When I've got this PR piece done, I'll be sure to write about what I did.

I have to admit, the genrefication bug has fully taken over my brain, and depending on the reaction of the kids, I'm fairly sure I'll be shopping for genre stickers for Everybody books before Winter Break:)

Have you genrefied your library?  What advice would you give?  Is there an easier way - especially now that I have picture books on the brain?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Primary Centers in the Library - Getting Started #KASLSR14

Choosing to include center-based learning in your library can be one of the most invigorating things you could do for your library program and for your students!

Center-based learning can help to increase communication and collaboration with other teachers in your building as you seek information about what they are doing in their classrooms and what skills their students need reinforced.  

Ideally, your centers will relate directly to those teaching standards valued in your school, and should align with your school/district vision and mission.  By tying your center activities directly to the standards, you are demonstrating the value of the library program in real ways to administrators.

It can also lead to greater student engagement, as students look forward to collaborative, hands on activities, that offer them a break from a more structured, teacher-centered environment.  

While there are many benefits to starting a center-based library program.  It can be a daunting task.  Here are some tools to get you started.  Once you get your feet wet, you will find there are many more things you can do, and you will find ways to adapt centers to meet your mission and vision for your library.

 Some Basics 

The Prezi below, will give you an idea of what centers are, how you can structure them, as well as some suggested resources.

Resources to Get You Going

Below are links to Google Docs I created to help you get started with centers.
  • Center Signs - these are the signs I use to indicate which table will be in each center.  It helps to attach the signs to thick paper and laminate.  Each week, attach a table letter to the sign using a cloths pin, so students know which center they will be working in.
  • Small Table Letters - attach/print these on thicker paper and laminate.  Use a clothes pin to attach the group letter to the assigned center.
  • Kindergarten Centers Starter Pack - pack includes center activities for 6 centers. 
  • First Grade Centers Starter Pack - includes center activities for 6 centers.
  • Second Grade Centers Starter Pack - includes center activities for 6 centers.  Most require the use of iPads or a similar device. 

Resources to Keep You Going 

 I highlighted many of these resources in the prezi above.

Print Resources:
Other Online Resources:
  •  Pinterest - search for library centers or follow my board

When it comes to centers, what works best for you?  What are your favorite center activities?

Feel free to comment or share with me on Twitter @heidinelt 

Genius Hour: Nourishing Intrinsic Motivation #KASLSR14

In the book Drive, Daniel H. Pink describes what he calls, Motivation 3.0 - which is: "the upgrade that's needed to meet the new realities of how we organize, think about, and do what we do" (75).  

Pink proposes that the behavior that will strengthen our organization and achieve new, creative thought is what he refers to as Type I behavior; behavior that is fueled by intrinsic desire and a "third" motivational drive, which is an intrinsic desire to perform a task, simply because the person enjoys doing the task.  Pink further states that Type I behavior is born and made, it is renewable, it promotes greater well-being and it depends on three nutrients: autonomy, mastery and purpose (76-78). 

As educators, we have the ability to foster this Type I behavior in our students and help students understand what motivates them intrinsically, and help them to understand the tools they need to explore their interests and see new ways to channel those interests into life changing experiences.

Below are resources that will help you get started with Genius Hour, a method of allowing students the freedom they need to master their own interests. 

Genius Hour: Nourishing Intrinsic Motivation

The Prezi below provides an overview of Genius Hour and resources that you can use to get started.  See the version at Prezi here.

Consider Flipping Genius Hour

Use Flipped Class strategies to provide support for your students as they research their Genius Hour topics.  Provide useful resources on your website, social learning platform, or on a tool like Blendspace.  

Research Resources

Help students get organized by using project planners and research organizers.  

Click [here] to access a Google Drive resource folder. In this folder, you will find interest survey, brackets to help students narrow focus, Big 6 planner, and research organizers that require students to keep track of source information. 

How to Videos

Where to go for More Information?

Check out some of these resources:
Genius Hour: Where Passions Come Alive
Genius Hour Livebinder - curated by Joy Kirr
Drive: The Surprising Thing About What Motivates Us - By Daniel H. Pink
The Passion Driven Classroom By Angelia Maiers & Amy Sandvold
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

I would love to hear about how you use Genius Hour!  Share your own ideas or blog posts in the comments section, or share with me on Twitter @heidinelt

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

21st Century Book Talks & Trailers - Summer Refresher 2014 #KASLSR14

The days of the standard 2 minute book talk in front of a stack of books could very well be coming to an end as the ever growing number of ways that you and your students can share information about favorite books expands.

You and your students have your choice of a variety of technology tools to create and share books.  You can create podcasts, videos, interactive multimedia, and augmented reality and share your work with interactive displays, QR codes, and online with a world-wide audience.  Check out an example of how you can use interactive multimedia with Thinglink for the Kentucky Bluegrass Awards here. Check out the Thinglink examples below for more ideas:

Getting Organized & Considering Your Options

With all the choices, it's important to get organized and consider some of your many options.  You also want to think about how you're going to share your work.  Check out the Thinglink below for some possibilities. Hover over the infographic to see different links and resources.  If you are having trouble accessing the resources, you can see them at Thinglink here.


Helping Get Your Students Organized

If you are going to challenge your students to create their own book talks and book trailers, it will help to provide your students with a framework for working through creating their own book trailers.

Providing students with clear directions, tutorials, directions for how and where to save information, as well as directions on how to access and use Public Domain and Creative Commons licensed work, and how to document sources are all very important lessons.

You may want to "flip" your instruction since often students will be working through different stages of the book trailer/talk creation process at different paces.

Here is an example of how you can help your students gets organized for their task using a tool such as Blendspace.  If you are having trouble viewing the lesson click here to view the lesson in Blendspace.

KASL Summer Refresher 2014 presentation by Stephanie Griffith @StephGriff1 & Heidi Neltner @heidinelt