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FRIT 7090: Reflection Essay

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Reflection Essay S. Justin Keith Georgia Southern University - Georgia OnMyLine FRIT 7090: School Library Programming for Young Adults - Summer 2011 Dr. Kathryn Kennedy, Instructor

FRIT 7090: Reflection Essay

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As far back as most people can remember school libraries have been a permanent fixture in school buildings. While some schools no longer have a physical library or their library has been closed, many schools still have the library we have all come to know and love. When we think of the school library, most of us think of a quiet room with books, book shelves, a librarian behind a desk, and people quietly studying at tables. Those types of libraries are quickly falling by the wayside and in some cases having their doors closed. A 2008 article by Betty Morris states that the decision to close media centers and dismiss teacher-librarians in the Mesa, Arizona school district is not a reflection on the people who are losing their jobs, but it is a reflection on the superintendent and other administrators who are obviously not familiar with the Keith Curry Lance research studies, www.lrs.org/impact.php , that show the effect certified teacher-librarians have on student academic achievement. In the last few years many school libraries have been undergoing a change from the quiet study libraries to a chattering and active library. This change has been aided by library media specialists that are trying new things to get people interested in coming to the library and actively participating in many different types of programs. While these programs have made school libraries more accessible, enticing, and fun, they are also helping to keep the school library open and functioning by getting the attention of the superintendent and other administrators. When I first saw the Programming for Young Adults course, my interest was piqued because I was just finishing my first year in the school library media center as a school media specialist working with technology issues in the school. Our library media specialist takes care of most of the issues concerning the books and facilities and I have been impressed with the things she does to get students interested in the school library media center. The book club is a program that caters to students that like to read or are interested in reading. Through this

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program many students find a comfortable environment with other students like themselves and they seem to make the school library media center their home base within the school. The students are always looking for new books, recommending new books, looking for ways to help and simply hanging out in the school library media center. Another program that is offered is Pippity-Poppity Popcorn Friday, in which the school library media staff and the book club make and sell popcorn. It is actually a fundraiser for the school library media center, but it draws students into the media center as well. Michael Jackson tribute week has become a fixture in the school library over the last few years and it has amazed me because it still grabs the interest of the students. During the Michael Jackson tribute week, music is played by the artist, posters and books are displayed, a game of Michael Jackson trivia is played school wide, the library staff dress like Michael Jackson, and students are given the opportunity to make their own shiny Michael Jackson glove. Meaningful youth involvement with an emphasis on teens as programmers, volunteers, and interns, as well as working with library administration to encourage and sustain youth involvement with both daily practices and strategic planning is an important part in programming for young adults (Gorman, Suellentrop, & Jones, 2009). Seeing these and other activities and how they help to make the school library media center such a popular place made me wonder if the Programming for Young Adults course would give me more insight into this phenomenon and possibly even some ideas I could share with our school library media specialist. Upon starting the course, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. The course didnt seem to be exactly what I had thought it was. As I try to remember back, Im not really sure why the course didnt seem to meet my expectations, but after the class got going and programs began to be developed the course was exactly what I was hoping for. The templates for creating the

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programs were very helpful and straight forward. Everyone had really good ideas for programs and they were all very different. I remember reading through some of the other peoples programs and thinking how I would have never thought of that and how I could easily see the program being implemented. Ultimately, I was hoping that somewhere all of the programs that are developed in this course are published somewhere so that all school library media specialists could take advantage of them. Maybe an Evernote account could be utilized in this way. The first program that was assigned dealt with diversity. My school is a rural school that is mostly Caucasian Protestants and many of them have a very hard time relating to others outside of their realm. Over the last year or so, I have been gathering materials and developing lessons based on diversity to be used in our school, so I felt very confident starting this program. I also think being a teacher and producing lesson plans similar to the template made me feel comfortable in my efforts. Our second program was centered on the topic of leadership, advocacy and creating community connections. Last semester was my first semester in the Masters of Education in Instructional Technology program and one of the things that got my attention was how many school library media centers were being closed down and that advocacy was an important part of keeping our school libraries open. I knew I wanted to develop a program that would help a school library to advocate for its self using the voices of the students in order to create a community awareness about how important school libraries are. While the phrase Get on your Soapbox is an older phrase, I felt that most people still recognize the terminology and I decided to use it as my program title. Our third program was scheduled to be about whatever we chose and it was scheduled to be an individual project just as the last two had been. I really wasnt sure what I could do my

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program on and I liked it much better when a topic was assigned, but looking back, the challenge of having to come up with my own topic was a good thing. When we got word that groups had been suggested, I felt obligated to offer to stay with my group because I had volunteered to join them earlier. When I offered to form a group with my assigned group, one member declined and the other accepted. I wasnt entirely sure about working only with the group member that accepted my offer, but decided to stick with my offer. I developed three different possible programs and offered them to my new partner. Fairytale Fun is a program designed for elementary school students to the world of classical fairytales. The SLMC will be decorated in five different areas corresponding to 5 different classical fairytales. The library media staff will dress up as a different character each day representing one of the 5 different fairytales. Students will be asked to get involved by helping out as the school library staff reads the story. Students will be given the opportunity to make craft type materials based on the stories, color pictures, and check out one of the many fairytale books that are on display in the media center during this week. Boys Vs. Girls is a program designed for middle school students. Every middle school student knows that boys are better than girlsor is it that girls are better than boys? Either way there are some things that make each one think they are better. During this week long program books will help decide the battle of the sexes. The library media center will be split down the middle with caution tape on the floor, up the walls, and on the ceiling for this program and each side will feature books and materials that prove once and for all whether boys or girls are better. Libraries can define their service goals to better serve and empower teen girls (ODell, 2002). If libraries can help do this for girls, then surely it can do it for boys as well. Comangime Mania is a program designed for high school students. Comangime Mania is a week long program that combines comics, manga, and anime into one maniacal library media center

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program. Comangime Mania will feature the most popular and hottest comics, manga, and anime that the library has to offer. Students will be encouraged to suggest new purchases for the school library and to make their own comic, manga, or anime. The week culminates on Friday with the presentation of creations from the week and a costume party where students can dress up like their favorite comic, manga, or anime character. My partner came up with a program centered on Teen and Young Adult Health, but liked the Fairy Tale Fun program idea and decided to work on it. Working with my partner was challenging and we have a very different style of doing things, but we were able to come up with a good program. One of the things in particular that I did not want to do, but ended up doing was to list a specific school and their demographics as the audience. I would prefer to design programs that could be used in any school. This program is the program that I felt the least comfortable with at its completion. While I dont like working with partners or groups, especially in an on-line class, I think it was a good challenge and should definitely be included as part of the final assignment in future classes. One of the things that amazed me the most is that in order to implement a program neither a huge budget nor extra staffing is necessary. Experienced librarians understand the importance of involving their patrons in the development and evaluation of the programs and services they offer. Finding out about the needs and expectations of patrons, especially children and young adults, however, is often viewed as too time-consuming, expensive and staff intensive to perform on a regular basis (Hughes-Hassell, S, & Bishop, K. 2004). In the programs that I developed and that most others created funding, budget needs, and extra staffing were minimal. It seemed to me that time was the biggest component of the programs. It took time to come up with a program, time to plan a program, time to prepare for implementing the program, time to implement the program, and time to assess the results of the program. While time is a very

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valuable commodity in the world of the school media center, the programs seemed doable if not necessary in the current instability of the school library media center. In my experience as a vocational education teacher, I know that school systems think twice before closing an active career pathway. If a career pathway is stagnant and students arent interested the program is likely to get cut or replaced by another program. The school library media center is no different. An active school library media center that has programs to get the students, parents, faculty, staff, administration, and community involved is most likely not going to be cut, however if the library is quiet and inactive its doors may be closed. I have heard many library media specialists asking other library media specialists when they have time to teach and what is being done to meet the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) standards. Being at the high school level, I always find the question interesting because we very rarely have the opportunity to teach entire classes. In high school, the teachers will ask the school library media specialist to teach some library related activity from time to time as a support to their class curriculum, but usually teachers at the high school level are too busy trying to teach their own standards. Of course individual students are always being taught as they come into the school library media center for different reasons, but the opportunities for the school library media specialist to teach entire classes are rare. I have come to understand that it is hard to show definitively how the standards are being taught as individual students are being taught different things sporadically over time; however, through the use of library programs, it is possible to easily show the implementation of AASL standards.

FRIT 7090: Reflection Essay References

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Francis, B, Lance, K, & Lietzau, Z. (2010, November). School librarians continue to help students achieve standards: the third Colorado study (2010). Retrieved from ht t p: / / www.l rs.org/ d ocum ent s/ cl oser_l oo k/ C O3_2010_C l oser_ Look_R ep ort .pdf Gorman, M, Suellentrop, T, & Jones, P. (2009). Connecting young adults and libraries: a howto-do-it manual. New York, NY: Neal Schuman Pub. Hughes-Hassell, S, & Bishop, K. (2004). Using focus group interviews to improve library services for youth. Teacher Librarian, 32(1), 8-12. Morris, B.. (2008). what can teacher-librarians do to promote their work and the school library media program? let your voice be heard. Teacher Librarian, 36(2), 32. ODell, K. (2002). Library materials and services for teen girls. USA: Libraries Unltd Inc.

FRIT 7090: Reflection Essay

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Reflection Essay Scoring Rubric


Self-disclosure 0 Does not seek to connect concepts from class to personal experiences. Reflection is superficial./ Not submitted. (Counts twice) Does not include any references./ Not submitted. (Counts twice) Numerous errors in grammar, spelling or usage that distract reader. Includes two to three references but not the five that is required for the project. A few errors found in grammar, spelling or usage that distract reader. Includes five references required for the assignment. 1 Attempts to seek connections between concepts from class to personal experiences. Reflection is superficial. 2 Makes connections between concepts from class to personal connections. Reflection is not superficial. Score

/4

Connection to readings

/4

No errors found in grammar, spelling or usage that distract reader.

Form

/2

Total

/10

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