Thursday, October 18, 2012

Horne Street Elementary Practicum Begins: Monday

It begins Monday, I hope.  I have just turned in my paperwork to my practicum advisor, and I have gone over it several times to ensure everything is in place.  Most of the proposed activities were things Mrs. Smart (my supervisor, how cool is that a librarian named smart?) and I talked about doing when I was finishing my fieldwork.  For those who do not know, the end of my fieldwork and the beginning of my practicum both take place in the same location:  Horne Street Elementary School in Dover, NH with school media specialist Linda Smart.  My Niece and Nephew attend this school, and since I will be moving to St. Louis, Missouri come November 16th this is a fantastic opportunity to spend time with them before I leave.

Horne Street is a good school that just came into a better situation (more funding).  Though I would have preferred a more high needs school, every other school librarian in the area turned me down saying they were far too busy to have a graduate student around.  Mrs. Smart sort of felt the same way but since I worked with her on my fieldwork she knows what my work habits are like and is sure I will get the most of my experience despite how busy she is.

The school is a bit overcrowded.  They just renovated and extended the building but more and more families want to send their children there so it is rather difficult.  The teachers and faculty practice a form of discipline known as "responsive classroom" where using terms like "I am noticing" and using chimes or raising your hand to get the classes attention is used in order to teach the students when they need to pay attention.  last year the school had a lot of discipline problems, major ones from what I have been told.  So this year they are trying Responsive Classroom and to me it looks like it is working.  I am even getting the hang of it myself.

Mrs. Smart has several projects she wants to do in the library, but is unsure if she can or will have time.  So I will be taking it upon myself to see how feasible they are and calculate the costs, time, and so on needed to complete them.  One is a major move of the beginner readers books and half of the non-fiction section.  Right now the shelves for non-fiction leave too many of the books on their side, not with the spine out and the beginner readers bookshelves are taller while the books there are shorter.  Another project is the process of getting rid of Dewey.  It is a new concept Mrs. Smart is simply unsure of, but she does want to change the fiction section around.  She wants to go with the Barns and Noble approach and label books by genre as well as author.  It's a large task since their fiction section is extensive, but I will begin working on what books should be labeled which right away.

Then there is the book fair.  Most of Mrs. Smart's library funds come from the book fair and I will be helping extensively with that.  Afterwards we'll get together and she will show me how she budgets and decides what to buy.  I will also be doing some book talks and taking over lessons when Mrs. Smart has a very busy day.  I don't know if I will be making my own lessons, but I will be doing a lot of teaching if my fieldwork was any indication of that.

I can't wait to begin!  I know it is going to go by fast bu the experience will be invaluable and fantastic.


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