WFES Annual Media Report

Submitted by: Amy Petrilla

Program Highlights

  • Mary Mitchell became the new media paraeductor at WFES. Mary has done a great job helping with instruction, reader advisory, finding information resources for staff, and circulation. I feel very fortunate to work with her!
  • Expanded collaboration with grade level teams.
  • Created new STEM units in grades K-5.
  • Mindsets in the Classroom by Mary Kay Ricci has been the focus of our school's professional development for 2015-16. I'm a member of the Professional Development committee and am responsible for organizing meetings and working with other members to present content to the staff.
  • Our PTA has partnered with a Baltimore City school, Mary Winterling Elementary. I assisted PTA members with planning a fundraiser at Barnes & Noble. The proceeds of the fundraiser were used to purchase books for the school's library.
  • This is my second year volunteering as an Instructional Access Coach for WFES. I attend training throughout the school year and then offered professional development sessions to special education staff in order to share new technology tools to support instruction and learning.
  • The 2015-16 WFES School Improvement Plan identified the need to improve the quality of books in classroom libraries. This year we targeted 1st and 4th grade classroom libraries. I surveyed the 1st and 4th graders to determine their reading interests and then used their responses to purchase high interest books.
  • I helped prepare three Battle of the Books teams this year. I also held review sessions for the teams right before the competition.
  • Scheduled a school stargazing event at the new Alpha Ridge Observatory for the school community. I worked with Dr. Joel Goodman, an amateur astronomer, to tie in some of the space science concepts our students learned.

Curricular Connections

My goal this school year was to continue and expand my collaboration with every grade level team. Below are a few examples of how I collaborated with each team:

Kindergarten:

  • Ecosystems are part of the kindergarten science curriculum. In media the kindergarteners created a mural of an ocean ecosystem that included plants and animals.

1st Grade:

  • Students learn about building and architecture in the 1st grade curriculum. I used Super 3 to design and build fairy and gnome houses. They brought in natural materials, planned their houses, and then built them in the woods behind our school. This lesson was inspired by a similar project that Carly Josephson does in the media program at Waverly Elementary.

2nd Grade:

  • Inventions is a unit in the 2nd grade curriculum. I collaborated with the 2nd grade team by helping students research specific inventors. I developed a graphic organizer for the team and selected information resources for the students. During media students researched and took notes on a specific inventors. The 2nd grade team had students use their notes to write an informational essay. To cap off this unit, the 2nd grades invented marshmallow catapults in media using the Super 3.

3rd Grade:

  • Last year I visited the media program at Pointers Run Elementary. Janet Browning and Michelle Melencio shared a fantastic STEM unit that they developed around Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds. In this unit students are challenged to design an enclosure to keep the creepy carrots from escaping. They use graph paper to make a scaled drawing before constructing an enclosure. Lots of great math and science concepts are integrated into this unit!

4th Grade:

  • Our 4th grade Maryland Day research project was truly a collaborative effort! I worked with the 4th grade teachers and art teacher to help students research a famous Maryland person, place, or event. Students used The Big 6 model, wrote a script in GAFE, and then used the app, Aurasma, to overlay a video on top of an image. Our art teacher created a map of Maryland that was used to place students' images of famous Maryland people, places, and events (see picture below). The WFES community used the Aurasma app to scan the images and watch videos of the 4th graders sharing information.

5th Grade:

  • Inforgraphics! I collaborated with 5th grade to teach the Tobacco and Alcohol health unit. We analyzed how tobacco and alcohol use promoted in advertisements. Students then used statistics on the dangers of tobacco and alcohol abuse to create a infographic poster using Piktochart.
  • We're continuing our native plant garden! Our 5th grade team, community master gardener, and I worked together on a native plant unit. Peggy Dash, a retired WFES teacher and master gardener, was my partner and co-teacher in helping students create a landscape plan for a native plant garden at the school. Students were given a list of native plants available from SUN Nurseries. They then used their math and science skills to create their own landscape plan using native plants. Peggy Dash and teachers evaluated students' plans and selected the best one to implement. Our project will culminate with a 5th grade Planting Day on June 14, 2016.

Literary Connections:

  • I promoted and coached Battle of the Books.
  • Assisted with our school's Family Literacy Night.
  • Participated in a professional book club with WFES colleagues to discuss Mindsets in the Classroom by Mary Kay Ricci.
  • Contributed student work and volunteered for Night of Excellence.
  • New Books are promoted through book talks and displays.
  • Students and staff are surveyed at the end of the school year to determine what authors, titles, or subjects they would like added to the collection.

Collection & Circulation:

The graph below represents the circulation statistics from August - April for the past four school years. The data shows there has been a 42% increase in the total number of books being checked out. I believe this increase can be attributed to the equity funds that allowed us to improve the collection. In addition, our new media paraeducator, Mary Mitchell, has been available to check out books to students at the beginning of the school day. This has made a huge impact on students' access to books. Students have also been surveyed for the past three years to find out what subjects, authors, and titles they are interested in reading.

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Media Specialist Time Utilization:

Although I have a fixed class schedule at WFES, the size of the school allows me to meet with classes outside of scheduled media periods. This flexibility has helped me establish strong collaborative relationships with every grade level. The chart below indicates the percentage of time I spend each week fulfilling the different roles of the school librarian.

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Family & Community:

  • I had to rethink my use of newsletters. Last year I started to use the tool Smore to send digital newsletters to parents. Smore provides statistics on how many views the newsletters receive. I discovered very few parents were viewing my quarterly newsletters. This year I've been using the weekly WFES Newsletter and Canvas to send more targeted information to parents. Since some of the parents respond to the Canvas updates, I think this has been a more effective approach.
  • I recruited more parent volunteers this year to assist in the media center.
  • Contributed student work for Grades 2 - 5 for Night of Excellence. This allows parents to see how media instruction supports the curricula.
  • This school year I was responsible for teaching reading to groups of 1st graders. Working with these students has helped me establish strong relationships with families in the West Friendship community.

Student Learning Objectives:

My students learning objectives included:

  • Teaching our fourth graders to use the commenting tool in GAFE to provide constructive and detailed feedback to peers on their work. I collaborated on this SLO with our technology teacher, Tracey McKnight.

  • Teaching the third graders to independently search for books on the PAC and then find them on the shelf.

Professional Activities:


  • Served as an Instructional Access Coach.
  • Attended Wixie training sessions.
  • Offered training on iPad tips & tricks to paraeducators
  • Met informally with two other media specialists throughout the school year to instructional and program ideas.

Looking to the Future:

Some instructional goals I have set for the 2016 - 2017school year are to:

  • Implement a regular informal tech talk meetings on a monthly basis, where staff can share technology tools and tips.
  • Increase the number of parent volunteers in the media center.

  • Increase collaboration across the grades.