Media Matters

April 16, 2015


Dear NCSLMA Members and Friends,

Our organization is always looking for ways to support you as a professional. As part of this effort, we have recently added a Book Challenge form to our website. The purpose of this form is to gather information about challenges around the state and assist librarians who need support during a challenge. Those reporting a challenge may choose whether or not to include contact information and may report as much or as little information as they feel comfortable sharing. You can access the form here. While we hope you will not be in need of this form, if you do find yourself facing a book challenge, please remember to report it and request help if needed.

Meredith Hill, Intellectual Freedom Committee Chair
Joanna Gerakios, President


© North Carolina School Library Media Association
514 Daniels Street, #130 Raleigh, NC 27605

Analyzing Poetry: Imagery & Emotions Grades 3-5 / ELA / Gifted

Grades 3-5 / ELA / Gifted

CCSS: ELA.RL.5.4 ELA.W.5.1a

Teaching Channel has a lot of wonderful videos that provide lessons that help meet the Common Core Objectives. The link below is just one of the many lessons provided.

Watch students compare and contrast two poems by Langston Hughes, and then collaborate to create collages in the style of an artist who grew up during the Harlem Renaissance.

Alternative Book Reports for the 21st Century

Book reports have been a staple in American English classes for decades. Students use them to prove their ability to think critically, read deeply, and express their ideas in an eloquent manner.

However, many educators argue that they’re no longer relevant in the modern classroom. After all, most information in the digital world is now presented in other formats—television, podcasts, YouTube—and paper posters haven’t been considered the best way to present information in decades.

As teachers, our job is to prepare students to think, analyze, and present ideas in formats that they’ll most commonly experience in the world they enter into as adults.

“Our job is to prepare students to think, analyze, and present ideas in formats that they’ll most commonly experience in the world they enter into as adults.”

This isn’t to say that the book report should be abandoned—if that was the case, this blog post wouldn’t exist. Instead, English teachers need to approach book reports in a way that will engage and teach students just as much as the material the report is on.

Bring your traditional book report assignments into the 21st century, and make the format as much of a teaching moment as the content with these four ideas.

Podcasts and Audio Recording

Students who aren’t comfortable with their writing may find themselves drawn to podcasting. With fewer writing components and a more forgiving attitude towards informal language, it’s the ideal platform to allow these students to shine.

One of the best book reports I’ve ever seen was a fairly unstructured audio recording. A pair of students created an audio file of them reviewing a book (that each had read separately), based off of a pre-written list of bullet points and some notes to help jog their memory.

This relatively free format allowed them to have open, natural discussion and analysis, which helped them show off their critical thinking skills, investigate and draw conclusions in real time, and even debate with each other over the meanings of the book’s symbols.

Meanwhile, the bullet points helped them stay on track and addressed everything that their rubric required.

These types of book reports are easy to make with any audio recording software, such as GarageBand or the Sound Recorder by Windows. Most modern laptops come pre-loaded with a microphone sensitive enough for recording, and more specialized equipment is easy to obtain through any electronics store.

Apps like Notability can help students create audio files on a mobile phone, in formats that are easily saved and shared. In some cases, these files can even be made public—some schools will take their students’ best work and create a school-wide radio channel.


Most of the students I’ve known love movies—both watching them and being in them. As a result, giving a student the opportunity to make a movie book report can be a huge motivator, allowing them to get creative while displaying their understanding of the book’s source material.

“giving a student the opportunity to make a movie book report can be a huge motivator, allowing them to get creative while displaying their understanding of the book’s source material.”

Like podcasting, this type of book report provides an alternative to the traditional writing assignment. Rather than an essay, students can write a script for their movie before being approved to start filming. Encourage students to explore a variety of different video reporting styles. For example, they can:

  • Interview the book’s characters
  • Create a news report on the events in the plot
  • Film a trailer for a movie version of the book
  • Recreate parts of the book in a different setting

A great example of recreating the book in a different setting can be seen with the Lizzie Bennett Diaries on YouTube, which takes the plot of Pride and Prejudice and places it in modern America. Watch a clip below:

To read the entire article and watch a video please go to the following:

By Janna Dougherty, Blog from, The Blog

NCETA writing contest information from Sara English, NCETA Writing Contest Director. Schoolnet Webinar for ITFs and SCLMC's

Thank you to those of you who have already submitted entries or have inquired about this year's contests!

Below, you will find a link to a Google Doc that outlines the guidelines, requirements, and entry process for the NCETA Writing Contest.

Please note two very important requirements:
1) students must have a staff sponsor who is a current member of NCETA and
2) all submissions and entry materials must be completed and turned in by no later than May 15, 2015.

A Story Well Told: Digital Storytelling Contest Guidelines and Entry Process

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Thank you so much for your interest!

Sara E​​nglish
​NCETA Writing Contest Director​

NCSLMA Officer Candidates for 2015 Elections

NCSLMA is proud to announce our slate of officer candidates for the 2015 elections.

Please take some time to review the attached document with all of the candidates' biographies. Elections will be held from April 20 to May 8, 2015. You will be sent a link to the ballot on April 20th.

New officers will be installed at Annual Conference in October.

If you have any questions, please contact Joann Absi at

Joann Absi, NCSLMA Past President

Joanna Gerakios, NCSLMA President

Walter Carmichael, NCSLMA President-Elect

Link for New AMTR


The new link for the AMTR is below. If you go to the old site you will not get access.