GCS School Library Media News

May 2016

Congratulations, Belmont Middle!

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After winning first place in the Southwest Regional Battle of the Books competition, Belmont Middle School BoB team is headed to the State BoB competition in Raleigh on May 6th. Good luck to our Gaston County BoB team!

Submitted by Linda Cathcart, SLMC Belmont Middle

SLMC Chosen to be on the Serafina Advanced Reading Team

I am so excited to say that I was chosen to be on the Serafina Advanced Reading Team (SART)!

For those of you who have read and enjoyed Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty, you will understand my excitement at having received and advanced review copy of the sequel, Serafina and the Twisted Staff! I will be reading the sequel and posting reviews on various websites in preparation for the book launch on July 12th. If you are interested in learning more about the Serafina books, please contact me. They are an awesome read for 4-5 graders (although people of all ages have enjoyed them) and I can't wait to share the sequel with my students. Here is a picture of my advanced copy and SART letter!

Submitted by Summer Kelly, SLMC Forest Heights Elementary

Building Future Teachers

Early Childhood Education students at East Gaston worked with the media specialist to learn how to select children's literature and develop quality story time lessons.

Submitted by Shay Whitlow, SLMC East Gaston Hight

Book Talking at Hawks Nest Intermediate

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Steve Black from Scholastic visited Hawks Nest Intermediate to book talk some titles from the Spring Book Fair. Mr. Black promotes books with the engaging simplicity of a book talk. The students and staff were engaged by the charm and enthusiasm expressed for each of the books. All the titles quickly sold off the shelves with a list of reorders. The teachers at Hawks Nest asked for some refresher information on book talks to help promote literacy in their classrooms. If you host a Scholastic Book Fair and have the opportunity for Mr. Black to come book talk to your staff and students, you will not be disappointed!

Below is some refresher information for booktalks:


Submitted by Summer Faulk, SLMC Hawks Nest Intermediate

New at Mount Holly Middle School

Submitted by Audra Pressley, SLMC Mount Holly Middle

Chapel Grove shows Wildcat pride at Battle of the Books!

Biography Projects are a hit at Chapel Grove

For 9 weeks, I have worked with our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classes on Biography research using the Big 6 method. Students created a picture representation to attach to their research folders , and create source cards. Teachers have been so impressed with their work that they have accepted the grades I gave the kids using a rubric that the students and I devised.

Submitted by Lynn Mooney, SLMC Chapel Grove Elementary

Readers Travel Coast to Coast at Stuart Cramer

Media Assistants at Stuart Cramer High School completed the book display 50 States, 50 Books: A Literary Tour of the United States this month. We displayed a book set in each of our 50 states!

Submitted by Vanessa Griffith, SLMC Stuart Cramer High

Bessemer City Primary Fights Summer Slide

SLMC Kim Beam and BC Primary are gearing up for their 3rd Annual Give 5 Read 5 campaign. Mrs. Beam works hard to solicit book donations throughout the year and organize them so that students may shop the last weeks of school. Business partner, Hunter Douglas provides one book per student, along with a tote bag to carry home their great finds.Students will fill a bag of 5 wonderful books to take home and read for the summer, while escaping the Summer Slide!!!

BC Primary was among the top 20% of over 275 schools, to receive enough book donations to give each student not only 5, but 6 books last June!!! She is expecting another successful year!

Submitted by Kim Beam, SLMC Bessemer City Primary

New Addition to North Gaston's Learning Commons

Recently a large cart was donated to the North Gaston High School Learning Commons. With some hot glue, some pool noodles, and some fake grass skirts, a reading cabana was born. Educational Media Students are responsible for putting books on the cart and writing book trailers to entice readers. Oh the places you will go!

Submitted by Robin Jordan, SLMC North Gaston High

Forest Heights Prepares for End of School Year

Forest Heights is gearing up for the end of the year. Sadly, we will close as soon as school lets out for summer, but the students and staff are determined to make it a great last year! To encourage students to bring their books back so that they can be shared with other Title 1 schools, I am going to hold a prize raffle next week for posters, books, and book fair trinkets! I have saved posters from the last 4 book fairs, so I will have 60 very excited students! They must have their accounts clear by next Friday to participate in the drawing.

Submitted by Summer Kelly, SLMC Forest Height Elementary

Augmented Reality - The "Other" AR

Augmented Reality, also know as AR, is a creative, technology-based learning experience that you may be interested in sharing with your students. This concept of blending digital content with elements of the real world has so many possibilities for the school library! Books and book talks, QR codes, audio files and student-created videos and projects are just the springboard you need to give augmented reality a try in your library.

Aurasma is a popular website with an app that has been fun to explore at the Highland School of Technology library. This unique application allows the user, either student or teacher, to create “auras”, which are visual triggers that launch digital content. AR and the Aurasma app seem to be suited for secondary students who have their own devices, but this certainly will work with iPads as well. Ms. Webb, our English III teacher, and I collaborated on a digital book talk activity, which provided us with student-created projects to use for an interactive bulletin board for the library. The board features seven students and their work. Highland students and staff with smartphones can follow the simple instructions on the board to download the app and then find the students “auras” on the hall. Using the free app, the students are able to locate the image that triggers the video to launch and, in turn, watch a great book commercial promoting reading and the library.

For a fun, interactive activity, which will generate enthusiasm and encourage reading, why not give Aurasma and the other “AR” a try at your school library!

Submitted by Laura Long, SLMC Highland School of Technology

NoGa SLMC attends Network for Public Education Conference in Raleigh

Robin Jordan attended the NPE National Conference in Raleigh on April 16, 2016. Besides hearing from Rev. Dr. William Barber, Diane Ravitch (pictured with Robin), and Dr. Phil Lanoue, she attended a session on Saving our School Libraries.

The session focused on ways that librarians and teachers had collaborated with parents and students to save libraries and librarians. There were several great ideas shared, one was to form a “Friends” organization that not only did fundraising but worked in the community to prove the importance of school libraries. Another was a “read-in”, that was organized by students who, to show their interest in keeping their librarian, staged a “walk-out” into the hallways, where they sat down with a book and read. This particular situation gained national attention and at least for this year, saved one library. One thing was clear, libraries are clearly on the chopping block. As the session description explained, “Librarians are the canaries in the coal mine of school budgets.” If we don’t save us, who will?

Submitted by Robin Jordan, SLMC North Gaston High

EdCamp Gaston

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Thank you to everyone who attended EdCamp and helped make it a success!

Submitted by Edie Crook, SLMC Woodhill Elementary

Lunch & Learn

Many SLMCs were not able to attend a Lunch & Learn session this year. Lucky for all of us, there is a wiki devoted to all the Lunch & Learns at:


Advocacy and collaboration were the main topics of the day with the afternoon divided into an Unconference that was participant driven. All the notes from all four Lunch & Learns are on the website above, and all the collaborative notes from the unconferences are there as well. Robin Jordan attended the April 27 session and is happy to discuss anything from that day.

Submitted by Robin Jordan, SLMC North Gaston High

ALA Virtual Membership Meeting

Join ALA President Sari Feldman along with hundreds of other ALA members for the annual ALA Virtual Membership Meeting (VMM16) on Thursday, June 2, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. (CDT) by registering now for this free, one-hour event: register (bit.ly/VMM16register)

VMM16 is a terrific way to have your voice heard, to discuss essential topics with other members, and to connect with colleagues, old and new. Live captioning is provided so all registrants can participate. It is your chance to contribute, connect, and engage. This virtual meeting will:

  • update you about ALA’s strategic directions and finances;

  • discuss topics related to the Libraries Transform public awareness campaign and the work of the Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; and

  • provide participants the opportunity to submit and to vote on resolutions or testimonials.

Registration (bit.ly/VMM16register) is now open. A dedicated VMM16 ALA web page and ALA Connect group provide detailed information and relevant documents. If you are considering submitting a resolution, you’ll find complete guidelines on the web page. Resolutions are accepted through 1:30 pm (CDT), Thursday May 26. The meeting officially concludes at 2:30 pm (CDT) , but the text-chat session will remain open for an additional 15 minutes to allow participants to wrap up their conversations.

Submitted by Edie Crook, SLMC Woodhill Elementary

Have you heard?

SLMCs are making headlines in GCS! Visit the SLMCs Making Headlines page on the GCS Media Toolkit Website for more information. Remember to submit good news to post on this page to your PLC Facilitator(s).

Submitted by Katherine Plecnik, Professional Learning Specialist


Confused about AMTR/DLMI? Well you aren’t alone. DPI has created a wiki for this report and you can find screenshots of the reports at the following website:


(under “School Inventory Items”) or on the Help Center tab of the GCS Media Toolkit.

If you are fortunate enough to not be the Sysop and will not be completing the entire report, you will need to focus mainly on questions: 107, 108, 109, 114-119, 402. These screenshots make the report self-explanatory

Teaching and Learning Conference

Save the dates! The 2016 Gaston County Schools Teaching & Learning Conference (T&LC) will be held August 8 and 9 at Gaston College. This annual conference, held since 2004, is a forum to network and exchange information about effective teaching and learning strategies. The T&LC emphasizes timely topics of particular interest to all education professionals from effective best practices to emerging technologies.

August 8 & 9, 2016

Submitted by Katherine Plecnik, Professional Learning Specialist

Media Unconference at T&LC

This year at TLC there is something special for SLMCs and those interested in media centers/learning commons. A four hour session will be held that will be participant driven. Topics for discussion will be determined by the attendees and facilitated by volunteers. In this type of session, if you aren’t getting what you want...go to another session. There are no rules that say you have to stay where you are for a set amount of time or even a set amount of discussion. Move from session to session as you choose. Sessions will have collaborative documents in real time that can be referenced long after the discussions have ended. Invitations are being extended to Cleveland and Lincoln counties to join us as well. Join us and make your own professional development, customized to your needs. Contact Robin Jordan for further information (rejordan@gaston.k12.nc.us).

And the Winners Are . . .

The 2016 NCCBA Picture Book Award goes to:

Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio

The 2016 NCCBA Junior Book Award goes to:

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The NC Young Adult Book Middle School Award goes to:

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The NC Young Adult Book High School Award goes to:

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Missed a month . . .

Missed any of the monthly highlight? Check out past issues to see what has been going on in the media centers in Gaston County:

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