GCS School Library Media News

February 2016

Belmont Middle School Awarded Grant

Belmont Middle recently received a $7,000 grant from Times Oil Company to purchase books and technology for the school's library. Times Oil representatives Crystal Jackson and Dan Boyd presented the check to principal Susan Redmond and media specialist Linda Cathcart. The grant is an award from the Times Educational Alliance Mission (T.E.A.M.) Foundation, which has provided more than $100,000 to schools in Gaston, Lincoln, Mecklenburg and York counties since 2012.

Submitted by Linda Cathcart, Belmont Middle SLMC

High School Video Picked for PBS Special Series

A short documentary below was created by Melissa Heilig's TV Broadcasting students at Forestview High school as part of a program called Student Reporting Labs. It was selected to be a part of this PBSNewshour special series Outside the Box. Featured in the documentary is North Gaston High school student Anna Mikeska.

Submitted by Melissa Heilig, Forestview High SLMC

Fighting stereotypes

Elementary Schools Study Award Winning Books

Costner Elementary is excited to be participating in the North Carolina Children's Book Award Program! Students in all grade levels are reading the 10 Children's Books and completing lessons and activities with each book. Lesson plans and resources can be found in the NC Children's Book Award Activity Booklet. This has also been a great opportunity to talk about many other awards given to books.
Submitted by Sherry Kubbs, Costner Elementary SLMC
​W.A. Bess first grade students studied Caldecott award winning artists then they became Caldecott artists and created "Snowy Day" collages based on Ezra Jack Keats' book The Snowy Day.

Submitted by Julie Shatterly, WA Bess SLMC

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Love in the Library

It’s February. Winter has set in and our students are spending most of their time inside focusing all their attention on a device of some sort: TV, video game, computer, or cell phone. The desire for a good book has waned dramatically since the first of the school year. It’s February and LOVE is in the air. Add that to the winter slump and we have very distracted students! How can we tie both of these together to encourage students to refocus on READING? Well, at Chavis, we send our students on a Blind Date. Now don’t get excited, this is a blind date with a book! We take books, put a bookmark and a Rate Your Date slip inside the cover. We then wrap the book in brown paper. We place a heart on the front cover with AR information so students will be able to find a date on their level and the barcode so we can check it out, we then add a little sparkle on the front and it is ready to go. The color of the heart gives the students more information, if the main character is a boy and the story is mostly about him, we give it a red heart; if the main character is a girl and the story is mostly about her, we give it a pink heart; if the main characters are a group of boys and girls, we give it a yellow heart. By checking out a Blind Date, the students are obligated to finish the book, take the AR quiz, and fill out the Rate Your Date slip. Students may turn in a completed slip for a Hershey’s Kiss.

If you want to do an activity during class time, you can try Speed Dating like Mrs. Dodd does at Bessemer City Middle. She has her tables set up with books. During the class time, students get to look at the books at the first table for one minute. They move to the next table and so on until that have visited all the tables or they have found a date. If the student likes one of the books at the end of the minute, they can take the book then and check out or continue to go on "dates" for a second" book! Two great ways to help our students find a book they will love in the library.

Submitted by Terri Hoyle, Chavis Middle SLMC

Do You Want to Build a Book Club?

The Bessemer City High School Yellow Jackets have something new to “buzz” about. The media center is busy with excitement over a new book club group, the BCHS Bookworms. The BCHS Bookworms meet once a week during advisory for 30 minutes. Each meeting has great music, decorations, snacks and fun activities.

Getting Started:

Probably the hardest part, initially, about starting up the book club was choosing what would be read and how the club would be organized. I decided to divide it up into smaller, more intimate groups based on different genres. I let the students decide what would be read in each small group with some boundaries, of course. Because I knew there would be an endless number of suggestions if I left it completely up to the students, I gave them a list of suggestions. Two weeks before our first meeting, I shared a list of newer, popular books arranged by genre. Each item on the list included a link to a book trailer and/or book review. This gave the students a chance to get an idea about what the books were about before the first meeting. For the first meeting, I set up each table with a sign and books for the genres on the suggestion list. Students chose where they sat by finding the table with their favorite genre. As a small group, they discussed and decided which book their small group would read. Since this was the first time I had done this, I didn’t have enough copies of each of the books chosen. That meant that the students were responsible for buying their own copy of the book. In the future, I plan to buy the books with my book money.

How Does It Work:

Each week the members read an assigned number of chapters so everyone in each group stays at the same place in the book. Discussion questions and topics are shared via a Google document and Google Classroom. This allows the group members to focus their discussions and eliminate too much side conversation during the weekly meetings. During the meetings I circulate around quietly and allow the students to discuss their book. Unless the conversations are getting off track, I generally let them do the talking without much interference from me. I want the book club to be a student led book club.


The biggest obstacles with having the book club have been with the time I have it and with the varying reading fluencies of the students. Having the book club during the school day is difficult since we don’t always get to meet on a regular basis. Interruptions, such as, report cards and important meetings (ie. PSAT instructions, Senior meetings…) often keep the club members from all being together at one time. Another obstacle we’ve encountered is the fact that everyone reads at different levels. There are some students who are dying to read past the assigned number of chapters for the week and other students who can barely get through one chapter a week. It has proven to be a bit of a challenger to keep a book club going so far this year.

Good Things:

All in all, I still think it has been a success despite the challenges we’ve faced. There are students in my club that I’ve never seen step foot in the media center before the club. Those that have participated have been excited about the chance to discuss a common book with others. Their enthusiasm about reading has been well worth the extra work I’ve put in. I’m looking forward to, hopefully, more years of introducing teens to the joys of reading and finding others who share the same love of books!
Submitted by Holly Key, Bessemer City High School SLMC

Woodhill Students Get New Makerspace

Woodhill Elementary students returned from their winter break to find the latest addition to the media center makerspace - A 60” x 70” Lego Wall!

The Lego Wall will allow students to be creative and collaborate with each other while it supports curriculum integration to enhance learning.

Submitted by Edie Crook, Woodhill Elem SLMC

Open Checkout in an Open School

In the 1960s, the American education system embraced a concept called the “open school.” Classrooms were arranged in pods with no walls or hallways separating the pods. The idea was to allow teachers more flexibility and greater access to their colleagues, while allowing multi-age groupings of students for more personalized instruction. Ida Rankin is one of several schools architecturally designed to meet those needs. The structure of the school’s main building has changed little since that time. Second through fifth grade classrooms retain a mostly open floor plan. Grade levels have temporary dividing walls. Classrooms are separated with movable bulletin boards, bookcases, or storage units. An open area is at the center of each grade level, providing teachers with an area to plan, communicate and observe other teaching styles without leaving their classrooms. The media center is the central hub of the building and contains no walls on 2 ½ sides. It is open to the classroom areas, the “pit,” and the cafeteria.

Open Check-out
Working in this environment requires great camaraderie and respect amongst staff and students. There are no doors to close the library, so open checkout was simply a natural choice. Students could come at anytime throughout the day to choose a new book. This was easily accomplished by having the media specialist in charge of media lessons and the media assistant in charge of circulation. Several years ago, we lost our assistants. This caused major changes and redivision of duties for all of us. Our Rankin School Improvement Team sat down to discuss how we could keep our open library going. The camaraderie and respect developed from working as an open community kicked into gear. The teachers learned to operate the circulation system and agreed to accompany their students to the library during those times when I am teaching another class or performing sysop duties. (The open classrooms meant any students not needing a books were still under the supervision of three other teachers.) The 4th and 5th grade teachers chose a few responsible students from each class to act as media mites, assisting with shelving and circulation. I also have a wonderful, dedicated volunteer who comes several times a week to shelve the massive volume of books we circulate and supervise the media mites.

Libraries are supposed to be a quiet place, right? This requires a lot of effort and cooperation when you have no walls, several classrooms and an attached cafeteria. It means those students with attention issues have an extra challenge and may need more frequent redirection. It means kindergartners need to be closely monitored as they move around the outside bookshelves and are technically no longer in the “room.” It means looking out for those readers who are drawn to the books and want to linger as the move from one area of the school to another. It means occasionally tuning out the lesson next door, repeating instructions, or pulling kids back to the carpet to give them their next task. It means knowing that sometimes books will leave the library without being checked out, but knowing that the book will probably reappear because the teacher and the students are loyal to this school and to this media center. Students and staff alike work together to ensure a successful and mutually respectful library experience.



Submitted by Holly Williams Ida Rankin Elem SLMC

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Submitted by Laura Campbell, Springfield Elem SLMC
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EdCamp Gaston

April 30, 2016

Stuart Cramer High School

8:30 AM - 3:30 PM

Check-in starts at 8:00 AM

Go to http://edcampgaston.weebly.com

to reserve your ticket now!

Register in Truenorthlogic to earn CEU credit! Course #:10574

What’s an EdCamp? Click here to learn more!

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