Saturday, October 13, 2007

Deidre Heiz, School Media Librarian

Deidre Heiz is in her ninth year as a school media librarian at the Meadowbrook School in the East Meadow Union Free School District and was the guest speaker in Carol Simon's class on July 30, 2007. East Meadow Union Free School District is the largest school district in Nassau County with 8,000 students served by 5 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and 2 high schools.

Meadowbrook Elementary School, serving grades K-5, is their smallest elementary school. In grades K, 1, and 2, special education classes are combined with the regular education classes. Special educations classes run 12 to 15 students while the regular education classes are 25 students. The teachers play to the strengths of the special education students. They also emphasize character education and the New York State Standards.

The Meadowbrook School Library has an OPAC online. In addition, their web site features 8 othere tabs (links).
  • Storyline Online, with online streaming video content featuring Screen Actors Guild members reading children's stories.
  • Kids' Search, a Ramapo Catskill Internet Guide (Ramapo Catskill Library System), which is also included on the Reference page.
  • CyberHunts, a link which takes you to Scholastic Instructor, a magazine with lots of ideas for teachers.
  • World of Reading (Ann Arbor District Library) is a site featuring book reviews written by and for kids from around the world.
  • KidsReads is a place on the Internet for kids to find information about their favorite books. It features book reviews, author profiles and interviews, trivia games word scrambles and contests. KidsRead is a part of The Book Report Network.
  • Book Awards is a web site of the Meadowbrook Schoool listing ALSC web pages for Caldecott, Newberry, and Dr. Seuss, awards with New York State's Children Choice Awards called 3 Apples book awards.
  • The reference center includes Info Please, Kids Search, Factmonster (from Information Please), Library (back to the main library page), and two Extra tabs (these appear to be placeholders for future tabs).
  • The Authors link does not appear to be working.
On the Meadowbrook School web site, there is a separate tab for Search Engines. Deidre spoke of the importance of teaching the children to question the accuracy of the information on the Internet. She has found tat the children in the 4th and 5th grades do not have as much time to read as the younger children.

In terms of expanding the collection of books, Deidre stressed that one must talk to the children to find out what they read. A librarian absolutely needs this information to know what to buy for the library. One must tailor the books to the school needs. Do the children need bilingual books? What subjects are being taught in the classroom that need to also be supported in the library? The library must supplement what the classroom teachers are teaching. One must constantly read and get student requests. For example, the students love the Junie B. Jones books about a fictional character. It is a very challenging job! It is important for a school to create a Collection Development Policy.

Deidre spoke of teaching the children the 5-finger test for selecting a book to read. She also spoke of using a yellow light. There is a May 2007 issue of the Reading Teacher, which describes a technique of using a yellow light to identify components of reading or the during reading components, in the process of teaching students to monitor their understanding while they read. The article (search on "Traffic light") is available through The Wilson Web's Education full text datbase to students at Queens College.

She spoke of running a book challenge given by the principal of the school. She also has a Mystery Question during National Library Week or other literary weeks. She uses the Big Six Skills for Research. She said that video streaming was tried in the school, but they had to stop it because it slowed down the computers.

Deidre continually stressed the need to take time - to find time - to communicate with students and teachers!

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