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Thanks again to everyone who responded.  LM_Net is an INCREDIBLE  

The original Target:

> Help!  Starting Jan. 7, I am going to be the new librarian at a  
> local K-5 school (I'm transferring from high school).  I'll have  
> about 800 students, no assistant, but apparently there are some  
> great parent volunteers and a very active PTA.  I will be the 3rd  
> librarian (actually 4th counting the sub who's been there since  
> they lost their old new librarian).  I'll be seeing one class each,  
> K-5 daily on a rotating schedule, 1st week is 15-minute checkout,  
> 2nd week is a 40-minute lesson.  There is also some open access  
> time for small groups.  I know I'll have my hands full and am in  
> search of ideas for lesson plans and/or ideas on quick ways to get  
> to know my students and teachers while also getting to know my  
> collection.   I haven't yet searched the archives, but plan to  
> during the break--just don't know what search terms to use.  I am  
> particularly interested in any ideas on how to figure out where my  
> new students are in terms of information literacy, and how I might  
> determine that at these different levels.  Any words of wisdom you  
> might be willing to share, or ideas or even lesson plans will be  
> much appreciated.  As always, I'll be happy to post a hit.

The compiled responses including recommended sites, lesson ideas,  
tips for getting started, and words of wisdom:

Sites/blogs with lesson plans/ideas: has lesson plans for media/information literacy There were some great scavenger hunts on this  
website.  One of the best was on Dr. Martin Luther King.  It took the  
kids to the website at Stanford that has all of his papers, etc.  The  
scavenger hunt was very informative; the kids and I learned things we  
did not know about Dr. King, such as the fact that he and his father  
were both named MIchael, and his father had it changed to honor  
Martin Luther.  Link to  
Minnesota Educational Media Organization (MEMO)--a very good resource  
that may be helpful

  I don't know if this will help you but I have a blog for my library  
in which I post each week what I do with each grade level (K-6).  I  
also have a Library Skills Blog and a blog where students post their  
work.  The main blog is "Voices From the Inglenook" and you can find  
it at
The other two blogs have links from that one.

Lesson ideas:

We've got a state award for children's and YA books (Volunteer STate  
Book Award) that promises to give me some lessons--what others have  
done locally is to read as many of the books out loud to the various  
ages so that all of the students can vote (your school must have at  
least 12 of the nominated titles and students must have read/listened  
to at least 3 in order to vote).  The kids seem to enjoy getting a  
chance to have a say in who wins the award.

  My library media experience was at the middle school level, plus  
earlier elementary teaching experience.  The librarian who retired  
didn't leave any information.  I quickly realized the students and  
staff knew very little about the online catalog, and other databases,  
so I've focused lessons on searching and using the online resources,  
Dewey Decimal System, as well as author, and literature information.   
What library system are you using?  Do you have a projector? Does  
your district/school have any online databases?  I really like, Grolier Online, NetTrekker for the elementary  
level.  Many of my lessons are using a variety of resources.  For  
example, I just did a 5th grade lesson about author Christopher Paul  
Curtis.  I discussed the author using the authors website (http://, showed the  
students a video, Conversation with Christopher Paul Curtis, then did  
a search for books by C.P. Curtis.  I talked about the books, Newbery  
awards etc.  Teaching books also has a good video of C.P.Curtis  
discussing his new book, Elijah of Buxton.  Right now, for 4th grade  
I'm focusing on the Dewey Decimal system.  Two lessons ago, I used  
"Dewey and the Alien" ( 
alien.htm) and discussed the Dewey categories.  The students really  
responded well to the story.  Last week, I did a few overheads  
putting Dewey numbers in order.  I don't have access to my files from  
home or I'd attach them.  For 3rd grade, I've been reading and doing  
short lessons about reference, magazines, newspapers etc.  Second  
grade we're discussing the difference between fiction and  
nonfiction.  First grader are working on the arrangement and finding  
books in the fiction section.  I always read a story, talk about the  
author and do some skill with younger students.
  I love the monthly theme list.  Find some books, materials, etc.  
that deal with that theme.

  I love doing Froggy books with kindergarten.

The first graders love Clifford and the Black Lagoon books.

I have been doing Amber Brown picture books/beginning chapter books  
with 2nd grade.

I start Dewey lessons in third grade.  I have concentrated on the  
title page information with them so far.

Fourth and fifth grade have learned extensively the difference  
between fiction and non-fiction.  I use pieces of colored cardboard  
to write out call numbers on.  The students have to put them in  
order.  They can decorate new book covers.

I will be doing a unit on Jan Brett books with first grade in  
January.  March I will be doing Seuss with the lower grades and a  
manners lesson with the upper grades.  It will be a collaborated  
effort between me, the music teacher and the art teacher.

   I would develop a game in which you can access the knowledge the  
students already have. I use a posterboard that is numbered 1 - 20. I  
divide the students into teams (usually 3 teams) and we play relay  
style. I use colored clothespins as markers and for every correct  
answer they advance on the board. Incorrect answers do not move.  
Using questions on index cards, teams take turns answering questions.  
Examples of questions would be: The person who wrote the book is the  
______; The birthdate of the book is on the _____________. etc.  
Either you can compose the questions or have the 3rd-5th graders  
write a question/answer on an index card and use them. If you make  
the board generic enough you can use it for anything. What I like  
about this is that it works for all grade levels.

  Also, of course, stick close to LMNet, it's a great resource.  In  
January you might want to focus on Cladecott books, soon the new  
winner will be announced and you can get everyone interested and  
involved in books, library, research as you anticipate what 2008's  
winner will be.  LMNet's archives has loads of ideas for Caldecott  

“Survival” tips/Getting started:

Our district uses Follett for our online catalog.  I printed pictures  
of students by homeroom using Follet. I use the sheets to help me get  
to know the students' names.  It's very difficult when we see so many  
students.  In checkout, you can view them by homeroom and see their  
pictures.  This helps, too. My Kindergarten teachers have the  
students wear name crowns.  This really helps.
Check out Highsmith products.

What I used for reference to get started were the state's  
instructional standards (ours in Texas are the TEKS---so I tried to  
align what they were doing with what they needed to be taught in the  

  I would begin with the basics - your rules and expectations, book  
care and responsibility, library organization and then go with things  
like Big 6 learning lessons.

  Allow yourself to take your time.  Elementary is just much more  
involved than HS.  You will be very, very busy; your head will spin,  
but you will make a real difference for students.

  PS:  Here is my best tip for getting to know a collection... Do  
inventory.  Scanning each item really lets you "see" what is there.   
Time consuming but sooooo informative.  Good luck.

Books to “check out”:

Karen Farmer Wanamaker’s series called “Instant Library Lessons” (K-2)

Lynne Farrell Stover’s “Magical Library Lessons”  (4-6)

Joyce Keeling’s “Lesson Plans for the Busy Librarian” Volumes 1 and 2

Pat Miller’s “Stretchy Library Lessons”

Judy Freeman’s “Books Kids Will Sit Still For” series

I'd suggest you find Judy Freeman's second book More Books Kids Will  
Sit Still For.  The first 100 pages are a wonderful outline of ideas  
and philosophy of being a school librarian.  My public library has  
this book, maybe yours does too; but you could also buy it on line.   
When I started a few years ago this book was my guide and safety  

TIP: If you search these on Amazon, you'll see even more titles that  
might be of interest in the "Customers Also Bought" area

Some words of wisdom:

My first advice is to relax. It's okay to say that you aren't sure  
but that you can give them an answer in a bit. We are librarians and  
are used to helping others so we know how to solve these problems.
Allow yourself to take your time.  Elementary is just much more  
involved than HS.  You will be very, very busy; your head will spin,  
but you will make a real difference for students.

Have fun and enjoy!

Ronda Y. Foust
School Media Specialist
Hardin Valley Elementary School
Knoxville, TN

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