High School: Mid-Carolina High
Favorite Teacher: I could not choose between two teachers who impact my librarian practice very often--Mrs. Carol Dukes and Mrs. Charlsie Doolittle. I was fortunate enough to work with Carol Dukes, my former 5th and 6th grade ELA teacher, when I started at Newberry Elementary School. It brought back memories of the bumper stickers on her door that said “Love To Teach,” of the passionate way she got us ready to visit Washington, D.C., of the boxes of books she had in the back of her room and how I rushed through my assignments because then I could sit and read! My best booktalks are some kind of blend of Levar Burton and Carol Dukes.
Sometimes I “channel” my 4th grade ELA teacher, Charlsie Dootlittle, when I do read alouds. Some voices I use are patterned after Fred Rogers. Some, I come up with on my own. A few of them are versions from Mrs. Doolittle’s reading us The Cricket in Times Square, Misty of Chincoteague, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. That was 30+ years ago, yet I still remember the plots and settings from her engaging us with good read alouds. That engagement has its place, I think, alongside our great Lucy Calkins materials. There is power in joyful reading and these two teachers helped me, not only grow as a reader, but learn how to share that joy of reading with an entire classroom, some of whose students may not be avid readers just yet.
Favorite Topic to Teach: Each year we for Grades 3-5 we do a lesson on determining if a news source is reliable. I have used phony advertising campaigns for the chocolate Whopper or for Taco Bell buying the Liberty Bell. I also have used a fake news video about marshmallow farming. Students have to critique the videos and then determine if they are believable. We also use databases from SCDISCUS to verify or disprove the information. I took one video about false April Fool's Day pranks and I removed the introduction. The deletion made the video seem real. Then I later showed the entire video to the students. I was given dirty looks by some fourth graders who were stumped by the edited video. They learned, however, that we need to trust and verify information.
Advice for Students: Find something that you enjoy to read. Work at it until you understand what that material says. By “reading,” I mean reading everything from encyclopedias to cookbooks, from repair manuals to magazines to websites and databases---anything that students can encounter to help them effectively learn more about themselves and the larger world beyond Silverstreet. Street signs count. Graphic novels and comic books and video game instructions count. Try to read every day because the more you learn to read, then the more you can read things to learn (about them).
Favorite Book: “Because of Winn Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo