CENTREVILLE — Queen Anne's County Public Schools media specialists Heather Gray (Kennard Elementary) and Danielle Lowe (Kent Island Elementary) were selected to deliver their first statewide presentation at the all-virtual SAILOR E-Resources Symposium through the Maryland State Library Resource Center held Wednesday, Feb. 8, and Thursday, Feb. 9.
The two tag-teamed on relevant topics surrounding learning loss and how to combat this through the use of our libraries. They also explored the science of reading, and the importance of motivation and choice in reading achievement.
“Being able to share our love of reading combined with the e-resources available to us through Queen Anne’s County Public Schools in such a unique way blew away our audience,” said Lowe. “They (attendees) were surprised how much we could manipulate and integrate into our lessons without it feeling overwhelming. We really placed a BIG emphasis on self-efficacy because honestly that is where success thrives in our students. Having a feeling of belonging combined with choice, and BAM — success will be your result."
Attendees also loved that Gray and Lowe put information into their presentation about "the science" behind why they are doing what they are doing with e-resources, and curating fun choice boards that motivate students in kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms.
“Student motivation increases when students have more choices in how they learn, more choices in what they learn, and more choice in who they learn with,” said Gray.
“If a reader isn’t on a certain grade level, with our resources they have the ability to click into their appropriate leveled readings,” said Lowe. “They are also learning citations, and can even dive into text to speech, font size, font design and translate links in case they need to hear what they are reading.”
In preparing for this statewide presentation, Gray and Lowe both shared that “School library media specialists have the unique challenge of creating research opportunities for students at a variety of grade levels, as well as with a myriad of diverse learning styles and needs.”
“These two media specialists are such creative innovators,” said Michael Bell, QACPS supervisor. “I’ve observed them do the most incredible things to inspire kids. From Heather Gray donning a cape around her neck, hopping up on top of the circulation desk for a read-aloud, like John Keating in ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ … to Danielle Lowe inspiring student choice of how they even want to be greeted at the library, greeting each one with the option of a hug, high five, dance move, or a fist bump.”
Gray and Lowe have also produced statewide Conflict Resolution Day Bookmark Art contest winners the past two years, and have transformed their media centers into 21st Century Learning Hubs of their schools complete with Maker Space stations, Creativity Corners and Learning Lab Centers.
“Heather Gray has put on a ‘book tasting’ tour for students the past two years to introduce the Black-Eyed Susan book nominees in her library; she's introduced a Novel effects app so her 'read alouds' come equipped with sound effects; she's created a traveling mural with her background in Arts Integration; has championed a school-wide international dot day event, in addition to producing the KES Tiger News Broadcast,” Bell said.
He added, “Our media specialists are truly some of the best in the entire state. They produce state award winners annually, now they’re delivering statewide presentations, and Sharon Murdoch (BES media specialist) is up for Librarian of the Year, and the entire team treats one another like family. What more could anyone ask for than a team like the talented, dedicated media specialists we have in QACPS.”
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