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District Showcases Elementary Library Program

The focal point of the Massapequa School District’s dynamic library program is 21st Century skills, and that stood out to librarians from the Smithtown School District. Two representatives from Smithtown made the 25-mile trip to Fairfield Elementary School on Jan. 30 to learn more. 

Massapequa English language arts Curriculum Associate Tina Farrell and library media specialist Claire Mitchell showcased many facets of the program, including library skills, research support and technology integration. Upon returning borrowed books, students placed them back on the shelves, an activity to help familiarize them with the Dewey Decimal System. 

Smithtown library media services instructional specialist Catherine Masrour and Tackan Elementary School librarian Michelle Robinson observed students from three different grade levels in action. They explained that they are looking to expand their elementary library program, and were impressed by Massapequa’s innovation.  

Second-graders used Chromebooks to do research, and Ms. Mitchell showed them how to access information from PebbleGo, a child friendly database. Fifth-graders, who were in the midst of their biography unit, used an app called We Video to create digital reports about their subjects. 

A third-grade class spent most of their library period down the hall in the Makerspace room, where the Smithtown librarians saw collaboration in action. Ms. Mitchell and technology learning coach Vickie Ahearn spearheaded a stop-motion animation activity. After reading “Balloons Over Broadway” about the founder of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, students worked in small groups and made balloons, floats and puppets. They took pictures on iPads in front of different backgrounds using a stop-motion app. The short segments would be combined for a classwide parade video.  

Ms. Mitchell’s adapts her library curriculum to support the classroom teachers. Students participate in engaging activities that are relevant to lessons in their other subject areas, while developing communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills and using their creativity. 

“Libraries can be such an asset to their academic lives,” Ms. Farrell said. “Our library media specialists, like Ms. Mitchell, keep the idea of libraries so relevant to our students.