Sunday, November 29, 2009

Personal Mission Statement

I believe that students should have access to high-quality and varied information sources. Students should be able to access a range of opinions, facts, and ideas expressed through various forms of media. Information literacy should be taught from a young age to create life-long learners.

As a media specialist, I believe that I have a responsibility to students to guarantee them access to materials through efficient library management practices. I should seek out and obtain current information related to library and information services and best practices. I can and will serve every child that comes through the doors of the library.

A media center that operates in collaboration with teachers becomes a hub of school activity. This is a goal that I believe can be achieved through outreach to teachers as well as students. The media center is a place for teachers to seek out information to enhance their lessons. Through collaboration we can obtain a collection of materials that will be relevant and useful to teachers and students.


Sarah Murray

To obtain a position as a School Media Specialist.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN May 2011
Master of Science in Information Science
Endorsement on teaching license for School Media
Cumulative GPA 3.6
Utah Valley State College, Orem, UT May 2003
Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Early Childhood Education
Teaching License for grades PK-8
Cumulative GPA 3.75

PreKindergarten Teacher October 2005- Present
Hattie Cotton Elementary, Metro Nashville Public Schools, TN
- Maintained State licensure for site and served low income families
- Created curriculum and opportunities for students to develop, and be prepared for kindergarten and future schooling
- Served on various committees, including: Positive Behavior Support committee, team leadership committee, school website committee, and others

Kindergarten Teacher August 2003-October 2005
Hattie Cotton Elementary and Caldwell Enhanced Option School, MNPS
- 99% of students come from low income families
- Created a nurturing, safe environment for students where they can learn despite their difficulties at home

Computer Skills
Microsoft Suite, Ironpoint and website development software, PC and Mac computers, familiar and proficient with most search engines

Activities Young Women Program July 2009-Present
- Served as Secretary for local group of 12-18 year old teen girls
- Served in the Presidency for girls in the Nashville and Middle Tennessee area
- Created camping, and youth development opportunities to help girls recognize their potential

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Booktalks for Middle and High School Students

Gaiman, Neil. 2002. Coraline. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

Have you ever played the game Clue?

My favorite part of the game, is the secret passageways. I have always wanted to have secret passageways in my house, so I can sneak from the Lounge to the Conservatory or the Study to the Kitchen. Secret passageways are usually dark, narrow hallways, and they seem as though they would be covered with spiders and bugs and undesirable things. If I really found a secret passageway, would I be brave enough to go in it? I am not sure if I would. Would you be brave enough?

Well, in this book, Coraline finds a secret passageway. The scariest part about Coraline’s secret passageway, is that when she is with her mother it’s not there at all! You see, Coraline just moved into a new flat, it’s an old, big house that they have turned into several flats. Miss Spink and Miss Forcible live downstairs, and upstairs is a crazy old man training mice for a circus. But next to Coraline’s is an empty flat. Coraline asks her mother to unlock the old door, that used to lead into the other flat, and when her mother does, Coraline sees that they have bricked the other side of the door for privacy.

The next day, while both of Coraline’s parents are out, Coraline sneaks down the key to the old door and unlocks it. When she opens the door, there is no longer a brick wall but a secret passageway. Coraline thinks of herself as an explorer, so of course she heads down that secret passageway. What do you think she will find? You will be just as shocked as I was, at what she finds. Read Coraline, to find out.

Hesse, Karen. 1997. Out of the dust. New York: Scholastic, Inc.

Hi! I'm Billie Jo, and this book, Out of the Dust, is a collection of my journal entries from January of 1934 to December of 1935. Those were some hard days back in Oklahoma. I was 14 years old trying to grow up as normal as you can living in a dust bowl. Everything we owned was ALWAYS covered in dust. For example, when we set the table for dinner, we would keep the plates and cups upside down on the table until we sat down, then we would shake out our napkins, put them in our laps, and flip over our dishes leaving circles where the dust couldn't reach. Even then the dust still got in our food. Daddy used to say things like, 'The potatoes are peppered plenty tonight,' and 'Chocolate milk for dinner, aren't we in clover.' We tried to joke about the dust but it was a real hardship for us.

We lived on a farm like most everyone else but it was real hard to get anything to grow in those days. We relied on the rain, and it hardly ever came. All of our crops would get choked by the dust since they had no deep roots. But it wasn't just the dust that made life hard in those days. I was a 14 year old girl and I had hopes and dreams that took me far from the Dust bowl of Oklahoma, and far away from the trajedy that struck mama. And even though it happened many years ago, and I have been trying hard to forgive myself and Daddy; its still hard to talk about. But you can read about it in my journal if you would like, Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse.

Spinelli, Jerry. 2000. Stargirl. New York: Scholastic, Inc.

There is always someone a little bit different in every high school. And in our school, Mica Area High School, there was Stargirl. The question we all had about her was: is she real? Most people don't walk into a new school and a new situation with such boldness; usually they try to blend in for awhile and see how things normally go. But this wasn't Stargirl's plan. She walked in and immediately made a name for herself. But it wasn't such a good thing. Who wears cream dresses with ruffles all the way to the floor that look like they could have been your grandmother's wedding dress? Who keeps a ukelele strapped to their back? Who carries a large canvas bag with a large real-life sized sunflower painted on it? Who plays and sings Happy Birthday to people they don't even know? Who does that? Stargirl does it.

But is she real? Do you think that the administration could have planted an actress among us to boost morale and give us school spirit? To make things more interesting here? That's what Hillari Kimble thinks and Kevin agrees with her because if she's not fake, then she's in real trouble. Can she last in our high school if she's real, or will she be mocked and teased until she leaves. High school is a rough place and she may want to think about that because I think she might be real; and I think I may want to get to know her better. Read Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli to find out more about her.

Collins, Suzanne. 2008. The hunger games. New York: Scholastic Press.

"My first impulse is to scramble from the tree, but I'm belted in. Somehow my fumbling fingers release the buckle and I fall to the ground in a heap, still snarled in my sleeping bag. There's no time for any kind of packing. Fortunately, my backpack and water bottle are already in the bag. I shove in the belt, hoist the bag over my shoulder and flee.

"The world has transformed to flame and smoke. Burning branches crack from trees and fall in showers of sparks at my feet. All I can do is follow the others, the rabbits and deer, and I even spot a wild dog pack shooting through the woods. I trust their sense of direction because their instincts are sharper than mine.

"The heat is horrible, but worse than the heat is the smoke, which threatens to suffocate me at any moment. I pull the top of my shirt up over my nose, grateful to find it soaked in sweat, and it offers a thin veil of protection. And I run, choking, my bag banging against my back, my face cut with branches that materialize from the gray haze without warning, because I know I am supposed to run.

"This was no tribute's campfire gone out of control, no accidental occurrence. The flames that bear down on me have an unnatural height, a uniformity that marks them as human-made, machine-made, Gamemaker-made. Things have been too quiet today. No deaths, perhaps no fights at all. The audience in the Capitol will be getting bored, claiming that these Games are verging on dullness. This is the one thing the Games must not do.

"This fire is designed to flush us out, to drive us together. It may not be the most original device I've seen, but it's very, very effective.

"In a matter of minutes, my throat and nose are burning. The coughing begins soon after and my lungs begin to feel as if they are actually being cooked. Discomfort turns to distress until each breath sends a searing pain through my chest. I manage to take cover under a stone outcropping just as the vomiting begins. I lose my meager supper and whatever has remained in my stomach. Crouching on my hands and knees, I retch until there's nothing left to come up."

What will come of Katniss and the other tributes? Will she be able to survive with 23 other tributes trying to make sure that she doesn't? Who will survive... The Hunger Games?

Anderson, M.T. 2002. Feed. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.

Have you ever wondered if all the English classes that you take will ever really matter? Have you wondered what good an assigned essay will do for our future? Listen to this and decide:

"Violet asked me about my mom and dad. I told her that my dad did some kind of banking thing, and my mom was in design. I didn't understand what my dad did exactly. Whatever it was, he was off doing it on the moon until tomorrow, when they were going to tell us about our feeds.

"When I asked her what her dad did, she said, 'He's a college professor. He teaches dead languages.'

"'People study that?'

"She shrugged. 'I guess.'

"'Okay. So what are the dead languages?'

"'They're languages that were once important but nobody uses anymore. They haven't been used in a long time, except by historians.'

"'Like what languages?'

"'You know, FORTRAN. BASIC.'

"'What does one sound like?'

"She slid off the bunk, and went to get her bag. She opened it and pulled out something, which was a pen. She also had paper.

"I looked at her funny. 'You write?' I said. 'With a pen?'

"'Sure,' she said, a little embarrassed. She wrote something down. She put the pad of paper on my lap.

"She asked me, 'Do you know how to read?'

"I nodded. 'I can read. A little. I kind of protested it in School. On the grounds that the silent 'E' is stupid.'

"'This is the language called BASIC,' she said.

"On the paper it said,

002110 Gota 013500

013500 Peek 16388, 236

013510 Poke 16389 236

"She read it to me. I could tell the numbers fine.

"'So what does that mean?' I asked.

"'It's the first thing my dad teaches the students on the first day,' she said. 'It means, 'I came, I saw, I conquered.'

"I looked at her pen. 'You write all the time,' I said, completely in awe.

"'I've done it since I was little.

"'Do you write... stuff?'

"'Not stories or anything. I just write down things I see sometimes.'

"'On paper.'


"I looked at her. 'You're one funny enchilada,' I said.

"She nodded real quiet.

"'Doesn't your hand get all cramped up?' I asked. 'Don't you end up like, hook-hand?' I made hook-hand. We pawed at each other with hook-hand.

"She shook her head and smiled.

"'I asked, 'Why don't you use the feed? It's way faster.' (p. 64-66)"

Do you think in the future we will read or write? And what is this feed that is so much faster? Is faster always better? Read Feed, by M.T. Anderson and decide for yourself.

Stephenson, Lynda. 2005. Dancing with Elvis. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.

Weyn, Suzanne. 2004. The bar code tattoo. New York: Scholastic, Inc.

Picture Book Programs

Monster Story Time
The following storytime is for grades PK-1, intended to last a typical 20-30 minute time period.

"Let's start today by going for a monster hunt to see what we can find. Ready? Repeat after me..."

Monster Hunt finger play

We're going on a monster hunt. (Point to self)
We're going to find a big one! (Raise hand above head)
We're not scared, but -- (Shake head)
What if he's under the bed? (Pretend to peek under the bed)
Better go over it, squoosh, squoosh, squoosh. (Clasp palms together)
What if he's in the closet? (Pretend to open the door)
Better close it, slam, slam, slam. (Clap hands loudly)
What if he's behind the curtains? (Pretend to peek behind the curtains)
Better open them, swish, swish, swish. (Rub palms together)
What if he's in the hallway? (Point somewhere)
Better tiptoe down it, tiptoe, tiptoe. (Perform this action)
What if he's in the garage? (Point another direction)
Better stomp through it, stomp, stomp, stomp. (Perform this action)
Aahhh! It's a monster! (Scream loudly)
Stomp through the garage (Perform actions as above)
Walk through the hallway,
Close the curtains,
Open the closet,
Jump into bed and turn out the lights! Click! (Jump and snap fingers)

"Whoa! What do you know about monsters?" Accept answers and then read:

Thach, James Otis. 2007. A child's guide to common household monsters. Ashville, NC: Front Street Press.

Five Little Monsters finger play

One little monster, scary and blue, (Hold up one finger)
Met a friend and that made two. (Hold up two fingers)
Two little monsters, shaking a tree, (Use two fingers to shake a tree)
They met a friend and that made three. (Hold up three fingers)
Three little monsters, slamming a door, (Three fingers slam a door)
They met a friend and that made four. (Hold up four fingers)
Four little monsters, dancing a jive, (Four fingers dance around)
They met a friend and that made five. (Hold up five fingers)
Five scary monsters on Halloween night, (Five fingers walk around)
They met a ghost who gave them a fright! (Five fingers run away)

"So, what do we do if we see a monster? This book will help us..." Read:

Emberley, Ed. 1992. Go away big green monster. Boston: Little, Brown.

"Wait a minute... are you the monsters? Let's take this test and see, stand up"

Monster, Monster

Monster, monster, turn around.
Monster, monster, touch the ground.
Monster, monster, reach up high.
Monster, monster, squint your eyes.
Monster, monster, show your teeth.
Monster, monster, stamp your feet.

"You are the monsters! And you are such cute monster! I am not scared of you, but this monster is..." Read:

Willis, Jeanne. 1999. Monster Bed. New York: Mulberry Books.

Spring Story Time
The following storytime is for 3rd-4th grades; intended to last a typical 20-30 minute time period.

"Today, I want us to think about some of the characteristics of Spring. Can you name some of the things that you know about Spring?" List answers on chart paper or a whiteboard.

"Great. You have made a very comprehensive list. I want you to look at the things that you have mentioned while I read some riddles and let's see if your list will help you figure them out."

Read riddles from:
Walton, Rick. 1990. Weather or not: riddles for rain and shine. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Co.

"Great job. I want to look at Spring just a little differently. Let's take a look at these poems called acrostic poems. Acrostic poems are poems that the first letter of each line forms a word vertically. Let's take a look at some examples."

Read poems from:
Schnur. Steven. 1999. Spring: an alphabet acrostic. New York: Clarion Books.

"I would like you to write your own acrostic poem with a friend. Pick one of the words from our chart, one of the characteristics of Spring, and write your poem. Pick a friend real fast and you have 5-10 minutes to write your poems. When you are done, we will take the time to share them."

Give the students 5-10 minutes to write their own poems and then have them share their poems if they choose. Have them leave behind their poems to display in the library.

Five Original Finger Games

If you can hear my voice...
(This fingerplay is one that I use almost daily with my students to quiet them down and get them ready for storytime. Start out using a normal speaking voice and with each line speak quieter and quieter.)

If you can hear my voice, touch your nose (children touch their nose).
If you can hear my voice, touch your toes (children touch their toes).
If you can hear my voice, touch your hips (children touch their hips).
If you can hear my voice, touch your lips (children touch their lips).

Fingers Freeze
(This fingerplay is done during the beginning of the year, when I am teaching my children the concept of freezing, in order to listen for more instructions.)

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Fingers dancing, doing the jive. (Fingers dance on crossed legs or wherever.)
6,7,8,9,10, Freeze! (pause) And let them dance again! (Second hand joins and fingers dance until freeze is said, they stop and wait until they can dance again.)

Five Little Bears

5 little bears went out walking with me, (5 fingers go walking)
One walked off and climbed a tree. (pretend to climb a tree with your arms)
Found a little hive but it was full of bees, (hold the right hand around the left- as a hive, and then let the right fingers fly about like bees)
Sad little bear got bee stings on his knees. (touch knees with a sad face)


One little monster, scary and blue (hold up one finger)
Met a friend and then there were two. (hold up two fingers)
Two little monsters, shaking a tree, (two fingers shake)
They met a friend and that made three. (hold up three fingers)
Three little monsters, slamming a door, (three fingers slam a door)
They met a friend and that made four. (hold up four fingers)
Four little monsters, dancing a jive, (four fingers dance)
They met a friend and that made five. (hold up five fingers)
Five scary monsters on Halloween night, (five fingers walk)
They met a ghost who gave them a fright! (five fingers shake and run away)

(Can be sung to the rhythm of "The Wheels on the Bus")

During the Spring the rain comes down (fingers slide down), the rain comes down, the rain comes down,
During the Spring the rain comes down and it makes me want to frown (show a sad face).
During the Spring the rain comes down (fingers slide down), the rain comes down, the rain comes down,
During the Spring the rain comes down and the little worms drown (wiggle fingers around).
During the Spring the rain comes down (fingers slide down), the rain comes down, the rain comes down,
During the Spring the rain comes down and flowers grow in town (left hand grows out of right hand and opens up).

Connection: Healthy Kids

A topic of special interest to me, is that of children's health. Children have a right to knowledge about healthy choices at a young age, without becoming overly conscious and obsessed. Here are a few sources that can help you get started to teach this topic in a positive way!


Baldwin, Dorothy. 1987. Health and friends. Vero Beach, FL: Rourke Enterprises. Discusses the importance of friends and how to have a good relationship. Non-fiction.

Carle, Eric. 2007. From head to toe. New York: Harper Festival.
The reader can exercise while following the movements of the different animals. Fiction.

Cole, Joanna. 2005. My friend the doctor. New York: Harper Collins.
Details Hannah's visit to the doctor for a physical. Fiction.

Gogerly, Liz. 2009. Exercise. St. Catherines, Ont.: Crabtree Publishing.
Tom and Emily don't get as much exercise as they should, but they learn the benefits and start to exercise thanks to their grandma's visit. Fiction.

Gordon Sharon. 2002. A good nights sleep. New York: Children's Press.
This book describes the reasons why we need sleep, what your body does while you are asleep, and what you can do to help yourself fall asleep. Non-fiction.

Gordon, Sharon.
2002. Exercise. New York: Children's Press.
Discusses the importance of being fit and great ways to get exercise. Non-fiction.

Gordon, Sharon. 2002. Keeping Clean. New York: Children's Press.
Tells of the ways to keep clean, such as: bathing, showering, washing hands, brushing teeth, etc. and why it is important. Non-fiction.

Iveson, Joan. 1986. Your health. New York: Bookwright Press.
The importance of nutritious meals, visiting the doctor, getting enough sleep, and being clean, are discussed as ways to stay healthy. Non-fiction.

Kleinberg, Naomi.
2007. Happy healthy monsters: good night, tucked in tight. New York: Random House.
Elmo, as a host of the Healthy Monsters Network, teaches about good hygiene practices including handwashing, tooth care, and sleep. Fiction.

Miller, Edward. 2006. The monster health book: a guide to eating healthy, being active and feeling great for monsters and kids! New York: Holiday House.
Teaches about the newly redesigned food pyramid, exercise, drugs, and self esteem. Non-fiction.

O'Brien-Palmer, Michelle. 1999. Healthy me: fun ways to develop good health and safety habits: activities for children 5 to 8. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.
Contains over seventy projects, recipes, and experiments about health and safety. Non-fiction.

Powell, Jillian. 1998. Food and your health. Austin, TX: Raintree, Steck-Vaughn.
Introduces the connection between food and health, and discusses simple nutrition. Non-fiction.

Powell, Jillian. 1998. Hygiene and your health. Austin, TX: Raintree, Steck-Vaughn.
Discusses hygiene practices and includes washing your food. and clothes. Non-fiction.

Powell, Jillian. 1998. Exercise and your health. Austin, TX: Raintree, Steck-Vaughn.
Discusses different exercises that you can do to stay healthy. Non-fiction.

Royston, Angela. 2000. A healthy body. Des Plaines, IL: Heinemann Library.
More detailed than the rest, this book discusses the heart, lungs, and muscles involvement in exercise. Non-fiction.

Schwarzenegger, Arnold. 1993. Arnold's fitness for kids ages 6-10: a guide to health, exercise, and nutrition. New York: Doubleday.
Discusses ways to stay healthy for active children and those less athletically inclined. Also available for birth through five, and eleven through fourteen. Non-fiction.


Baron, Michelle and Phil Baron. Goofy over dental health. VHS. Directed by Don Schroeder. Elk Grove Village, IL: Disney Educational Productions.
Kevin learns about the importance of dental health when he visits Goofy and Dr. Molars. Fiction.

Brown, Marc. 2001. Arthur goes to the doctor. DVD. Sony Wonder: Random House Video.
The classic cartoon character Arthur must go to the doctor for a physical examination. He is nervous until he goes and sees that it is not a big deal. Fiction.

Ferraro, Christine. 2005. Happy healthy monsters. DVD. Directed by Victor di Napoli. New York:Sony Wonder.
Sesame Street characters, Elmo, Grover, and Zoe learn about nutrition and exercise. Fiction.

Host, Roger G. 2008. Hip hop for kids. DVD. Directed by Milwe and Negroponte. New York: Jumping Fish Productions.
Roger G leads kids through a hip hop dance routine for exercise with other children on screen as well. Non-fiction.

Schlessinger Media. 2005. Nutrition. DVD. Wynnewood, PA: Schlessinger Media.
Reviews health and nutrition for children. Also playable in Spanish and for the hearing impaired. Non-fiction.

Schlessinger Media. 2005. Personal health and hygiene. DVD. Wynnewood, PA: Schlessinger Media.
Explores hygiene and health practices such as sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Includes discussion questions and activities. Playable in Spanish and for the hearing impaired. Non-fiction.


BAM! Body and Mind
Child friendly website containing information about diseases, food and nutrition, physical activity, your safety, your life, and your body.

Express Your Health: Fun pages for kids
Fun printable games and coloring pages for children. Also available in Spanish.

Fresh for Kids
Contains games, competitions, activities, sports, short stories, jokes party kits and back to school guides under the kids tab. (A personal favorite!)

A website to help children move eat, talk, and learn about exercise. Great games available for kids to do alone or with a partner to get them running and moving around the house. (Another personal favorite!)

Presidents Challenge
Children can join with a group of friends or as a school to plan out and implement exercises and earn rewards and certificates.


A visit to a local clinic or doctors office would be an appropriate field trip for this unit of study. Children can ease their nerves about going to the doctor by learning about it ahead of time. Doctors and nurses may also be willing to visit your school to teach on site, if leaving is a problem.

A visit to a dentists office would also be appropriate. Dentists or hygienists may also be willing to come visit your school and usually bring along toothbrushes and/or toothpaste for children.

Going out to athletic events is also an option. Triple A baseball teams offer reduced rates for field trips as well as free tickets as incentives for reading (a great integrated activity for the school). Local athletes are also willing to come to schools to visit but must be booked in advance and typically during their off-season.

A growing trend with marathons is to hold a kids marathon, where kids run 25 miles, one mile at a time, prior to race day and then run the final mile together as a group. This would be a great extension of learning.

Farms, dairy's, and health food stores typically offer tours to students. This could be a great way to learn about growing food and its conception.

Applying for a fresh fruit and vegetable grant can also help you put theory into practice as children get the opportunity to try new fruits and vegetables at no cost to your school.