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  • 20 Mar 2017 3:04 PM | Kristen

    I missed February, but here is an installment for March.



    Kristen Eckhardt, LMS

    Danville School

    Danville, VT

  • 23 Jan 2017 12:58 PM | Kristen

    Again, with the copying and pasting to get a look...but here is this month's musing, nonetheless. Happy New Year!

    Kristen Eckhardt, LMS

    Danville School


  • 06 Dec 2016 1:15 PM | Kristen

    Here is the latest from the Danville School Library. Happy Holidays!

    Kristen Eckhardt, LMS


  • 08 Nov 2016 10:09 AM | Kristen

    November's Blog from Danville School (this site will not take my C&P attempts--sorry that you have to C&P the link yourself!)


  • 12 Oct 2016 9:23 PM | Matt (Administrator)
    Vermont Librarians’ Statement on Information Literacy Across the Lifespan details the importance of information literacy to lifelong learning and responsible citizenship and discusses the role of librarians. This statement can be shared with your administrators and/or school board, or used in any other way that helps you promote the importance of strong school library programs and properly staffed school libraries. The cover letter template is editable so that you can tailor it for your intended audience. Download the statement and the cover on the Advocacy page.

  • 03 Oct 2016 8:51 AM | Kristen
    The doc has fun pictures, so copy and paste the shareable link for a trip down Memory Lane:

  • 08 Jun 2016 8:14 PM | Joanne

    I am looking for trade books that others may be using for NGSS  in grades K-5.  Any suggestions or books that you have, or plan to use for these standards would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for your consideration.

  • 13 May 2016 6:58 PM | Emily

    In March, my students’ anticipation starts to grow.  They are finishing reading their last Dorothy’s List book, discussing which one was their favorite, and eagerly looking forward to voting.  My anticipation is growing as well, but for another reason.  I know that the new list is about to be released.  What books are going to be on this year’s list?  Have I read any yet?  Which ones am I looking forward to reading?  I’m just as giddy as my kiddos.  

    Maisie's Dorothy's List.jpg

    The books are one excitement.  The upcoming Dorothy Canfield Fisher Conference is another.  And this year was no exception.  This year’s conference was held at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vermont.   Right when I walked through the doors, I was greeted warmly and given a full bag of free books!   Then on to coffee, breakfast goodies, and chatting with friends I haven’t seen since last conference.   What a great way to start the morning!


    The conference kicked off with a Keynote from author Cynthia Lord.  She gave a moving speech about how to become a writer in four steps:  Read, Write, Revise, & Dream.  These steps sound simple but they are peppered with lifelong lessons that empower our work as librarians.  In her speech, Cynthia recalled wanting to share a book with her mother, but was turned away.  Her mother felt that Cynthia should practice her reading by herself to make her a stronger reader. But we all know that sharing a book isn’t always about getting help with reading the words.  It is a bonding experience.  Sharing a book should be an ageless activity, happening between all ages and members of a family & community.  Reading can make us closer.  She suggested to “read crap” because it helps you get a better understanding of good literature and it is often fun!  Cynthia also gave a great example of how librarians can empower students in their choices.  A school librarian she worked with at her first teaching job always told students “Good choice” regardless of the book they chose.  She realized that books are more than the words that are printed on them.  We don’t truly know what a book holds for each child.  We need to celebrate that they are making their own choice especially when they don’t get that power in much of the rest of their life.  Some other gems from her speech was about how students equate revision with failure instead of coaching.  That we need to tell students “Make it shine.  It’s worth it!”  Cynthia Lord’s speech help me feel this way about the work that we do:  Make it shine.  It’s worth it!Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 6.25.32 PM.png

    Next I was off to a break out session.  It is always hard to choose where to go.  This year you did not need to sign up for a session prior to the conference but got to go where your feet took you in the moment.  Luckily, handouts & other materials relating to each presentation can be found on the Department of Libraries’ Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award webpage. I chose to go to the presentation of this year’s list because I want to increase my students’ participation and knew I could get some good book talking points to get them going.  I’ve read about half of them so far and this presentation got me excited to read the rest, nevertheless get my students reading.


    The second session I went to was the Rapid-To-Dos with Annie Brabazon and Charlie Farrell from Grand Island School.  I believe this is the 3rd year in which I’ve gone to their presentation and I always come away with some great activities I can use with students.  This year I got activities such as an animal sound icebreaker for the Terrible Two in which scraps of paper were handed out.  Each one has a match.  One was an animal, the other was the sound the animal makes.  One partner kept making the noise and the other needed to walk around to find their match. Another activity was figuring out celebrity’s roller derby names for Roller Girl such as Atticurse Flinch, Smack Galifianakis, Nuke Skywalker, & Mouth Guardashian.  And yet another was creating secret codes like the kind that can be found in The Blackthorne Key.  Even better yet was getting kids to crack some codes such as this celebrity cipher where you have to work backwards from one clue to see if you can figure out the whole message.  (Do not notice that I made a mistake! :) ).   I know that I can get kids revved up using these engaging activities.



    The conference’s endnote speaker was native Vermonter & graphic novelist,  Gareth Hinds.  (He sketched the portrait of Cynthia Lord that is included above).  For those that don’t know, he specializes in creating graphic novels of classics like Macbeth, the Odyssey, & Poe’s short stories.    It is amazing the amount of work & thought that goes into these adaptations.  Hinds studies multiple texts, determines what is essential in the story, & how best to tell these tales in the graphic format.  School librarians know that students are attracted to the graphic novel medium now more than ever and Hinds books help make these classics more accessible to a larger audience.  Not to mention that the artwork is pure awesome!  Gareth Hinds also made some points that are important to our work.  Letting students doodle does not distract them from listening.  It uses a different part of their brain and might even help them focus better on listening.  Also at that certain age when students stop seeing themselves as an artist, he offers a similar reminder that Cynthia Lord made about revision that needs to be brought to their attention.  Everyone needs practice and coaching, even those that you think of as experts.  Students should continue to practice and revise their art skills.  They should be reminded to “Make it shine.  It’s worth it!”

    At any conference, a lot of learning is done outside of the sessions.  We are often working solo in our positions in school.  The time that I get to spend with other school librarians and other like minded folks is invaluable.  This year was a transition year for me.  I had the exciting opportunity to start at a new school (Moretown Elementary) but regretfully had to leave an old position (Newport City).  While at the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Conference, I could catch up with my Northeast Kingdom colleagues.  I could also visit with those that went through the UVM sequence with me.  I could talk about the successes & challenges that we all face.  These networking ties are great for furthering my practice.  It also gives me the boost that is often needed at the end of the school year.  The conference is a nice day to remind me about how much I love this profession and to be part of this group of educators in particular.  It reminds me to “Make it shine.  My students are worth it!”

  • 29 Feb 2016 11:22 AM | Kristen


    Yes, it is a fabulous book by R. J. Palacio. And it is also at the crux of what we librarians/cybrarians do—we insist on fanning the flames of wonder. I am all over the map in a PreK-12th Grade School, but what I find myself working the hardest at all the time is this very task. Every time a student comes in looking for a book (i.e., pretty much all day long despite a fixed schedule!), I am trying to match an interest, spark a passion, offer something new; every time I have those outrageously adorable PreK tots, I can’t wait to get them all riled up about whatever great read aloud I’ve chosen;  each portion of the day I spend with grade schoolers, I am trying to light them up with a book, a connected online resource, and impress upon them that the capacity to wonder more and find out more is an incredible quest—better than a video game, even.  Then there is the Middle School crowd: I am in a full sweat 15 minutes into our blended learning session, trying to relate to them just how awesome it is to be a member of the 21stcentury.  As for the high school set… I have given up trying to be cool. I just want them to know it’s okay to read anything you want and just go for it. Finally, there is the faculty who I pepper with “cool” Ted Talks, transliteracy updates  and UBD tidbits…I’m just trying to get them to enjoy letting the wonder of teaching into their over-scheduled days.  Yep, that’s me—forcing wonder on everyone. It’s exhausting, and the reason I get up every day to go to school.

    A colleague of mine refers to a school day as an “Olympic Event.” I couldn’t agree more, and I am cooked straight through when I give that last computer bay a Clorox wipe and lock the double library doors at 4:00 pm. At the risk of sounding sassy, I am so done with “wonder.” But then I dig into whatever book I am reading that night and I am all full of wonder again! It does not take long to reboot. Boys in the Boat? How did those guys pull that Olympic win off? How did the author craft such a read?  Andrew Smith’s Winger? OMG, I think Holden Caulfield has a modern-day compatriot! The DCF non-fiction thriller No Summit Out of Sight? How did that kid do all of that? Why haven’t I even begun to do anything like that? The fabulous Red Clover site Carol S. put together to use with all of the Red Clover reads?  When did she have time to put that together? The wonder just keeps me wondering!!

    And that is just a small part of all my wonderings—a very small part, actually. Each individual at school is full of wonder, whether they show it or not. Sparking a bit of wonder in the most off-task or uninterested of patrons can be the most important part of my day. Getting a group of students immersed in a lesson on Westward Expansion by showcasing fantastic figures like Calamity Jane to bring out the true flavor of the Wild West—these kinds of moments make my day.  But here’s the catch—I am realizing that many kids aren’t coming to school all set to wonder. It is not something that has been sparked in their technology-heavy young lives, and it is work to get them wondering. I guess it’s why my days are often so tiring. The wonder that should be/could be sparked early at home, outside, looking at pictures in books, hearing stories from a grown-up—is it being ignited enough? Truth be told, I am a little worried that it’s not. And this worry is what makes me go at my job with more fervor than ever.

    School kids are not only bogged down with a multitude of devices and scheduled activities, I think they get bogged down with all the “must dos” given them at school. Teachers seem to be scrambling to “get it all in,” so how can children not feel the effects of this stress? Maybe they are too tired or overwhelmed to wonder. It’s why they need libraries more than ever. Why they need a librarian to open up some cool corner of the world for them, to get them that perfect book, to teach them to find a fabulous resource online, or to just let them get lost among the shelves for a while. There’s no app for it, there’s no perfect formula for it, but it happens. Wonder begets wonder. What could be better than building wonder into each and every day of a student’s busy day? I wonder…

    Kristen Eckhardt

    Danville School Librarian


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