Chagrin Falls Schools’ Library Media Specialist Earns Award with CFMS Curriculum Night
When the pandemic limited in-person interactions that were the basis of many school events, Director of Library Media Services for Chagrin Falls Middle School (CFMS) Angie Jameson, took action.
Jameson had come across the idea for virtual interactive landscapes when searching for the hashtag #remotelearning on Twitter. The result was a domino effect of several departments using GIFs and graphics editing to connect with students and keep both academics and extracurriculars alive.
After creating a virtual library with lockers and a GIF of herself, Jameson found it was easier to connect with the students. She was able to take a video of herself, remove the background from it, and then insert herself into the virtual environment as a moving picture.
This method was used to welcome families to the CFMS “Interactive Curriculum Night.” During this event, a Google Slide showed a photo of each of the teachers at CFMS, all waving and smiling on the screen thanks to the GIF capability. Families could click on a teacher to see their teaching philosophy, personalized Google presentations, and a 360-degree classroom tour.
It was this event that earned Jameson and her staff a Collaborative School Library Award from the Ohio Educational Library Media Association (OELMA). According to a letter from the OELMA, “The Collaborative School Library Award recognizes and encourages collaboration of partnerships between the school library media specialist and the school community through joint planning of a program, project, or event in support of the curriculum, using school library resources, and incorporating the AASL standards.” The team consisted of Principal Laila Discenza, Assistant Principal Amanda Rassi, Music Teachers Nathan Bachofsky and Kendra Karriker, and Spanish Teacher Kathleen Aranavage.
The CFMS team will be honored for her project at the OELMA Annual Fall Conference on Saturday, October 9. However, her efforts do not stop at the award; many other school departments have used virtual GIF creation to teach and connect with students.
Kathleen Aranvage’s Spanish classes recorded videos of themselves presenting in both English and Spanish and used multiple GIFs to make it seem like they had a travel log. This was opposed to the usual guided walk through the library where students learn the culture.
The Music Department also had the chorus and orchestra create presentations sharing recorded concert music. This was later shared through GIFs on a virtual performance stage where people could click on the stage to hear the recorded music.
Finally, Link Crew Leaders, who connect with incoming high school freshmen, sent digital postcards to the incoming students to give them tips and share a connection with them as a way to compensate for not having in-person activities for the new students.
In an article written by Jameson for the Teacher Librarian journal for school library professionals, she wrote, “While we waited for the day when all students could safely return to classrooms, taking the time to create interactives gave virtual students a sense of connection. As students of all ages are active digital citizens, we can empower them with positive ways to use and share media.”