I love books, and I love to read. I enjoy different types of stories, so I can get excited about almost any genre. Almost. When this year’s Georgia Peach Award nominees were announced in February, we were surprised to find that two of the 20 selections were graphic novels. Instantly, I dreaded reading these two titles because “I just don’t read graphic books.” I took home the first of these two books, My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf, one Monday afternoon and thought I might flip through to see what I was missing. Less than two hours later, I had finished my first graphic novel.
Although I am still not a big fan of graphic books in general, I have a new found appreciation for why many students gravitate toward them. The images in Dahmer told the story in ways that I am not sure words could have. I think that readers could have learned a great deal about this man in any number of other books or articles published about him, but there was something about seeing Backderf’s images that made me feel like I knew this troubled teen. Although I had no intention of reading the book when I first sat down with it, I found that once I began exploring, I had to go back to the beginning and continue until I finished it. I can’t say that I felt sorry for Dahmer after reading the book. Mostly, I felt anger about all of the years that his problems were overlooked. As his depravity escalates in his teen years, I wanted to scream at the people in his life to do something! I was surprised that a book with less words than a typical chapter could make me so emotional. I even found myself spending a great deal of time on the pages with no text or dialogue. There was so much to see and reflect on in each of the scenes of the story. While I would still rather curl up on a rainy day with a traditional fiction novel, I feel like I can be more open-minded when it comes to books outside of my comfort zone like My Friend Dahmer.
Every year goes by quickly, but I can’t believe that it is already May. Usually at the end of the semester, we get so busy with teaching that we get behind in blogging. This semester is no exception! We have classes scheduled in the media center and computer labs into the last week of school. This is a great problem to have, but it does leave us a little out of breath when the whirlwind settles!
Since we last posted, many exciting things have been happening in the media center. We hosted our state-wide Exemplary Library Media Program Open House. We had almost 40 attendees throughout the day who represented at least 9 counties in Georgia. We were very pleased to have a media specialist from as far away as the metro-Atlanta area attend. Additionally, we were thrilled that Dr. Vayla Lee, Superintendent of Liberty County Schools, joined our principal, Scott Carrier, in supporting this event. We had several other central office officials, school principals, and even a school board member attend as well. Oh, and I can’t forget the two Instructional Technology professors from Georgia Southern University, Dr. Repman and Dr. Green, who taught us so much about this profession! The support our media program receives from all levels of administration and the community makes a big difference in what we are able to accomplish.
When we have not been teaching, we have been preparing for some big changes coming in technology next year. We recently learned that we will be going 1:1 in grades 4 – 12 next year. For those of you not familiar with this term, it means all students in these grades will be assigned an iPad to use for instruction. With significant improvements in bandwidth and teacher training, we expect to see some great things happening in our classrooms. While Mrs. Lukkarinen and I have had our hands full with the logistics of these changes, we are really looking forward to leading our teachers and staff through this period of transition next year and beyond.
Finally, we learned last week that our program has once again been designated a Liberty County Exemplary Media Program. While we are ineligible to earn the state distinction again for the next 10 years, we are proud that our program continues to improve and increase student achievement at Bradwell. While we look forward to finishing another school year, we are also anticipating the wonderful things awaiting us and the rest of the Tiger community next year!
Categories: Other, Photos
On Friday, we traveled to Jonesboro to help judge almost 1000 student projects that qualified for the Georgia Media Festival this year. To get to the state level competition, projects must score 96 or better at both a school-level and district-level competition.
Congratulations to the following BI students who earned qualifying scores this weekend at state. Their projects will now advance to the International Student Media Festival to be held later in the summer.
Michelle Shaughnessy (Prezi on Andrew Jackson)
Georgi-Ann Johnson (Prezi on Theodore Roosevelt)
Amber Akridge (Website on Eating Disorders)
Victoria Smith (Website on Cancer)
The following projects earned a perfect score at state:
Keinan Johnson (Website on Social Media and Teens)
Genesis Maldanado-Matos (Website on Teen Depression)
We could not do this without media specialist/teacher collaboration on classroom projects throughout the year. A special thank you to Mrs. Reese, Mrs. Eastlake, Coach Miller, and Mr. Richards for encouraging them to participate this year.