This interview is the first in an occasional series of blog chats with school librarians, teachers, and other educators and advocates for student learning. This week’s featured educators are (left to right in the photo above) Christina Beaufort (school librarian); Jackie Jaros (school counselor), and Lisa Fabian (computer teacher) of Deer Lakes Middle School, a 6-8 school in the Deer Lakes School District, in Russellton, PA. Christina, Lisa, and Jackie have been collaborating on several anti-bullying and digital citizenship activities this fall.
SLM Blog: Thank you for talking to the School Library Monthly Blog! Recently your middle school held a day to “Make It Orange, Make It End.” Tell us about this event.
The National Bullying Prevention Center has introduced a day called Make It Orange, Make It End Day. The day is to be used to bring awareness to the bullying issues across our nation. Students and staff in our building were invited to wear orange to display their true colors: showing that they support the victims of bullying and are willing to stand up for those students in need against a bully. Any time we have the opportunity to take advantage of national campaigns, such as Make It Orange, Make It End, we jump at the chance. As time goes on, we will include other opportunities such as purchasing printed orange t-shirts, inviting kids to advertise the day on their social media networks, having students make posters, etc. The more awareness we spread, the closer we are to making it (bullying) end.
SLM Blog: You also have a campaign called Delete Digital Drama. What’s this about?
Delete Digital Drama was created and designed to bring awareness to cyberbullying. We played the song by Mary J. Blije, “No More Drama” when the students were entering the classroom. The teachers wore Delete Digital Drama @ DLSD t-shirts. All the teachers and seventh grade students received a plastic bracelet with the same message to show their awareness and support. Some topics we discussed included Facebook, Twitter, emailing, sending texts, and thinking before posting things online. We showed a clip from the ABC movie, Cyberbully, that shows the consequences of cyberbullying and misuse of social media.
SLM Blog: At your school, these events were envisioned and carried out through a unique collaboration of educators. Who were the collaborators? What steps were involved in the planning?
The Guidance Counselor, Librarian, Principal, and other teachers in the school were involved. We planned during an in-service training, exchanged emails, resources, and experiences.
What advice might you give colleagues in middle school libraries, guidance departments,and classrooms in connecting across departments for issues related to bullying and digital citizenship?
First we would suggest getting your administration on board with the activity or lesson, then the staff. Planning could take place during an in-service day. The more students see something being modeled by more people across the school, the more likely they are to get excited and follow.
SLM Blog: What are other collaborations that cross disciplines at your school? What are some student learning outcomes?
Multiple teachers have collaborated with the librarian on lessons/projects relating to the curriculum. For example, a seventh grade class read the novel Life as We Knew It and they created survival kids based on what they thought was important to survive during a natural disaster. They used the CDC website as a resource and printed pictures of ten items with explanation on why they chose that item to put in their survival (shoe) box.
Christina also coordinated a live videoconference called “Dignity and Respect,” which East Union (grades 3-5 Intermediate Elementary School) also participated in for the second year. Ryan Mundy and Charlie Batch from the Pittsburgh Steelers were the guest speakers and several schools participated for the live event by asking questions. Other schools could watch by clicking on the website. The students were engaged with the event, plus they could interact with the guest speakers. Their grade level teachers incorporated the bullying lesson and topic of respecting others prior to the videoconference.
SLM Blog: Thank you for sharing your collaboration experiences with the SLM Blog! Best wishes for continued successful learning and collaboration at your school!
–Rebecca Morris, with Christina Beaufort, Lisa Fabian, and Jackie Jaros
Image: C. Beaufort