by Rebecca Dodd
Rebecca Dodd, the librarian at Whiteville Elementary School, was recognized as the recipient of the Tennessee Association of School Librarians Innovative Media Specialist Award (elementary level).
The award winning innovative program that Mrs. Dodd has implemented at Whiteville Elementary School is a student led writing experience called Author’s Desk.
At the Author’s Desk, students begin the writing process by deciding what type of paragraph they would like to write, persuasive, informative, or narrative. Students have access to graphic organizers to help them with brainstorming, outlines, first draft, editing, final draft and publishing. When students have completed their writing, the final products are ‘published’ by mounting work on color paper or adding decorative borders and frames provided at the author’s desk. Students may use fancy scissors, colored ink pens and markers. Finished products are displayed on the “Exemplary Work” board.
This station was inspired by all the makerspaces popping up in libraries. In order to enhance reading scores, Mrs. Dodd decided to create a space that complemented reading standards. Mrs. Dodd procured two unused teacher desks from hallways in her school. She covered cereal boxes with contact paper and used them to hold files of graphic organizers and stationary. She painted empty soup cans for pen and pencil storage.
After students are taught how to use the materials at the Author’s Desk, they continue writing, editing and publishing on their own time. As they become more practiced at the Author’s Desk they can start projects on their own. Students enjoy the special seating and using the extra supplies not normally accessible during regular library class. Students begin to think of themselves as writers with a dedicated space to practice their craft. Because reading and writing go hand in glove, the Author’s Desk has proven to be an asset to Whiteville’s library.
(Due to COVID-19-student’s access to shared materials has been limited. The Author’s Desk will be at 100% capacity when the county infection rates are declining.)