Friday, August 28, 2015

How My Wife Became Super Librarian!

My wife is a library media specialist at Hot Springs Intermediate and Park Magnet School in the Hot Springs School District (Hot Springs, Arkansas). She always plans wonderful themes for her Accelerated Reader (AR) program. I have been trying to get her to write a few blog posts for teacher librarians in grades Kindergarten through 6th grade since she works with this age range. I simply had to share her theme this year. It is near and dear to my heart, because it involves super heroes!

Super heroes are huge right now. They are in the movies and on television. They are also in comics! Cindy decided to make a big display of super heroes right outside her library entryway. It is the first thing you see as you come up the stairs to the second floor where the library is located.

AR displays on library windows

At open house, she had several parents excited about the theme---especially the dads. They actually asked to purchase her decorations. Open house was a huge success! When learners and parents are excited, everyone wins!

The excitement carried over to her co-workers. One of her colleagues suggested that she dress up as "super librarian". She actually offered to help Cindy develop a costume. It was then decided that she would be in costume for her presentation to teachers during professional development before students arrived. This was definitely stepping out of her comfort zone! At the meeting with 50 faculty, super hero introduction music was played... then in ran Super Librarian giving faculty members high fives and generating thunderous applause! Instantly, smartphones were out capturing the moment on video and in photos! Cindy's risk paid off. This is exactly the kind of excitement we are looking for in public schools. It is the kind of energy we should want for our school library programs!

Cindy in costume at the faculty meeting!

After this introduction, Cindy shared how she wanted to team up with teachers to build powerful collaborative learning events for students in the library. She shared her goals with the excited crowd of educators. It was a great success. Even in the weeks following this event, teachers are still seeking opportunities to work with Cindy in the library.

A comic book style photo created with the Halftone App

She decided to take it a step further. She wanted to create a custom video to introduce the AR theme to her students in grades K-6. We brainstormed and decided to write a short story and create a comic strip of digital photos. I showed Cindy the Halftone app for iOS that creates comic quality pictures from digital photos right on the device. I knew we could add text balloons and effects right in this app. We decided to make a movie using these comic styled photos. Cindy was able to get some students to be in her movie. She also found a willing teacher to play the part of the villain that we developed, The Anti-Reader. We took pictures one afternoon after school. It took about 40 minutes to capture all the shots we needed. Then we converted the photos to comics in Halftone and built the story with text and effects. This took about two hours to complete.

After the comic photos were complete, we imported them into iMovie and added music. This was the time consuming part. It took about 2-3 hours to edit the movie and add music/ sound effects in all the right places. We then took a day away from the project to rest. We came back on the third day and completed the voice over recordings and sound effects. All of the music and sound effects were found in iMovie for MacBook Pro (except for the fighting sounds which I recorded with my fists).

Super Librarian video link above.

Cindy showed the video to 23 different classes on Friday, August 28th. There were approximately 500 students who saw the presentation. All the students really enjoyed the video. After the video was complete, Cindy would run out of her office in the Super Librarian costume to an excited crowd of learners. She would then explain the Accelerated Reader program to those in attendance. After the video, one class yelled, "Encore, encore!" Others wanted to know when the next episode of Super Librarian would be revealed. Cindy challenged these classes to help her write and produce the next video.

Presentation day!

This was a great opportunity to model technology and innovation to her learning community. Her learners will no doubt want to see more of Super Librarian this school year. It was a time consuming task; but most of the time when we do what is best for kids, it is rarely easy and convenient. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone to become a super librarian/ educator to your learning community.

Follow Cindy on Twitter: @CindyRookEvans
Cindy's email:

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  1. Quite exhilarating stuff indeed. This is a practical approach to learning and play acting. Enjoyed reading this blog.

    Hosea Tokwe
    Chief Library Assistant
    Midlands State University
    P.Bag 9055
    +263-773 747 814(mobile) /

  2. Thanks, Hosea! We like to do whatever it takes to reach learners! Have a great weekend, friend!

  3. Love it! Whatever it takes for a library :)

    1. Thank you for the encouragement! I'll share this with Cindy :-)