Making a Difference: Donna Anderson
Teachers love KET and EncycloMedia because it helps with our planning—it’s fast and easy.
Donna Anderson – Library media specialist, Mullins School, Pikeville
The bright, sunny library perched at the top of Pikeville’s Mullins School overlooks the gorgeous mountain views, while inside, students are busy reading, working on computers, and browsing the shelves.
It’s a world where library media specialist Donna Anderson thrives; a bookworm herself, she loves nothing more than immersing herself in the myriad duties of the school librarian—and the pleasure of watching children read.
And when Anderson and her colleagues look for creative resources to enrich their instruction, they turn to KET to inspire them—and their students.
“I’ve found there’s something for all age groups, and this school goes K through 8,” Anderson, who has also taught in Pike County’s Kemper Elementary, said of KET EncycloMedia online resources.
“This is something free that KET provides that makes it so much easier as far as allocating resources. I can have much, much more because this is provided for free. And it would be hard to have all this, for every age group.”
As a library media specialist, one of Anderson’s charges is to teach children responsible use of the Internet in the county-wide digital citizenship program. In developing her lessons, she used not only the materials required by the county’s program but also supplemented it with KET EncycloMedia’s resources on the subject, including clips and lesson plans.
“Computer etiquette is so important, ‘netiquette’’ as they call it, and it ranges from being nice and not using all caps to cyber-bullying and sexting,” she said. “This is so important.”
Not only has KET been helpful in instruction for Anderson, it’s also been inspirational. At Kemper Elementary, a group of 12 advanced readers in the third grade was assigned to her for enrichment. She began what she thought would be a three-week stint reading the Beverly Cleary books about the mouse Ralph and his motorcycle—but it turned into a three-month project as the students embraced the story and made it their own.
“Since it was enrichment, I decided I would let their interests drive the class, and they decided they wanted to teach a mouse to run a maze,” she said. “That happens in the second book in this series, Ralph S. Mouse.”
Though the students eventually substituted a hamster for Ralph, they mined EncycloMedia to inform their project, eventually delving into wide-ranging subject matter from animal behavior and training to the scientific method, conducting experiments—and, to construct their maze—engineering.
“After they watched all those clips on EncycloMedia, they decided they could do that. They wanted to create their own clip, their own resource, on how to teach a mouse to run a maze,” Anderson said.
“They were very intellectual and very serious about it,” she added with a smile, “and they did a great job.”
Anderson says that, in addition to EncycloMedia, KET offers many other resources that are particularly appreciated in a community as remote as Pike County.
“They use KET’s Electronic Field Trips here,” she said. “You know, it is so far for someone in Eastern Kentucky to a lot of these places.” Currently, KET offers these virtual trips to nearly 30 places around the state, including Mammoth Cave, the Aviation Museum of Kentucky, a coal mine, the Belle of Louisville, the National Weather Service, the Toyota plant, Fort Boonesborough and Fort Harrod.
Anderson has plans to help teachers incorporate even more KET resources into their classroom— programs like the KET-produced Scale City, which helps kids learn about ratio and proportion, and Everyday Science, KET’s online resource for the youngest students—by taking advantage of professional development training by KET education consultants like Cynthia Warner.
“Cynthia is so good about coming out and working with media specialists and teachers. I love to have her show cool bells and whistles.
“Teachers love KET and EncycloMedia because it helps with our planning—it’s fast and easy,” Anderson added.
“It’s also great when you need something quickly. You don’’t ever want to lose that teachable moment.”