WASHINGTONVILLE – Little Britain Elementary School Library Media Specialist Danielle Dyroff was honored by the School Library Media Specialists of Southeastern New York (SLMSSENY) on May 1. Dyroff, who is new to Washingtonville Central School District this school year, received the 2020 Bea Griggs Memorial Incentive Grant, which is awarded annually to a Library Media Specialist in support of an innovative and exemplary program.
Since October, Dyroff has designated the last week of each month to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and Makerspace activities (which are designed to encourage hands-on learning, experimentation, and collaboration). So applying for the grant was a “no-brainer”, she suggested. “The grant will allow my vision of creating a designated Makerspace area in the Little Britain library, which I’ve been initiating all year, to become a reality,” she said.
Based on students’ reactions to the programming Dryroff already did this year, Little Britain Elementary School Principal Sagrario Rudecindo-O’Neill is confident that a Makerspace will enhance the library program, allowing students to experiment and challenge themselves through their successes and failures with each activity.
O’Neill is looking forward to Dyroff’s incorporation of interaction, innovation, and inspiration into the academic lives of Little Britain students. “Mrs. Dyroff has been doing some spectacular projects with our students this year, and I look forward to seeing how she will use the Bea Griggs Memorial Incentive Grant to enhance our creative library program,” she said.
The grant will provide Little Britain with $500 worth of supplies. “I had to create an Amazon wishlist that SLMSSENY would then purchase and send to Little Britain,” Dyroff recalled. “A few items include LED lights, batteries, lego accessories, and assorted craft items.”
Thanks to the grant, Dyroff will be able to plan many more Maker activities. She will start by encouraging students to pick and choose their own activities (origami, sewing, constructing, etc.) after they have completed their regular library lessons. This will help familiarize students with the Maker area, materials, and expectations. Potential projects, she said, might include creating origami bats with LED lights, or structures to “protect the Titanic from the iceberg.”
Looking ahead, Dyroff said she has many plans for the future of the library, including a lunchtime Maker Club, where students could explore circuitry or practice coding, for example.