Start With Cats! Innovative Virtual Opportunities that Bring the Community Into the Classroom


  • Jennifer McKenzie Siuslaw School District 97J



virtual field trips, virtual programming, K-12 library innovation, K-12 library collaboration, Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms, ISTE, International Society for Technology in Education, global teaching strategies, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, global local teaching


Virtual field trips and programming were one way in which K-12 teacher librarians leveraged their resources, expanded equitable access, and pivoted during in-person school closures of the pandemic. Creative virtual programming provides equity of access and connects classrooms with rich and diverse experiences and perspectives. Virtual experiences can remove geographic and economic barriers, provide access to resources and strengthen community connections. This article discusses practical teaching and programming strategies that leverage video conferencing systems to create virtual classroom experiences which enhance lessons, embrace diversity, build community connections, and provide equity of access to resources.


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Author Biography

Jennifer McKenzie, Siuslaw School District 97J

Ms. Jennifer McKenzie (she/her) is a 20-year veteran English Language Arts teacher and teacher librarian, a former US Army Medical Service Corps Officer, a Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms scholar, a Future Ready Librarian presenter and podcaster, a five-time Teacher of the Year recipient, the 2019 Oregon Teacher Librarian of the Year, and the Region 3 Executive Board member of the Oregon Association of School Libraries. She is currently the K-12 District Teacher Librarian for Siuslaw School District in Florence, Oregon. “Innovation” is her favorite word! She regularly provides service learning opportunities that amplify library literacy standards via live or prerecorded virtual field trips that bring both local and global expertise to her Siuslaw learning community.




How to Cite

McKenzie, J. (2022). Start With Cats! Innovative Virtual Opportunities that Bring the Community Into the Classroom. OLA Quarterly, 27(2), 25–31.