Becoming a School Library's Best FriendPresentation Transcript
Brooke Windsor Becoming a School Librarys Best Friend Bringing the library intohigh school English literature lessons
Becoming a School Librarys Best Friend Research Question:How can I use instructional strategies in my high school English classroom to encourage a positive attitude among the students in using the school library and its resources?
Who I am as a professional• Received Bachelor of Arts from the University of Memphis in 2008 with dual major in anthropology and English literature• Pursuing Master of Science in Instruction and Curriculum with a focus in school library media• Currently residing in Kingston, Ontario to complete Ontario teaching certification for the secondary school areas of English, history, and school library specialist
Context and setting of work• Average Ontario secondary school in a medium-sized urban area• Two-semester school year with four blocks of seventy-two minutes to create a total school day• Currently teaching English for a variety of grades and classes—grade 9 applied, grade 10 college, and grade 11 university which was the course on which my research focused• During my weeks of instruction I took over teaching the grade 11 class that was alternating aspects of English instruction during the week with 3 days focusing on writing, grammar, and a collaborative project and 2 days specifically for literature that focused on a specific novel study which I took over for my research to meet with them twice a week
Research relation to work context• Many teachers have a habit of ignoring the multitude of their school libraries until they want a place to dump their students• Also, students tend to instantly sit down at the bank of computers before browsing the bookshelves• However, since classroom teachers (especially those in the English department) are on the front line of student interaction, they are primed for showing students how useful the library can be once they become familiar with the resources themselves and support teacher-librarian and teacher collaboration from their own side instead of waiting for the school librarian to track down every teacher in the building
Professional knowledge base• Lohmiller (2009) details the discrepancy between being an English teacher and school librarian since many students feel uncomfortable with the librarian who they rarely see without their classroom teacher committing to having a strong relationship with the library in order to lead by example.• Lance, Rodney, and Schwarz (2010) note that collaboration between teacher-librarians and classroom teachers makes a “demonstrable difference” in the teaching of information, communication, and technology standards as well as state reading and language arts tests scores when it is valued in a schools community enough to occur with consistent frequency.
Professional knowledge base• A recently conducted British Columbia study (2011) was easily able to contribute to the expansive list for research which details that a school library directly improves student achievement on standardized tests when it is professionally staffed, more accessible, and integrated into schools community at large as well as classroom instruction frequently.• Yet, Brown (2004) notes that often teacher-librarians are scrounging for classroom teachers with whom they can collaborate since the teachers say that they are too busy, collaboration is too difficult, or they do not see the benefit to students. This means that it takes knowledge on the part of both the school librarian and teacher to understand the importance of working together and detailed suggestions which vary in time and energy required for such interaction.
Action Plan• During my six-week action plan, I will be teaching a literature unit of English during which the students will be reading a novel.• Most of the class will be reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, but a small group of five students had already read the primary novel for entertainment. Therefore, the collection of five were assigned Fifth Business by Robertson Davies.• It was understood that the majority of reading would be independent while the two classes each week would be focused on overall themes from one or both of the books with most of the lessons attempting to cover issues from the two novels then a few specialized ones for Fifth Business (which would be held in the library while the primary teacher led a quiet reading session in the classroom for Hosseinis novel) and The Kite Runner (which held everyone together since the other group had still read that novel).
Action Plan• Week 1: Establishing the idea of a library-resource-centered literature unit and assessing the current views of the students about their school library as well as libraries in general• Week 2: Introduction of “Awesome Extensions” display in the classroom which featured print selections from the school library that applied to themes covered by both novels stylishly placed at the front of the room with signs and props which will be changed before each lesson—meaning new selections are offered twice each week• Week 3: Continuation of “Awesome Extensions” and implementation of one library resource specifically in each lesson plan and the in-class assignments
Action Plan• Week 4: Continuation of “Awesome Extensions” and implementation of two library resources specifically in each lesson plan and the in-class assignments• Week 5: Continuation of “Awesome Extensions” and implementation of two library resources specifically in each lesson plan and the in-class assignments as well as the promotion of library programming during class• Week 6: Continuation of “Awesome Extensions,” integrated information skills lesson plan, and use of non-print library resources for in-class project
Data Collected About My Teaching• Research journal• Sign-in and sign-out sheet of my time in the classroom• Anonymous student feedback cards about their attitudes concerning my lessons, Awesome Extensions, and effectiveness of the information skills lesson
Data Collected About Students• Anonymous index card assessments to analyze current visits and usage of the school library• Anonymous written reflections about library programs and difference between libraries and bookstores• Student attendance• Tally record of students who visited the Awesome Extensions display• Tally record of students who requested more information about library programming and the students who actually attended the library program during my research
Analysis of Findings About My Teaching• Research journal : used to keep track of Awesome Extension selections, formulate ideas for improvement, and record comments from students that I heard during class• Sign-in and sign-out sheet : used to demonstrate my presence during lessons and time spent setting up displays before class as well as answering student questions after class• Anonymous student feedback : used to analyze any positives or negatives about my lessons, collect ideas for improvement, and determine any necessary modifications
Analysis of Findings About Students Anonymous index card assessments : used to monitor visitsto the school library and if those visits involved looking at printcollections Anonymous written reflections : used to monitor changes instudent personal views about the school library in general inaddition to library programs and programming andperceptions of the role it plays Student attendance : tracked throughout the six weeks tosee if there was a dramatic change in the percentage ofattendance with the deepening of lesson interest throughlibrary resources
Analysis of Findings About Students•Tally record for Awesome Extensions: used to record of thenumber of students who made reference to the AwesomeExtensions during their class participation and the number ofstudents who independently visited the table both before classand those who looked at the books after class•Tally record for library programming: used to record thenumber of students in my class who attended the graphicnovel and comic book library program during the fifth week ofmy research
Findings of Data• The increase in student attendance over the course of the six weeks can demonstrate that the deeper and more intricate daily lessons made students wish to attend class more often. The increase in the number of students who made reference to the Awesome Extensions in class discussions as well as visited the display before and after class shows that students became more comfortable and interested in these changing additions as they began to be seen as a staple of the classroom.
Findings of Data• Giving my actions time to lead to change, I assessed student visitation to the library and exploring of the print collections three times. The data shows that the number of students visiting the library and a subset of that group were both increasing during my research to show a positive relation between teacher support of the library and higher student library interactions, especially for the print collection.
Findings of Data• The investigation into a direct link between strong teacher support and student attendance of school library programs during my research shows a strong connection by the division of students in my grade 11 English class demonstrated in this chart between the students who went to the comic book and graphic novel program, those who chose not to attend, and those who were unable to go due to the scheduling of the program—whether because they rode an early bus home or had a previous engagement (such as athletics or clubs).
Findings of Data• The heart of my action research rested with the ability of a classroom teacher to have a positive influence on student views about the school library. Therefore, I asked my students on the last day of my research if they views of the library had been altered at all with my support through Awesome Extensions and program promotion. The findings were very positive in showing that in-depth teacher involvement can certainly open the eyes of ones students about the wide world within the school library.
Intervening VariablesSince the novels were assigned reading, the early days ofreduced attendance could be a result of the students not yetinterested in the story or the assignment at large.The lower average attendance on Monday lessons comparedto those on Thursday most likely are linked to the fact thatMonday is a common day to skip class—especially for grade 11students who have their own transportation.The end result of altered opinions about the school librarycould be slightly skewed due to the fact that I was in anacademic course which is considered honor-based, meaningmany of the students most likely already have a relatively highopinion of the library.
Project ConclusionsThe use of library resources in daily English lessons can mostcertainly encourage students to attend class with greaterfrequency as providing a springboard for discussion and arewarding surprise to lead into the lesson.The support and persuasion on part of an English classroomteacher can make a world of positive practical difference for aschool library—whether for visitation, print material use, orprogram attendance—as well as more abstract means in theform of student views and feelings of value.
Next StepsI would like to apply a similar form of action research in an applied level or workplace centered English course to see if there could be a greater change for positive views.Also, I wish to carry out the hosting of a library program which the students themselves helped to form then compare attendance rates and perhaps see if this method is as effective in a history course —which is my other teachable subject.