SLMC And The Exceptional Learner 2009


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This presentation discusses how to assist students with special needs in a school library media center.

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  • School library programming that is creative, dynamic, and interactive is a way to engage students. Another way to connect with students and meet curricular goals is to incorporate technology into the library. 
  • The instructional program is the cornerstone of the school library. It is standards based, focusing on the American Association of School Librarian’s Information Power Standards (1998) and the 2007 Standards for the 21st Century Learner, as well as the Virginia Standards of Learning and Technology Standards. Library media specialists teach creative lessons focused on information literacy skills that are integrated with classroom curriculum and aligned with students’ interests.  As an instructional partner, the library media specialist collaborates closely with classroom teachers and special educators on classroom and curriculum related projects and programming; this collaboration was another central theme identified in the articles reviewed (Hopkins, 2005; Downing, 2006).
  • Collection management is another important facet of school library programming.  Students and teachers need to access a variety of information resources to meet curricular goals, as well as the "developmental, cultural, and learning needs of the students" (AASL/AECT, p. 90). A robust collection includes many different resources in a variety of media.  The availability of fiction and non-fiction picture and chapter books, atlases and maps, audio books, DVDs and videos, and digital materials and technologies not only support curricular goals, but offer students choices.  If students know that there will be resources that support their learning needs and interests, their opportunities for authentic learning increase and they will have a more positive experience in the SLMC. 
  • The library facility should be a “physical environment designed specifically to meet the learning and information needs of the students, teachers and others” (AASL/AECT, p. 86). The library media center should be bright and inviting, and free of any physical or environmental (e.g., lighting, heating and cooling) barriers that may impact access.  The layout is important and there should be distinct teaching and learning areas that support the instructional program. Other considerations include furniture, computer stations so students can access the online catalog and web-based resources, lighting, heating and air conditioning and so on. This creates an environment that is conducive to learning.
  • Information Power identifies four roles for school library media specialists: instructional partner, teacher, information specialist, and program administrator (AASL, 1998, pp. 4-5).  The SLMS fulfills the related responsibilities by collaborating with teachers, providing a leadership role within the school, and using technology effectively.  The SLMS cultivates the SLM program by 1) teaching creative lessons focused on applied information literacy skills that are integrated with classroom curriculum and aligned with students’ interests; 2) providing a robust collection and delivering creative programming in a welcoming environment; and 3) administering a dynamic, yet reflective, program that is integrated with school goals. 
  • School librarians are often the only teachers that work with each of the students in a school and see them on a daily basis. As such, they need to consider the students individual needs, especially those with disabilities and special needs.Collaboration is a very important aspect when library media specialists work with students with special needs. library media specialists and special educators “both provide services that support classroom teachers.” As such, they provide “alternative learning resources” and services that support both the students and teachers (p. 17).  One of the first ways to develop a successful partnership is to conduct a school wide review of special needs resources, as well as delivery options.  “[f]lexibility is the key to delivering inclusive learning opportunities for all students” (p. 18).  When media specialists partner with special educators and classroom teachers, they help break down “learning barriers for students” (Hopkins, p. 19).  
  • As noted in the previous slide about collaboration, the school library media specialist and teachers need to communicate constantly. Librarians should have access to students’ IEPs so they understand and can implement the appropriate accommodations. In addition, this communication ensures that the librarian understands students abilities and limitations. Librarians need to consider students’ learning needs and styles when developing library lessons. By integrating a variety of audio and visual media into lessons, librarians can accommodate students with visual and hearing impairments as well with learning disabilities such as dyslexia or auditory processing deficits. The same is true by distributing graphic organizers, which can help students visual relationships and organize information. In addition, providing students with hearing impairments and learning disabilities with printed pathfinders, online bookmaking sites, and screen captures of catalog searches can be helpful as well. In addition, it is important to have a user-friendly website that can be accessed outside of regular school hours so students can use online research databases and have access to materials that scaffold their learning, such as citation guides, online pathfinders, and other useful information. It is also important to their instruction and reading into what Hallahan et al call meaningful chunks. This is especially true when teaching information literacy skills, which are best taught through instruction, modeling, and guided practice (Hallahan et al., p. 244)Librarians need to be able to support students as necessary. For example, “a student with task sequencing difficulties may be precise and articulate in his question, but need structured guidance in planning the steps of his search.” In addition, librarians can help students by “modeling metacognitive processes….For example, the librarian may suggest . . . That one of the criteria for choosing a source might be whether using a resource in that format has proven successful for the student in the past.” (Guild)
  • Include different types of resources in a variety of media (e.g., large print books, graphic novels, audio books, DVDs and videos, digital materials)Identifying the resources with well marked and easy to read signage—for example, color coding the collection or using symbols or pictograms to identify different parts of the collection. Another example is using stickers to identify different genres and interests in the fiction and non fiction collectionIt is very important that the various disabilities are reflected in the collection. There are now many great fiction and non fiction books that discuss disabilities. For example, the Percy Jackson series (e.g., Lightening Thief) by Rick Riordan discusses a student with ADHD and Teri Brown’s Read My Lips features a deaf protagonist dealing with typical teenage issues).Finally, the collection should include professional resources for both teachers and parents that describe the various disabilities and disorders and provide strategies for authentic teaching and learning.
  • As noted earlier, the library media center should be bright and inviting, and free of any physical or environmental (e.g., lighting, heating and cooling) barriers that may impact access.  The design and layout should account for the orientation and mobility needs of students with physical and visual disabilities.  The arrangement should allow for distinct learning areas (e.g., instructional and reading) to minimize distractions.  This can be accomplished simply through the arrangement of furniture (e.g., bookshelves and tables).  For example, simply placing a read-aloud chair across from a window can “make a big difference to hearing-impaired students who are trying to read . . . lips . . . because it sheds more light on [the media specialist’s] face and reduces glare for students” (Wojahn, p. 47).  Another easy accommodation is the provision of “foam rolls, wedges, or beanbags to help students with physical difficulties rest on the floor” (Wojahn, p. 47). Other accommodations include adjusting lighting (avoiding glare or dim lighting), optimizing acoustics, providing slanted workstations. In addition, it is helpful to set up reading nooks and study carrels around the perimeter of the LMC to allow for quiet work spaces.  By creating a calm and organized environment, the LMC can serve as a “safe haven” for all students. It is also useful for librarians to provides students with special needs tours or walk-through of the facility so that they can acclimate themselves and find their way around the library and begin to get an idea of the collection and where materials are located.
  • IDEA defines assistive technology as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially of the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities” (Dept of Education, 2005 through Gavigan and Kurtts). Assistive technology is now commonly used in libraries but school librarians need to learn about the various accommodations and adaptations that can be used. In this case, they should work with classroom and special education teachers, as well as the instructional technology coordinators. In addition, there can be differentiation between school levels. For example, elementary students usually remain in one classroom for the entire day so these accommodations might stay in the classroom rather than be made in the library. However, in middle and high schools, it might make sense to place these alternative technologies in the library so they are accessible during class and before and after school.
  • Another aspect of school library services is programming. In addition to ensuring that the collection includes a variety of resources about disabilities, the librarian should also respect and celebrate the diversity of the student body. By creating dynamic programming, such as booktalks, storytimes, and author visits, the school library can help educate students about disabilities and special needs. For example, Cynthia Lord, the award winning author of Rules, about a girl who makes up rules so her autistic brother can understand the world.
  • Library media specialists can consider other supports for students with special needs and their teacher and families.
  • SLMC And The Exceptional Learner 2009

    1. 1. School Library Media Centers and the Exceptional Learner<br />Julie M. EsanuEDIS 500April 16, 2009<br />
    2. 2. School Library Media Center<br />Instructional Program<br />Collection Development<br />Facility<br /><br />
    3. 3. Instructional Program<br />Cornerstone of the library media center<br />Standards-based library curriculum<br />Information literacy—the ability to find, use, and analyze information resources <br />Collaborative process<br /><br />
    4. 4. Collection Development<br />Offers a variety of print and digital resources<br />Supports curriculum goals and classroom needs<br />Scaffolds students’ learning styles and interests<br />Microsoft clipart<br />
    5. 5. Facility<br />Largest classroom in the school<br />Provides access to information and resources<br />Environment that is conducive to learning<br /><br />
    6. 6. School Library Media Specialists<br />Instructional Partner<br />Teacher<br />Information Specialist<br />Program Administrator<br /><br />Source: AASL, 1998<br />
    7. 7. Collaboration<br />Between school library media specialists, classroom teachers, and special education teachers<br />Requires flexibility<br />Breaks down barriers to intellectual and physical resources<br />
    8. 8. Accommodations: Instructional Program<br />Differentiate library lessons<br />Integrate a variety of media into lessons<br />Provide graphic organizers and other visual aids<br />Ensure that lessons are organized and “unambiguous” (Guild)<br />Divide lessons into “meaningful chunks” (Hallahan et (Hallahan et al)<br />Support students as necessary<br /><br />
    9. 9. Accommodations: Collection Development<br />Include different types of resources in a variety of media (e.g., large print books, graphic novels, audio books, DVDs and videos, digital materials)<br />Identify the resources with well marked and easy to read signage<br />Ensure that disabilities are reflected in the collection with both fiction and non-fiction resources<br />Microsoft clipart<br />
    10. 10. Accommodations: Facility<br />Remove physical barriers<br />Ensure that layout and design accounts for orientation and mobility needs<br />Divide library into distinct learning areas to minimize distractions<br />Create quiet work areas<br /><br />
    11. 11. Accommodations: Assistive Technology<br />Pencil grips<br />Graphic organizers<br />Slanted worktops<br />Study carrel<br />Magnifying bars/screens<br />Highlighters<br />Picture dictionaries<br />Large print books<br />Handouts with high contrast print <br />Tape recorders<br />Audio books<br />Talking word processors<br />Voice recognition software<br />Closed-caption television<br />StickyKeys/FilterKeys<br />SoundSentry<br />Alternative keyboards <br />Adaptive (no/low-tech)<br />Alternative (mid/high-tech)<br />Sources: Wojahn, 2006; Gavigan/Kurtts, 2009<br />
    12. 12. Integrated Library Programming<br />Create displays about disabilities<br />Integrate disabilities into booktalks and storytimes<br />Invite authors that deal with exceptional learners<br />Organize book groups for students with special needs<br />Host library information nights for families<br />
    13. 13. Additional Supports<br />Provide assistive technology training<br />Allow use of the library for vocational training<br />Take advantage of professional development opportunities<br />Identify grant and funding opportunities<br />Share information with colleagues about the collection and new materials<br />
    14. 14. Resources<br />IFLA Access to Libraries for Persons with Disabilities Checklist:<br />Center for Applied Special Technology’s Universal Design for Learning:<br />National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS):<br />
    15. 15. References<br />American Association of School Librarians (AASL)/Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT).  (1998). Information power: Building partnerships for learning. Chicago: American Library Association.<br />American Association of School Librarians (AASL). (2007). Standards for the 21st-century learner. Chicago: American Library Association. <br />Downing, J.  (2006).  Media centers and special education:  Introduction to the special issue.  Intervention in School and Clinic 42(2), pp. 67-77.<br />Guild, S. (2008).  LD Accommodations in the school library: Not just for the specialized school anymore. Knowledge Quest 37(1), pp. 24-29.<br />Hallahan, D., Kauffman, J. & Pullen, P.  (2009).  Exceptional learners:  An introduction to special education (11th ed.),  Boston: Pearson.<br />Hopkins, J. (2005).  Extending inclusive learning:  Library and special education collaboration.  Library Media Connection 23(6), pp. 17-19.<br />Gavigan, K., & Kurtts, S.  (2009). AT, UD, and thee: Using assistive technology and universal design for learning in 21st Century media centers. Library Media Connection 27(4) pp. 54-56.<br />Wojahn, R. (2006). Everyone&apos;s Invited: Ways to make your library more welcoming to children with special needs. School Library Journal 52(2), pp. 46-88.<br />