In the past, school libraries used to be very focused on the librarian being the gateway between students and resources.
Today, they’re about using library resources to promote engagement and participation. Learning doesn’t have to be one-way, and the kids don’t necessarily need the librarian to be the go-between. We can get out of the way and help our kids interact with the people behind their books and resources.Here are our third graders after Skyping with the editor of the BOXCAR CHILDREN series. We built this into a unit on editing and telling the same stories through different media. To the left of the projection of the editor is the live Twitter feed of the event. The students carefully researched the titles and took turns asking questions in front of the Webcam. This event got kids so excited to be connectet to experts that they actively sought out other opportunities to connect.
In the past, all young children engaged in being listeners to stories. They were passive – although appreciative – participants in stories. And those stories were almost always about FICTION. And check out that Christmas tree! We wouldn’t see that today.
Today, we recognize the value of collective, collaborative, self-paced work. Here,first grade students are on their second day of studying the rocks and minerals centered on the carpet. With teams, these first graders are using rock and mineral books to identify the rocks after touching, SMELLING, and discussing them. The students guide their rate of discovery.(Can you tell this was the daybefore the Michigan – Michigan State game?)
Take a look at the brand-new book in this kid’s hand. Solo learning like this used to be how we worked in libraries.
Now, we recognize that children can work collaboratively on projects and pool their knowledge. Here, students are learning about space exploration. They were VERY excited to learn how astronauts took baths and went to the bathroom!These first graders visited the library independent of their class to identify an area for research that interested them. We determined a good topic by saying that inquiry topics are topics that we know a little bit about but would like to know more. The red posterboard, when opened, provides a home for their Post-It notes.- Quick discussion of Debbie Miller – “Teaching with Intention” model – reference SLM article
Another example: collaborative notetakingSee SLM article
Another example of collaborative learning: explain what this is – struggling readers created a felt board and then constructed the story shown. The visual images clearly ground the storytelling, and notice how the story moves from left to right across the felt board.
Introduce mentor text project with Help Me, Mr. Mutt
Describe the story – scaffolding the lists of character traits, writing styles
Students then responded in the voice of the cat … our students insisted on making stationery … so we went with it. Their plan was better than ours!
So … are we focusing our time on Dewey Decimal system scavenger hunts and OPAC exercises? Or …
Or teaching THROUGH resources to help students gain transferable skills in the future?
Expanding Literacies Through School Libraries A Panel Presentation for The National Council of Teachers of English 2010 Annual Conference Orlando, Florida
“Connecting literacy and libraries is not always as intuitive as we would like”-Loertscher, 2009
Fall Kindergarteners Playing Chess?!? The School Libraryas a Space for Innovative Thinking Kristin Fontichiaro School of Information University of Michigan firstname.lastname@example.org @activelearning blog.schoollibrarymonthly.com
http://flickr.com/photos/kcls/2384986129/ That Was Then
Laura Warren-Gross Maple Street Magnet School Kalamazoo, Michigan @readernirvana email@example.com
Some Findings “When children have access to more books at home, at school, or at the public library, they read more.” “Children from higher-income families have access to reading material they like, but children from lower-income families do not”
What hit me . . . “ . . . the ability to read well is the single best indicator of future economic success—regardless of background.” “An extra 15 minutes of reading per day can lead to three months of additional growth.”
References Allen, C. A., & Swistak, L. (2004). Multigenre research: The power of choice and interpretation. Language Arts, 81(3),223-232. Hamilton, B. (2009). Students creating content with multigenre learning artifacts. The Unquiet Librarian [blog] http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/students-creating-content-with-multigenre-learning-artifacts/ Loertscher, D. V. (2009). Connections with people and ideas and the Learning Commons. In D. V. Loertscher (Ed.), Connections: Papers of the Treasure Mountain Research Retreat (pp. 9-32). Salt Lake City, UT: Hi Willow Research & Publishing.