Monday, April 22, 2013

Are You Off Your Rocker? ...and other no-cost ways to improve your image

      While visiting a local library last week,  the librarian proudly told me, "By the way--I got rid of my rocker like you suggested last year..." 
      It is a known fact that non-librarians equate the rocking chair with their grandmother and not with instructional personnel.     Whether you agree with this or not, perception is hard to fight.  So we say ...Don't give them any material to support their misconception!  
      This comment was actually an encouragement to me, personally. Often administrators work feverishly to strengthen research and information roles for librarians and strive for recognition as instructional partners.  We craft messages for state education departments and cheer-lead the rich resources and teaching skills our librarians offer.  We deliver PD on technology used for higher level thought; embedding information and synthesis into curriculum; and we boast of our databases available for the hyper-connect to use--rather than Google.    But, when we walk in a library and see a librarian in a rocking undoes every image makeover that we work so hard to deliver.    

      Yes, we are aware that the CCSS encourages "read-alouds" but it stresses "they are a metacognitive tool to prepare kids for future informational reading of complex text."   See this quote from page 33 of the ELA standards:    It says to use read alouds to teach: 

  • Main idea 
  • Paraphrasing
  • Summarizing important details
  • Compare and Contrast
  • K-2 says to: confirm understanding, ask and answer questions, and describe ideas and details 

Here's all the Common Core says about read-alouds: 

So, if you choose to continue with read-alouds (and they are an opportunity to model fluency), I would suggest using an evidence-based discussion,  graphic organizer, or other tool to have a collaborative learning experience from a "read-aloud."  You could have students use post-it notes on posters using "evidence from the text"  to answer essential questions hanging on papers.   You could have table collaboratively "take a position" based upon evidence from the read-aloud.  This could be as simple as asking an essential question such as, "Why do you think the mouse was so smart?"  after Mr. Maxwell's Mouse.   "What in the book text, made you think the mouse was smart?"   Or, "What made this meal disastrous?"  Or, "How did the mouse save his own life through questions?" .... You probably do this currently, but don't bother to formally collect evidence for this.   You could use graphic organizers, graffiti walls, graffiti place-mats or more to archive evidence.   

Here are  other no-cost ways to improve your image and show you are an instructional partner: 

  • Create a "Spotlight on Non-Fiction" display front and center - Spotlight Non-fiction titles that have great difficult vocabulary:  Gross but Great; Diseases you don't want to catch!;  Places you should see when you make your million: etc.
  • Ask, inquire of, teachers: Which ELA learning components would benefit their students?  Partner with the teachers to tackle, decoding vocabulary, evidence-based writing, writing from sources, or researching to build and present knowledge.  If you initiate the dialog, then the teacher will see you as an instructional partner. 
  • Don't wait for them to come to you and ask to collaborate.  Go to them--the CCSS says,   "Research to build and present knowledge."  How can I help you do that? 

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