Thursday, April 9, 2015

Librarians @ the CORE

Every other week we delightfully see a salary deposit from employers and are reminded that they are at the helm. We work for them--to support their goals, their mandates, and their mission of academic achievement and college and career readiness.   That's right.  They set the direction, not us. States set the standards, grade level benchmarks and more.  They have told us we are to teach to the Common Core Standards and in order to keep the money flowing, we happily accept that challenge knowing that we can package content creatively within any set of standards. We are teachers.

There was a fad almost 20 years ago to have students re-write the poem, "If I Ran the World."  While this was a cute activity, I cannot say it was rigorous or aligned with standards.  In fact, I dare to was rather easy, self-centered, and entertaining? I actually did this after attending an elementary librarian conference where it was suggested. What were they thinking? There was no standard attached.  There was no learning objective.

We teach in an age that requires us to think critically about why we are teaching what we teach.
If you see students for 45 minutes weekly,  you see those students for 30 full hours annually.  Ask yourself the following:

  • What are your learning objectives for those hours?  
  • How can you support College and Career Readiness in those 30 hours?  
  • How can I "show" rather than "tell"?
  • Have I carefully crafted lessons that are: creative, engaging, and providing skills to equip students for success? (We could teach them 30 new tech tools for "Publishing" and I would be aligned with standards....)
Teaching is tough work.  It is not for the faint-of-heart.  But--those with creative ideas and fortitude are amply rewarded by seeing students smile with pride when they authentically craft their knowledge into something they can share.   I remember visiting the HS library a couple of years ago and running into some former middle school students.  Kyle made my day when he remarked, "Mrs. Jaeger!  I miss you and I'll always thank you for turning me on to vocabulary!"    Of course the words he began to proclaim were less-than-stellar such as, heinous, civilian, moniker and other words extracted from Al Capone Does My Shirts.  He was our star rapper when we used Audacity to record. The year was 2007.

Wrap your head around "new standards" remembering that you can be creative with just about anything.  Just weave your standard together some tech tools, valuable vocabulary, an Inquiry Investigation! 

If you do not know how to align your instruction to standards and are looking for ideas, may I suggest our newly published books as pictured below.  These THINK TANK books provide lesson examples for library instruction which have standards noted.  Recently, I received thank-yous from librarians who took the time to email stating these Think Tank books provided just the examples they needed to understand new standards.  

Available via ABC Clio - click here

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