As a requirement for the practicum, I am supposed to work with a supervising librarian to come up with a plan to meet one of the standards that she has to meet during her yearly evaluation. Here’s something I developed based on Rochester Community School’s teacher evaluation guidelines.
This is week 2 of my 5-week placement at a middle school. So far, I’ve been doing vastly different things than when I was at the elementary school. Enjoyable, but different. For one, I haven’t had a chance to really interact with the students, except for yesterday, when I went into a 7th grade health class and co-taught a digital citizenship seminar with the health/PE teacher.
It was good practice for the five 6th-grade classes I will be teaching this Thursday. While I think I did okay on Monday, I think Thursday will be better because I will be teaching from material I put together myself. (Talking off someone else’s slides was not ideal because I didn’t know the little anecdotes the teacher had to go with his points. He had to interrupt me a few times to tell his stories…which made me feel/seem unprepared, even if I knew the topic well!) Anyway, here’s a link to my presentation. I am hoping that whoever sees it will give me some feedback of what to add, what to take out, etc. I will have these 6th-graders for about an hour (I believe), and I don’t want to lose their attention or run out of things to say before the hour is up. Thanks in advance for your feedback!
Grade: 1st & 2nd
- Students will discuss what it means to have courage.
- Students will analyze the pros and cons of taking risks.
- Students will make text-to-self connections.
- Students will make text-to-text connections.
- Students will practice using KidPix and saving content onto their H: drive.
Owen by Kevin Henkes
Courage by Bernard Waber
Video: (if time allows)
Scaredy Squirrel by Mélanie Watt http://bkflix.grolier.com/lp/node-33981/bk0097pr
Before the read-alouds/video:
- Discuss being courageous/brave with students. Define what it means to have courage and ask students about times in their lives where they have chosen to be courageous even when they felt scared inside. Brainstorm with students about different times and reasons people choose to be brave or not. Are there pros and cons to being brave? Can being courageous/brave be dangerous at times? Record students’ ideas on the whiteboard. (Text-to-self connections)
- Tell students that we are going to read a couple of stories about courage, and watch a video about a squirrel who is terrified of everything. Encourage students to watch and listen for ways that his life is positive because he doesn’t do anything, and the way it’s negative because he doesn’t do anything.
Read-alouds (+ video, if time)
Computer: KidPix — have students draw a picture of a time when they were courageous. Demo this on Smartboard.
Exit ticket (if time allows): Have kids complete the following sentence (either with words or drawing) – “Courage looks like…” on a post-it and post it to the whiteboard as they line up. Read a couple of them while we wait for the teacher.
One of the projects I took on during my first couple of weeks at Hampton was to create a multicultural display for the media center. I thought this would be a relevant project given the diverse population at the school. It also gives me an opportunity to run an analysis of the current multicultural collection and create a consideration file for Jenny.
Here are some pictures of the display and a link to the consideration file I created:
My big question this week stems not just from my experience at Hampton, but what I have observed at my job as a part-time librarian at a nationally-known technical college. As a librarian, one of my responsibilities include helping students with research and using the school’s virtual library. Unfortunately, most of the time, I am helping people print, getting them textbooks from the school bookstore, and resetting forgotten passwords, etc. Plenty of students struggle with research, but I was told by my supervisor when he hired me that I was to only help with research when my help is sought, since all of these students are adults and should be responsible for their own learning.
Last Friday night, I watched a group of adult students tackle a research project assigned by their teacher. They were frustrated because the assignment was poorly worded and the last thing they wanted to do was stay at school on a Friday night trying to appease their instructor. They complained loudly about how they a) didn’t know what the teacher wanted, and b) didn’t know what kind of articles they were supposed to get from the net. After about a half an hour of listening to this, I broke the rule and went over to ask them if I could help. I asked them about their research topic, but the ones that answered me were vague. When I asked to look at their assignment closer, so I can point them in the right direction (something in addition to simply “googling”), no one took up my offer. They said they “just want to get it over with”, and that they “didn’t care any more”. The one student that attempted to use the virtual library and database during her research was mocked by her peers — “Why would you bother with that thing?” one classmate taunted. I went back to my desk. About an hour later, most students started writing their paper (due that night!), even though they were all still saying to each other they didn’t care, or had any clue as to what they were doing. They joked about making the font size bigger, changing the margins, and double-spacing everything so they could meet the page requirement more easily.
This same week, I helped a group of 3rd graders do research at Hampton. Their teacher let them choose any topic they liked, but after conferring with the librarian, added that they needed at least 3 print resources and one article they can access through the Michigan Electronic Library (similar to TEL). Jenny and I taught the kids how to use the OPAC, as well as how to access kid-friendly databases through MEL. For the most part, the students seemed to enjoy the research process, and were not afraid to ask for help when they couldn’t find something they needed at the library.
My question is — where did this huge discrepancy between 3rd graders and adult students come from, in terms of their attitude towards learning? Both groups were given an assignment they had to do — but the adults’ poor attitude really surprised and discouraged me. Why were these adult students so resistent to the type of 21st century learner skills, dispositions, and responsibilities that we have learned about? When does this happen, and how do we prevent it from happening to our children? Maybe some of these adult students never acquired, or were ever taught, these learning habits or attitudes?
It puts an urgency in my mind about incorporating these standards when the students are young and still moldable. I would hate to see my own kids adopt the kind of attitude towards learning that these adult students have — that it’s better to take the easier way out, that it doesn’t matter what they turn in, as long as they pass or meet the minimum requirements. It scares me to think that these same people are in the workforce. How will their lack of effort/caring be reflected in what they do? It further convinces me that our job as librarians, media/information specialists, information seeking professionals, etc. are more valuable than ever, because it is our responsibility to grow and shape students into the type of lifelong learners who CAN in fact be responsible for their own learning and personal growth.