October 21, 2011

Module 4- Learning Log 3- Final Log

Posted in Learning Logs- Module 4 at 5:36 pm by lmt84

This course has opened my eyes to what collaboration can truly become when librarian and teacher work side by side. I already knew that the library is at the heart of the school, but if no one is taking the time to use the resources, then the program’s potential is unfortunately non- existent. I understand that the librarian must remain visible and active in the school community, constantly putting herself out there to advertise the worth of her program. Collaborative relationships take time to develop, so it is up to us to get them started.

We must always be on the look-out for opportunities to insert our standards into those of the content areas. Teachers and students alike must see that our curriculum is very much so related to all other content areas in the school. We must always look at situations with a new perspective, offering teachers our knowledge of resources and tools that will support their objectives. Collaboration gives us the chance to showcase some fantastic strategies such as Backwards Design, which allows all units to be molded around content objectives. If the lessons are tailored to the objectives, we are giving our students a very rich educational experience.

Collaboration also allows us the chance to truly aim our lessons to all types of learners. By offering teachers our knowledge of certain technologies and resources, we increase the chance for students to become engaged and motivated to learn. I want to create units with teachers that give students the chance to be in charge of their education. I want them to let their own questions guide their learning experience, making it more authentic and worthwhile to them.

The Inquiry Based Learning Video stated that it is our job to “encourage them to ask new questions that they honestly care about…they are motivated to learn and develop a sense of ownership.” When teachers and librarians work together to ensure that their lessons are creative and speak to the learning styles of all students, we will ultimately create learners who know how to question the information presented to them and possess the ability to think critically about the world around them.

October 19, 2011

Module 4- Learning Log 2

Posted in Learning Logs- Module 4 at 2:54 pm by lmt84

I enjoyed reading Catherine Trinkle’s article “Reading for Meaning: Questioning”. As a teacher, it is one of my goals to expose students to various question types. As 9th graders, I find that they tend to be ‘stuck’ on the literal level. These ‘thin’ questions tend to elicit responses that require answers directly from the text, requiring little original thought. While literal questions are important for plot information and basic comprehension, I try to get the 9th graders to create and interact with ‘thick’ or analytical questions. I really try my best to have all students comfortable with creating and answering these types of questions, as they require synthesis of information as well as students to add their own interpretations. This will not only help to prepare them for English 10, but all their other subject areas as well.

I was glad to see that Trinkle noted the importance of questioning during the research process. This tied very nicely to my collaborative unit in which I worked with another English 9 teacher to create a project for her English 9 Honors students. Trinkle states, “Students need to be told that they should ask questions throughout their research and that all questions are valid” (103). Aside from generating preliminary questions, I want the students to understand that they should question their process, how easily they are understanding/progressing through the process, as well as the information and sources that they find. I feel that having students constantly questioning (and creating documents that encourage this—ie. rubrics) serves as a form of self-assessment, which I can then examine in order to help students to the best of my ability. I tried to incorporate questioning into my unit, impressing on students that deep questioning will yield thorough research and therefore the possibility for an insightful product.

October 15, 2011

Module 4- Learning Log 1

Posted in Learning Logs- Module 4 at 12:18 pm by lmt84

I found the information in Clara Hoover’s article, Research-Based Instructional Strategies to be a very lucid moment for me. The strategies that are mentioned are not new to most educators, but the article did a lovely job of highlighting the importance of using the strategies in the classroom as well as the media center. I feel that by exposing the students to the strategies time and time again, we are only helping them to be more successful in their studies.

Hoover states, “It is important to understand the potential each strategy has to improve student achievement and, more importantly, to collaborate with teachers in designing instruction that incorporates the strategies” (26). I think that in this profession, you could potentially be presented with countless strategies to implement into your classroom or library. These possibilities can almost be overwhelming. After reading this article, I would suggest these 9 strategies to the teachers at my school. By focusing on a few strategies and working to really strengthen their use in the classroom, I feel that you would be doing your students a greater service rather than bombarding them with a new strategy each day. Aside from limiting the strategies used in the classroom, I see that the strategies will be most successful when I collaborate with the teachers. In the sense that ‘two heads are better than one’, collaboration offers me the chance to look over units/lessons with a fresh set of eyes, therefore allowing me to see potential spots to insert strategies. Ideally, I would hope to collaborate with teachers from the start of a unit, therefore ensuring that my curriculum as well as theirs is being met, that differentiation is occurring, and that strategies to help students be successful are being integrated into the lessons. If this occurs, I am stepping into the role of Instructional Partner, Teacher, and Informational Specialist (Empowering Learners). Acting as these roles will further help to showcase that I am a valuable resource to both students and teachers.

I also saw a strong connection between this article and several readings from Module 3. It is evident to me that students need to know the expected goals, objectives, and standards every time they embark on a new project. This is where I see rubrics as being essential for students. Hoover writes, “Working with teachers to create a strong scoring rubric for these representations and telling students ahead of time/what is expected of them is something the school library media specialist can do” (28). As an English teacher I use rubrics for every major assignment I give my students. I do not see any reason why the librarian should not be a part of the rubric design, especially if he/she has been a major part of the unit or lesson at hand. I would love the chance to insert AASL standards into the teacher’s rubric. This would show the student that they are held accountable for what they do in the media center and that the process counts just as much as the final product. After all, the process is where the true learning occurs, where teacher and librarian monitor student understanding, and where students are given the chance to self-assess. If the process adheres to specific standards, then ultimately it will yield a strong final product.