Imagine your students sitting in your classroom, eyes bright with curiosity, eager to learn. Now, imagine tapping into a wealth of knowledge, resources and technology that can help you engage and inspire those young minds. This is where your school librarian comes in.
As a content-area teacher, collaborating with your school librarian can unlock a world of possibilities for your students. Let’s explore five easy ways that you can work with your school librarian to save time, enhance your teaching, inspire your students and transform your classroom into a hub of creativity and innovation.
1. Developing and Updating Curricula
School librarians can provide input on resources, technologies and instructional materials that can enhance classroom instruction. Start by determining the learning objectives and outcomes for the course or unit. Then, schedule a meeting with your librarian. Together you can review library resources to see what is available and what can be acquired. Co-plan instruction and assessment with your librarian! Yes, we want to be involved in the whole process! After implementing the curriculum, evaluate its effectiveness and adjust as necessary.
2. Identifying and Evaluating Resources
Librarians can work with content-area teachers to identify and evaluate resources for classroom use. This can include books, articles, websites and other materials that support student learning. Did you know that books in the library undergo a rigorous evaluation process? Collaborate with your school librarian to ensure the collection supports your students’ learning needs. Bonus: If we don’t have it, we can reach out to get it!
3. Planning and Coordinating Research Projects
School librarians are experts in research and can work with content area teachers to plan and coordinate research projects. They can guide research strategies, help students locate resources and teach students how to evaluate sources. For everything from a one-day lesson on citing sources to the intense National History Day research project, your school librarian is there for you! No lesson is too small. By working closely with the school librarian, a classroom teacher can plan and coordinate research projects that help students develop critical thinking, research and presentation skills.
4. Providing Professional Development
Do you feel comfortable teaching research and information literacy skills to students? If not, school librarians can help! Ask your librarian to provide professional development to content area teachers on topics such as information literacy, research skills and the use of technology in the classroom. From one-on-one customized training to online training, your school librarian can help teachers improve their instructional practices and better support student learning. They can also help teachers stay up to date on new resources and technologies that can enhance instruction.
5. Collaborating on Special Projects
Do you want to try something out of the box with your students, but you need extra support? Don’t go it alone! Content area teachers can collaborate with school librarians on research, classroom lessons and special projects such as author visits, book clubs and reading initiatives. Librarians can help teachers plan, coordinate and evaluate these activities and provide resources and support to ensure their success.
In today's fast-paced and ever-changing world of education, it's more important than ever for content area teachers to collaborate with their school librarian. By working together, teachers and librarians can develop and update curricula, identify and evaluate resources, plan and coordinate research projects, provide professional development and collaborate on special projects. Through these five exciting ways of collaboration, content area teachers can provide students with a more engaging, inspiring and effective learning experience.
So whether you're a veteran teacher or a new one just starting out, don't hesitate to seek the support of your school librarian. Together, you can transform your classroom into a hub of creativity, innovation and excitement for learning!
Sheri A. Massey, Ph.D., is co-instructor of the ISTEU course Exploring Future Ready Librarianship. She earned her B.S. in elementary education from the University of Pittsburgh, and her M.L.S. and doctorate from the College of Information Studies, the iSchool at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is passionate about the development, implementation and evaluation of school library programs to support student learning. Massey’s research interests also include digital libraries, the information-seeking and use behaviors of urban youth, and diversity in libraries and education.