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Cooperative Programs Make the Library Rock PDF Print E-mail

by Carole B. Shutzer


Cooperative programs make the library rock at the E.J. Harrington Elementary School in Lynn, Massachusetts.  Believing that supplemental programs bring a library to life, I have attempted to partner with various organizations and schools to bring additional programs to an inner city student population who would not ordinarily have the opportunity to develop this background knowledge to increase learning and comprehension.

In one such program this past fall, the library partnered with the Tower School, an independent school in Marblehead, Massachusetts.  Tower has been a supporter over the years to the Harrington School, partnering with us on a reading program for our first graders on a weekly basis as well as sharing other cultural programs.  This year Tower hosted an exhibition of quilts by the Gee’s Bend quilters from Alabama.  These quilts have been displayed at many museums all over the United States including the Whitney Museum in NY and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  These quilts tell the history of a small rural town in Alabama founded before the Civil War.  After the war, the all black community continued to survive in almost isolation, each generation of women producing distinctive quilts that tell their story. Quilts continue to be made today.

Tower School invited our entire 4th grade to their school to view the quilt exhibition.  There are many books available with a quilting theme and to build background knowledge, all the 4th grade students were read stories about quilts, including The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco, The Josefina Story Quilt by Eleanor Coerr and SamJohnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt by Lisa Campbell Ernst.   The 4th grade social studies curriculum includes regions of the United States.  We tied this program into the study of the southeast region as well.  The computer technology teacher developed a lesson for the 4th graders in the computer lab as well, researching the history of Gee’s Bend.  Traveling 5 miles by bus to the Tower School, we were treated to a special program and a viewing of the Gee’s Bend Quilts.  The students were divided up into groups, some going to a music program to learn hymns that the Gee’s Bend women sang while quilting, some participating in a cooperative physical education program with Tower 4th graders, each group touring the quilts exhibition with a lesson planned and presented by the Tower School community relations director.  What a day it was!  The Harrington students learned US history, viewed museum quality modern American art and interacted with students from another school.

The Harrington School Library was a critical part of the program, developing the special day with Tower, providing the books on quilts to the classrooms and working to instill in the students a life long love of reading as a way to develop background knowledge to increase learning.

Carole B. Shutzer
Library/Media Specialist
E.J. Harrington School
21 Dexter Street
Lynn, MA 01902


Last Updated ( Friday, 01 February 2008 )

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