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What D-Y Loses in Cutting Librarians PDF Print E-mail

Hot off the press are the new Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts. Massachusetts has taken these standards and added more of its own.

One of the guiding principles in these new standards includes the following: "School librarians play a key role in finding books and other media to match students' interests, and in suggesting further resources in public libraries."

This really struck a note with me, because I am a school librarian in the Dennis-Yarmouth School District whose position has just been cut.

I teach kindergarten through Grade 3 students at Laurence MacArthur Elementary School. Every student comes to the library twice each week for 45 minutes at a time.

For the past six weeks I have been working with students in every grade doing some type of research project.

Kindergarten students heard stories about community workers in the library. They chose a community worker they would like to follow for a day. The next time they came to the library they went to the computers and listened to information about the community worker they chose. With that information we created songs that incorporated what they had learned.

First-graders are doing an author study of Tomie dePaola. His stories are read and discussed in the library and his life is being researched in the computer lab. Students created a PowerPoint presentation of the interesting things they learned about him.

Second-grade students listened to a story called "Never Smile at a Monkey," a nonfiction book that describes some of the little-known most dangerous animals in the world. They each chose one or two animals that they found interesting.

They wrote down some questions they had. The next time they came to the library they went to the computers and learned how to use the netTrekker database to find the answers to their questions. Maybe they will create a photo-story, or a glog about the animal they researched.

Third-grade students first read a fiction book with an animal character and then went to the computers and researched information about the "real" animal from the story. In the library they filled out a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the "real" and the "fanciful" animal. They then filled out a graphic organizer about a party they could have with the animals. They took that information and wrote a story. Now in the computer lab they are creating a PowerPoint presentation about the party they are having with the animals. We will be turning the slides into JPEG images and making a movie using the Animoto Web application.

Phew! There is a lot of learning going on in the library! Unfortunately, next year that won't be the case. The lights and the learning will be gone from the library, along with me.

Deborah Sweeney of Centerville is a teacher and librarian for the Dennis-Yarmouth School District.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 01 March 2011 )

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