Monday, March 5, 2012

Librarians Role in Common Core

If your state is adopting Common Core then you may be hearing conversations or even beginning training on these standards. Our district recently started training by grade and subject. Where did that leave librarians? Well, I invited myself to one of the ELA training sessions and I'm so glad that I did. I knew from reading about Common Core that this was a good opportunity for librarians to build collaborations and play a role in training our content area teachers on literacy.
If you are unfamiliar with the standards I urge you to visit the site. I believe you will find that in regards to literacy skills these standards are closely aligned with our AASL standards. Just like with all standards there are pros and cons. I do appreciate the literacy components in science and social studies as well as the variety of texts pushed including works from other cultures and diversity in genres. I am a little nervous that recreational reading will take a back seat to the focus on informational text.
Regardless of our personal opinions of the standards we need to be knowledgeable and seek out ways to assist our students, teachers and administrators as we make the change. In an effort to be proactive I emailed our district librarian ally and asked her if we could be included in the training. She was happy to schedule time for us to meet. I invited all 15 librarians and 2/3rds were willing and able to attend. I am fortunate enough to have Jennifer LaGarde in my reader and read this post about her recent meeting with her district. I urge you to read her post and look at her presentation. There are lots of great ideas there.
  • At our meeting we were able to share our ideas about how we can assist in training our teachers and lend our expertise in literacy. First on our agenda is sessions we can lead for spring professional development and our annual summer institute training after school ends. Each area (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12) is creating a presentation to share with teachers that highlights new and noteworthy books, fiction and nonfiction. Our hope is that we can replace some of our traditional choices for novel studies with more modern titles. A local book vendor will be in attendance so that teachers can purchase the titles if they are interested in reading them over the summer or adding to their classroom libraries. There are other sessions in the works that I will share in another post are not related to Common Core.
  • Another way we hope to assist in this shift is seeking out collaborations with content area teachers. Now that many are panicked about the literacy components it is a good time to strike.
  • Many of our teachers will be looking for nonfiction articles and texts for cold reads so I plan to find resources for them. One excellent example is this project from the NY Times.
  • Ensure that our nonfiction books are up to date and easy to search and browse. Don't forget nonfiction when we create book displays, share booktalks, choose books for book clubs or author visits. Pair fiction books with nonfiction books. My middle school buds, Monique German and Kristen Hearne, and I are working on a list for our SC Junior Book Award nominees for next year. Our list includes a nonfiction pairing, website of interest, and book trailers. I shared the document on our state listserv so that anyone can contribute so hopefully this will be a resource for all of us.
  • I created a nonfiction text features poster that I'll share on Flickr. I plan to use our poster maker and create a large print copy of this for our science and social studies teachers.
  • Collect and share Common Core resources with each other. I've started a Pinterest board just for this. It includes websites, link to the Common Core app and lots more resources.
Another idea I copied from Jennifer LaGarde is updating books with QR Codes. I plan to do this project with 7th grade after our state testing this year. I created a mock up to take to the meeting and luckily our superintendent came in to check on us and saw the book. He thought it was very creative and expressed concern over the age of our books. He said he would try to find funding so that we could update our collections. Score!
Common Core has been causing a stir on our listserv the last few days. Some librarians voiced their disappointment over the outdated recommended book lists shared at state standards training. I created another Google Doc so that we could all create a list by grade (tabs at bottom). Our collective brain should be able to create a list that fits our student and teacher needs. Feel free to add to and use if you need this.
What are you doing to prepare for Common Core? I hope you'll take this opportunity to show off your skills as librarians.

1 comment:

  1. A lot of the projects that I have done with teachers and classes seem to align with these standards, so we're off to a decent start. I've been looking into more nonfiction as well. The Lexile levels should Benoit more annoying than the Accelerated Reader grade equivalents. Thanks for some good information.