Tapping Into the Skills of School Librarians

Young, Alice

CA-Written Curriculum
CA-Assessment Strategies

Tapping Into the Skills of School Librarians.
Church, A. (2013). Tapping Into the Skills of School Librarians. Principal Leadership, 14(3), 44-46.

The article focuses on the role of school librarians in evaluating the teacher’s effectiveness. It states that librarians have knowledge about various areas other than library including information literacy, media literacy and digital literacy. It further presents various scenarios that can be used for analyzing the performance of librarians including formal observation, self-evaluation and portfolio.

This article presents a good breakdown of how school librarians skills set can offer an influence in curriculum. School librarians usually have a background in instructional design with specialization in library and information science. In fact, school librarian’s prospectus consists of 21st century standards, which involve critical skills, dispositions, responsibilities, and self-assessment strategies that integrate with classroom content. They are expert in information literacy, media literacy, and digital literacy skills – all of which may guide and ensure college and career readiness for the student population.

Reinventing classroom space…

Young, Alice

IL-Research about IL
IL-Creative Thinking


Reinventing classroom space to re-energise information literacy instruction
Julian, S. (2013). Reinventing classroom space to re-energise information literacy instruction. Journal Of Information Literacy, 7(1), 69-82.

Librarians in academic settings spend a significant amount of time teaching students information literacy skills. Teachers adapt their teaching activities to the constraints of the physical setting of the classroom. Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library modified a classroom from a traditional lecture room to a room where the seating was mobile. The teachers and students were observed and surveyed to see if the change in physical environment impacted the teaching style or learning activities used. The findings indicate that teachers use familiar routines and lessons in both a traditional lecture-style classroom and a newly-designed flexible learning space as they present information literacy instruction.

The research implies that changing the classroom seating from static to flexible had a positive impact on teacher and student. The article suggests that lecture-based teaching style may be efficient, but it does not give students what they need in this technology-driven age. This area of study was interesting and encouraging in that it provides a hopeful voice for the small changes that may impact student learning positively. With the minor change in furniture rearrangement and redesign, the classroom became a flexible learning space that will increase student satisfaction and engagement.

Teach and They Shall Find

Bang, Marisa

IL-Location of Information
IL- 21st century skills

Kuntz, J. (2001). Teach and they shall find. School Library Journal, 47(5), 54-56.

Summary: This article provides search strategies for elementary and middle school students. The author describes 4 internet research strategies and tips in the article that includes searching in various search engines and checking their spelling just in case because not all search engines automatically correct typos. The article emphasizes the importance of having a search strategy as well as learning discrete steps in retrieving information. The author also suggests that kids should use search tools designed specifically for kids, such as Searchopolis, Kids Click!, Ask Jeeves for Kids, Awesome Library, and Yahooligans!

Evaluation/Opinion: I was unaware that there were search engines designed for kids. This article is really helpful in providing practical tips for helping students search the internet. Thus, I would highly recommend this article for teachers and librarians to read.

Student Mentors: How 6th and 12th Graders Learn From Each Other

Bang, Marisa
CO-Collaboration Strategies
Summary: This article talks about the collaboration between the middle school students and high school students. When Tracy Edwards needed a part-time writing instructor for her middle school program, Kip Glazer applied her 100 senior high school English students to be their virtual mentors. This method allowed the middle school students to write in a digital environment (iRemix platform) while the high school students would comment on their work and help in assessing and even reflecting on their own part. This virtual mentor-student relationship was a success. The students were responsive to each other’s advice.

Evaluation/Opinion: Instead of hiring another part-time teacher, it makes sense to allow another class to chime in and help. This virtual learning environment is a brilliant idea because not only are the students improving in their class, but it is also improving their information literacy as well as computer literacy. It’s win-win situation. Both parties are given the opportunity to learn from one another and it also teaches them to work collaboratively together and solve problems as a team.

More Progressive Ways to Measure Deeper Level of Learning

Bang, Marisa

CA-Assessment Strategies

Summary: This article offers suggestions to measuring learning that is beyond knowledge of content. As the article pointed out, finding a winning combination of criteria can be complicated and sometimes difficult. The charter network’s teachers suggest the following three steps for assessment: know, do, and reflect. The reflective process is the most crucial—both individually and with peers—because it allows the students the opportunity to reflect on what they could have done differently and what they need improvement on. The article further inserts that students should see the learning experience as a continuing path of development instead of an endpoint of learning. Hence, students can even co-design the class rubric for each assignment. Moreover, assessment does not have to occur only when the final product is done, but instead, assessment can happen as the students are working and it should be encouraged.

Evaluation/Opinion: This article was really helpful in shedding lights to measuring student’s learning process. I really liked the idea of co-creating rubrics between the teachers and students because the students are essentially creating a set of personalized goals for them to accomplish. Moreover, students get the opportunity to collaboratively work with the teacher and understand the process of how the rubric was developed. Students will know what is expected of them and instead of being handed a rubric blindingly, they are fully aware of the assessment process. Thus, I think this article is very helpful due to its progressive method in assessing student’s progress in learning.

Inquiry and Assessment Using Web 2.0 Tools

Hernandez, Ramon

CO = Collaboration
IL = Information Literacy and 21st Century Skills


Buerkett, R. (2011). Inquiry and Assessment Using Web 2.0 Tools. School Library Monthly, 28(1), 21- 4.  Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/ehost/detail?sid=de404566-147a-4031-9043-ccc436b38068 40sessionmgr4003&vid=1&hid=4207&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%                3d#db=llf&AN=64839752



                The article describes how to guide a student’s own curiosity and eagerness to learn in order to foster student exploration, research, learning, and collaboration.  The key to guiding students along this path of learning, according to the author, is by creating an atmosphere where they are self-directed and motivated.  The author explains that Web 2.0 tools lend themselves to the creation of self-directed learning environments that increase student skills and learning while allowing instructors to use the same tools to assess how well the students are learning.  Similar to other approaches that use Web 2.0 the author stresses that building on the prior knowledge of their students is vital to student learning.  Prior knowledge and independent learning is considered the springboard for creating new knowledge and sharing new information to create further questions to guide their quests for knowledge.  The article also outlines the role of teacher and teacher librarian as co-instructors guiding students towards this process.

            This article is very effective at introducing the concepts necessary for integrating Web 2.0 tools in the classroom.  Prior knowledge, shared knowledge, and new inquiries are seamlessly woven into the articles purpose of outlining the necessary steps for creating effective teacher and teacher librarian classroom collaboration.  The article also accomplishes the dual task of explaining how students should interact with Web 2.0 technologies and what instructors need to accomplish in order to successfully implement these technologies into the classroom.  The list of useful Web 2.0 resources is also very helpful for instructors that need to learn more about using these tools in the classroom.

School Library Accessibility: The Role of Assistive Technology


Fleming, Giovanna
IL- Assistive Technology
Hopkins, J. (2004). School Library Accessibility: The Role of Assistive Technology. Teacher Librarian, 31(3), 15-18.


          School library accessibility is a subject more k-12 public schools need to address according to this article by Janet Hopkins.  She presents a detailed account of the value of Assistive Technology (A.T.) in a school library setting along with a definition of A.T. by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (I.D.E.A.) of 2003.  An explanation is given of the wide range of  A.T. available from the simplicity of including large print materials into a collection to the complexity of AAC (Assistive Alternative Communication) devices which will speak for students. An online database can be found at www.abledata.com which is a great resource for A.T. equipment. Janet Hopkins provides a list of rationale for having A.T. in the school library which includes a patron’s rights to access information, inclusiveness, self-esteem, and peer acceptance.  A checklist has been created for teachers to use within their own libraries. Collaboration, once again, is the key to success.  The author of this article recommends the teacher librarian collaborate with teachers and special education teachers on site to make the school library and information equally accessible for all students.
          As a complete article, it could be used as a great resource for converting a school library into an all inclusive school library. Using A.T. in a school library setting is a proactive decision to enable positive learning experiences for all students.  I would recommend this article to any educator.

So You Think You’re Smarter Than A CIA Agent

Spiegel, A. (Writer). ( 2014, April 2). So You Think You’re Smarter Than A CIA Agent. [Radio episode]. In Morning Edition.Washington, D.C.: NPR.

CO- Collaboration

An eye opening article which explains a three year Intelligence Community funded study.  The experiment consists of involving everyday citizens conducting Google searches to predict future world events. The Intelligence Community analyzes the data and predictions the citizens have discovered and determined for validation.  The project was the dream of three psychologists along with professionals in the Intelligence Community and is known as the Good Judgement Project.  For the basis of the study, the psychologists rely upon what has been known for years as “the wisdom of the crowds”.  This theory was discovered by Francis Galton in 1906.  Galton was a statistician who revealed when he surveyed  a crowd and then, averaged the results, the average was close to the actual number.  Philip Tetlock, one of the psychologists, best explains it as “when a random variation added to both sides of a true number actually arrive to the true signal/number”. (Spiegel, 2014) It hasn’t been proven to work in all situations but so far, more heads have been proven to be better than one.


This article caught my attention because we are studying a similar concept, the “Big Think”. Through collaboration, we are experiencing how learning changes and improves. More heads are better than one.  We are learning the value of sharing different perspectives so the team arrives at a different outcome than one person would by doing all of the work independently. The process lends itself to a “richer” experience and results.  The project known as The Good Judgement Project developed by Philip Tetlock, Barbara Mellers and Don Moore in collaboration with the Intelligence Community might be worth some research, if one was willing to investigate it more thoroughly. 







Douthit, Chris
Huysmans, F., Kleijnen, E., Broekhof, K., & van Dalen, T. (2013). The library at school: effects on reading attitude and reading frequency. Performance Measurements and Metrics, 14(2), 142-156. doi: 10.1108/PMM-05-2013-0013
Summary: The authors examined the influence of a national program called Library at School on students’ reading ability and habits in Dutch schools.   They note that public libraries have faced serious challenges in the Netherlands, but there is a major need for a strong culture of reading, as children who read well and often when young do better in school and life when older.  The Library at School program is a joint venture between public libraries, municipalities, and schools.  The authors found, however, that the program was not as effective as influence from trusted adults—parents, teachers, etc.  The authors recommend that “Only when the Library at School is integrated with the entire course curriculum will the investment in bringing the library facilities into the school pay off: for the public library itself, for the schools and the teachers, but first and foremost for the pupils in their later lives.”
Evaluation: This is an important article for highlighting the need for fully integrating and utilizing a school libraries and teacher librarians in the curriculum.  It is not enough merely to ask a librarian to come give a talk once in a while. Instead, for students to really appreciate the skill and expertise of the teacher librarian, trust his or her judgment, and accept his or her advice, the students need to see the teacher librarian as a trusted ally.  The authors say it best, “The employment by libraries of reading-media consultants in the schools, who support and facilitate both teachers and pupils, should not become the last item of the budget. The potential success of the program, as indicated by the reinforcement of children’s inclination to read, will depend to a considerable extent on their efforts.” 

Douthit, Chris
Taking notes by hand for better long-term comprehension. (2014, April 24). Association for Psychological Science. Retrieved on April 24, 2014 from http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/take-notes-by-hand-for-better-long-term-comprehension.html
Summary: According to psychologists Mueller and Oppenheimer, students who took notes via laptop did worse on tests than did students who took notes long hand.  While laptop users were more accurate in transcription and did just as well with questions regarding recall, their conceptual understanding was not as strong, causing them to fare worse on bigger picture questions.  For the study, students used computers only for taking notes—they were not connected to the internet.  The researchers think that those who take notes by hand do more processing and, therefore, develop better understanding.   Even when allowed to review notes, the laptop note-takers did worse. 
Evaluation: I would very much like to read the actual study, but I cannot access it.  While I am in favor of using technology as a tool in student learning, it is important to remember that old-fashioned methods sometimes have a place in our pedagogy.   This study goes to show that as educators we need to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each tool we ask our students to use while we also develop ways for students to integrate various levels of technology into their work.  Students need to be able to discern when paper and pencil is superior to a computer and visa versa. (This study is also covered in this article https://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/were-only-human/ink-on-paper-some-notes-on-note-taking.html)