Restructuring 12th Grade

Brubaker, Jana
ET- Restructuring
Vargas, J.  (2015).  Why 12th grade must be redesigned now- and how.  Jobs for the Future.  Retrieved from
This article proposes that the 12th grade needs to be restructured so that students are better prepared for the challenges of attending college or beginning a career.  At present, 12th grade is more focused on rewarding students for successful years of high school (prom, diploma, etc.) instead of preparing them for the next step.  J. Vargas (2015) proposes that high schools and colleges should work together to create a “transition zone” for grades 12 and 13.  One suggestion put forth is setting a goal for all high school students, this goal being to complete one college level course in math or English by the end of year 13.  While some students will have completed one or more college level course, many will have not.  This is because many students (especially low-income students) must complete remedial courses beforehand.  Unfortunately, many of these students fail to complete the courses within two years.  
To reach this outcome, teachers must identify students who are ready and who are not ready for college courses by the beginning of 12th grade.  Those who are not ready will either be placed in a transition program, an accelerated development program, or a gateway program at the college.  These programs will address skill gaps at various levels.  Other supplementary courses, such as college readiness and community service, will teach good study habits and provide other opportunities for development.

           In order to achieve all of this, the article suggests that shared interests should be built between high schools and colleges so that they will be more willing to work together. Both groups would need to fully understand and support the program. I think this would only work with this last point in mind: both the university and the high school would need to have a thorough understanding of the program and be on board with it.

Litzinger, Vicki

CO-Overcoming barriers, CO-School organization

Hand, Dorcas. (2015). You don’t have time not to advocate. Library Media Connection, 33(5), 24-26. Retrieved from


Hand tells us that any strong advocacy programs begins with “making sure we have a clear mission to implement which fuels our consistent messaging to stakeholders.” (24) She provides arguments for making the time to advocate and gives us several concrete examples of what advocacy can look like given a busy schedule. She also reminds us that librarians should not be the only folks advocating for our libraries and library programs. And finally, she emphasizes asking your stakeholders to speak up for the library and library programming, being the “squeaky wheel” since we “know that the squeaky wheel often gets the grease.” (26).

This article was a strong reminder of the importance of advocacy and how to do it. I find it is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of operations and teaching, that advocacy takes a backseat. With examples such as “make yourself visible,” (24) “speak up for others,” (24) “give student examples,” (25) and making sure you have a clear mission and vision, Hand makes advocacy necessary and doable.

Curriculum that Questions the Purpose of Knowledge

Litzinger, Vicki

ET-Standards-based education, CA-Written curriculum, IL-Questions

Heick, Terry. (2014, October 15). Curriculum that questions the purpose of knowledge. Retrieved from

Summary and Evaluation

Heick’s main question is “…what is the purpose of knowledge?” (4) As educators, we tend to get lost creating and revising curriculum to the extent that we forget the purpose of knowledge. We need to remember that curriculum is a tool that tells us “what knowledge, but doesn’t answer why knowledge.” (5)

Overall, the article was not the best and was often confusing. However I chose this article because it is a discussion in which I’ve been trying to engage my middle school students. For them, the purpose of an education (re; knowledge) is to “get a good job.” So, I found this article validating in that I’m not the only person posing this question. And, I think it’s a question that we need to put front and center in our discussions of curriculum planning in our schools and to communicate with all stakeholders. Decades ago, we used to know the purpose of knowledge–to be well-rounded citizens who could think, read, problem-solve, share cultural meaning. In the move to national standards for the purpose of testing, college, and good jobs, we’ve lost sight of the purpose for knowledge. And sadly, we’ve created students who now only value learning for the purpose of getting a good job.

Are Dewey’s Days Numbered?

Litzinger, Vicki

Kaplan, Tali Balas; Dolloff, Andrea K.; Giffard, Sue; Still-Schiff, Jennifer (2012). Are Dewey’s days numbered? School Library Journal, 58(10), 24-28, Retrieved from


This article explains the process from idea to conception of doing away with Dewey and creating a new system–categories, subcategories, order, call numbers, and labels–that met the needs of the users at Ethical Cultural Fieldston School in New York City. Two of their earliest questions were “Why are we using decimals in a children’s library, when they don’t learn that until fourth-grade math? And why are our picture books arranged by author, when most children are more interested in the content than in who wrote the book?” (p26) They turned to the work of Linda Cooper, a professor at New York’s Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Science who studied the ways that children categorize topics and themes, and integrated students thoughts into the planning of the new system. They also developed three guiding principles to keep them on track. The new system had to be child-centered, browsable, and flexible. After two years of hard work, they have found that students, teachers, parents, and the rest of the community love the new system, and that they are “better able to collaborate and support the school-wide curriculum.” (28)

It was very validating for me to read this article and discovering that colleagues have had the same questions as I have. For instance, one of my primary challenges has been teaching decimals to students who haven’t learned them yet in their math curriculum! The authors explained the process, challenges, and opportunities thoroughly which would be very useful for others wanting to go through a similar process. They also mentioned the work of Linda Cooper, they also listed the URL for the website they created so others can share their ideas and work. Finally, there’s plenty of anecdotal information to use if needed when discussing these changes with teachers, students, and administrators.

Teacher Librarian and Teachers Co-teaching on an Inquiry Cycle

Swenson, L. (2015). Extraordinary Deeds. Teacher Librarian, 42(5), p28-31.
This article offers a practical view of co-teaching from a teacher librarian in Santiago, Chile who sees eight classes a day in her library for mini-lessons and book check-out.  The author describes how she co-teaches, what basic theory is embedded in her practice, what co-teaching models she uses, then lists and describes the lessons she teaches, and finally reflects, evaluates, and offers many general and some specific insights as to her process she underwent, and what could have been and what is different as one co-teaches in varying situations.

Swenson subscribes to Loertscher’s and premises, Beninghof’s co-teaching models, and Eisenberg Big 6 model.  Lessons happen over time as an inquiry, constructed with classroom teachers, and embed language, library, information-seeking and acquisition skills, peer interaction, reflection and evaluation.  Throughout the article, research quotes are provided from librarians, other specialists and teachers, administrators with concerns and comments/evaluations.  Communication with teachers happens in quick informal meetings and by email, and lessons are listed on a communal website that parents can see.  As the article is short, focused, and also includes graphics that could be used for lessons, this article is a useful presentation/outline of co-teaching and collaboration.
posted by Gabrielle Thormann

IL-Use of Aurasma (Augmented Reality Tool) in Library Orientation

Hong, Julie
It’s always great to hear about emerging technologies being used in the classroom and the library and this was especially inspiring. Mulch was motivated to create a more engaging and effective library orientation and she succeeded by using Aurasma. As explained in the article, Aurasma “uses technology to allow the camera on a smartphone or tablet to recognize real-world images…and respond by displaying overlay videos, pictures, or websites on top of the camera image that appears on the device’s screen” (p. 51). Although I don’t think I’d be able to get the support or funding needed to use this tool, it made me consider the possibility of using QR codes and I was able to find information on other libraries that have already done so. I am going to put something together to use with our freshmen in the fall. Very excited!
Mulch, B. E. (2014). Library Orientation Transformation. Knowledge Quest, 42(4), 50-53.