Info 250 Blog Post : Evaluating a Classroom Library

Jones, Kim

ID

Sport, M. & Soeiro, L.P. (2018, September 24). Evaluating a collection for bias and stereotypes with primary students: A case study, tools, and tips. School Library Journal. Retrieved from https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=evaluating-a-collection-for-bias-and-stereotypes-with-primary-students

In this article for The School Library Journal, Maisha Sport explained a project she undertook with her group of second grade students where the class evaluated the classroom library for bias and stereotypes.

Ms. Sport began this project by collaborating with the school’s teacher librarian and by creating guiding questions that she wanted her students to understand and be able to answer by the end of the unit.

She then helped her students build background knowledge about stereotypes, bias, representation and discrimination.  She also integrated statistics about the publishing industry in regards to people of color, people with disabilities and ideas about gender.  She contrasted these publishing statistics with the statistics about race, gender and disabilities of the classroom.  Students then represented these statistics in a bar graph.

Students were able to Skype with an industry professional who explained how the publishing industry is trying to increase diversity in children’s literature.

In this article, Ms. Sport outlines the questions she used to guide her project, the steps she took with her students to complete the project, and the student outcomes at the end of the project.  She also gave tips for other educators who would like to create their own, similar project

Evaluation

I thought that this was an interesting article because it seemed to combine both the area of collaboration as well as the area of inquiry design.  The project was built around common core standards and dealt with real world, complex problems with very young children.  The students had a personal investment in the ultimate goal, the ability to buy books for their classroom library and they were able to talk to an industry professional about publishing and representation and diversity.

The students were also able to evaluate and talk about their own classroom library, something they interact with on a daily basis and extrapolate that experience into a wider world view.

Another interesting aspect of the outcomes was how the students were able to build their experience and incorporate it into their writing.  I also liked how the teacher was able to incorporate math standards and ELA standards into what is essentially a social studies unit.