AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner in Action


ALA | via kwout

Last week, Dr. Mary Ann Fitzgerald blogged here on the GLMA blog about Empowering Learners:  Guidelines for School Library Programs from AASL.  As Dr. Fitzgerald explained, that particular book is our new “handbook”and offers helpful information in conceptualizing our roles for contemporary times.

If you have been looking for a resource to help you find concrete strategies for implementing and documenting your instruction of the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner, then I highly recommend the purchase of AASL’s Standards for the 21st Century Learner in Action for your professional and /or personal library.  Although it was published several months ago, I have just recently acquired it for my professional collection; after reading it, I can only say get your copy NOW if you don’t have one.

There are several qualities I love about this book, but there are two features I especially love.  First, the book really unpacks the indicators for every strand and skill set for each standard.  Second, benchmarks for each indicator are also provided for every grade level.  In addition, sample action examples are provided for benchmarks; a section on self-assessment strategies for learners is also included.

Equally useful is the action example template, which is comparable to a unit or lesson plan template.  The template provides you a concrete way of documenting the how you are teaching or addressing a standard, its benchmarks, and indicators for skills, dispositions, responsibilities, and self-assessment strategies.  The template also includes a section for documenting local standards, an overview of the learning activities, the final product, library lessons to be taught, assessment strategies for the learning plan, and a checklist menu to show which resources you will be using in the lesson.  I really like the checklist menu where you can indicate where the lesson falls on under library context as well as the collaboration continuum.

I will be using the template and incorporating into my research pathfinders for the remainder of this academic year so that anyone who sees the pathfinder (parents, teachers, students, administrators, other community members) may clearly see the organization of the lesson for that pathfinder ; in addition, I will be keeping a library document in my new library Google Site to easily house and archive lesson details–consequently, I will have an even more transparent way of documenting teaching and learning at The Unquiet Library through my monthly reports as well as on the fly demonstrations to visitors.  I believe that by investing the time in doing this kind of documentation, I will be in an even stronger position to advocate for my library and to show my community what we are teaching in the library.

I encourage you to get a copy of this book to help your efforts to document your work in your library and to add to the body of data that everyone needs to advocate for his/her library program.  If you are already using this book as a part of your lesson/unit planning, please share your experiences here to expand our body of knowledge.

Buffy Hamilton, Ed.S.
Creekview High School


About Buffy J. Hamilton

I am a writing and Language Arts teacher who loves learning, literacy, stories, learning, dogs, poetry, fabulous shoes, and good lip gloss. I began my career as a high school English teacher in 1992 and then became a high school librarian and 2011 Library Journal Mover and Shaker before returning to the classroom in August 2016.

Posted on October 11, 2009, in Web 2.0 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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