Back in the classroom again
I’ve taught classes in the library, and I taught language arts for several years. But over the past couple of months, I’ve been teaching research strategies IN language arts classes. A teacher asked if I would come to her classroom, since our library is often a busy, loud place (especially during lunch/advisement) and the kids get really distracted. Makes sense. I was a little daunted by having to totally revamp how I taught research strategies, since the kids would not have computers in front of them. But I was eager to get back in the classroom too – sounded like a fun challenge!
Over the past few weeks, word has spread and I have visited several other classrooms. It’s great fun being back in the classroom, and I’ve covered a little of everything: developing good keywords, why you might use quotation marks in a search, what Control+F is good for, citing sources, databases, taking notes, evaluating websites, NoodleTools, the list goes on and on. I created an MLA game where students use magnetic pieces to put a citation in the correct order, including the punctuation, to drive home the point that a citation is more than the name of a book or a URL! (Thanks to Adria Whitworth and Jennifer Lund at Norcross HS for the MLA game idea.) It’s been at least a little successful I think, and I ‘ve found retention to be higher than when the kids are distracted by computers and traffic we have going on in the media center.
I’m so glad a teacher asked me to do this, because I’m not sure I would have thought of constructing lessons this way. And while it takes me out of the media center, we’re fortunate to have two media specialists. There are added intangible bonuses too – I get to know the kids a little better, and I get to use my corny humor by giving out Nerds candy to the kids who answer the “nerdy” questions correctly. They also seem to be more comfortable asking me for help when they are in the library working. I also get to plug whatever is going with the media center – new books that came in, our Read Across America event, or a good book I just finished reading.
I think I better go thank that teacher for inviting me in!
Collins Hill High School