For the past couple of weeks, my media center has been a carousel of learning with 3 collaboratively taught lessons involving rotations to centers around the library. In 2nd grade, students rotated through six centers about the regions of Georgia and the seven natural wonders of Georgia. In 5th grade, students rotated through centers on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which included a student-designed and student-led center called “Fishing for the Constitution”. In 4th grade, students rotated through three centers on the Native American tribes of the Hopi, Inuit, and Seminole.
In each instance, I used a form of collaboration where I met and emailed with teams of teachers to brainstorm content and goals for the overall picture of the lesson experience. Then, I planned every center, gathered resources from my library and the public library, typed information for each center leader to follow and/or made a powerpoint for center leaders to use as a teaching aid.
Here’s an example of the 4th grade center instructions:
The center leaders were Sharon Rockholt-media paraprofessional, myself-media specialist, and each classroom teacher in the grade level. The 5th grade centers also included Joel Frey-technology integration specialist and 5th grade students. This type of experience is one that I like because it allows students to hear from multiple voices supporting one common goal. It takes multiple pieces of the standards and builds them into one experience that is broken up into small pieces. The rotations also give the students variety in styles of teaching and learning and allows them to get up and move frequently. The 4th grade centers lasted one day per class. The 5th grade centers involved the whole 5th grade (60 students) rotating among 5 centers during a 75 minute period. Finally the 2nd grade centers involved 2 classes at a time coming to the media center for a sequence of 3 days. Each day students went to 2 centers for 15 minutes each.
In the past, I’ve enjoyed collaborating with teachers on similar projects where every educator on the collaborative team was responsible for planning a piece of the experience. While I find value in this kind of collaboration, it takes time, organization, consensus, and continuity. The kind of collaboration involved in these 3 center experiences allows for collaboration while putting the organization, planning, and continuity on one person, the media specialist. I’ll keep exploring ways to work with and support teachers, but at the moment this is the strategy that is working for me and my teams of teachers.
What works for you?
David C. Barrow Elementary