Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Second Person in the Room


That's me, Ms. Kahn, looking at a student's work on Easybib
Collaborating with the teachers in my building is one of my priorities. It is a waste of time to teach skills in isolation because in most cases what you are trying to teach just won't stick. By planning lessons with my teachers to meet the specific needs of their teaching and classrooms means that the students will immediately use what I am sharing with them. It also means that the students will be assessed on what I am teaching because the teachers require an end product. 

Another type of collaboration that I do is help teachers follow through with the activities which I introduced in the library and is what I call, the second person in the room. This means I serve as an extra pair of hands, eyes, and mouth. I have been the second person during skype visits when the teacher felt uncomfortable with the technology or they wanted help to make sure the conversation with the expert on skype went smoothly. I visited a 6th grade science class when the teacher had asked teams of two to create an infographic in Infogr.am illustrating their experiments in physical and chemical change. In this case, I walked around the room helping students in need, while the teacher helped with the experiments. I also started trying something this year that I haven't really done before. I first visited an English I class while they were researching for a major paper. The classes had already visited the library for a lesson, but the teacher was giving them plenty of time in class to conduct their research. By going to the classroom, I was able to meet with every student within 20 minutes. I was checking their citations on Easybib.com to make sure that they were using appropriate sources for their research. I also looked at the notes that they were taking using the notebook feature of Easybib to see if they were paraphrasing in bullets or fragments. I commended the students doing a good job, and I gave helpful advice to those who needed to be steered in the right direction.

Yesterday, I spent three periods visiting the English II classes. Last week I had presented information on how to write a persuasive essay. I know that these students were not as up to speed with Easybib and the electronic note taking as the students in English I. It took me over an hour for each class, but I was able to conference with every student to make sure that they were on track with what I had taught them the week before. The teacher moved around the room also. It was exhausting, but I think well worth it.

Even if teachers are not open to collaborating with the librarian, as librarian, you can offer your services to help with lessons where an extra person in the room will make a big difference to student learning. I don't like to give up so much time in a classroom because it means that the library is closed while I am out of the room, but sometimes, me moving rather than the students works best. 

Mr. Curran, the English II teacher, conferring with his students

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