This past school year was the hardest most educators have faced in their careers. The word “pivot” is honestly a word I would be okay never hearing again, is anyone with me there? This year, my main goal is to make this year as easy as possible for my teachers on my campus as their librarians. It surprises me year after year that teachers do not realize how their school librarian can support them with instruction and make their life easier with less stress. Together librarians and teachers, through collaboration, can not only help create an environment where the school is even more fun for our students but also librarians can help relieve some of the stress of lesson planning for the teachers.
So how can librarians help teachers, and how together can they make school fun? Through collaboration! The library is the heart of every school, and anytime instruction can move from the classroom to the library is exciting for students regardless of age. Often librarians have a bit more freedom than teachers when it comes to creating lessons out of the box because of the available resources in the library. Most libraries have more access to technology, maker space, print, and digital resources than the classroom, making it easier for lessons with the technology or project-based. Between fun lessons collaborated with teachers and librarians and a change of environment from the classroom to the library, you are on your way to making school, learning, and class fun.
How librarians can support teachers:
- Curatining classroom libraries based on units of instruction
- Lesson planning
- Lesson support
- Curating resources for instruction
With lesson planning, lesson support, and collaboration, librarians can support teachers by creating video tutorials, book tastings, book talks, small group activities, maker space activities, research skills, and lessons on your district-provided digital learning system curriculum content lessons, breakout edu lessons, etc. Recently, with help from another high school librarian in my district, I have started incorporating Google Websites to help create lessons for teachers and students that can be reused and modified year after year for all teachers of that subject. A majority of librarians are very knowledgeable about incorporating technology into instruction and can teach teachers and students how to use these skills.
Librarians and teachers can collaborate to create lessons that empower students to be ethical creators of their content and projects. Personally, project-based lessons and assignments are some of my favorite lessons to plan and implement. Students are given the freedom to choose and create their content based on instruction, and the library has resources to help and technical skills to help create. Lessons and units are more engaging and fun through collaboration, and with two different educators with different background experiences, you can have a variety of ideas to create with. So many of my amazing teachers and instructional leaders are moving towards projects that students have the freedom to create whatever product they want or have the freedom to do a project over something they are passionate about. With projects like these, I get so incredibly excited! Teachers and librarians can create a rubric, and together, the librarians and teachers can help students have as many resources and points of view as possible.
With librarian collaboration, librarians and teachers can create lessons based on the instruction that shows students to be connected to their community, state, country, and the world safely. As a result, students will be able to identify reliable resources, learn various ways to spot fake news through research and create skills that will last a lifetime. With how the internet has become such an important part of our lives, it is a vital skill for students to have the skills to identify fake news, and together librarians and teachers can work to have lessons that teach these skills.
The library is a collaborative space for other teachers and students to use. Using maker space projects in instruction, students can express their creativity and make connections to instruction. Makerspace stations are great for all subject areas to use to add an extra flair to their lessons. In the past, I have had teachers use the legos in the maker space to have students create various things based on their instruction, and I have had teachers use the button maker to create buttons based on a character they most related to. Check out the maker space area that your librarian has and work with the librarian to see what different ways you can use the maker space in your instruction.
Beyond just providing co-teaching and collaboration with teaching, librarians can also help teachers by providing various resources for teachers to use. Various digital resources can provide for teachers and students like ebooks, audiobooks, databases, research articles, various media resources based on units, and digital magazines. Teachers can discuss with their librarian what their unit of instruction is over and what ideas of resources they would like to use and the librarian can provide! The library has so many different resources available and can find something based on your lessons, and if for some reason they do not have the resources, your librarian can and will find them.
Overall when working together, teachers and librarians can improve student outcomes. Almost every librarian I know loves to have students and teachers in the library, and they love to collaborate. Be sure to reach out to your school librarian today! If your campus does not have a school librarian, reach out to your district administration and let them know how vital a school librarian can be at your campus and district. School librarians are so important to every campus. I hope that by using your school librarian this school year, you can have a successful year and much less stress than this previous school year.