NCCE2011 – Teacher Librarian Summit II

Mission: To ensure that students are effective users and producers of information and ideas

Today I had the pleasure of attending the Teacher Librarian Summit II as a pre-conference workshop for #NCCE2011.  The day was filled with good conversations, inspirational messages and connecting with over 100 teacher librarians in attendance.  The morning was spent defining what students must know and be able to do.  Janet Murry and Colet Bartow discussed  standards in terms of research and information fluency.  AASL, NETS*S, Common Core and State standards have similar themes:  define the task, access and evaluate, analyze & organize, synthesize, and responsible use.

The afternoon was spent with the ever charming Mike Eisenberg and  focused on implementing comprehensive  L I T (literacy, information, technology) programs.  The four main components of a LIT program are:

  1. DEFINED: For each month, determine 2-4-8 power Grade Level Objectives.
  2. PREDICTABLE: adopt, and adapt a systematic schedule to your own school setting and calendar.
    – For each month, link to classroom/subject areas:
    » if available, use existing curriculum or curriculum mapping info.
    » if necessary, conduct Assignment Mapping.
    – For each week, develop instructional lessons based on Grade Level Objectives linked to classroom assignments.
  3. MEASURED: For each month, develop assessments (approach, evidence, criteria) based on Grade Level Objectives and linked to classroom assignments.
  4. REPORTED: Determine audience and means of reporting to that audience—document and communicate performance.

A memorable moment of the day is when Eisenberg led the teacher librarians in a song, “Let LIT Be” sung to the tune of the “Let it Be” by the Beatles.

The day ended with each teacher librarian stepping to the microphone stating one thing they are going to do on Monday because of something they learned today or was inspired by.  What a wonderful way to end the session – so positive and so full of hope for the state of libraries in Oregon and Washington.


Three essential functions of Teacher-Librarians:
  1. Information and Technology Literacy Instruction
  2. Reading Advocacy
  3. Information Management and Services
The scope and mix of these functions will depend on the program priorities and goals of each local school district and school building.
  1. Information and technology literacy instruction
  • Leads information literacy instruction including evaluation and analysis of the credibility, relevance and currency of information
  • Coaches instructional staff in support of curriculum, information technology and information management
  • Teaches students to be critical consumers and producers of information
  • Teaches students and staff to use emerging learning technologies for school and lifelong learning
  • Teaches students to be safe, ethical and responsible digital citizens
  1. Reading advocacy
  • Establishes and models a powerful, fashionable and ubiquitous culture of reading in the school community
  • Motivates and guides students to read for enjoyment and understanding
  • Develops a relevant collection of fiction and non-fiction in a variety of formats, ensuring quality reading choices for all students
  • Manages resources in support of established curriculum and student passions
  1. Information management and services
  • Provides open and equitable access to resources, technology and information services for the entire school community
  • Develops and administers inviting and effective physical and digital library environments
  • Manages resources to support teaching and learning
  • Administers information management systems to support student learning and school and district programs

Role of Teacher Librarian and literacy

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/grade6kms/5181031372/sizes/m/in/pool-858082@N25/

Literacies as defined by Loertscher (2008), are the skills necessary to function successfully in school and the world at large as a “literate” citizen.  Literacy skills are lifelong learning skills that include reading, writing, listening, communicating, media literacy, visual literacy, information literacy, ICT literacy, and emerging literacies (124).

The primary role of the teacher librarian in a school’s literacy program is one of advocate and collaborator.  First and foremost, the teacher librarian must know their library collection and understand how it supports the school’s curriculum.  The print and electronic resources in a library are dynamic – always changing and growing to support the learning of the student community.  The teacher librarian is not only passionate about reading and writing, but involving students in all kinds of activities, such as listening to novels on CD, using collaborative technology tools to support group work, and using databases for research and evaluation.  They must be knowledgeable about all types of resources and be the “go to” person in the school who keeps up on current research, who takes the time to learn about and practice emerging technologies, and who collaborates and encourages teachers to try new strategies – especially when it comes to information literacy.

The teacher librarian should be part of curriculum teams.  Because they work with a variety of classroom teachers and with a variety of subject areas, they are in a good position to share best practices and strategies that have been proven effective.  They are they to support, offer advice, and be positive and encouraging of those who are trying new strategies.  They should always been on the lookout for new resources and take time to share what they’ve discovered with their community.  Teacher librarians are the ultimate coach – co-teaching the necessary skills to be successful – and directing and encouraging from the sidelines.

The teacher librarian can have a significant role in content reading skills.  Especially at the higher grade levels, content reading can be quite challenging for some students.  There is a huge jump in the readability of the material and it may contain a lot of technical and unfamiliar terminology.  A teacher librarian who is familiar with content reading strategies can assist classroom teachers in suggesting effective strategies so students have better comprehension of both print and electronic resources.

Image source: http://stingraytales.wikispaces.com/file/view/cornell-layout.jpg/31020865/cornell-layout.jpg

When planning a collaborative Social Studies assignment, the teacher librarian can suggest note taking strategies.  The Cornell note taking system encourages students to take notes while reading a selection from text sources or listening to a lecture and or watching a historical movie.  Students take notes on one side of the paper.  On one side of the page, the student writes “cues” – which are questions which the notes answer.  The page summary at the bottom of the notes provides a concise review of the important material on the page.  This activity reinforces many informational literacy skills and assists the students in understanding the “bigger picture” that is being presented.

Too often in Social Studies, students don’t see the connections from one event to another or they get confused by all the names and dates that are presented.  Encouraging use of a concept map or graphic organizer allows students to “show” the connections and gives them a visual representation of events, people and dates.  The teacher librarian can also provide background reading material that helps make sense of the social studies content.  They can suggest fiction books about the time period being studied.  They can provide access to multimedia collections in databases.  They can encourage individual exploration of interesting websites or DVDs.  Surrounding the students will all types of resources makes understanding social studies content reading much more manageable.

Loertscher, D., Koechlin, C., & Zwaan, S. (2008). The New Learning Commons Where Learners Win!: Reinventing School Libraries and Computer Labs. Salt Lake City, UT: Hi Willow Research