Tuesday, September 30, 2014

STEM and Libraries

Much has been written about STEM and the classroom and STEM and the library, but I want to share a gem that I accidentally ran across yesterday. Oh my goodness. It's a perfect book for the elementary librarian in October/November. If it's not in the library right how, you should order it on speed delivery. Why is it so good? 

  • Elementary level, preK-3
  • Seasonal, but not Halloween or Thanksgiving specific
  • Good Read-Aloud
  • STEM-appropriate, without shouting STEM
  • Skills: Estimation/Prediction, Counting by 2, 5, 10s, Working with Cooperative Groups
  • Makes a great science experiment or survey question from which statistics or math problems could be generated
  • Easy to align with Science and/or Math TEKS for each grade level
  • It's a RIF book with an accompanying webpage. http://bit.ly/1Bz5odl 

  • If you read my previous post, you'll understand that I think this book would make a fantastic library lesson and so easy to align with TEKS objectives. While librarians for young children like to read seasonal books, this one would be perfect for all the reasons listed above. You might not want to teach or reinforce TEKS objectives, but look how easily it can be done. Easy peasy.

    TEKS/STAAR and Librarians

    Last week one of my graduate students said her campus was STAAR possessed and data driven, and that she didn't want everything she did in the library to be directly related to the test. My first reaction was, "I agree." But upon reflection, I don't agree. Here's why.

    1. This librarian is the first real librarian on this elementary campus in many years. In fact, the library catalog is still a card catalog, and the circulation system still uses cards and pockets. She has convinced the district to buy an automation system, but she must input all the records by hand, meaning she'll have to type everything into the MARC records herself.
    2. She is working very hard to prove her worth to the principal by trying to reorganize the room, upgrade the collection, manage AR, provide other reading promotions such as author visits, and see every class in rotation. 
    3. Committed to providing more than just book checkout during "library time," she has been reading a lot of stories to her students and talking a lot about the importance of reading and acquiring AR points.
    4. Clearly she is working very hard, but what tangible/documentable proof does she have that she is a real part of the STAAR possessed team and that she understands the principal's vision?
    5. I'm convinced she needs to tie everything she does to TEKS and STAAR. There's even a TEKS objective that can be aligned with AR. Check out the ELAR TEKS for a specific elementary grade. level. http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter110/index.html Example: 2nd grade ELAR -110.13 (b) (11) Reading/Comprehension of Text/Independent Reading. Students read independently for sustained periods of time and produce evidence of their reading... 
    6. And how about last week's author visit? Easy peasy. 2nd grade ELAR - 110.13 (b) 29 Listening and Speaking/Listening. Students use comprehension skills to listen attentively to others in formal and informal settings.... Students are expected to: (A) listen attentively to speakers, ask relevant questions, and make pertinent comments.
    7. And for every story read, I would find an appropriate TEKS objective, not limiting myself to ELAR TEKS. Social Studies, Science, and Math provide a gold mine of opportunities for aligning the library to the classroom and the TEKS.
    8. Even if the librarian is not required to write formal lesson plans, she/he should create a simple lesson plan template to be used weekly that lists each grade level with a one sentence description of the lesson and the TEKS objective cited as I did in #5 and #6. I don't think citing the number is sufficient.