Today’s contributor: Diane Collier
I am a school librarian in my 10th year, previous classroom teacher, and environmental engineer. I enjoy reading, hiking, traveling and beekeeping.
As our school librarian my main focus during our library times is always going to be literacy. As my years with students pass, I have become more and more aware of how the idea of “literacy” is changing and our students need to be comfortable and confident navigating more than just print text in a book. For a few years, I watched and listened and grew jealous of colleagues who seemed to be on the cutting edge of new ideas. Some other colleagues were incorporating STEM and “design thinking” and Makerspaces into their library times. I felt a little overwhelmed thinking about how to do the same. So last year I decided that starting anywhere and starting small was a way move forward.
When seeing my 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes last year, we started alternating “Books Week” with “Technology Week”. During Books Week we continued to have read aloud time, book talks and discussions about our reading and selecting of books for independent reading. During “Technology Week” I had time to plan lessons that incorporated technology, coding lessons, design thinking or just exploring with new materials and exposure to technology and STEM materials.
Some of our “Technology Week” activities included
- Hour of Code
- Lego robotics kits (purchased with a grant from Austin Assistance League a few years ago)
- Writing poetry on Google Slides
- Exploring with Little Bits (also purchased with grant money)
- Stop-motion movie making with iPads (making number sentences for math)
Alternating weeks has been successful and enjoyable to the students and teachers alike. I hope that my Tech Week activities are not just motivating to students, but also serve as a model for teachers and an opportunity for them to get more comfortable with technology by assisting me with my lessons.
This year my plan for library time is similar, alternating “Books Week” with “IT (Information/Technology) Week” when we will do lessons on Information Literacy, Digital Citizenship as well as other STEM activities again and incorporating some Blended Learning. In addition, during Books Week, I am setting up Library Centers for students to choose from after they have checked out their book (or if they did not bring a book & can’t check out). I’m looking forward to using the Library Centers time as another small opportunity for Blended Learning. After we learn new technology skills or tools during IT week, they can be used independently at Centers. Later in the year, I will incorporate more technology into the 2nd grade centers and eventually add younger grades.
I’m really looking forward to incorporating more technology, STEM and Blended Learning into our Library time this year!