Personalized Learning in the Library

Today’s Contributor: Krish Stella

I have been trying to wrap my brain around personalized learning ever since it was emphasized at a CIC summer training.  I have been working towards making this a reality in my very busy elementary library.

I am the librarian at Blazier Elementary school, a Title I school in southeast Austin with an enrollment of 920.  I see each kindergarten fourth grade class for 30 minutes every week, and this time includes library checkout.  I have a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time, and often what I teach depends on teachers’ requests.

I have worked to redesign my learning space by creating different places where students can work together.  I have some limitations because we have faculty meetings, community meetings, and campus meetings in the library, so I do not have carte blanche to change it all up.

I have routines in place, and have added anchors of support to increase students’ ability to be self-sufficient.  One of my favorite changes that personalizes learning for students in the integration of centers into library time.  I started this last year with some purposeful centers for kindergarten students one in every four visits where students always self-selected a center.  I would engage with students and talk about concepts in the magnet center, help with motor skills in the puzzles, or show coding on the iPads, etc.

This year, I have decided to have centers in second grade.  My second grade team recently asked me to go over fairy tales with students.  They were reading different versions of Cinderella in class, and asked if I would read a version and reinforce what they learned in class during library time.  This included fairytale elements, character and setting, vocabulary words relate, version and moral, retelling a story, and problem/solution.  I decided since it was the week after Halloween that I would read Cinderella Skeleton, a spooky version of Cinderella.  The week after the read-aloud, I set up Cinderella Centers that included a How to Draw, a retell activity using Bee Bots and cards of the Cinderella story, a read with a buddy activity with multiple versions of Cinderella available, and an explanation created in Blend with a link to an interactive Cinderella activity.  After the introduction and book checkout, students were able to choose a center and move between centers. 

I teach 7 second grade classes, and I noticed that this flowed better with some classes than others.  Where one class had students spread throughout all the centers, another class had everyone wanting to use Bee Bots.  I ended up limiting the number of students allowed at each center, but then some students never got a chance to use Bee Bots.  I would like to create more retell activities using the Bee Bots for future centers.

I have not perfected the craft of personalized learning, but I am aware and trying to find ways to make this a possibility in the library.

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