Extreme Makeover: Library Edition by fACTm6

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									                  Extreme Makeover: Library Edition
       Creating a Dynamic Student Learning Environment through Collaborations
                     By Lorraine Marshall-Sinclair, SLIS Graduate Student, IUPUI

      Fifth graders become library designers. With a user-friendly CAD (computer aided
  design) program – and low tech pencil and paper and model construction for those who
prefer old fashioned draftsmanship – students are invited to collaborate with professional
   architects, teachers and media specialists in overhauling the E.D Jones School library.




              Old Style becomes new:

Each year the fifth graders come to class read books, texts, listen to teacher lectures then
answer questions about the information in order to get a grade. Their motivation is the
grade! We can hear them already. “What did you get?” “Ah, I got an A!” “Cool.”
But how authentic and meaningful is this learning experience?

Things are about to change. This year we are doing things differently. The goal is
meaningful learning which prompts students to actively engage.
A team comprised of a school media specialist, a fifth grade teacher, and an art teacher is
ready for the challenge. But what would they do?

Mrs. Jones, the fifth grade teacher, asks, “How could we involve our students?” Miss
Craft, the art teacher interjects, “I want to be a part of something fun, and educational.”
She turns to Mr. Mars, the school media specialist, who adds “We need to create a project
that excites them in a real way. What’s important to them?” He looks around the library
and eureka! An idea is born.

                                        Our Library!
                       - E.D Jones School Library was due for a facelift.
                 -     Architects had been hired and talks were soon to begin.

                                       They decided:
                Let’s get students to design floor plans for our new library.
                                             (P 3, K 7)

   These are the initial stages that are critical to develop any excellent student inquiry
                                            project.
                                     Collaboration: The Building Stage:

These teachers have an excellent idea!

Now, they could roll up their sleeves and create a project that is workable for all the fifth
grade students. The school team began planning for the library design project for
students many weeks before the actual beginning of the inquiry project.

They met regularly and established instructional objectives, determined the duration of
time for the project (six weeks), selected an inquiry style, chose technology tools,
generated a pathfinder of information sources, connected the project to curriculum
standards and created general guidelines for the project. They modeled cooperative
relations by integrating the curriculum to meet the students learning needs. (P1, P4)

Mrs. Jones emphasized, “I think my fifth grade students need to know they have a
problem to solve: How would you redesign the library so that it meets the needs of all
that use it?” (K 8)

Miss Craft continued “there is not only one way to create a new library space. I’d like
them to think of ideas, question others about the library needs, create something, rework
it and then ultimately come up with something that represents their unique brand.
Wouldn’t that give them a real life experience of being an architect or designer?” The
team wanted the students to use creative and inventive thinking to determine the needs
for the library, to determine existing problems with the space and to come up with a
unique solution. (K 4,K 9)

A variety of learning experiences were incorporated into this mini unit. Dr. Annette
Lamb stresses that, “Teacher librarians must be prepared to address the interests and
needs of a diverse student population.”1 In response to the diverse learning styles of this
class, the team incorporated activities that involved visual, informational, media and
technological literacy. (P 3, P7, K6) ( see figure 1)

Mr. Mars agreed that the project would involve active learning, problem solving, and
questioning through this real life situation. He suggested a constructivist approach; he
would provide an outline of the needs of the library and then students could go from there
to come up with questions to ask users of the library, and finally develop plans for the
new space. (K 2) “According to constructivists, people make or construct their own
knowledge based on their own experiences. From this perspective view, learning
potential is considered to be relative to the factors involved in a given learning

1
    Lamb, Annette. The Evolving Definition of Literacy http://eduscapes.com/info/evolve.html
environment and to those experiences and expectations brought to the situation by both
the learner and the teacher.”2

The library design project has taken shape.
The team came up with an outline of steps for the students.

Figure 1:



                  Steps to complete when designing your library:
       Work cooperatively with a partner. (K3, P8)

      Digitally photograph the existing library and journal about perceptions of the qualities of this space.
       (K10, P9)

      Generate questions to ask patrons, and staff. (K9)

      Interview three people who utilize the library and evaluate needs and requests for the space.
      (Examples parents, students, teachers, librarian.) (K5)

       Research elements of libraries and look for example of good library floor plans, furniture, lighting etc.
        (Magazines, websites, etc. provided through a pathfinder.) (P6)

      Design a floor plan using Adobe Illustrator. (K 4, K10)

      Create a three dimensional model to go with the floor plan. (K4)

       Each student will keep a journal critically examining the inquiry process. (P 8)

      In teams the students write a description (using word) of the floor plan and rationale. (K 5)

       Meet regularly with arranged groups to discuss plans and generate feedback. (K 3, P8)

      Consult with team to discuss progress. (Teachers, media specialist and volunteer architecture students)
      (K 1)

      Present designs and rationale to fellow classmates, architecture students and local architect consult for the
      school. (P 10)


       Technology,  Written, Media  Discussion  Research  Create (art)  Oral/Listening and Visual




Each stage provides for a diverse learning experience where various learning
opportunities exist; technology, oral discussions, written elements, creative construction
and formal presentation are part of this collaborative effort. Students will work

         
2         plans and furniture, software etc.
  Callison, Daniel. 2006 The Blue Book on Information Age Inquiry, Instruction and Literacy. Libraries
Unlimited, Westport, Connecticut
P621
individually and together to arrive at new approaches to learning. There are chances for
conferencing with teachers, and assistants to the project. (K1)
Mr. Mars enthusiastically added, “This project has something for everyone! These kids
will have plenty of opportunities to self select and develop their own style of learning. I
like the fact that students will evaluate their findings from many sources. They can
critically look at their interview responses, their research findings about qualities of a
good library, and their discussions with architect students to come up with their best ideas
for the floor design.” (P5 and K 5)




                             Student Consultants:

Mr. Mars suggested that this project needed to be linked to the community. He noted that
the nearby university had an architectural school. After a few brief conversations with
architecture professor Costello, he was able to secure four volunteer architecture students.
They would be consultants to the students and also be an active part of the audience
during final project presentations. (P10)

Miss Craft recommended that the students could exchange email addresses with the
architecture students and share their design progress and also seek advice as necessary.
She also decided to invite them into the art class to talk about design and assist with the
building of the models for the project. (P10)


Team Roles Defined:

Author and library media specialist, Leslie Preddy said, “To collaborate successfully, the
classroom teacher and library media specialist should have a clear understanding of the
division of tasks.”3 Each team member utilizes his or her strengths to determine the
responsibilities each have during this project. (P 3)

The team also understood that they needed to model successful collaborations to their
students. They met weekly to review the progress and assess the student’s efforts.
Additionally, they used email to share remarks from conferences with students, and also
assess the success of the entire inquiry process. According to Virginia Rankin “We must
insist that we are looking for quality final products, and that we know all students can




3
    Preddy, Leslie B. Collaborating for Student Success. www.ciconline.org
produce them. As reflective practitioners, we must also continue to refine assignments
until we are satisfied that we have the best recipe for student success.”4 (P3, K1)


Figure 2:
                                       Key Responsibilities for the Team

Media Specialist                      Classroom Teacher                 Art Teacher
Present project to students.          Present project to students.      Present examples and techniques for
Provide an overview of the                                              creating a physical model of the floor
library needs, history and                                              plan.
direction.
Provide technology training for       Assist with the development of    Examples of architectural work in
CAD type program for floor            CAD type floor plans.             schools will be shared during class
plans.                                                                  time.
Be a participant as a person to       Coach students on creation of     Be a participant as a person to
interview about the library.          questions for collection of       interview about the library.
                                      information about library
Create an outline of library needs.   elements.

A variety of materials will be
available to support research of
the design process.
(P 6)
Create copies of final products       Collect student assignments and   Assist with the creation of models for
onto a disk.                          assess progress.                  presentation.

Determine Literacy Standards for      Determine Academic Standards      Determine Academic Standards for the
the Project.                          for the Project.                  Project.
(P 2)

(P 2, 4, 6)




                              Collaborating on Assessment:

“For inquiry to be most effective and fulfilling the classroom teacher and library media
specialist should devote time and effort to jointly evaluating students.”5


4
  Rankin, Virginia. 1999. The Thoughtful Researcher. Libraries Unlimited, Inc. Englewood, Colorado.
P.181
5
  Preddy, Leslie B. Collaborating for Student Success. www.ciconline.org
The team also determined what assessment tools would be useful for this project.

The team felt that assessment should be on going. “Well-designed assessments help both
students and teachers improve. When used effectively, the focus of an assessment is on
growth,” stressed author Virginia Rankin.

Miss Craft suggested, “We need to assess the process and the final product.”
“Assessment needs to be positive, honest and help all of us learn more”. 6 Both Mr. Mars
and Mrs. Jones agreed but also wanted to insure the Indiana Standards of Academic
Achievement and the Information Literacy Standards were met. They agree to generate a
checklist with the standards and ensure students worked to meet them. (P2, K1)

Process Assessment: (P2, K1)

During the process of researching, interviewing, and creating models, designs and
rationale, the team would confer and keep checklist and journal notes to help assess the
student’s work. Opportunities throughout the project were available to clarify objectives,
reshape the project and make for the best project that the student’s could complete. Mr.
Mars excitedly explained, “The great thing about this type of assessment is that these kids
are a part of the team. They get to examine their abilities and adjust as needed. It is so
encouraging to be clear where you are going and what you have to do.”

Students also became reflective during their journaling sessions. Mrs. Jones especially
loved the fact that students were engaged in the process of assessment. Sharon Coatney
past president of the American Association of School Librarians, said,” These types of
assessments give students the ability to revise, rethink, and reflect, and do again, tying
them to real-life experiences.” 7



Product Assessment: (P2, K1)

For the product assessment phase, the three educators met to review all the objectives for
this project. They created a rubric that incorporated objective and curriculum standards.
Its purpose was to assess all the content of the projects: rationale, design, model and
interview questions and answers.

A second rubric was created for the actual presentation. It included more details about
audience, voice, interaction and convincing presentation. There were also curriculum
standards added to the chart. This rubric was complete by all the educators and also the
architect students. A space for comments was added to the base of the rubric.




6
  Rankin, Virginia. 1999. The Thoughtful Researcher. Libraries Unlimited, Inc. Englewood, Colorado.
P.177
7
  Stripling, Barbara K 2003. Curriculum Connections: Through the Library. Library Unlimited, Inc.
Westport, Ct. P. 161
After the completed project, all teams were invited to a final conference to share their
assessment. This was a time to celebrate. For those who had a challenge it was a time to
provide direction on what to improve on.




                           Process to Final Project:

The fifth grade students worked diligently through the steps outlined for the project.
Their learning experience was entirely different than previous learning projects. The
class was not quiet with students filling in rote type answers to questions. They were
energized! Anyone visiting the school could see that they were all engaged in
meaningful learning. (K7)

Some of the highlights included:

   1. The library became a learning laboratory. Students came regularly to the library
      independently and in teams took pictures of the old space, went on the computers
      and researched about other school library successes. Some students became
      motivated to visit other libraries to compare. (P5, P7, P8,K8)

   2. Meeting for the interview time was very motivating. This was the stage of
      collecting details. The team generated questions and it was notable that they were
      each unique to their own style. One student asked, do you want to come to the
      library more? If so, what needs to be there to make it fun and well educational?
      (K5, K9)

   3. The teams of students met regularly with the school team and architect assistants.
      The difference form other styles of learning was that they often came with
      questions. For example, we like the computer lab area but want to add some
      visuals, and books that would be handy to use while at the computer terminal.
      How can we make it look cool and not just like a boring library area with books
      and stuff? The school team also used this time to guide the students and assess
      their progress.(K9, K1, P8)

   4. There were very quiet times too. Some mornings were spent journaling
      reflections about the process, and also inputting details that would be useful for
      the final project and rationale report. The students worked together to research
      the best styles, needs etc for their library plans. (P8)
    5. A very active and wonderful creative time was in the building of the models. The
       room was energized in every way. Kids were at desks or working on the floor to
       cut, glue and build their library models. The art teacher and architecture students
       circulated throughout the room and assisted were needed. (K4)

    6. Technology played a large role in this inquiry project. The students used
       computers, and cameras to create floor plans, and work to write a rationale for
       their ideas. Some students extended the experience by placing their rationale on a
       display board and also including carts and graphs to explain their process. Once
       again this illustrates the passion that comes from self discovery.(K10)

    7. Presentation: The moment they all had been waiting for had arrived. This was
       the time for each team to present their ideas for the new library. They came with
       models, colorful floor plans, charts, graphics, questions and answers from the
       interviews and rationales for why their design was the best. All of their efforts
       became synthesized into a cohesive presentation. (K2,K7, K8, K6)

        The audience was comprised of the other classmates, the school team, and the
        architecture students. The architect for the library was an invited guest. (P10)

        Many members of the audience provided feedback and engaged in questions. The
        team (teachers, library media specialist, and architecture students) kept notes
        about each presentation. They met afterwards to assess the projects. (K1)



Summary: Educators get on Board!

As a bonus, participants in the “Design the Library” unit get to be a part of a project that
the architects will ultimately create. You never know; those architects might just like a
few ideas from these kids.

“Thinking skills and thinking behaviors give students the tools they need to become life-
long learners.”8 Educators today clearly can see the educational and personal benefit for
all involved in collaborative ventures. The library media specialist, teachers and
community collaborators can share expertise and create meaningful experiences for all.

In a collaborative project, your students will not just learn about what the lessons are
about but they will learn skills that will ultimately serve them in life.

Let’s not accept another year of rote learning. Let’s let students work for something
beyond a mere grade. Let’s get on board and collaborate with others to create unique
inquiry projects that impact the real world!



8
 Rankin, Virginia. 1999. The Thoughtful Researcher. Libraries Unlimited, Inc. Englewood, Colorado.
P.143
                    Learning and Teaching Principles of School
Library Media Programs
Principle 1: The library media program is essential to learning and teaching and must be
fully integrated into the curriculum to promote students’ achievement of learning goals.

Principle 2: The information literacy standards for student learning are integral to the
content and objectives of the school curriculum.

Principle 3: The library media program models and promotes collaborative planning and
curriculum development.

Principle 4: The library media program models and promotes creative, effective, and
collaborative teaching.

Principle 5: Access to the full range of information resources and services through the
library media program is fundamental to learning.

Principle 6: The library media program encourages and engages students in reading,
viewing and listening for understanding and enjoyment.

Principle 7: The library media program supports the learning of all students and other
member of the learning community who have diverse abilities, styles and needs.

Principle 8: The library media program fosters individual and collaborative inquiry.

Principle 9: The library media program integrates the uses of technology for learning
and teaching.

Principle 10: The library media program is an essential link to the larger learning
community.
                                   Key Ideas for Information Age Instruction
Key Idea 1:      Assessment

Key Idea 2:       Constructivism

Key Idea 3:      Cooperative Learning

Key Idea 4:      Creative and Inventive Thinking

Key Idea 5:       Critical Thinking

Key Idea 6:       Individual Differences

Key Idea 7:       Meaningfulness and Motivation

Key Idea 8:      Program & Project-based Learning

Key Idea 9:       Questioning

Key Idea 10:       Technology

Resources:

American Association of School Librarians (AASL). 1998. Information Power: Building Partnerships for
Learning. Chicago: American Library Association.

Callison, Daniel. 2006 The Blue Book on Information Age Inquiry, Instruction and Literacy. Libraries
Unlimited, Westport, Connecticut

Harada, Violet H. and Yoshina, Joan M. 2004 Inquiry Learning through Librarian-Teacher Partnerships.
Worthington, Ohio: Linworth Publishing.

Lamb, Annette. Key Ideas for Information Age Instruction.
http://www.eduscapes.com/info/keys.html. accessed October 26, 2006.Lamb,

Preddy, Leslie B. Collaborating for Student Success. www.ciconline.org accessed October 25, 2006.

Rankin, Virginia. 1999. The Thoughtful Researcher. Libraries Unlimited, Inc. Englewood, Colorado.

Stripling, Barbara K and Hughes-Hassell, Sandra. 2003. Curriculum Connections: Through the Library.
Library Unlimited, Inc. Westport, Ct. P. 161

								
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