Gently Down the S.T.R.E.A.M. - Using Research and Making to Inspire Innovation and Creativity! Guest post by Barbara Johnson, Library Media Specialist at Jack Jackter Intermediate School.
School Libraries Work! (2016) by Scholastic, I read it right after my trip to AASL in Columbus, OH in November. IT FIRED ME UP! You can find it here if you haven't read it yet:
http://www.scholastic.com/SLW2016/index.htm. I was already excited to share, collaborate and inspire from my experience in Ohio. I came home ready to put the kids in charge, empower them, and let them drive! BUT, then I saw the data Scholastic had gathered, it was astounding, “75% [of students] have no idea how to locate articles and resources they need for their research. 60% don’t verify the accuracy or reliability of the information they find. [and] 44% do not know how to integrate knowledge from different sources.”(2)
Well, there were my Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) for the year! But how do I do this if I am supposed to let the kids drive? Enter the STREAM, the evolution of adding research (reading) and arts to the STEM program: https://www.impactoneducation.org/programs-for-students/s-t-r-e-a-m/. With this program, I could design student centered research projects, connecting them to both Science and Social Studies curricular topics, but then hand over the reigns of the project to the students. I created materials (graphic organizers) to guide the students to better research techniques (scholarly sources, accurate information, and MLA citations), I curated digital tools (BrainPop/Gizmo/Tinker-Ball) to create an engaging introduction, and then started collecting recycled materials to stock up the Makerspace students would be using to create.
Did I mention my kids are aged 8-10? Grades 3-5. So, when I looked at their SCIENCE curriculum, Grade 5 was getting ready to study Sound and Light, Grade 4: Properties of Liquids, and Grade 3: Simple Machines. PERFECT! Our district adopted the Stripling Model of Inquiry about 5 years ago because it seemed to connect to all grade levels with it’s W.I.C(S).E.R acronym. Wonder, Investigate, Construct/Synthesize, Express and Reflect is prominently displayed on the wall in each library, and taught in grades K-2. By the time the kids come to me, they are familiar with both terms and process. I can concentrate on the resources. The librarians of Colchester do this with fixed library lessons, now called Information Literacy. We collaborate with a Technology Specialist (which I used to be) and the other building Specialists (Music, Art and PE) to integrate and achieve STREAM. We are also fortunate to share the class schedule with the Tech Specialist so that we both have fixed classes, Genius Blocks, Collaborative Blocks and planning.
Building the Grade 5 lesson with my team, we considered:
CONNECT: Students were challenged with a mystery tune (Twinkle, Twinkle..but shhh, don’t let it get out) They were provided a table of materials, water, and an iPad. Materials included: glasses, cans, cups, pencils, pens, and paper. They were given a graphic organizer to plan out their strategy, and also record what happened. Off they went! So engaged, and PRODUCTIVE! Small groups worked together to figure out the tune, recreate it with the materials, and then document their work with the iPad, photo or video. (42 minutes or one class period)
WONDER: Students explore an interactive game on BrainPop Jr., and a quick video about sound. With their background knowledge filled in, students were given a graphic organizer to record the instrument they were curious about, and their findings. I made sure to include a place for a citation, and annotation (remember we want kids to use scholarly resources and cite them!) (42 minutes or one class period)
INVESTIGATE: students explore digital, print, and video resources. MUCH OF MY TIME is spent guiding students to understand the importance of using J.U.N.K (okay I made this up):
SYNTHESIZE/CONSTRUCT: Time to put together the pieces! Figuratively in this step. Students use their findings to sketch, plan or design a way to replicate the instrument they have just studied. I gave my students some choices here too! Students can go low-tech with pencil and paper, mid-tech with a Google Drawing, or high-tech with TinkerCad (3D design and printing)
Students created a sketch, used text boxes to describe what they were using and how the pieces and parts helped to make and/or change the instruments sound (remember those essential questions?) (42 minutes or one class period)
EXPRESS: LET THE FUN BEGIN! Student brought in recycled materials the thought they would need to build their instrument. There are no rules here but one, CAN’T BUY ANYTHING! We let them have the run of the library space here, just monitoring for kids who needed help. I did bring in my “big girl scissors”, hammer and hot glue sticks. I just got to walk around, poking holes in stuff or cutting plastic bottles in half. SO MUCH FUN to just let the time develop into what it will. The hardest part for kids, stopping. We had a bit of clean-up so we would stop after about 35 minutes of building. They were so upset, would have loved a 90 minute block, just to let them go...but 42 minutes it is! (84 minutes or two class periods)
REFLECTION: This is both for the students and me. Did they learn anything? Students are equipped with their instrument, their graphic organizers and their sketches. They are given a rubric for the project, and asked to self-evaluate. The rubric asks them to evaluate the quality of their findings, and their involvement. I use their work, their self-evaluation, and some video, to fill out the rubric myself and come up with a “grade” 1,2,3 or 4, which is what we use on our report cards (rubric is aligned to this scale)
Time to find another topic!
SCHOOL LIBRARIES WORK! A Compendium of Research Supporting the Effectiveness of School Libraries. New York: Scholastic, 2016. PDF.
"STREAM." Impact on Education. Boulder Valley Schools, n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.
Kristina A. Holzweiss
Ed Tech School Librarian
Bunhead With Duct Tape
PRAISE FOR "HACKING SCHOOL LIBRARIES"
"Hacking School Libraries is the practical book that I have been waiting for a teacher-librarian to publish! This is the book I will be recommending to school librarians who want constructive and attainable suggestions on how to not only transform their library space, but also their library practices and in turn, their school. The stories and ideas from Stony, Kristina, and other respected colleagues in the school library world spotlight tried-and-true practices that have transformed school library programs across the nation."
"I really like the quick reading style and the focus banners for each hack. This is a very useful guide for new school library professionals or those thirsting for easy, practical, and inexpensive ideas to revitalize their school libraries. My highest praise is that it's written by practitioners FOR practitioners."
The book is clear and understandable and helps put their "hacks" into perspective by introducing a problem and possible solution. I especially like the "What you can do tomorrow" section and even though I am not a new librarian, I plan to incorporate some of these ideas tomorrow!
"WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK IS THAT IT BREAKS EVERYTHING DOWN INTO MANAGEABLE SECTIONS. IN THOSE SECTIONS YOU ARE GIVEN SUGGESTIONS FOR WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY! SUCH AN IMPORTANT RESOURCE ESPECIALLY AS MEDIA SPECIALISTS ARE ALWAYS STRUGGLING TO STAY RELEVANT. THIS BOOK REALLY HELPS!" - CATHY CASTELLI
"THANK YOU! THANK YOU FOR SEEING INTO WHAT WE ARE AND OUR MISSION! WELL WRITTEN AND GREAT IDEAS THAT SUPPORT OUR STUDENTS! I LOVE THIS RESOURCE!" - CAROL EVERHART CRITCHER
"THIS BOOK IS INVITING, WELL-ORGANIZED, AND CONTATINS IDEAS THAT ARE EASY TO IMPLEMENT. WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE? FROM THE SKETCHNOTE-LIKE ICONS ON THE COVER TO THE CLEAR TABLE OF CONTENTS, THIS INFORMATION IS ON THE RIGHT track for school librarians. no offense to phd candidates, but i'd rather read something that gives me quick usable ideas i can use right now than someone's research dissertation on learning commons model. i have students to help, teachers to collaborate with, and a million other things I am juggling and trying to keep in the air at the same time. - CHARITY S. HARBECK, School Library Media Coordinator/Digital Literacy Coach at Franklinton High School in Franklinton, NC
PRAISE FOR KRISTINA'S WORK
"I am super excited to learn about both high tech and low tech ways to promote literature.
I feel that over the years, I lost myself and my students with the primary focus always being on research. I want to go back to book talks and making library enjoyable (again).
Thank you for your inspiration!"
- Cara Lauber, library media specialist
"Kristina is a librarian's librarian!"
- Ali Schilpp, 2018 SLJ School Librarian of the Year
"Kristina is an engaging guest speaker who offers rich and varied approaches for participants to take part in and contribute. My graduate students leave the classroom feeling motivated, excited and ready to put their learning into practice in their own classrooms."
Dr. Karen Megay-Nespoli, Director of the Literacy and Cognition Graduate Program,
St. Joseph’s College, Patchogue
"i have followed kristina holzweiss on social media for many years. she's always on the cutting edge of the newest tools and activities in education. she was one of the first school librarians i saw who had her students using flipgrid, breakout edu, bloxels, and so many other great resources. i am awestruck by her ingenuity and her passion for helping students and educators thrive. i also appreciate her ideas for empathy and diversity." - tonya fletcher