Team Teaching with Your Librarian

By on May 30, 2012

All teachers know that research is a challenge to teach, to monitor, and to grade. And there are seemingly hundreds of skills students need to know to be successful junior researchers. This is where your librarian can help.

Recently, my tenth grade team decided to develop a research project. We didn't want to simply assign a writing task. We wanted to teach very specific skills and expose students to elements of the research process. We agreed on the usual stuff: 4-6 page paper, MLA/APA format, 12 point font, etcetera. When it came time to decide on the skills, we immediately thought about how research is done. We wanted to teach students that browsers like Google are wonderful for research but so are databases and online journals. Students can only learn about and have access to such research tools through a library. So we decided to ask our librarian, Steve Montgomery, if he would be interested in teaching our students about databases; specifically, what are they, how to access them, how to search them effectively, and how to cite articles from a database.

As a team, we decided to team teach with Steve. He would be responsible for running the presentation, and we would help facilitate a conversation to ensure our students met our learning objectives for the presentation. Students took notes, wrote process summaries, and had multiple opportunities to talk about their learning.

We are so glad we decided to teach with Steve. There were so many questions that came up and even more terms our students didn't know. Steve threw out terms like abstracts, primary and secondary sources, periodicals and the like. Our students had no idea what he was talking about, and of course no one bothered to ask clarifying questions. Since we were team teaching, we were able to stop the presentation and check in with our students. We asked them to turn to their neighbors to discuss terms and ideas and we asked them to summarize key steps Steve had gone over. We started off wanting to learn about databases and came away with so much more. Thankfully, Steve was flexible enough to pause, reteach, and offer additional information when the class was stuck or confused.

In short, team teaching with your librarian can be a terrific experience for you and your students. You leave the library feeling like your students learned something valuable. You know--through formative assessments--what your students learned and what they still need to know. My students walked out of the library understanding what a database is and how to use one, how to use an abstract for research purposes, the difference between a work cited page and a bibliography, and how to identify primary or secondary sources. It was a very productive day.

I recommend team teaching with your librarian. They are a wealth of information and have so many wonderful things to share with your students. They are the research experts on campus. It makes since to teach with them during a research project.

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Literacy Standards In Action

We've mapped our literacy lessons and reading, speaking, and writing skills to state standards, Common Core, and NGSS. The standards are "the what" to teach. Our lessons are "the how" to meet the expectations defined by the standards. Click on the links below to view our quick reference table that maps standards to literacy lessons.

W2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
W7
Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
W8
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital resources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
W9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
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