Becoming research pros

Barb Mason and I are attempting the seemingly impossible this summer: We’re going to find a way to make research instruction easier for teachers and more fun for students.

Together with lead teachers of freshman core classes—English I, Global Studies, Physics, and Health—we plan to develop an information literacy curriculum that will be integrated into these classes. We’re basing our framework on several existing models, including the Big 6, and aligning it to the Illinois School Library Media Association standards, which align with Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and the American Association of School Librarians’ Standards for the 21st Century Learner. We also hope to introduce occasional library time during freshman lunch study halls, when we will orient them to ILC resources and teach mini lessons.

By the end of freshman year, our students will be whizzes at locating, evaluating, and using information. This is not to say that District 117 isn’t already doing great work in this area. As librarians, Barb and I just want to offer our support so we all can do better.

To get started, we are developing a Scope and Sequence to determine where aspects of information literacy instruction most naturally fall—or already fall—in the existing curricula. We also are examining where there are gaps and where there is overlap. For example, do freshmen learn about how to conduct advanced Google searches in all four of their core classes? If so, then where can we eliminate it to free up time for other instruction?

The goals are to improve communication among the disciplines to streamline our instruction and to show students how their information literacy skills transfer from class to class.

Ideas? Please share them! We don’t expect to get it perfect the first time around, but we’re sure going to try.

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