As the end of another summer break creeps closer, I adjust my sleeping patterns (fewer late nights and more early mornings), review my “to do” list and that stack of books I schlepped home back in June and revisit the media program goals we will use to focus our efforts in the up-coming year. I know I’m not alone in this process because I’ve often commiserated the ever shortening summer days verses my ever higher expectations for what I can fit into these days with colleagues. This is not the only similarity educators, from the disciplines within a school, share; we are all cogs in the wheel attempting to mold our students into successful, productive, fulfilled graduates. I’ve spent many a meeting involved in attempts to write a vision statement, mission statement, etc. relating to “why we are here”. I’ve determined that while each discipline and/or grade level has responsibility for particular standards, goals, objectives (etc.) we are, ultimately, seeking to provide our students with the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful 21st century citizens.
As media coordinators we are in a unique position. Working with the entire student body allows us to see first-hand the interconnectedness of the curricula and the opportunities to connect these “dots” with students. This is why it is among our most important roles within the school is to educate and demonstrate the value of collaboration. Within the media program it is vital to build the 3 levels of collaboration identified by IMPACT: Guidelines for NC Media and Technology Programs. Level 1 integration, the media coordinator simply provides resources to support the classroom. Level 2 cooperative activities, the media coordinator prepares lessons to support classroom objectives as students are scheduled for instruction. Level 3 co-planning, cross-curricular lessons and units are planned, delivered and evaluated jointly by the teacher and the media coordinator. IMPACT identifies proactive methods that will help us (and our program) implement Level 3 collaborations. Revisiting these collaboration levels, seeking methods to build and expand collaboration have become part of my and NCSLMA’s annual “why we are here” exercise.
In order to further incorporate collaboration, NCSLMA’s advocacy committee is focusing on outreach, communicating the value and importance of media programs to our education colleagues. In July as part of this initiative, I presented a session for the Sr. Teaching Fellows Conference “Survive and Thrive” at Elon University. The focus for my session, “The Perfect Pair: Teacher/Librarian Collaboration” included a brief description of the 3 collaboration levels and the growing body of research that confirms the value for students and teachers. These “baby teachers” (thanks Doug Jones) were receptive to the information shared. I encouraged each of the participants to incorporate a library-based lesson during their upcoming student teaching and collaborate with the media coordinator (at least once) to experience firsthand the value for themselves and their students. NCSLMA members, Jennifer Northrup and Renee Davenport from Flat Rock Middle School presented a session introducing the Big 6 research model and its application as a problem-solving model for students. Jennifer LaGarde, NCSLMA Advocacy and Governance section chair presented at the Junior Teaching Fellows Conference July 24. The theme of the conference, “Explore Diversity, In and Out of the Classroom” allowed her to draw a connection with the media program through her sessions “Bibliotherapy 2.0 - Using eBooks(and Print Ones too!) to Reach and Teach Diverse Student Populations” and “It’s a Small World After All --- Developing Personal Learning Networks for Students and Teachers”.
The Advocacy Committee will continue to reach out to inform NC administrators and teachers this year with additional initiatives to ensure the media program’s role as a collaborative partner. Building on our first initiative with NC Teaching Fellows, Teaching Fellows coordinators at several universities have expressed an interest in hosting a 40-45 minute presentation during 2011-12 to introduce these future educators to the media specialist’s instructional role. An outline of the presentation is intended to serve as a framework that will be “fleshed out” by NCSLMA member presenters with individual examples and stories. If you are interested in preparing a session for one (or more) of the Teaching Fellows programs, please contact me for the specifics. The scheduled sessions include: Appalachian State, Campbell, East Carolina, Lenoir-Rhyne, North Carolina A&T, Queens, and Western Carolina. NCSLMA has a small budget to pay for transportation costs and supplies.
As you can tell our NCSLMA Advocacy committee is working to “get the word out” about the benefits and vital role of media programs. It’s time to blow our own horn!