As a librarian, lesson planning takes on an entirely different meaning when strategic efforts are made to collaborate with colleagues in an effort to improve the academic achievements of students. Throughout the course of my graduate program I have been fortunate enough to work with colleagues who bring innovation and creativity to lesson design.
In LIS 654, “School Library Media Specialist and the Curriculum” I designed a social studies mini unit in which I co-taught a portion of the lesson with a peer. In designing the unit, we followed the backwards design approach and incorporated the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner. In addition, we incorporated digital tools and online resources than spanned two lessons. Working together, we integrated the use of student technology in a purposeful manner, requiring students to access resources, construct a learning product, and develop Tweet to demonstrate their understanding. We wanted students to identify “What is the lasting outcome of a founder?” “What characteristics does a founder have” “What are the many roles that a founder can do?” “What influence does a founder have?” Using a digital chart students compared technology founders and founding fathers by accessing a libguide that we created to facilitate student learning as evidenced in artifact 1.
The next learning task was a subject-based collaborative unit for fourth graders on Animal Adaptations and Habitats in which I worked with three colleagues. Students had been learning about habitats and animal adaptations in the classroom with their teacher and the collaborative unit plan in artifact 2 built upon their classroom knowledge and helped them extend their thinking with an inquiry-based research project. There were four lessons titled “Creating Your Wild Self,” “Creating a Research Question,” “Successful Note Taking,” “Finding a Habitat” which required moderate collaborate between the teacher librarian and the classroom teacher.
Generating lesson plans with peers was a rewarding experience because each person brought a different perspective and had new way to meet student needs. From this collaborative process I learned how to be flexible and how to ask guiding questions to facilitate the communication among group members and/or my partner. I found that a positive attitude, praise, and encouragement made for a pleasant experience as each member felt like a valued and contributing member.