Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Unfinished Business: Curriculum Creation for MNPS librarians

Library Services in MNPS has continued to evolve from year to year, this year being no exception. The expectations set forth by the district and our Library Lead have encouraged us to raise our standards and level of instruction. To help facilitate this change the establishment of a curriculum committee arose. This committee was charged with creating a “working document” to be used by librarians as a means to strengthen instruction and increase collaboration with classroom teachers.  Sounds easy, right? Read below to find out more.

Our process: 

1.       Establish a committee with key stakeholders: This included a librarian from each tier level,   an instructional designer, and input from our Library Lead. 

2.       Build upon what’s already there: The American Association of School Library Standards (AASL) already created a curriculum crosswalk; however we needed a personalized document that correlated to our own district. Thus, we took the AASL crosswalk and fashioned a new crosswalk that correlated AASL standards with MNPS reading and writing standards. 

3.       Determine immediate needs: We knew that we needed to produce a document that other librarians would find value in and want to use right away. So we started with reading and research as this is the area we felt where most librarians had the greatest comfort level. The document also includes Social Studies and Science plans for grades K-8 along with writing a researcher paper and digital citizenship for 9th-12 graders. 

4.       Divide and conquer: Each librarian was assigned two grades levels to which they would be that “grade level expert”. Throughout the entire process each librarian created the lesson plans/ideas for their grade; which would provide for continuity and increased rigor. 

5.       Write it out: After all the planning the rubber must meet the road, thus the writing began. We established a “uniformed template” for each grade level. The template was divided into nine weeks’ periods. Each nine weeks focused on a content area and used the same standards that MNPS teachers were expected to cover those nine weeks. Each lesson plan is comprised of: Media specialist/teacher connection, Journey's (our district wide Reading textbook series) or exemplar text correlations, and web resources.  

6.       Establish ownership: We wanted a way for all librarians to feel a part of the process. So each librarian was asked to contribute a lesson they are currently using in instruction. This process established a sense of community and provided opportunities for librarians to share with one another. 

7.       Edit and distribute: With help from other librarians the plans will be reviewed for clarity. Then, comes the excitement with the unveiling of the completed document.  

8.       Revise, reflect, and redo:  The anticipated roll-out of this curriculum is late summer 2015; following the roll-out we anticipate many new ideas, areas for improvement, and suggestions on how the framework can be revised or enhanced. 

Stay tuned to hear more about how the implementation went and to hear testimonials from other librarians on how the induction of a library framework enhanced their teaching and learning. 
L. Brinson
MNPS Librarian

Curriculum Committee Chair 

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