I have had quite a few teachers collaborating with me this summer. It is the first time I have been 4 years in the same place and it is pretty exciting. I have a good idea of who I will be connecting with and what my year will look like. Of course the projects are always changing but I am feeling great.
Librarianship in schools and really anywhere is all about collaboration and innovation. If you are not changing you are sure to loose your position and (gasp) perhaps the library itself. We all have seen the results of libraries that have lost their librarians. It is true sadness. Project-Based Learning is a door into something oldish and new again. What is PBL but authentic inquiry-based experiences. We are experts in inquiry. In fact when I first started working on PBL I thought I was doing it wrong because it came so naturally to me. Of course there were a few new buzz words and techniques but overall it is a inquiry experience.
I decided to take the 4 day training in PBL at the end of May (very scary with so many projects going on) but I felt I needed to be a leader in the conversation. The only way I could do that was to have the information for my teachers who were going to be struggling as to what this “new” PBL learning meant. Luckily we have a very supportive BOCES (regional information center of sorts) who gave us an amazing amount of training and experience (@ @ @). I walked out of that training ready to go with a project. In fact I put the project into practice in June. I know crazy crazy. But I really wanted to try it out.
Impressions: Students were extremely engaged. A big part of the process is voice and choice to make the experience authentic. Another thing I did was to make the groups myself. Students did work in groups of 2 but they did not choose the groups. This made a big difference. I tended to put students who were troublesome together and boy let me tell you they really did amazing things. They no longer could depend on the “good” student to do the work for them. Also by putting “good” students together I could focus my time on those students that needed aid and help.
Suggestion: Join the conversation. Do not be afraid to connect with your teachers outside the library. It is really about the students and I will do just about anything to help the students grow and innovate.