I began my career in education as a classroom teacher, so perhaps that is what fuels my interest in this topic. The amount of time needed for teachers to implement the curriculum, as well as the other responsibilities, is overwhelming. When I became a library teacher, my first thought was how I might possibly help this situation. The ideal situation to do this is with a flexible schedule, but a fixed schedule can work as well. The first step in the process is to know the standards and curriculum.
Now that I am in an elementary school with a fixed schedule, it has been a little more difficult because library time is the prep for classroom teachers. Knowing the curriculum and standards is crucial in this case. Therefore, rather than collaborating directly with the classroom teachers, I have supplemented what they are doing in the classroom. For example, the second grade teaches the continents of the world, so we “travel-around-the-world” in the library. This exposes the students to more folk tales, diverse authors and illustrators, music, crafts, and games from many different countries. In the first grade, we concentrate on theme while doing both a fiction and a non-fiction author study. The teachers have noticed the transfer of knowledge and skills learned in the library to the classroom. As a result of three years creating library curriculum that supplements the classroom, the principal approached me to work on fables with grade three and poetry in grade five (MCAS scores showed a need in these areas).
We all know the importance of school libraries, that “Strong School Libraries Build Strong Students”, and that student scores improve when there is a school library with a certified school librarian. We can give all the articles to the administration, but demonstrating this by implementing curriculum will get the message delivered.