The good news for school libraries is that the implementation of the Common Core State Standards mean fundamental changes in school libraries. We get to keep doing what we’ve been doing with some little tweaks. The great news is that the CCSS will actually help put school libraries back into the spotlight in education, which, as mentioned in past blog posts, is not where we’ve been in many schools over the past few years. Students are being asked to think more deeply, and deep thinking questions are difficult to formulate and difficult to answer. Part of our job is to help teachers and students explore ways to develop better questions, a skill that's challenging both to teach and to learn.

 

Things school librarians will be doing as the CCSS are implemented include

 

• Finding materials to supplement the curriculum, particularly primary source documents

 

• Updating collections, many of which fall short in up-to-date, nonfiction materials

 

• Working with teachers to plan and design projects and lessons that will help students meet the CCSS

 

• Teaching teachers and students to access research materials in databases

 

• Co-teaching research strategies

 

• Helping teachers and students develop and apply inquiry based thinking approaches

 

The American Association of School Librarians has created a database of lesson plans that integrate our own Standards for the 21st Century Learner but which are all crosswalked with the Common Core Standards as well, and those are open to anyone.  Lessons can be searched by grade and/or subject area. I’d encourage you to take a look, and then ask your school librarian to partner with you on implementing one of the lessons.  I can guarantee he or she will be very impressed!

 

In a recent article in Education Week , “Common Core Thrusts Librarians Into Leadership Role”  middle school librarian Kristen Hearne said, “When it comes to the common core, librarians can be a school's secret weapon.” Is your school utilizing your secret weapon to its best advantage? Join the conversation about CCSS transitions and those who truly facilitate the process here: Do you know where to find the CCSS secret weapon in your school?