School Librarians: Show Teachers Their National Standards Require Student Research

School Librarians: Show Teachers Their National Standards Require Student Research - School Librarians may be surprised to learn that at least 46 National Standards for middle school subjects require or align with students doing research assignments. Show subject area teachers these Standards to promote & create collaborative research lessons. #NoSweatLibrarySchool Librarians are excited when a research assignment brings classes to the library. For me, it was my love for helping students do research—finding and using information–that drew me to pursue my graduate degree in Library Science. Teaching research skills is my raison d’être.

When I began my middle school library position, few teachers did research with students, and of those, even fewer gave me the latitude to fully engage students in the research process. As I developed collaborative partnerships, research lessons—short introductions up through week-long units—became my trademark skill set, and after several years nearly every subject area teacher had some sort of research assignment with me, even PhysEd!

Then 2010 brought Common Core College- and Career-Readiness Standards and high-stakes testing. Our state had given standardized state tests since the early 90s, but with CC-CCRS came the pressure of teacher accountability in a way not seen before.

Suddenly, teachers abandoned research assignments en masse. In the next few years I was able to recapture some research partnerships, but my biggest disappointment when I retired was how short-changed our students would be in their future pursuits because they didn’t know how to do proper research.

COMMON CORE ELA STANDARDS REQUIRE RESEARCH

Recently I discovered a 2014 blog article by Dave Stuart Jr, a Michigan educator well-known for his expertise in Common Core. In his post, New Thoughts on the Non-Freaked Out Approach to Common Core Literacy, Dave lists 8 CCSS “anchors that deal with research-related skills.” I have his permission to list them here:

  • R.CCR.7: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • R.CCR.8: Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
  • R.CCR.9: Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
  • W.CCR.7: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  • W.CCR.8: Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • W.CCR.9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • SL.CCR.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • SL.CCR.5: Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

Note that 2 writing standards use the term research and a 3rd writing standard outlines the same Information Literacy skills that the American Library Association promotes in its Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights:

School librarians work closely with teachers to integrate instructional activities in classroom units designed to equip students to locate, evaluate, and use a broad range of ideas effectively.

OTHER SUBJECT STANDARDS ALSO REQUIRE RESEARCH

Did You Know National Standards for Many Subjects Require Student Research? - Read this list of 46 National subject area Standards that require or align to student research! School Librarians can show these to teachers & invite collaboration on Library Lessons to meet the Standards. #NoSweatLibraryFascinated by Dave’s analysis, I looked at Common Core Literacy Standards for History/Social Studies and for Science & Technical Subjects. For middle schoolers I found 7 more “anchors that deal with research-related skills” including 3 listed under the specific heading Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

  • R.LHSS.2: Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  • R.LSTS.8: Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in a text.
  • W.LHSS8.1a: Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
  • W.LHSS.1b: Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.
  • W. LHSSST.7: Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
  • W.LHSSST.8: Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
  • W.LHSSST.9: Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis reflection, and research.

Curious, I browsed the C3 Framework for Social Studies Standards and found this statement on page 17:

The C3 Framework offers guidance and support for rigorous student learning. That guidance and support takes form in an Inquiry Arc—a set of interlocking and mutually reinforcing ideas that feature the four Dimensions of informed inquiry in social studies: 1 Developing questions and planning inquiries; 2 Applying disciplinary concepts and tools; 3 Evaluating sources and using evidence; and 4 Communicating conclusions and taking informed action.

You can see that 3 of their 4 Dimensions deal with student Information Literacy skills, and within those 3 Dimensions, I found 9 Standards which specifically address student research or information literacy skills:

  • D1.2.6-8. Explain points of agreement experts have about interpretations and applications of disciplinary concepts and ideas associated with a compelling question.
  • D1.3.6-8. Explain points of agreement experts have about interpretations and applications of disciplinary concepts and ideas associated with a supporting question.
  • D1.5.6-8. Determine the kinds of sources that will be helpful in answering compelling and supporting questions, taking into consideration multiple points of views represented in the sources.
  • D3.1.6-8. Gather relevant information from multiple sources while using the origin, authority, structure, context, and corroborative value of the sources to guide the selection.
  • D3.2.6-8. Evaluate the credibility of a source by determining its relevance and intended use.
  • D3.3.6-8. Identify evidence that draws information from multiple sources to support claims, noting evidentiary limitations.
  • D4.1.6-8. Construct arguments using claims and evidence from multiple sources, while acknowledging the strengths and limitations of the arguments.
  • D4.3.6-8. Present adaptations of arguments and explanations on topics of interest to others to reach audiences and venues outside the classroom using print and oral technologies (e.g., posters, essays, letters, debates, speeches, reports, and maps) and digital technologies (e.g., Internet, social media, and digital documentary).
  • D4.4.6-8. Critique arguments for credibility.

In addition, Table 4 on page 20 shows how Dimensions connect to Common CoreELA/Literacy in History/Social Studies Standards, where I count 27 CCSS Standards to which the C3 Framework Dimensions connect:

C3 Framework for Social Studies Connections with CCSS

More curious than ever, I searched the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). It’s a complex document, but a quick view of its Disciplinary Standards shows that 8 Standards address inquiry & research skills or align with the four CCSS Standards listed above for Science & Technical Subjects:

  • MS-PS1-3: Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.
  • MS-PS1-6: Undertake a design project to construct, test, and modify a device that either releases or absorbs thermal energy by chemical processes.
  • MS-PS3-3: Apply scientific principles to design, construct, and test a device that either minimizes or maximizes thermal energy transfer.
  • MS-PS4-3: Integrate qualitative scientific and technical information to support the claim that digitized signals are a more reliable way to encode and transmit information than analog signals.
  • MS-LS4-5: Gather and synthesize information about the technologies that have changed the way humans influence the inheritance of desired traits in organisms.
  • MS-ESS2-2: Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.
  • MS-ESS3-1: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth’s mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes.
  • MS-ESS3-5: Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.

I was on a roll…so I scanned Common Core College- and Career-Readiness Standards for Math, and even there, under Statistics and Probability, I found “Develop understanding of statistical variability,” with 2 standards related to research:

  • Mathematical Practices: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
    • M6.SP.1: Recognize a statistical question as one that anticipates variability in the data related to the question and accounts for it in the answers.
    • M6.SP.5b: Summarize numerical data sets in relation to their context, such as by describing the nature of the attribute under investigation, including how it was measured and its units of measurement.

Now I was really intrigued, so I explored the National Core Arts Standards for Media Arts, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts, where I found 8 standards related to research:

  • MA6.Cn10.1a: Access, evaluate, and use internal and external resources to create media artworks, such as knowledge, experiences, interests, and research.
  • MA6.Cn11.1a: Research and show how media artworks and ideas relate to personal life, and social, community, and cultural situations, such as personal identity, history, and entertainment.
  • MA6.Cn11.1b: Analyze and interact appropriately with media arts tools and environments, considering fair use and copyright, ethics, and media literacy.
  • MU.Pr4.1.6: Apply teacher-provided criteria for selecting music to perform for a specific purpose and/or context, and explain why each was chosen.
  • MU.Pr4.1.7: Apply collaboratively-developed criteria for selecting music of contrasting styles for a program with a specific purpose and/or context and, after discussion, identify expressive qualities, technical challenges, and reasons for choices.
  • MU.Pr4.1.8: Apply personally-developed criteria for selecting music of contrasting styles for a program with a specific purpose and/or context and explain expressive qualities, technical challenges, and reasons for choices.
    (I’ve added these 3 Music Standards to my blog post for a performing arts make-up research assignment.)
  • VA.Crt1.2.6: Formulate an artistic investigation of personally relevant content for creating art.
  • TH.Cn11.2.6b: Investigate the time period and place of a drama/theatre work to better understand performance and design choices.

Finally I checked the Career & Technical Education Core, where I found 4 standards related to research:

  • CCTC.AG.1: Analyze how issues, trends, technologies and public policies impact systems in the Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Career Cluster.
  • CCTC.AG-ANI1: Analyze historic and current trends impacting the animal systems industry.
  • CCTC.AC.4: Evaluate the nature and scope of the Architecture & Construction Career Cluster and the role of architecture and construction in society and the economy.
  • CCTC.AC-DES.1: Justify design solutions through the use of research documentation and analysis of data.

PROMOTE RESEARCH ASSIGNMENTS WITH EVERY TEACHER

Get this FREE list of 46 National Standards for Student Research! -Perhaps you are as surprised as I am to find no less than 46 National Standards for middle school subjects that either require or align with students doing research. And that doesn’t count the 27 that connect C3 & CCSS. The conclusion is inescapable: in order to comply with all of the National Standards, students need a research assignment within every content area class! School Librarians to the rescue!

To help you approach teachers for collaborative Library Lessons, here’s a printable PDF document listing the above National Standards. Click this link to download the FREE document National Standards Requiring or Aligned with Student Research Assignments.
(It’s also available on my FREE Librarian Resources page.)

It is imperative that we School Librarians design a variety of lessons for research assignments, in order to appeal to every teacher in our building. So, my next few blog articles will do just that: address each element of Library Information Literacy and offer exemplars of short, intermediate, and long lessons for research assignments in any subject area.

Please stay tuned…

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What’s a Library Lesson Curriculum Matrix & How Do I Use It?

What's a Library Lesson Curriculum Matrix & How Do I Use It? - School Librarians often struggle to create a cohesive library skills curriculum when subject area library visits are so unpredictable. Here's a visual organizer that lets you take control of your lesson planning and promotes collaboration with all content area teachers! #NoSweatLibraryWhen we become a School Librarian we don’t cease being a teacher. What changes, however, is how we plan and present our lessons.

  • First, we no longer have a standard curriculum designed to be presented chronologically on a daily basis.
  • Second, we rarely have contiguous days with students, so we must spread learning across random, irregular library visits.

So, how can School Librarians teach Library Information Literacy Skills under such circumstances? We must scaffold stand-alone topical lessons that gradually build up knowledge, so students receive a comprehensive program of Information Literacy instruction.

In short, School Librarians must integrate info-lit skills into every subject and grade level, during single class periods throughout the school year. And the only way to do that is to become familiar with everyone’s subject area curriculum.

A VISUAL ORGANIZATION TOOL FOR SUBJECT CURRICULA

School Librarians must support what students are studying in the classroom, otherwise, teachers won’t allow time for a library visit. We don’t need to know course content as teachers do, but we must familiarize ourselves with content area units and their assessments so we can discern when students need an information literacy skill to do what they’re expected to do—even if it’s not written down and the teacher doesn’t realize it.

Once I decided this was the best approach, I had to devise a way to organize it: First, to identify when a library lesson was needed for students, and second, to track intermittent lessons and progressively build Info-Lit Skills. I decided to create a grid with different subject areas along one side and a chronological listing of my Library Info-Lit Lessons along the other side.

I worked my way through subjects and grade levels, and as I added actual lessons, I also entered Library Standards. The grid became quite unwieldy, but after digitization into a set of spreadsheets, with a few modifications & adjustments, I finally arrived at the finished product that I use even today:
the No Sweat School Library Lesson Curriculum Matrix.

No Sweat Library Lesson Curriculum Matrix - School Librarians often struggle to create a cohesive library skills curriculum when subject area library visits are so unpredictable. Here's a visual organizer that lets you take control of your lesson planning and promotes collaboration with all content area teachers! #NoSweatLibrary

USE MY TEMPLATE TO BUILD YOUR OWN CURRICULUM MATRIX

Colleagues have asked for more specifics about my LLC Matrix, so for this blog post I’m explaining the template I created so any school librarian can fill in their own subject curricula and library lessons.

No Sweat Library Lesson Curriculum Matrix - This is the visual organizer Template that lets School Librarians organize subject curricula and Library Lessons to create a cohesive Information Literacy Instructional Program. #NoSweatLibrary
My Matrix Template is available at No Sweat Library, my TPT store, but for my email group it’s a free download from our e-List Library.
If you’re not on my mailing list, join now so you can access all the valuable FREE school librarian tools I offer there.
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The No Sweat Library Lesson Curriculum Matrix Template contains 5 tabbed spreadsheets:

No Sweat Library Lesson Curriculum Matrix snip of tabs

  • a year-long Library Scheduler overview page.
  • 3 tabbed pages for Grade levels, in my case 6g, 7g, and 8g. (Add additional pages by copying one of the spreadsheets and rename tabs to align with your own grade levels.)
  • an Example sheet with some of my No Sweat Library Lessons entered to guide you through filling in your own information.

For each grade level spreadsheet, the Subject Area rows are listed down the left side, along with rows for Information Literacy and National School Library Standards. The Grading Period Week columns are across the top and between each subject. There is a separate block for each of the two semesters. Notice the “Freeze” entry: this feature allows you to slide the relevant time period next to the Subjects column.
(Customize subjects & grading periods for your situation.)
Library Lesson Curriculum Matrix Grade Level sheets - Grade level pages of the visual organizer Template that lets School Librarians organize subject curricula and Library Lesson. #NoSweatLibrary

Here’s the step-by-step process for filling in the LLC Matrix Template:

  1. Begin with a single subject area for your lowest grade level.
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  2. Using the subject’s curriculum guide/scope & sequence, enter content unit titles/themes into the field for the week they begin. (I italicize these to keep them distinct from my library lesson information.)
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  3. Library Lesson Curriculum Matrix snip of color blocks - Lesson color blocks of the visual organizer Template that lets School Librarians organize subject curricula and Library Lesson. #NoSweatLibraryLook through the cg/ss for classroom assignments that could benefit from a library lesson or library resources. For the week you think it’s needed, colorize the block (the same color as the subject area) and type “Library Lesson” or “Library Resources.”
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  4. In the Information Literacy row, under the corresponding week, add the skills that can be introduced and/or type of resource.
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  5. Grab another subject area cg/ss for the grade level, and fill in units & identify probable library lessons or resources. Do this for each different subject at that grade level.
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  6. Move to the next grade level and fill in subject area units and possible library lessons & resources. As you progress through each grade, keep in mind what you identified at prior grade levels, so you can plan a review and then introduce new skills.
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  7. Once you have a preliminary LLC Matrix, pull out Library Lesson Plans that you regularly teach and replace your own Lesson info as shown in the example above. Be sure to enter National School Library Standards into the appropriate fields. (I like to enter my lesson Title into the subject row and the lesson Theme or Learning Target into the Info-Lit row.)

When you’ve finished your LLC Matrix, you’ll have a thorough picture of all subject area curricula and where you can create more lessons to introduce, review, and build Library Information Literacy Skills. You may also see the need to enhance the library’s print or digital collection to meet a curricular need you weren’t aware of.

Your LLC Matrix may occasionally need changes as standards and course curricula change, but if you keep up with it, you’ll always have a broad view of library visits and the Info-Lit Skills you cover for the grade levels.

The Library Lesson Curriculum Matrix is a great tool to show your principal during evaluations, so they understand how valuable you are to classroom learning!

HOW TO USE YOUR LIBRARY LESSON CURRICULUM MATRIX

Collaborate with Teachers using the Library Lesson Curriculum Matrix - Use the No Sweat School Library Lesson Curriculum Matrix Template to plan Library Lessons with subject area teachers, and take a printout along when approaching them to schedule a library visit. They'll be convinced that collaborating with the School Librarian will benefit their students! #NoSweatLibraryCreating the Library Lesson Curriculum Matrix is the easy part. Creating specific Library Lessons is a bit more challenging. The really hard part is convincing teachers that students will benefit from a Library Lesson! Here’s how I do it:

  • At the start of each grading period I look over the upcoming library lessons & resources for that span in my Matrix. I select & print out enough of the Matrix so those teachers see how important their place is in building Info-Lit skills.
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  • I also print out each Library Lesson Plan so teachers can see how I incorporate their unit Standards and activities as a focus for the library skills lesson.
    When only library resources are needed, I use my Library Lesson Short Form for Teacher Requests (available on my FREE Librarian Resources page).
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  • During their conference period, I go to each subject area teacher and show them the LLC Matrix and their Library Lesson Plan. I make it pretty easy for them to say “Yes, indeed, let’s do this!”
    (For resources & Short Form, I suggest a “quick lesson” so students know how to best use the materials.)
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  • I also bring a selected print-out of the Library Scheduler spreadsheet and when I pull it out for scheduling their library visit they’re pretty impressed to see what a School Librarian’s job is all about!

You may be thinking, “Wait, shouldn’t we collaborate with the teacher before we create the Library Lesson Plan?” Uh, NO. In my experience, teachers who are unfamiliar with librarian collaboration can’t envision how we can help them. But, they’ll consider a library visit when we show them a concrete example of how we use their content to teach library skills that enhance classroom learning and increase student achievement.

NoSweat Library Lesson Planner Template - page 1

My No Sweat Library Lesson Planner Templates are available for download from my FREE Librarian Resources page!

Learn more about using my Library Lesson Planner Template from these blog posts:

Library Lesson Short Form for Teacher Requests - Print out this abbreviated form of the Library Lesson Planner Template and use it when teachers walk in with lesson requests! #NoSweatLibrary
Short, Simple, and Relevant School Library Lessons
How to Build a High Quality, Standards-Based School Library Lesson

GO FORTH & COLLABORATE WITH YOUR CURRICULUM MATRIX

Once you’ve completed your Library Lesson Curriculum Matrix, I know you’ll rely on it to develop your lessons and purchase resources. And when colleagues, teachers, and administrators see this tool, your professional standing with them will skyrocket! BTW, I’m open to any suggestions you may have for improvement…just put it in the Comments below.

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