Today’s Contributor: Diane Collier
My name is Diane Collier and I have been the librarian at Galindo Elementary for almost 11 years. I am a life-long learner, an urban beekeeper and currently learning a lot in the 2018-19 cohort of the Capital Area Master Naturalists. Follow me on Twitter @galindolibrary; be my friend on GoodReads: galindolibrary
Collaboration with teachers to further their classroom curriculum or goals is one of my primary objectives as a school librarian. As a Campus Innovation Coach I strive to be a campus leader in the sharing of innovative uses of technology and blended learning. Serving both roles, I look for opportunities where I can serve as an instructional partner with colleagues on my campus and help find new ways to blend technology tools with academic goals. I have limitations on the types of ongoing projects we can do due to not having the same students every day so I need to look for ways to make an impact in a 15-20 minute lesson as a one-time activity. Given my scheduling limitations, it is wonderful to have teachers who know my willingness to collaborate and be flexible, tell me what they are working on in the classroom and give me a chance to collaborate and coordinate lessons during library time that help them push their goals forward while giving me a chance to highlight something new for them and the students that can assist learning.
In the fall, our 4th grade team came to me with a project they wanted to work on during our library time; looking for “language in our community.” As part of a grade-level project, the students were exploring the presence and function of languages in our school, allowing them to reflect upon and celebrate linguistic diversity and its importance in our community. We decided that we could use our library time to use “some kind of technology” to go exploring and capture where they saw language at school and how it was being used. Our 4th grade teachers all use BLEND in the classroom and our 4th grade students are familiar with the platform. However, I wanted to try a different digital platform, helping students move flexibly between different types of technology tools and also minimizing our start-up time in our limited library time together. I also wanted them to use tablets (iPads) to be able to carry the technology with them and be mobile collectors. For ease of use, I chose the SeeSaw app on iPads as the platform in which the classes could easily capture photos and audio of what they found on their language hunt and which would then allow quick and easy sharing of what was collected.
I set up a SeeSaw classroom for each of the teachers and created the activity that they would complete.
As a whole group students were shown the activity: to collect evidence of language in our community (our school) and as they collected this evidence to make note of why they chose what they found and any thoughts about what they thought it showed about language in our community. Students worked in partners, sharing an iPad, and went looking for and then posting about what they found to the activity on SeeSaw. I was able to show them that they could snap a photo and then could choose to add text to the photo to take notes or make an audio recording to explain their thinking.
Students were very engaged in their language hunt, taking photos and recording their findings, posting to the SeeSaw activity and moving on to find another example of language. Some students were able to walk around the school with their teacher and student teacher while I kept a group in the library. It was exciting to see them so actively involved in their learning! In the end, we had a few minutes to come back together, put our SeeSaw Class Journal up on the big display and look at and discuss some of the things they saw. Teachers were able to continue the discussion in the classroom by pulling up the class journal in SeeSaw and using the activity to move their lesson forward. It was great knowing that the inquiry and discussion were not stopping when the bell rang, but their learning had been captured in a way that allowed them to continue on with the lesson after they left the library.
All in all, I felt that choosing SeeSaw, even for our older students was a great choice that made the most sense for the activity and our time and device constraints. I’m even more excited about continuing my collaboration with this grade level and expanding to others. Modeling how we can work together to use our library time in ways that promote student engagement, exploration and effective technology integration can ultimately connect the library to the classroom in a more lasting manner.