Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Assessing Students to Help My Own Teaching in Library

Going along my merry way through the school year and KAPOW!  It's just 7 weeks till school ends?!  What?!  Wait?  Have I taught students all the essential library skills they need to make it through next year?  Will my 5th graders be able to make it in middle school?  Do my students know the parts of a book?!  Can they name one single Dewey Decimal area?!  Mind you, I've taught all of the above material this year...whether it was soaked up or not is a whole other matter.

After assessing 1st-5th grade, I reflected upon my own teaching and realized that students might be more involved with the hands on learning...but, it might not stick unless I provide them with something more concrete to record the information with.  Also, being able to provide continuous reinforcement of knowledge learned is something I'm steadily improving upon.

For example, early in the year, I taught the parts of a book to kindergarten and 1st grade using book jackets from books that didn't need them and post-its.  I wanted them to have something more hands-on when attempting to learn the parts of a book.  As a class, we had a mini-lesson and then we went through and labeled a book together first.  Afterwards, they used post-its to label a book on their own.  Last week, the first graders took an assessment from parts of a book.  I changed the sheet's directions so students would write the words in the boxes (takes less time and students are less likely to lose a word).  From this, I realized they still get the author and illustrator confused.  I now know part of what to focus on the last few weeks of school.  

My older students know where to find the call number on a book, but I still needed to teach them to understand what those numbers and letters meant (see prior post, The Anatomy of a Call Number).  For the most part, they knew that they could find the books with the numbers on the shelves with the yellow labels.  Some of them remembered that this area was called Dewey Decimal from prior lessons in library and some needed reminders that we had learned about the Dewey Decimal system.  

I still feel I did a pretty good job in my 3rd year and understand more of what I need to prep for during the summer and how to help my students learn certain topics to their fullest capabilities next year.

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/

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