We know it’s important for school librarians to study the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and we know that collaboration with classroom teachers is a pathway to effective teaching and student learning. So school librarians are reading the standards, participating in PD, and sharing ideas and questions in professional networks – and thinking up great ways to collaborate with teachers. In my graduate courses, my students are writing lesson plans for these potential collaborative teaching experiences. And in a parallel stream, subject area teachers are realigning curricula, developing assessments, selecting materials, and designing instruction.
So with the complex expectations of the CCSS and the demands on teachers’ and librarians’ schedules, how can we cross these streams? (Since this is school and not Ghostbusters, it’s a good thing to cross the streams!) How can school librarians communicate the relevance (necessity?) of the school library in teaching the CCSS? And what concerns and needs of subject area teachers would inform school librarians’ collection development and ideas for collaborating?
Here’s a straightforward and simple way to start, courtesy of Tara, a high school librarian and student in my curriculum course. Tara and an English teacher at her school extended an exercise of “highlighting the library in the Common Core” into an excellent opportunity to build opportunities to collaborate. Don’t just stop at studying where the library fits into the CCSS, say Tara and her colleague. Take it a step further and highlight, mark-up, and explain directly on the document what standards can be taught in connection with the school library- and then pass the marked-up standards along to the subject area teachers! Then when they consult the standards, they’ll know when to come knocking on the school library door. Simple, everyday advocacy. Try it. Cross the streams!