Common Core

Creating a common language

To help students improve their research skills, teachers at Waukee Middle School, Iowa, collaborated with their teacher librarian, Kelly Reinhold, to develop a common language for the inquiry process.  Reinhold, a UNI School Library Studies alumna, Franny Frey, a current SLS student, and fellow Waukee teacher Stephanie Jansa presented their work "Common Language: Inquiry Process, Credible Online Sources and Copyright" at the Iowa Association of School Librarians (IASL) conference April 14, 2014, in Cedar Rapids. 

Reinhold said that she and Frey first noticed the need for a common language during their SLS courses at UNI.  “We both felt passionately about the topic and agreed that having common language for the inquiry process, analyzing credible resources, and copyright would alleviate confusion and anxiety from teachers and students while researching, and using online resources ethically.” 

Working with a team of Waukee teachers, they used the Stripling Model of Inquiry and Follett’s Information Skills Model to develop the Waukee Middle School Inquiry Process which challenges students to “Be Credible” as they search for and evaluate information.  This process helps students reach the Common Core standard CCSS.ELA-Literacy.Writing.8.8: "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."

Fry, pictured at far left, began the SLS master's program in fall 2013 and teaches eighth grade language arts at Waukee Middle School. Reinhold, pictured in the middle with co-presenter Stephanie Jansa to her right, graduated with a Master of Arts in School Library Studies from UNI in 2013.


Texts sets and the Common Core

The Common Core Curriculum Standards call for students at all grade levels to “Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.” This invites the teacher librarian to collaborate with teachers in developing and teaching sets of texts for students to read and compare. Students in the School Library Studies course Library Resources for Children (SLS 5132) create text sets around science and social studies concepts in the Iowa Core Curriculum. Read more.


Teacher librarians lead inquiry learning

Two UNI School Library Studies alumnae, Shannon McClintock Miller and Chelsea Sims, collaborated with teachers in their schools to design inquiry lessons included in the new book  Inquiry and the Common Core: Librarians and Teachers Designing Teaching for Learning.  Inquiry learning is a key part of the Common Core's Research to Build and Communicate Knowledge strand.  Shannon Miller, a K-12 teacher librarian in Van Meter, Iowa, worked with teachers to design an animal research project for kindergarten students based on the Stripling Model of Inquiry.  Chelsea Sims, a teacher librarian at Hills Elementary School and Southeast Junior High School in the Iowa City Community School District, submitted a lesson from a seventh grade zombie-themed science research project. Read more.