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. The project teaches students to use both print and electronic resources and share what they learn through writing as well as models or presentations. Miller describes the project and shares the students’ excitement on her blog Van Meter Library Voice.
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. Designed in collaboration with librarian Elizabeth Schau and Southeast Junior High science teachers, the zombie lesson teaches note-taking skills to students gathering information on infectious diseases; students then use their knowledge of disease to help them analyze an “unknown” disease that is turning people into zombies.
Sims sees teacher librarians as providing a unique and critical role in implementing the Common Core. “Because we have so much experience in finding ways to integrate skills into units and lessons across disciplines, teacher librarians are the perfect professionals to help effectively implement the Common Core,” notes Sims. “The Core calls for authentic learning opportunities and the integration of many skills traditionally part of the ‘library realm’ into all disciplines.”
Inquiry and the Common Core was published by ABC-CLIO in December 2013 and includes a chapter on inquiry by Dr. Jean Donham, a School Library Studies professor.