There was no set curriculum for library specials that was provided to me when I began my job in 2013. I only had a set of standards called the Information Fluency Continuum (IFC). With these standards, I had to create my own curriculum for 7 different grade levels.
I would spend hours on nights and on the weekends developing different lessons for grade levels each week. Being a brand-new teacher, I did not know my students or culture of the school. It took one whole year to determine students’ weaknesses and strengths, as well as become accustomed to the culture of my school. Some lessons flopped, and other lessons were successful. I finally made it through my first year with many changes I wanted to implement for the second year.
Now in my second year, I still spend as many hours working on lessons. We have many new transfer students this year, plus a new ELL population to the school. I have grown this year through creating new lessons to match the IFC standards. With each lesson, I took careful notes to revise for my third year as a teacher.
Currently, I am a participant in a study group called “Explicit Direct Instruction.” The group has helped me realize that clearly defined learning objectives taken from the standards help drive instruction, not the standards themselves. I was not being the best teacher I could be for my students.
This year, I have bookmarked websites, have filled notebooks with lesson ideas for grade levels and taken notes from conferences. My goal this summer is to create units and/or lessons with learning objectives taken from the standards. I need to create learning objectives from the standards to drive my lessons. I need to incorporate more movement into lessons, more ways to reach diverse learners.
I know I have a good start, but trial and error, experience and practice will help me develop a finely crafted and effective library curriculum for my students. I think an effective teacher frequently assesses their methods internally and innovates instructional strategies to match how their students learn. Each day is different. Each student is different.