Thursday, October 20, 2011


I love to collaborate with my teachers! It makes my day to think I helped to make a difference in my students lives. Being a teacher librarian it is crucial that we learn to collaborate with other teachers. This relationship is the key to the foundation of a successful library. We are there to aid and assist others in their pursuit of information and if we can bring that to them and create and aid in their lessons than they begin to depend on us and want to work with us all the time...and well that just makes me happy. When my library is empty I fear I did something wrong, did I anger someone, don't they like me? But when my phone is ringing off the hook and I have five classes going I am the most happy...cause I know that they like me...they really like me...little humor for the post 40 it. But I also know that they need me and want to provide something different for their students.

One of the fears I had when I thought about working with high school students was knowing the content. I had horrible flashbacks to 10th grade algebra...I still shudder at the thought! How in the heck was I going to teach math or chemistry? But I had to learn that I am not the content area teacher I am the teacher librarian. My job is not to teach math...thankfully but instead work with the math department to find resources that support and enhance what they are already learning...which is good since I can't even help my 6th grader do her math. I don't have to teach physics but I can provide the window in which they can test gravity by tossing pumpkins out of it. OK that is not a good example...but it was really fun though! One example of the type of collaboration that we do is with science and it began with two earth science teachers who wanted to find some ways to help students learn vocab words. We developed a lesson that students would create interactive games to create interesting ways of defining their vocab words. Working in pairs the students choose their games and created their answers. From there the students from each of the two classes graded and commented on each others work. We saved the student work in a shared drive and students could access the games at any time. The result was more than anyone hoped for. Not only were students engaged, but they collaborated with each other, they were excited to play the different games and they were honest when it came time to judge each other. They said they really learned a lot and many can be seen going back and replaying the games to study. Since last year we have also added physics, chemistry and biology. We use to create the games.

We podcast with everyone from LOTE to English to business to science. We help create movies and advertisement for health to forensics to sports marketing to history. We use a lot of technology in our library and many teachers are often too afraid to use it. So we make it easy for them, we walk along side of them and teach them as we teach the students. If the class is podcasting so is the teacher. If they feel comfortable with it than they will want to try it again. Or they will want to use it in a different way. We are always trying to learn and develop new programs that will enhance student learning. We just purchased new webcams so we can Skype with authors and take virtual field trips to the art gallery for lessons that will cover many different subjects and not just art. I would love to create a wiki for the library and allow student work to be added. I would love to create a bigger space to include book reviews, book suggestions and a forum for our students to talk more about what they are reading. Many of our participants of the summer reading program stayed behind to continue to talk about their books even as class was ending. I would like to provide a forum for them to continue to hold discussions like this.

I realize that not everyone is going to want to collaborate with me or use what the library offers. I am OK with that. But I am not going to stop wanting to support what you do and finding tools that you could use. I may tell you once in awhile that I found a cool website you might be interested in or if you need any DVDs or books that you might want for your class that I would happy to purchase it for the library for you to use. That way when and if you are ready to collaborate on a project I will be there waiting for you.

Collaboration is what makes us valuable to others and in turn what gives us the greatest feeling of fulfillment.


  1. Since I'm in the over 40 category, I got your joke! Seriously, this was a wonderful post, Erin, and I truly appreciated your different examples and the energy you bring to you current position. I absolutely think you made the right career change for you. Keep writing, too.

  2. I love the idea of giving students a project to make learning vocabulary more fun. Also, inviting teachers to participate along with the class.

    Thanks for the upbeat take on collaboration!

  3. The idea of being an expert in all content is definitely something I struggle with. Thanks for the perspective.