January of the new year marks a time in (almost) everyone’s lives when we set about making goals to help better ourselves in the coming year. Most are for health and fitness. Maybe a reading challenge or goal. But, what is your goal for your school library? How will you help better your students’ lives? Check out three goals I will NOT keep in the coming year.
1. Goal: I will encourage students to circulate books only from their reading levels.
Many times during the last school year, I was encouraged to only allow students to check out books that are on a specific reading level. Despite my loud protests and observation of the law, I was told that was the way we were doing things. This year, I will NOT tell a student “no” to reading off-level. Inquiry is the most fundamental block of our learning process. Maybe that particular student can’t read or comprehend all of the words in the Complete Encyclopedia of Animals in North America (title totally made-up), but they can view the images and read part of the text, looking for words they know.
2. Goal: I will not dread re-shelving books.
Okay, I will TRY NOT to dread re-shelving books. Replacing books in their rightful places in your library is a great way to do an informal inventory. Books that get replaced constantly or never leave the circulation cart are in great standing with your students (and maybe even staff). You know these books circulate well and will definitely not be discarding them any time soon. Books that haven’t been removed from your shelf since a Clinton was president probably need to be considered as obsolete or outdated. These might need to be weeded.
3. Goal: I will use technology more in my lessons.
Using technology to teach is great; however, USING it is the problem. Instructors shouldn’t be the only ones working with the technology. Students should have their hands on it as part of direct and guided instruction. We go by the mantra “monkey see, monkey do.” Students should watch technology being used on occasion so that they can do things with the technology. Yes, almost all students know how to “Google” something, but are they using correct keyboard skills, search techniques, and website evaluation? Can they tell the difference in real and “fake” news? They will do a better job with those skills if we model them more often and guide them through that. Don’t just USE the technology yourself. Incorporate it into students’ work.
What are your goals for the new year? Have you set any? Maybe setting goals isn’t for you. Try finding goals to NOT do in the coming year.