Stuck on Standards?

Stuck on Standards

The AASL National School Library Standards were published a little over one year ago. Many school librarians have been implementing the standards in practice since, and many school librarians are just getting started in their implementation process. However, some librarians may be stuck on standards,, unsure where to start or what the standards look like in practice.

The standards are designed to be a progression of competency rather than a skill set. This means that each Key Commitment can be integrated at each grade level; however, the outcome will be different depending on the grade level, subject, materials, and student make-up.

In order to provide a guide for educators new to using these open standards, I’ve included some examples of what a lesson could look like. Please note that I did not include a lesson plan. The AASL National School Library Standards are not a curriculum, but rather a guide for educators to build a custom curriculum tailored to their students, teachers, and school environment.

example 1

AASL Standards Framework for Learners 

I.B.1: Learners engage with new knowledge by following a process that includes using evidence to investigate questions. (Inquire, Create)

III.D.1: Learners actively participate with others in learning situations by actively contributing to group discussions. (Collaborate, Grow)

VI.C.2 Learners responsibly, ethically, and legally share new information with a global community disseminating new knowledge through means appropriate for the intended audience. (Engage, Share)

Lesson Synopsis

Kindergarten: Students create a K-W-L chart listing questions they have about deer. The school librarian reads a book about deer, and students explore with guidance an informational website about animals, specifically deer. Students will return to collaboratively complete the K-W-L chart, possibly generating new questions for further investigation.

Third grade: Students complete a graphic organizer for independent research about an animal of choice. After students have collected information, they create a poster about their animal and then sort their animals according to natural habitats. Classmates may post questions on animal posters for the creator to answer or further personal research.

Eighth grade: After a science unit on the classification of animals, students are assigned to an animal kingdom. Each member of the group chooses an animal to research. Group members report back to each other after compiling information. Each group designs a presentation of the kingdom’s characteristics and provides examples of the animals they have researched. Group presentations are shared on the classroom website.


AASL Standards Framework for Learners 

I.A.2: Recalling prior and background knowledge as context for new meaning. (Inquire, Think)

III.D.2: Recognizing learning as a social responsibility. (Collaborate, Grow)

VI.B.1: Ethically using and reproducing others’ work. (Engage, Create)

Lesson Synopsis

First grade: After learning about their own state’s symbols, students work in small groups with guidance to complete a graphic organizer about a neighboring state. The groups use library books and a digital resource (such as an online encyclopedia, grade appropriate database). Students share what they have learned, including their sources, about each state and post their graphic organizers in the hallway for other classes to view.

Fourth grade: Students use a checklist to research an assigned state. A resource choice board has been provided by the teacher to include print and digital sources. As students locate information to complete the checklist, they organize it on a digital table. After all information has been collected, students create a digital poster or infographic. Products can be posted to a classroom website or blog. Students generate a QR code to their infographic to share with the learning community.

Ninth grade: As students research and learn about their state’s population and demographics, the class produces a population and demographic chart. Afterward, the students choose a state by elimination (so that no state is chosen twice within a class period). Students research the population and demographics of their particular state, and then they create a chart. Students are in pairs to compare and contrast the population and demographics of their set of states.

The AASL National School Library Standards website has a vast array of resources. From printables to card games to videos, there is something for everyone no matter where you are in implementation. Don’t forget to utilize the crosswalks, too!


Author: Ashley Cooksey

Library Media Specialist in Arkansas. Self-proclaimed geek. Lover of nature and music. Always learning.

Categories: Blog Topics, Professional Development

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3 replies

  1. This is fantastic, Ashley! It is both useful and clear.

  2. I love the practical application of these Standards! Thanks for providing concrete example lessons for learners of different ages.

  3. Great ideas, Ashley! Here are more lesson ideas inspired by picture books: https://librarylessonswithbooks.
    Each picture book highlights one standard.

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