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This project was spawned by a larger initiative in the school district, Community-Based Technology Planning. In an effort to extend the resources within our district schools and also to incorporate the resources available within the community, it is necessary to make community connections that are somewhat technologically based. Extending the learning of 7th grade students beyond the school and classroom walls and making a direct link to an important community resource, namely the library, is vital to the future of these students. The curricular areas to be addressed are initially in the Language Arts and Literature veins, however, Mathematics and Social Studies activities can be explored to expand on this inital topic. The length of the unit is initally approximately 3 to 4 weeks, however, it is our best hopes that this unit will be an ongoing part of the overall language arts and literature curriculum. We hope to establish an on-going connection to the community library.

Beginning/Getting Started

The teacher has been invited to visit the local library and have her students take a tour. This has come about with the realization that many students have never been to the local library, and may not even possess a library card. An arrangement has been made with the children's librarian for the 7th grade students in Mrs. Dranter's Literature/Language Arts classes to attend and be given a tour of the facilitites.

Upon arriving at the library, the children's librarian has arranged a nicely guided tour of the facilities, along with a visit to the library's conference room for a short talk. The children's librarian is eliciting questions from the students regarding the facilities, resources, etc. When the initial session is complete, the librarian tells the students that the library is starting a 'Community Outreach' program in order to provide a better facility for the students in the community. The library would like to receive input from local students. In conjunction with National Library Week (usually the first week in April each year) the library will be presenting to the public a display titled "Libraries of the Future." Students are asked to join in this celebration of library awareness by entering projects to be displayed, broadcast, published, etc. to the general public. The students are asked to present their choices in what the library should offer as far as different selections of books. What are the most popular titles amongst young teens today? Can they offer more selections on different genres? Will the library of the future offer other services? Is the shift from print to digital format going to effect the library of the future?

Middle/In Progress

Students are taken back to their classroom and a brief review of the project challenge is given. The teacher asks the students to think about the task they were given by the community librarian, along with a list of questions to ponder. Example of questions to consider:
What will a library in the future look like? What kinds of offerings will be available?

How can we be of assistance to our community library as they plan for the future?
What is the librarian asking us to consider?
How might we organize this project to help them out?
How might we bring others into this project to help us out?
What resources are available to us to use in helping the community?

The next day in language class, a general discussion will begin and everyone in the class participates in it. The teacher begins by asking the class the first question they were to consider, "How can we be of assistance to our community library?"

"We are being asked to present choices for books based upon our opinions, " one student presents to the group. "The library wants our opinion, and the opinion of other students our age", responds another. Can we do more than just books?
Students continue to discuss what they have been presented as a challenge, to offer advice and suggestions for improving the library's connection with the community. From their discussion the following points are explored:
Can we suggest more than just books to preview? Can we suggest how the library might be of a greater resource to both a real and virtual community? What will the library of the future look like? What resources do citizens of today wish available in a modern library?
Students begin to realize that they must outline and develop a plan for researching.

So students are split up into groups, choosing to participate in one of the areas mentioned in brainstorming ways to outline the project. Student volunteers from each group make lists. The groups are exploring:

genres of books to review,
other types of materials to suggest being offered by the library,
new areas to include in a library of the 21st century,
timely events and dates to consider, and
products to be generated to help the library.

In the midst of their brainstorming, one students asks the teacher, "Might we not consider the cost of books and resources? Maybe we can help them budget for the selection of books and other materials that we want them to offer?"

The teacher asks the entire group, "How would we go about doing that?"

We might explore the cost of books and come up with a budget.

Yes, we could explore different vendors and advise of which one to purchase from. There's Barnes & Noble, Borders, & Amazon.com to consider.

Ok, some of you can break off into a budget group, to explore ways of investigating that area.



Daily assessment sheets and journals will be kept for each student in this project. These sheets will be used to keep track of and help the teacher to monitor and facilitate the project. Each student's assessment sheet will contain the particular job that was done for that day, where the student worked, what information was generated from the day's work. Did the student e-mail another school and/or class, did the student work on researching a particular author and/or genre of book, or did the student work on updating the data base of information? These daily assessments will determine the future focus of the project and if any changes will be necessary. Another important part of this process is for daily group coming together to share what everyone else has found. Questions arise from these daily discussions which will determine the direction for finding possible solutions to the problem. The students will spend the first 7 weeks (or so) doing the gathering, data processing, and research. Once a sufficient amount of information has been generated the whole group needs to come together again to talk about the progress of the research and the direction we need to go next. (This coming together may happen at other points in the project as a way of refocusing, if necessary.) Toward the end...A sufficient amount of time must be set aside for the development of the final product, and presentation of the overall project and generation of products. Examples of choices to be made for the final product are as follows: web pages, multimedia presentations, and/or printed materials, i.e. manuals, brouchures. Examples of choices to be made for presenting the reviews generated are: article in the newspaper, power point or hyperrstudio presentation, posters, etc. This presentation of the entire project will outline the primary parts of this project and offer the various book reviews as products. The presentation will be presented to the library board of directors for them to consider using in numerous ways. The presentation will highlight everything that happened in the process of developing a plan to continue generating book reviews for the public library.

Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.

Author(s): Names of all authors (with e-mail address links)
School: Name of School, City, State
Created: February 15, 2001 - Updated: April 18, 2001
URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/lincon/w01/projects/yourfoldername/scenario.html