*Today's post is written by Jennifer Anders of West Jefferson Elementary.
As school librarians we are charged with collaborating with teachers, students, parents and the community as we plan and develop our program. One of our most valuable resources, however, is each other. Recently, Michelle Wilson (North Highland Elementary) and I got together and planned a “Big Read” unit for our respective schools without ever meeting face to face. However, we were in constant contact using different communication and social tools. Actually, we spent more time collaborating than an average lesson with teachers because of the ease of communication. This blog entry explains a little bit about what we did and how we did it.
First, we chose the book 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey by Kathryn Tucker Windham. This was a good choice for a couple of reasons. One, it is pertinent right now because Mrs. Windham passed away this past summer, so there has been a good bit of media coverage about her and her life. Second, if you are an elementary school librarian, you know that her series of ghost stories is always popular with the kids. This selection also allowed us to concentrate on the 4th grade social studies curriculum featuring Alabama geography, history and culture.
Next we developed a list of activities we could do with the students in our schools, and then secured or created resources to teach the activity.
1. Introduce Kathryn Tucker Windham to students using video clip from APT Plus.
2. Develop research booklet to guide students learning.
3. Booktalk the ghost stories in the book.
4. Take a virtual trip through Alabama using Tripline.
5. Use the Encyclopedia of Alabama to research Kathryn Tucker Windham.
6. Create ghosts crafts with each grade level.
7. Attend production of 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey one act musical.
(Just a stroke of luck that it was playing at the local high school.
8. Conduct a Ghost Museum, invite parents, community members and district level employees to tour the museum.
Some of the networking tools we used to communicate are tools we use everyday. We communicated by Facebook, email, text and Pinterest. While we were teaching the lessons we would of often text between classes to find out what was working or not working so we could adjust our teaching strategies. And most importantly, it was fun, educational and strengthened a working relationship between two librarians miles apart.
If you want more information about this lesson, please attend the First Friday session Friday, November 7th. We will share live with you details about the unit and links to all the resources.