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Lessons for Elementary Library Media Specialist

Rosie is a library media specialist. An avid reader and life-long learner, Rosie enjoys sharing her knowledge and expertise in many areas.

Library Information Literacy Today

Libraries have changed tremendously over the years. Having shifted from the Industrial Age to the Age of Information, librarians are now teaching students how to access, select, understand, and utilize a vast amount of information effectively. From once housing only printed materials, libraries now contain every kind of media and technology available. It won’t be long before the computer lab is merged with the library as more and more information is being accessed by students online.

Librarians’ responsibilities have grown at a rapid rate to now include collaborating with teachers, training staff and administrators, and teaching students how to access information while emphasizing educational standards. The one thing that has remained constant is the goal of motivating students to want to read and to create and maintain an environment that promotes the love of reading.

Students today, are expected to be technology proficient. Fortunately, there is a wealth of incredible online resources that can be used by school librarians to help students meet the goals they need to reach to be successful. The lesson ideas presented here are built around educationally relevant online resources that librarians can use to help students not only learn the state standards, but become technology proficient.

Librarian Resources

Social Studies Library Information Literacy Resource

Ben’s Guide to Government for Kids is a website specifically designed for teachers, parents, and students in grades K-12. On the first page, you have the option to select grades K-2, grades 3-5, grades 6-8, grades 9-12, or a parents and teachers section. There is a listing of links for parents and educators, including topics like, “White House 101” and “Career Exploration.” Under grades 3-5 there are eleven main topics that include “How Laws are Made,” “The Branches of the Government,” “Election Process,” and “Games and Activities.” Each page is well-organized and easy for students to follow and understand. A lesson can easily be designed around this site, either to provide reinforcement or introduce new information.

Geography Library Information Literacy Resource

The geographical resource, ATLASES: National Atlas of the United States of America, is a free resource that can easily be accessed and used for instruction. It has a “mapmaker” that can be used to customize maps with the information that needs to be taught. For instance, if physical features and climate are the focus of the lesson, those can be selected; a map key always accompanies the choices that are selected, making this a great resource for teaching map skills. It also has a “dynamic map” section that shows a variety of topographical maps, showing interesting data such as “invasive species distribution,” which would be an interesting way to extend a lesson or provide an activity for students who complete their work early.

Research Library Information Literacy Resource

A great online resource for a research-based lesson is Encyclopedia Britannica School Edition. It is conveniently organized by topic and grade level and it offers printable curriculum-based activities as well. It will show several facts for the numerous topic areas that are being taught. This encyclopedia provides information about topics broken down by subtitles, making it effortless to find specific information quickly. Any research-based lesson plan will be appropriate for this site.

Vocabulary Library Information Literacy Resource

Teaching students to use an online dictionary is a fun and useful lesson. Students will be able to find all of their words quickly and will get some practice spelling them too! The site is called It has a large collection of vocabulary words, over 2 million, and it shows the syllables right next to the word, with the part of speech underneath it. It also shows a description of the word’s meaning, its origin, and a list of synonyms and antonyms for the word.

Science Fair Pathfinder Lesson for Library Information Literacy

A pathfinder is a fantastic tool to use with students on assignments that require a lot of independent work. This pathfinder is designed to guide students through the science fair process. The teacher and librarian will work collaboratively, developing a timeline for completion of work, as well as sharing the instructional pieces. Below are the steps for students to complete:

STEP 1 Select a topic: Use the links below to help you choose your topic. Get approval from your teacher before moving to the next step. Pick a topic that will be interesting to you, and one that you will be able to complete in the required time. ·

Science Buddies: This site guides you to choose a topic that you will find interesting. You will complete a short survey before a list of topics is presented. Science Buddies has over one thousand science fair project ideas in 30 areas of science. If you already have an idea you would like to explore, this site gives you tons of ideas and breaks them down by grade level.

STEP 2 Do your background research: Now that you have your topic, you are ready to do some background research before you begin your investigation. Use the databases and ready reference sites below to get information about your chosen topic. Create 3 questions that you want to answer about your topic. Try to use different sources for your research. Here are some resources that will help you to find answers quickly:

Kids Info Bits: This is a great place to begin your research. You will find recent articles from newspapers and magazines, along with useful images. Reference materials may also be available as well. You will find this online encyclopedia easy to use. With over 100 trusted sources, you only need to type in your topic or question in the search box to get an assortment of results.

Student Science: This online site provides current news and information on a large range of topics.

Information Please: This is a great resource that contains millions of facts on a large variety of topics.

STEP 3 Write your procedural steps: Before beginning your investigation, write down the steps that you will follow, your procedure. Use the resource below to check your work. This resource will be an easy-to-access tool for you to use to check your spelling for your final display items that will make up your science fair board or poster.

STEP 4 Conduct your investigation: The resources below will help guide you as you conduct your investigation. Not only are they helpful, you will find them interesting as well. This resource describes each step of the scientific investigation process and is a great resource for better understanding.

Science Buddies: This resource describes each step of the experimentation steps in detail with examples.

STEP 5 Represent your data: If you have data that would work well in a graph, use the site below to create a well-organized and professional-looking graph. It will only take minutes and will look incredible on your science fair board!

Kids’ Zone: Create a Graph: This site allows you to represent your data in a visual representation using a bar graph, line graph, area graph, or pie chart.

STEP 6 Set up your science fair board or poster: This is where you get to be creative. The site below will help you put your project together quickly.

Displaying a Science Fair Project: This is an easy-to-follow diagram of a science fair board that will help you to assemble your items correctly on your board or poster.

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Audrey Surma (author) from Virginia on September 09, 2012:

Thanks Paradise7 for your positive feedback.

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on September 08, 2012:

Very interesting and informative hub. Well laid out, and well-written.

It is so true that the information revolution has changed libraries past recognition!

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