School Stuff

An "objective" is fancy teacher-talk for what we are trying to help our children to be able to do, and new ways we would like our children to come to think.  Here are some of our major objectives in library!

Objectives to met across all the grade levels:

• ALL students will come to regard the library as a place to come to pursue their questions and interests without stigma, and that libraries are intrinsic to a democratic society.
• ALL students will respond creatively to literature though integrated art, music and dramatization.
• ALL students will attend to narratives and answer comprehension questions throughout, requiring students to recall, predict, infer, compare or relate information, in support of the English/Language Arts component of state standards.
• ALL lessons and objectives may at one point or another be in collaboration with the goals and themes initiated by the classroom teacher.
• ALL students will possess a public library card.
• ALL students will have fostered an understanding that there are real people behind the books we read, trying to share something with us.
• ALL students will experience read-aloud across the grade levels, a best practice supported by the U.S. Department of Education.

Primary level objectives to be met by grade 3:

1. Students will learn and demonstrate story time listening skills and book check-out protocol.
2. Students will differentiate between fiction and non-fiction items.
3. Students will demonstrate non-destructive book care and timely book return.
4. Students will shelve/locate books in alphabetical order.
5. Students will know and name the parts of a book.

Intermediate level objectives to be met by grade 6:
6. Students will learn and use the Dewey decimal system, the library catalog and databases and library search strategies.
7. Students will be able to select materials appropriate to their ability level and purpose. (five finger)
8. Students will be familiar with reference resources, in which situations they are most helpful.
9. Students will demonstrate courteous attention in listening situations.
10. Students will know the difference between Caldecott and Newbery Awards, be introduced to other major awards, and be able to recognize some of the winners.
11. Students will identify differentiating characteristics of outstanding authors/illustrators.
12. Students will discuss and apply evaluative criteria to visual and written media.
13. Students will understand the bookmaking and/or research/information sharing process and the role of individuals in that process.
14. Students will discuss and apply evaluative criteria to information, visual media and literature, including genre identification.
15. Students will identify and be exposed to figurative language and literary devices.
16. Students will be exposed to literature representing a variety of cultures, ethnicities and eras.

Upper level objectives to be met by grade 8:
17. Students will use the library to do research using various reference materials and on-line resources, evaluating materials for credibility and relating the research using correct basic citation methods.
18. Students will be exposed to classic and contemporary literature.
19. Students will take notes while researching and relate information in an organized and original manner.
20. Students will outline and write simple essays, Powerpoints, displays and other communicative materials, with an emphasis on original work as a synthesis of research.
21. Students will be introduced to and practice internet safety and ethical use of information and exchange, including discussions and study of freedom of speech, censorship, copyright, plagiarism, propaganda/advertising recognition and digital citizenship.

Grade Weights

Participation/On Task        100%

Participation/On Task      90%
Assignments                      10%

4 -5
Participation/On Task      50%
Assignments                      25%
Assessments                      25%

Participation/On Task     50%
Assignments                     40%
Assessments                     10%

A – Outstanding.
What does it look like?
All work completed to an exemplary degree, evidence of excellent understanding and application of concepts presented, An average of 90% or more on formal assessments, extra time spent on projects (neatness, originality, extensive and thoughtful responses), engaged consistently, is respectful of library rules and protocol, checks out and returns more than what is recommended and in a timely way, works well independently and in a group, participates in class. The A student goes above and beyond to do work that stands out, knows where books and resources are located from use and practice, is a positive addition to the library and reading community, and masters concepts presented.  An A is a big deal.

B - Very good work.
What does it look like?
An average of 80-89% on formal assessments. Evidence of solid understanding, projects completed with a good effort, works well independently or in a group and participates in discussion. Usually respectful of library rules and protocol (though may joke around a little or forget now and then), usually checks out materials and usually brings them back. No missing assignments, and some autonomy when accessing resources. The B student is doing a good and consistent job of meeting library objectives, is an independent user of the library who can help others. Nothing to sneeze at.

C - Meeting the standard.
What does it look like?
An average of 70% -79% of answers correct on formal evaluations, basic grasp of concepts with some inconsistent understanding, some carelessness in work done on projects, some lapses of following library rules and protocol, occasionally checks out books, work largely evidenced when done in a group, consistently needs prompting to access resources independently. Participates only when called on. May be missing an assignment. A bright but passive library patron who does what is necessary to get by. It’s easy to move from a C to a B in library with a little extra effort.

 D – Below standard.
What does it look like?
An average of 60- 69% of answers correct on formal evaluations. Creates disruptions in instruction, cherry-picks which assignments to do, many overdue books and inconsistent use of/ difficulty accessing of resources, uses the period to socialize, doesn’t contribute his/her share in group work.  Time to take library a little more seriously and tune in, asking for help and taking advantage of extra credit when it is offered.

F – Uh-oh. 
What does it look like?
Less than 60% of answers correct on formal evaluations. Inattentive, disruptive, missing assignments, doesn’t check out books, or ruins or loses books without replacing them.  Has failed to meet the standard. That means they didn't do any work, acted like they didn't care, and most importantly, didn't learn what they needed to know. We will work together as a team toward improvement. 

General Information
  • The library rules are looking, listening and consideration.  These rules stay the same for kindergarten through 8th grade.
  • Listening skills are library and information skills and may be included in the weekly grade.
  • All students in grades 2 and up are expected to check out books and return them with some regularity.  There is currently a two book limit. 
  • Use of library resources is part of the weekly participation grade and also may be an assignment grade.  If a child does not check out books or return them, it will be reflected.
  • All students in grade 5 and up have been shown the SOAR database.  Please refer to these resources for easy homework help! Electronic books are available through SOAR as well.
  • 7th and 8th grade students may check out books from the young adult section.  These sometimes contain mature themes.  Younger students may check out these books with a note from a parent or guardian. Children are encouraged to return any book that makes them uncomfortable; they do not need to wait for their designated class time to make an exchange.
  • Sorry, kids, "I have a book to read at home" doesn't fly.  Nobody should leave the library empty-handed. Bringing a book from a home collection is acceptable.  There are sometimes a few minutes between book check-out and dismissal, and students are expected to read for pleasure during those golden moments. Books that are overdue for longer than a month or failure to demonstrate on-task library check-out and return may result in a lowered daily library grade.
  • Students in grades 2 and up will be checking out books.  Younger students are expected to visit the Chicago Public Library with family.   Building a relationship with a public children's librarian and checking out numerous books from the public library is an important part of emergent literacy (and all childhood literacy).  It also builds skills for younger students to be responsible patrons in our school library.  Public library card applications available in the school library by request.
  • All students are responsible for books they check out.  If they loan their book to someone else and that person loses it, if they drop it in a bathtub, have it eaten by a pet or sibling, leave it on the bus or has it stolen in a robbery, alas!  I will be so interested and sympathetic!  But the student/family will still be responsible for the cost of a replacement copy in all circumstances.  A brand new copy of the same book is also acceptable and preferable. Please note the edition of the book when replacing.  We cannot accept a paperback for a hardcover edition.  We also cannot accept used copies that have been discarded by other libraries.
  • The student's memory is not the determination of whether a book has been returned.  It must appear on the shelf.  Please note, our computer system has a very secure set-up that checks a book in before it checks a book out to another child.  
  • Major projects that affect grades will have a "rubric" that can serve as a checklist to help children achieve a higher grade (and learn more).     
  • Students are expected to do work as assigned, and on time.  Extra credit should not be assumed to be available, and no extra credit is accepted after the 8th week of the marking period.  Extra credit work will not be used to raise an average more than one letter grade.
  • Students should save work done on computers in the library to their own USB drive, or mail work to themselves.  
  • Students who repeatedly forget library rules, procedures or how to treat and return books may have the consequence of a week off from book check out to think about it or correct a problem, at the librarian's discretion.  We strive to check out books every visit.  Late or noisy classes or classes that need more skill practice may curtail this occasionally.  
  • The school library supports the American Library Association stance on Intellectual Freedom and Book Labeling, and the Chicago Public Schools Code of Conduct
  • Plagiarism, cyber-bullying or intentional inappropriate use or tampering of computers in any class may result in a library grade drop.  Digital citizenship skills taught and valued in library are expected to transfer to all areas of life, as a demonstration of the acquisition of the skills.
  • If a student needs additional library access before or after regular school hours, please arrange this in advance for a mutually agreeable time.
  • No student should be in the library without an adult present at any time. 
  • The library is a worry-free zone. So if something is worrying you or your child about a grade or a book or an assignment, please stop and ask a question.  Questions alleviate worries.  Please allow 24 hours for a response (I am with children and not usually writing e-mail during the school day).  Please do not worry in the meantime.  Have a cup of cocoa. 

In planning, I also refer to the goals put forth in the ISAIL standards and the Standards for the 21st Century Learner, and seek to support the English/Language Arts curriculum set forth in the new Common Core.   Standards continue to shift and change. What I always try to keep the same is teaching your children as if they were my very own, imparting to them the academic skills and aesthetic appreciations that foster a lifelong love of reading and learning. I use a motivational "Three I" approach to literacy, suggesting that there are three main reasons children read and learn: interest, integration (connecting with the wider world) and invention (making things), cultivating a magical fourth "I": identity. I believe fervently in the great and well-researched benefits of read-aloud across the grade levels and this is a regular part of my pedagogical practice.

Thank you for your support as I strive to be a supporting character in your child's learning life story!