Teacher-librarians can use blogs in their school libraries to connect with students and the community, to support learning standards, and to give students a voice in collection and program development.
I like the idea of a blog written by the school librarian(s) that promotes library activities and resources; a blog written by students in which they share reviews and library thoughts; or, a blog that invites outside participants like community leaders and authors to directly engage with students. The library blog project I’m especially interested in, though, involves librarians, students, teachers, administrators, and trusted community members all engaging together in civil discourse. All educators should be addressing civil discourse in all our subject areas, and the library as a center for literacy learning should focus on it, too.
While engaging in civil discourse through blogging meets criteria across the board in the American Association of School Library’s standards for the 21st Century Learner (which I explained briefly in my last post), it particularly supports Standard 3: Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.
This is what I envision: A school library blog, focused on student engagement and ideas, that serves as a platform to encourage informed, civil debate based on critical thinking and generating understanding of different perspectives that leads to collaboration and the creation of new ideas.
- Students will create the guidelines for engagement in this blog community and suggest topics about issues that are important to students. The librarian will facilitate the creation of a rubric by which students will assess their own blog posts and responses for appropriateness.
- Students will view select news clips and blog posts (and responses) to evaluate tone, bias, and factual accuracy. They will assess the material for helpfulness and edit these real-world examples to practice writing comments that would provide more value than the original, and that represent civil disagreement.
- Students, the librarian, and teachers will engage in ongoing assessment and reflection of the power of fact-based, rational engagement in civil discourse.
- The librarian will provide links to resources that include factual information and varied viewpoints for further investigation by students. This activity will be richest when topics are developed through collaboration with subject area teachers, who will also provide resource content advice.
Our students learn in an increasingly participatory environment, they deserve a platform to develop critical thinking and communication skills that will prepare them to be participants that will be taken seriously.