CNB is a grade 7 to 9 middle school and this year we have delved into the new curriculum. What I've noticed so far, from a teacher librarian perspective, is that teachers are approaching the curriculum differently. Teachers have really embraced the concept of big ideas and it has translated into very different resource requests.
Historically, teachers would move through the curriculum topic by topic and request very simple resource pulls from me. For example, I would pull all the War of 1812 books, or the shelf of ancient Egypt books. With the implementation of PBL some years back, I had noticed a move away from traditional research topics to more layered inquiry approach. This year, with the new curriculum, I've noticed a spike in more complicated resource requests which makes my job much more interesting while testing my knowledge of the collection.
Some examples of recent trickier requests:
- books on middle ages history for each continent (except Antarctica, phew)
- religion books. Not usually a difficult one but I had a list of 23 religions to find resources for.
- field guides but not just science field guides. I was delighted when I stumbled upon field guides for fairies and trolls.
Even when I do pull all the Renaissance books, it's still not quite like it use to be. This past week, students were studying the Renaissance and sure, some of them were just researching da Vinci but some were posing questions that they wanted to research. What was medicine like during the Renaissance, what was the change in architecture, and how were women treated were just a few questions students were using to guide their research. Suddenly, the resources pulled were not enough and students were back in the collection looking for more resources.
I must admit, I do like the new approach to curriculum. But the more inquiry based projects I see, the more I realize that it is imperative that teacher librarians be a part of the inquiry process and teach students the research skills they need to be successful in their exploration.