Focus on RSU 10 Library/Media Services

Each school in RSU 10 has a library that provides a wide range of services for our students and teachers. Gone are the days of the silent, oppressive rule-ridden library. I am happy to say RSU 10 libraries are very vibrant places staffed by energetic and creative Library/Media Specialists who are on the cutting edge of teaching and learning.  RSU 10 Library/Media Specialists play a critical role in supporting student learning. They are focused on teaching our students specific skills that will help them learn, study, research and inform themselves throughout their lives. Specifically, our Library/Media Specialists are engaged in supporting:

  1. Student Inquiry: Academic learning is no longer simply about students being able to learn what they are taught in class. Student learning in the 21st Century means that students are able to pose intelligent questions and respond to challenging problems. Library/Media Specialists play a vital role in helping students identify a multitude of electronic and print resources to be able to answer questions and solve problems.
  2. Guided Inquiry: Students need considerable guidance and support throughout the learning process to ensure that they are not simply “cutting and pasting” existing knowledge or text.   Library/Media Specialists and teachers educate students on how to create new knowledge from the analysis of a variety of informational resources.
  3. Literacy Competence: The amount of print information in the world has doubled, tripled, and quadrupled at an ever-increasing pace. How do students and professional educators discern high quality information from low quality information? Library/Media Specialists play a crucial role in encouraging our students to read more, read better, develop vocabulary, and develop a discerning eye for the information they read; they partner with teachers to support high levels of literacy for all our students.

Library BlogThis blog entry offers some descriptors and photos that should depict for you the role our Library/Media Specialists play in creating libraries that are geared towards Student Inquiry, Guided Inquiry, and Literacy Competence. Our libraries are providing an excellent service for our students and teachers.

To learn more about School Libraries in the 21st Century, go to: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=School+libraries+in+the+21st+century+rutgers

Learning in the Middle

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A successful middle level school recognizes the uniqueness of the adolescent learner and has at its foundation a balanced approach that is student centered and provides comprehensive services to foster healthy physical, social, emotional and intellectual development. As adolescent learners, middle level students need the requirements and challenges of the high school learner; those of rigor and relevancy. In addition, middle level students must have positive relationships with staff, peers, and the community at large. This sense of belonging is key to developing adolescents, and must be an integral part of the successful school.

RSU 10 has middle level programming in three of its schools: Mountain Valley Middle School, Buckfield JR-SR High School and Dirigo Middle School. All three of these schools provide middle level students classroom instruction appropriate to the needs and characteristics of young adolescents. The teachers in these schools are not only striving to meet the academic needs of our middle level learners but are also striving to help these young people navigate the emotional and social pressures associated with adolescence.

Please enjoy this series of entries regarding the good things that are happening in our middle level classrooms.

Buckfield Middle Level Science

 

goodbuddiesMiddle school students prefer active learning where they are challenged to think critically and construct meaning with their peers. Following a mini-lesson on symbiotic relationships, students collaborate to categorize pairs of species based on their interactions. The lesson ends with a round of Good Buddies, a card game developed by Project Wild. The objective is to match organisms with symbiotic interactions and classify their relationships as mutualism, commensalism, or parasitism. Engaging middle school students in analysis increases the likelihood of proficiency on comprehension targets.

Mountain Valley Middle English-Language Arts

 

shelfie2This lesson provided a unique way for students to learn about how technology can support reading in a fun way. During our library time, Mrs. Ryder taught the students how to combine two Apps on their IPads to create a “Shelfie.” A “Shelfie” is a photo of a student holding their favorite book by a shelf in the library. The students learned how to use the Cam Star app, which is a photo app with many filters, and the Pic Collage App, which is used to create a collage of photos and decorate them with text and graphics. Each student selected a favorite “Shelfie” book and used this book as a basis to delineate the plot. These “Shelfie” pics and plot descriptions will be displayed in the library for all students to read. This lesson was a great way for students to show their reading, writing, and technology skills simultaneously.

Dirigo Middle Level Science

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Mr. Buck’s seventh and eighth grade science classes at T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School use every Fridays to explore science, technology and engineering topics of their own choosing during “Free Form Friday.” Students determine what questions they are trying to answer, and then frame their explorations through complex reasoning skills. Current explorations include Rube Goldberg Contraptions, Ebola, space travel, plant growth, electricity, the effects of vinegar on eggshells, and performing the song “Cool Kids” with household items. The idea comes, loosely, from 3M and Googles’ corporate structures, where employees are given time for innovation and exploration through individual projects.

Mountain Valley Middle History

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As part of a Civil War unit, students engaged in an activity that asks them to investigate the effects of the American Civil War and think critically about how the United States might look differently had the War’s outcome had been different. The effectiveness of this lesson lies in critical thinking. Students must go beyond simply understanding content. They are challenged to deepen their understanding by exploring alternative outcomes and identifying how enormous the effects of war can be on our world.

Dirigo Middle Level Social Studies

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Students in Ms. Wood’s Grade 8 class have just completed learning about the causes of the Revolutionary War. As they started the unit on the formation of government, students experienced some of the difficulties the Founding Fathers faced through a hands on activity. Students were randomly grouped together and told to make their own government. After creating their government, they were given a problem to solve using their new formed government system. They had to divide “supplies” for their country. Students soon discovered how hard this seemingly simple task was to complete. This helped students experience the topic being discussed in class and be involved with their learning in a situation they could relate to.