What to Keep?
By Robbie Barber
In the midst of a pandemic, there was a vast variety in how classes were handled in the
K-12 environment. Based on this variety of student access, many of us created or
enhanced online spaces. We held curbside book checkout. We did book clubs with
online meetings. Some even provided baggies of makerspace materials to let students
do this at home. Our Media Centers/ Learning Commons spaces were quieter than they
have ever been. What do we want to keep as we move forward?
I am keeping my individual Google Classrooms. Instead of being solely for the Media
Center, they are grade-level specific. Class of 2021 (seniors) had all of the basic
information from the Media Center plus the senior advisor and college advisor could
post announcements and information. It had passwords and links to the various
databases we use. The Class of 2024 (freshmen) had an introduction to the Media
Center sway. It had the freshmen advisor as a teacher. It was a really good start of
individualizing by grade the information students need.
I am keeping my Google Classroom Faculty Lounge. This provided a space for teachers
to share, discuss, and find materials without searching all over. Plus, teachers would
provide their advice and preference on different technologies. We need a safe space to
talk, ask questions, and find resources.
I am not keeping my curbside checkout. It was hard on me for very little return (very
few students checked out). But, I wanted students to know that I was consistently there.
I did buy a small book cart and I am thinking of moving my cart into the hallway
between some classes to allow students check out books outside the library.
Last, I did my first adult book club online with Stamped! by Jason Reynolds. The goal is
to engage with students for the same book. I want to do the book clubs in person, but I
am now open to the idea that some may prefer online club. I need to be open to both.
The pandemic changed education. And, teacher-librarians (media specialists, school
librarians, METIs, etc.) are leading these changes. What are you keeping?