Planning your visit to the Media Center
Over the past few years we’ve seen school libraries transform from rows of books into maker hubs built from technology.
No wonder most schools now call them media centers.
Class excursions to the media center are a great way to get students working independent of their teacher while also building valuable skills like research techniques and critical thinking. However, valuable media center time can be squandered if not properly planned out.
At mcSquares, we love our media center and maker space customers. This is why we’ve asked some of our favorite school librarians how to plan a successful trip to the media center. Keep reading to find out the top 4 tips on how to have an invaluable trip to your schools media center.
4 Tips for a Successful Media Center Visit
#1 Collaborate with your Librarian
The initial mistake most teachers make is not planning out their time in the media center. Librarians are an essential resource, as they know the ins and outs of their space. Collaboration between you, the teacher, and the librarian is essential to ensuring your students are successful. Plan your time in the media center like you would plan any lesson in your classroom. Sit down with the school’s librarian and discuss the objective for their time in the center. Librarians can offer a wealth of knowledge on what resources students should be directed to and what instruction is required prior to release.
#2 Pre-Select Resources Ahead of Time
Before releasing students to do their research, it is crucial to provide them with proper guidance of where to go. The support you relay will change depending on the age group of your students. Think of this as not giving your students specific sources to use, but providing a gateway for them to find appropriate sources. For example, provide students with useful links to content specific academic databases or provide a list of call numbers of books related to the topic at hand for students to choose from. This will help filter out non-reliable sources by giving some direction but leaving the specific source discovery up to them.
#3 Ensure Students Have a Plan
Ensure that your students plan how they will look for sources. Will they use search engines? Will they find books available in their school’s library? What will they do if they don’t find what they are looking for at first, is there a plan B? Thought provoking questions and preparation will allow your students to develop critical thinking skills as well as detailed research techniques, all while guaranteeing their time is effectively used in the media center.
If your school is like most, the media center most likely has many classes vying for its use. Therefore, it is critical to use this time to the best of your ability. Students need to come in ready to go, not aimlessly searching the web or books. Use tools like mcSquares Mobile Dry-Erase Board to remind students of the objective and/or research questions. This will allow you to prepare in the classroom and ensure no time is wasted in the media center. Alternatively, have students use mcSquares tablets with their plan of attack written out. Similarly, this will allow preparation in the classroom so students are ready to go upon arriving to the media center.
#4 Acceptable Use and #DigCit
Digital Citizenship is the movement to make sure students responsible online community members. You can learn more Digital Citizenship here.
Before going to the media center or using any internet connected technology, make sure your students know your school’s or districts acceptable technology use policy. Let students know what the expectation is during their time in the center. Ensure you have thought about consequences or redirections for students who get off task. Finally, make sure that students are aware of the consequences and have mutually agreed to them.
We want to hear from you!
How do you plan for your media center class trips? What’s worked well, and what has not?
About the Author
Travis is a UNC Chapel Hill Alum with a masters in education from UNC Charlotte. He started his career in education where he taught for 2 years as a Teach For America Corps Member in North Carolina. Following this experience, Travis became the HR Manager for a rapidly growing network of non profit charter schools in Colorado. Since then, he has led cloud computing implementation projects for Denver Public Schools, KIPP, and Teach for America and currently is at the University of Colorado. When he's not geeking out about the newest uses of technology, he can usually be found with a cup of coffee in his hand hanging out with his wife, two kids, and two dogs in Boulder, Colorado.