Are Your Seniors Ready for College, Career, and Civic Life?

The Presidential Citizens Medal
The Presidential Citizens Medal

School Library Connection’s own Paige Jaeger reminds us that in this political season of change, pontificating, bloviating, orating, and more…the truth gets buried deeper than normal.

Now more than ever we need to teach our students to make informed decisions— based upon evidence—and ensure that they see the link between history and real life.  Now may be the best time to ensure we understand the new College, Career, and Civic (C3) readiness.

new-picture-2Swept up in the tsunami of educational standards reform, the National Council for Social Studies completely overhauled their teaching framework so that social studies content is aligned with the Common Core (CCSS) reforms. Even if your state has not adopted the Common Core, it’s likely that they have been influenced by it. State education departments use the national standards to inform changes at the state level and it often takes a few years for the aftershocks to be felt by the students. Be ye hereby warned: The changes are massive.

It’s likely that your state will be, is currently, or has reviewed their state Social Studies Standards for alignment. Here are a few thoughts to ponder as you start the school year and begin to review possible social studies (SS) projects for alignment with new national standards.

The Arc of Inquiry

Storytelling may still be alive, but lecture is dead. There is no doubt about it—new standards want students to manipulate content, get down and dirty with the past, draw informed conclusions, and deeply uncover, discover, and understand the why behind our (hi)story.  In fact, the crafters of the C3 put it up front and center in the change.  If you are not familiar with inquiry-based learning, now is the time to embrace this learning model that fits the learning styles of the NextGen students who want to be in control. The inquiry model is defined in  “dimensions,” where students are asking questions, researching, deliberating, and making claims, all wrapped up in a knowledge product, thus making them more capable of taking informed action. Continue reading “Are Your Seniors Ready for College, Career, and Civic Life?”

Read Like a Wedding Crasher!

800px-Charles_Sprague_Pearce_-_Reading_by_the_ShoreLooking for some great summer reads? School Library Connection’s own Paige Jaeger challenges you to look beyond those light-hearted, easy-to-read, beachside paperbacks and instead try a little “reading up.” Tweet us @SLC_online with a picture of your own challenging book for the beach this summer with the hashtag #ReadUpChallenge.

There’s this (unofficial) librarian law that says, “When a movie is released, you are not allowed to see it until after you read the book.”

We’ve all been there. So, last winter when the movie In the Heart of the Sea was released, I resolved to read the book before seeing the movie and I also decided to re-read Melville’s Moby Dick. They were my “beach reads” for a winter vacation. There was also an element of wanting to go back and remedy the error-of-my-ways as I recollect taking the short cut for Moby Dick in high school.

Both books were a challenge for me. Although I did not find them difficult, it was predictable to have to look up a word on every-other page in Melville’s book—and I like to think I have a large vocabulary. Some of the sea-faring tier-three vocabulary was new to me, and cultural references of the 1800s I had to ponder. At times I felt “out of my element.”

Catching up on professional journal reading, I came across a brilliantly written piece by Tom Newkirk, espousing that we should “read like wedding crashers.” When crashing a wedding, we are out of our element—where we are not comfortable or intended to be: “It’s an act of impersonation, of seeming to know things you don’t. It’s knowing just enough to get by, to pass.” Continue reading “Read Like a Wedding Crasher!”