Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Teaching = Wonderful!

Though my internship hasn't *technically* started, today's teaching session was just too wonderful not to write about! I had the privilege of working with a group of attentive, respectful, enthusiastic, high school AP English composition students from BHS North (68 of them, to be exact). Beforehand I prepared a half-page handout, a "Helpful Hints" guide to Wells Library. During my instruction session I gave that to the students to take notes on and later use throughout their day of research. I cannot emphasize how positive of an experience this session was for me! What a wonderful reminder of why I love being in the classroom!

We began by herding the masses into one of our largest media preview rooms (our regular information clusters are not large enough for this group). We had as many of them as we could sit in chairs and the rest pulled up a spot on the carpet. As they were getting arranged I was playing Carrie Donovan's YouTube Video emphasizing ASKing librarians for help. After that, folks were pretty well settled in and the "formal" instruction session began with a question: Where do you search?
The students were fantastic about offering up their ideas: Google, Bing, Wikipedia, and one student (in the front row, bless him) said EBSCO. I found out one thing I can certainly work on from conducting this interactive part of the lesson: my throwing arm. The kids soon learned why softball was never my sport because I missed the mark several times when tossing "prizes" (Wells Library Post-Its) to participating students.

We practiced a few sample searches in IUCat using some of their terms, and a few of mine as well (to keep them headed in the right direction), and then we moved on to using databases to find articles. A modified "Simon Says" helped the students understand how the different terms can expand or restrict your search results, and I also introduced the magic of truncation. After practicing in EBSCO (using Academic Search Premier and MLA), JSTOR, Literature Resource Center (making sure to talk about how they needed to save their information AND citations for each), discussing check-out policies and a brief introduction to the importance of scholarly research, we were off on a quick tour of the main level of the library.

We made a sweep past the East Tower's circulation counter, moved over to the reference desk, looked at the doors to the reading room (where their teacher would be camping out for the day, should they need something) and then moseyed over to the West Tower, where the nitty-gritty searching would begin. I walked them by a majority of the computers, pointed out where the reference desk was on this side, passed out log-in information and they were off! There were a few lost souls, as there always are, so I wandered around and helped anyone who looked like they needed some assistance.

I made a couple of loops around the West Tower computers and bumped into a gal having problems locating a book up in the stacks. We headed up to the 10th floor, together, to see if we could find the book she was looking for. After a little bit of searching, and some rereading of the call number we were able to successfully locate what she was looking for AND other resources grouped nearby (the wonder of LC classification!). I also bumped into other students successfully wandering the stacks and locating their materials. This was one of my favorite parts of the teaching day--seeing them find what they were looking for, and seeing them get excited about it!

I just had to return to the reading room after the students were pretty well settled and thank the teacher for bringing such a great group of high schoolers in! What a great Wednesday! I can't wait to start my internship so I can have even more rewarding experiences like this one!