Gathering Student Feedback in Your Library Media Center
I’ve done a pretty scary thing this week. I’ve asked for honest feedback from 4th graders about my new library media program! This year I’ve begun a radical (well, for me) new library program with a private theme of — “How about I TALK AT you less… and you TALK TO each other and DO more fun things.” (Cue the Frozen theme…”Let it go, let it go…” Yeah… it’s a cute song, but hard to do.)
After about 30-something years of being a teacher/library media specialist, I’ve had the pleasure of reinventing myself several times over — especially with changes in technology. It’s good to take a hard look at what I’m teaching and why. I think it keeps my practice vibrant. I’ll admit, this new approach has not been without growing pains, but, it has filled my library with a new sense of wonder, discovery — and okay, yes — NOISE! Lots of happy, excited, fussy, collaborative, team-building noise!
My new program merges Arkansas library media frameworks with our new computer science frameworks, while sprinkling in a healthy dose of makerspace! Oh yes, my library has been a hot mess somedays, but the student feedback is telling me that they LOVE IT.
I’ve actually been kind of touched and surprised by their thoughtful comments. They’ve told me what they like about our weekly rotation of TEN centers. They’ve made suggestions, and they’ve asked for more of this and less of that. I’ve been shocked that they like the OPAC center and the research center. They thought the book fair math center was “way too hard!” Of COURSE, they love the robots… but a few would pass on the listening center. Nearly everyone ADORES our version of MakerSpace — so… I’m glad I didn’t sell that old Sizzix doo-hickey-thing in a garage sale! Who knew?!
Across the board, they hate it when we have to skip a week and have “regular library time” for some reason. (They were perfectly okay with skipping centers for book fair though!) We’re getting close to finishing our first 10-center rotation, and during feedback time, they were clammoring to know “What’s next?!” Interesting.
I’m more surprised than anything to find that my new program has bumped me up a notch on the “happy teacher scale.” Truly, it has been hard to turn the responsibility of teaching and learning over to them — but maybe it has been kind of healthy for me, too. If nothing else, I’ve gone from a librarian who was maybe just slightly-burned-out-around-the-edges to feeling renewed and reinvigorated about teaching again. Not bad for this stage of the game.