September 21, 2017

This week I stumbled upon a lesson that rocked my world . . . or at least my upper elementary library lesson world. It started simply enough, with a recognized title I had shelved on my “emergency” lesson plan stack (for those days when I need a bit of inspiration help—or, perhaps, a last -minute grab bag pick, as the case may be). At any rate, this was a day when planning ahead had been a struggle, with interruptions abounding. When it came time to think about the two groups of elementary kids on my afternoon radar, I was stilted. But in they filed, and into “Koko’s Kitten” I began. It was the kind of book I knew was quality material, for a non-fiction lesson; I was unprepared, however, for the brilliance of the class as it played out. For one, the story itself was far more moving than anticipated. I was not the only one with tears in my eyes at one (no spoilers!) point in the tale—I think it even got to a few of the too-cool-for-school pre-adolescents in the crown. Then, when the story had ended and discussion began, I asked a few normal genre questions. One kid piped up here and argued that this book was fiction, because animals don’t talk. I corrected him, saying that, in fact, this gorilla does talk: audible words are not the only way to “talk.” I then began signing to them and, after a moment, said, “Did you get that? I was talking to you just then . . .” They got the point, and before I knew it were asking me for more of a lesson in sign language. I couldn’t really afford the time for it by then but couldn’t resist arguing with one dissident who scoffed at the idea. “This is library class, not sign language class!” It gave me the excuse to launch into one of my favorite librarian-speak rants, in which I explain that librarianship is all about “finding stuff,” with “stuff” being information. And pretty much any sort of information counts, so it’s really like a job that means always learning about new things, and figuring out how to figure out whatever it is you might need . . . yeah, us nerdy sorts can’t help but get a kick out of this idea ;-)
Anyhow, the sum total of this particular class tale is that all went well—remarkably so for a group with a rather squirrely reputation. You just never know.

One Response to “librarian-speak”

  1. octoberanchorman said

    Preach it mama!!!!

    Sent from my iPhone


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