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Teacher Cases

Explore the following cases.

Elementary Teacher: Miss Hamilton

teacherMiss Hamilton teachers a multi-age class of active children.

Bird Bonanza

Miss Hamilton enjoys partnering with the school library media specialist, Ms. Anderson. Using a theme that acrosses grade and content areas, they've established a full-year project on birding. Using the resources at The Great Backyard Bird Count as a starting place, they began exploring the many possible connections.

feathersAs the project gained attention within the school, an older student approached Miss Hamilton about becoming involved in the project. Isabella's interest in birds and bird feathers combined with Miss Hamilton's commitment to multi-age teaching was a great combination. Isabella become the project director and a mentor for younger children.

Explore Ms. Anderson's involvement as an instructional specialist.

Explore Isabella's investigation for more detail.


Middle School Media Specialist: Mr. Samuels

teacherMr. Samuels views the media center as the hub of school activities.

Primary Source Materials

Mr. Samuels promotes the use of primary source materials. From maps and documents to historical photos and journals, he encourages students to explore a variety of materials.

Explore Kristen's investigation for more detail.

Video Collection

A survey of students and parents indicated an overwhelming interest in educational and informational DVDs. As a result, Mr. Samuels has been seeking video-based materials that he thinks will draw students into exploration of other materials directly related to class content. Rather than competing with video stores, he strives to complement the materials in his collection.

Explore Kristen's investigation for more detail.

Butterfly Garden Club

With the help of the local Garden Club, a group of students developed a butterfly garden outside the library media center.

Explore Samantha's investigation for more detail.

Cultural Connections

The middle school has a diverse population and works closely with the local community on cultural activities.

Explore Megan's investigation for more detail.

Earth Science Teacher: Mr. Campbell

teacherMr. Campbell is known as the goofy teacher. He seems to be excited about everything that has to do with nature and outdoors.

Mr. Campbell encourages interested in geology through the use of his large rock collection and connection with the local geology society. In addition, he sponsors regular field trips as part of a rockhound club. Recently while working with Mr. Samuel, the media specialists, he received a grant involving GPS devices and GIS software for use in a local geology project.

Explore Nathan's investigation for more detail.

When Ashley shared her interest in growing tomatoes for the 4-H fair, Mr. Campbell suggested talking to Mrs. Collins at the local farmer's market about growing techniques.

Explore Ashley's investigation for more detail.

While serving on a school-wide planning committee, Mr. Campbell suggested getting students involved in building disaster planning.

Explore Brandon's investigation for more detail.

Elementary Media Specialist: Ms. Anderson

teacherMs. Anderson enjoys her position as a teacher librarian and instructional specialist. She views her library as only a part of the schoolwide learning laboratory that she's coordinating. Her library learning laboratory includes books, computers, and other traditional materials, but it's also the focus of science experiments and daily video programs.

A Center for Community Involvement

Ms. Anderson feels that developing collaborations throughout the school and community is essential to a building an active learning laboratory. She encourages community members and groups to use the library as a place to meet and share ideas. She uses these face-to-face gatherings to involve students. For example, community members have agreed to be judges for the annual art competition. Each year the art teacher, media specialist, and a member of the city council get together to discuss an focus for the year that can be connected to local events. In the past, students have worked to design costumes for the historical pageant, a pumpkin festival logo, pioneer toy replicas, a city mural, and local landscapes projects. Student artwork is displayed in the media center as well as in the hallway showcases.

Explore Katie's investigation for more detail.

Ms. Anderson encourages her students to use a wide variety of tools for information access and communication. When Isaac expressed an interest in conducting an interview for his oral history project, she encouraged him to use videotape in the process. Isaac's success with the video equipment made Ms. Anderson consider the development of a larger community oral history project. With Isaac's project as an example, they presented their idea to the senior center and soon had volunteers who wanted to share their life stories.

Explore Isaac's investigation for more detail.

beehiveA Beehive of Activity

Her library is a beehive of activity... literally. As part of a science partnership, the library media center has acquired a wonderful science materials collection (i.e., books, videos, software, maps, games) and also maintains a collection of scientific artifacts, a snake, and a beehive housed in the nature area just outside the center. These resources are maintained by a group of children called the Critter Wranglers along with a group of parent volunteers including a professional bee keeper.

The purpose of the Critter Wranglers was two-fold. First, to provide an organized method of caring for the creatures and artifacts. Second, to address the learning needs of a group of at-risk students. Working as a team, the teachers and media specialist identified specific activities to address commonly identified information literacy and content area standards deficiencies. These concrete, context-based review activities were connected to caring for these small creatures.

In addition to the snake project, they're also involved in the The Great Backyard Bird Count project.

Explore Taylor's investigation for more detail.

Explore Ms. Hamilton's involvement as an instructional specialist.

A Shared Commitment

bubblesMs. Anderson spends much of her time exploring ways to partner with teachers on activities that will stimulate a love of learning in children. She explores connections between standards, textbooks, and the materials available inside and outside her center.

Many of her projects are small and ongoing such as the Super Science Center that contains the basics needed for students to run their own science experiments including chart paper, clipboards, post-it notes, laptop with probes, and marked materials cartons. Located near the non-fiction science book collection and close to a sink, the materials in this area are constantly updated and rotated with the interests of children and teachers. For example, Jasmine after reading a book about bubbles and creating a creating an empty chart on a clipboard, she's ready to conduct a bubble experiment on the mat near the sink.

Explore Jasmine's investigation for more detail.

The media specialist along with the third and fourth grade teachers have been working on a program to promote student interests related to classroom content. When a student expresses an interest, the teacher gives the child an "Information Investigator Badge" noting the topic the student is seeking. The child then works with the media specialist to find books and other materials that might trigger an expanded interest.

Explore Maya's investigation for more detail.

boy with laptopOpen Access

Ms. Anderson has invested in laptop computers for her media center. Students can check these out from the front desk allowing them to take computers to any area of the center where they may be needed. Jacob is a very active, intelligent student who needs a challenge but sometimes has a hard time focusing his efforts. Ms. Anderson has found that he's much more productive when he can take a laptop and find a quiet place in the corner of the center to work.

Explore Jacob's investigation for more detail.

Explore Hannah's investigation for more detail.

Explore Alyssa's investigation for more detail.

Reading Connections

tarantula scientistThroughout the school, an emphasis has been placed on the importance of reading. Ms. Anderson is committed to finding ways to stimulate the reading interests of all students. In addition to focusing on content areas standards connections, she's also exploring ways to encourage even the most reluctant reader. From Captain Underpants to Harry Potter, Ms. Anderson seeks out popular titles that will be appealing to even the pickiest reader. Through these free reading activities, she's found a growing interest in book clubs and reading programs such as voting for their favorite Hoosier book nominee. They're even decorating the ceiling of the media center with book characters tiles created by students.

Explore Vanessa's investigation for more detail.

She's also working hard to keep new readers coming back. For example, she encouraged students to find a series of books they might like to read. Ryan is reading the Scientists in the Field Series.

Explore Ryan's investigation for more detail.

Communicator's Castle

Ms. Anderson feels that it's important to promote a connection between reading, writing, and information inquiry. She also wants to stimulate a love of all forms of communication such as written, visual, audio, and video. Her Communicator's Castle is designed to facilitate all forms of communication. This area is filled with resources to support reading, communicating, and thinking. For example, Haley loves to read and write. She calls herself the Queen of the Communicator's Castle because every free moment she spends exploring the books and activities in the castle. Alyssa is planning a puppet show called "Fish are friends". She's decorating the puppet show area like a coral reef.

Explore Haley's investigation for more detail.

Explore Zach's investigation for more detail.

Explore Alyssa's investigation for more detail.


Teachers are increasingly seeking ways to meet the varied learning styles of children.

Explore Isabella's investigation for more detail.

While working with a number of different teachers, Ms. Anderson has found a growing interest in high-quality instructional audio materials. She's begun investigating the different types of audio books and which might best meet the needs of her diverse students population.

Explore Michael's investigation for more detail.

teacherA Guide on the Side

Ms. Anderson feels one of her most important roles is as a guide for student information inquiry. When she sees a student bound into the library bursting with enthusiasm, her goal is to do whatever she can to promote and extend this positive momentum. When she's not able to provide the necessary resources, she goes out of her way to help the child locate materials at another library or provide a suggestion. In the same way when a child enters the library with a long face or bewildered look, she considers all the ways that she can help that student through the confusion or frustration of that phase of inquiry.

Explore Christopher's investigation for more detail.

High School Media Specialist: Mr. Washington

teacherMr. Washington has transformed his traditional high school library into an exciting, popular learning laboratory. Whether hanging out at a table in the library's "coffee shop" or working with a small group in a laptop learning cluster, the library is the center of the school learning activities. After school the "coffee shop" is often scheduled for poetry slams, bluegrass jams, and music listening clubs.

Senior Projects

Mr. Washington is well-known for his innovative approach to senior projects. His goal is to help students identify meaningful, relevant projects that will have a real impact on the life of the student and maybe even the community.

Explore Eric's investigation for more detail.

Information Interns

Seeking ways to involve more students in cross-curricular projects, Mr. Washington developed an Information Intern program. Selected students team with teachers and the media specialist to develop videos, websites, instructional materials, and other useful products. Students are able to gain course credit and often incorporate their projects into their emerging portfolios.

Explore Alano's investigation for more detail.

Laptop Learning Clusters

While analyzing use data and observing center traffic patterns, Mr. Washington noticed that many students came to the center in small groups to work on projects. As a result, Mr. Washington redesigned areas to promote small group laptop use.

Explore Sabrina's investigation for more detail.

Popular Materials

Mr. Washington seeks materials that promote a wide range of reading and viewing experiences. In addition, he works with teachers to promote activities that connect to leisure reading and viewing opportunities.

Explore Dylan's investigation for more detail.

The high school science department and Mr. Washington are partnering on a project to promote reading in the sciences. Each science course is incorporating a fiction or non-fiction flexible reading requirement. Some courses are requiring that students read articles from popular magazines such as Scientific American, while others are allowing students to select a book connected to some aspect of the course content.

Explore Jamal's investigation for more detail.

Electronic Resources

Mr. Washington works with a group of high school students to explore ways to best help students access electronic resources inside and outside school. He also explores ways to help students organize and publish their work online.

Explore Cody's investigation for more detail.

Community Connections

Bringing in outside speakers and resources draw a variety of students into the center. For example, Mr. Washington regularly sponsors health care fairs focusing on topics such as weight control and diabetes.

Explore Miranda's investigation for more detail.


High School History Teacher: Mr. Harrington

teacherMr. Harrington is fascinated by World History. He's constantly seeking new ways to excite students about the past. He spends summers traveling around the world exploring interesting cultures and histories. In the fall, he returns with a box full of interesting artifacts from the places he's explored.

As chair of the Social Studies department, Mr. Harringston seeks ways to draw students into global exploration.

Explore Dylan's investigation for more detail.


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