As a second-year elementary librarian, I found my biggest struggle was finding ways to collaborate with teachers on a fixed schedule. My main way of collaborating with teachers is check-ins through emails and in the morning, pacing guides, and reading grade level PLC notes. These methods helped me gain an understanding of what our students are learning and how I can support.
Through conversations with other librarians, I learned about the backdoor collaboration from Catlin Elementary School’s librarian, Elizabeth Messina. She explained through the combination of curriculum pacing guides and access to the curriculum, she uses backdoor collaboration. These resources support in best serving her students and curriculum goals.
I took her advice and was able to gain access to our district’s reading curriculum. I found at the beginning of each reading modules, there was an inquiry project which aligned with what students were learning. I adapted the inquiry projects to meet classroom and library goals. An example of one of the inquiry projects was our kindergartners were learning about plants. We read fiction and non-fiction books about plants, completed a graphic organizer on the parts of plants and ended the unit with planting our own seeds.
The backdoor method to collaboration helped my planning to be more cohesive and better support teacher and library curriculum.
by Jess Winter – OPS Librarian
This blog is a joint effort by members of the NSLA Executive Board. We hope to provide relevant information, tips and tools to help you in your journey.