Bringing the Library into the Classroom


At the request of Jorge Chojolan and the teachers at the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy, this year marks the first service trip where LWB offered a professional development workshop for the staff of the school.

“When I was here three years ago, the library was set up and the kids were starting to get comfortable with the space and the books. Once we reached that milestone, there was a new need – to bring teachers into the library and get them comfortable with integrating the library into their curriculum”, said Xenia Kourgouzova, project lead.

Referred to as ‘Library Day 2.0’, the main goal was to have a discussion with the Asturias teachers about how they could incorporate the library and its resources into their lessons and their classrooms, and about the importance of the library in improving student performance.

“The goal was not to teach teachers how to teach. The goal was to provide them with some ideas of how they could use the library and interest their students in using the library”, added Kourgouzova.

The members of the Professional Development team were Rebecca Lahr, Natalie Baur, and Stephanie Anderson.

After an introduction by Jorge, the agenda for the two hour workshop was:

Library as a Lab & the ‘Flipped’ Classroom (Natalie)
Leading to the brainstorming session in the second half of the workshop, Natalie talked about the concept of using the library as a place for discovery and innovation, and ‘flipping’ the classroom to have the students lead their learning and do research based on their own questions.

Guided Research (Rebecca)
Following Natalie, Rebecca discussed how the teachers could help guide their students to find the answers to their questions.

Early Literacy ( Stephanie)
Stephanie talked about the definition of early literacy, its importance, and demonstrated an example phonological awareness activity using books from the Asturias library.

Values Education (Xenia)
Xenia used examples from the Olympic Values Education Program Toolkit to demonstrate how topics such as excellence, friendship, and respect can be presented to the students in the form of activities and how they can help cultivate joy of effort, fair play, respect for others, pursuit of excellence and enhance balance between body, will and mind.

Brainstorming Exercise
The teachers then broke into two groups to brainstorm how they could use the library as an incubator or lab for learning.

The teachers agreed that in order to use the library in this way, they would need to change their thinking to be more creative. Some of their ideas were:
puzzles and educational games for the library, e.g those that would teach shapes
use the library for vocabulary lessons, e.g. ask their students to find a particular word in a book in the library, read a passage from a book and discuss the words that they don’t know, or keep a journal of new words they’ve learned.
hold a science fair or math olympics in the library
have the students create their own plays

As part of the exercise, the teachers also discussed what resources they would need to bring their ideas to life so that those needs could be integrated into a future collections plan for the library.

“The main feedback after the workshop from the teachers was that they all were very excited about trying to use the library as a laboratory”, said Kourgouzova.

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