high school practicum: the key to any great journey…

03Mar10

… is a map, of course.

I’ve heard it works better with a treasure map, but turn-by-turn GPS is probably also pretty effective.

Lame jokes aside, my practicum taught me just how true that introductory hook is.  In my last week at the school, our big activity was a library scavenger hunt.  Every seventh- and eighth- grade English class was brought in to complete an activity that would get them in all corners of the library, utilizing our different resources to answer curriculum-related questions.

As we were preparing the activity, my host librarian handed me something that looked a lot like this:

Of course, her map had each shelf labeled with the proper call numbers, but it was still pretty difficult to figure out.  When she saw me turning it upside down (or perhaps right-side up), she admitted that students always struggled with the library map.  She’d had very limited time to create the map, and had never gotten around to refining it.

Opportunities like this are why I love the practicum experience.  We show up with goals, objectives, and some ideas, but we also get to help the librarian complete some long-term projects that he or she just can’t find the time to do.  The library map is a perfect example of this.

As I was creating the new map, I realized what a powerful little piece of paper it can actually be.  My site supervisor worked with me to decide what information to put on it, and it became a rad little guide to helping students better understand the library.

Here’s my updated map:

(click the image for a larger version)

The scavenger hunt was a success, and it gave me some ideas for when I have my own library.  This showed me that having a good map is a great way to help students learn how libraries are organized, and can offer some assistance to students when the librarian isn’t readily available.

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