Teaching information literacy to the citizens of tomorrow

Governor Terry Branstad has declared October as Information Literacy Awareness Month. Information Literacy skills provide the knowledge to successfully find, evaluate and use information from diverse sources in an ever-changing world.

Teacher Librarians in Marshalltown Schools help teach these skills to both students and staff, collaborating with classroom teachers to help students acquire the skills to engage critical thinking, facilitate problem-solving techniques, and manage information from a variety of sources.

At the elementary level, students are learning different places to find information. They learn about online encyclopedias and how to do a keyword search. They also ask questions and find answers through researching animals and our state.

At Lenihan, students learn to search using the best keywords to find the most relevant information for their topics. They also evaluate the quality of the information they find through relevance of topic and authentic authors by comparing a Google search to information found on AEA-purchased and school-purchased databases.

Miller students are working on fine-tuning the research process. Composition students have worked at identifying quality sources and citing those sources. Students have also worked collaboratively to present their work. Students in social studies and science classes have been researching using audiovisual sites. Future plans are to use collaborative sites to work together and publish their work on the Internet.

Ninth grade students at MHS are exploring databases to find accurate information. World History students are using database and eBook information to design their own ancient civilization monuments. English composition classes will soon be evaluating websites to learn about Nazi Concentration Camps and Soviet Work Camps.

Staff members are learning to use Google Apps for Education, Chromebooks, and how to integrate into their lessons and curriculum. It is an ongoing project so staff will utilize and instruct with quality information from a variety of diverse sources.

Marshalltown Community School District has a full-time certified teacher librarian in each school, working with students and staff and ensuring information literacy skills are integrated into the curriculum, instead of being taught in isolation. Through this collaboration, we are working ensure our students are well educated and have the information literacy skills to become successful citizens.

Sue Cahill, Jodi Duffy, Erin Feingold, Bob Gilbertson, Sue Inhelder, Bruce Lawrence, Alicia Patten, Jeni Sloan and Beth Steffa are teacher librarians in the Marshalltown Community School District.