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Hello everyone:

I have really appreciated all the help this listserv has given me in this
my first year as a media specialist.  So many of you have been willing to
give me the wealth of your experience to draw upon and it has helped me
tremendously.  As I begin to look ahead to next year, I have two items that
I'm trying to address.  I was hoping that I could once again ask your
help and advice.

#1.  I've had 5th graders in the media center this week doing their
"in-depth" research project.  The teacher was saying to me how disappointed
she was in the topics the students had chosen.  She tried to guide them in
topic selection by doing a web, but
the topics they chose were still not very good quality.  She is now talking
about supplying a list of topics for her students next year, so that the
topics are of better quality.

I'm hoping to use this as an opportunity to get some time with the
students.  Do you feel fifth grade is too young to choose their own topic?
If not, what strategies do you use to help teach topic selection?

I've tried to talk to the teacher about problem-based research, but
unfortunately the content objective of this research is to "write a
research paper" and nothing more!  Any suggestions?

#2  I have just learned that next year I will be having 2 multi-age classes
coming to the media center.  This is a kindergarten through 2nd grade
class.  This year, I feel I have made a lot of progress with my 2nd graders
in teaching them how to use the online card catalog, do simple title,
author and subject searches, and the beginning of Dewey (where to find
those call numbers on the shelf!).  I have tried this at a smaller scale
with my multi-age 1st & 2nd grade class, but with the reading levels at
such a wide range it has been slower.  Now I'm concerned about next year
when the reading range will get even wider.  I want to make sure the 2nd
graders are still getting as much as they can, but how do we include 1st
graders AND kindergartners.

Are there media specialists out there that work with multi-age classes and
teach beginning information skills?  If so, I would love to hear feedback
from you as to how you structure things.

Thanks, again, for all your help!

Diane Fight, k-8 Media Specialist
Durant, IA
email: rynecat@aol.com

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