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I'm hard at work here on a Friday night and looking for some great
examples of fully collaborative projects you've done that YOU
initiated.  Sometimes the teachers come to us, but sometimes the
opportunity is one of our own making.  We see or hear that a teacher
will be doing a new unit or project and we pounce (so to speak) and
turn it into something collaborative and wonderful.

Thanks to my six respondents!  Here are the responses:

I have posted lesson plans at


Log in with            bookwoman

These are some of my formal collaborations.  Caldecott/Courgarcott 
and Animal Unit are the best.

I'm in the middle of a very good collaboration.  The 6th grade SSt/Sc 
teacher had been aloof since joining us last year.  In early November 
I got an email "I have Latin America coming up and I'm a little 
stumped.  Do you have any fun ideas?"

Technically this collaboration was initiated by her, but it has been 
driven by me.  She is very uncertain, and we didn't have the trust 
established to comfortably teach together.  Well, it has taken a few 
weeks and we had a timetable set back because of testing.... but we 
do have a nice relationship built now, and we are very pleased with our unit.

7 Countries from Central and S. America were the topic for classes 
divided into groups.  3 or 4 students each research a country.  Their 
guiding question:  "Which country will Mrs. Wallace choose for her 
vacation?"  The students must research and then "sell" the country in 
a presentation.  We are taking 5 weeks for this unit, and 2 week are 
done.  It has become an evolving experience so I'll try to give highlights.

Week 1 - students begin with Big 6 (they used this during Fall 
Science Fair), 3 days of library research with print materials, they 
look for language, currency, physical features and cities of 
interest.  Each library visit is about 30 min.
Week 2 - students add Internet sites that we provide 
See links Central/SoAm) to locate activities to do (hiking, 
snorkeling, etc) and foods to expect also Festivals!!!
Week 3 - flag research and map making.  Each group will add these 
colorful artifacts to their presentations.  It also helps them learn 
the necessary geography skills.  We also dealt with bibliographic 
citations during weeks 2 and 3.
Week 4 - presentations in the classroom; assessment.  Students will 
be assessed by their presentation and audience 
participation.  Questions are expected.  After 2 or 3 days of 
presentation the teacher will lead discussion and students will offer 
questions that will become the Unit Test.  It's even collaboration 
for assessment!!!
Week 5 - Fun and Foods week.  Students will have a "foods" day, and 
my Library Class students (these are students who spend 2 recess 
periods a week coming to the library to learn and be assistants; it's 
extracurricular) collected craft ideas (rain sticks, Peruvian hats, 
etc) and games that they will share with the classes.

Each week has about 3 days of these lessons and/or library 
visits.  Fridays are Free Reading days, and Mondays are Current 
Events.  Anyway, the students are really getting the time needed to 
do research and they are learning great stuff!!!

The best part is that both myself and the teacher are a better 
team.  She keeps thanking me for all the help, and I thank her for 
letting me help.  It just might be the beginning of a beautiful relationship!!


At my school I do most of the initiating because otherwise I would 
sit in front of my computer all day.  I started a freshman 
orientation project that is done in collaboration with English 
teachers, who read speak.  Te freshman then come to the library, 
learn what resources I have available, and create a flier based on an 
issue that impacts teens that includes information and resources for 
further information or help.  We display the fliers in the 
library.  It has taken on a life of its own, even got included in our 
union (CTA) magazine in December.  There is more information at 
in the Fall 05 pdf.
I also do a pseudoscience project with AP Physics in which they have 
to take on a psuedoscience such as Spontaneous Human Combustion or 
ESP and try and prove or disprove - and present their findings.  They 
create a hypothesis, describe the scientific principles, provide 
findings, and then a conclusion.  The teacher and I collaborate on 
introducing it, guiding them through, and the assessment.  Most of 
them are seniors and it is a fun way to finish the year - it is their 
final.  I also approached the teacher for this assignment, it took a 
lot of talking.
The same teacher and I also spent yesterday listening to book talks 
from his math and Physics students on books that semi -related to 
math or Physics.  They read on their own time and then present to us. 
That didn't take quite as much talking into and now he loves it and 
so do his kids.
Recently I begged my way into a slam poetry assignment - but that 
wasn't really collaboration.  The teachers created the assignment and 
I convinced them to add on digital recording and posting to a wiki - 
results at <>

As I type I keep thinking of other things that I went to the teacher 
and said can we try this but these are my most successful.  Point is 
- do it all the time.


I think that this addresses the librarian needs to be proactive with 
teachers rather than waiting for teachers to come to them.
Elizabeth Golden and Johanna Lawler: 

I do a collaborative project with my 4th graade social studies 
teacher.  The kids came to me 3 years ago and said they were starting 
their reports on the states.  I worked with the teacher and we 
collaborated on the project.  The students create a Photo Story 3 
project with the information on the state.  Last year they had to 
compare 2 different states.  This year I am teaching the students how 
to cite their different sources and then do a bibliography.  We are 
doing that right now with a biography project they are doing.  I want 
them to be able to do a complete bibliography to accompany their 
state projects that we do during the months of March to May.  The 
classroom teacher uses a rubric to evaluate the students' reports.  I 
need to develop a rubric to evaluate their technoloogy skills.

Two projects that I initiated that are still part of our curriculum.
First is the 4th grade genre project. We begin with short stories, 
then historic fiction, then science fiction/ fantasy. The classroom 
teacher, reading teacher and I teach about the genres, we discuss, 
setting, characters, plot, time and place. I book talk books from the 
library and we help the children choose a just right book for the project.

Then in the 5th and 6th grade I do a mock Newbery and build on the 
knowledge gained in the genre study. Kids arrive in these upper 
grades knowing the difference between a dystopic and a utopic novel 
and immediately understand when I say this is a quest tale.

I initiated a plagiarism scared straight seminar. 5th, 6th, 7th and 
8th grade. Before they begin any research projects, I swoop in for 30 
minutes with my real world  example of bad things that happen to 
those who plagiarize and what all that means.


I initiate almost all of the collaborative projects in my school. 
With the lower grades k-2 I check in with the teachers every week to 
find out what they are studying in the classroom that week. I then 
find a picture book and activity to go along with  the book that 
reinforces what is being taught in the classroom. It doesn't take 
long for the kids to make the connections and recognize the pattern. 
With the upper grades 3-6 I have the same approach, but the projects 
are longer and more detailed and don't necessarily involve picture 
books. For example, our 5th grade teacher was doing Reader's Workshop 
based on books about Colonial Children. I found a webquest based on 
Colonial children which turned into a 4 week internet research 
project and a culminating expository paper written comparing life of 
Colonial children and modern children based on what they learned in 
Reader's Workshop and the knowledge they gathered from the webquest. 
I guess this is a proactive approach, I seldom wait for them to come 
to me, but as a result of this approach, I think they now have the 
confidence in me and they approach me now.

Toni Buzzeo, MA, MLIS <>
Maine Library Media Specialist of the Year Emerita
Maine Association of School Libraries Board Member
Buxton, ME 04093
Collaborating to Meet Standards: Teacher/Librarian Partnerships for 
K-6  Second Edition (Linworth 2007) BRAND NEW! 

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