About the author

Mrs. Ricks is a certified teacher with nineteen years experience and the Media Center Director at Haddam-Killingworth Middle School in Killingworth Connecticut. I earned a Masters degree in Library Science from the Department of Information and Library Science School of Communication at Southern Connecticut State University. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in computer programming and an Associates of Science in Information Systems degree from Champlain College in Vermont.

Library Media

The Library Media program supports, complements, and expands the instructional program of our school. The Media Center functions as the information center (the Hub), by providing intellectual and physical access to materials in many formats. My belief is that reading, technology, and research are fundamental to successful life-long learning skills and all students need to learn how to independently access, evaluate, and use information and technology appropriately.

Connecticut State Content:
Standard 1: Definition and Identification of Information Needs:
Students will define their information needs and identify effective courses of action to conduct research and solve problems.
Enduring Understanding: Questions guide research.
Essential Question: What do I need to know before I start my inquiry?
1. Identify the scope and criteria of the task, with assistance.
a. Time management to complete individual segments of task
b. Determine most appropriate presentation mode
c. Length of written and/or oral presentation
d. Intended audience
e. Accompanying materials: Write a Works Consulted card for each source that contains useful quality information and graphics.
2. Identify existing knowledge and list areas where more information is needed.
3. Frame an essential question to focus the research, with assistance.
a. Formulate key questions to find the information needed to answer essential question.

4. Identify, locate, evaluate, and use the appropriate primary and secondary sources to research the essential question.
5. Determine the most appropriate primary and secondary sources based on format and time-sensitivity of information needed: books, magazines, newspapers, websites, videos, interviews, field trips.
6. Describe a course of action for answering the essential question and completing the assigned task.
a. Take notes in an approved format. b. Collect or create images and other graphic illustrations for oral and/or visual presentation and provide proper citation.
Connecticut State Content Standard 2: Information Strategies Students will understand and demonstrate a command of information skills and strategies to locate and effectively use print, non-print and/or digital resources to solve problems.
Enduring Understanding: A variety of skills and strategies facilitate research.
Essential Question: What skills and strategies are needed to gather information effectively, solve problems, and conduct research?
By the end of Grade 8 students will be able to: 1. Independently use the online catalog to identify materials by author, title, or subject and locate sources in the appropriate area of the media center.
2. Use research process model. 3. Use menus, icons and links to access and use an online database to conduct basic research.
a. Use recommended curriculum sites b. Use online databases for magazines, journals and newspapers.
c. Use online catalog web resources. d. Independently locate and use other online databases 4. Use organizational attributes of print, non-print and digital media formats to locate research material.
5. Develop a search strategy and continue information gathering
a. Determine if the information contributes to answering the essential question
6. Independently select appropriate resources from a variety of media formats.
7. Independently assimilate information from print, non-print and digital reference sources.
8. Independently integrate information presented graphically including pictures, captions, diagrams or labels.
9. Identify, evaluate and use appropriate search engines and directories with assistance.
Connecticut State Content Standard 3: Information Processing Students will apply evaluative criteria to the selection, interpretation, analysis, reorganization and synthesis of information from a variety of sources and formats.
Enduring Understanding: Information must be evaluated and processed to determine accuracy, relevance, and validity.
Essential Question: Why and how do I evaluate information for accuracy, relevance, and validity?
By the end of Grade 8 students will be able to: 1. Identify appropriate sources of information for a specific purpose.
2. Develop criteria to judge the relevance, credibility and completeness of print, non-print and digital information with assistance.
a. Choose sources based on timeliness, authority, readability, reliability and bias.
b. Choose resources according to the hierarchy of general to specific.
c. Evaluate, identify and discuss point of view/bias. d. Determine how the information in each source agrees with or differs from information from other sources.
3. Continuously evaluate the research process and the information gathered with assistances.
Connecticut State Content Standard 4: Application Students will use appropriate technologies to create written, visual, oral and multimedia products to communicate ideas, information or conclusions to others.
Enduring Understanding: The appropriate choice of media allows us to communicate effectively.
Essential Question: How can I express and effectively communicate ideas?
1. Select and use appropriate software and hardware to organize, analyze, interpret information and present conclusions collaboratively and/or individually. (with assistance??)
2. Use technologies appropriately to present information gathered from a variety of print, non-print and digital resources.
3. Use effective techniques of oral presentation to communicate ideas and information to an audience.
Connecticut State Content Standard 5: Technology Use:
Students operate and use computers and other technologies as tools for productivity, problem-solving and learning across the content areas.
Enduring Understanding: Effective use of technology enables us to live, learn and work.
Essential Question: How can I use technology to solve problems and communicate effectively?
1. Independently use operational features of hardware and software:
a. file management skills
b. peripheral devices for input, output and storage
2. Use content-specific technology tools and software.
3. Demonstrate appropriate keyboarding skills (30 wpm 95% accuracy)
4. Use advanced (enhanced) features of personal productivity software (word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet documents).
a. Use advanced word processing features (ie tables, columns, graphics).
b. Identify and use multimedia terms/concepts such as storyboard, slides, and images.
c. Understand and use concepts of effective multimedia design,
d. Use advanced multimedia features (ie audio/video buttons, hyperlinks).
e. Utilize Internet resources and information using online databases and provided curriculum websites,
f. Use effective searching techniques to locate information on the Internet
g. Use spreadsheet program to enter, calculate, display data, and choose correct graph format for result.
h. Use correct terms to identify cell, column, row, values, labels, chart, and graph elements.
5. Use basic features of graphics program to edit images, including resizing, cropping, enhancing, and saving correctly.
6. Work collaboratively and cooperatively with peers and staff when using computers and other technologies.
7. Use recommended strategies for solving common hardware and software problems, with assistance.
8. Understand and expect that technology tools are constantly changing.
9. Discuss use of emerging technology tools.
10. Identify and use collaborative tools such as e-mail, messaging and video-conferencing.
Connecticut State Content Standard 6: Responsible Use:
Students demonstrate responsible, legal and ethical use of information resources, computers and other technologies.
Enduring Understanding: There are rights and responsibilities associated with the use of information.
Essential Question: What are the ethics and responsibilities associated with the use of information?
1. Practice proper and ethical use and care of print, non-print, digital information resources, computers and other technologies.
a. Demonstrate responsibility for library materials.
b. Identify and discuss appropriate and safe behaviors online.
2. Give citation credit to original sources when using or transmitting information.
a. Cite a print and an electronic source in proper format based on MLA.
3. Recognize individualís rights of ownership to any created work Ė print & electronic.
a. Respect and observes laws and guidelines for the use of intellectual property.
4. Understand and adhere to the districtís acceptable use and copyright policies.


Connecticut State Content Standard 7: Assessment
Students will assess the effectiveness of their information and technology choices for problem-solving and communication.
Enduring Understanding:. Ongoing assessment improves research, information skills and strategies.
Essential Question: How effectively was information used?
By the end of Grade 8 students will be able to:
1. Use or develop criteria to create a rubric for self and peer assessment.
2. Assess whether the process and information gathered was both relevant and complete in response to the assigned task.
a. Effective use of time
b. Locate needed research information
c. Use sufficient number of sources to locate information
d. Answer essential questions
3. Assess whether the products meet established standards for process, product and presentation.
a. Create or a checklist for the Research process
b. Self-analysis of studentís Research Process

School and Public Library Relationships: Essential Ingredients in Implementing Educational Reforms and Improving Student Learning