[OZTL_NET] SHARE: Math /Science and increasing literacy

Barbara Braxton barbara.288 at bigpond.com
Sat Apr 20 08:09:51 AEST 2013

I answered a query on LM_NET about how to develop and promote literacy
initiatives for the science and maths faculties.  You might be interested in my
ideas, and hopefully add to them. It all adds to our profile in the school and
ups the ante on subtle advocacy.


One of the definitions of the teacher librarian here is that of 'curriculum
leader'. Because of our unique position in the school, we are one of a small few
that have an overview of the entire curriculum, its scope and its sequence.
Therefore we need to be able to work with all faculties and not just shelter
under the umbrella of English or Language Arts or whatever it is you might refer
to that area which focuses on the development of reading skills and analysis.


At a recent professional learning day I attended, which had classroom-based
teachers as its target audience, the emphasis was on identifying the text-type
that the student needed to use (read and write) to be able successfully
participate in the learning and its assessment tasks.  Each discipline,
including science and maths, has its own unique text types and that has a number
of implications for the teacher librarians.


*         In collection development we need to ensure that students have access
to resources which provide models of these text types so they can be examined
for their essential elements and students can develop the skills to read,
interpret and write them.

*         The basic questions which underpin the research process underpin tasks
regardless of discipline...


1.    What do I already know?


2.    What do I need to find out?


3.    What will be the best source for this information?


4.    Where can I locate this?


5.    How can I select the information that meets my needs?


6.    How do I check it for authority, accuracy, currency, objectivity and


7.    How do I interpret it and combine it with other information I have located
so I can prepare a response?


8.    Who is the target audience for my response?


9.    Which format will best meet the needs of the audience and the response?


10. What have I learned from undertaking this task that can help me with future


So this is a scaffold that can be applied as an across-curriculum perspective
and we can teach the teachers to apply it.


*         Exploit the fascination with science fiction and select fiction
resources for faculty staff that they can use as a basis for students to test
the science and maths that underpins them.


*         Develop a display of resources (preferably interactive) that support
the focus of the teaching and learning in science and math, perhaps opening up
new avenues for student leisure reading.


*         Take something apparently totally unrelated to science or math, such
as Wordsworth's poem about daffodils and create a display that pulls the science
and maths out of it with questions such as Why do clouds wander?; Why are
daffodils yellow?; How long does a bulb survive and what are the best conditions
to ensure long life?  Or use a painting and view it through a maths lens. Make
this an ongoing display with a different focus each week so students can see
that these two disciplines pervade everything.  Ask for student contributions -
there will be an anticipation of what might be the next focus.


*         Collaborate with the teachers and ask what they want and how you can
help them provide it.  Ask students who have a preference for science and maths
how they would improve its focus in the library - reach out to the long tail of
clients who believe that the library has nothing to offer them.


*         Consider how you develop and promote literacy in other key learning
areas and apply the same principles - literacy pervades everything without
artificial barriers imposed by schools for organisational purposes so with a
little tweaking, its promotion is quite easy.


I'm sure once you starting getting suggestions the ideas will just start to





Barbara Braxton

Teacher Librarian

M.Ed.(TL), M.App.Sci.(TL), M.I.S. (Children's Services) 



barbara.288 at bigpond.com

Together, we learn from each other

500 Hats http://500hats.edublogs.org 



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