This class is designed to help make students comfortable using the Middle and Upper School library for their academic and recreational needs. Through various activities, they develop an understanding of the organization of materials in the library and of the different types of materials available. In an investigation of a topic of their own choosing, they begin to become independent searchers of information. They develop a familiarity with a process model called the Big 6, which can be used to guide them in solving any information need. Activities are often coordinated with other parts of the fifth-grade curriculum. Sharing about literature makes up another important segment of library time.
Sixth-grade students meet for Library Skills once a cycle. The class emphasizes media literacy and digital citizenship, focusing on search strategies for print and online information seeking, evaluation of websites using a specific six-step model, advertising in all places and in all formats, and various aspects of ethical online behavior including personal consequences of online decisions. Whenever possible, Internet skills are taught within the context of science or social studies subject matter as a frame of reference.
Library and research skills are best taught within the context of a course at the time they will be immediately put to use. For this reason, research skills and information literacy (the ability to locate, evaluate, and use information) are taught with classroom teachers on each level as part of a research unit. Integrating the skills in this way also allows students to practice the skills repeatedly through the school year and apply those skills to different subject areas.
Library Skills/Information Literacy helps students develop effective skills and strategies for efficient “information problem solving,” especially in the electronic context, and in coordination with the eighth-grade curriculum. Technology issues, such as copyright, plagiarism in the digital age, safety, privacy, digital responsibility, the “digital divide,” and our role in the Internet community are investigated.