Once upon a time there was a Motivated Librarian who was determined to help a class complete some research for their presentations.
On the first day, she reminded them all about brainstorming and keywords and skimming and scanning in a fun way that made them laugh and share ideas and work well together while simultaneously ensuring that the concepts were well bedded in, and was content that they had understood the benefits.
On the second day, she challenged them to improve their note making abilities with a story of past times that made them ponder and ask questions, before outlining the numerous possibilities that they could choose to research, and was gratified to hear young voices share their enthusiasm for this work and how cool it was. And the class decided who to work with and what they would choose to research.
On the third day, she indicated that the class should brainstorm their choice of topic and think of some useful keywords before beginning their research so that everyone would know what they were supposed to be looking for. And she provided them with paper for this purpose.
And she explained to the class that half of each team could search on the computer, while the other half used the books. And then she asked all the pupils to return from the computer suite to complete those first tasks before beginning their research, like she had asked them to do only seconds before. And then she asked them to retrieve the paper that they had left at the computers.
And then she answered their questions and explained again about keywords.
Then the Motivated Librarian spoke to the pupils using the books and asked them to print out a list of resources from the catalogue to assist in their searching (having previously checked the entire LRC stock for the topics in question, researched and purchased additional useful material and spent hours adding relevant keywords for said investigations onto each catalogue entry).
And that’s where the fun really began, because the children, charming and intelligent as they were, were also determined to gather assistance from the Motivated Librarian, and asked lots and lots and lots of questions.
Charming Intelligent Child 1: Miss, I don’t think there’s any books on my topic
Motivated Librarian: But there’s five on the screen. What did you type in?
CIC1: I typed in ‘Scottish witches’, but there’s nothing here about witches
ML : But the books wouldn’t have appeared otherwise.
CIC1: But none of the books are called ‘Scottish witches’
ML: But they don’t need to have witches in the title to include information about witches. This one here is called Scottish mysteries. That should include lots of weird stuff, including witches. See, look at the keywords.
CIC1 (points to the cover image on the screen): But that picture doesn’t look like it’s about witches. It looks like it’s about ghosts.
ML: But you can’t guess the contents of the book from the front cover.
And eventually the Motivated Librarian persuaded him that the books on the screen were useful, by taking the Charming Intelligent Child to the shelves and showing him the chapter on witches inside the book. And she explained about keywords again and he was happy and went away to read.
Then the Motivated Librarian was approached by a second Charming Intelligent Child.
CIC2: Miss, I just thought you should know there’s a mistake
CIC2: On the catalogue
ML: What sort of mistake?
CIC2: It’s got two books at the same number
ML: But that’s ok. Remember I explained that the class number refers to the subject, so you can have lots of books at the same number.
CIC2: So you can have lots of books with the same number?
And the Charming Intelligent Child was somewhat bemused but accepted the explanation of the Motivated Librarian, who grabbed a second to fix the printer before enquiring if she could assist a third Charming Intelligent Child who was sitting looking glumly at the computer screen before him.
CIC3: There’s nothing on Sawney Bean
ML: Did you get a book list from the catalogue?
CIC3: Yes (and shows it). There’s nothing there.
ML: What about this one, ‘The cannibal family of Sawney Bean’
CIC3: But I don’t need to know about his family
And the Motivated Librarian reassured him that there would indeed be useful information about Mr Bean Senior in the book and helped him to retrieve it, only to intercept Charming Intelligent Child 4, wandering amongst the shelves. And the CIC sighed that he could not locate any books with numbers on them, so the Motivated Librarian showed him that his book list told him to look in Non-fiction and pointed out the signs saying Non-fiction.
And then Motivated Librarian ushered the Charming Intelligent Child in the correct direction, uniting him with a useful book before bumping into walking pile of twelve books. The Motivated Librarian suggested to the CIC behind the books that she could only read one book at a time, but the Charming Intelligent Child replied that she had just spent half an hour finding them so could she not look at them now … please?
And the Motivated Librarian allowed her to take three books, which remained firmly closed until the bell went five minutes later.
And the Charming Intelligent Children returned the books to the shelves, as a kindness to the Motivated Librarian, rather than leaving them on the desk as she had requested, which meant another half hour reordering them for the next class who would be expecting to find them in the right places the following day.
And then she retrieved the discarded printouts from the catalogue so that the Charming Intelligent Pupils would not have to recreate them on their next visit.
Finally the weary Motivated Librarian evaluated the lesson, wrote a short report and made some amendments to plans for future research lessons.