On February 12, librarians from both the public and independent school communities came together for a rare opportunity to comingle and collaborate in a workshop focused on the newly-revised (2019) Empire State Information Fluency Continuum (ESIFC) This multi-faceted document identifies discrete research skills and helps enable collaboration between teachers (content specialists) and librarians. What’s new in the “New IFC?” The addition of Design Thinking; Multiple Literacies (e.g., visual and media); Social and Civic Responsibilities (e.g., diverse perspectives; digital citizenship) and Personal Growth and Agency (e.g., social/emotional growth, independent reading) to the standards.
The meeting, a joint collaboration between the New York City School Libriarians Association (NYCSLA) and the Hudson Valley Library Association (HVLA), was held in the library of the MLK Campus School, a recently-renovated library space/program that serves six co-located high schools (big thanks to librarian Teresa Tartaglione for hosting!).
Led by esteemed teacher-librarian Olga Nesi, we were treated to an informative and entertaining introduction to the ESIFC and its application. Following the presentation, participants in smaller groups were given a research scenario and asked which graphic organizer might be best suited (or adapted) for the task at hand.
A few takeaways from the presentation and ensuing discussion were:
- The Stripling Model of Inquiry (upon which the ESIFC based) is expressed by a diagram of cyclic arrows, indicating that research is a circular, rather than linear, process. School research assignments often skip over the critical phases of “Connect” (developing or connecting to background knowledge) and “Wonder” (formulating new questions), and go straight to “Investigate” (information gathering), rather than giving time to developing quesions. “Students should be reading informational text for questions not answers,” suggested our speaker.
- Though labeled “Assessments,” the graphic organizers are not for student evaluation; they’re designed to help students clarify and organize their thinking and teacher-librarians to identify teaching points. And because there is no “one-size-fits-all” model for construdcting notes, the graphic organizers are provided in Microsoft Word™ to allow for modification.
- Although assessments are labeled by grade level, they are not limited to those grades (a “Grade 2” assessment can be used for Grade 5 and vice versa).
Whatever curriculum or approach your school has adopted for research and inquiry, we hope that you can draw upon this expansive resource and make it your own.
Cheryl Wolf is a librarian at The Neighborhood School (PS 363) & Star Academy (PS 63) and is currently a vice-president of HVLA.