Collaboration between teachers and librarians can happen for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes the path to collaboration is difficult to envision and time consuming to facilitate (though still really important!), and other times an opportunity presents itself that seems obvious and you wonder, why haven't I done this before?
Our sixth graders have read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry for many years and their English teacher decided they needed more background to fully understand the time period and some of the issues in the book. This immediately led me to part one of the collaboration where I attended a workshop about new books with this English teacher and then made some recommendations. She then selected Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine as a book pairing for their English curriculum.
The second part of the partnership involved designing a new cross curricular project. I teach an independent reading class to sixth graders where kids are encouraged to think about who they are as readers so that as they get older, they will become purposeful, self-sufficient book selectors. This was the perfect opportunity to talk about one strategy for successful readers: If you need more background information about something else you are studying, choose a related book to fill in the gaps in your knowledge.
In collaboration with the English teacher, we designed a project where kids will get to choose a book to read on their own and then draw a connection between Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry or Lions of Little Rock and their selected book.
Although they were welcome to make their own selections, I have been recommending some books to the sixth graders. Here's a sample of what I have suggested:
- Getting Away With Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case by Chris Crowe
- Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice by Phillip Hoose
- We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March by Cynthia Levinson
- Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
- Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge
- Courage Has No Color by Tanya Lee Stone
- Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration by Shelley Tougas
- Lunch-Box Dream by Tony Abbott
- A Thousand Never Evers by Shana Burg
- Mississippi Trial, 1955 by Chris Crowe
- Bud, Not Buddy/The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
- Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine
- No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Michaeux Nelson
- Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes
- Paperboy by Vince Vawter
- One Crazy Summer/PS Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia
- Crow by Barbara Wright
Building relationships is often the most important part of collaboration, so it's important not to overlook any meaningful chance to connect with other teachers. In the hunt for the perfect partnership, don't miss one that is right under your nose!