Learning in the Library!
Willows librarian Cathy Leverkus loves the fact that the library has enough table space to accommodate an entire class of students for research and project work. “I love incorporating art into the library lessons I teach,” she says. “We have ample space for all kinds of hands-on activities.”
This is no accident. From the very beginning, Cathy explains, her passion has been to ensure that Willows students have the library and research skills necessary to be successful learners.
This process, called the I-Search, has become an integral part of learning at every grade level at The Willows. Cathy explains the principle behind the I-Search, which focuses on the student’s own questions about a topic (hence, the “I” in the title):
“With the I-Search, the first step for the student is to identify the specific questions that he or she has about the topic. Then, the student seeks out resources to answer those questions, with a focus on evaluating the resources themselves: Are they credible? Are they useful? Are they relevant?”
An additional step of the I-Search involves taking the time to reflect on the research process as a whole: What did the student learn about the topic? Also, what did he or she learn from the process?
“Our main goal,” says Cathy, “is for the research process to be meaningful. The I-Search can be a powerful tool for feeding students’ passion for learning.”