on information literacy in those wonder years…

Happy new school year, everyone!

Out here in in the far, far West, our school year starts rather early. As faculty, we ventured back from our various summer adventures on August 3rd and students arrived on campus for the start of the school year on August 10th.

High School Information Skills…

I spent the first 14 years of my career as a librarian in an exclusively “middle school” campus of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. I’m now in a library charged with developing library and information services for PK-12 students so there is a lot more breadth to the scope of my work. We are a progressive school that offers a wide variety of programming. Among other programs, students on campus can be enrolled in immersive visual and performing arts experiences in the Mid-Pacific School of the Arts; complete their frosh and sophomore high school years in a multidisciplinary, project-based learning curriculum designed so that learners “synthesize their knowledge of Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, Technology and Engineering through participation within a collaborative real world problem solving curriculum” called Mid-Pacific eXploratory [MPX]; and/or enroll in the International Baccalaureate Certificate program. Take my word for it, it is WONDERFUL and pretty AMAZING, but as a librarian that is a LOT of ground for a single school library program to cover! As a result, last year I worked almost exclusively on getting a handle on the context for information literacy instruction in the high school, then developing programming to begin to meet our identified needs.

This year, the plan is to return to my middle school roots and invest a significant amount of our time and energy into development of a robust middle school information program.

Returning to The Wonder Years… 

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Over the course of the past few years, our middle school curriculum has been rebuilt from the ground up. Grade level teams of teachers work collaboratively to develop curricular experiences that are interdisciplinary and project-based, and we are excited to be able to work with those grade level teams to assure that information skills and concepts are thoughtfully and robustly integrated into that experience.

Questions for all of you out there teaching an information curriculum in those Wonder Years is, “What do you teach? When do you teach it? How do you teach it?”

We have generated a working draft of the information concepts, skills, tools, and experiences that we think a student exiting the 8th grade should have experienced over a 3-year period. It is a draft and only a draft. We’d love to get some feedback and to hear about the kinds of things you are doing that we might want to explore as well.



  1. This list is intended to help us articulate the specifics of our information literacy aims and as such, does not attempt to address other programming efforts such as literature appreciation or broader digital literacy aims.
  2. An “I” indicates that a tool, skill, or concept is introduced with direct instruction. an “R” indicates that the project requirement(s) reinforce something that has been previously taught.

2 thoughts on “on information literacy in those wonder years…

  1. Hi Dave,
    Thank you so much for sharing this Information Literacy Map! Did you create this? I’d like to adapt it; it would be a great tool for planning what each grade level (that I cover) needs to know. Thanks again!
    – Selene

    • Hi Selene,
      This map is a modification of things applicable to my current teachers and students, based on a group-developed information literacy map that a number of SoCal librarians (AISL members and others) developed together a few years ago. I tend to take stuff and muck around with it so that it makes sense to me and what I’m doing in my work at the time. It’s what I’m using now, but I absolutely didn’t “create” it. Here is a link to a post on the process within which are links to some of the original process docs. http://aislnews.org/?p=902

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