Saturday, January 15, 2011

Boots on the Ground: Breadcrumbs

Library subbing today.
The lesson plans asked me to show the students the new Destiny OPAC interface and point out the new features and accessibility of the system, while performing some sample searches.  Specifically, the librarian wanted me to point out the "breadcrumb navigation" at the top of the page and demonstrate how to use it.

Happily, this is not a lesson I have to prepare for too much as I have taught searching and OPAC usage too many times to count.  I always start by pointing out that they have to use their minds before they can use the computer. I am a sort of improv school librarian though so, today, when I arrived at the "breadcrumbs" moment, I asked the class why the navigation path might be called breadcrumbs. 


Now, these were 5th graders, always a tough audience, post-winter break.  I asked them if they had ever heard of a story where breadcrumbs were an important part of the plot. Bless them, in each class there was ONE student who suggested Hansel and Gretel. As I did not see the light bulb click-on in their faces, I launched into a quick retelling of the story, thinking I would just highlight the point of the story where the children are lost in the forest  and had to find their way back home.  As I talked though, I noticed that every child had swiveled away from the smart board and was watching and listening to me, eyes wide.

The power of story. A simple fairytale, a story most of them knew (although, I think this may have been the first time for a few of them) but they were completely immersed in the tale.   

I am quite sure that the concept of "breadcrumbs" is solidly in place in the minds of those fourth and fifth grade classes, now. 

Kendall Haven,"story-teller and story-engineer" has researched the way our brains process information and how we are hardwired to learn through stories. I attended his workshop at TLA last spring and it was an inspiration. 

Storytelling is teaching, teaching should be storytelling.


Kristen said...

What fun! :) Is it sad that I can't trust the subs in my district to teach library lessons so I have some back up library lesson tapes? Great story and must have made your day. :)

Camille said...

One of my assets as a librarian sub is being able to pick up their library lesson plans and go. Like you, most librarians in my district don't even get a sub if I'm not available. The downside is too great. I always end up doing their lessons "my way." I can't help myself.

This was fun because I'd never meshed storytelling and the library catalog before although even my standard delivery of this lesson is probably pretty ... different. It is the voices.

MotherReader said...

Sing it, sister! What a great way to connect to the class! I used to go in occasionally to read for my daughter's 4th, 5th, even 6th grade classes - long after the other parents had stopped. There were always stories to share and they (and I) loved it.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

That's fascinating! Lovely post:)

LitLass said...

Great post!

Our school librarian just cancels library time if she's out. I wish I could sub, but I'm just a volunteer.

Camille said...

I used to ask my volunteers to get on the sub list so they could sub for my aide (or me if they had a BA/BS.) It was a nice way to "payback" for their volunteer hours.

Debbie Diesen said...

What a great post! An important reminder of the role of storytelling in teaching. And thanks for the link to the Kendall Haven book - I'll definitely have to take a look at Story Proof.

Jennifer Morian Frye said...

"Storytelling is teaching, teaching should be storytelling." Brilliant. I think I want this on my tombstone.....someday in the distant future, hopefully. Awesome. Just another example where kids are never too old for a simple fairy tale. I firmly believe that kids don't get enough of them. Thanks, Camille. :)