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SJCS Perspectives

Living in an Informational World!

February 1, 2017

It’s all around us; invading our thoughts, our conversations, even our precious hours of sleep: INFORMATION! Whether it be in print, multimedia, on the computer or on the radio, information is a constant in all of our lives. And though, as adults, we might try in vain to stop the bombardment of information, kids crave it! The continual questions, the nagging “but why?”… it seems kids can never get enough!

One place where information abounds and questions are encouraged is the SJCS library! After undergoing some intense renovation this past summer, the space emerged as a place not just for reading information, but for learning how, where, and why to access answers kids so desperately seek. Yes, of course, there are the standard areas for fiction and classics and favorite Hebrew stories. However, one of the new and exciting places is the INFORMATION ROOM, where all the non-fiction books can be found. From Guinness Books of World Records, to dinosaurs, to Hebrew reference books and even biographies, the shelves are chocked full of information.

When the students arrive for their classroom library time, we start briefly with a lesson: Maybe on a specific genre, author, or subject matter. However, one of the most revered parts of the 15 minute lesson are the trivia questions. Sometimes it’s things they may have learned that day, but sometimes it’s things they need to look up! That’s when it really gets exciting; do we need a dictionary? A thesaurus? a reference book? Sometimes the questions are so fun and obscure, the students don’t even realize they are learning and using their skills all at the same time!

Digital Citizenship is another new informational piece incorporated into library time. If there is anywhere where information runs rampant, it’s the internet and technology. Based on the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship, our lessons help students understand the importance of being smart, honest, and safe while using technology. The lessons range from hands-on to cooperative learning activities. In the upper grades we especially focus on research and what makes a reliable source. In the era of “fake news”, this is especially important; to be informed in a true and honest way. The students are then encouraged to share the information they’ve learned with their parents, as home is often where technology is used the most.

We cannot escape the constant barrage of information, though at some points we might want to. At SJCS, we encourage our students to seek and find information, in a responsible and honest way. Our pathway to digital citizenship and our organized, user-friendly library, have made finding information fun, challenging, and important.

Beth Schustek, SJCS Science Teacher and Librarian