Exemplary teacher-school librarian collaboration wins AASL award

Contact: Melissa Jacobsen

AASL Communications Specialist

(312) 280-4381



For Immediate Release

May 4, 2010

CHICAGO – The project "Listen My Children and You Shall Hear…The 18th Century Project: Inquiry, Collaboration, and a Social Studies Year," the creation of school librarian Marilyn Rothberg and her teacher collaborator, Barbara Masters, is the recipient of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Collaborative School Library Media Award. The team is part of the staff at General Wayne Elementary in Malvern, Pa.

"The subcommittee came to unanimous agreement that ‘The 18th Century Project’ describes a program that is truly exceptional," said Kathleen McBroom, chair of the Collaborative School Library Media Award Subcommittee. "This innovative project effectively combines elements of inquiry, literature exploration, research methodology, technology integration, writing and creative generation."

Through the collaborative project, fifth-grade students used an inquiry-based model of research to produce a poetic biography of an 18th-century American, wrote journal entries that showed their understanding of events leading up to and including the Revolutionary War and presented a unique story from the person's life.

Kasey Bryan, a fifth-grade student in Masters’ class, wrote of the project, "This project is the biggest, longest and hardest project I have ever worked on. But now I feel different. I feel like this project is getting easier and that I can take on any challenge. Mrs. Masters and Mrs. Rothberg are very smart and challenge us daily."

The process that Rothberg and Masters used to create their project supports AASL's "Standards for the 21st-Century Learner." The success of the program has led other fifth-grade classes at General Wayne to adopt the project. Rothberg and Masters have been invited to present the collaborative project at the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association's annual conference, at a summer institute for teachers, at neighboring school's teacher in-services and at the National State Teacher of the Year – Pennsylvania's Fall Forum's Best Practices session.

"That interest in the project has grown beyond the initial one-classroom scenario to state and national level is further testimony to the value, relevancy and sustainability of the project," said McBroom.

Sponsored by Highsmith, the $2,500 award recognizes and encourages collaboration and partnerships between school librarians and teachers in meeting goals outlined in "Standards for the 21st-Century Learner" through joint planning of a program, unit or event in support of the curriculum and using media center resources.

The American Association of School Librarians,
www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.