Scotts Ridge Middle School project receives AASL Collaborative School Library Award

For Immediate Release
Tue, 03/20/2018


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)


CHICAGO – The “Human Body Systems” project from Scotts Ridge Middle School Library in Ridgefield, Connecticut, is the recipient of the 2018 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Collaborative School Library Award. Sponsored by Upstart, the $2,500 award recognizes school librarian and teacher collaboration during the development and implementation of a curriculum-supporting program using school library resources.

The “Human Body Systems” team included Janine Johnson, school librarian; Emily Shiller, library assistant; Kim Moran, technology integrator; and Charlsie Vanderrest and Kelly Hall, 7th grade science teachers. They collaborated on an extensive quarter-long unit exploring the muscular, skeletal, circulatory, respiratory, digestive and nervous systems. Anticipating the transition to the Next Generation Science Standards, the team wanted to move from a “one-body-system-at-a-time” approach in favor of a student-directed, phenomenon-based exploratory unit.

Students devised their own questions and managed their research by rotating through “sandbox activities” spread throughout the learning commons, classrooms and makerspace. Stations included traveling through the human body using virtual reality, 3D models, games and giant books. Students also rotated to stations where they looked at websites with 3D images. Lessons in the library included how to search databases, how to use advanced search filters, and how to take advantage of related resources. Students were also taught how to properly cite each source.

“’Human Body Systems’ presents a very detailed collaboration using a wide variety of resources and project choices,” said chair Terry Young on behalf of the award committee. “The collaboration focused on the AASL standards while integrating the Next Generation Science Standards. The team of library staff, science teachers and technology staff ensured that students experienced independent inquiry with the shift from ‘learning about’ to ‘figuring out.’ This project is easily replicable and can be manipulated to suit the needs and resources available in any school library.”

The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony & President’s Program during the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. The ceremony will be held from 9 a.m. – noon on Saturday, June 23. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event.

The American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.