Learning Plans & Activities
Authentic Learning in the Library and Beyond - Part II

In the second section of this four-part unit, learners will begin collaborating to design innovative ways to teach math strategies. They will have the opportunity to work with middle school math teachers and even Skype with a math specialist, if available.






Math specialists
College math professors


Students will begin to establish connections with people outside their classroom.

Students will use the memories of their math experiences and begin to design ways to teach middle school learners, creating new learning strategies.


Internet and computers
Paper (large)
Colored pencils


One class period


AASL National School Library Standards

III.B.2. Establishing connections with others to build on their own prior knowledge and create new knowledge.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Varies according to the areas that students choose to focus on.

Instructional Procedure

In this section of the unit, learners will talk to middle school math teachers about the areas they decided, based on their research, to focus on. The classroom teacher and/or librarian should make arrangements for this communication in advance.

Learners gather in the library in their groups and decide what questions need to be asked. It may be about strategies already tried or thoughts about manipulatives or games. When they have organized themselves, they will contact the teacher(s) in the pre-determined fashion (phone call, email, Skype, or Google Hangout).

After the call, learner groups discuss the conversation and finalize what math concept/issue they will pursue. With the teacher, talk with each group making sure no two groups are working on the same concept.

Provide resources to groups to help them brainstorm ideas (large paper and markers, laptops or tablets) so they can write, sketch, or outline their ideas. Before the end of the period, each group will submit their plan.

Learners fill out exit slip before they leave.


Either make sure groups are mixed with students who have varied levels of mathematical understanding or place learners in groups by ability. (This does take away student choice!)


Exit slip with the following questions: What new idea or thought did you gain today? How will you use this in creating your teaching plan?

Additional Resources

Drabble, Emily. "Six Creative Ideas for Practical Maths Lessons." The Guardian. November 26, 2013. https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/nov/26/maths-creative-ideas-practical-lessons.

"Girls + Math = More STEM Women." DreamBox Learning. November 25, 2015. http://www.dreambox.com/blog/girls-math-more-stem-women.

Kahoot https://kahoot.com/

Khan Academy https://www.khanacademy.org/

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/vlibrary.html

Other lesson plans in this unit:

About the Author

Liz Deskins, MA, currently serves as an instructor in the School of Information at Kent State University and has been a teacher-librarian for more than 25 years. She earned her master's degree from the Ohio State University and is coauthor of the books LGBTQAI+ Books for Children and Teens: Providing a Window for All (ALA Editions, 2018) and Linking Picture Book Biographies to National Content Standards: 200+ Lives to Explore (Libraries Unlimited, 2015). She has served in numerous leadership roles within both the Ohio Educational Library Media Association and the American Association of School Librarians.

MLA Citation Deskins, Liz. "Authentic Learning in the Library and Beyond - Part II." School Library Connection, May 2019, schoollibraryconnection.com/Home/Display/2207241.

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Entry ID: 2207241

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