If you’ve already established your mentor school placement, now it is time to consider your 30 hours at an alternative level. Is there a school that you can visit throughout the semester where you can observe, learn, and reflect? Are there activities you can attend in order to gain a greater understanding of working in different grade level programs? Here are some ways in which you can fulfill your 30 hour requirement:
- Plan to visit a school (or several schools) at another level in order to consider the ways in which elementary and secondary levels are both similar and different. How are these libraries organized differently in order to meet the needs of their communities?
- While at the school you may want to ask the librarian for a tour of the school and have a discussion about school policies, philosophy, and rules.
- Ask what practices in library management, organization, and teaching have been most effective.
- Assist in long-term and short-term project and lesson planning. Offer to help curate sources for an upcoming research project or interview students about their favorite genres. Offering service to the library will get you involved in the culture of the library and it will also benefit the library you are visiting.
- Attend professional development activities relevant for librarians at a variety of grade levels. Do the librarians in your district meet for vertical planning? Is there a technology, library, or education conference you can attend? EdCamp? Google event? Twitter chat? Webinar? Author expo? Be creative and take these opportunities to meet other librarians and learn from them. A lot of these events take place in the afternoons, evenings, and on weekends.
- If you are working at a school, consider hosting a regional school library round table for a day. You can work with the NHSLMA to promote it and Pam Harland at PSU can help you to facilitate the event.
Your practicum is a culminating activity in your certification process. Be creative in how you learn from this opportunity.