Thinking about a “pathfinder” topic was particularly difficult for me. I have been teaching in my district for only one year. Last year, I taught 27 second-graders, but this year I graduated to the third grade. With 26 students, a couple of behaviorally-challenged children, and a new curriculum, finding a topic challenged me. I decided to simplify life focus on the third grade science curriculum and create a path to finding information regarding sound, sound travel, and sound waves.
So excited begin research and visit my all time favorite library, I planned ahead to visit The Des Plaines Public Library which is located a short walk from the Metra train line in Des Plaines. The adventure planned for a beautiful fall weekend changed with a simple call from Miss Mollie. Instead of visiting the not-so-local, but simple-train ride-away library, I’d set out to visit the Hope College’s Van Wylen Library three hours from home.
With little schema, formulating questions to attack this research began with basic help questions. I needed a starting point! Leigh, a Hope student sat alone at the reference desk. Hope student, was manning the reference desk. She smiled as we walked past, and searched our inquisitive faces as we approached the desk. Even though she monitored the desk solo, she clearly showed approachability as we slowly neared her. I explained why I was visiting her library, and she listened dutifully to my requests. After a few questions and answers, Leigh understood that I would be intentionally learning about sound to lead the creation of a website to guide teachers and students through a unit filled with lessons, text, videos, and other materials. asked where I might find books associated with learning about sound, technology that might guide learning and lessons, and journals which consider the implications of sound.
She proceeded to show me her computer screen which displayed the Hope College website. She walked me through the entire process of searching for items electronically. Her short, but clear and concise directions led me to e-books, books, journals, and kits stored in the library. Her explanation included the process which I’d follow for journal articles. I questioned the availability of the materials and locations. While I wouldn’t be utilizing these materials, I wanted to experience the “full service.” She led us around to different locations, including the kits available. Completely satisfied with her care, I asked for printed examples, and she complied. I exited the Van Wylen Library reference services thrilled at the exceptional service available.