Libraries are an essential community resource. Along with providing ample resources and access to information, they offer a safe, inviting space for people to learn more about themselves. Here at Hamlin Robinson, the library is a space where all students can explore and expand their personal interests. In library classes, students at every grade level have been spending time discovering personal strengths and passions.
Levels 1-3: Over the past few months, first, second, and third grade students participated in a variety of read alouds to consider an important question: what makes a good story? Students learned more about the necessity of story elements like character, setting, and a compelling problem. Third graders also learned about unseen story elements that require us to infer and make predictions.
To personalize this work, first and second graders used their knowledge of story elements to create their own comics, while third graders worked together to plan and record collective storytelling projects. These projects allowed students to apply their understanding of key story elements to a personal interest. As a result, their finished products were just as compelling and unique as the students themselves.
Levels 4-5: In the intermediate grades, students will spend the next trimester learning more about their personal reading preferences by studying a variety of genres and writing styles. Level 4 students will participate in a focused genre study on folktales and fairy tales, while level 5 students will learn more about the different genres of fiction.
This exploration of story types will allow students to reflect on their personal reading preferences: Which types of stories do I like the most? When I read a book, what ideas or themes am I most interested in? The ability to discern likes and dislikes, particularly in relation to reading, will support students' growth in the classroom and beyond.
Level 6: In sixth grade, students spent much of the first and second trimesters reflecting about themselves as learners. Specifically, they engaged with surveys about Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences. They explored the differences between auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning preferences, and how all people show their intelligence through different skills.
To process and showcase this newfound knowledge about themselves, students created "learning crests"—illustrated designs highlighting individual students' learning profiles in a coat-of-arms layout. The results were beautiful—as unique and creative as the kids who made them.
Level 7: In the second trimester, students began work on a note-taking unit to learn more about their personal learning preferences. Students got to try out different styles of note-taking (Cornell, visual, and outlining) and choose the one that best suited their learning style.
Each student will use their preferred note-taking strategy in an upcoming research project, the Musician Spotlight, where they will get to research and present a historical figure in the music world. In this project, students will not only apply self-reflection to choose a learning style best suited to their needs, but they will also get to explore a personal interest through their research.
Level 8: Our eighth graders just wrapped up a "Passion Project," where each student chose a topic of personal curiosity to research. The possibilities were limitless—from at-home beekeeping, to game strategy, to the history of pointe shoes—and students truly took advantage of the freedom of expression.
After months of compiling research, developing visually-striking slideshows, and preparing their presentations, students shared their topics with one another. It was a joy to see so many students investing time in a personal interest, and this type of self-directed learning will support them as they transition to high school next year.
In so many ways, libraries are an essential component of citizenship. At HRS, the library serves as a resource to help our students learn more about themselves. As students continue this path toward self-awareness—considering their strengths, their interests, their passions—they build more confidence to explore the world around them. If you have any questions about the library and its programs at Hamlin Robinson, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.