Building Instructional Partnerships

A Wedge of the Future Ready Librarian Framework

What is an instructional partner?

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Why should we build instructional partnerships?

  • library programming is much more effective
  • coming to the library becomes more meaningful to both students and teachers
  • students and teachers have access to a wealth of opportunities, resources, and technology
  • teachers have access to a digital literacy expert and the librarian has access to a content area teacher to help understand the curricular needs of different subjects in the school
  • shared thinking, planning, and creation
  • two minds are always better than one!
  • results in more enthusiastic learners and often times, more authentic learning experiences

Successful Components of Instructional Partnerships

  • TRAINING
  • TIME
  • TRUST
  • TEAMWORK

How can you start building instructional partnerships?

  1. Start small: Building relationships takes time so this will not happen over night. Start with one teacher or one grade level.
  2. Respect the teacher's time: Talk with the teacher(s) when they bring their classes to the library about collaborating with you, or send them an email with a plan already in mind. Everyone's time is precious!
  3. Don't be afraid to say something: If you don't speak up about what you can do for teachers and students, many teachers will not know collaborating and/or coteaching is an option. Stand loud and proud! Beginning of the year faculty meetings or newsletters help with this. (Check out my beginning of the year Smore for an example)
  4. Say thank you: Say thank you to the teacher that collaborated with you and do it again when you're in the teacher's lounge, the lunch room, or when they are around other teachers. You'll be surprised when another collaborative opportunity arises because of that.

Ways to Put Collaboration into Action

  • Ask to teach a mini-lesson on a new technology tool or device (ex: "We just got this really neat app for the iPads, ..... Can I show it to you and your students next week?")
  • Offer to teach students how to use the online resources from the library like Destiny Collections or PebbleGo.
  • Share your expertise! Maybe it's Breakouts, Google, Microsoft, Skype...Whatever it is, bring it up to share.
  • Create collaborative boards on Pinterest.
  • Create Destiny Collections (or something similar) for different standards or subject areas.
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But my principal will never let me do this...

I see you. I hear you. I've been there. Share the national guidelines from AASL and the Future Ready Librarian Framework.


Be passionate about your goals!


Document the data and your projects.


Always go back to what is best for the students and how it can help the school improvement plan or district plan.


Be a rebel!

Collaborative Lesson Ideas

  • International Dot Day with the art teacher
  • Ada's Violin with the music teacher
  • Pay attention to the curriculum map/guide for the year to plan ahead for research/inquiry projects
  • MakerSpace or STEAM lessons
  • Create Google Classrooms for each grade level
  • Teach mini-lessons or projects on citing sources and bibliographies
  • Mystery Skypes
  • Big ticket holidays you can tie literacy/technology into (ex: creating Augmented Reality pumpkins for Halloween/Fall in art class)

Martha Bongiorno, library media specialist

This will be my 2nd year at RHES and my ninth in education. My husband and I have two spunky children, Izzy (7) and Aris (2). Our family can often be found outside hiking around the coastal trails or fostering a love of all things nerd in our children by adventuring to historical places, festivals, or DragonCon. Before coming to RHES, my focus was in designing and integrating STEAM education into social studies and language arts right outside of Athens, Georgia and laying the ground work for the first STEM program at Arthur Williams Middle School in Jesup, Georgia. I firmly believe the library is the center of the school in which knowledge and understanding is constructed from not just books, but from each other and asking questions. When you visit the library, you will often hear classical Led Zeppelin playing and rarely will you find me "shhhing" students in our library. I am available to collaborate on projects and lessons, find resources, research, find the perfect book, and lend a hand or two to fix the random tech issues which arise when we least want them to.


I hold a Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education, a Master of Science in Learning, Design, and Technology from the University of Georgia, and my Ed.S. in Instructional Technology from the University of Georgia.