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Special Interest Group Archive: High School to College Transition 04/26/2018

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

Notes from the meeting

  • “The Soul-Crushing College Essay” NYTimes Piece  Students don’t have a voice yet, because they’re taught not to insert themselves or use the first person in writing. They feel excluded from the process.
  • The comments section online talked about the importance of revision. Students don’t always have the opportunity to take the time to do that. Some professors offer the chance to revise after the fact if the student gets a bad grade, but a lot of students don’t take advantage.
  • Some colleges have professors who require draft copies and the librarians get to help during the process. They get a chance to use the library to the full potential.
  • There’s an assumption that the students come to college knowing how to write, but part of the process is that they are there to learn.
  • High schools focus on research – with a question and a formal process. Is there more focus on being creative in writing when they get to college? High school still feels very regimented. Academic librarians say that it might depend on the discipline and how the faculty approaches the project. There’s still a “standard research paper” format in most classes.
  • There’s a college-level class at the high school through Goshen, and the writing is focused on composition and argument. Also no use of first person or creative writing, or anything personal. The writing is all source-based.
  • Students engage in assignments when there is a personal bent to them, like when students get to pick a movie on their own.
  • The students have to take tests and the requirements are to have supportive arguments. In middle school, they learn the exact structure of an essay, and it deflates their joy of writing.
  • High school history departments don’t hold the students accountable for bad grammar, redundancies, or other problems when it comes to regents exams.
  • The assignments from teachers are not as structured as the state exams, and they are quite rigorous, often requiring support from the library.
  • is going out of business, so everyone has to learn Noodle Tools or another kind of citation tool. The databases have the citation tools on the side, although they’re not always right. Some would prefer to use Zotero because it’s the easiest.
  • One person has a bulletin board to show what good citations look like, and a wall of shame for really lousy citations in the database to have some fun with how bad they are. It encourages students to come to her when they find bad ones.
  • It’s still tough for high school students to know what is a good source. Databases help with that, but they often need to search beyond those databases.
  • Instead of just talking about good sources, you can talk about the intended audience. If students know who they are writing for, they might chose better resources.

  • Collaborative writing – it happens all the time in the professional field, like you see in every peer-reviewed article. So it would make sense to try to get students to learn that skills. Problem – the teacher wants to know how to assess the paper, which is frustrating because it always comes back to assessment. Google Drive fixes this problem because you can see all the revision history.
  • There is other collaborative work that isn’t just research papers, like presentations. But that doesn’t help them pass the regents exams, where there is no presentation portion or collaborative work.
  • Is there a way to apply standardized test writing to a group project?
  • Anne has research about courses on information literacy as a class. Are the classes like an annotated bibliography on steroids, or are they actually supporting the learning?
  • Students are taught to hit the rubric and make the grade, not to teach note-taking, revision, or close reading. Then in higher ed, there isn’t a rubric, so how do students know what to do when they don’t have one? And even rubrics are subjective, as to what teachers think superior writing is, for instance.

  • Embedded librarianship can work at the high school level. Librarians can be added to the Google Classroom, which is one way to keep on task with what the class is doing.

  • Notes from HS to College Transition SIG
  • Discussion ensued regarding librarian/faculty collaborations in assignment development. Some examples were shared of both successful and unsuccessful collaborations:
  • Example 1: working with a special education teacher to develop a sequence of instruction including evaluating resources, use of databases, and the research and writing process, culminating in a short writing assignment.
  • Example 2: One librarian shared how she was inspired by The Embedded Librarian and attempted to incorporate elements of this in a course. She worked with a social studies teacher to develop a final project together which required a meeting with a librarian. The required visit worked very well.
  • Example 3: ELA department and librarian collaborated on an assignment that required a visit with a librarian at different points in the research process. This requirement has helped students see the purpose of the library.
  • Example 4: Flash Fiction – first day students were presented with examples, the next day they had time to write their own flash fiction, and day three they presented
  • Example 5: A librarian worked with a professor to get out of the classroom. She made videos for the students to watch and created a libraryguide. Now her visit is focused less on showing and more with directly assisting students with their research.

  • Attendees began discussing embedded librarianship and different models.
  • It was agreed that an Outreach Librarian position is important for a number of reasons. One important initiative they could pursue would be building relationships with high schools to help build skills and develop relationships with high school students.
  • A universal challenge to instruction is that some students may see you a number of times and some students may not see a librarian at all.
  • The group shared some strategies for educating teachers on information literacy and library resources. Librarians will be asked or will offer refreshers during curriculum planning, faculty development meetings, EDcamp, conferences and new teacher orientations. Indirectly, teachers are given instruction while the librarian presents to their students.
  • A librarian shared a successful workshop her organization held on embedded librarian instruction. Librarians and faculty partnered to present different models of embedded librarianship to faculty. The testimonials from the faculty stated that student writing improved after a librarian was embedded in their classroom.
  • Discussion then turned to citations. How critically citations are graded varies among both teachers and college faculty. Two good citation mangers include zotero and mendeley. The group agreed that open access journals in particular, but electronic resources in general, should include a “cite this” button.


This meeting was held onThursday, April 26 from 1pm-4pm.

The convener was Lara Patel from SUNY Orange


Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065