Basketball is one of my favorite sports. When a player is having a really great day, he enters the “zone” where everything he learned from coaches, teammates, watching the NBA, and personal practice, mesh seamlessly. Focus is razor sharp. Confidence is supreme. He owns the game.
Recently, I had been “coaching” a seventh grade team as they wrote their own historical fiction short stories. The teacher and I were true partners. Students chose a historical time period of interest to them. They researched various elements of the story. What were the popular names in that time period? Where would the story be located and what would that place look like? How would the actions of the main character reflect the time period?
When it came time to actually write the entire story, the effectiveness of their preparation was tested. When a student struggled with how to get the character from point A to B on the plot line, a series of pointed questions helped them see what information was missing. Often it meant more research, but in this round, the research was focused and razor sharp. The story was personal now. The student made the decisions. He owned this game. He was in the zone.
As librarians, we don’t always get the opportunity to work with students on the synthesis piece. But in doing so, it informs our instruction and gives us the thrill of seeing our kids prosper.