On Monday I turned in my first research assignment, which was to create a fact sheet and toolkit for CPL children's librarians to use with new LEGO DUPLO kits. I also discussed with my site supervisor how best to use my time and complete the required number of hours.
LEGO is a well-known and well-loved children's brand, and they have lots of information available for parents, educators, and caregivers as well as for kids. I also read articles from journals and magazines about the importance of play, creativity, and structure in the development of children's skills like manual dexterity, problem-solving, and information retention. Hyperactive kids, for example, may be better able to focus on a lesson if they are allowed to move around during it; kinesthetic learners might gain more by manipulating objects while listening and then re-telling the story or concept in their own words. Librarians have begun to adapt to this learn/play model by incorporating toys during storytime. What's a good toy for a library? Probably not painting, dress-up, musical instruments, or a sand tray. Building blocks, however, are relatively contained and may encourage quieter, less messy play than those other -- perfectly valid and often beneficial -- forms of imaginative play.
In my research, I found a ready-made activity guide/toolkit from ReadBuildPlay, and I was approved to include it as-is. That considerably shortened the amount of time I needed to complete the assignment. On one hand, that left me more time for my other studies and for a trip to the public library to meet with a classmate from Research Methods (LIBR 285). However, it meant that my logged hours for teh two-week period didn't meet the average I was aiming for. Instead of 9 or 10 per week, I got 9 hours out of 2 weeks. (I know because I'm logging my hours in a Google Drive spreadsheet.) While it's okay to have a short week if you can make up for it later, it's a bad habit to get into -- and definitely not smart to do by accident. So after turning in my report (which was well-received), I asked my supervisor whether we could accelerate the frequency of the assignments -- that is, do one report per week instead of every other week. He was agreeable to that, so my next assignment (a bunch of booklists for different ages and themes) will be due next Monday. If I get done before then, or before deadlines going forward, I'll give him a heads-up and take on some more work to complete my hours.
End of Week 3: 11 hours of 135