Three Easy Ways for Teacher Librarians to Get Started with

Spread the love
Share the love! is a robust suite of tools with a single goal: to save educators time and energy so that they can focus on teaching and learning. But with more than 50 different tools to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start, especially for librarians, who are called on to support across all content areas.

To help you get started, I’ve picked my top three tools for teacher librarians.

Once you’ve created your free account and looked over the list of tools, you’ll start to understand how MagicSchool can feel overwhelming at first, which is why we’re starting simple.

Teacher Librarian Tool 1: Standards Unpacker

Since teacher librarians support students and teachers in all grade levels and content areas, they are often unfamiliar with specific content standards. This tool helps make sense of specific standards by breaking them down into their key components and suggesting activities and assessments that you could use to teach that standard. This would be a helpful tool for planning library lessons that align with classroom instruction. At the end of each response MagicSchool generates, there are additional question prompts that you can use to get more information or help. After using the Standards Unpacker for a 3rd grade social studies standard, I was able to ask for a list of books that might align with that standard.

Teacher Librarian Tool 2: Class Newsletter

Class Newsletter generates a text-based update that librarians could send to parents, classroom teachers, or their school administrator to share activities and announcements. It’s nothing too fancy, but it does add just enough conversational language to a bulleted list to not make it feel like a list. If you mention a student or class winning a contest, for example, it adds an enthusiastic “Way to go!” message. Each newsletter I generated also included a paragraph at the end thanking the reader for their support, which I thought was a nice touch.

Teacher Librarian Tool 3: Email Responder

This is where MagicSchool really stood out for me as a potentially invaluable tool. The Email Responder is designed to read an incoming message and, using some guidance from you, write a polite, professional response. After taking a look at the Exemplar (find this on the top right side when you’re in a tool), I decided to give it a tough one: a (fictional) email from a parent angry about a book a child checked out. Schools and districts in many states are facing an increased number of book challenges, and an email like this one is often the first step to a formal challenge.

The result was polished, professional, and deferential, exactly the tone I would want for such a message, and included a paragraph on the importance of maintaining a diverse collection and how that might mean it includes books and topics that might not meet all families’ beliefs and preferences. It ended with a suggestion that parents and students access the library catalog together and find the books most appropriate for their child.

What I loved about using this tool was the mental and emotional energy it saved me. I definitely could have written a very similar response on my own, but it would have taken much longer, and having to carefully moderate my tone to maintain a collaborative relationship with the parent would have taken several drafts and at least one additional pair of eyes, just in case. MagicSchool wrote out something that just needed a few tweaks to be reply-ready.

Magic School Text

As with all AI tools, the responses generated by MagicSchool should be reviewed thoroughly before using them. Your own experience and expertise is still the most important part of creating materials for teaching and learning in your library. And like all web tools, the terms of use, cost, or availability of features changes regularly. At the time of this writing, all MagicSchool tools are completely free to use, and the company is committed to maintaining a free suite of tools even after their paid accounts roll out. Finally, tools are CIPPA and COPPA-compliant and will not sell or share any information from your prompts. However, you should never enter personally-identifiable information such as email or home addresses, usernames, student IDs, or passwords into an AI tool.

Are you using MagicSchool in your library? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!