Jessica Suggs, Library Media Specialist
Dorchester County Public Schools
Shake Hands: Bringing CS Into the School Library
The students in Ms. Suggs’ Library Media classes did more than just read Meg Medina's 2021-22 Black Eyed Susan Award-nominated book 'Eveyln Del Rey is Moving Away'. They, like the characters in the story, created secret handshakes- but the process was not a haphazard one. Students used computational thinking skills and processes to accomplish the task (see Ms. Suggs’ lesson plan, which includes adaptations for all grades, PK-5.)
What did the students think? “The kids LOVED it,” said Suggs. "They worked hard together to decide which elements to include, checked their written algorithm while they were practicing, and did a really good job of explaining to their classmates what was confusing in other pairs' algorithms. Younger grades struggled with the concept of the loop, but that’s because we haven't done any coding yet and they were so excited about the activity that they just jumped right in!”
Jessica Suggs has been a Library Media Specialist for 24 years, the last 10 of them in Dorchester County Maryland. She is a product of the Montgomery County Public School system, and was part of the first graduating class of the Communication Arts Program at Montgomery Blair. In addition to teaching PK through 8th graders in the library, she teaches Project Lead the Way Gateway classes (Design & Modeling, Energy & Environment, and Automation & Robotics) for the 7th graders at her school. Jessica is one of a number of School Library Media specialists who are also responsible for Computer Science. She and the others in the School Library Media-Computer Science professional development workshop find innovative ways to cover School Library, Digital Literacy, and Computer Science standards in lessons that are meaningful and engaging for students.