Teacher-Librarian Beth Campbell on the Power of Student-Led Thinking

As a full-time education consultant, Allison Zmuda works with educators to grow ideas on how to make learning for students challenging, possible and worthy of the attempt. Over the past 19 years, Zmuda has shared curricular, assessment, and instructional ideas, shown illustrative examples, and offered practical strategies of how to get started.

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Beth Campbell has been inspiring a culture of readers in her school communities for 39 years. As a teacher-librarian in Bettendorf, Iowa, she invites others to collaborate with her in developing authentic experiences for students.

I’m excited to share my interview with Beth, broken into three episodes:


In the first episode, we talk about how her 5th grade students wanted to support young students in their building to inspire them to read. Connecting the head and the heart is a crucial component of a Culture of Readers.


Book Reviews

In the second episode, we talk about how significant it is for students to share their perspective on books that moved them AND how helpful it is to authors to have relatable and compelling book reviews. Not to mention it is a wonderful way for teachers of writing to focus on clear and creative summaries.


PBL Experiences

In the final episode, Beth shares two extraordinary experiences for her students that were made possible by her collaboration with Aaron Maurer (consultant @aaronmaureredu) and Sarah Vice (6th Grade Teacher @MrsVice1).

  • The NASA project focused on survival ( Past, Present and Future) for life on the Moon and Mars and involved experts from NASA and PBS sharing expertise with students as well as reviewing and reflecting on student work.
  • The graphic novel project focused on illustrating a Holocaust survivor story with compassion and attention to detail. This process included networking with multiple experts, including the author (having recently fled from Ukraine) to professional graphic artists from Marvel and DC Comics, who have helped hone the artistic experience.


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