Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How I'm spending my summer vacation (beyond library work and classes)

I've been reading a few personal blogs lately, all about travel:  Lechi Lach ,  The Brown Cow and Adventures in Africa and I wonder if it's easier to create and keep up a blog that has a specific, limited time purpose.  If blogs were genres, all these would be "armchair travel" which I seldom read in book form.

I will be have to read a non-fiction book to complete the adult summer reading program at the Manitowoc Public Library.  I did win a prize in the first weekly drawing -- and I was surprised by how excited I was to get the email.  So, note the value of intermediate rewards.  I am turning in my other mysteries, but to get into the grand prize drawing, you have to read 5 books from five different genres.  I like the challenge.

It's finally a beautiful day, so I'm going to see how much professional reading I can get done at the beach.  I will have to go to the library this afternoon to 1. claim my prize  2.  see them paint the library red, white and blue  3. do more homework, both for school and for real life.

My colleagues and I are meeting tomorrow to decide on the five main purposes of the school librarian.  Here's ONE very rough draft.  What do you think?

Vision:  Library and Information Access for Students, Staff  and Community

1.     Information and Digital Literacy Instruction
2.    One on one instruction:  sharing excitement for research and enthusiasm for reading
3.    Acquisition of materials and informational tools
4.    Communication and Collaboration with all members of the learning community
5.    Provide opportunities for student engagement 

1.     Information and Digital Literacy Instruction
a.    Steps of the research process (Big 6)
b.    Evaluation of materials
c.    Respectful and Responsible use of information
d.    Media, print, and digital literacy skills
e.    Choosing literature and recreational reading
f.     Use of technology tools for creating products

2.      One on one instruction:  sharing excitement for research and enthusiasm for reading
a.    Reader’s advisory:  helping students & staff select books
b.    Reference:  helping students and  staff identify information and sources
c.    Coaching students and staff in the use of electronic resources, including library catalogs, databases, and search engines

3.    Acquisition of materials and informational tools
a.    Review the professional literature to select and purchase books, magazines, sound and video recordings, e-books and other materials based on district goals, curriculum, and in response to requests.
b.    Select and purchase databases in consultation with the faculty, after research and trial review.
c.    Suggest content for the District Website and provide content for each library’s website
d.    Identify articles, free Internet sites, applications and other materials for use by faculty and students in accordance with district goals
4.    Communication and Collaboration with all members of the learning community
a.    Work with teachers to design and implement curriculum related information literacy instruction
b.    Lead staff development classes
c.    Coach staff and students on projects and technology use
d.    Write articles for parent newsletters and school web sites on library and information literacy topics
e.    Facilitate cross-curricular lesson planning and discussion
f.     Suggest books and materials for special projects
g.    Serve on school wide and district committees

5.    Provide opportunities for student engagement
a.    Coach book discussion groups, battle of the books, and other literacy related activities
b.    Employ and train student helpers in the library
c.    Serve as coaches or mentors for school wide activities such as literacy night
d.    Provide opportunities for students to share their ideas and reviews of books  (bulletin boards, blogs)
e.    Celebrate book and technology related special events such as Teen Tech Week and National Poetry Month

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Trying to take the weekend off

I should be at the beach, but I'm online. . . I'm finding two online classes to be a lot to keep up with, especially when I'd rather be reading murder mysteries.  I am grateful to my friend Annie for giving me Still Life, the first in a series of mysteries by Louise Penny.  I just finished the third one, and I highly recommend them all,even if I spotted the murder in the 2nd early on.  The characters, the setting, and the infusion of philosophy and religion into the created world are excellent.  Check them out -- but do read them in order!

My Online Teaching class has been having an interesting discussion about social skills in online students and about the purpose of education -- what do you think the purpose of K-12 education, especially public education should be?

Point Beach State Park, WI


Friday, June 24, 2011

Texas Bluebonnets, Cameron Park, Waco, TX Spring 2011

Summer Vacation

I'm in the public library's quiet study room, hoping the library furniture so familiar from my undergraduate days will influence me to focus on my school work.  I've been here since the library opened at 9, and so far I have spent my first two hours doing work for my job -- sending emails, looking at a project a colleague and I worked on yesterday, and filling in my calendar for a vacation week in August that I'll be spending in my school district at classes, meetings, and working for student registration. 

I actually like continuing education, and I chose to devote this summer to a lot of it, both because there are things I think I need to know for my new job responsibilities and because I have decided to take the classes I need to renew my teaching certificate.

However, I would like to find some way for all the people whose objections to teachers seem to include those "summers off" to see my schedule.  Those "summers off" do include time at the beach and some recreational reading, but it's more like being laid off for two months -- but you still have to go to work AND pay tuition to go back to school. 

I actually think that we should look at different school year models -- even when I taught in a rural community with  many working farmers among my students, I didn't think the 19th Century calendar was working for us.  However, I would expect to be paid for working those extra weeks, and I would want to have the four or five weeks of vacation I enjoyed in other professional level positions.  [I think everyone should have more vacation, but that's another story].

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how we can communicate to our friends, neighbors, politicians, and community that schools have changed since they were in second grade, and that the student's perspective on what a teacher does and how they work is not the whole story?  I do think there is a need for serious school reform, and to look at lots of other possibilities for education -- but seeing something done is not the same as knowing how it is done or being able to do it.  I watch a lot of NASCAR racing, but I wouldn't drive 200 miles an hour.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Calling for more media literacy: Who will teach it?

I just read Why Core Standards Must Embrace Media Literacy from Education Week.  This is a good article on the need for media literacy and information literacy instruction.  I agree, and find it problematic that it seems to fly in the face of school districts eliminating or cutting the hours of school librarians.  The common core standards actually align fairly well with the AASL Standards and the ISTE Standards.  Information literacy and 21st Century learning is what teacher librarians teach.  We've been doing it for a long time, constantly adapting to new technology and new ways of learning.  However, when positions are cut or eliminated, we don't have the opportunity to interact with students and faculty, and it is difficult to maintain these standards.   

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Same blog, new graduate class

Borrowed the title from my nephew's blog The Brown Cow where he is narrating his second experience with going to school in Germany and titled his first post, "same blog, different year."
I started this blog for a graduate class several years ago, and have kept it up only sporadically since then, but now am required to blog once again.
Information literacy instruction, the role of librarians in the school system, and relevant research and tools remain my professional interests.
These have been eclipsed since February of this year by the political events in Wisconsin, though I don't know how much I should say about what I think about politics and education reform.  Continued warnings by both school officials and my union on the dangers of publishing on social media has created a chilling effect  in terms of what I feel comfortable discussing. 
Let's begin with the impact school libraries have on student learning.  The key study is the Colorado Study, first done  in 1993, and repeated both in Colorado and in many other states.  The most important finding was that, in schools that had a FULL TIME, CERTIFIED School Librarian who was seen as a teacher and actively involved in teaching, the students showed an increase in test scores, especially in reading and literacy.  Since that study, and the implementation of the "No Child Left Behind" legislation, which is supposed to be research based, we've seen a steady decline in the number of librarians in our schools.  I find it frustrating, but will be looking for more research and posting some of what I find here.

Fortune Cookie

Information is not knowledge.
Knowledge is not wisdom.
Wisdom is not truth.
Truth is not beauty.
Beauty is not love.
Love is not music.
Music is the best.
Frank Zappa