Library Tour: a reflection

4 days. 11 librarians. 7 libraries.

pile of books

Pile of books at our State Library

Last week I was off gallivanting round the various libraries in my city.  This was done as part of my Masters course and was perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of the entire course because I got the opportunity to learn about other libraries outside my bubble of the secondary school library. It was a very refreshing experience.

Where did we go? Whilst I won’t name the libraries, I will say we went to some public  law , government and, academic libraries.  What was interesting was realising that regardless of sector we must be visible, flexible, innovative and approachable.

Whilst all libraries were of value, I found the academic and public libraries the most interesting.  The academic library piqued my interest because it is an area I would consider moving to. I’m interested in the relationship the librarians have with the academic staff and the students as well as the different user education that occurs.  Just how similar is it to a secondary school library?

The public library illustrated the role it plays within the community, something I had not considered, despite being a member of my local library I tend to run in grab my book and run out . I’ve come to realise that the public library is the heart and soul of a community. We talk about libraries being a safe haven at schools, for students who feel isolated and I’ve come to realise that the public library fulfils a similar role. It’s a place to connect, relax and learn. Even if you cannot physically come into the library there is often a home delivery service run by volunteers.

In short this tour has simply affirmed my decision to move into libraries, an industry where I can make an impact.

 

Penguin Random House Teachers’ Catalogue

Thanks to Sue for drawing my attention to this fantastic resource from Penguin Random House!

Just So Stories

The amazing and oh so knowledgeable folk at PRH have produced this super catalogue for teachers and teacher-librarians. Stuffed to the gills with the most marvellous information, books, teaching ideas, activities, author insights and more.

This is like poring over the best book porn ever really. Divided into sections for ease of reference it includes feature articles, suggestions for Stages, DK books and curriculum resources. Of course, because these are BOOK people there is an index to help easily locate the desired item.

The very best thing you ask? It’s free!! Simply sign up to the Penguin Random House newsletter at penguin.com.au/teachers and get your copy! You won’t regret it because there is a wealth of sharing here.  Get yours now – meanwhile, I’m off to peruse and sticky note pages or circle book covers or even – OH NO! – dog ear pages!

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Nuggets of brilliance

Search

Sometimes teaching can feel like an uphill struggle, but every now and then we are rewarded with a little nugget of brilliance. This came to me last week in the form of a Year 7 class.

Working as a TL, I am constantly trying to find new ways to promote the library and what we do.  In the age of Google, it can sometimes be rather frustrating when both staff and student alike say that they don’t our help because they can “Google it”. Usually when I hear that classes are researching I cringe, because it often means just googling it and using the first page that comes up Wikipedia.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s merit in both of these sites, but there is even more merit in learning how to research effectively.

Last Wednesday I had been asked to run a short session for a Year 7 debating class on researching, focussing mainly on where to find information.  I gave them a worksheet to help them create a list of search terms, and reminded them of the importance of a keyword search before moving on to talk about where we could find information. Here is a shortened version of the conversation/ nugget of brilliance that followed:

‘So,  you’re ready to begin searching what now?’

‘We see if there’s a LibGuide’ said one student

‘Fantastic!, I yelled, ‘ But, we haven’t set up a LibGuide’ I had barely finished when..

‘Well, we can go to the online resources and have a look at LinksPlus or Issues in Society’ said another student.

‘Yes!!’ At this stage, I was beside myself, because for the first time, since I started working at this school, I did not need to remind them of our fantastic resources.

I was so impressed with them, this is the first year group who have really grasped the importance of finding reliable information.

I should point out that I do teach my students to use Google, but because there can be a lot of white noise ( irrelevant, unreliable sources) I find that teaching them about our resources first is valuable and reinforces the need to critically evaluate the resources that they are using.

Laptops: Friend or Foe [Revisited]

I recently attended a PD called Making Thinking Visible, it was fantastic. So often, we go to PD sessions and whilst they may be interesting, we leave feeling like we didn’t really gain anything new. This was different.  I left feeling inspired and excited about what I could do in my classroom (standby for a post on this soon). But, it also got me thinking about our use of technology in the classroom and I was reminded about a post I wrote for my Uni blog last year. It was in response to a news article I’d read and as we were in our first year of BYOD I found it thought provoking:

(Original blog posted on my Uni blog May 19, 2016.)

Recently, in the media there has been a lot of talk about the use of laptops within schools, this has promoted a healthy debate about the implementation of laptops in to the classroom and how this can impact both negatively and positively on the teaching and learning process.

The article that sparked the debate was published in The Australian on March 26, 2016- Computers in class ‘a scandalous waste’: Sydney Grammar head.   This article offers a different view on technology, and whilst there are some valid points made I do think that it is still essential to consider the needs of the 21st C learner.  Dr. Vallance goes on to say that “one of the most powerful tools in education is conversation” and I couldn’t agree more. reflecting back on my years as an English teacher, some of the most educationally valuable lessons were those fuelled by conversation, debate and questioning we didn’t use a laptop for this.

As the world changes, so does the way we teach and the way we learn. Surely there is a need, like anything for balance, we just need to be aware of our digital diet.

We are now our second year of being a BYOD school, and many staff have made the transition from paper to online, myself included. Whilst there are a multitude of pros and cons in the argument for paper vs digital,  I think having laptops in the classroom does create a wealth of opportunity and is ultimately a good thing.

Recently, however, I’ve noticed that students are becoming increasingly distracted by their device and they always want to Google the answer instead of thinking about it  first. Now, there is nothing wrong with Google. Google is great. Google can help us find answers to our questions, but Google (at times) is stopping my students from thinking for themselves.

In one of my lessons last week I introduced the See, Think Wonder routine, which I was introduced to at the PD.  Students were asked to look at a specific photo from history and do the following:

  1. See: List everything they could see in the photo
  2. Think: Make statements about what they think could be going on in the photo
  3. Wonder: Make a list of questions they have about the photo

To stop the students from using Google, the image was projected on to the screen I didn’t want them doing a reverse image search and finishing out information about the photo before they had a chance to think about it yet, still they wanted to look it up. They have become used to this so-called safety net that Google provides.  What was interesting, was watching the students adapt to the expectations of the activity, and whilst they were unsure to start with,  they were able to pose interesting and thoughtful questions about the photo.

It ended up being a refreshing lesson, for myself and for the students, who were engaged and contributing to the class discussion more than usual, and it just goes to show that whilst there is merit in using technology in the classroom, there is sometimes greater benefits in going back to pen and paper and being aware of our digital diet.

Not a bad read, just not a good read…

Bad BehaviourBad Behaviour by Rebecca Starford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve made up my mind about this one, despite the fact that I’m not yet finished… The main ‘character’ Rebecca frustrates me. Perhaps I should be more sympathetic as she’s clearly struggling with her sexuality and therefore yearning to be accepted, but at times, she comes across as insipid. Not a bad read, just not a good read.

View all my reviews

Studying the Online Way

Hello

[Image taken from http://www.oyegraphics.com%5D ]

I said, ‘Hello’ to a new start as a uni student in my new city, Perth, a few weeks ago  and I didn’t think it had been that long since I was last at uni but a lot seems to have changed.

I’m doing some classes online this semester, which is a first, and I’m really enjoying it. I miss the face to face interaction but it’s kind of neat knowing that you are learning with a group of people scattered about the place.  I also like the freedom of when I study and where, tending to spend the days outside studying and listening to lectures.

Another thing I’m loving is the access to e-resources and the fact that so many textbooks are available online. I know that I’ve blogged about the this concept before, and my views were much keep the book and turn the page. I’m still very much a believer in the book, and will still choose a printed book over an e-book, but for textbooks it does make my life easier. I like the flexibility it brings, just like being able to choose where and when I study I get to choose the format of the text.

The only thing I really wonder about is if I’ve sat next to someone in my one and only internal, traditional, face to face lecture that I’ve conversed with at length on twitter or discussion boards. I wonder if switching from social media to real-life situations gets lost in translation.

 

Bread Alone

Book Crossing.

Read and Release at BookCrossing.com...

I had never heard of this until Sunday when I was out for walk with a friend and her dog when I found a book in one of the pavilions in the middle of the floor.

Lola- Book Detective

Lola- Book Detective

I picked it up and actually wondered who would just leave a book like that but I noticed the sticker the yellow sticker on the front of the book:

What is it? Book trading with strangers

What do you do? When you find a book registered log on…then read and release me….

I was a little unsure whether I could take the book, having never heard of Book Crossing, but we decided that it was ok to do, especially after we read the sticker on the inside of the book:

Making acquaintances

Making acquaintances

Bread Alone, the  book I found, is probably not one I’d pick up in a bookstore, but it does sound good and is perfect for a drizzly day like today.  So, I’m looking forward to starting it and then seeing how far it travels once I’ve released it back into the wild. 

This is such a cool concept, I love the idea of releasing a book into the wild and being able to see how far around the world it gets. I haven’t released a book yet, but I will and I’m pretty excited about it too! I wonder how many other people have heard of this and are actively involved?  

It would be really cool to get schools involved and have the students take a book with them when they go on a trip somewhere. If I was still working at a school I would definitely use this with the book club programme, anything to keep reading alive.  

So, from now on I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled because you never know when you might stumble up on a book…

Read and Release at BookCrossing.com...