"If you want to find your happy place, just go to the library." ~ Lizzie K. Foley, Author

Posts tagged ‘information literacy’

Dewey’s Classification System Explained

One of my co-workers sent me this cute PPT presentation today and I thought I’d share it.  It explains how Dewey came up with his classification system by thinking of himself as a caveman and how his view of the world around him would evolve.

DDS_caveman_new

I’m not sure who created the slideshow, but it’s great!  A big thanks to our anonymous benefactor.  Rex May did the cute cartoons.  And thank you to Amber for passing it along.  🙂

Ready for Programming to Begin…

Tomorrow is it.  October 1st.  The day all school-wide programs start at my school.  I’ve been dreading this since Day 1.

I don’t know what it’s like in other school libraries.  Quite honestly, when I was a classroom teacher, I didn’t usually stay with my class when they went to the library.  When I taught at Coats, I stayed a few times.   It was story-time and she used puppets.  Usually while she was working with the kids, I was in the professional loft gathering resources though.  I just watched as I did what I needed to do.  When I taught at W.T. Brown, classes didn’t go to the library — they only did checkout and it was flex so it wasn’t a “bring your class” thing — just a send the kids in pairs when/if they asked.  When I taught at Wayne Avenue, we had a fixed schedule and we dropped them off.  She did a worksheet-based lesson with them, then checkout.  And then at North Drive…  my assistant usually took them and dropped them off.  I think it, again, was just a story and/or a checkout.

Now that I’m the media coordinator, I have an entirely flex schedule…  With a few exceptions.  I teach reading to 2nd graders from 8:35-9:05 in the mornings, and in the afternoons I teach character education lessons to kindergarten.  We lost an assistant, and that same class lost a scheduled computer lab time, so to accommodate, I keep that class in my library’s computer lab one day a week for 30 minutes or so, allowing that teacher the opportunity to attend her grade-level planning meeting.  And I have 12 mentees that I work with.

I don’t mind doing any of this stuff.  I love working with the kids.  It just makes it hard for teachers to schedule time to come.  My blocks of time that are carved out seem to be the times they want the most.

And what about collaboration?  My teachers want to use the library as a drop-zone.  Ditch the kids and run!  I’ll get a teacher who wants me to work on a skill from time to time, but it’ll be, “What are you doing with my class today, cuz it would be great if you could give them a lesson on nuclear fission for me — I haven’t had a chance to touch on science this week.  Just read them a good informational book and we’ll call it done.”  Really?  Sorry, Hon.  If you want to plan something, I need notice.  If you didn’t give me a request when you signed up a week or two ago, then you’re getting the library skill or thematic story I planned for them, and a checkout.  And if you want them doing a PROJECT, you need to plan it WITH me.  It’s YOUR job to teach them this stuff.  It’s my job to kick it up a notch and make it interesting.

I’m excited about the mentees though.  I know all 12 of the kids.  A couple of them ride my last nerve…  But they’re all sweet (when they wanna be), and mean well (most of the time, at least).  A few are actually readers who’ll be glad about spending time every week with me.  Most won’t.  So, I want to do something interesting with them.  I want to teach them how to do things with the computers.  I want to teach them to blog.  I want to teach them to use animoto and photostory.  I can teach them to use the digital cameras and flip video cameras.  There are lots of things we can do to make their learning fun, and get them excited about coming to the library.  I’ll give them the chance to “show off” what they’ve done to their classmates when their classes come.  The kids love book trailers — they’ll be so excited to make them for books they’ve read and show them off to their friends.  🙂

So anyway…  it all starts tomorrow.  I’ve got 2 weeks’ of reading lesson plans done and the materials gathered.  I’ve got my first two weeks’ worth of character ed lessons lined up too.  Now to just keep up the pace for the rest of the year…  Only a hundred and how many days left till summer vacation?

The research proves our impact!

This is not my work, just something that was shared with me to pass along:

VERY important article by Keith Curry Lance and Linda Hofshine, School Library Journal, Sept 1, 2011:

“Something to Shout About: New research shows that more librarians means higher reading scores”

http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/slj/home/891612-312/something_to_shout_about_new.html.csp

Laying off librarians has a negative effect on fourth grade reading scores (2004 to 2009): “fewer librarians translated to lower performance—or a slower rise in scores—on standardized tests.” Most important, Lance and Hofshine present evidence showing that the negative effect was due specifically to laying off librarians, not overall staff changes.

“We found that 19 of the 26 states that gained librarians saw an average 2.2 percent rise in their National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) fourth-grade reading scores. Meanwhile, 9 of the 24 states that lost librarians had a 1 percent rise … the increase in scores of states that gained librarians was two times that of states that lost librarians. Scores remained unchanged for 6 states that gained librarians and 12 that lost librarians. Three states that lost librarians had an average decline of -1 percent, and one state that gained librarians experienced a -0.5 percent decline in scores.”

” … the magnitude and significance of the relationship between librarian staffing and test performance was reduced only very slightly when taking into account overall staff changes in schools … Whether a school had a librarian remained an important factor in reading test performance, regardless of what was happening with overall staffing numbers.”

Correlation between percent change in school librarians and percent change in reading scores for all students: r = .567.  Correlation when controlled for percent change in total school staff: r = .562 (partial correlation).

Project-Based Writing

I was reading a newsletter I subscribe to today and came across a link to a blog post about using Project-Based writing with “tweens.”  This is the article:

http://tweenteacher.com/2011/09/06/the-power-of-teaching-something-you-know-nothing-about/

This is just the sort of thing that gets me excited!  When the kids are enthusiastic and excited about learning, it doesn’t seem like “work.”  The learning becomes authentic and meaningful.  As a result, the children learn better,  with greater depth, and are able to apply their skills.

Another “perk” of such assignments is the curriculum integration.  This teacher is working on a writing assignment.  But the subject isn’t writing, it’s science.  They could be incorporating math skills, as well, as they are researching and coming up with solutions to the question at hand.  They’re going to be integrating technology.  They’re working with others in cooperative groups.  They’re assigned roles and responsibilities.  These are students who are working as 21st Century learners.

Are the kids focused on their writing?  Yes.  But it’s elaborately disguised as an intriguing assignment with all kinds of exciting bells and whistles thrown in.   Are they learning to write effectively?  Yes.  And in such a way that they are more likely to be able to repeat, as opposed to being taught a set of skills in isolation and then having to learn how to apply them.

This is the kind of educational practice our students need, and deserve.

Teaching through video game design

Can you imagine the look on their faces when you tell your students that you’re going to teach them how to design a video game?  Could you possibly hit any closer to home for most of these kids?  What do they love more than video games?  Well, other than their cell phones maybe…  And is this something that’s only possible for the most tech-savvy of us in the trenches?  No!  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  Look at this site I found while reading Scholastic Instructor (Summer, 2011, p.16).

Gamestar Mechanic  is geared towards the 4th – 9th grades, students begin playing individually, completing quests to learn the principles of video game design.  As a reward for earning enough experience, they are awarded a design workshop in which they design their own game.  They can then publish these games to share, as well as playing games designed by other kids, and they can review one another’s games.  Students will learn art and design, problem-solving, writing/storytelling, as well as working on their STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills.

Older kids will enjoy a similar website called Activate!   Again, the students are creatively solving problems (though here they are real-world environmental-related problems).  They design games, and can enjoy those created by others.   They are also asked to provide feedback.  The more they offer, they greater their own rewards.

Both of these programs are meant to take place in 4 lessons, and both involve computers and worksheets to teach the students.  For more information, view Scholastic’s article (complete with videos and the research behind these sites).  Level UP!