20/08/2018

Trove – access to primary sources for student research

Recently I was asked to provide Year 6 classes with historical research skills focused on inquiry to investigate primary and secondary sources. The students were at an early stage of a historical inquiry unit involving investigation of stories of groups of people who migrated to Australia and the reasons they migrated. In addition, students will be inquiring into their personal history that has shaped who they are, their community and identity.

By coincidence, I am currently completing the subject – Describing and Analysing Education Resources which involved investigation of Trove as an example of a federated search system managed by the National Library of Australia. Knowledge of Trove’s access to extensive online resources enable me to demonstrate to students a way to search and access digitised primary sources such as photos, journal entries, and newspaper articles from the past. As Trove is comprehensive it was important to provide students with suggestions of what to search, how to search and how to review the search results.

What to search:

Bonegilla from Migration Blake Education, 2014

Start with a nonfiction book at the student’s level. Highlight images and image captions as a source of information and keywords that would be useful to use in a search. For the migration example, I used Bonegilla Migrant as the keywords and then demonstrated a search. We were able to view various images, including the photo of a group of men playing volleyball on Trove which was the same photo in the text. We also accessed a Certificate of identity, for Irena Terkiewicz, relating to her immigration to Australia, 1949 after viewing this in the Migration text. From the book Coming to Australia: post-war immigration by Australian Geographic, 2015, we located important keywords such as displaced persons, refugee camps and the name of the Minister of Immigration in 1945, Arthur Calwell which lead us to newspaper articles from that time frame.

How to search:

Trove has created a video explaining how to search, taking a few minutes to view this and then some time to explore is highly recommended.

How to review the search results:

Understanding the different zones assists with viewing the results. Two important things to refine a search include selecting a time period or decade and clicking the Available online option.

Although we are at an early stage of investigation, Trove provided a platform to guide students to sources of information for their research rather than just using Google. Searching for family names was very stimulating for students, one student searched for the name of an invention by a great-grandparent and came across a newspaper article from 1913.

Trove provides a wealth of opportunities for teaching and learning purposes. Being able to access articles, photographs, and letters from the past is extremely valuable for historical research and inquiry learning.

17/06/2018

Book Week Lessons & Ideas 2018

Book Week suitcase!

Each year The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) promotes and celebrates children’s books with the major event of Children’s Book Week during August. The 2018 Book Week theme is Find Your Treasure.

The six CBCA short list book categories offer schools a wealth of opportunities to engage with reading, respond to, and celebrate literature. Exploring the short list books aligns with the Australian Curriculum and provides important opportunities to build students’ literacy skills by incorporating rich, objectively selected, and aesthetically valuable texts.

This Post provides a landing page for a variety of ideas to connect with Book Week this year. A SCIS Connections article I wrote in 2017 Read, respond, celebrate: engaging with the CBCA short list provides some background to the ideas presented below.

Exploring the Short List

Create a book character bunting display

Year K – Read and explore the Early Childhood short list, focus on the main character. Create your book character bunting – students select one book and draw the main character, as an extension write the characters name and book title. Using ribbon arrange and tape the students work – hang for all to enjoy!

Step Inside the Character

Year 1 – Imagine if you could step inside the character in a picture book. Explore the Early Childhood short list using the Visible Thinking Routine – Step Inside the Character. Visit a previous Post for more information.

Exploring story elements

Year 2 – What makes a great picture book? Explore story elements of the short list Early Childhood books to design and create a diorama. Visit a previous Post for work samples, a lesson sequence and templates.

Colour – Symbol – Image

Year 3 – Explore the short list Picture Books to discover what ideas and connections can be identified in picture books. Visit a previous Post for work samples, a lesson sequence and templates.

Visual literacy 

Year 4 – Explore and examine the short list Picture Books to discover and identify visual literacy vocabulary and techniques used by the illustrator. Visit a previous Post Visual Literacy – Some Examples to access the guide and background. Additional information can be found via a Guest Post I wrote in 217 for Softlink.

Celebrating the theme

Library displays

Create a display in the library that promotes the Book Week theme.

Student vote

Create a voting chart for younger students, provide each student with a star to place next to their favourite book. For older students create a Google Form or digital voting chart.

Promotional video

Use the Book Week theme to make a short promotional video that can be used in the school assembly.

Competitions and lunchtime activities

QR Code Treasure Hunt

Back by popular demand, the QR Code Short List Treasure Hunt is sure to engage students. The QR Code Treasure Hunt has a question for each of the CBCA Short List books in the Early Childhood, Picture Book and Younger Readers categories. Full details 2018 QR Code Short List Treasure Hunt.

Missing Book Character poster

Imagine if a book character went missing! Write a Missing Poster so they can be found. Full details including instructions and templates click here.

Postcard from a book

Imagine if you stepped inside a book! Who would you meet, where would you go, and what would you do? Write and draw about your book visit using the Postcard template. Full details of this activity click here.

Design a Book Trailer

Create a book trailer for a book or the Book Week theme Find Your Treasure. Organise a production team, make a plan, get filming! Keep your trailer between 1-2 minutes long that way it is short and sweet! Visit Tristan Bancks webpage How to make a book trailer for a wealth of information and to keep you on the right track.

13/04/2018

Stage 1 Geography – People and Places

During Term 1, Year 2 were busy investigating Stage 2 Geography – People and Places

For the library sessions, I focused on places in Australia and how people connect to places. I see the Year 2 classes once a week for a half hour lesson. I generally plan a series of lessons that allow students to progressively build on knowledge, skills and understanding. For this series of lessons, two picture books provided stimulation for the learning activities.

In summary, the two books were explored, students were guided through searching for places using Google Earth, labelling maps and reflecting on how the characters in the books connect with their environment. As a final reflection, the children wrote about a special place where they live.

The picture books included:

Hello from Nowhere by Raewyn Caisley.

Our Island by Alison Lester, Elizabeth Honey and the children of Gununa.

 

19/02/2018

How does our library organise books?

How does our library organise books? This was the question I asked Year 4 in order to find out what they knew. The question was opened and students were told they could write, draw and label as much detail as possible, they were required to stay seated, looking around was allowed – they had 5 minutes. The timer was set and students were very serious about the challenge set. Observing student response and enthusiasm in action it was quick to see key ideas and understanding.

Once time was up each student shared one idea (names called out in random), if an idea had already been shared the student was prompted to build on an idea, for example, one response was A-Z this was added to explain author’s surname which was further added as fiction. A question prompt would be what does nonfiction mean, how do we know it is nonfiction and so on.

Ideas were recorded on the IWB for further reference and as a class summary. It was a great way to gain an understanding of what students already knew and allowed for learning from others. The lesson was an introduction to a series of lessons on using the library focusing on nonfiction.

 

12/12/2017

K-6 Library Review 2017

As the final days of the school year wrap up it is great to look back and reflect.  It has been a busy but productive year, and we have worked tirelessly in the past weeks revamping the library collection, reorganising shelving and running a stocktake of the fiction books – it will be a fresh start next year!

I would like to acknowledge and thank the support and commitment of the library team and teacher librarian who taught the Year 6 classes.

The review is a snapshot of teaching and learning, special events, loans, resource use and top books loaned. What worked well, what requires change and improvement is in mind, but rest first is required.

Click the link to open the full review K-6 library review 2017

PS I used www.canva.com to create the Infographic.

03/12/2017

The day the Internet went down – what we learnt!

All was going well on Friday morning as Year 5 had just started their task evaluating a webpage using the 5W’s evaluation guide. However, we quickly realised that the Internet was very slow – then it was down. It happens from time to time for a few minutes so we decided to move onto reading – perfect we were in the library! Then the announcement came ‘the Internet will be down for the next 5-6 hours’ well that was it for the rest of the school day!

Year 5 had just settled with browsing and reading when a group of Year 3 students burst through the library doors full of excitement. They needed books for their animal migration research – they excitedly repeated ‘the Internet is down.’ The library assistant and I jumped into action and we were guiding the students to books about the range of animals of interest when another Year 3 class appeared also needing similar books. It was not long before the 500’s were pulled apart and we felt the limitations of relevant information for a large number of students at once. As recess approached we felt relieved that the students would move on and we could get back to normal.

The experience although somewhat annoying was highly valuable, it became evident that this was a huge learning experience and caused instant reflection on the difficulties encountered. Although it was fantastic that the students were keen to get their hands on books, the limited skills they showed in locating books for their needs caused concern.

Issues of concern:

  1. Library books are underutilised for research purposes
  2. The students had not visited the library to locate books early in their research task
  3. Students lacked skills in locating books for their needs
  4. Students rely on the Internet for a significant amount of information for school research tasks
  5. The library provides a selection of resources for a year group that gets placed in a box and left in the classroom

A fresh start:

Learning from this situation is vital, some ideas follow on how we will approach the new year to increase the use of the library, upskill the students book locating skills, and allow for successful spontaneous library use.

  1. Library books are underutilised for research purposes:
    • Closely monitor all student and teacher learning needs – scan all programs, meet with teachers to update on requirements
    • Revamp the collection, deselect, update, ensure Dewey labels and signage is clear
  2. The students had not visited the library to locate books early in their research tasks:
    • Students require learning experiences to include structured and spontaneous visits to the library to locate books for their research needs – early in the school year provide instruction and hands-on opportunities for students to search and locate books
    • Encourage and support teachers to make time to visit the library with their class as part of their research task
  3. Students lacked skills in locating books for their needs:
    • Ensure students have opportunities to explore, browse and learn how to search the library catalogue and locate books on the shelf – this opens up additional learning opportunities for younger (and some older) students such as how nonfiction books are structured, using the contents and index and so on
    • As pointed out above the library set up needs to be refined to assist and encourage students to feel confident in locating books
  4. Students rely on the Internet for a significant amount of information for school research tasks:
    • Design a library homepage that links to key research websites such as Britannica School, World Book Online and DK Findout! More about these resources can be found at Ignite wide reading with diverse resources at your school library
    • Invest in some nonfiction eBooks such as those from the Macmillan Digital Library
    • Ensure that all students can access the library homepage and provide training on using online resources
    • Train and remind teachers to instruct students to use the library online resources before they search the Internet
    • Provide instruction to students to upskill their Internet search skills and website evaluation
  5. The library provides a selection of resources for a year group that gets placed in a box and left in the classroom:
    • Seek opportunities for students to search for books on their research topics – if the books are located by some students and placed in a purposeful location for classes to share at least the students are having a go and some may be able to suggest to others great books they have found
    • Consider options to display books for a class topic face out in a combined area that classes have access

Such ideas are obvious and easy to fix, however as we rely more and more on the Internet we are limiting students exposure to the pleasure of finding just the right book for research needs and another book of interest by chance. The library shelves may be scoured and knocked about and in need of mending but at least the books are being used.

14/11/2017

Visual literacy – some examples

Recently, I wrote about plans to explore visual literacy with Year 5 using the CBCA Short List Picture Books. With the lessons now complete, this post provides an update on progress and shares some student work examples. The CBCA short list picture books provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with a range of quality literature. The books contained insightful social and emotional context and differing styles of illustrations, they proved to be exemplary for exploring visual literacy.

Out text by Angela May George, illustrated by Owen Swan

As outlined previously, visual literacy or visual grammar provides terminology to help understand and describe features of an image that create visual meaning. We learn who or what is in the picture, the activities involved, interactions between characters, emotions, and how the image catches our attention. Examining images in picture books also helps to add meaning and build depth to the story.

As stated in the NSW Education Standards Authority English K-10 Glossary visual language:

“…contributes to the meaning of an image or the visual components of a multimodal text and are selected from a range of visual features like placement, salience, framing, representation of action or reaction, shot size, social distance and camera angle. Visual language can also include elements such as symbol, colour, scene and frame composition, setting and landscape, lighting and the use of editing.”

Out text by Angela May George, illustrated by Owen Swan

Once we had completed reading and exploring each book, students worked with a partner and selected one of the books and one image to focus on and annotate. Students referred to the visual literacy guide which provided examples of terminology and direction on how to organise their summaries.

Overall we were highly impressed with the level of student engagement and commitment to learning. Some students selected to take a photo of the image and add annotations using Word inserting callouts, while others were provided with a colour photocopy of the image to annotate by hand. Once complete the students uploaded their work onto the school LMS allowing for sharing and feedback.

One Photo text by Ross Watkins, illustrated by Liz Anelli

Pantaleo (2016), in an observation of teaching and learning visual literacy lessons with primary aged students, suggests focusing on one visual literacy element at a time and having students write a personal response of their learning after reading a picture book. Callow (2016), highlights the many opportunities of the Australian Curriculum to read and engage with books to explore visual literacy. He encourages us to create opportunities for students to investigate picture books to locate visual literacy elements and to allow students to create their own images using visual literacy learning.

Using the CBCA short list picture books allowed for an outstanding series of learning experiences. Following a few simple steps to introduce visual literacy and providing for students to explore and respond with examples can be adapted to a wide range of purposefully selected picture books.

The visual literacy guide was made available to students via the school library homepage. Full access to the guide is available here: Tips for Viewing Images in Picture Books

Home in the Rain by Bob Graham

References

Callow, J. (2016). Viewing and doing visual literacy using picture books. Practical Literacy, 21(1), p.9-12. Retrieved from https://www.alea.edu.au/resources/practical-literacy-the-early-and-primary-years-pl-2

Forrest, S. (2017).  How does it make me feel? Using visual grammar to interact with picture books. Literacy Learning in the Middle Years, 25(1), p.41-52. Retrieved from https://www.alea.edu.au/resources/literacy-learning-the-middle-years-ll

NSW Education Standards Authority. (2017). Glossary. Retrieved from http://syllabus.nesa.nsw.edu.au/english/english-k10/stage-statements/

Pantaleo, S. (2016). Primary students’ understanding and appreciation of the artwork in picturebooks. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. 16(2), p.228-225. DOI: 10.1177/1468798415569816

06/09/2017

Creating a Community of Readers article

Creating a Community of Readers was a presentation at the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) Biennial Conference – Challenge to Change, 13-14 July 2017. Details of the presentation are provided in a previous Post.

The full article related to the presentation has been published in ACCESS the Journal of the School Library Association of Australia.

Creating a Community of Readers. ACCESS, Volume 31, Issue 3, September 2017.

Click below to obtain the article:

Laretive J ACCESS September 2017-2kldnxb

 

29/07/2017

Read, respond, celebrate: engaging with the CBCA short list

Each year The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) promotes and celebrates children’s books with the major event of Children’s Book Week during August. There are several Posts related to Book Week on this Blog as it is a very special part of the Library program. Recently SCIS Connections published an article I wrote focusing on using the Early Childhood and Picture Book short list books, as well as providing an insight into exploring the Younger Readers chapter books in the F–6 school context. The full article can be found via Read, respond, celebrate: engaging with the CBCA short list

Book Week suitcase

SCIS Connections 102 Read, respond, celebrate article PDF.

 

12/07/2017

Visual Literacy using the CBCA Short list Picture Books

The CBCA Short List Picture Books provide many opportunities to explore and engage with quality literature. This term Year 5 will explore the short list books in relation to visual literacy or visual grammar.

Visual literacy helps us understand and describe the features of a picture that create visual meaning. We learn who or what is in the picture, the activities involved, interactions between characters, emotions, and how the image catches our attention. We can learn to discover by looking deeper and thinking about what we see.

As advised by Callow, 2016 “Talking about the various features of picture books before, during and after reading allows us to teach children about their various features.” Using the CBCA Short List Picture Books offers a perfect way to introduce or extend on visual literacy. Exploring the themes and issues and applying visual grammar elements allows students to deepen their engagement with the books. Furthermore, providing instruction and direction to recognise, discuss and label visual techniques will ensure students enhance their visual literacy skills (Forrest, 2017).

What is planned?

  • Introduce one of the CBCA Short List books and highlight visual grammar elements
  • Provide students with the Visual Literacy Guide
  • Group students into small groups and allocate one of the picture books. Working with a partner create a sub-group where each sub-group selects one page (image) to focus on
  • Take a photo of the image and using Word or a simple photo writing App such as Phonto annotate onto the image
  • Post work to class Blog and share findings

Below is an example applying visual grammar following the guidelines that I created for student use. Goanna by Jenny Wagner is one of the first picture books I purchased in my early teaching days, I found it on my bookshelf and so loved reading it again.

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