14/06/2017

Role of the Teacher Librarian

I completed the Graduate Diploma in Information Studies Teacher Librarianship some time ago and have been working as a Teacher Librarian since 2002. I have also worked as an Information Specialist in a corporate setting. This year I am extending my professional learning and updating my academic studies to a Master of Education Teacher Librarianship at CSU. Looking back my motivation to become a teacher librarian was inspired by a teacher librarian at a school where I worked on a casual basis, I considered the role to be special in that you taught all classes K-6, teamed up with class teachers and spent time with books and organising information – this was the mid 1990’s so technology in school libraries was limited. During my experience I have witnessed considerable changes to the teacher librarian role particularly in regard to technology (Boyer, 2015) for management of resources and for teaching and learning. More recently, the implementation of the Australian Curriculum has provided significant opportunities for teacher librarians particularly in regard to the General Capabilities and Cross Curricular Priorities, the focus of quality literature (McDonald, 2013) in the English Curriculum and the attention to inquiry learning (Lupton, 2012) and (McIlvenny, 2013).

Teacher librarians have a unique and important role in schools, day to day responsibilities range from collection development, reading promotion, information and digital literacy guidance, manager of the physical collection and library layout, designer and manager of the online library, facilitator and provider of professional training (Lupton, 2016) and a central person to many students who find the library a special place to be. Implementing literature, information and digital literacy skills into the school curriculum is an essential role of a teacher librarian as noted by Scholastic (2016). More recently teacher librarians have been involved with the Makerspace Movement (Bonanno, 2016) requiring skills in new technologies exploring design, creativity and problem solving. As this could all be in a day’s work the need to be welcoming, up-skilled, organised, flexible, and able to prioritise is essential. Continue reading

12/06/2017

EduTECH – Future Library Congress, 8-9 June 2017

The Future Library Congress explored how libraries are progressing in the changing nature of education. Librarians and industry leaders shared expert advice from school, university, museum, and government libraries. Insight into the changing times of libraries, passion for information literacy and literature, the important link to technology through the Maker Movement and tools such as Virtual and Augmented Reality were key features of the presentations.

This post highlights key learning specific to school libraries and the role of the teacher librarian.

The Congress sessions were opened by Sandra Moore, President, Australian School Library Association (ASLA) who encouraged us to walk away from the Congress with three things learnt, two things confirmed, and one challenge. Sandra reminded us that teacher librarians require curiosity, kindness, stamina and a willingness to look stupid. It was also advised in order to be creative we need to steal ideas from others by way of honouring others work; study; taking ideas from many; crediting; transforming; and remixing.

Vickie McDonald, State Librarian and CEO, State Library of Queensland (SLQ), shared her journey through the changing nature of libraries and in particular stories of change at her former position at the State Library of NSW, as well as current change within SLQ. Vickie focused our attention to leading change and the importance of libraries meeting the strategic direction of their organisation. It was noted that key factors of successful leadership of a library include trust, predictability, honesty and fairness, being able to listen and communicate effectively. Vickie stressed the need to be highly visible, update staff and the library community regularly, share highlights, attend as many meetings as possible, meet with small groups to assist connections and engage staff with change. 5C’s of library leadership were highlighted: clarity, communication, clients, collaboration and collections. Vickie’s presentation was inspiring and showcased a selection of engaging images from the SLQ.

Jenny Kemp, Leader of Learning, St Andrew’s Cathedral School challenged us to think about what we are offering at our school library, and why does our school need a teacher librarian. Jenny reminded us that a teacher librarian is a complex position and requires a high set of skills. A major strength of the teacher librarian as promoted by Jenny was to teach and guide students with information literacy. Collaborating and knowledge of teaching programs to find opportunities to tie in information literacy skills was also emphasised, as well as going to classrooms rather than only being seen in the library.

I was very pleased to hear Jenny say ‘be the teacher librarian’ a factor that can get mixed up when we are all aiming to do so much. Furthermore, Jenny suggested that ‘explicit teaching has got lost with all the exciting other learning’ a statement I agree with and one that is challenging when there are so many exciting other things to incorporate – particularly when astonished with all the tech at EduTECH. Similar to Vickie McDonald, Jenny promoted understanding the school structure, being involved with faculty planning, promote skills – don’t wait to be invited, ensure you promote a clear vision of what a you can offer, and to reflect on how the library staff are using their time. To finalise her presentation Jenny promoted library space as the third space a place that is very important for a school.

The third space was also encouragingly promoted by Andrew Stark, Head of Libraries, The Southport School QLD, he referred to libraries as important meeting points, that library space should be embraced, it is not just space – it is how you fill it. Andrew also stated that a child’s feelings with their school library is something they will take with them in their learning journey. Continue reading

12/06/2017

Growth Mindset opens EduTECH

Carole Dweck

How impressive it was to have Professor Carole Dweck open the EduTECH Conference and share her learning of the importance of a Growth Mindset. A Growth Mindset is important for young and old and should be encouraged by educators.

Key takeaways included: mindsets are dynamic, intelligence can be developed, a Growth Mindset can be a long journey, mindsets matter – students who embrace a growth mindset do better in all areas of study.

It is difficult to always be in a Growth Mindset – triggers such as criticism, environmental factors, difficult situations where you struggle can send you into a Fixed Mindset.

In education it is important to understand triggers, to think about how this affects you and others, set small goals for yourself. In order to transform a Growth Mindset to students it was advised to allow for student input, to focus on learning as a process, understand struggles, share challenges, use the word yet. Allow for failure, it is part of the learning process encourages effective learners and contributors to our society.

11/06/2017

EduTECH Australia – Maker Movement Masterclass

I was fortunate to have attended EduTECH Australia 7-9 June. It was an exciting three day conference and I have come away with so many new ideas and stimulation for the school library. Key aspects introduce new hands-on activities with the Maker Movement, consider and act forward in regard to the changing nature of education and how school libraries are relevant, reflect on information literacy learning, and immerse more deeply into the school. This post focuses on the The Maker Movement.

The Maker Movement 

Presenters – Amber Chase @ChaseyA29  and Lisa O’Callaghan @kallicani from Calrossy Anglican School, Tamworth NSW.

Their STEM Blog https://stematcalrossy.wordpress.com/

The day kicked off with creative activity – light up your name! It allowed me to fiddle with little bits, I admit I needed some assistance by helpful teachers but it did work in the end and I was proud to light up my name.

Background

The presentation focused on STEM and the Maker Movement – ideas to get Maker happening at your school and participate in Maker Culture. The Maker Movement is creative and promotes confidence in trying new things, it is a mindset that applies various skills, connects all disciplines, encourages innovation, is engaging, hands-on and fun. It aligns technology, arts and craft.

A segment of The Four Corners program Future Proof was previewed to put the Maker Movement in context of changes in school and work.

The masterclass promoted many areas to get ideas from but for big picture information it was advised to visit: NMC Horizon Reports for K-12 Education and Libraries  and the Royal Institute of Australia RiAus.

How to start

Best advice is to start small. Continue reading

28/05/2017

National Reconciliation Week

It was wonderful to create the new library displays to commemorate National Reconciliation Week. This year we have two displays – one focusing on animals and the beautiful colourful artworks in a selection of children’s picture books, a wooden lizard from Uluru and a turtle painted on stone. The other display represents family highlighting children and traditional artworks on bark from my personal collection.

Australian animals

Children, family and culture

To commemorate Reconciliation Week all classes will be involved in activities and there are special visitors to share stories and knowledge with the children. In addition to the outstanding collection of picture books featuring Australian Indigenous peoples and culture some of the resources that class teachers have been particularly interested in for teaching and learning include:

Say Yes: A story of friendship, fairness and a vote for hope by Jennifer Castles, and illustrations by Paul Seden. This picture book sensitively captures the 1967 Referendum in way that enables historical issues and perspectives to be shared with children. The Allen & Unwin site provide teaching notes and Reading Time has a superb review, the suggested reading age is 7-12.

Stories for Simon by Lisa Sarzin and Lauren Briggs, a moving and beautifully illustrated picture book that helps explain the Stolen Generations to younger students. The Stories for Simon website provides background material about the story and links to Teachers’ Resource notes. The illustrator Lauren Briggs has visited our school on sharing the story with primary students and art workshops with high school students.

Welcome to Country written by Joy Murphy and illustrated by Lisa Kennedy is an outstanding picture book portraying personal traditions of Aboriginal people allowing for teaching and learning of understanding and respect for Aboriginal culture. Walker Books have provided extensive Teacher Notes for this book and a reference to a wide range of resources including picture books with Aboriginal themes, nonfiction books for younger and older readers, websites and video links.

The Message Stick book series published by Nelson Cengage are a wonderful series of books offering Dreaming stories with short plays such as How the Murray River was made and informative books on fishing, hunting and gathering, and bush tucker. The illustrations and photos are highly appealing and informative and text at a level suitable for lower grades. The series also includes a Teacher Resource book.

A special book I enjoy reading to Kindergarten classes is No Way Yirrikipayi! by the children from Milikapiti School, Merville Island and Alison Lester. This is a story of a hungry crocodile that wonders through the natural environment seeking food. Written in English and Tiwi it offers a rich resource to read aloud and encourages children to join in with the repeated phrase “No way Yirrikipayi your not eating me today.”

Books featured in the displays:

Kangaroo and crocodile : my big book of Australian animals by Bronwyn Bancroft

Where is Galah by Sally Morgan

ABC Dreaming by Warren Brim

Children of the Lake by Percy Trezise

Going for Oysters by Jeanie Adams

Welcome to Country by Joy Murphy (two images)

Torres Strait Islander girl and Aboriginal boy from Scholastic School Essentials 

Lizard, stone and bark artworks from my personal collection.

27/05/2017

Missing Rabbit inspiration for Book Week

Earlier this week a Year 4 class entered the library extra quietly with a new class member – a rabbit. The gorgeous rabbit had been found on the road outside the school, lucky for him he was promptly adopted by Year 4 and spent the day at school. During his library visit he was very inquisitive and wondered around the library checking out each nook and cranny. The next few days this delightful rabbit spent his time resting at the teacher’s home.

This morning while walking my dog I stopped to read a missing rabbit sign, well it seemed to me this must be the lost rabbit at school – it does have white and caramel patches, it ate fruit and vegetables but I am not sure if banana was on the menu. Shame the lesson did not involve Latin and Jazz music – it would have been something extra special. I forwarded the information to the teacher who is taking care of the rabbit.

Besides all that excitement of a rabbit in the school library, this superb missing poster has provided me with the inspiration to run a competition for Children’s Book Week. The Book Week theme is ‘Escape to Everywhere’ the task will be to create a missing poster for a book character that has escaped from their book. A few days ago I was lost for ideas, after a visit to Tristan Bancks Book Week 2017 ideas post and this crafty poster I am starting to set the scene for another exciting Children’s Book Week in 2017.

It turns out the school rabbit is male and now lives with the Year 4 teacher who has informed me Mrs Lettuce was found – the Vet knew Mrs Lettuce was lost and assured her that she was found and safe back home.

26/05/2017

Matlida – 29 years young!

Matilda by Roald Dahl will turn 30 next year, a fact I accidentally discovered as I was organising the items for the book display in our school library. We had several versions of the book with differing styles of covers and some very well read Matilda editions. I think a celebration next year with tea and cake will be superb to honour the enjoyment this book has provided to readers for many years.

22/04/2017

ANZAC Day library display

“Anzac Day, 25 April, is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.”

(Australian War Memorial, 2017)

Information about the Commemoration and Educational resources and activities  are provided by the Australian War Memorial. The Primary English Teaching Association Australia also provides Lest We Forget which comprises six literature-based units of work for PETAA members.

A collection picture books, some with teaching notes are available via my Pinterest collection of ANZAC Day commemoration picture books.

19/04/2017

Ignite wide reading with diverse resources at your school library

School libraries have a vital role in the provision and promotion of quality and diverse reading materials that inform, value and ignite reading. Promoting “a reading culture through the active promotion of literature” (Australian School Library Association, 2004) is one of the ASLA teacher librarian standards. Promotion and access to varied reading materials “helps students to engage imaginatively and critically with literature to expand the scope of their experience” (Australian Curriculum English 8.3). Encouraging wide reading and access to a variety of reading materials increases students interests and motivation to read (Miller, 2012). “Numerous research studies prove that wide reading improves children’s comprehension, background knowledge, vocabulary, fluency, and writing” (Krashen, 2004 as cited in Miller, 2012). Furthermore, literacy development and achievement is benefited by recreational reading and reading for enjoyment (Merga, 2016).

The following resources have made a difference to the diversity of reading resources available to children at my school library adding to the existing range of imaginative and informative books. The resources that follow also link to the Australian Curriculum in that they provide access to imaginative, informative and persuasive texts in different formats and for different age levels.

Crinkling News: Australian Newspaper for Young Australian’s 

The Crinkling News newspaper has been very popular at my school library, it is a subscription based tabloid format newspaper published weekly for children aged between 7-14.  The Crinkling News website offers some additional features – videos, opinion polls, and comments. Readings.com.au spoke with the editor Saffron Howdon about the importance of media literacy for children.

Story Box Library: Australian Stories read by storytellers

Story Box Library is an online subscription based resource that contains a collection of Australian literature read engagingly by storytellers. Story Box Library promotes the resource as a “reading room” where books are communicated through film providing “…a vibrant, interactive experience via a diverse range of everyday Australian storytellers”(storyboxlibrary.com.au). The resource also provides theme details and valuable classroom notes for the stories.

DK findout! Visual and engaging information, images and videos

DK findout! is a free website that is visually stimulating and contains appealing content for classroom teaching and learning. Information is concise, the page layout is well organised and the reader is able to click to reveal summaries or listen to a sound recording. This resource is very attractive and provides wonderful opportunities for learning and general interest exploring. I suggest taking a look at the Volcanoes page as it provides an excellent example of the high standard of information and design. Continue reading

18/04/2017

Where’s Wally turns 30!

It was great fun setting up the Where’s Wally display for the books 30 year anniversary. Young children have stood eyes wide closely looking at the items in the display case. It was noted in the ABC News article that drawing each scene takes “months to draw…as I work my way through a picture, I add Wally when I come to what I feel is a good place to hide him” (Martin Handford as cited in ABC News, Where’s Wally fans still search for elusive character 30 years