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 available from my TES Resources site
  • 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.

Continue reading

03/07/2017

Book Week Escape To Everywhere – Postcard from your reading journey

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book Week 2017 theme Escape to Everywhere opens many opportunities to connect with literature and have fun. In addition to the Missing Book Character Poster activity planned for students in P-2 we are planning a writing reflection activity for Grades 3-4. The task encourages students to engage with a book they have enjoyed reading and write a Postcard imagining they are in the story. This activity aims to get the student inside the book, experience an event with the character and reflect on where else they could go within the story.

Steps to promote this activity:

Choose a book you have really enjoyed reading – it could be a picture book or chapter book.

Make a list of ideas, the questions below will help get you started – remember a postcard aims to capture where you are, what you are doing.

  • Who is the character(s) you are with?
  • Where are you? What you can see.
  • What activities are you doing?
  • Where might you be going?
  • Address you postcard to your class and remember to write your name and class
  • Draw a stamp for your postcard
  • Draw a picture that is connected to the book
  • Write the book title and author on your drawing so we all know what great book we can read next

I am planning on introducing this as a competition for students in Grades 3-4 to be done at lunch in the library, one entry per student to be entered. If you decide to run this at your school I would love to hear how it goes.

The guide and a postcard template are available via my TES Resources page.

25/06/2017

What can we learn about history through pictures – take a look at the $20 note!

This term Year 2 were investigating The Past in the Present (NSW Syllabus). During the library lessons we undertook an inquiry into How can we use nonfiction to be better researchers? The series of lessons which investigated informative books will be summarised in a separate post as I would like to share the final lessons which were most amazing – we took a good look at the Australian $20 note. 

The investigation links in with History: The Past in the Present HT1-2 where students identify and describe significant people, events, places and sites in the local community over time.  Continue reading

24/06/2017

Book Week Escape to Everywhere – Missing Book Characters

I am looking forward to Term 3 to share and explore the Children’s Book Week Short list books and exploring the theme Escape to Everywhere. A few weeks ago I wrote about a rabbit visiting the school library and a missing rabbit poster I spotted which inspired an idea! This idea has now come to a reality and we will be promoting a Missing Book Character poster competition for students in P-2.

Steps to promote this activity:

  • Promote Children’s Book Week – Escape to Everywhere to the school community
  • Introduce the Missing Book Character Poster to students in the selected grade(s)
  • Instruct students to select a book they have read and enjoyed
  • Follow the writing format Heading – Missing; Name of character; Last seen – choose a place in the book the character visits – a setting, Likes – think about what the character likes; If found – child’s name and class
  • Provide copies of the template – available for free from my TES Resources page

I am planning on introducing this as a competition for students in P-2 to be done at lunch in the library, one entry per student to be entered. If you decide to run this at your school I would love to hear how it goes.

21/06/2017

Book Week – Escape to Everywhere QR Code Treasure Hunt

Inspired by a QR Code Treasure Hunt at EduTECH, with the prize a new car (no I did not win even though I spent time hunting for codes) I have created a Book Week – Escape to Everywhere QR Code Treasure Hunt linked to the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Shortlist Younger Readers and Picture Book books.

Sample

The Younger Readers Treasure Hunt, Picture Books Treasure Hunt and Answer recording sheets can all be found on my TES Teaching Resources site and they are free!

This Treasure Hunt is aimed at Years 3-6 and due to students needing to know a little bit about each book, it would take a few lessons. Students will need a QR Code reader to scan the codes.

To set this task up I suggest the following:

  • Introduce/read the CBCA Shortlist Younger Readers and Picture Books
  • Print, cut out and stick the QR codes around the library or school (do not cut off the header or question numbers)
  • Print out the answer sheets for each student
  • Introduce the task, demonstrate how to scan and fill in the answer sheet
  • Plan when students can do the Treasure Hunt and for how long it will run
  • Have a special box for the answer sheets (one for Younger Readers and one for Picture Books)
  • Draw an answer sheet from the box, the first one with the correct answers wins a prize

I would like to thank The PE Geek who’s guide How to make a QR Treasure Hunt provided a step by step guide and link to Classtools.net QR Treasure Hunt Generator which enabled me to create this QR Treasure Hunt.

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.