Hello readers! I am investigating Twitter for a project I'm doing in class. I have to teach my classmates about Twitter. So, if you'd like to check it out, go to http://www.twitter.com/. My twitter name (?) is MissMeiser. So far, most of my posts, or tweets, have been very boring. I'll try to have a more exciting life so I can tweet something cool! Or, I guess I could just make stuff up. ( - ; Feel free to comment with your ideas about using Twitter in schools or libraries. I'd also love to hear about any Twitter related websites you have found helpful.
"The Role of Libraries in Learning Communities," written by Rebecca J. Pasco in Curriculum Connections edited by Barbara K. Stripling and Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Libraries Unlimited, 2003.
I first heard about the concept of Learning Communities in my Communication for Leadership class, LIS 716. During that class, we watched a video about the North Suburban Library System (NSLS) and how they became a learning community. The idea of a learning community is that the entire organization, top to bottom, encompasses both learners and teachers. Everyone can participate in learning opportunities as well as the opportunity to share what they know.
It sounds really great, and I could certainly envision this in a school situation. However, my concept of a learning community changed a bit this week. Unfortunately, I can't remember who told me this, but someone I talked to during the past week talked about Technology Tuesdays where teachers AND STUDENTS were invited to come to the computer lab in the library and learn a new tech tool! I'm not sure why I was so surprised at this. I guess I envisioned a school as a learning community within the staff only. In my mind, of course the kids were learners and staff members were teachers! Why can't the kids be a part of this?
I wonder how this would work in my building. For the most part, I think my staff is pretty comfortable about telling kids that they don't know everything and we all learn together. But, when it comes to technology, some staff members may not feel comfortable having students around while they are learning something new. As a person running one of these classes, however, I would love to have some kids in there with me! It's likely that they'll catch on quickly and be able to help the staff members!
Another great thing about having kids present is that they're usually not afraid to try new things. In years past, I would show my students the basics of a tech tool and in 20 minutes they had mastered those skills and found several things I had never seen before. I always learned something from the kids.
As librarians, we need to be teaching and supporting our students in such a way that life long learning is the ultimate goal. According to Pasco, "Learning communities emphasize connected knowing and the integration of ideas." (p. 191) These communities "facilitate active and collaborative learning and new opportunities for students and educators to construct and demonstrate understanding." (p. 191) This is exactly the environment that fosters life long learning. When students learn to work together, to be responsible for their own learning, when their curiosity and risk taking is valued and encouraged, then school becomes a place for excitement and enthusiasm rather than drudgery and boredom.
I learned so much about research and the evaluation of web sites that I hardly know where to begin! I think the first important thing that stuck in my mind is that there are things about technology and the internet that the digital generation doesn't know. Mainly, how to decide if web sites are credible or not. O'Connor and Heine quoted several studies in which gifted seventh and eighth graders were sent to these, or similar hoax sites: http://www.spaceelevatorclimb.com/ and http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/ but they never figured out that it was a hoax. Students must learn proven techniques for searching and evaluating, or what these two men call: Investigative Searching. The process of searching and evaluating should be done together.
During Information Forensics goes to School, O'Connor and Heine say that students of the "digital generation" don't know how to turn questions into queries, know where to go to find information, find relevant results, decided on quality, and use information ethically. Here's where librarians and teachers must step in and teach.
A statistic that really stood out for me was that often, when using a key word search, there are at least four other words/synonyms that you could also be using to search. When those key terms are not used, you are potentially missing 80% of the information available!
Careful reading is essential. Kids tend to read things quickly. O'Connor and Heine content that the faster you read, the more errors you will make. Based on my classroom experience, I concur.
There are many ways of searching for information. The first is called querying. You can use keywords, strings (a section of text or a phrase), databases, and links to find information and evaluate the site. Did you know you can find out who has links to a particular page? I didn't! You can go to a search engine (they recommend Yahoo.com) and type in links: then the entire URL address. So, if you wanted to see who had links to the Rose School web page, you could type in links:http://www.barrington220.org/rose/ and see a list of sites that had a link to the Rose School home page.
Another way of searching is by browsing. O'Connor and Heine compared it to the hot and cold game where you get "hotter" if you're getting closer to what you want, and colder if you're farther away. This is not a particularly effective way to search or evaluate a website.
Another way to find out more is by truncation. I've done this before, I just didn't know what it was called. Say someone gives you a long complicated website address like http://www.teacherlibrarian.net/html/Alek_lands_cat_flies.html. You looked at it, but couldn't figure out who the author of the site was. You could truncate, or cut off, the ending part of a website to get to home page and perhaps find a publisher or author. In this case, http://www.teacherlibrarian.net/ would lead you to the home page which should identify the author. (Of course, I'm realizing I never put my real name on this site as the author, though I did put an email address....)
A final way to search/evaluate is to look for page information about a site. I couldn't find out when the page was last updated the way O'Connor and Heine were able to show in the video. Maybe it's just a Mac thing. There is probably a PC way to do it, but I haven't figured that out yet.
A few more comments that really stuck with me: (paraphrased from the video)
We've created a lot of tools that make it easy for kids to copy/paste information, but we've also created a lot of tools to allow students to cite their sources as well.
Look beyond the obvious.
These skills are critical for all content areas.
I look forward to spending a lot of time at the website 21st Century Information Fluency From the description and the little I saw on the video, it will be a valuable resource!
Last thought: I watched this hour long presentation online. It took me much longer, though, because several times I paused the video and went and looked at the sites the presenters were talking about. While it took more time, I liked using this method of learning because I was using the information even as I was learning it.
"Recursion, or this repeated application of a research procedure to the results of a prior procedure, is invoked any time the research determines that the emerging complex of relationships has undeveloped area, logical errors, or incongruitites." (Sandy L. Guild, page 141 of Curriculum Connections, edited by B. Stripling and S. Hughes Hassell, 2003, Libraries Unlimited)
I admit, my first reaction to this chapter was, "Huh? What on earth is this lady talking about?" I finally figured it out when she explained the opposite: "... instruction in the process, by contrast, is often presented in a fashion that leads sutdents to assume that the process is linear." (page 142) Ah, then I got it.
Sad to say, I've done this. Over the years I have taught my third and fourth graders that the research process is generally a set of steps that you follow in order. First you come up with questions, then you gather your sources, take notes, make an outline or organize your notes, write your paper, and share your results.
What Guild is trying to explain, in way, way too many words, is that research doesn't work that way. (Thanks for your help on this, Valerie!) Often, when you do real research, something comes up that doesn't fit, that gives you more questions, conflicts with what another source says, or that you don't understand. You will have to go back a step or two and try again. You are not just aiming for that final product.
While I did instruct my students that research was basically a linear process, that wasn't what actually happened in our classroom. For example, a student may have started an animal report on a koala. He wrote down some questions, found sources, and took notes. Then, when that student and I sat down to talk about and organize the notes, I found that he had written the word "marsupial" many times, but had no idea what it meant. I sent that student back to his sources to find the answer. He didn't even know enough about the subject to have written "What is a marsupial?" as one of his original research questions. Nor did he realize that not knowing what a marsupial was, would probably inhibit his understanding of many aspects of the koala.
When Guild started explaining "self-talk" as part of the research process (page 142,) I was finally on familiar ground. The staff at my school calls it "think aloud." The idea is that kids need a model for good self talk, or thinking. Because they can't see thinking, the way adults must model it is by putting it into words. At first, you feel like a total looney! I remember stopping during a read aloud and trying a think aloud. It was pretty cheezy!
"Hmmm... this word is hard for me to figure out. First, I'm going to cover the ending of the word and see if that helps. Oh, I see the smaller word think. If I put on the beginning sound, I get rethink. Put the ending back on to get rethinking! Great! Now I am going to reread the whole sentence and see if it makes sense."
That can get old real fast for the adult, but it is so important to model, and the kids don't mind it as much as you think.
It also reminds me of the way we teach handwriting... "First, draw the line from the top to the bottom. Then cross it on the top. Now you have a T!" I often heard my students saying those directions to themselves as they learn handwriting.
Another example is when we teach a math procedure such as long division. "First, see how many times 3 can go into 7 without going over. Right! Twice! Write the two on thetop. Then, multiply two times three to get 6. Write the 6 below the seven and subtract. Then, bring down the next digit."
You get the idea!
What I should have done, and will do in the future, is to include this self talk or think alouds to the research process. I should have explained to the student that it's normal to have to go back and look for more information about your topic, even after you've "completed" your research. I am also going to look, or create, visual models of research that show a more circular or recursive process. I have often seen models for the writing process that are more circular.
I have one worry about these ideas, however. It seems to me that it requires quite a bit of metacognition. When I sat down with that student studying the koala, he was not bothered one bit that he had no idea what a marsupial was, nor did he feel it effected his work at all. He could have continued his organizing and writing, using the word marsupial, just fine. In fact, I may not have even known until he gave an oral report and couldn't pronounce the word or answer a question about it!
When I work with students on their research in the library, I need to give them time and permission to be recursive, to go back and find more information, to make sure things make sense to them. When I begin instruction, I need to point out ahead of time, that this is likely to happen. It doesn't mean that they aren't doing a good job, in fact, it means the opposite. Good researchers and thinkers are analyzing their work and checking for understanding.
Luckily for me, Guild's final statement makes much more sense than her beginning. "If our ultimate goal as educators is to guide students to habits of mind that foster life long learning, we must ensure that we not only support and guide them in developing these risky practices of critical thinking but also reward them for their efforts." (page 150) Absolutely!
I have been wondering about the time when I am officially allowed to call myself a librarian. Do I have to wait until the students show up in August? Am I officially a librarian once I finish my degree? I've been wondering about this privately and found this post on the Annoyed Librarian's blog, thanks to a classmate in LIS 724. The Annoyed Librarian's question (What is a Librarian?) received 90 responses!
I know exactly where I was when I knew I was a teacher. Strangely, it's not that far from where I am sitting right now, in my school's library, even though this school didn't even exist then. I was driving south on Route 59, approaching Route 72. I had just been hired to teach fourth grade at Woodland Elementary School in Carpentersville. I had to pull over because of the overwhelming feeling that "I was a teacher." I felt like I had just become a nun, prepared to spend the rest of my life serving the church. (Little did I know how appropriate that comparison was!)
I believe I have transformed into a librarian slowly. Making the decision to attend library school was an emotional first step. I mourned the loss of my students, my classroom, and the identity of teacher, even though I still had several years yet to teach. Yet, once I made that decision, my mindset began to change.
The more library classes I attended, the more I felt like a librarian. I clearly remember being part of a committee meeting for a summer reading program and advocating, for the first time, the library and librarian perspective instead of a classroom teacher perspective.
Being hired in March as the librarian at Rose School went a long way towards feeling like a librarian, but I still don't have any real experience. Did I become a librarian on July 1st, when the new fiscal year started? I now have the School Library Media endorsement on my teaching certificate, but I don't have my master's degree yet. Will I be a librarian on August 17th when I finish my last class?
Even after I finish my degree, I still want to do an internship and earn my Type 10 certificate. Will I be more of a librarian then than I will be this September?
I found the many comments to the Annoyed Librarian's question intriguing. I don't know that there really is an answer. I do know that it's going to be an exciting (and odd) first day of school on August 24th. I haven't had that "Ahh, NOW I'm a librarian" moment like I did with teaching, but I'm hoping it's yet to come.
I started this blog because it was required for two of my Library and Information Science classes: LIS 724: Media Services and Production and LIS 725: Curriculum and School Libraries. I admit I was reluctant at first. I didn't think I'd have that much to say, or that it just wouldn't be that interesting for others to read. Well, it turns out that I have plenty to say! Whether it is interesting to others or not is yet to be seen.
Setting up the blog was quite easy. I already had an account on Google, so I just added a blog to that account. I've been playing around a bit with adding "gadgets" and changing the names of the various sections on the page.
For LIS 725, we are required to read each other's blogs and make comments. I've enjoyed that aspect quite a bit! Even though we are blogging about the same reading or class discussion, we all have our own views, experiences, and perspectives. I also found some new information about the ISAIL library standards by reading my instructor's blog. I feel so "up to date!" I'm looking forward to reading what blogs my other LIS 724 classmates are interested in. JVLopez investigated freetech4teachers and it's filled with great ideas. Chris, my LIS 724 instructor will love that one... she is always downloading free stuff onto her computers. (She probably already has it bookmarked on delicious, I'm sure!)
One of my worries is that its going to be difficult to keep up with so many different blogs, even with a reader/aggregator.
I am also experiencing a bit of the ol' Junior High feelings of inadequacy - no one's responded to my blog except my teacher, and she has to! (Still, thanks for the comment, Erin!) It makes me think about the purpose of a blog... is it to express oneself, create connections, come up with unique ideas, feel popular, vent? Maybe all of the above.
I have decided to start following a blog by Mary Burkey called Audiobooker. This blog is hosted by a highly respected review source: Booklist. In addition, Mary Burkey was the head of the committee that chose the 2009 Odyssey Award winner for best audio book.
I first found out about this blog at the ALA conference this weekend. (see previous post) I am excited to learn more about evaluating audio books, as I plan to add many to my library's collection. So far, there is exactly one audio book available for checkout! At least it's from a great book: one of the Sammy Keye's mysteries. I haven't listened to it yet as it's on cassette and my new(ish) car doesn't have a cassette player.
If you want to check out the entire presentation from Sunday, and more, read audiobooker!
I had a similar experience to sryan's when I read the chapter on curriculum mapping in our text, Curriculum Connections Through the Library, edited by B.K. Stripling and S. Hughes-Hassell. Reading Chapter 5: Librarian Morphs into Curriculum Developer by C. C. Vlasis brought me right back to the time when my district started curriculum mapping. We went through all the stages listed in the book! We started with just one subject and wrote out our own classroom maps, met as a grade level to create grade level maps, met with other teachers in our district teaching the same grade, then met with grades above and below us. We had a hard time with the idea of giving up some well loved units and accepting that a true curriculum map is never complete.
It is so interesting to look at curriculum mapping from the perspective of a school librarian. When my library clerk, Marilyn, and I were moving the professional collection, I wondered if anyone had ever looked at the curriculum map binders on the shelf. As I read this chapter, I went and grabbed the binders to take a look. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I found out that there was a library tab! It looks like the library maps were printed in July of 2004, so I'm not sure if they are in current use, but it was exciting to find them. Right now, our curriculum maps either seem outdated or too cumbersome to manage. I could relate to Jo Ann Everett's (author of Chapter Six: Curriculum Mapping and Curriculum Mapping: Otherwise Know as "The Camel with Two Humps") experience of cutting up the science standards and putting them on a huge bulletinboard in grade level order in order to see the big picture. That's what we need to be able to do as librarians to make sure our collections, the materials in our library, will meet the curriculum needs of teachers and students. Bulletin boards are even bulkier than binders, however!
That's why I totally agree with Valerie's comments about curriculum being digital, therefore searchable and flexible. I believe our district paid for our maps to be on a website or database of some kind, but I can't even remember going to that website, what it was called, or even how it worked. I do remember it was very expensive! Even with our grade level binders, it is not easy to see all the skills that correspond to a particular Essential Question or content. Plus, the assessment and resources columns are blank. Perhaps we just weren't ready to be dealing with curriculum online at that time. This is an area I need to ask more questions about. Are those maps still there? Can we access them? Are they considered up to date? Is there a specific library curriculum in place?
The staff at my school found the discussions surrounding curriculum mapping to be the most valuable. We discussed what went on in our own classrooms, found out what other schools were doing, compared our ideas to those in grade levels before and after us, argued about what was content and what was a skill, we learned how to create essential questions, which skills/standards went best with which grades, what overlapped, and what was missing. I know our science curriculum was revamped quite a bit due to curriculum mapping. By pinpointing exactly what topics our students were going to cover each year in the different strands of science, we were able to purchase excellent materials that matched the students' level as well as curriculum needs. I'm sure the kids were relieved to no longer be studying plants every year from 1st - 3rd grade!
The end of Everett's chapter is encouraging in that she reminds us that we can't do it all at once. There's just not enough time or money. So, we need to prioritize and take small steps, which seems to be a theme for me this week.
Once I figured out how to get from the Hilton to McCormick place, I attended two seminars - one on evaluating audiobooks and one on reaching reluctant readers with non-fiction. I got a lot out of the audiobook seminar, even though I only stayed for the first half. I want to add audiobooks to my collection, but I don't know how to evaluate them. (Over the past two weeks, I've listened to four audio books and only really liked one of them - Bucking the Sarge. I also listened to Clementine's Letter, Criss Cross, and Small Steps)
After attending this seminar, I have even more reasons to add audio books to my collection and ideas about how to evaluate audiobooks. The women on the panel were members of the committee that chose this year's ALA Oyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production. They listed many reasons why audiobooks are good for kids and schools. (You can find the entire presentation on Mary Burkey's blog, audiobooker.booklistonline.com)
1. increase reading fluency 2. improve listening skills and listening stamina (See Mary Burkey's article on long form listening in the July 2009 issue Book Links, page 26) 3. increase reading comprehension4. enlarge vocabulary 5. support correct pronounciation of words (inflection, other languages, or archaic words) 6. support struggling readers and English language learners 7. expand literaracy experiences for proficient readers 8. improve standardized test scores
Audio books can increase the access kids have to books. In other words, more is better! It can also improve affect - or emotional ties to books. Kids who think books are fun will have increased confidence and love reading!
After the seminars, my next stop was "The Stacks." (See a picture on the dollfacedlibrarian's blog.) The Stacks is the exhibit area. Even though I was there for several hours, I only got through about a third of the exhibits. I learned a lot and picked up plenty of cataloges. I didn't win anything or get much free stuff, but that's ok. If a booth looked at all interesting, I went up to the sales person and said, "I've been a librarian for 10 days now. I don't know much - tell me about your product."
It was a learning experience for sure! I saw four fellow Dominican University GSLIS students, but no one else I recognized. Next time, I think it would be more fun to attend with a buddy AND to bring a lunch.
I saw my first playaway, left my address with companies selling reference books, and got great insight about wearing bifocals vs. having two sets of glasses from a very nice lady at the Mike Venezia booth.
I was so excited to head to the ALA Annual Conference at McCormick Place West this morning. I was all set to attend a session titled "Meeting the Challenge" which was all about what to do when parents challenge books in the library. Sadly, after getting up in the middle of the night, practically, (I am NOT a morning person), running to school to print out my reservation sheet, ( I AM a forgetful person), paying $20 for parking, registering, and consulting three different people at the registration desk, I found out that the session had been canceled! How disappointing. On the bright side, now I can head right for the exhibits tomorrow, since I already have my badge.
On the way home, I went on a Great Chicagoland Target Tour! Yes, I am on a quest to find those large buckets with the rope handles. I told our PTO School Supply person, Sheri, that I would find approx 48 buckets in six different colors for grades K - 5. We use them to store lunchboxes when kids go out for recess. I now appreciate why some cashiers insist on scanning every item, even if you have several of the same item in different colors. One very nice lady in Customer Service at a Target in Niles offered to look up the stores that had the colors I wanted. When I got to the stores, either there were no buckets, or they were the wrong colors. Clearly, computerized inventories do no good when the items aren't properly scanned. So, be patient the next time a cashier takes the time to scan items correctly!
Thank goodness for the GarminNuvii GPS my dad got me for Christmas. That little guy is so handy! (Mine is Australian, but I don't have a name for him yet. For some reason, I think of my dad's as being named Nancy.) I was partway home from my failed ALA conference attempt when I decided to try finding the rest of the buckets. All I had to do was tell him to find a Target near my location and he did! Then, when I got the addresses for other Targets, all I had to do was type in the address and viola! I didn't get lost at all. Sigh... it's such an odd experience for me.
I didn't realize, however, that as I went from Target to Target, I was getting farther and farther away from home! That's because I have the Garmin map set to show a 3D view and where I'm going is always straight ahead. I wish that view included a notation about which direction I'm going. I changed the view to an overhead view and set it so north is always at the top. Perhaps that will help me to get directions into my head. If not, at least I've still got my Australian accented boyfriend to get me home!
It's amazingly easy to set up a blog. Go to Google and set up an account. Then, click on My Account in the upper right hand corner of the screen. There, you can click on Blogger, which is how I set up this blog. Then, think of something interesting to say - that's the hard part.
I sure hope my friend (code name: RmS - you know who you are!) decides to start a blog because I'd like to read it! She could write about dirt and it would crack me up.
I'm not sure what this says about my age, but I am hearing about learning theories that were popular when I first started teaching beginning to come around again! I must say, I'm happy to see some of these ideas come around again.
For example, a current topic of discussion in my building is The Daily Five. These are five activities for students to participate in while the classroom teacher is working with small groups: reading to self, reading with someone, writing, word work, and listening to reading. I found the book, written by sisters Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, to be quite interesting and very practical. But, it sure reminded me of the way I used to organize my reading group time back when I first started, using RegieRoutman's book, Invitations.
I had a similar experience during class Monday night when my professor brought up Learning Dispositions as defined by Tishman, Jay, and Perkins. These dispositions, or "motivations, attitudes, values and habits of mind" enable people to be effective learners. The seven learning dispositions are: 1. The disposition to be broad and adventurous 2. The disposition toward wondering, problem finding, and investigating 3. The disposition to build explanations and understandings 4. The disposition to make plans and be strategic 5. The disposition to be intellectually careful 6. The disposition to seek and evaluate reasons 7. The disposition to be metacognitive (from Thinking Dispositions:A review of current theories, practices, and issues by Shari Tishman and Albert Andrade, no date given, accessed on July 7, 2009, http://learnweb.harvard.edu/alps/thinking/docs/Dispositions.htm )
When I heard about these in class, I thought back to my beginning years of teaching when my entire school, grades K-5, worked on developing intelligent behaviors. These behaviors were adapted from Art Costa's Teaching for Intelligent Behaviors: persistence, overcoming impulsivitity, listening to others, flexiblility in thinking, metacognition, checking for accuracy and precision, questioning and problem-posing, drawing on past knowledge to apply to present situations, precision of language and thought, using all senses, creativity, living with a sense of wonderment, inquisitiveness, and curiosity, cooperation, and sense of humor.
Upon reflection, I realize that these critical thinking ideas haven't gone away and come back. It's me that has lost sight of these all important behaviors, ideas, mindsets, attitudes, and dispositions. I think in my years of teaching and focusing on content areas, standardized testing, and more, I've lost sight of these key concepts. Whether they're called dispositions, behaviors, or habits of mind, they are even more important in this day and age.
The students I am reaching in my library are facing an onsalaught of information on a daily basis. They will possibly be preparing for jobs that haven't even been thought of yet! There is simply no way to get through all the available information or learn every specific skill that will be necessary in the job market. By focusing on thinking processes, teachers and librarians can help students become independent learners able to sift through the piles of information, and find what they need.
I was a third and fourth grade classroom teacher for 14 years. I am now extending my circle of influence as a school librarian. I also babysit, tutor, and do research for an author. My brother, his wife, and their boys live in Antioch, my mom lives in Elburn, and my dad in Joliet. I have two orange and white tabby cats named Penny and Nemo. I'm 40 years old and single. I live in a great neighborhood - Silverstone Lake, in Carpentersville. I recently received my master's degree in Library and Information Science from Dominican University in Oak Park, Illinois. I went to U of I in Champaign/Urbana for undergrad and Downers Grove South for HS.