Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Where is it all Headed?

This week two videos came to my attention.  Video #1 was posted on the Committed Sardine blog by Lee Crockett who draws attention to the need for schools to teach information literacy skills, learning to deal with information.

Video #2 was shared in Google Reader by David Truss (@datruss) and is an impassioned plea from a young man who sees the need for a change in the way we define education and how it is delivered: An Open Letter to Educators.

I'll be passing both along to any educator who will listen.  This isn't new information, just another couple of timely pieces to help in the battle for change.  In my perfect world tech departments would be staffed by people whose job it would be to facilitate the needs of educators, to support good pedagogy.  Teachers would be able to demonstrate at any given time how they are using social media to engage, challenge and empower students.  Teachers would be able to demonstrate what they themselves are learning and how they are modeling/sharing that learning with their students.  Librarians would be revered for their ability to see the bigger picture and assist teachers and students in planning open-ended, critical thinking activities that enable students to acquire solid information literacy skills.  In my perfect world.

So where are we headed?  How long will it take?  What are we doing to support and advance the necessary changes to our current education system?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Vancouver 2010

My mind has been far from blogging these past weeks.  With the Olympic Cauldron burning brightly in Vancouver there seems to be little else vying for my attention.  The tidal wave of Canadian patriotism that has hit Vancouver is palpable.  If you ever get the chance to attend an Olympic event in your own country don't miss it.

I wonder though if it is possible to capture all that energy and enthusiasm and bend it to other endeavours.  Imagine stirring your class or community to such a degree that they would all throw their support and skills into bringing something to fruition.  There are many lessons to be taken away from watching the elite athletes of the world perform.  Stories about determination, goal setting, triumph against crushing odds, love, support and following a dream.

What will you learn?  How will you inspire your students and colleagues?

Photo used under a creative commons licence by buzz.bishop
Inukshuk at English Bay, the symbol of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Flickr and the School Library

I've been thinking of ways in which school librarians can use Flickr to promote library programs or advocate for their libraries.  Flickr Groups offers some possibilities.

 Flickr returned 652 group results when I searched for "school library" under the Groups tab, click on the screen shot for a larger view.  Some libraries have created Groups in Flickr around themes such as School Library Displays.  These can be a rich source of ideas.

One group is sharing photos to use on their school website while others share photos from library events and conferences.  There's even a group showing how students study in the library.

Given that a picture is a powerful way to convey an idea here are some suggestions:
- promote new resources by snapping pictures of new books OR advocate for more resources by showing how empty the shelves are
- create excitement around upcoming events with photos of posters, an author's titles, mystery objects or 'guess who?' photos
- document changes or renovations to the library
- promote programs with timeline photos as students progress through stages and acquire new skills, take photos of student projects.  For example, Gr. 1s signing out their first books > Gr. 3s reading to Gr. 1s > Gr. 1s reading to their parents during an open house night
- document events: poetry readings, author visits, character costume days - search flickr for ideas others have captured with an image
- photograph staff learning on ProD days held in the library
- promote groups that help the library, parent or student volunteers
- promote genres in your fiction collection
- thank parent groups for donations by showing how they are being used
- demonstrate how well your library space is used before and after school and during the lunch hour
- illustrate the wide variety of learning that takes place: individual studying, group projects, computer use, demonstrations, readings, presentations, club activities

What else can you do with the photos you take?
- post up around the school, in the staff room
- display on open house or parent-teacher interview nights by projecting as a looping slideshow
- add to school newsletters and to your school and library websites
- add to school district promotional materials
- attach to an email when you want to advocate for or promote your library
- send to your local paper

How have you used Flickr or other social image sharing tools?

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Great Elementary School Library Site

I'm turning the tables on this one and asking for your input. I'd like to know what you think makes for a great elementary school library website. I have a few ideas, things like:
- a welcome page with staff names, FAQs, contact information, hours
- great visuals showing the library as an active and evolving community
- a how-to page with instructions on writing a bibliography, creating a brochure etc.
- a youtube player with book trailers, author interviews
- a page showing how the librarian collaborates with teachers
- a library events showcase
- suggestions for great reads
- student feedback forms such as requests for new materials, questions.
- links to online databases, recommended sites for assignments, author sites, etc.

What else would you include? How would you showcase your library to your teachers and students and the world? What web2.0 tools would you use? I'm planning a future post on this subject so please leave your ideas or links to any great elementary school library websites you know of, even your own! Thanks!

Photo used under a Creative Commons license by PlayfulLibrarian