OER for Resource Access

This month as we have been focusing on how school librarians can provide equitable access for all students despite financial challenges many school libraries are experiencing. My fellow bloggers have discussed human resource sharing, partnering with nonprofit organizations, and sharing with non-school libraries.

http://wikieducator.org/OER_Handbook

http://wikieducator.org/OER_Handbook

When I think about providing resources for students I immediately think about how many great free resources are out there. Recently there is a good bit of buzz in the school library world about OER: Open Educational Resources, which are “are freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes. Although some people consider the use of an open file format to be an essential characteristic of OER, this is not a universally acknowledged requirement” (“Open Educational Resources”, n.d.).

Just last month the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSO) reported on their survey that examined the state of Open Educational Resources in K-12. They found that:

  • Twenty states are currently planning OER initiatives.
  • Sixty percent of SEA respondents recognize the value of OER in school districts in their state and are promoting OER as either a supplement and/or replacement for traditional instructional materials.
  • States with existing OER programs are utilizing a variety of online methods to develop, curate, and access OER materials and integrate them within school programs. (p. 4)

They are also launching the K-12 OER Collaborative and are currently asking for people to participate.

OER provide benefits to teachers by providing them with cost-effective materials that are available for sharing, accessing and collaborating for personalized learning (Bliss & Patrick, 2013). There are lots of resources out there to get you going using OER in your school library:

OER definitely has the promise to assist in our efforts as we strive to provide resources to our students and teachers!

 

References

Bliss, T. & Patrick, S. (2013). OER state policy in K-12 education: Benefits, strategies, and recommendations for open access, open sharing. International Association for K-12 Online Learning. Retrieved from http://www.inacol.org/cms/wp-content/ uploads/2013/06/inacol_OER_Policy_Guide_v5_web.pdf

Council of Chief State School Officers. (2014).Open Educational Resources in K-12. Retrieved from http://www.ccsso.org/Resources/Digital_Resources/ State_of_the_States_Open_Educational_Resources_in_K-12_Education.html

“Open Educational Resources.” (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_educational_resources

Remodeling Literacy Together, Part 2

KQwMeg_Kilker_sizedTo continue responding to the results of NCLE’s “Remodeling Literacy Together: Paths to Standards Implementation” survey findings:

•    Teachers feeling most comfortable tend to be those more frequently working with others to analyze student work, design curriculum, and create assessments (NCLE).

Change involves risk-taking. It is essential to have respected and trusted partners when taking professional risks.

Who can help? A 21st-century school librarian must have the dispositions and skills to work with all her/his colleagues in the building. Everyone deserves support, especially when expectations change, and school librarians, who are required to work with all of our colleagues, are perfectly positioned to supply that support. When classroom teachers and school librarians coplan and coimplement lessons, and coassess student learning outcomes, librarians are providing the support teachers need and improve their own practice in the process. This is a win-win-win-win situation for all students, teachers, librarians, and administrators.

•    Teachers engaged in cross-discipline conversation about literacy are making greater shifts in their instruction (NCLE).

In many secondary schools, in particular, the disciplines have been working in silos: language arts teachers talking with language arts teachers, social studies with social students, science with science, and so on. Some schools have made strides in breaking down the institutional barriers between the disciplines because they know our brains do not learn or function in discrete-discipline-based ways.

Who can help? The work of school librarians has always been and will always be interdisciplinary. Reading and language arts are integrated into every aspect of the processes in which students engage while learning through the library program. Whether teaching reading comprehension strategies or inquiry-based research, school librarians must be knowledgeable about how students employ multiple skills and strategies to interact with ideas and information.

School librarians also have a global view of the learning community and can bring educators in different disciplines together to coplan, coteach, and coassess interdisciplinary units of instruction. This is a strength that school librarians bring to the table that can increase rigor and alignment in the academic program in any school.

•    When given the opportunity, teachers are owning the change by innovating and designing appropriate lessons and materials (NCLE).

Again it is no surprise that when teachers “own” the changes in their work environment, they bring their creativity, expertise, and experience to bear and design lessons and integrate resources that are more engaging and effective for learners.

How can school librarians contribute? School librarians must be experts in instructional design. They have experience working with students at various grade levels and in all content areas. School librarians keep abreast of the latest resources, print, digital, and human, and should always be seeking innovative ways to integrate resources into the curriculum for the benefit of students and teachers.

As a poster from the national Dewitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Library Power initiative of the 1990s noted: “Teaching is too difficult to do alone. Collaborate with your school librarian!” I hope the results of the NCLE report will bring all the members of your school’s academic program together to coplan, coteach, and coassess student learning and that your school librarian will be among the leaders at your table.

Thank you to NCTE Executive Director Kent Williamson for being the catalyst to form the NCLE literacy coalition. This is survey is just one example of the power of organizations joining forces and working together to improve literacy learning and teaching for all.

Works Cited

“Remodeling Literacy Learning Together: Paths to Standards Implementation.” Literacy in Learning Exchange. 18 Feb. 2014. Web. 29 Mar. 2014. <http://www.literacyinlearningexchange.org/remodeling-together>.

Coteaching Photograph of Librarian Jean Kilker and her Colleague from the Personal Collection of Judi Moreillon – Used with Permission

Remodeling Literacy Together, Part 1

Cameron_collabplanning2The National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE)  recently published a report called “Remodeling Literacy Together: Paths to Standards Implementation.”

NCLE, which is a coalition of literacy organizations that includes the American Association of School Librarians, the International Reading Association, National Council of Teachers of English, and others, conducted a national survey of over 3,000 teachers to learn about their preparation and confidence related to implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Whether or not you teach in a CCSS state, the findings of this survey should be of interest to everyone in the field of education. Every state, district, and school in the U.S. is placing an increased emphasis on raising the rigor in literacy teaching and learning. There are many leadership opportunities for school librarians in these findings.

•    Nationwide, teachers feel ill-prepared to help their students achieve the new literacy standards (NCLE).

I believe that all educators feel challenged to teach literacy skills. We know students need to master traditional literacy skills as well as 21st-century skills. This is a tall order when many children do not arrive at school with rich literacy backgrounds, need on-going support for applying reading comprehension strategies across genres, content areas, and grade levels and need to learn how to effectively use technology tools to interact with information and produce knowledge. This is a tall order.

Who can help? A 21st-century school librarian!

•    Working with peers is the most valued support for standards implementation (NCLE).

As a long-time collaborating librarian, this finding does not surprise me. I know that my colleagues and I have benefited tremendously through coteaching. The extra challenge for classroom teachers is that it is difficult for them to work with one another during the school day in order to achieve true job-embedded professional development. If educators combine classes, they have twice as many students whose needs they must meet. And few administrators have the flexibility to release teachers from their primary teaching responsibility so they can coteach with their peers.

Who can help? A 21st-century school librarian who can coplan and coteach with classroom teachers in real-time, with real students, real curriculum, real resources, real supports, and constraints of the actual teaching environment can be the peer with whom classroom teachers work. Through coteaching, we can help classroom teachers meet their need for standard-based lesson implementation and improve our literacy teaching practices together.

•    Time for working together in schools is decreasing (NCLE).

This is an ill-advised situation that school-level and district-level administrators should pay attention to and address. When new standards or initiatives are introduced into a learning community, educators need to break out of the isolation of their classrooms, labs, and libraries in order to ensure that innovations spread throughout the learning community.

Who can help? A 21st-century school librarian has expertise in using technology tools for asynchronous collaboration. Using Google Drive docs, wikis, and other Web 2.0 tools to conduct collaborative planning can provide effective venues for working together when face-to-face time is short or not readily available.

On Thursday, I will respond to some of the additional findings of this important data from the field.

Works Cited

“Remodeling Literacy Learning Together: Paths to Standards Implementation.” Literacy in Learning Exchange. 18 Feb. 2014. Web. 31 Mar. 2014. <http://www.literacyinlearningexchange.org/remodeling-together>.

Coplanning Photograph of Librarian Stacy Cameron and her Colleagues – Used with Permission

Swiss Army Knives: Teacher Librarians

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Looking for some cool tools in your classroom?  Think about the utilitarian roles of the teacher librarian-think Swiss army knife.  That’s how one teacher describes the impact of the teacher librarian in schools.  In a recent blog post on Edutopia, Josh Work, a middle school teacher from Maryland, shares his take on collaboration that is at the heart of his daily practice in his school.  That collaboration in teaching and learning is with the teacher librarian. This blog is a must read for all of us who strive every day to become embedded in the educational fabric of schools as teacher librarians/media specialists.

From Josh’s experience, he sees the teacher librarian as a leader in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and technology integration.

“I have found the most valuable school-based resource for brainstorming, discussing, planning and implementing anything to do with technology has been my school’s media specialist.”

“…Media specialists are an amazing building-level resource for anyone that takes the time to collaborate with them.”

 

As in many cases, the collaboration began in simple ways, with a quick face to face conversation that grew over time to brief meetings, and then later to include co-planning and co-teaching curriculum. He also goes on to give some advice to other teachers about enlisting help from the building media specialist/teacher librarian.

Whether or not the Swiss army knife is an image you have of yourself, it’s great to learn about successful collaborations with teachers from another perspective. In fact, the metaphor does represent the multiple facets of our morphing role, so let’s embrace it.

Hearing from colleagues such as Josh who understand and appreciate the expertise and knowledge that we provide, is refreshing, and affirms the work that we do. It also gives us incentive to try harder, even in the face of budget cuts and increasing demands on teachers’ time.  Together, we all can make the shift in instructional design and practice if we continue to embrace partnerships to meet the challenges of teaching and learning in today’s world.

Thank you, Josh, from the bottom of our hearts.  We think you are sharp, too!

 

References:

Work, Josh. (2014)  “The Shift: Media Specialists and the Common Core.” Edutopia  (weblog) March 18, 2014. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/media-specialists-and-common-core-josh-work

Image: Clkr.com: Swiss army knife

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shaking Things Up

So as I was reading Judy’s recent post on assessment I also saw this article pop up on my ScoopIt dashboard- Interactive Assessment for Learning.  This article describes a great idea that focuses on assessing one of the Common Core ELA Standards where students are required to use evidence from text to support their own assertions.

This teacher took a new approach to her teaching to integrate more technology in to her instruction and to her assessment as well. I love to see this type of thinking where this teacher identified a standard that her students struggled with year after year, despite repeated instruction – so she decided it was time to change things up.

As I reflect back on the instruction and assessments my students designed this past semester in my Instructional Role of the School Librarian course I am excited to see the engaging lessons and creative formative and summative assessments they came up with. Additionally their thoughtful reflections on how they could even make it better the next time they taught it was inspiring.

I believe all too often in teaching we settle into the way things have always been done. So as we reach the end of another year I always find it a good time for thinking back on what I have been teaching and to reflect – what’s been working, what hasn’t, and how can I shake things up to benefit our students.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68vm-y1IzYQ

 

 

Instructional Partnerships Deliver Success

wiki_logo_sizedThis is a special invitation to join us for a preconference workshop at the AASL National Convention next week in Hartford. Along with a team of school librarians and classroom teachers at each instructional level, I will be copresenting: Instructional Partnerships that Deliver Success: Meeting the Leadership Challenge. For a sneak peak, you can access our presentation wiki.

Our ½ -day workshop will be held on Thursday, November 14th from 8:30 to noon. As you can see from the agenda, we will share information and engage in conversations about how school librarians can enact successful instructional partnerships with classroom teachers. For one hour, the participants interact in instructional level groups and hear first-hand examples of effective strategies for working collaboratively with colleagues. We are delighted that classroom teachers will be joining us to provide first-person testimonials of their collaborative work with their school librarian.

Participants  will complete a puzzle that shows how inquiry learning and reading comprehension strategies align the work of school librarians as defined by AASL’s Standards for the 21st-Century Learner with the Common Core College and Career Readiness Standards. In addition, we will devote a half-hour slot to modeling and practicing close reading to help readers comprehend complex text.

And all along the way, we will have fun! Come learn with us because Instructional Partnerships (Do) Deliver Success. Together, we can rise up to meet the challenge! To find out about registering, go to the AASL Preconference Web page. If you have questions about our workshop, please post them here, or you can email me directly at: info@storytrail.com

I would also encourage you to visit the exhibit hall during the conference. In addition to vendors’ displays and presentations, you will find demonstrations in the AASL Booth related to various AASL resources. I would be remiss if I failed to mention our book Best of KQ: Instructional Partnerships: A Pathway to Leadership. Coeditor Susan Ballard and I will be signing in the AASL Booth #1131 on Saturday, November 16th from 9:30 to 10:00 a.m.

And please stop by the Eerdmans Books for Young Readers Booth #328 where I will be signing my new picture book Ready and Waiting for You.

See you in Hartford!

Word cloud created at Wordle.net

STEM + Inquiry=Collaboration

00439573Sue Kimmel posted recently about finding ways to connect and collaborate with teachers using the Common Core Math Standards and literacy. This week I want to encourage reaching out to make connections around science initiatives, too, by looking at citizen science.

Citizen scientists ignite a passion for science and inquiry through participation in authentic projects that actively make a difference in scientific knowledge on large and small scales.  With the current emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in many school districts across the nation, the citizen scientist collaborative model for collective inquiry, gathering and analyzing data, and problem solving can be used to generate enthusiasm and curiosity in science classrooms.

Here is an opportunity for teacher librarians to become acquainted with the Common Core ELA Science Standards 6-12, and the Next Generation Science Standards, and to bring some fresh ideas and resources for developing curriculum units with other classroom teachers.

As an instructional partner, and co-teacher, we have to continue to build our teaching toolkit with pedagogy and content knowledge.  For students to become citizen scientists in their schools and communities, teacher librarians and teachers collaborate to design meaningful learning opportunities that engage curious minds, require action and reflection, and help solve real world problems.     Or, you could also get your students interested in a citizen science club that could have a physical and virtual presence in your library media center!

What is “citizen science?” you might ask.  How does technology play role in the collective capacity of amateur scientists all over the world, or in your own community? How can you develop a unit of study that replicates or enjoins some of the authentic work that is done by citizen scientists?

Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling with both teachers and students:

Recommended reading:

  • Citizen Scientists by Loree Griffin Burns presents an approachable overview about the impact of citizen science for young people.  It’s a great introduction to some of the current projects around the world and shows how global citizenship is enhanced by making connections and contributions by individuals.  As an example of narrative non-fiction, is can also serve as a model for Common Core Reading and Writing Standards.

Edutopia website has a couple of related blog posts:

Youtube videos that present examples of authentic science inquiry:

  • “Digital Fishing on Citizen Science Cruise,” shares the educational program of the Crystal Cove Alliance in Newport Beach (CA) that immerses Students in the science of marine protected area management.http://www.youtube.com /watch?v=u6m2tqZMD3s
  • “Technology creates Citizen Scientists” relates the critical role that technology plays in allowing citizen scientists to help solve real world problems at local and global levels. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81hhecI0p5k

Websites:

  • “Scistarter: Science We Can Do Together” offers many projects and ideas for scientific inquiry and citizen scientists. http://www.scistarter.com/

Calling All Citizen Scientists!

I’m sure there are many opportunities in your local school and community for getting your student citizen scientists involved in helping to solve problems.  Catch the STEM wave that is a natural fit for your library program!

 

References:

Burns, Loree Griffin (2012). Citizen scientists. NY: Square Fish. http://us.macmillan.com/citizenscientists/LoreeGriffinBurns

Brunsell, Eric. (2010). A primer on citizen science.  Edutopia (2010, Oct.13). Weblog.  Retrieved from: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/citizen-science-eric-brunsell.  .

Common core Initiative: English Language Arts:  Science and Technical Standards (2011). Website.  Retrieved from: http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RST/9-10. .

Digital fishing on citizen science cruise. (2012, Sep. 25)  Newport Beach, CA: Crystal Cove Alliance. Video.  Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6m2tqZMD3s.

Next Generation Science Standards. (2013). Website.  Retrieved from: http://www.nextgenscience.org/.

Phillips, Mark. (2013, April 17). Teaching and the environmental crisis: resources and models. Edutopia . Weblog.  Retrieved from: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/teaching-environmental-crisis-resources-models-mark-phillips.

Scientific American: Citizen Science. Website.  Retrieved from:  http://www.scientificamerican.com/citizen-science/.

Scistarter. Website.  Retrieved from: http://www.scistarter.com/.

Technology creates Citizen Scientists. (2012, Aug. 16) California Academy of Science.  Video.  Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81hhecI0p5k.

This thing called science part 6: Citizen science.  (2013, May 23). TechNyouvids. Video.  Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6eN3Pll4U8.

Microsift clipart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMON sCOREs: Instructional Partnerships that Deliver Success

Common_Scores_logo_sizedIn 2011, Maria Cahill, Rebecca McKee, and I conducted a study of state-level librarian conferences. Our research questions centered on the professional development focused on each of the five roles of school librarians offered at these conferences. We conducted a content analysis and reviewed the data in several conference categories and we looked at the data across all conferences as well.

We learned that the instructional partner role of school librarians is the least represented in state-level conference sessions. (You can read the complete study report in School Library Research.)

Does that mean that school librarians are not consistently practicing this role? Or are we not submitting conference session proposals that spotlight our instructional partnerships? Or are conference planners not selecting instructional partnership sessions from among those proposed?

For whatever reason, many of us believe it is essential to counteract this trend. Some in the school librarian profession are renewing our commitment to presenting workshops and conference sessions focused on the benefits to students and educators of classroom-library collaboration for instruction.

I am a member of a team of school librarians and classroom teachers who will share our instructional partnership experiences at the upcoming American Library Association (ALA) conference in Chicago later this month. Judi Paradis and her teaching partner first-grade teacher Marianne Duffy will represent the elementary school perspective. Sabrina Carnesi and her teaching partner Naadira Mubarak will share their collaborative work at the middle school level. Stacy Cameron and I will share our high school examples.

Here’s a description of our preconference:
What is the core of 21st-century school librarianship? How does OUR core relate to the Common Core State Standards and other state standards? What are the skills, dispositions, responsibilities, and self-assessments we can apply to co-achieve uncommon success? This preconference will provide strategies for demonstrating the school librarian’s central role in the academic program through practicing instructional partnerships to ensure success for K-12 students, teachers, administrators, librarians, and for the school librarian profession, too.

If you are headed to Chicago to attend the ALA Annual Conference, I hope you will consider attending our preconference workshop. It will be held on Friday, June 28th from 8:30 a.m. to noon. For more information about all of the preconference workshop offered at the conference this year, visit the AASL Web site.

See you in Chicago.

Work Cited

Moreillon, Judi, Maria Cahill, and Rebecca McKee. State Library Conferences as Professional Development Venues: Unbalanced Support for the AASL-defined Roles of the School Librarian. School Library Research 15. 29 July 2012. Web. 06 June 2013 <http://www.ala.org/aasl/slr/volume15/moreillon-cahill-mckee>.

Word Cloud created at Wordle.net

 

Reading and Making Connections at the Core

One of the findings of “Creating 21st-Century Learners: A Report on Pennsylvania’s Public School Libraries” is this: “The overall findings fit with research we’ve seen in other states–access to a full-time, certified school librarian significantly impacts students achievement in reading.”

In my PSLA Conference ’13 keynote, Leadership Begins with a Bag of Chocolates, I shared the image above to show the connections among inquiry, coteaching, technology, and reading. Reading is, to my way of thinking, at the core of our mission as school librarians. Reading proficiency is surely at the core of the Common Core State Standards.

Traditionally, school librarians have considered themselves educators who promote a love of reading rather than as coteachers of reading comprehension strategies. If we take the results of the PA School Library Project to heart, we should consider the school librarian’s potential to impact reading proficiency through integrating reading strategies into our cotaught inquiry units of study. Integrating technology, inquiry, and reading through coteaching

References

Moreillon, Judi. “Reading-Inquiry-Technology-Coteaching Connections.” Digital Image. From the Personal Collection of Judi Moreillon.

PA School Library Project. 2012. “Creating 21st-Century Learners: A Report on Pennsylvania’s Public School Libraries.” PA School Library Project. http://tinyurl.com/PAstudy2012

Collaboration Is Key to Student Achievement

The past weekend I had the pleasure of sharing a keynote and concurrent session with members of the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA). Like many other educators around the country, Pennsylvania school librarians are wrestling with their place in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

PSLA is a vibrant professional association. They have/are a strong advocacy team/membership committed to maximizing the impact of their 2012 school libraries study. This is one of the findings “Creating 21st-Century Learners: A Report on Pennsylvania’s Public School Libraries:”

“The librarian collaborates closely with classroom teachers in every subject area to teach students everything from making sense of the information they gather to collaborating with other students to create new knowledge” (PA School Library Project 2012).

Classroom-library collaboration can be challenging; it can also be so rewarding in terms of improved student learning outcomes. (And besides, it is more fun to teach together rather than alone!) The time is now for school librarians who serve as collaborators to coteach with classroom teachers to improve instruction and to do the hard work of co-implementing best practices in teaching and learning.

Bravo to PSLA for their commitment to making a positive impact on student learning!

References

Moreillon, Judi. “Collaboration.” Digital Image. From the Personal Collection of Judi Moreillon.

PA School Library Project. 2012. “Creating 21st-Century Learners: A Report on Pennsylvania’s Public School Libraries.” PA School Library Project. http://tinyurl.com/PAstudy2012