Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stuff from last week! (or maybe the week before...)

Yesterday (probably about two weeks ago now...) at the other campus it was interesting working with the librarian there and watching her take PIP classes. PIP is a Personal Investigation Project. It includes a series of lessons where students are taught question formulation, research skills, internet analysis etc. The two campuses are very different in the way information literacy is taught, our side seems to have lost the plot. Staff changes and the Shadow continuing to do the things she’s always done have left the staff disconnected with the library. The Shadow has some good ideas, that may work or have worked at other schools but the way she puts them to teachers or expects them to do as she wants can be really off putting. Make is big in her vocabulary. Make the students do this or do it this way. Make the teachers... as if!

A couple of days after this I was having lunch when the ‘Educators’ and the head of PD were havi ng an informal meeting about teaching info literacy. PD for teachers, standard design for assignment sheets etc. So I butted in and said count us in! We (in the library) need to be involved in this. The energy in the conversation went up a notch or two. Linking library bookings to teaching information skills would work really well, especially if the expectation was coming from up on high. It would make a big change from teachers bringing their class in to the computer area, letting them ‘research’ whilst hiding behind their own lap top. Explicit teaching of the skills required to find information is so important. So with any luck, we’ll have some help with that.

I went to a conference on Saturday. It was a half day on a Saturday morning. I was still half asleep! ALIA Schools in Victoria put on one a term apparently and usually the same people go each time (I was noticeably new and not just because I was under 50, had a motor bike, funny hair cut and stand about a head taller than most of the little people there). The first speaker was from Wesley. Here’s the page but the link to the main speaker isn’t up yet and some of my notes are related to slides in her presentation.

The big things I noticed were that you need to be a team to make change happen in your school. That brain research says uninterrupted reading sessions develop a different part of your brain to skimming and hunting for info on the net. She mentioned the article Is google making us stupid I still haven’t got around to finishing it. I keep getting distracted! At her school they have a series of lesson plans that run in the library program and the teachers can opt in. Some teachers come every week, let us do our thing, work with us. Some don’t.

The second bit was a workshop where we worked on ideas for book week. Great to start thinking about it early. The third thing was an author talk that was interesting but put me to sleep.

THE NEXT WEEK... (I think? It’s all becoming a blur)
Something that came up with our PD guy was models like the Big 6 and the e5. e5 is the Victorian governments teaching model of the moment. The bear and I compared the models to see how they fit together. They fit quite nicely, so your instruction could involve teaching the information skills necessary. Instructional model for information literacy, a combined e5 and big 6...?

Maybe that was Friday... Tuesday I had book club and we did a wordle about book club. All the students were given a piece of paper to write down all the words they could think of to do with the library and book club and a warm milo to help the thinking process. One student typed all the responses into wordle (check it out at wordle.net) and I played around with the output – see below. I showed them some of the them and they want copies. It worked really well as a short activity. I’d like them on t-shirts.

Thursday’s are never good. I dislike working with just the Shadow and I. Things that have been working fine, from decisions made at the end of last year are suddenly changed back to the way they were, without a word to me and always done through the technicians. It has been worse in the last couple of weeks whilst I’ve been ill and away a few days – a great excuse to change things with me not there... but none of that was what made me angry.

At recess I come back in after passing the Shadow in the courtyard outside the library. There are kids in the library. I attempt to kick them out as we are closed at recess and there was no teacher supervising them until I came in. Apparently they had been given permission by the Shadow, who had then left them. When the Shadow got back one of the technicians asked for clarification as to what is a good reason that the students might have to let us break the closed at recess rule. The Shadow couldn’t answer decently and I said they can’t be in here without a teacher. It’s not allowed, you would not be legally covered if anything happened. The Shadow says it’s fine, I let them in, I’m responsible for them even if I’m not here. Really, that’s not the point! She may be the one to face court but who has to deal with the situation? The technicians - who are not paid enough or legally obliged to deal with the situation that is made possible by the Shadow. That is not fair and they do not feel they can say no to her. I didn’t say anything I regret but my tone of voice may have been a bit harsh because it is something I feel very strongly about. The Shadow and I agreed to disagree and discuss the recess rules (and the way I speak to the Shadow!) with the Bear. I overhear her making it my problem by saying to one of the techs that she is just doing what she has always done and what was done before I came.
A very tense day.

...is a marking/report writing day (no kids!) and one that the Shadow doesn’t work. Eventually I bring the situation that occurred on Thursday up with the Bear. I say I got a bit angry. She sighs but agrees with me (I have brought it up before now) and says she has spoken to the Shadow about it before. One of the techs who has been there longer than any of us says we have always been closed at recesses with no excuses for kids. Before my time!

My main work on Friday was attempting some sort of collection evaluation. I spent ages trying to massage the data out of Bibliotech and make it useable. I tried for number of books, circulation and average age by Dewey. I did ok with number of books and circulation data but still need to make a phone call to find out how to get the age data out. Nothing we tried seemed to work. The data was interesting in places. I then tried to do a similar thing with book tubs that we have made up in the past from the list on BookIt. That didn’t work so well as there are less concrete ways to search and no descriptors of what the teacher was actually wanting to be covered by the box. I think we will have to make that sort of data collection an ongoing thing.

No comments: