The sounds and smells of the first day of school bring back my own memories of “first days”. One that stands out is my first day of grade three at the newly built Alexander Forbes School in Grande Prairie. What made that first day so remarkable was the library that Eunice Easton had designed for our school. From the elevated reading platform serviced by a slide, to the book bays that provided quiet nooks to read in, and the inviting group learning area it was unlike any other school library I had experienced. Ultimately though, what made the space sing was Mrs. Easton’s ability to match me to the books I would love and push me to use all the available resources to carry out the inquiries that my teachers lead me in. Mrs. Easton, along with her successor Mrs. Linda Chang were instrumental in developing my love of reading AND my love of inquiry.
My name is Holly Huber. I am the new president of the Alberta School Library Council of the Alberta Teacher’s Association. I have taken the helm of the ASLC at a tenuous time for school libraries. Teacher Librarian positions have been reduced in time or eliminated altogether across the province. Library budgets have been reduced or eliminated affecting the quality and quantity of books available to our students.
Although these setbacks are grave, we have reason to celebrate as a community as well. Our ASLC executive is dedicated to supporting our fellow teachers, teacher librarians and school library technicians in their work. If you are new to working in your school library, or are looking for cutting edge approaches to 21st Century Literacy, our Mentorship/Membership Coordinator Lissa Bonnell-Davies email@example.com would love to hear from you. We also encourage you to visit our website at http://aslc.ca/ for up to the minute links to the latest in educational technology, literacy, and literature.
Finally, we acknowledge that 21St Century Literacy requires a change of focus as we transition from the model of school libraries to “learning commons”. Learning commons, focused on the development of literacy in multiple texts and platforms to support inquiry, requires us to be adept collaborators. As such, the ALSC has joined with the ATA’s Social Studies and Educational Technology Specialist Councils to present a groundbreaking conference: Connecting Globally: Inviting the World Into Our Classroom. This exciting event, featuring guest speakers Craig Keilburger: Free the Children, Steve Patterson: CBC’s The Debators, and Dr. Samantha Nutt: Operation War Child, will take place in Edmonton at the Radisson South, October 15th and 16th. Please go to http://www.connectingglobally.ca to register today!
I look forward to working with all of you this year to address these challenges and celebrate our accomplishments. We must continue to bolster support for school libraries and the important part they play in our children’s education. The school library truly is the heart of our schools, taking in the curious and disengaged alike and pumping them out, full on the oxygen of inquiry and literacy.
Do your elementary students need a newspaper article for current events? An outline map of Tunisia for Social Studies? A video or audio clip or image for their digital presentation? Maybe they need to compare two countries or a magazine article about recycling? Or maybe they would just like to play a game or spend some time with a digital book?
Do your junior or senior high students need a newspaper article from three different provinces on the same topic? This would help them to write a position paper or understand the perspectives of people across our country, or in other parts of the world. Or are they looking for an outline map of Libya? Maybe they too need video/audio clips or suitable images for their class presentations. What about a current magazine or peer reviewed journal article for that research project on bio-ethics due tomorrow? Would they like that article read aloud to them? Are they trying to create citations for a bibliography and don’t know how?
All this and more is just a click away when you access the FREE online reference resources for Alberta K-12 available 24/7 via the Online Reference Centre (ORC) at the http://www.learnalberta.ca website!
In an effort to spread the word about the ORC resources and help teacher-librarians and school library staff learn more how to maximize the effective use of this content in all subject areas, you are invited to attend the ORC Vendor Training Events in EDMONTON (Sept 26/27) & CALGARY (Oct 17/18). To REGISTER: send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org stating the day you wish to come. For full details on both of these events, check out the “Meet the Vendors” page on the ORC Wiki .
Join us; you’ll be glad you did! You could even win a Kindle e-reader! Feel free to tweet this info to any and all who may be interested.
Written by Diane GallowaySolowan, ORC Coordinator
I have heard so many people complain about Twitter...and none of them are on it. "It would take too much time.", "What's the big deal with it, anyway?" and "I don't even know how to get started."
So, why Tweet? As I have said in my previous post about Twitter (http://getwebbing.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/twitter-twitter-cheep-cheep-pd/) , it's like having fabulous, free PD. It isa global PLN at your fingertips. Once you get started (more on that below), you will find incredible resources and get ideas from amazing educators around the world.
So what's the big deal about Twitter? How can Twitter make me a better educator?
Watch this video below to see how Twitter can expand your PLN.
Now, set up your Twitter account, ...it only takes a few minutes!
Now you can get Tweeting. In order to manage your Tweets, set up Tweetdeck on your PC or Mac. You can even load it onto your smartphone!
An important part of Twitter is finding who to follow. Start with a few such as:
Will Richardson (@willrich45)
David Warlick (@dwarlick)
Joyce Valenza @(joycevalenza)
Stephen Abram (@sabram)
Dean Shareski (@shareski)
Alec Couros (@courosa)
Ross Todd (@RossJTodd)
Miguel Guhlin (@mguhlin)
Steve Hargadon (@shargadon)
Scott McLeod (@mcleod)
Mack Male (@mastermaq)
Judy O’Connell (@heyjudeonline)
danah boyd (@zephoria)
Buffy Hamilton/The Unquiet Library (buffyjhamilton)
Look for the following hashtags:
Once you get started, you will find more and more people to follow. Set aside a few minutes for Twitter once a week, and start flying!
I’m lazy, well not really but RSS feeds allow me to be just a little lazy.
RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication and now that I am using one I whole heartedly agree with Richardson(2006) –it is the one technology that teachers should be “using today, right now, this minute” (p.71). And tomorrow, we should be teaching our students to use it. As opposed to continuously checking for updated from my favourite websites, news sources, and blogs RRS brings the material to me. It saves me time and has helped me organize my reading.
RSS for me has become a personalized professional learning tool. I have subscribed to the feeds that will best help me as a teacher and learner. I use Google Reader because that was the one that Richardson recommended. It was so easy to set up and I use iGoogle as my homepage which allows me to see the new feeds in brief form as soon as I log on. I can then decide if I need to read the full article or blog and if so do so, if not, I just mark it as read and move on. It also remembers the ones I have read and haven’t read and I can easily tag and save the ones that interest me. I find as time goes by I am subscribing to more and more blogs/newsfeeds. Although I must confess that one day when I logged on and there were 55 new feeds in my Reader I was very tempted to just click the mark all as read button.
Get started with a google reader today by watching this short instructional video:
Looking for some great blogs to follow visit our suggestions here and don't forget to add ASLC's blog to your reader!
Some of the benefits of using RSS include:
• Simplifying Instructor’s Research. For busy Instructors who want to easily keep up in their field of study, RSS allows for access to all new research via news articles, blogs, and websites through one simple interface.
• Staying up to date with student activities. If students have class blogs (such as one for group projects, discussion groups or lab groups) then RSS can keep you up to date with any new activities on their blogs. You can check to see if the content is appropriate, comment on their posts, or see the participation levels in discussions.
• Allowing students to easily keep up with course. If you have a course blog or website you can allow students to use RSS to keep track of changes. This can allow for you to give them information almost instantly about what is happening in your course and in your field. If other classes use RSS then students can compile all their class RSS feeds in one easy to access location.
• Class/Social Bookmarking. RSS can be used to create a list of useful websites that the professor or the students have visited that relate to the class or a particular project. This can be done in class through a community class blog publishing web links, or made easy and streamlined through the use of online applications built for social bookmarking which allow for rating and annotating
• Targeted Searching. RSS feeds can be used as a way to bring news on a certain topic for a paper or project directly to your reader/aggregator. All the information on a certain topic can be found by a search engine such as Google and then converted to a RSS feed and put into your reader/aggregator. Searching feeds can also allow for a wealth of useful research finds.
So why wouldn’t we use such a powerful tool to help students and ourselves manage new information?
Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press.
My favorite library blogger Joyce Valenza shared this moving protest song by Piers Cawley in her blog on September 2. In tough economic times it seems that libraries and their services are easy to cut. This is a timely reminder of how important libraries are to our children.
A Child of the Library
I’m a Child of the Lib’ry, it made me who I am,
It taught me about freedom and the fellowship of Man
A sea of story waits for you behind the lib’ry door,
Don’t say we can’t afford them any more.
The Lib’ry’s where I made some friends I’ve known my whole life through
The Walkers and the Blacketts and the Pevensies so true.
Simp the canine cannonball, Galadriel the fair.
The daughter of a pirate king and Paddington the Bear
I’ve travelled South with Shackleton and all his gallant crew
And to the African interior that Mary Kingsley knew
I’ve rode the trackless prairie where the bison used to roam
An travelled round the Universe, not half an hour from home.
And as I grew the libr’y fed my curiosity,
All there for the asking. All of it for free.
It’s there I found the stories that I couldn’t find at home.
It’s where I learned I was myself and not my father’s clone.
So make friends with your library, don’t let it fade away.
Teach your kids the lib’ry’s where you go on Saturday.
Don’t let the bastards tell you they will cost to much to save
While they’re shovelling our taxes down the hole the bankers made
So make a stand for the lib’ry. Stand up while you can.
Stand up for your freedom. Stand for your fellow man.
Ignorance is never bliss, don’t close the lib’ry door.
For a lib’ry lost is lost forever more.
Lyrics © 2011 Piers and Gill Cawley
Music © 2011 Piers Cawley
Licenced under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA License.
Join ASLC and Diana Rendina, Renovated Learning and Walking Together in exploring the excitement and potential of Makerspaces to impact student learning and learn how literature can help you create an Inclusive Learning Commons!
Location: Strathcona High School 10450 72 Avenue NW Edmonton, AB T6E0Z6