Should I sign up and go? Do the benefits of attending Kaleidoscope, outweigh the cost and the merits of keeping my nose to the grindstone and tackling some of those items on my overloaded To Do list at school? It’s a tough question. Well, I signed up & went.
Starting late on a Thursday evening after a day’s work, and after only an hour of being immersed in a conference of like-minded literacy lovers, I knew I’d made the right choice. Hearing AVI’s account of what makes good writing, David Bouchard tell of his discovery of his native heritage, or how Carol Gardner’s love of her dog Zelda became a multi-million dollar business—instantly I caught the enthusiasm and love of learning, and new ideas and plans began percolating for my own school. Wonderful fodder to bring books alive were Gail Bowen’s advice on the importance of a dynamite first impression, Lois Donovan’s perspective on historical fiction, Jeff Buick’s forays into transmedia, and how Marty Chan as a little boy survived small prairie town prejudices. In-between-sessions and together-lunches, became opportunities to connect. I felt a sense of belonging; my knowledge extended and diversified.
Whether Kaleidoscope, Teachers’ Convention, or an Alberta Library Conference, I am quite convinced of the value of community in experience, and the synergy gained from in-person collaboration surrounding shared interests. When my training and experience as a teacher librarian entwines with the collective wisdom of skill, passion and success in the literary world, all the better. Thank you Kaleidoscope organizers for the planning and effort that went into this event. To me it made a difference in my practice, and rejuvenated my perspective. Time well spent. How did it make a difference for you?
Shirley McGowan is a teacher-librarian and Learning Leader, Research and Technology at Queen Elizabeth High School in Calgary.
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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