Please see the file above for proper formatting for this assignment.
Evaluation Plan for Reference Services
By Krista Belanger
Analysis of Current Collection
SML Christian Academy houses a number of different reference collections, housed in a variety of classrooms as the school does not have a formal school library at this time. Due to these circumstances, the focus of this analysis and plan will be for the topic of Weather, which is part of the grade five Science curriculum. This collection is currently found in the grade five classroom, which in addition to the various grade five science topics, contains social studies resources, but the vast majority of the library is composed of fiction titles.
The weather reference collection contains ten physical titles, but many of these titles have poor currency with the oldest title being published in 1982 and the most current published in 2016. The accuracy of these resources is quite reliable, which is why they have not been discarded, however, the currency is certainly in question. Riedling indicates in Reference Skills for the School Library Media Specialist that “printed resources are often considered to be out of date before they reach the student” (pg. 22), however, in a context in which technology is not always readily available or reliable, print resources may be the only option. The collection is well-utilized by students and the teacher, however there are simply not enough resources for one for each student in the class, which means that during research tasks without technology, students are limited.
The reference collection does not provide opportunities for student learning unless the student is at or above reading level, which is unrealistic given the student population of SML Christian Academy. Currently, the average grade five student reads at a 4.1 reading level, which translates to a beginning grade four reading level. The school, while trying to strengthen their students’ reading skills and ability to decode text, make inferences, and connections, is simply unsuccessful with helping every single student grow in every single one of these ways, as there may be a lack of support at home, a lack of scaffolding, or a multitude of other factors.
Rationale for ChangeAs there are not enough physical resources for all students, a change must be made to provide access to every student in the class in any given year. Since SML caps its classes at 24, there must be 24 resources made available. Access needs to be improved, which includes access to learning materials at a variety of reading levels, access to technology, and access to technology extensions to increase reading comprehension, vocabulary, and general understanding.
Currently, students at SML have limited access to technology simply due to the lack of technology within the school. At the moment, there are two Chromebook carts, each consisting of a class set being used by grades three through nine, and two class sets of iPads being used in the kindergarten through grade two classes. At times throughout the year, older grades typically use the iPads for research and learning through apps, but do not use the iPads nearly as much as the younger grades do. In the next school year, SML will be a one-to-one technology environment in grades four through nine, which will increase student access to online reference materials.
In addition, a new change has occurred with the availability of online reference materials. The Alberta Education representative for the school has provided the school with its jurisdiction username and password, allowing staff full access to Alberta Education’s Online Reference Centre (2019) which includes reference materials from Scholastic’s ScienceFLIX, the World Book series, and National Geographic’s Kids Virtual Library. Each of these online reference sources would otherwise be paid for, which would result in a yearly subscription of over $1 000 – a sum the school simply cannot afford at this time. Students will need to be taught how to utilize these resources, which is another reason why change must be made within the school. Riedling indicates that teacher-librarians need to be well-versed in using the reference process (pg. 6), which utilizes information, student knowledge, and coming toward an answer. This process can be transferred to students by allowing students to work toward inquiry projects, which is outlined by the BCTLA document Points of Inquiry. In the document, the need is mentioned for students to understand the questioning process, to learn how to be actively involved in research, as well as come up with their own thoughts and ideas about the information presented to them in reference materials (2011, pg. 4-6).
Plan for Change
First of all, the resources used and accumulated may be updated by purchasing newer, more current copies, as well as multiples of each text. This will require funds from the school budget outside of the classroom budget to replace each text. The average cost of each non-fiction text resource averages $15, so replacing and purchasing 24 total copies (one for each student) would require funds in the area of $360. This change can take place with support from the principal, business administrator, and the school board, who are all involved in making financial decisions. This change may take place at any point in the school year, however, many of the titles are available for purchase throughout the year at Chapters, so an appropriate replacement time may be during one of Chapters’ Teachers Appreciation events where teachers can receive up to 30% off of purchases. Staff and students will be made aware of this change and these purchases shortly after they have been made, at the following staff meeting. The classroom teacher purchasing these materials will explain that currency and accuracy are the most important reasons for replacing the reference materials.
In addition, by implementing a one-to-one policy, students will be able to access Alberta’s Online Reference Centre consistently which includes a variety of reference materials for no cost. The classroom teacher will be required to teach students how to use the databases effectively (there is and will be no opportunities for a Teacher-Librarian to gain employment in a teacher-librarianship role within the school). The school board, staff, and administration have all committed to providing access to students at a variety of reading levels, which indicates their support for the one-to-one policy for the 2019-2020 school year. Staff have received the information to access the material from the Online Reference Centre and have been working independently to learn how best to utilize the reference materials for their purposes. Staff have been made aware of this change and availability, but will be reminded of the necessary information and access at the staff meeting in August.
Finally, the change will take place by providing technology extensions to allow students to utilize the databases and online features of the Online Reference Centre. The extensions which will be provided to students will be Read&Write (texthelp), Wiki-Wand, and Color Overlay (Rawstream). Each of these extensions are available to be provided to students at very little cost or are free of charge for the school. These three extensions provide assistance to students who require help with processing material. The Read&Write extension provides overlays, text-to-speech functionality, picture dictionaries, and the ability to highlight text for summarizing material. The Wikiwand extension allows students to access more student-friendly text and formatting of Wikipedia articles, which increases access and comprehension. The Color Overlay extension provides Irlen Syndrome students with the ability to use colour-coded overlays with the click of a few buttons. Our staff have noticed a significant increase over the last few years with students testing positive for Irlen Syndrome who may have been or previously were diagnosed with dyslexia. These students simply need an overlay (change to the screen’s colour) to access material. SML currently has three teachers on staff who are Irlen screeners, and have determined at least ten students in the school between the grades of four to seven who have Irlen Syndrome. The school board, administration, and staff are all committed to ensuring access for students at SML, and see the need for Irlen screening and extensions to support students with a variety of needs. Luckily, the biases some teachers may have about the use of technology for research is not present at SML. The purpose and widespread understanding among staff is that the purpose of utilizing technology is to “work [together] to design challenges to empower student-led collaborative learning. Students learn how to build personal learning networks” (Leading Learning, 2014, pg. 11). These three extensions are available immediately and have recently been force-installed on each of the students’ school G-Suite accounts. Staff will be made aware of the change when it is presented to them in a staff meeting, and the students will be made aware of the change as classroom teachers utilize the technology and teach students how to use it effectively for their own use.
Potential challenges with carrying out this plan for change include: parent buy-in, reliability of Wi-Fi, and student understanding of the purpose of integrating technology. Parents can be brought on board to this plan by seeing the use of databases and newer books being used in the classroom. They can help their students work on assignments from home as the technology is portable, versus the books not leaving school property. The reliability of Wi-Fi is significant, but additional signal boosters may be purchased, or the Wi-Fi may require a service by the provider. Finally, students will need time to buy into the idea that traditional textbooks may be replaced with databases and online sources. Students may appreciate the ease of use, and when shown the Chrome extensions, may find them appealing to increase their own comprehension.
Determining the Success of the Plan
The success of the plan will be determined by three items: the use of the newly purchased classroom reference materials, the use of the Online Reference Centre, and the use of the Chrome extensions. Data may be collected from the classroom teacher by recording what the classroom teacher thinks about the new reference materials in comparison to the previous materials used in previous years. Data regarding the use of the Online Reference Centre could be conducted through surveying students and staff about how they feel regarding the effectiveness of using the online reference materials and databases. This survey could also be done in correlation with surveying students regarding their use of the Chrome extensions. Suggested questions to gather data may be to have students compare their use of physical books versus online reference materials, as well as their own ease or difficulty in reading text online versus hard copy print. Other ways the success of the plan may be determined may be in observing student morale, as confidence will likely increase, as well as increasing staff confidence in utilizing online materials. Finally, the success of the plan will be dependent upon the support and efforts put forth by the school board, administration, staff, and students.
Canadian Library Association (CLA). 2014. Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for
School Library Learning Commons in Canada. Available: http://llsop.canadianschoollibraries.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/llsop.pdf
Government of Alberta. (n.d.). Online Reference Centre. Retrieved March 30, 2019,
Rawstream. (2018). Color Overlay (2.0.0) [Chrome extension software]. Retrieved from
Riedling, A. M. (2005). Reference skills for the school library media specialist: Tools and tips.
Worthington, OH: Linworth Books.
Texthelp.com. (2019). Read&Write for Google Chrome (22.214.171.124) [Chrome extension
software]. Retrieved from https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/readwrite-for-google-chro/inoeonmfapjbbkmdafoankkfajkcphgd
Wikiwand. (2018). Wikiwand (8.2.5) [Chrome extension software]. Retrieved from
Theme three, in my opinion, is the nitty gritty of the course. Theme one was about establishing a foundation, theme two was about management and evaluating, but theme three is about the materials themselves.
In lesson 8, we discussed the deep web and learned about grey literature. In my opinion, the grey literature aspect was the part that most resonated with me as I had never encountered the term before.
There was some discussion going on in the forum about the existence of the dark web, which I also found interesting. I watched a Buzzfeed video a few months ago about the dark web (How Scary is the Dark Web?, 2018) which I didn't find particularly appropriate or adding to the discussion on the forum, but was nevertheless reminded of it based on the discussions which were going on.
My main takeaway from lesson 8 is the importance of the teacher-librarian in any school to be mindful and practice appropriate search terms. So often we forget that our students have not yet been taught how to search for information, and the responsibility falls on the teacher-librarian for guidance.
Lesson 9 focused mainly on databases for the purpose of understanding how important their role is in our schools. I have never worked in a school which has provided students access to electronic databases, mostly because in the schools I have worked in there has been very little support of teacher-librarians, and very little emphasis on the teaching and learning which takes places in the school library learning commons.
In all honesty, by not providing our students with access to databases, we are setting them up for failure - and this mostly applies to students in the upper grades (9-12), as a significant number of them are headed toward post-secondary institutions which do not consider Wikipedia or a google search to be an adequate source for research. I found the cost associated with a number of quotes for databases to be extreme. I requested a quote and a trial from EBSCO, who recently got back to me, which quoted the school at $1000 for the use of four databases. When I approached my principal about it, he said there was no way we could afford a yearly subscription.
Image source: http://www.onlinereferencecentre.ca/
What I did appreciate is that many of the databases available to schools are available free of charge by the Alberta government, as they have an Online Reference Centre where a teacher can log in with their information and obtain resources from a variety of sources. After a number of different questions, and a few different reminders, our Alberta Education representative gave us the information we need to be able to access the resources, and my whole school is thrilled!
Lesson 10 was an excellent reminder about using bibliographies, biographies, and directories as reference materials. In the discussion forum, we discussed how at times we as students may go to the bibliography of a text and search out materials to keep reading. I often find myself looking toward the authority of sources before considering a source reliable or unreliable. We were also reminded Riedling's mention of evaluating the cost, accuracy, comprehensiveness, currency, and ease of use of reference materials.
The activity we completed in lesson 10 was exploring the different formats of databases. I generally find using databases easy and well-refined, however, I do get frustrated when the results page takes me to a whole host of other sites with different layouts. I did comment in the forum that I prefer PDF results, which is even better if it is searchable. I was frustrated (and remember my frustration vividly) with how one e-book was available to download only by separate chapters. Again, I understand why (because one file could be too large), but am frustrated with the choice that was made.
Lesson 11 brought us to generalized and specialized encyclopedias, where we discussed in the forum at length established vs. citizen-built encyclopedias. I appreciated the back-and-forth in the forum, as I also felt at a loss for which is truly "better". The conclusion I came to (among others) is that if the purpose of the encyclopedia is for academic research, the established encyclopedia would be the appropriate research material. However, if using the citizen-built encyclopedia is used as a springboard to access other materials for research, it may be put to good use.
Lesson 12 was a wonderful learning opportunity for me as we examined physical copies vs electronic copies of dictionaries and thesauri in the discussion forum. From my opinion, there was very little reason to say one was "better" than the other, but that it is important to provide access to students to ensure they are able to participate with others. I appreciated the note that was made about alphabetization, especially since we often put items in alphabetical order as adults without realizing that is what we are doing. I also appreciate how other teachers see the value in having both kinds of resources available to students to compare and contrast. My favourite part of our discussion was the adopted game that one of my colleagues mentioned: to have a word of the week and students can look up the definition in the dictionary, write it down, and enter to win a prize.
[BuzzFeedVideo.] (2018, November 10). How Scary Is The Dark Web? [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGAV7MPw0_U
Bookselfpublishing. (2016, January 17). Ebook vs print book [Digital image]. Retrieved March 30, 2019, from https://visual.ly/community/infographic/business/ebook-vs-print-book
Government of Alberta. (n.d.). Online Reference Centre. Retrieved March 30, 2019, from http://www.onlinereferencecentre.ca/
Government of Alberta. (n.d.). Online Reference Centre. Retrieved March 30, 2019, from http://www.learnalberta.ca/OnlineReferenceCentre.aspx?lang=en
National Geographic. (n.d.). Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada [Digital image]. Retrieved March 30, 2019, from https://www.amazon.ca/Indigenous-Peoples-Canadian-Geographical-Geographic/dp/0986751626/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1531148078&sr=8-1&keywords=indigenous peoples atlas of canada
JustScience. (2018, February 12). How is google search changing us? [Digital image]. Retrieved March 30, 2019, from http://www.justscience.in/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/how-is-google-search-changing-us.jpg
Riedling, A. M. (2005). Reference skills for the school library media specialist: Tools and tips. Worthington, OH: Linworth Books.
For proper formatting, please see link above.
Collaborate with a Teacher and Evolve Their Practice
LIBE 467 - March 3, 2019
Classroom teachers require support, care, collaboration, and concern by members of the community, Teacher Librarians, and administration to ensure their students are best served. Teachers’ practice can be improved by considering the SAMR model of infusing technology into the curriculum.
The teachers referenced in this assignment are two specific teachers whom with I have taught with over the years. Each of these teachers have been given a pseudonym.
3 Teacher One: “Winston”
Winston is a Social Studies teacher who is fresh out of University and has not taught grade 6 Social Studies, however, he is eager to test different ways his students can research and learn about Government. Right now in his classroom, Winston uses a textbook called Voices in Democracy: Action and Participation (Pearson, 2008). Other reference materials Winston uses include local and national newspapers, political party pamphlets, and political party websites. Recently, Winston began using weekly CNN 10 clips online (https://www.cnn.com/cnn10) and discussing current events around the world with his students. Winston would like to transform his teaching from the substitution and augmentation phases of the SAMR continuum to the modification and redefinition phases.
4 Plan for Winston
As Winston is already using some online resource materials, Winston’s plan is more focused on transforming what is typically done in the Social Studies classroom into creating new experiences and new opportunities for student learning. Winston will be striving for “significant task redesign” in modification and “Tech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable” in redefinition (Puentedura, 2009). While Winston understands the importance of primary source material and the scope of reference works, he lacks understanding in establishing context, process, and scaffolding an understanding of bias in his students.
Resource 1: The Mock Legislature: A Student Handbook (Legislative Assembly of Alberta)
This resource will allow students a greater understanding of how laws are made, which will also allow them the opportunity to host a legislative seating to try to pass a law. Previously, this resource was only available to students and teachers who managed to get to the Legislature during a session and watch the House in session. Now, the resource is available online and students do not need to go on a field trip to access the learning materials. Winston may choose to use this resource to create something new, such as a law. Again, previously students were unable to learn about creating a law unless they were on a field trip to the Legislature. Winston could be supported in using this resource by contacting his local MLA to help be a part of the classes mock legislature. Students may be able to film their attempt to pass their law and use it as a learning opportunity for later years or to show the school at an assembly.
Resource 2: Registered Political Parties and Parties Eligible for Registration (http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?dir=par&document=index&lang=e§ion=pol#wlp)
This resource will allow students to read about and access materials for various political parties in Canada. Students can read about various political parties, find commonalities, and summarize what makes a “good” political party. Winston may choose to have students create their own political parties based off of what they find. This activity may extend into redefinition if students create their own political party websites and they hold a class election, and this would be a good culminating activity at the end of the local government unit. This activity could be supported by both the administration and the Teacher Librarian as Leading Learning states, “[administration] and teacher-librarian work with teachers to design challenges to empower student-led collaborative learning. Students learn how to build personal learning networks” (2014, pg. 11). Winston could find help from a technology teacher in the school or Teacher Librarian who may make suggestions for which website builders to use, or he also may access help from a local political figure (mayor, MLA, or MP) to help design logos or establish platforms. In our area, the mayor is often in the schools, so asking him to come in and help would be easy. Students will also see how difficult it is to establish a party platform and will appreciate the practicality of the activity, “Learning experiences are designed to have real world context and relevancy for students” (Leading Learning, pg. 15). By using this resource, Winston will not need to create a list of political parties and their information, as it has already been done. Not only will this save Winston time, but it will also encourage Winston to focus on other areas of preparation for the activity.
Resource 3: Canada 101: Just Political Parties (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhaq5nWYUa0)
This resource will provide students with background knowledge of the various political parties. Winston will need to be careful in how he shows this with his students because it does contain bias. However, including biased materials is acceptable as long as students are aware that they do contain bias and know what bias is. Winston will likely need to do some pre-teaching about bias prior to showing this video. By using this video as a reference to springboard their political parties discussion, Winston will be able to work in the realm of augmentation where there is significant improvement but also direct substitution (Puentedura, 2009). While Winston spends most of his time already in the augmentation phase, it is important for students to have a base understanding about a concept prior to moving into modification or redefinition. Winston will be supported by the Teacher Librarian as the Teacher Librarian can pull together other resources which show bias and help Winston in the classroom.
5 Teacher Two: “Mary”
Mary is a veteran teacher in the public school system, having been a teacher of grade 12 English for over twenty years. Mary is known as being a strict no-nonsense teacher who primarily uses print reference materials such as encyclopedia sets and specific content area titles such as Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into Canada to reach her struggling learners. Other reference titles she uses are: the MLA Handbook, Webster’s Dictionary, and Webster’s Thesaurus. As the head of the English department, Mary ensures she keeps copies of the local daily and weekly newspaper in her classroom for students to use, as she also covers current events in her classes. In the back corner of her classroom is a shelving unit housing years of old National Geographic magazines, “just in case”. These materials, while serving her teaching practice well for a number of years are insufficient in providing access to many students who are now coming into her classroom. Simply substituting these reference resources for electronic versions is not enough (lowest level of the SAMR continuum).
6 Plan for Mary
Mary is open to replacing many of her print resources and using digital resources, as she is familiar with their benefits and ease of use. Since Mary teaches in a one-to-one school where students have access to a ChromeBook for most of the day, she is interested in expanding the access of resources to her students to enhance her students’ learning and to meet them at their level. The SAMR model indicates that simply substituting Mary’s existing hard copy reference materials would be the lowest level of enhancing her students’ learning, but Mary is not ready to move all of the way up the continuum to redefinition - nor should she be.
First, I would suggest to Mary that there are a variety of substitutions available, including electronic encyclopedias, dictionaries, and thesauruses. I would make her aware of the potential of these resources, as simple substitutes for what she is using currently in the classroom. I would also introduce Mary to Google Classroom as a way to distribute online materials to students. These suggestions are all substitution level suggestions. Knowing that Mary teaches Shakespeare across all of her classes, I would point Mary to the many resources online for establishing context into the day in which Shakespeare wrote his plays. Encouraging Mary to make changes one unit at a time, or one thematic focus at a time would be best done slowly and with purpose. By choosing the topic of Shakespeare, Mary can experiment with implementing electronic reference materials with her classes without making a semester-long investment. Assistance and continuous collaboration with the Teacher-Librarian will help ensure Mary is using the resources to the best of her ability. By the Teacher-Librarian coming into the classroom and modelling how to access and use the materials, Mary can take notes, engage in her own professional development, and feel less pressure to “be the expert” (which more often than not results in the classroom teacher becoming frustrated and choosing to abandon implementation of a new idea or resource).
Resource 1: Shakespeare Resource Center (http://www.bardweb.net/)
This website is a collection of links to websites surrounding topics of Shakespeare’s life, Elizabethan England, The Globe, and various performances. The site is maintained by an individual with a vested interest in keeping information accurate and current. Originally, the site was created for a university project. Mary may choose to use this website to direct students into completing inquiry work or research regarding the context of Shakespeare’s time. Instead of all students using the same textbooks or reference materials, this website offers a concentrated list of options to choose from for research. By using this site, there is potential for students to skip the substitution phase and move up to the augmentation phase of the SAMR continuum as the “tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement” (Puentedura, As We May Teach: Educational Technology, From Theory Into Practice, 2009). In using this resource, Mary may understand that implementing a different type of resource does not mean that she must “reinvent the wheel” as there are many other educators who have done most of the leg work by this point for her and she simply needs to access some of the great work that has already been done.
Resource 2: Shakespedia (https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/explore-shakespeare/shakespedia/)
This resource contains primary and secondary reference materials in an online collection. The website is maintained by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust which is a registered charity. Mary may choose to use this resource to enhance her current practice in establishing context as well as conveying information about Shakespeare’s early life. She also may choose to use this resource to discuss bias and compare the information on this site to the information on the previous resource to create something new online (in the modification phase of the SAMR continuum). This exercise would be known as modification because “tech allows for significant redesign” (Puentedura, 2009). Mary may also choose to give students guiding questions to help them as they browse the site, or she may assign students to examine a particular aspect of Shakespeare’s life or find something which they find as relevant to them, as Leading Learning encourages, “Learning experiences support differentiated learning approaches and processes” (pg. 16). This resource will provide opportunities for students to access information from a variety of sources, using a website which is logical and well laid out. The charity is a reliable and welcoming resource - they have stated that they are available to assist teachers and are willing to work with schools who are unable to visit the physical site of Shakespeare’s birthplace.
Resource 3: Electronic Databases (Explora Secondary)
Generally, in my experience, databases have not been made available to students for the purpose of research. In my opinion, failing to teach proper use of electronic databases have done those students a disservice, not simply because they will be using these resources in post-secondary schooling, but because there is more to research than using Google and exploring items there. Databases contain articles, images, magazines, and journals which contain both primary and secondary reference materials, and a significant amount of information housed in the databases are not found via Google. Mary may choose to use databases in her classroom to examine different aspects of Shakespeare’s life which may be controversial or unpopular. In using reference materials in this way, students can grow as critical thinkers, potentially resulting in moving to the modification or redefinition phases on the SAMR continuum. Using this database can open up the conversation in Mary’s class toward creating something completely new, “redefinition: Tech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable” (Puentedura, 2009): Mary’s students may choose to create their own music to compliment one of Shakespeare’s plays or they may choose to “modernize” the building of the Globe Theatre. Utilizing the database will provide opportunities for research which are unavailable through a typical Google search. Mary will likely appreciate the reliability of the resources on the database, but will likely need significant assistance or someone stepping in to teach her students how to use a database. Mary has likely never used an electronic database before. Going forward, it would be likely that the Teacher Librarian would teach the classes how to use the databases while Mary worked in an assistance role. In the event that the Teacher-Librarian is unable to provide assistance or teaching, there is a help section on the database and individual students (and Mary) can choose to use the help section and chat to have their questions answered.
While both teachers are working to better their teaching practice, collaboration with the Teacher Librarian and others in the community will help allow their students develop depth in their engagement with learning material. Both teachers are committed to handing over their classes to improve their own teaching practice, to learn, and to understand how their own teaching can be strengthened. It is recommended that these teachers be supported by administration and the community to ensure their students receive the best resources available.
(n.d.). Retrieved February 27, 2019, from https://www.ebsco.com/products/explora.
Canada, Government of Alberta, Legislative Assembly of Alberta. (n.d.). Mock Legislature (2nd
ed.). Edmonton, AB: Government of Alberta.
Canadian Library Association. (2014). Leading learning: Standards of practice for school
library learning commons in Canada (Canada). Ottawa, ON: Canadian Library Association.
Elections Canada. (1970, February 02). Registered Political Parties and Parties Eligible for
Registration. Retrieved February 27, 2019, from http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=pol&dir=par&document=index&lang=e
[Just In Canada / Juste au Canada]. (2015, October 4). Canada 101 Just Political Parties. [Video
file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhaq5nWYUa0
Pressley, J. M. (2005, February 10). Shakespeare Resource Center. Retrieved March 1, 2019,
Puentedura, R. R., Ph.D. (2014). SAMR, Learning, and Assessment.
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. (2016). Shakespedia. Retrieved March 1, 2019, from
The main take-aways I had in Theme 2 is that the role of the Teacher Librarian is vast, complicated, and varies between individuals, schools, and districts. Fulfilling the role is a large order and does not necessarily mean that can be completely fulfilled.
In lesson 5, we discussed the role of the Teacher Librarian through the lens of providing opportunities for collaboration, relief time, and interviews. Largely, what was discussed in the forum was that "modern day Teacher Librarians" are unable to sacrifice the amount of time Riedling recommends to conduct interviews with students to provide them the best service possible while using the School Library Learning Commons.
Other perspectives in the forum indicated that Teacher Librarians work with a lot of classroom teachers to pull and collect reference materials to have ready for when the class uses the School Library Learning Commons. However, I noticed that this method was largely successful if there is contact, communication, and collaboration between the classroom teacher and the Teacher Librarian. In my own school, we submit year-long plans to our administration, so if we were to have a Teacher Librarian, it would be easy enough for them to ask for a copy from administration. In having access to year-long plans, the Teacher Librarian is best able to have an idea about what to discuss with a particular classroom teacher.
Personally, the contrast between the documents we read was most explicit when considering the lack of teacher involvement in the reference interview with students, as well as the lack of independence in the Riedling text. To me, it seemed as if the Teacher Librarian was doing all of the work, which does not help foster a sense of independence for the student, and does not necessarily allow the student to meet the requirements of the assignment as set out by the teacher.
For me, lesson 6, about the role description of the Teacher Librarian was frustrating because the description, in most schools or districts is vague, and across districts the duties differ. I also found it strange that the job description was hard to find, as well as lists of responsibilities. Often, in job postings there are duties and responsibilities, however, most times I found a list of qualifications when searching for those postings across Canada. One norm I did find in reading the posts by others was that overall, there was a general section which could basically be summed up as "duties as assigned" which to me indicated covering for a classroom teacher so they receive their prep, substituting in a class where a substitute cannot be found, as well as coaching and leadership opportunities.
My opinion about "duties as assigned" is overwhelmingly positive: in that I largely find the role of the Teacher Librarian to be one of service to others - serving students in the school, serving teachers in their classroom and in the School Library Learning Commons, as well as serving administration and the school district in fulfilling the vision of the school or district wherever the School Library Learning Commons fits. Being in a service role, to me, is where I ultimately want to be. As a classroom teacher, service is not quite a term used in the job description, often because instruction, planning, and curriculum is more about delivering, not assisting or helping (like the role of the Teacher Librarian). The Teacher Librarian, therefore, must be humble - something I am still working on. I find myself able to distance myself from my classroom self, something that took years and a lot of self-care to achieve. I find that EAs in our schools are most skilled with distancing themselves from their work where they see fit, and I have taken a lot of their advice to achieve what I see as being a positive and workable balance.
Image Source: https://fundamentalacademy.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/wearing-lots-of-hats-300x265.jpg?w=300
We also discussed in lesson 6 how some of the description of the Teacher Librarian is constrained by time and budget. I found my own thoughts to be validated in that collaboration requires time, but not all administration is able to offer that time for the Teacher Librarian to meet with others within the school. If I were in a Teacher Librarian role, I would certainly advocate for a floating substitute teacher to be brought in to relieve classroom teachers for a few blocks to meet with me. In that relief time, we could sit down and talk in the School Library Learning Commons and discuss what they are doing in their classroom, how I can help, and what I can do to take something off of their plate. It might mean receiving a lot of work all at once for myself, however, the potential for working ahead together is far greater than a few extra hours of work to help someone on my team.
From my perspective, lesson 7, being about reference resource goals is incredibly timely. I am currently working toward transitioning my school for my departure, as well as readying the staff as they transition to one-to-one classes in grades 4-9. I personally have made inquires and suggestions to and about various programs, services, and databases for the school to use as they work on integrating technology into their classrooms. With a big curriculum change in Alberta, the school and administration is not looking toward replacing textbooks or "trying something new", and understandably so. I discovered in my Assignment 1 that we currently should have access to a variety of databases for our school and for reference resources online, provided that we know our jurisdiction username and password. I have asked many times, and my principal is not sure if we have received it this year or not, so I have been encouraging him to obtain it so I can help get the staff acquainted with the materials available to them to teach their students.
I mentioned in my own post and was relieved to read others also mention that a lack of access (either portability or readability) prevents a lot of our students from learning the information in our reference resources. With the resources being so expensive already, acquiring a variety of them on similar topics with similar content with different reading levels is a significant challenge.
This theme was timely and relevant in my own work, which I appreciated. I was humbled and learned about the various "hats" Teacher Librarians take on, which includes developing relationships by conducting reference interviews, as well as collaborating with classroom teachers, to advocating for funds for the School Library Learning Commons. I continue to believe that the role of the Teacher Librarian is that of a service role in the school community. Finally, I think that ultimately, the goal should be about providing access and opening doors, not closing them to our students, all while maintaining self-care.
Government of Alberta. (n.d.). Alberta Online Reference Centre. Retrieved February 15, 2019, from http://www.learnalberta.ca/OnlineReferenceCentre.aspx
KPMG Global. (n.d.). Union Budget 2018-19 [Digital image]. Retrieved February 15, 2019, from https://home.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/in/images/2018/01/budget18-Pre-Budget-Survey.jpg?
Riedling, Ann, Shake, Loretta & Houston, Cynthia. (2013). Reference skills for the school library media specialist: Tools and tips, (Third Edition). Santa Barbara, CA: Linworth.
Wearing Many Hats [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2019, from https://fundamentalacademy.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/wearing-lots-of-hats-300x265.jpg?w=300
Learning Log 3
In your own or imagined school context, discuss one factor that could foster collaboration and one barrier to collaboration. How could the school community work to overcome the barrier?
In any collaboration task, a factor that could foster collaboration is the culture of the school community. From my experience, developing a sense of comradeship, support, and respect is what sets the tone for the school community’s culture. Previously, I taught in a public school in Manitoba, and there was no sense of support because the key players in the school were exclusive and held a different set of belief systems than others. When the school implemented a program called The Leader in Me (and became a Seven Habits school), a requirement of the program was to support one another and respect one another to work toward a common goal. Sometimes, bringing staff and the community together through a program can be what works. In my current school, we have an established sense of respect, support, and collaboration due to the nature of the school being an independent faith-based school.
One barrier to collaboration is simple: time. While many teachers are well-meaning, and may know what the TL is able to do to support them in their own work, there simply is no collaboration built into the school day unless administration schedules it. A few obvious ways of overcoming the barrier of time is for TLs to promote themselves within the school by developing relationships with teachers to encourage teachers to see how they can be supported by the TL, to offering to take work off of the classroom teacher’s plate, and by being present at staff meetings, come in to work early and leave late. By a TL showing optimism, initiative, drive, and passion for their vocation, the TL can build a positive rapport with both students and staff. By the TL covering preparatory periods for classroom teachers, helping out with coaching and clubs, the TLs name is likely heard throughout the school day, which reminds classroom teachers that the TL is there to help. In my opinion, a lot of what the TL has control over is how they manage themselves and their space, and they cannot force classroom teachers into collaboration. According to Elizabeth Akingbola, in an article she wrote about misinformation in the subject of Social Studies (specifically Africa), she wrote about how teacher librarians need to be the ones to “take the lead” (Collaboration between teachers and librarians, 2017, pg. 20). She wrote that “librarians must initiate the conversation with teachers to collaborate. To simply tell them “If you need anything, let me know” no longer suffices. School librarians must be active partners in the teaching and learning exchange. They must be knowledgeable of all content standards and be willing to attend team meetings, communicate electronically, and if necessary meet with colleagues after hours to create engaging and empowering lessons that will deepen critical thinking” (pg. 20). This approach to collaboration will help the classroom teacher in leading an inquiry project, allow the Teacher Librarian to better get to know the classroom teacher and the students outside of book exchanges or random trips to the school library learning commons to better serve them in the future.
Administration needs to build time into the schedule to allow for collaboration between classroom teachers and the TL. Administration can do this by hiring a floating substitute teacher to come in and cover for classroom teachers while they meet with the TL to discuss how the TL can best support and serve the classroom teacher. Hiring a floating sub can provide the opportunity for the TL to meet with more than one teacher in a day, which would be the best use of everyone’s time. In Inquiry Through the Eyes of Classroom Teachers, Stripling writes “By understanding inquiry from the teacher perspective, school librarians can integrate their services, resources, and teaching with classroom instruction more effectively” (2012, pg. 18). Often, how TLs and classroom teachers conduct inquiry can be vastly different. The TL must be conscious of how a classroom teacher conducts inquiry in their classroom to best help them in their teaching. Spending valuable time with those classroom teachers can help the TL develop a plan of action. Again, Stripling addresses this in her article, “librarians must decide how to enhance the teacher’s instruction and impact the learning without disrupting the teacher’s preferred teaching style” (pg. 19). The purpose for any Teacher Librarian should be about making teaching and learning easier for the classroom teacher, not encroaching on what they have set up, as noted by Stripling, “If inquiry-based teaching is the model that teachers follow . . . then librarians must adapt their services to teachers and students in the classroom at the point of need” (pg. 20). In working with the classroom teacher and not running the inquiry project, the classroom teacher is more likely to reach out for help or assistance in the future.
Discuss how the integration or embrace of indigenous ways of knowing into teaching practice can enable learning to be accessible for all students.
Embracing Indigenous ways of knowing into teaching is an incredibly important practice many educators are taking on. A number of the considerations and changes educators are making are similar to the way that they have recently been leading in the classroom, but must be brought into the forefront of how they lead. According to The Aboriginal Lens – Education for Reconciliation, the document “is designed to help educators challenge the current, established systems of belief that support Eurocentric practices that have silenced other ways of knowing and being” (2017, pg. 2). The main considerations include: respect, relationship-building, relevance, responsibility, reciprocity, reconciliation, and resilience (pg. 2). Having taught in a school with a high Indigenous population, the ideas put forth in the document are highly important in framing education for our students of today. I believe that the approach as outlined in the document serves all students, not only our Indigenous students. Our students want to come to school to feel like it is a safe place where they can be their best selves. They also want to come into the building to feel as if they are respected and their ideas are listened to, valued, and validated. In Learning and teaching together: weaving indigenous ways of knowing into education (2016), Michele Tanaka writes “The wisdom keepers believed that each learner comes into this world gifted with unique abilities. Adults should never try to shape a child; instead, adults should watch children and wait to see who they are becoming . . . From this perspective the wisdom keepers recognize each learner’s potential, grounded in who the learner was what he or she knew; they did not rely on external sources, such as their own experience or public curriculum documents” (pg. 71). It can be humbling as a teacher or Teacher Librarian to accept that the years of schooling we have gone through and life experience we may have should not impact how we interact with our students. Tanaka continues, “[this type of relationship] requires the teacher to be very open-minded about the possibilities of the learner in terms of what direction the learner might take, and what his or her needs might be” (pg. 71). In addition, it is important for the Teacher Librarian to be humble enough to accept that their vocation is about helping students learn, and is not a selfish vocation, as “teachers [must] ask themselves: ‘Is it my need that’s being filled, or is itthe student’s need that’s being filled? You know, if we were a real educator, it [would be] the students’ needs that we are trying to fil and not ours and not the system’s’” (pg. 71).
Someone in a Teacher Librarian position is at a significant advantage to utilizing the framework, as often students come into the school library learning commons and have a different feeling than if they were in the classroom. A student may have had a particularly poor day in class, lost their homework, and maybe were sent out of the classroom. The school library learning commons becomes the place where none of that matters because the Teacher Librarian will likely not know what happened. The relationships built between Teacher Librarians and students in the school library learning commons are different than those developed in the classroom. In the classroom, students are constantly being held accountable and are likely being told the same things over and over again in all of their classes, but upon stepping into the school library learning commons, the baggage is dropped at the door. Therefore, it is up to the Teacher Librarian to be a positive, listening, and valuable resource in that students’ academic life as they may not experience positivity from other places in their school careers. According to the Aboriginal Lens document, “[reciprocity means] Eliminating power differentials in decision-making; genuine cooperation can only take place where there is a meeting of equals” (pg. 2) which is often the case in the school library learning commons. It should not be the goal of the Teacher Librarian to hold all of the knowledge, it should be the goal of the Teacher Librarian to be on the same team as the student, to encourage them, to listen to their ideas, to validate their feelings, and to mentor them when possible.
Akingbola, E. D. (2017, 12). Collaboration between teachers and librarians. Teacher
Librarian, 45, 18-21. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/docview/1979764184?accountid=14656
BC Teachers' Federation. (2017). The Aboriginal lens: Education for reconciliation. In Aboriginal
Education. Vancouver, BC: BCTF.
Stripling, B. K. (2012a). Inquiry through the eyes of classroom teachers. School Library Monthly,
Tanaka, M. T. (03/01/2016). Learning and teaching together: Weaving indigenous ways of
knowing into education UBC Press.
I am attaching my assignment above in PDF format because the formatting of the rubrics becomes confusing upon publishing on the blog. You will notice an additional blank rubric in the PDF and a rubric filled in regarding the evaluation of the new work.
Evaluation of a Reference Work
LIBE 467 – February 3, 2019
SML Christian Academy should replace the existing reference source, Everything You Need to Know About Science Homework: A Desk Reference for Students and Parents by Anne Zeman and Kate Kelly (2005) and replace it with Scholastic’s ScienceFlix. The aforementioned reference work, published by Scholastic, is out of date and is inaccessible to many in our student population.
The reference work, Everything You Need to Know About Science Homework: A Desk Reference for Students and Parents by Anne Zeman and Kate Kelly is a resource published by Scholastic in 2005. The first year of publication of this particular resource was 1994 in the USA. SML Christian Academy has had and used this resource extensively since it’s purchase in 2006. The original intent of the purchase of this book, according to staff, was to give students an additional, easy-to-read resource which would cover outcomes in the grades 4, 5, and 6 Science curriculum in Alberta. Up until January 2019, SML’s library has been housed on the stage in the gymnasium. The majority of resource and reference materials have been circulating in classrooms for at least three years, which is the case with this reference work.
Rubric for evaluation of a reference work, based on Everything You Need to Know About Science Homework: A Desk Reference for Students and Parents by Anne Zeman and Kate Kelly:
Everything You Need to Know About Science Homework: A Desk Reference for Students and Parents by Anne Zeman and Kate Kelly overall has served its purpose at SML Christian Academy and is overdue for replacement. With the growing needs of our student population, differentiation is required in our reference materials.
This particular text is relevant in terms of the curriculum, as almost all sections of grade 4-6 science are covered, with the exceptions of the entirety of mechanisms and levers (grade 4), wetland ecosystems (grade 5), and forestry (grade 6). This particular text is irrelevant, however, to students in our school community as the Lexile level is far too complex for many of our students (Lexile level is 970). The absolute top end for grade 4 reading is 950, and this text comes in above that level, making it inaccessible for most grade 4 students. To assume that students in grades 4-6 are at the same reading level does those students a disservice.
This text is also irrelevant to our school community as it does not contain Canadian spelling, measurements, or referents (in math). Canadian students are not typically taught imperial measurements or about American landmarks, so citing feet when discussing the height of a volcano is not something our students have as a referent. Speeds, as listed on page 18, in miles per hour do not mean the same thing to our Canadian students as American students.
The purpose of the text is to inform, but in our school’s context the purpose of the text also appears to be both biased and persuasive. There are scientific understandings in the text which do not correlate with the school’s belief system, so up-front scaffolding is to be done by the teacher to offer an alternative viewpoint. For example, on page 16, dinosaurs are written as “[first appearing] on earth 230 million years ago,” to be fair, finding a reference which includes other viewpoints, including our beliefs will be next to impossible.
The currency of this text is out of date, as most reference materials are kept a maximum of 5 years. This particular text is from 2005 and still lists Pluto as a planet. There are no sources listed in this reference book, which brings into question the entire accuracy of the text and how it is written. There is no “about the author” section, which brings into question the reliability of the author. It should be noted that this text was purchased for ten dollars, and given that it is used extensively within the school, it seems to have fulfilled its worth.
Since this text floats between three different classrooms throughout the school year, it is efficient in its use of space, as it is small and covers a lot of content. It would be a more efficient use of space if it were reliable and accurate.
5 Potential Replacement
The potential replacement I have found is ScienceFlix by Scholastic. ScienceFlix is a portal where students and teachers can log in to watch, read, explore, and be redirected to other sites about various topics in Science. Science experiments are offered, as well as career suggestions for students who may be thinking about their future. ScienceFlix is an annual subscription-based service, however, Alberta Education provides schools with portal access, so provided SML is able to obtain their jurisdiction code and password and activate the product through Alberta Education, it is free for anyone within the school’s walls and connected to the school’s wi-fi. There are other options available as well through the Alberta Government website on their online reference center page (Government of Alberta, 2019).
6 Evaluation of Replacement
To see the evaluation on the rubric at a glance, please see Appendix B. According to the rubric above, ScienceFlix meets the acceptable standard for Canadian content. When searching on the site for “colour” no results were returned. However, in an article about volcanoes, the measurement was taken in feet, but listed metres in brackets afterward. There are some Canadian places listed, but mostly American content is noted.
There seem to be less images on each webpage than there were in the book, which brings the image criteria into the below expectations standard, rather than the exceeding expectation standard. However, it should be noted that there are videos on the webpages as well.
There is an appendix and a glossary available on each article page as well as the top of each page, which brings the appendix, glossary, or index criteria to the acceptable standard.
In terms of the ease of use, ScienceFlix falls into the acceptable category, mainly due to access being limited to being used on school property and using the school’s internet connection to be used without a fee. Many of the readings on the site are sectioned in such a way that navigating the site is easy, with the table of contents and lists of sections along the left navigation pane, with tabs at the top for science experiments and other exploratory opportunities.
Accessibility to students was one of the largest shortfalls of the previous reference book, and ScienceFlix seems to exceed expectations in many ways. There are a variety of texts students can choose from for learning about many of the provided topics, at a variety of Lexile levels. In looking at articles related to volcanoes, I noticed the range in Lexile levels between 750 and 1200. This is much more accessible to students in terms of choice versus a hardcopy book. Built into the site is options to have the text read aloud sentence by sentence, and as each word is read it is highlighted. There is no need for students to use or have a read-aloud extension in Chrome while using this site. Another reason this text is more accessible is that key words are written in a bold font and definitions are linked below the text. As mentioned earlier, adding videos increases the accessibility of the text as well.
In terms of reliability, the sources are listed at the bottom of each webpage, which demonstrates that the text comes from an external source. The Scholastic book company has some reliability as a source in the community, but not enough to indicate that it can fall in the exceeds expectations category.
Based on what I have read, the accuracy of the information exceeds expectations, as it offers sources for their findings and I could not find any information on the site which was inaccurate.
The currency of the text is less than three years old, which exceeds expectations for this piece of criteria. Since the reference is an online resource, adding or substituting text in favour of more current research is easier than publishing another book to make a small correction or addition.
The purpose of the text is clear and student-friendly as it provides students opportunities to “go deeper” in the left navigation pane, it provides information which is presented to students in an accessible way, and it does not show its bias outright. I would have liked to have observed this resource explain multiple perspectives in regard to dinosaurs and the timeline of the Earth, but as I mentioned earlier, it would be incredibly difficult to find a completely unbiased scientific work or one that included every alternative viewpoint.
Finally, curricular connections between the Government of Alberta and the various databases the Government provides to schools in Alberta are available through the Alberta Government website. A specialized list for Division Two (grades 4-6) is available through the ORC Support site (Online Reference Center, 2016).
In conclusion, the reference work, Everything You Need to Know About Science Homework: A Desk Reference for Students and Parents by Anne Zeman and Kate Kelly, is out of date and inaccessible to many students in grades 4-6 at SML Christian Academy. A free option for substitution, provided the school is able to obtain their jurisdiction username and password for each school year is ScienceFlix, which provides students opportunities to learn much of the same content, more current content at their level.
Division II Science. (2016, April 10). Retrieved February 3, 2019, from
Online Reference Centre - LearnAlberta.ca. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2019, from
ScienceFlix. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2019, from http://scienceflix.scholastic.com
Zeman, A., & Kelly, K. (2005). Everything you need to know about science homework. New York:
In using an inquiry approach in my own teaching, there are a number of challenges to be faced, often at the beginning of engaging in inquiry, while other challenges occur throughout the process. Firstly, a challenge in using inquiry in any classroom or school learning commons may be engaging the stakeholders in the importance of the process and ensuring they understand the potential for results. These stakeholders include fellow staff, students, administration, the school board, and parents.
In my own work, I must be very careful how I roll out inquiry projects and learning, as some staff may see my students engaging in research as “fun time” on the computers. I appreciate how some veteran teachers in my school may primarily appreciate the use of technology for engaging in game-based-learning, but it is partially my responsibility to comfort them in terms of understanding that technology can be used effectively for research. If I were in another school, the conversation might be that game-based-learning is what is effective in the classroom and that technology should not be used singularly for research.
Students, in my experience, struggle with using effective search queries and get lost in a sea of results without understanding how to choose an effective source. Providing reliable websites is a way to start engaging students in the process of research for the purpose of answering guiding questions. Helping students choose appropriate guiding questions also allows for them to be accountable and interested also helps build a relationship based on both trust and interest. In inquiry-based learning, our students can “feel empowerment when they can pick their own topic and they will research it with eagerness because they want to prove their topic is the most important. When we engage students and give them a sense of ownership, they naturally make deeper connections and more meaning in their learning. They start to think outside the box” (Harper and O’Brien, Student-Driven Learning, 2012, pp. 12). This ownership can filter into increasing confidence and assisting others, which reduces some of the challenge of reaching students in inquiry-based learning.
Administration, on the other hand, may choose to view inquiry classes or lessons as straying from the curriculum and want to see curricular outcomes being covered effectively. In displaying inquiry work publicly, administration can see the benefits, and inviting administration into the classroom during presentations may help ensure their comfort. In my own work, I have found that approaching the administration and visiting in their office to discuss work on inquiry (and potentials for using technology in the school more effectively) excites them about the work being done in the classroom.
The school board, in my experience, does not fully understand what inquiry is, but like administration, is concerned primarily about curriculum coverage and ensuring staff are doing their jobs well and effectively. Since being in my current school, I have very little contact with the school board, I ensure bulletin boards and displays are available for them to see when they come into the school. Also, I make sure that my classroom has our materials “out and about” in the classroom in the event that they come into the classroom during a meeting. Coincidentally, last night was our school board’s meeting for January, and they came to visit my portable classroom after we moved in two weeks ago. They were responsible for the purchase of my classroom and I wanted them to see how well we kept our classroom as well as the exceptional work we were doing that day.
Finally, in my opinion, parents may be the most difficult stakeholder to get on board with the inquiry process. Often, I find that parents fall into one of two camps in their involvement: over involved or under involved. There will always be dissension in the inquiry from either camp, which is normal with anything being done in a classroom. To combat any negative ideas from appearing and stopping the process, it is always my goal in inquiry-based learning that my students will be so excited about their topic or idea that they will be bubbling with excitement at the dinner table when asked “how was school?” I am fortunate in that my students are at an age where they are excited about learning, about school, and completing multiple smaller tasks to reach an end goal. With students in older grades, gathering that excitement can be more difficult, but when given choice and ownership, inquiry-based learning can be an accountability learning experience as well.
There are a number of different strategies and structures which could be used in a classroom or school library learning commons to foster enjoyment of learning, of those includes challenge, choice, mindset, and relationships. In my experience, these ideas assist in the implementation and success of inquiry-based learning.
For many students, school is labeled as boring and the students are disinterested due to not feeling challenged. For any teacher, meeting their students at their ability level while engaging the entire class with age-appropriate content is no easy feat. By implementing inquiry-based learning into the classroom or school library learning commons, students can choose topics or leading questions at their ability level, as well as their interest level. By offering choice and opportunities for challenge, students will increase both their confidence and their understanding of the required content. In Liking Work Really Matters, “interest matters more than we ever knew. It is crucial to keeping us motivated and effective without emptying our mental gas tank, and it can turn the mundane into something exciting. Teachers, managers and parents must play an instrumental role in fostering interest in their students, employees and children — interest that will help them achieve their most important goals” (O’Keefe, New York Times, 2014). Interest is what drives our students and allows their learning to be meaningful to them personally. Once they have a personal investment, they want to do the best job they can. In my classroom, my students are completing an inquiry project about their family’s history. We have been talking about immigration and how many current Canadians are the product of immigration in history. This project has their interest primarily because they are invested in it and it matters to them. I have told them that their parents are important in helping complete this project, and interviewing parents and grandparents is highly encouraged. As a single classroom teacher, I am unable to meet the differentiation needs of every single student for each outcome in my curriculum, so I often choose to use inquiry to put my students in the driver’s seat. As mentioned in Student-Driven Learning, “how do we make this [differentiated instruction] possible with 30 students; with 30 different needs, learning styles, backgrounds; with one small room and just a teacher in the front? The answer is this: we go back to the Chinese proverb and we involve our students in their own learning” (pp. 9-10). Strategies for increasing challenge in relation to inquiry-based learning may be in introducing a topic and having students brainstorm their ideas together to reach lower-level learners, as well as providing opportunities to meet one-on-one with the teacher or Teacher Librarian to discuss their question to make it more ability level appropriate.
Mindset, in my opinion, is one of the most important ways to use inquiry-based learning as a buy-in for students. I previously worked in a Leader in Me school where we discussed the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People/Teens/Kids. We used the language in the Leader in Me in our inquiry work to encourage our students to plan their projects, assignments, and lives, to help them reach their fullest potential. We discussed habit 2 frequently: “begin with the end in mind” - which allowed us to backwards plan based on our end goal. Habit 3 played a large part in our inquiry projects, which indicated to “put first things first” to ensure more time-sensitive tasks were completed before less pressing tasks. Encouraging a growth mindset in the classroom or school library learning commons is how existing relationships can be strengthened. In a number of our schools, no mentorship programs exist. Due to this, students can feel lost and fall between the cracks. Regular check-ins with students to check for accountability, assistance, and provide opportunities for growth are significant in aiding the existing relationship a student may have with their teacher or Teacher Librarian.
Harper, J. (2012). "Student-Driven Learning: Small, Medium, and Big Steps to Engage and Empower Students". Markham: Pembroke.
O’Keefe, P. A. (2014, September 6). Liking Work Really Matters. The New York Times, p. SR12. Retrieved January 24, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/opinion/sunday/go-with-the-flow.html?_r=0
In the first few weeks of LIBE 467, I have found myself humbled again and again. There is so much still to learn, and comparing myself to others in classes is very problematic. I am not in a Teacher Librarian position, nor does my school have its library functioning to its fullest capacity yet.
Since that discussion post, I have learned that that "imposed queries" are searches or reference points given by a teacher or Teacher Librarian in the inquiry process, and "unimposed queries" are searches or reference points stemming from students.
I did feel like some of my other, more practical questions from my first discussion post were left unanswered, either due to no one reading it or no one having the experience I was wondering about. The questions I asked indicated that I "struggle to understand how any TL may help an entire class of students "let loose" onto the internet to research. I know that I give my students a list of resources which may aid them in their research, but some teachers do not, so I can only imagine how difficult it makes the TL's job if/when the students come into the library for research. What do you all do? Do you go into the classroom and help find websites, do you work with classroom teachers? What about when it seems like the whole class has a question and they're all different? I need some guidance on this management part!"
In lesson 3, we discussed the evaluation process and I chose to focus my discussion post on the topic of weeding and how I felt uneasy with the idea of completing the task sneakily. I understand the necessity of it, but feel like it is a professional obligation to complete the task, regardless of how others feel about it. I was glad others echoed my uneasiness and said they do not weed in secrecy. I was reassured when I read the responses.
I enjoyed seeing the reference material link that Eleana had posted as I found that it was pleasing to the eye and helpful for staff, students, and parents. http://www.sd43.bc.ca/Resources/StudentResources/Pages/default.aspx
I was not shocked, however, when I discovered that our school library was found to be below standard in all of the grading categories as outlined in Achieving Information Literacy. In the discussion, I noticed a lot of my peers also indicated that in most areas they too were below standard. I think that with today's climate in Education, there is simply not enough emphasis on our libraries as a lot of the focus is on repairing what was mismanaged previously. In Alberta, class sizes continue to be large, teachers asked to take on more and more, and teacher librarians given less time in their roles, while given other extra responsibility. What I am seeing here in Alberta seems like it parallels what has happened in B.C.
I enjoyed reading the back-and-forth in the crowd-sourcing forum, as I am always encouraging my students to use whatever tools are at their disposal, including Wikipedia. I had heard somewhere that Wikipedia is 93% accurate, and then a number of months later 96%. I had also heard in that same meeting where I heard 93% that textbooks, by the time they go through the process of being written and published, their reliability drops down to 74%. When I tried, myself, to find those same numbers, I could not. Neither could I find any trace of those numbers in any reputable database. In Wikipedia, Friend or Foe, "Wikipedia articles can be used to illustrate the attributes that differentiate trite articles from good articles. But, like any knowledge source; it should not be used in isolation from other sources of information" (West and Williamson, 2009, pg. 270). In many areas which evolve constantly (medicine, sciences, math, and current events), there may be some benefit to using crowd-sourcing sites for a basis of understanding, but not research. I think there are much less people altering or changing Wikipedia sites for fun or enough to make them unreliable, but those people on the front lines doing the work to make discoveries and promote change are not going to sit down at their computer to update the Wikipedia entry.
Thus far, I feel as if this theme is opening my eyes to the complexity of teaching and instructing our students in the scope of reliability, which is proving to be very difficult when the entire internet is at our students' fingertips nearly constantly.
[Inquiry]. (2016, March 29). Retrieved January 26, 2019, from https://britannicalearn.com/blog/the-value-of-inquiry-the-art-of-failure/
[Query image]. (2016, December 21). Retrieved January 26, 2019, from https://blog.paytm.com/ready-resolutions-to-your-frequent-queries-e02609919c7c
Kathy West, Janet Williamson, (2009) "Wikipedia: friend or foe?", Reference Services Review, Vol. 37 Issue: 3, pp.260-271, https://doi.org/10.1108/00907320910982758
Inquiry experiment - Attractive Balloons - https://scienceworld.ca/resources/activities/attractive-balloons
I had my students help me with this experiment as we finished our unit on Electricity and Magnetism before the Christmas break and needed some review opportunities before starting our new Weather unit. I split my students up into 4 groups with a leader in each. I had two girl leaders and two boy leaders. Each group’s leader was responsible for recording what went on in the experiments and participated in my final challenge/extension task.
In the first task, my students were asked to rub the balloons on their hair and pick up confetti paper pieces with the balloon. They found that the more they rubbed the balloons on their heads instead of vice versa, the more success they had. Many of the students with shorter hair had more success than those with longer hair. Other items picked up were dried lysol wipes and paper clips.
In the second task, my students were asked to hold the charged balloon under a stream of water. They were amazed at what they saw. We decided to change the temperature of the water to see if it made a difference. The colder water made a minimal difference (bent more), but it was not significant. We discussed humidity and moisture in the air, where if the air is more moist (summer), static electricity shocks are less likely to happen than in winter.
In the third task, we ran into a problem in that we were unable to finish the experiment. We were unable to have the pop can go very far down the hallway because there was a transition time in the school and students were in the hallway. We went back into the classroom, but the classroom is only 8m long and was quite humid due to being in it all day and no ventilation. My students were successful in having their pop cans go 0.5m, 0.65m, 1.2m and 1.4m.
To take the experimental process further, I challenged my students to rub the balloons on their heads for increments of 30 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 30 seconds, and 2 minutes. We wanted to see if rubbing the balloon on their head would allow the balloon to stick to the wall for a longer period of time. Our results were that no matter how long the balloon was rubbed on their head, the result was always the same: the length of time the balloon hung onto the wall was nearly the same, and students who had a short (not buzzcut)/medium length of hair were more successful in having their balloons hang onto the wall.
Inquiry-based learning was present in this activity in that it provided opportunities for the class to engage in questioning, changing various factors to try to achieve a different outcome, and questioned their original hypothesis. The students’ observations, ideas, and feelings about the experiment dictated where we went with it, how we altered it, and generated a wealth of ideas about why we achieved the results we did. The experiments generated discussion about the importance of observation and not limiting a poor result to failing.
In this kind of activity, the school library learning commons could offer literature about static electricity, a space to complete the experiment, as well as provide opportunities to try and learn about other types of electricity. The school library learning commons could also be a place where students can complete makerspace activities to extend their hypotheses outside of the classroom or instructional time. The Teacher Librarian in the school library learning commons may also have other ideas how to enhance the activity or provide other opportunities for students.
My learning objectives in this course:
My beginning with the end in mind is centered around my ultimate goal of obtaining a position in B.C. when I move at the end of June. I will be spending this December working on getting together application packages and sending them off before I head to Victoria for the Christmas break.
This final assignment for this course is the final assignment for my term. Report cards were due to my principal earlier today, and while I have assignments due for other classes later this week, they have been submitted already. I can finally breathe a sigh of relief, practice on the range with my Archery team tomorrow, help more with our school's Christmas Concert, and update my IPPs.
In my final vision project, I have created an online digital resume/portfolio. There are a variety of pieces to it, including audio clips, videos, pictures, letters, and student work samples. I have cataloged all of my PD that I can remember, various sessions I have run and been a part of, as well as indicated which classes I have taken toward my Teacher Librarianship Diploma.
I think that my final vision project indicates fairly well the amount of effort I put into my projects, assignments, and overall work. I am thorough and meticulous, organized and reflective. I hope that my use and familiarity with technology comes through in my project, and I hope that it is well received. In an effort to make sure the site is more accessible, I have removed all of the important contact information from my references (those who could be contacted), as I want to keep their information private until requested. I have also removed the password for the site, again, for accessibility purposes. In my resume section, I have elaborated more than what I have included on a resume I would submit to a school district.
Here is the link to my online portfolio and resume. Let me know what you think!