Brief Business Update
- Board meetings are not held in the month of December to provide board members with a respite during that busy season.
- SLRI Watering Hole - Sign-up to meet with members to share lessons, great books, websites, apps, successes, and struggles. - Tuesday, 1/13; 4:00 – 5:00; Warwick Public Library; Small Meeting Room — Room 100; 600 Sandy Lane
In 2015, the Advocacy Committee resolves to help you promote yourself and our profession with easy, quick tips. January 8th is Show and Tell Day at Work,* so we thought it was a good time to encourage you to share what you're doing in your library with your administrators.
Many of you already publicize your work, so here are ideas culled from members' reports ... the presentation can be as simple as a quick email or as elaborate as an online slideshow.
- List lessons you've delivered. If you have the time, write up the related standards and share resulting student work.
- Document collaboration with classroom teachers, particularly if you've compiled online resources to support a research project or taught them about a new app or online tool.
- If you have a flexible schedule, track visits to the library by classes and individuals, as well as any interesting research requests you assisted with or reader's advisory victories.
- If your library is automated, run circulation reports in Destiny; if you participate in ILL, share those stats as well.
- Point out any additions to the collection you made based on curriculum or student requests.
Many of us are lucky enough to have supportive administrators. But far too many still don't understand the role of a teacher librarian. By sharing your successes as a teacher, instructional partner, information specialist, and program administrator, you'll help them see your value.
Board Member Spotlight: Meredith Moore
School Position: Library Teacher
Number of Teaching Years: 4
Schools: Garden City and Stadium elementary schools in Cranston
Board Position: Advocacy Committee
Number of Years on Board: 2
After 15 years in the corporate world, I switched careers to do something I was passionate about: supporting kids' educations while inspiring their imaginations. When I started grad school, the RI Basic Educational Plan (BEP) spelled out staffing requirements; by the time I graduated in 2011, it had been rewritten, eliminating these requirements.
I've worked in two districts so far and have had the same experiences in both: low or non-existent budgets for books; limited access to technology for lessons; and minimal collaboration with classroom teachers.
I want to be part of a positive force for change!
That's why I'm co-chairing the newly rechristened Advocacy Committee. The committee's goal is to energize and organize SLRI members for building, district, state, and even national level library promotion. School-level isn't enough, but it's a start; through monthly reports, blogs, and Facebook pages, I've established excellent relationships with my principals and students' parents. However, we need to make our value known and appreciated by superintendents, taxpayers, state decision makers, and federal policy makers.
Stay tuned to the SLRI monthly newsletters for ideas, tips, and calls to action from the Advocacy Committee. We might not have much time or energy left over at the end of the school day, but a little bit from all of us can add up to a lot.
Member Spotlight: Cyndi Alexandre
Position: Library Teacher
School: Veazie Street Elementary School in Providence
Teaching Years: This is my third year
Our Library Program:
At the Veazie Street Elementary School Library caring support, emphasis on achievement, and encouragement for creativity and independent thought serve as the foundation of our program. From the first day of kindergarten through 5th grade graduation library students at Veazie are encouraged to do their best, be it with choosing a book for the first time or presenting a research project with the Smart Board. Students are encouraged to be creative, try new things and think critically. Our students work together and help each other to success, infusing our library learning with a sense of teamwork and collaboration. In the library we strive to provide our students with a safe and caring environment that supports their academic and personal reading needs.
Our K-2nd grade students learn to use the library independently while also learning to appreciate and understand literature. We work on listening and discussion skills while delving into the literature that we read. We examine illustrations and text alike to gain the most insight into our reading.
Our 3rd-5th grade students are embarking upon blended learning for the first time ever this year. In addition to selecting books and library materials to borrow, students are also using the library website to watch instructional videos and then complete assignments online. We are learning to use online encyclopedias, the online catalogue and ebooks as we work on independent learning and information seeking strategies. Later in the year we will delve into research and use online programs to create presentations for our classmates.
Our library strives to meet our students’ academic and personal needs in many ways. In addition to library classes, we also offer many enrichment opportunities, such as a student-written newspaper club and a library internship program. This spring we will be embarking upon multicultural book clubs, culminating in student presentations on various cultures and literature. We are also working with the public library next door to facilitate a science fair for 4th and 5th grade students.
What Kids are Reading and Why It Matters
Join Your Librarian Friends and Colleagues at the Watering Hole
AASL Hotlinks Resources
The Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) released a web-based tool for school and district leaders, reform support partners, researchers, and community organizations around effectively measuring the process and impact of expanded and re-imagined learning time. The tool offers a range of measures beyond standardized test scores that encompass the entire context surrounding educational improvement on indicators such as teacher leadership; engaged student learning; and student, family, and community engagement.
Tips for a Successful School Technology Rollout
It is essential to focus on how to lead staff through the transition when launching a technology rollout, Rob Dickson, executive director of Information Management Systems for Omaha Public Schools, writes in this blog post. He offers several suggestions to support technology in schools, including the importance of professional development.
How to Create Productive Co-teaching Partnerships
In this blog post, Elizabeth Stein writes, "By now co-teachers around the nation have had a chance to get off on the right foot. I hope you had a flying start! Maybe even hit the ground running! The first goal for co-teachers is to pave the way for a successful year by establishing a learning environment that nurtures a sense of community. Some of you are skipping along a self-generated, smooth partnership pathway -- while others may find themselves on shaky ground."
Tips to Help Educators Stay Focused on Student Learning
Classroom technology and other learning resources sometimes can overshadow the foundational need for educators to remain student-centered, division principal George Couros writes in this blog post. He shares five questions he says can help educators maintain this focus.
AASL Hotlinks Association and Education News
Julianne Moore Spokesperson for 2015 School Library Month
Julianne Moore, award-winning actress and best-selling author, will serve as the national spokesperson for the 2015 observance and 30th anniversary of School Library Month (SLM). Celebrated in April and sponsored by AASL, School Library Month honors the essential role that strong school library programs play in a student’s educational career.
Students Getting Smarter about Posting to Social Media Sites
Some college admissions officials say high-school students are putting more thought into how their posts on social media websites can affect college admissions decisions. A recent survey found that 58% of students say their social media profiles are "fair game" in the admissions process.
Students Benefit from Student-Centered Teaching
A recent study finds the more a teacher uses student-centered approaches, the more his or her students learned, and the better they did on an exam of complex problem-solving that resembles the PISA international test for 15-year-olds. The study, led by Kirk Walters of the American Institutes for Research, showed bigger learning gains for students who had student-centered instruction. However, researchers weren’t able to quantify exactly how much better student outcomes were for each additional increment of student-centered instruction.
Best Practices for Implementing Online and Blended Learning in K-12 School Districts
An increasing number of schools and school districts are implementing online and blended learning to help boost graduation rates; address academic shortfalls across multiple student populations; expand their course catalogs; and provide a flexible, personalized learning experience for every student, according to a report. To ensure the success of these programs—whether they are individual courses or full-time online programs—it is important to understand the challenges and obstacles educators may face.
Students Reading More Nonfiction, but Not Enough for Common Core Recommendations
A report from Renaissance Learning finds that American students are reading more nonfiction, but not as much as the Common Core recommends. In addition students are reading texts far less challenging than needed to prepare for college or careers. Only a quarter of students in the study spent at least 30 minutes per day reading independently, and nearly half read for less than 15 minutes per day. Students’ reading amount peaks in sixth grade, when they read about 436,000 words per year, then falls to the low 300,000s by the end of high school.
Assessing Technology’s Impact on Education
A new policy brief from the National Education Policy Center finds little evidence that marrying digital technology to education has changed schooling for the better. One problem is the absence of a clear model for what actually constitutes computer-based “personalized instruction.” The highest potential for computer-aided benefits resides principally with so-called blended instruction. The brief recommends that policymakers invest in technology incrementally and view skeptically claims for computerized learning that overstep what can be concluded from available research.
Americans Feel Better Informed Thanks to the Internet
Most Americans say the Internet and cell phones have brought benefits in learning, sharing, and diversifying the flow of information into their lives. The survey of 1,066 Internet users shows that 87% of online adults say the Internet and cell phones have improved their ability to learn new things. Asked if they enjoy having so much information at their fingertips or if they feel overloaded, 72% of Internet users report they like having so much information, while just 26% say they feel overloaded.
Students Favor Using Technology More
Students and teachers see value in using technology in the classroom, but students would like to increase its use to make learning "more fun," "more interesting" and to help prepare them for the workforce, while teachers want to meet achievement goals, a report by CompTIA finds. The study also found that boys have more confidence in their technology skills than their female peers.
P21 Announces 21st Century Learning Exemplars for 2014-2015
P21 announced 15 new 21st Century Learning Exemplars for 2014-2015! Application window for 2016 is now open, and all schools are encouraged to apply. Patterns of Innovation: The 21st Century Learning Exemplar Program, shares and celebrates the experiences of schools and districts that have successfully transformed their students' learning by incorporating elements of the P21 Framework into teacher practice, curriculum, assessment, and professional development. The newly announced Exemplars include 10 public schools, 2 independent schools, 2 charter schools, and 1 private early learning school.
AASL Prepares for School Library Month
AASL is busily preparing for the April 2015 celebration of School Library Month! This year’s celebration is extra special as it is the 30th anniversary of our month-long recognition of the importance school libraries and school librarians play in transforming learning. Our theme this year, Your School Library: Where Learning Never Ends, is based on the theme of the first School Library Month: Where Learning Never Ends: The School Library Media Center.
To help you set your celebration agenda, I wanted to share some of the activities and promotion the committee is currently planning:
- Digital Storytelling Festival: Let your students showcase their creativity! We're holding a student storytelling contest using different online mediums. Students will be divided into four grade levels, K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12…and there will be prizes awarded by guest author judges!
- A library/librarian showcase based on the Declaration for the Right to School Libraries: School Library Month is about YOU and we want to celebrate the school librarian and their programs. We’ll be showcasing – based on your submissions – school libraries and librarians who exemplify one of the ten points of the declaration document.
- School Library Ambassadors: We will be soliciting quotes of support for school libraries from stakeholders (authors, parents, students, administrators, public library representatives, etc.) to highlight on social media during School Library Month.
- Gallery of Author Quotes/Tip of the Day: We will be collecting quotes based on this year’s theme from authors and sharing them across social media. Thirty of those quotes will be incorporated into AASL’s Tip of the Day.
- Send us your best shot! We will be collecting photos and videos that illustrate our theme Your School Library: Where Learning Never Ends in your school library. It’s your time to shine! Show the world all of the awesome things you do within your school community and beyond.
- Professional Development: The committee will kick off School Library Month early with a webinar in March highlighting the various events and activities planned for the celebration and how to best use these materials in promoting your program. During April, the committee will host 4-5 webinars based on our theme.
School Library Month Committee Chair
Google Code-In 2014 Challenge
Google is sponsoring its annual Code-In challenge, which asks students aged 13-17 worldwide to put their technology skills to work. Students claim tasks from Open Source organizations in several categories, including coding, documentation, and quality assurance. Their work on these tasks is then judged by each Open Source organization. The challenge runs for seven weeks beginning December 1, 2014, and students are judged on their bodies of work during the competition. Prize: Students are eligible to receive a certificate, T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts for completing tasks. Grand prize winners receive a trip to Google’s headquarters in California. Deadline: January 31, 2015.
Books for a Brighter Tomorrow
Annie and Sony Pictures, in collaboration with the National Education Association (NEA), is offering Books for a Brighter Tomorrow, a national grants program for educators interested in putting more diversity on shelves in classrooms and school libraries. Grants of $1,000 are available to public schools that serve economically disadvantaged students in order to enrich book collections with diverse children’s literature and offer titles that give kids and their families a chance to discover themselves—and their life experiences—in stories. Deadline for completed applications is January 31, 2015.
Fund for Teachers Grants
The Fund for Teachers provides funds for direct grants to teachers to support summer learning opportunities of their own design. Maximum award: $5,000. Eligibility: teachers who work with students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12, with a minimum of three years teaching experience, full-time, spending at least 50 percent of the time in the classroom at the time grants are approved and made. Deadline: varies by state.
Classroom Newspaper Subscription Grants from USA TODAY
On a rolling basis, the USA TODAY Charitable Foundation awards teachers digital and print subscriptions to USA TODAY. Currently, the foundation is awarding digital subscriptions to teachers on a first-come, first-served basis; print subscriptions are unavailable at the moment. Teachers must submit a short online application to be considered. Prize: Classroom subscriptions to the e-edition of USA TODAY. Deadline: Rolling.