2008 NCECT

One of my colleagues reminded me that the North Carolina Educational Technology Conference was coming up. Still time to make early registration – http://www.ncetc.org/. I’ve never made it to this conference but plan to swing over for a day. Hopefully several teachers, librarians, and administrators will make it too. I’m planning to attend a couple of classroom/subject teacher-oriented conferences this year in the hope that I can gain new insights into my own job. Breaking down the conference silos will help us to understand the total educational landscape more clearly.

Showing my age.

paper plate clock from analyzer.depaul.edu/paperplate/Clock%20face.htmAs the coffee brews this morning I’m already thinking about enjoying my birthday cake this evening. My father-in-law and his fiancee have come down from Delaware with arm loads of great food, drink, and print materials. Print materials? Yes, print materials. One of the many reasons I love these folks is for their fondness of magazines, newspapers, and books. I also splurged by resubscribing to the the New York Times Sunday edition (because they are running a cheap offer). Here is where I show my age. I don’t think the sensation of walking out into a frost covered morning and heaving that blue bag full of great reporting into my arms will ever be replaced by web-based news content. As I unfurl the paper from it’s bag the headlines greet me. I glance over the front page items in their entirety. Then I do the shuffle. I organize all of the sections into the order I will read them. Off I go into reading the variety of information covered in these sections, magazines, and of course the book review. Ah, the book review! Well I could continue to gush about the pleasures of the printed news but my concern is just that, that I am enthusiastic about it. Have you asked the children and young adults you work or interact with what they think of the print news?

My guess is you get blank looks. That newspaper on the periodicals stand looks as foreign to them as many of the other resources in the library. Soon, through a combination of economics, technology, and user demographics, that physical newspaper is going to disappear. After 100 years of print publication the Christian Science Monitor recently ceased daily print production and migrated most of their news reporting to the web. They are the first major national newspaper to make this move but they will not be the last. When we are teaching about the news and biases, opinion, editorials, we have to start teaching about the differences between news sites, such as http://www.csmonitor.com/, and personal blogs etc. Part of that teaching will involve how to navigate these sites, subscribe to RSS feeds, search archives, and more. Teaching the parts of a print newspaper may serve your students for a few more years but it doesn’t relate much to their personal preferences or the future realities of news reporting.

How about these topics? Do they show our age?

  • how to read a clock face
  • how to write in cursive
  • how to use 3×5 notecards

Can you think of other things that we teach mostly because they are relevant to us as adults?

Move Over Dick and Jane

Friday morning session – Vicki Stanfield and I presented:

Move Over Dick and Jane: Reconsidering Books for Beginning Readers

What constitutes a book for beginning readers? Do they come in one format or many? Historically media specialist and reading teachers have referred to Frog and Toad or Dr. Seuss books as beginning readers. Many of the Geisel Award winners and honor books are bold departures from these titles. Full of innovative writing and book design these books offer rewarding experiences for beginning readers in your school library. Are you ready to change your perception of books for beginning readers? Interactive workshop. Powerpoint Slide Show. Handout.

Several folks expressed the feeling that classroom teachers will not embrace the picture book Geisel winners as appropriate books for early readers. The absence of text blocks, no chapters, and the picture book format will not match the expectations teachers have for students who are learning to read. Is the problem with the books or with educator’s perceptions of what reading “looks” like?

More discussion when I have had more sleep.

Learning to Change the Way We Teach

2:45-3:45 NCLSMA Session

Learning to Change the Way We Teach: Lessons Learned from a Collaborative Unit

Collaborate. Integrate. Reflect. We’ve heard it all before. But really, how do people do it? Join us as we share our collaborated research unit. Learn how we did it step-by-step, what worked, what didn’t and what we plan to change. You can even go home and copy what we did with your co-workers! Handouts available. PowerPoint, Handout 1, Handout 2

What were the things that made the 2nd grade teacher want to collaborate with the media specialist?

  • Resources
  • Information Literacy Skills (using an index, encyclopedia, magazines)
  • understanding of the complimentary sets of teaching knowledge that each teacher offers the process.

Unifying model was the Wonder Wheel from Debbie Miller’s Reading with Meaning and it was enlivened by good topics (like spiders).

Things they liked:

2nd grade teacher  – integration of several learning objectives (language arts, tech, media) were accomplished within the scope of this project

Tech guy – continuous improvement of teaching practice over time. Things he would do differently – more care in citing sources, and using more non-Google resources (such as NC Wise Owl).

Teacher-Librarian – The results of collaboration are so powerful that all of this work is worth it.  Establishes a predictable process for students.

The multiple learning objectives were accomplished because the collaborative teaching was addressing the classroom goals (it was not an additional “thing” on top of everything else).  The next go round will include much more joint assessment.

The Whole Enchilada

Thursday 10:00am-11:00am – Keynote Address by Mike Eisenberg

The Whole Enchilada: Visioning, Planning, and Implementing Media Programs for Learning and Teaching

We are bombarded with talk about the information age and the importance of information and information technology in education. But, there’s a gap between recognition of need and having vibrant, essential media programs that meet the needs of students and teachers. In this keynote, Mike Eisenberg challenges media specialists to be true innovators and agents of change with the “A-B-C” approach: Articulate a vision, Be strategic, Communicate! (This presentation is based on a seminal article that appeared in the September 2002 issue of School Library Journal.)

Here are my notes from this session:

The next president will be the Google president – government information, world news and events – so much will be available online in this information age.  We need to equip students to navigate this environment.

Students – need to gain essential information knowledge & skills

Will we ever adopt the Teacher-Librarian label used in Canada?  This places an emphasis on the teaching role we preform everyday.

The A-B-C approach

Articulate a vision and agenda – “to ensure that students…are effective users of ideas and information”

Teach information skills, Advocate reading, Manage information resources and services.  What is the percentage of your total work time that is devoted to each of these areas?

Be strategic – Attitude is everything.  What if North Carolina created a core collection and provided it to every school in the state?  Wouldn’t this free up the Teacher Librarian to do things other than collection development and selection? Teacher-Librarian’s can give a context to all the technology tools.  What does a wiki do?  How does these tech tools connect to educational goals? Don’t be isolated! Look for the “Big Juicies” – the major projects that each teacher really is concerned about doing.

Communicate continuously – progress reports to administrators (10 week memo).

In summary – Embrace the vision & strategy, deliver an active engage program, be systematic, communicate, meet with all stakeholders, set up advisory committee.

I missed the slide handout – it should be available here soon and includes useful forms, documents, templates, and resources. Now the hard work – embracing these ideas and completing the planning documents!

“Laws” to Remember: Implementing the New AASL Learning Standards

Thursday 8:30-9:30am

Implementing the new standards brings changes in emphasis and relevance to evolving 21st century concept-based curriculum and technologies.  This session will highlight some of the standards and how they might be implemented in your program.

The American Association of School Librarians has recently launched National Plan for Implementation of the new AASL Learning Standards called Learning 4 Life.

North Carolina’s State Board of Education is busy working to revise the state’s approach to teaching and learning that will incorporate standards such as AASL’s. This is expressed in the new Framework for Change.

All of this connects to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills Framework

Standards are not curriculum, they support the development of curriculum.

Information literacy is one of the many educational goals we are addressing as educators.

Ending Topical Research.  Are we ready to change the research process to meet the demands of the 21st Century? Here’s a quote to think about

If we keep assigning topics, students will drive their earth moving equipment through the information landfill, pleased by the height and depth of the piles.

Putting an End
to Topical Research

By Jamie McKenzie

read the full article here: http://www.fno.org/feb07/topic.html

This article addresses the problematic nature of easily answered topical assignments. There is a wealth of information that can be found on most topics – if students are just finding the facts we aren’t asking them to critically think about the information they are finding and put it into a unique product.

One participant mentioned the need for student responsibility and accountability as being vital to achieving these Learning Standards.  The new Learning Standards address this through ethical behavior, reflective practice, and group based work.

“the library is a growing organism” – Ranganathan from the Five Laws of Library Science.

All of the presentations from DPI staff should be available at http://www.ncwiseowl.org/zones/professional/Conferences/Spring08/default.htm


I hit the road tomorrow for Winston-Salem, N.C. for the 8th annual conference of the North Carolina School Library Media Association.  This year’s theme is “Innovation: Media Specialists for Change ”.  I’m particularly looking forward to the Keynote address by Mike Eisenberg, one of the creators of the Big6 research model.  One of my school’s 3-5 year strategic objectives is to explore school-wide inquiry-based learning.  I am considering the Big6 as a possible tool to share with teachers.

Library YAC

not this :



in response to this post on the AASLforum

I was asked to start a library club for grades 5-8. Does anyone have a
similar club in their school? If so, what activities do you do and how
often do you meet? I think it could be an amazing club as long as I
can really get the students jazzed up enough about it for them to

I provided :

I have a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) for students in 5-8.  Typically I try to have 2-3 representatives from each grade level.  This year I have changed things up a bit, rather than appointing students based on teacher recommendations I am using an application process.  The response has been amazing!  This is a great way to find kids who are really energetic and enthusiastic about the library media program (and getting them to spread that energy around).   The council will be very active this year.  A few of the things they will be working on:

* how to make the school book fair more interesting to Middle School students (many great suggestions are rolling in on this item)
* participating in vendor demos for a new OPAC purchase
* book / magazine / media selection suggestions
* author visits –
* input about ways to use the library space / new furniture

This is truly a leadership and service opportunity for students and follows the lead of the National Youth Participation Guidelines which YALSA has developed for their committees – http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/aboutyalsab/nationalyouth.cfm

Another opportunity might be something like Battle of the Books.  Many states have a competitions like this and it is always a great time.


Another source of information on this topic is Diane Tuccillo’s “Library Teen Advisory Groups” (Scarecrow, 2005). Diane tells me she is working on an updated book on this topic.

*(image from University of Arizona – http://www.geo.arizona.edu/dgesl/research/regional/asian_monsoon_dynamics/yak.htm)

What inspires you?

One of the assignments for my year-long doctoral seminar is to discuss something that is inspiring to us professionally.  I would like to know what inspires you as an educator, librarian – anyone really .  Why do you do what you do?  How did you arrive where you are today?  At one of our teacher workdays in August the question “why do you teach?” was raised.  One of my colleagues offered that he “loves the kids”.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to explore this topic in more detail.  I wanted to hear more from him, and other teachers, about what inspires them to teach.  Here is the abridged assignment if you wish to respond –

Inspirational works/events

It’s always exciting to read an inspirational article or attend an inspirational presentation. It may help you develop or understand a research question, make you think about something you thought you understood in a new way, serve as the basis for a line of research, model a particular teaching method or approach, drive you to demonstrate that the author/speaker is wrong, or be an example of excellent research.

What article or event has inspired you this year? Something you heard at a recent conference or a lecture on campus, something you have read in another class, something you heard via a Web broadcast, an article that is giving you ideas for your future work, or…

Select an inspirational work or event (it could be an article, a book chapter, a web site, a lecture, a video, or a conference presentation).  Why do you find this work or event inspirational, and how is it helping you or will help you with your work?