I would like to thank you all for the great discussions during class. I learned so much from this class. It was great to be around people that understand all the obstacles we face in the school library. I am walking away with some great resources. Most of all I am walking away with the knowledge that it is going to take lots of time and effort to get others to collaborate. I will have to remind myself that small steps will eventually lead to some positive changes. Again, thank you and I hope to see all of you soon.
Last week was just another reminder of all that our job calls for us to do. The task of finding information on brain-based research was something we librarians are faced with everyday in our jobs. How well we respond determines how others see you. It reminded me of when I first started working in the library. Students and teachers would come in looking for books on a certain subject. At the time the nonfiction section was dated and very limited. They would leave very disappointed. However, I learned to listen to them and ask the right questions. It was not the book they wanted it was the information. I learned about other sources that I could lead them to and they became satisfied customers.
I just wanted to say a few things about RTI. CPS has not fully gotten on board with this initiative so my school is not on board. I think RTI is great on paper, but I have a few problems with it. For one, like many things in education, the government lets things work out. We are demanded to do one thing and just when we think we are comfortable doing that they go and demand something different from us. I'm not complaining because of the work but this really affects students.
One thing I like about RTI is that it has the learner in the center of everything. Students should not have to adapt to our teacher. We should adapt our teaching to the learners. Another thing that I got from the video we watched in class, is that we have to have more than one person, the classroom teacher, assisting our students. I was happy to see the success that this particular school was having with RTI. However, they had many extra people involved. What happens to this program once the extra people leave? I'm afraid that funding from RACE TO THE TOP will be used to support programs that will bring more demands for educators without giving up on others and not offer the appropriate support. I would love to see this money be used to make class sizes smaller and add personal that works directly with students.
As I have mentioned before, being the only librarian in the school can be a very lonely job. We do not have anyone to share our ideas or thoughts. Therefore, when we get together with other librarians we tend to share our good ideas or complain about the teachers that do not understand what our job entails. This is why I enjoyed last week's discussion. I think that we came up with some great ideas of how to get beginning teachers on board with collaboration. I walked away inspired and also thinking about what I can do.
One of the things that I think I have to continue doing is to keep up with things that are going on in the classroom. As a classroom teacher I subscribed to the Reading Teacher journal and I need to keep doing that now. I also thought about what I can do to get teachers in my building to collaborate. As I mentioned before, I am going to take small steps. However, I appreciated the ideas during class. I especially appreciated the idea about keeping in touch with other librarians so that we do not feel alone in our job.
This week I decided to view NECC conference on the web. They had a panel of experts in the school media center. I decided to watch this conference because one of my goals is to get more familiar with library 2.0. It seems like there is a new tool everyday. This makes it difficult to keep up with all the tools. Sometimes I feel really guilty about not knowing all of the tools that might be useful for my students. On the other hand, I know that it is impossible to be an expert on all of the new technology. That is why I really enjoyed this conference. As I listened to the conference I kept thinking about teaching overall. Library 2.0 can seem scary to teachers that are not comfortable with technology, but this conference confirmed that all it really is, is good teaching strategies.
The panel kept talking about having the students help create the space on the web. Through conversation with others they will get so much more than only speaking to the teacher. I agree that it is the process that is much more valuable than the end product. From my experience, I learned so much more from students when I talked to them. I also fear things that seem to go perfect for others. I appreciated that during the conference the panel also shared things that might go wrong. It just made things seem more real. One of the best things I walked away with is that we do not have to be an expert at everything, but we should learn the tool before we teach it.
I have been talking about library 2.0 as if it only consisted of tools, but it is so much more. I leave you with the final thoughts from this conference, "Is technology building deeper understanding rather that just tools?"
I think our discussion last week was great and very helpful. I think it was obvious that we all agree that inquiry based learning is the best way to create life long learners. Yet from our discussion, there are many obstacles that we as librarians face. The major one seems to be to get other teachers on board with inquiry based learning.
As a CPS librarian, I thought we were in bad shape. Not that I am happy there are struggles elsewhere, but it made things more real to hear the obstacles that others outside the city also face. As I mentioned before, I am working on an inquiry question (How to get others to collaborate using inquiry based learning?)One of the things that I got from our discussion is that it is going to take time and that I must take small steps. Therefore, I walked out of class thinking about how to get started.
I did not have to think about it too much because the answer came to me at the end of the week. A coworker called and needed some help. She is going to be the new seventh grade language arts teacher and is looking to change the current reading list. I listened to her with a grin on my face. She is going to become my new best friend. With time and small steps I will hopefully get her on board with inquiry based learning.
One of my first small steps is to give this teacher a list of possible books that she may use in the curriculum. I really want this to be an exceptional list. If anyone has suggestions, please send them my way.
I am reading Curriculum Connections through the Library. The first couple of chapters advocate for the school curriculum to be inquiry based learning. The authors state that inquiry base learning puts the learner in the center of the curriculum. The learner is actively engaged in creating ideas through guidance. This type of learning starts with the students asking questions and reaching new understandings. The teacher's role is to facilitate the learning. It is impossible for teachers to fill students' with all the information that there is. Therefore, inquiry based learning makes sense. Why then do we not see this happening across the nation?
One reason may be that we are in the age of accountability. There are standards testing that impede many educators from adopting inquiry based learning. Although some studies show that this type of learning will produce higher order thinking, it is time and experience with inquiry based learning that is needed in order to implement this successfully. This book gives some suggestions on how to get started.
One of the simple things that Harada states is to start by practicing question formation. It is important that students learn how to formulate questions in order to think critically. This is an area that school librarians can assist. My question as I continue reading and practice inquiry based learning is given the time constraints and testing pressure that classroom teachers face how do I, the school librarian, assit them in seeing the benefits ofinquiry based learning?