ETL 402 Assignment #2 – Reflective Blog

Using literature as part of my everyday teaching has always been something I knew was effective. Using a text to teach a concept or skill is something I have done throughout my teaching career, however I wasn’t able to articulate why. It just seemed like a good idea. This subject has explained exactly how and why using literature is valuable and necessary to teaching. The Lorax and The Very Hungry Caterpillar have always worked, and now I understand why.  Students will be more likely to remember the topics taught in those lessons because both are fun stories, both are memorable, and both put the topics in a format children can understand.

Most teachers can see the value of literature to their teaching, but often see it as incidental learning, not as a specific and measurable teaching tool to support and enhance outcomes across all subject areas (Cornell, 2007). Through the creation of resources such as pathfinders, wikis, and integrated units that use literature as the foundation for learning, the TL and the library can show teachers and students how all types of literature can be used to improve student outcomes, promoting the role of the TL as a curriculum leader and the importance of the library to teaching and learning. A student came into the library last term to confirm it was ok to read a graphic novel, as his teacher had said no. After a lengthy discussion with the teacher, this term he is willing to try out new text formats, including digital texts and yes, graphic novels in his lessons. He is even willing to give my Literature Circle a go with his English class.  Big victory for the TL!

My original definition of children’s literature was expanded upon, and I realised how much I hadn’t taken into account. This subject has made me aware of the range and diversity of literary texts, and why children should be exposed to them all. Many genres and formats, such as Steampunk and postmodern fiction are not just interesting ways of attracting readers, but valuable to meet the needs of children who may struggle, or need something extra to hold their attention (Bucher & Manning, 2004).

Reading about picture books for older children, I not only learned of sophisticated picture books, but how to use regular picture books, and the many benefits for these books in the secondary classroom (McCollum-Clarke, 2012).  I used this knowledge to select one of my Lit circle books, The Lost Girl (Kwaymullina, 2014), as it explores themes of family and spirituality in Indigenous communities in such a way that students would have no trouble understanding the content, but still left enough deeper meaning for them to have rich, valuable discussions (Ammon & Sherman, 1996).

We need to encourage children to read. Whether it be comic books, ebooks or award winning fiction, as long as we are encouraging reading. What is considered low quality could be the book a child needs to develop their love of reading, then eventually move up to the harder stuff. Exposure to the many types of literature genre, giving children books that are as entertaining as they are informational will increase the odds of the children finding the book that will encourage them to read more, build their reading skills, and turn them into lifelong readers (Krashen, 2009).

 

Ammon, B.D. & Sherman, G.W. (1996). Worth a thousand words: an annotated guide to picture books for older readers. Libraries Unlimited: USA.

Bucher, K. T., & Manning, M. L. (2004). Bringing graphic novels into a school’s curriculum. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 78(2), 67-72.

Cornett, C. E. (2007). Integrating the arts. Creating meaning through literature and the arts: an integration resource for classroom teachers (3rd ed., pp. 94-134). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Merrill Prentice-Hall

Haven, K. F. (2007). Story proof: The science behind the starting power of story. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Krashen, S. D. (2009). Anything but reading. Knowledge Quest, 37(5), 8.

Kwaymullina, A. (2014). The Lost Girl. Newtown, NSW: Walker Books.

McCollum-Clarke, K (2012). Top 10 picture books for the secondary classroom. Retrieved from https://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2012/08/18/top-10-picture-books-for-the-secondary-classroom/

 

 

Defining Children’s Literature

Children’s literature can be defined as literature that has been specifically written for children, usually with a specific age group in mind. My definition of Children’s Literature can be summarised as:

  • Written for children: Texts are created with children as the intended audience.
  • Cover topics and themes that are of general interest to children or important to children.
  • Age appropriate vocabulary.
  • In a range of formats that appeal to children, such as telling a story in pictures, spoken or written words, in movie form or digital through web pages or apps.
  • The reader is not assumed to be at an advanced, adult reading level. Texts could include more pictures, diagrams, simpler language or easier to navigate the text.
  • Characters and plots that appeal to children
  • Protagonist is usually someone the reader can relate to
  • Doesn’t usually deal with adult themes, such as marital or employment issues
  • Unlike adult fiction, Children’s Fiction can be enjoyed by children and adults alike
  • Can inform or entertain

What children’s literature is not, is lesser quality than adult literature. Although the vocabulary may be simpler, the quality and style of the writing and the importance of what the text is trying to convey is just as valid and important, just as complex as an adult text.

 

McGregor, J (n.d.) Children’s literature definitions. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-512384-dt-content-rid-1123385_1/xid-1123385_1

 

ETL505 – Assignment 2: Reflections

The key purpose of organising and classifying information is to make it easy to find, and easy to retrieve. If only it were that simple. The theory and practices involved in describing and classifying resources are much more complex and technical. Having no background or experience working in a library, many topics covered in this course were brand new and very difficult to get my head around. However, I now feel much more confident in identifying and using metadata standards, understanding catalogues and databases, and using classifications and descriptions to find and access information for my users in the future.

An information resource is only effective if it can be accessed (Hider, 2012). For this reason, the effective organisation of resources is essential to alert users to their existence, and allow access to them. Uniform cataloguing and classification standards ensures  libraries and users have access to, and can share, information resources (NLA, 2004).

Different organisations have different needs relevant to their particular context. A school would primarily need access to educational resources, whereas a law firm would need resources pertinent to legal issues and topics. Both organisations have an information need, but both need access to very different types of information. For this reason, the descriptive cataloguing and classification of resources is essential. Catalogues, databases and search engines that cater to specific users enable more effective access to information specific to their needs.

A school catalogue service such as SCIS (2014), provides resource information and access specific to an educational setting. SCIS provides not only standards for cataloguers, but information for users, the TL and library staff, as to how best use the system. An understanding of a controlled vocabulary approach is also essential to a TL, to ensure we are using the same terms and language as the indexer, or cataloguer, in order for relevant, useful information to be found (Hider, 2012). This is also a time saver for TLs who perform a variety of jobs in their role as TL.

The job of a Teacher Librarian (TL) is not only to provide access to these resources for users, but to be able to locate and access these resources themselves. Descriptive cataloguing and classification allows TLs to find and access these resources more effectively, and to assist their users to find and access information.

A TL would need to navigate the seemingly infinite sea of information, which continues to grow. Without the knowledge of how and why information resources are classified and described, a TL would indeed be ‘flying blind’, relying on basic keyword or catalogue searches, and not being able to get to the really useful, specific information that is the best for the needs of the users. A solid understanding of the RDA, DDC, SCIS and Subject Headings better prepares us for this job, by knowing where to look, what to look for and how to access the best available information.

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References:

Education Services Australia (2014). SCIS Subject headings. Retrieved from http://scis.curriculum.edu.au/scisshl/

Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description, creating and managing metadata. London: Facet Publishing.

National Library of Australia (NLA)(2004). Standards. Retrieved from http://www.nla.gov.au/about-us/standards

ETL503 Assignment #2: Reflection

As a teacher, I thought I had a good handle on resourcing the curriculum, for my age group at least (JP).  However, the amount of content that is covered, and the vast amount of challenges and issues to be considered was overwhelming.  There are so many aspects to creating a well balanced and well resourced library collection that meets the needs of both students and teachers.

As a teacher in a remote school, I have a good grasp on the need for a balanced collection. Both print and digital resources have their place, both are key components to successfully implementing a teaching program, and a balance between the two provides all students with equitable access to resources (Uern, 2014a). Five weeks without my own home internet during this course also highlighted the issues students without adequate access to technology faced in a 21st century learning environment. If we were to rely solely on digital resources, how would these students keep up with their peers? Further exploring the readings and literature regarding balanced collections showed not just a  need for balance between print and digital, but fiction and non-fiction, types of non-fiction, text types and formats, and teaching objects and resources, such as concrete materials.

The vast range of selection aids and curation tools will need to be further explored to see what meets the needs of our particular school community. In the past, I have trusted suggestions from colleagues, as to which resources they have used that are most effective, and of course, the TL. Selecting resources through specialised sites and library communities gives us even more resources to choose from. They have actually been fun to explore! Pinterest boards I have begun following include Teacher Librarian boards, book communities, education boards and educational book communities.

The process of creating a proposal helped me to put all these topics and issues into perspective, and directly relate it to my school situation. It also highlighted the importance of policy to ensure there is a documented and agreed upon policy, to clarify the roles, responsibilities and processes of the school library.

Two recurring topics that have popped up throughout my studies is the importance of collaboration and principal support in the teacher librarians role. Collaboration was once again highlighted as an essential part of a TLs role, and a key component in ensuring quality resources were selected (Montiel-Overall, 2008). Without discussions with teachers, the TL would be reliant on curriculum documents and their own understandings of student needs, unable to resource directly to the needs of the students. A principals support is also essential when resourcing a school library, particularly when the TL is faced with issues, such as challenges to the collection, and collection evaluation and weeding.  A principal with a good understanding of the TLs role and responsibilities, and one that has had input in the creation of the school library policies is in a better position to support the TL when challenges arise (Hartzell, 2002).

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Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) (2009) Policies, standards and guidelines. Retrieved from https://www.alia.org.au/about-alia/policies-standards-and-guidelines

Hartzell, G (2002). The Principal’s Perceptions of School Libraries and Teacher-Librarians. School Libraries Worldwide 8(1), pp 92-110. Retrieved from www.iasl-online.org/files/jan02-hartzell.pdf

Montiel-Overall, P (2008). Teacher and librarian collaboration: A qualitative study. Library and information science research, 30(2), pp 145-155

Uern, S (2014). ETL503 Module #1 – Print or digital? [Blog entry]. Retrieved from http://sachajess.edublogs.org/2014/04/16/etl503-module-1-print-or-digital/

ETL504 Assignment 2 Part B: Reflective critical analysis

When I began this assignment, I thought the changes needed to make our school library a central learning space within our school were minimal, but since the assignment began, my views have changed, almost becoming overwhelming as to where to start. Comparing our library to the literature, ours was years behind the game. I also saw my role quite differently, changing from one of identifying change opportunities, and providing support, to one of designing change opportunities and leading the change.

The Australian School Library Association (2013) identified many leadership roles a TL undertakes: They create and manage programs as literacy advocates, actively engage in leading new pedagogies, use evidence based practices to make decisions on the future of the library, and lead change in curriculum developments.

Looking at the different leadership styles amongst the staff at our school, they became clear. There are situational leaders, instructional leaders, and transactional leadership styles. The most obvious leader, however, wasn’t the principal, nor was it the TL, or any teacher for that matter. It was the bursar. Her authoritative, brusque, no nonsense manner demands respect from the school community, and her opinions are highly valued. So when the bursar voiced her opinion of the TL role as unnecessary during a discussion as to how to save money in the schools budget at a Governing Council (GC) meeting, I realised that, however unprepared I was, I would have to show leadership skills right there and then. It was my first opportunity to ‘sell’ the role of the TL, and what the role entailed. Having to do this in front of the GC for the first time was frightening, but thankfully, the principal was there for support and back up. It also highlighted the need to sell the position to the wider school community, and that I would have to work very hard to prove myself when the time came to take over the library, to establish the position of TL as one that is vital to the continuing success of the school and its learners (ASLA, 2013).

My initial understanding of leadership, was similar to that of the bursar: no nonsense, able to make their voice heard, and shows authority. However, my views have since changed. There are many types of leaders, and as a TL, adopting a more inclusive, collaborative leadership style would be much more effective than a heavy handed, authoritative style (Bass, 1990). To allow others to see the benefits that my role has on their teaching would be much more effective, and would allow me to lead changes much more effectively. The physical environment of the library was pivotal to effectively leading curriculum and programming changes, as was the role of the TL to change minds regarding our roles and responsibilities (Hartzell, 2002). To prove ourselves as the information rich literacy leaders, we need to get out there and show what we are capable of, to take ourselves out of the library and demonstrate leadership skills throughout the school. This may lead people into the library, establishing it as the educational heart of the school, and as the centre for learning and information needs.

To effectively lead, the TL must establish themselves as curriculum leaders, as effective leaders, and as essential members of a school community. Additionally, to effectively implement change, roles must be shared (Uern, 2014). Educational and technological changes occur at a rapid pace. No sooner than you think you are up to speed in providing up to date technologies to students and staff, or have perfected a program to teach digital or information literacy, the goal posts shift again. The principal, and the TL are key figures to implement the changes, but the whole school community must be involved, if we are to keep up with changes to the educational landscape.  Transformational leaders support others to take the lead in projects, potentially building new leaders (Fullan, 2001). Utilising a change management process allows the TL to foresee any issues, adapt to suit others, and encourage and inspire others to participate in change processes.

 

Initially, the idea of being a leader worried me. I didn’t think I had the necessary skills or authority to be an effective leader, but through this course, I found I have exactly what it takes to lead change and inspire others. Teachers often seek me out for advice on planning, classroom management techniques, or advice on how to implement the Australian Curriculum over multi-year levels, and they are always willing to take my ideas and strategies to their own classes, or work with me to adapt my strategies to their situations. I just didn’t know that these were the qualities of a transformational leader, and also the qualities needed of a successful TL.

 

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Australian School Library Association (2013). Future learning and school libraries, ASLA, Canberra, ACT. Retrieved from http://www.asla.org.au/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/2013-ASLA-futures-paper.pdf

Bass, B (1990). From transactional to transformational leadership: Learning to share the vision. Organisational Dynamics 18(3), pp 19-31.

Belisle, C. A. H. (2004). The teacher as leader: transformational leadership and the professional teacher or teacher-librarian. The Profession of Teacher-Librarianship, 73-79.

Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco: California. Jossey-Bass. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED467449.pdf

Townsend, T (2011). School leadership in the 21st century: different approaches to common problems? School leadership and management 31(2): 93-103. Retrieved fromhttp://www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/doi/abs/10.1080/13632434.2011.572419

Uern, S (2014). Assignment 1 critical reflection [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://sachajess.edublogs.org/2014/04/07/etl504-assignment-1-critical-reflection/

ETL503 Module #1 – Print or Digital?

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The debate between print vs digital has been raging for quite some time. One town in Wales has placed a ban on kindles, saying they are turning readers into robots. This extreme stance is not conducive to a solution in the print vs digital debate. There needs to be a happy medium, as both formats have their place in a 21st century society.

I work in a small country school, with a limited range of print books and physical resources available on hand. Digital learning is essential in our school, to give students and teachers access to a broad range of texts and information sources. The school is part of an inter-library loan network, however, students prefer the immediacy of being able to access items or risk losing interest if they need to wait a day or so for a resource.

Speaking to students, particularly the high school students, they found their preference was to learn using the internet and e-books to research. When asked, however, which method of research was most effective, they said using print books as they were easily distracted by social networking sites such as Facebook or Tumblr, especially when at home. They ‘got more done’ when studying in the library or classroom with a textbook, than when researching using the computer.

Some texts that have been converted to digital formats will benefit users, such as instructional or information texts, as these can easily be accessed on the internet (Hoffelder, 2013). However, some text types should remain in print format. Picture books are essential in my classroom, to teach early reading skills, and because of a lack of technology. Students in my class are not yet proficient users of technology, therefore e-books and digital resources would make learning even more difficult for them, as they tried to get their heads around how to use the tech rather than getting their heads around the learning task required.

One of the Professional Standards for Teacher Librarians is to ensure libraries are equitable. While the library may have access to digital tools and devices, students may not have access to these at home. As teachers, we have been banging on forever about the importance of having texts in the home, and for children to be exposed to literacy at an early age. When these children don’t have access to print materials, they are at an unfair disadvantage.

The shift to digital libraries is inevitable; however I don’t believe any library should become 100% digital, or that digital formats should ever completely replace the good old print book.

 

References

Hoffelder, N (2013) Is the internet a greater threat to publishers than self-pub ebooks? Retrieved from http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2013/11/30/internet-greater-threat-publishers-self-pub-ebooks/#.U0CbJKiSwn1

Shatzkin, M (2013). The truth is we do not know whether ebooks will work for anything other than readerly books. Retrieved from http://www.idealog.com/blog/truth-do-not-yet-know-whether-ebooks-will-work-anything-except-readerly-books/

ETL504 Assignment 1 – Critical reflection

Critical reflection 

Of the many leadership theories explored, the main theories that stood out were transformational, instructional and situational leadership styles, in relation to the TL as leader role.

Avolio, Walumbwa and Weber (2009) define transformational leadership as “Leader behaviours that transform and inspire followers to perform beyond expectations while transcending self interest for the good of the organisation.” Many times, teachers are unaware of resources or programs available to them, or the assistance and expertise a TL can provide. When made aware of new teaching tools or ways of delivering content, teachers can be energised and motivated to explore ideas further, allowing them to become more effective instructors (Belisle, 2004).

Teacher Librarians need to be assertive leaders that make their voices heard and their worth known (Goerner, 2013). A TL will need to work harder and shout louder if they do not receive support from principals or staff. In order to receive this support, they need to demonstrate leadership skills which motivate staff and lead by example (Belisle, 2004). This is a form of transformational leadership, which is itself a form of distributed leadership in that it does not rely on the principal alone to lead the way. It relies on a leader to trust their staff to lead the way, to motivate and inspire their staff to take the reins, and to encourage and stimulate staff to share their vision (Hallinger, 2003).

Instructional leaders are involved in what is going on in the school. They may be Teaching Principals, that are teaching classes themselves, and would need to be approachable, friendly and supportive, rather than managers that may not be aware of what is happening in the classrooms. The success of an instructional leadership style is dependent on a schools context and size. Larger schools made it more difficult to implement an instructional leadership style (Hallinger, 2003)

Quite often, and for this reason, the common leadership style adopted by principals is situational, as principals adapt to different events and issues accordingly and as they arose. In  larger schools, managerial duties often prevent principals from such hands-on involvement in the day to day events in the classroom (Hallinger, 2003). Without sharing the leadership around, principals run the risk of overload, as they cannot deal with every issue in every department, and still have enough time left over to lead change initiatives (Townsend, 2011).

Initiating change, shared decision making and team building were central themes to creating new leaders. Transformational leaders support and encourage others to take the lead on projects or initiatives, thereby fostering leadership in others (Fullan, 2001). They see problems in a positive way, and use them as learning opportunities, leading others to do the same (Hargreaves, 2007).

In order to effect change, leadership should be shared. Implementing change is a time consuming task, one that cannot be the responsibility of the principal alone (Townsend, 2011).  Teacher librarians, as central figures in the school, and as collaborators and information specialists, are in an ideal position to lead change efforts in schools.

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References

Avolio, B., Walumbwa, F., & Weber, T. J. (2009). Leadership: current theories, research, and future directions. DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/managementfacpub/37/

Belisle, C. A. H. (2004). The teacher as leader: transformational leadership and the professional teacher or teacher-librarian. The Profession of Teacher-Librarianship, 73-79.

Browning, P (2013). Creating the conditions for transformational change. Australian Educational Leader, 35(3), 14-17.

Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco: California. Jossey-Bass. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED467449.pdf

Goerner, (2013). School librarians must be assertive leaders, technology experts. School Library Journal. Retrieved from http://www.slj.com/2013/10/events/school-librarians-must-be-assertive-leaders-technology-experts-slj-summit-2013/

Hallinger, P. (2003). Leading educational change: Reflections on the practice of instructional and transformational leadership. Cambridge Journal of Education,33(3), 329-352.

Hargreaves, A (2007). Sustainable leadership and development in education: creating the future, conserving the past. European Journal of Education, 42(2) 223-233

Hartzell, G (2002). The principals perception of school libraries and the teacher librarian. School Libraries Worldwide 8(1),  92-110.

Haycock, K. (2007). Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 25-35.

Kotter, J. P. (1995). Leading change: Why transformation efforts fail. Harvard business review73(2), 59-67. http://www.sykehusapoteket.no/Upload/Topplederprogrammet/Litteratur/2.1%20Leading%20Change%20-%20Why%20Transformation%20Efforts%20Fail%20by%20JP%20Kotter.pdf

Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). Some theories and theorists on leadership. School leadership that works: from research to results (pp. 13-27). Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/docDetail.action?docID=10089219

Reeves, D (2009). Leading change in your school: how to conquer myths, build commitment and get results. ASCD

Townsend, T (2011). School leadership in the 21st century: different approaches to common problems? School leadership and management 31(2): 93-103. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/doi/abs/10.1080/13632434.2011.572419

 Walker, A (1994). Teams in Schools: Looking Below the Surface.  International Journal of Educational Management, 8(4), 38 – 44

ETL503 Assignment #1: Annotated resource list

Resources for this assessment task have been selected based on (Hughes Hassell & Mancall, 2005):

  • Relevance to teacher needs in relation to teaching context.
  • Suitability for age range of students.
  • Resources cater to the variety of learners and their needs.
  • Resources will be used more than once or twice.
  • Resources are affordable.
  • The resources are current and applicable to state or national curriculum.
  • Resources assist the teacher to plan and implement a multimodal teaching program that engages students and caters to their differing learning styles.
  • The source is reputable or written by qualified people.
  • Available to the school; accessibility
  • Appropriate format for the age group

Students in the target age group are proficient in using iPads and interactive whiteboards, however they are not as skilled at independently operating computers. For this reason, much of the student-centred aspects of the web evaluation criteria (Sheridan Libraries, 2010) were not considered, as only teachers would be using the resources.

The iPad app was evaluated using Cantwells checklist (Cantwell, 2013), focusing on functionality, ease of use and relevance to the teaching context.

Selection aids included SCIS, Scootle, LibraryThing, the school library catalogue and the schools teacher librarian, Google search, Apple App store, and hard copy educational catalogues such as Scholastic and Educational Experience.

 

Resource List

1.      Response Ability

Hunter Institute of Mental Health (2012). Response Ability. Driving child and youth wellbeing. Retrieved from http://www.responseability.org/primary-and-early-childhood

This resource provides fact sheets for informing the teaching of resilience and wellbeing, as well as how to implement throughout the school. This is not a comprehensive resource, and does not provide many activities or extra teaching resources. It simply provides information on wellbeing and mental health in early years students, and other avenues for teachers to explore for further information.

The selection aid for this resource was Google search, using the search term ‘wellbeing and resilience early years’. The resource is a government site, therefore matched the criteria of being from a trusted source. It did not match the criteria of being comprehensive, it gave information as more proactive rather than preventative, in that it helped teachers identify individual students that may be at risk, instead of helping them implement a whole class program. It is a free web resource, so it met budget constraints. The site, being a government site in connection with the Education department, meant teachers can locate further departments and resources to receive support on topics or issues they may have, by following links on the page.

2.      Bounce Back

McGrath, H, & Noble, T (2011). Bounce back! A wellbeing and resilience program, years K-2. 2nd Edition. Port Melbourne, Victoria; Pearson Australia.

Bounce back is a wellbeing and resiliency program which can be used across all year levels. The program teaches core values such as honesty, respect, and cooperation. Within each core value is a set of resources, recommended picture books and consolidating activities. There are 2 other books in the series, covering years 3-4 and 5-8.

The selection aid was SCIS, which did not provide very much information, although it did match the key words given, which was why it was given further consideration. Google was used to find out more about the program. The book meets the needs of the program as it provides extensive background knowledge for teachers and a broad range of learning tasks for students. It assists teachers to write a comprehensive program that includes many activities to consolidate concepts using role play, picture books, songs, whole group and small group instruction.

The books are expensive, and would need to be assessed against subject area budget allocations, as well as individual teaching needs beyond this unit. The topics in the book meet the needs of the Health curriculum, matching key ideas in the Personal and Social Development standard.

3.      Me and my Smile: Having fun with feelings.

Department of Education, Western Australia (2010). Me and my smile: Having fun with feelings – Health and Physical Education. Retrieved from  http://www.scootle.edu.au/ec/viewing/S3784/MMS_H&PE_NEALS.pdf

This resource was found on Scootle, and is a lesson plan written to explore children’s emotions. It was found using the search terms ‘health’ and ‘emotions’. Previous search terms such as ‘Personal development’ did not generate results that related directly to the unit. The resource is available online, therefore suitability of the resource was easily determined. The resource met some selection criteria, in particular the needs of the teacher and students in relation to the unit, and in providing a variety of activities and learning tasks. It is a free resource, so it doesn’t impact on the budget. The unit was written for Western Australian schools, which doesn’t meet state curriculum needs according to the criteria. Learning tasks in the unit can however, be adapted to suit the SA curriculum. The resource would be used mainly for the learning activities and ideas, rather than having to rewrite and adapt to suit SA curriculum standards.

The accompanying text, Augustus and his smile, is available through inter-library loan, therefore would not affect the budget or the teachers ability to explore themes from the lesson plan. The unit is age appropriate, as it is aimed at lower primary students.

4.      The Allen Adventure

Queensland Government – Department of Education and Training (2013). The Allen Adventure. Available from http://www.takeastandtogether.gov.au/under8/allen-app.html

The Allen Adventure is an iPad app that is aimed for children up to the age of 8. Allen is an alien that has just arrived to Earth, and is learning how to fit in with others. The app leads students through the difficulties Allen has trying to fit in. Concepts explored include verbal and non-verbal cues, sharing and other pro-social skills.

The school has a limited amount of iPads, which was taken into consideration when selecting resources, and is the reason only one app was selected. The app meets the criteria of consolidating and enriching learning, and builds on existing knowledge. The app is fully functional and easy to use. It is designed for younger students, so is easy to navigate. It is a free app with no in-app purchases necessary and there are no licensing restrictions or ads. The author is the Queensland Government, so it fits the criteria of a trustworthy source, and is written to fit curriculum standards. The app alone is not designed to teach students new concepts, but to consolidate and complement existing concepts.

The selection aid was the Apple App store, after a recommendation was given by someone familiar with the app.

5.      Franklin Fibs

Bourgeois, P & Clarke, B (1991). Franklin Fibs. Toronto: Ontario. Kids Can Press

Franklin Fibs is the story of Franklin, who isn’t honest with his friends. One of the skills to be taught in the program is honesty and trust. The book explores why Franklin fibs, and the theme can be extended to appreciation of talents they already have instead of having to make up interesting stories about themselves. It can also be used to extend the students understandings of feelings, and how they feel when people lie to them, or when people don’t trust them.

The selection aid was LibraryThing, using the search tag ‘Honesty’, which is one of the concepts to be taught in the unit. LibraryThing gave extensive information, reviews, and a link to Google Books partial view. The book was chosen as it is already available in the school library. As it is already part of the library’s collection, it didn’t affect the budget, and I was able to review its suitability. The book is aimed at the selected age group, and the concepts discussed in the book can be expanded upon and discussed in depth, making it useful to the teaching and learning context.

6.      The Little Red Hen

Foreman, M (2000) The Little Red Hen. London: Red Fox

The Little Red Hen is a classic fable that teaches children about fairness. It can be used in many different ways in the classroom, such as role play activities or puppet shows, and themes from the story can be used in the classroom to show fairness and for students to discuss their feelings.

Selection aid was LibraryThing using the tagmash of ‘children’s’, ‘fairness’ and ‘picture book’. The book was searched in the school library catalogue, and available at the school. The school TL was consulted when the book was listed as available, but not on the shelf. She said the book was often used in a school literacy program, Accelerated Literacy, therefore teaching notes and other electronic resources may be available for the book. The book is age appropriate, and a quick Google search showed there are many free activities already created for use with this book available to teachers from sites such as Sparklebox and First School. These activities can be used to extend students understanding of the concepts being taught. It is relevant to the teaching context, and is applicable to the curriculum needs of the teacher.

7.      Horton Hatches the Egg

Dr Seuss (2008). A double dose of Horton: Horton hears a who and Horton hatches the egg. Hammersmith, London: Harper Collins Childrens Books.

Horton Hatches the Egg teaches children the concept of responsibility. Horton is trusted to look after an egg, and even in adverse conditions, refuses to wriggle out of his responsibility. Students can explore the theme of responsibility, and what happens if responsibilities are not met. They can examine themes from the viewpoint of Horton, and why he refuses to give up his responsibilities. They can also discuss the viewpoint of the bird who decides she never wants to go back to her egg until the work is done.

Scootle and SCIS didn’t retrieve many hits when searched, but LibraryThing produced about 200 possible texts that relate to teaching children about responsibility. 4 books were searched using the library catalogue. The book, A Double Dose of Horton, was available in the school library, which was why it was selected.

The story is age appropriate, however for some of the younger students, concepts may be a bit difficult to comprehend without further exploration. As it is a well known book, supporting activities could be searched to allow the teacher to plan activities that cater to all students. The resource could be used by other year levels, and in other units of work, as part of an author study or literacy lessons.

8.      The Bad Tempered Ladybird

Carle, E (2010). The Bad tempered ladybird. London: Puffin Books

The Bad Tempered Ladybird teaches children about cooperation, sharing and respect. The story follows the ladybird through the book as it challenges creatures bigger than it, until finally it learns humility and cooperates with the friendly ladybird. The lesson that can be learned through the book is that being disrespectful to others, and acting like a bully will get you nowhere. The book can be used in other learning areas, such as time, measurement, and art. Students can role play different parts, and discuss differences in the two ladybirds actions and behaviours.

The selection aid was LibraryThing using a tagmash of cooperation, sharing and respect. The book was found in the school library, which met the criteria of affordable (as it is already part of the school library collection) and available. The students are familiar with the author, and the book is both format and age appropriate. As it is a well-known book, teaching resources that accompany the book may be available for students, to allow the teacher to plan a variety of teaching activities. The resource is relevant to the teaching context, and fits into the literacy curriculum.

9.      Room on the Broom

Donaldson, J, & Scheffler, A (2002). Room on the broom. London: Macmillan Children’s Books.

Room on the Broom is a story about making new friends, kindness and cooperation. It fits into the theme of the unit, demonstrating kindness to others, even if we don’t know them, and the importance of having friends to help us out. It teaches students that if we are kind to others, they will more likely be kind back. Students could discuss what may happen if the witch had not been kind to the animals, and who would help her if the dragon came?

The first selection aid used was SCIS. The search terms ‘friendship’ and ‘kindness’ turned out almost 10,000 items. The next selection aid used was LibraryThing, which gave reviews of the book, but no book preview. The book was found in the school library catalogue, and available through inter-library loan. The story and the picture book format is appropriate for the age group, and ideas from the story are relevant to the teaching and learning context

The book has activities that go with it, available from the authors website. These activities don’t reinforce the skills, but can be used when revisiting the key ideas being taught through the book, to provide an engaging teaching task for students.

10.  Exploring Emotions

Bayley, R & Margetts, K (2004). Exploring emotions: How you can help children recognise and talk about their feelings. London: Step Forward Publishing

The book gives teacher background information, task cards for students and teachers, blackline masters to make masks, puppets and games to reinforce concepts. It gives students scenarios to explore and discuss, which can be used in small group ‘think pair share’ activities, and role play performances.

Selection aid used was the Educational Experience catalogue located at the school. The catalogue did not offer very much information, so a search of some educational bookshops, and the Educational Experience website was conducted to find out more. The Educational Experience website gave a little more information than the catalogue, but no book preview.

The resource is affordable, relevant to teachers and students needs, and accessible. It is suitable for the age range, and ideas and activities from the book can be adapted across other classes, making it reusable by others. The book contains a variety of activities and games, therefore fits the criteria of being able to assist the teacher deliver a multimodal teaching program. The format is appropriate for the age group, and activities are designed for primary aged students.  The variety of the activities caters to the needs of the students, providing dramatic play, hands on, tactile, artistic, as well as small group, whole group and independent working.

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References:

Cantwell, K. (2013). Living appily ever after in the library. Connections, 86, 6-7. Retrieved from http://www2.curriculum.edu.au/scis/connections/issue_86_2013/articles/living_appily_ever_after_in_the_library.html

Educational Experience (2014). Retrieved from http://www.edex.com.au/

Education Services Australia. (2014). SCiSWeb. Retrieved from  www.scis.curriculum.edu.au/scisweb/orders/php

Education services Australia. (2014). Scootle. Retrieved from http://www.scootle.edu.au/ec/p/home

Hughes-Hassell, S, & Mancall, J (2005). Collection management for youth: Responding to the needs of learners. Retrieved from http://www.eblib.com

LibraryThing (2005). Retrieved from https://www.librarything.com/

Sheridan Libraries (2010). Evaluating information found on the internet. Retrieved from http://guides.library.jhu.edu/evaluatinginformation

South Australian Curriculum and Accountability (SACSA) (2001). Health and Physical Education: Personal and social development. Retrieved from http://www.sacsa.sa.edu.au/index_fsrc.asp?t=CB

Williams, I. D. (2002), Ensuring quality in the collection of free internet based resources for Australian schools. Access 16(3), 27-30. Retrieved from https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/williams-i.pdf

ETL501: Pathfinder Critical Reflection

The process of creating a digital resource for students to use was an interesting one, that I believe taught me very useful skills. I chose to create a pathfinder for Year 7 students studying the topic of Ancient Greece as part of the History Curriculum. The purpose for choosing this particular topic is due to the current year 7 students at my school studying this topic in term 4.

The resources were selected with not only the assignment in mind, but after discussion with the year 7 teacher on what he had planned for History in term 4. Students will be carrying out a depth study on Ancient Greece. The general capabilities students will learn through using the pathfinder are literacy capabilities, by interpreting and analysing different types of information, ICT capabilities, by accessing and presenting information through the use of ICT, and critical thinking skills by comparing and clarifying information for their own purposes (ACARA, 2013). All 3 GCs identify evaluating information as a key skill in understanding and critically thinking about the information they find.

A pathfinder is an excellent way for students to explore the literature themselves and conduct their own searches, at their own pace (Vileno, 2007). Through the use of this pathfinder, students would be able to construct their own knowledge of Ancient Greece, determine which information is important for their needs, and use the information effectively for their own purposes (Abilock, 2004). This task requires students to formulate their own focus for investigation. Using the websites recommended, they would gain an overview of life in ancient Greece, and narrow their area of interest based on what they have read (Kuhlthau, 2013). These information literacy skills could then be used in other learning areas, whenever there is a need for information. It would also reinforce the TL role to both the students and staff as to how I could benefit them in their planning and study.

Finding resources on the internet that were age appropriate, met the needs of the student, and were from reliable sources was more difficult than I thought. Most sites that were age appropriate or matched the reading level of the students were either filled with ads or the sources could not be verified. Using web evaluation criteria, I was able to sort and classify sites according to their quality, authenticity or relevancy (Schrock, 2009). These are the same skills I would expect students to learn when using the pathfinder. By comparing sources included on the pathfinder to sources they may come across themselves through searches, they would be able to see which sites were quality, informative sites that suited their requirements.

Different search techniques were applied to find resources. I conducted a general search of ancient Greece using different search engines (such as Google, Exalead and  infomine), I experimented with different search terms and keyword combinations, conducted advanced searches and followed external links. The search engine I recommended for students, Kidrex, gave similar results to Google and Infomine, while lii.org allowed me to search even further and find sites that the other searches didn’t uncover (Boswell, 2010). These search strategies will hopefully extend to the students through the use of the search engine and instructions from the pathfinder, along with evaluation strategies for determining the validity and authority of a website. It will also hopefully allow them to compare the differences between sources, both print and web.

I found using www.weebly.com to create my pathfinder was straightforward and easy to use. I did find it was limiting as to what I could achieve, however. I wanted to put all page buttons on the main menu, but I was unable to edit the design of the main menu without changing the theme. The resources tab is now linked at the bottom of the main page, as it was the only one that I didn’t think would be used by the students during the search process. Learning web design and creation would be a beneficial skill to have, to have more control over content, layout and design over web resources made in the future.

The process of creating a pathfinder gave me excellent understanding and knowledge into the process of creating a digital resource for students. That knowledge can now be applied across the school for all grades. During the creation of this one, I collaborated with other staff to find out how I could assist them with their planning. I have already begun collecting resources for the 3-6 class unit on abstract art, and have spoken to the 10-12 class teacher to find out what students are planning for their SACE research projects next year.

The creation of a pathfinder allowed me to further develop skills in searching for information, using information, and creating teaching resources. These are skills I am looking forward to passing onto both students and teachers, in particular the creation of websites as another way of presenting information. The process has allowed me to further reflect on the role of a teacher librarian as an information specialist, and how the role has the ability to make an even greater impact on the school that I had originally thought.

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References

Abilock, D. (2004). Information literacy: An overview of design, process and outcomes.  Retrieved from http://www.noodletools.com/debbie/literacies/information/1over/infolit1.html

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)( 2010). History: Year 7. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/History/Curriculum/F-10?layout=3#page=7

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)( 2013). General Capabilities in the Australian curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Overview/General-capabilities-in-the-Australian-Curriculum

Boswell, W (2010). Seven habits of highly successful web searchers. Retrieved from http://websearch.about.com/od/searchingtheweb/a/sevenhabits.htm

Charles Sturt University(CSU) (2013) Module 3: Identifying, searching for and evaluating information sources. ETL501 the Information Environment. Retrieved October 2013

Flanders, V. (2013). Web pages that suck. Retrieved from http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/

Hemming, W. (2004). Online pathfinders: toward an experience-centered model. Reference Services review, 33(1), 66-87

Herring, J (2011) Improving students web use and information literacy. London: Facet publishing

Herring, J (2011) Website evaluation: A key role for the school librarian. School Library Monthly 27(8)

Kuhlthaus, C (2013). Information Search Process. Retrieved from http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/information_search_process.htm

Schrock, K. (2009). Critical evaluation of information. Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything. Retrieved from http://www.schrockguide.net/critical-evaluation.html

Valenza, J. (2004). Substantive searching: thinking and behaving info-fluently. Learning and Leading with technology, 32(3), 38-43.

Vileno, L. (2007). From paper to electronic, the evolution of pathfinders: a review of the literature. Reference Services review, 35(3), 435-451.

UC Berkeley Library (2012). Finding information on the internet: A tutorial. Retrieved from http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/SearchEngines.html

ETL401 – Critical Reflection

When I decided to take on this course, I thought I knew exactly what the TL position entailed: Managing and locating resources, introducing children to literature, assisting staff and students to effectively use the library to locate resources and information, and assisting students with research. Needless to say, my views on the TL position have dramatically changed since beginning this course. It could have been because the class I teach is junior primary, but my understanding of what occurred during library lessons were mainly literature based activities – The TL would introduce a new book, followed by activities related to the book. I had always thought teaching information literacy and resource evaluation skills were part of my job as the classroom teacher. I didn’t really pay attention to the intricacies of the role, and through my readings and research, I have found I am not the only one. Many people have misconceptions of the role and relevancy of a school library. Many of these misconceptions even come from principals and administrators (Hartzell, 2002). The TL has a long road ahead of them if they do not have the full support of their principal, or if the principal doesn’t have a full understanding or appreciation of the TL role within the school (Uern 2013a).

Reading the literature throughout this course, I have come to see the TL could be given many different job titles: information specialist, teacher, literacy advocate, leader, and instructional partner (Purcell, 2010). In any given day in a school library, a TL will wear many hats and teach many different skills and processes to many different students.

I have come to view collaboration as an essential part of the TL role. The TL will be able to demonstrate their value to the teaching and learning process and their level of expertise if collaboration occurs regularly.  TLs would work with all staff to plan units of work that will encompass inquiry learning skills, to develop and train teachers in the use of inquiry models and information search process models, to name a few reasons.  As a remote school, we as teaching staff constantly collaborate with other schools to plan and implement new curriculum or departmental content. My understanding of collaboration with the TL on planning and research was limited to location of resources and information, and this was on a needs basis. ICT and web skills were the domain of the ICT teacher. Since beginning the course, I now work in collaboration with the TL and the ICT teacher, having sought them out to plan and integrate classroom themes and teaching into library and ICT classes (Uern, 2013c).

The process of undertaking study again has been an overwhelming one, and I have found it to be a struggle. I found the stages described by Kuhlthau in the ISP model were spot on while researching for assignments and this was one of the key reasons behind choosing the ISP as a recommended model to use at my school. I used strategies outlined in the model to move through to the next stage, and found it worked very well.

Teaching information literacy skills is something I have already begun to practice in my classroom, along with inquiry learning skills and activities. Even at a junior primary level, constructivist learning approaches that I have studied throughout the course have worked very well with even reception level students (BIE, 2013). Students will pick a topic they enjoy and want to learn more about. They have buddies from the year 3-6 class and alongside myself, the 3-6 teacher, the ICT teacher and the TL, they have successfully been able to research their particular topic, present it using ICT, and answer questions about their topic to demonstrate their understanding. This teaching has encouraged even the most reluctant learners to participate, and all students have shown great enthusiasm for the process (Uern, 2013b). Feelings of confidence and pride in their work are evident in the final stages, and observations of the students show they are able to transfer these skills to other learning tasks.

As the TL, I am looking forward to using the new skills and understandings I now have in our school library. Opening up the library and making sure all staff and students know the full potential of the library, and make full use of that potential will be one of my first jobs. Providing rich literacy experiences and creating lifelong learners are the things that will keep me on this path to being a TL.

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References

Buck Institute for Education (BIE)(2013). What is PBL? Project based learning for the 21st Century. Retrieved from http://www.bie.org/about/what_is_pbl

Hartzell, G (2002). The principals perception of school libraries and the teacher librarian. School Libraries Worldwide 8(1),  92-110.

Kuhlthaus, C (2013). Information Search Process. Retrieved from   http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/information_search_process.htm

Purcell, M. (2010). All librarians do is check out books right? A look at the roles of the school library media specialist. Library Media Connection 29(3), 30-33.

Uern, S (2013a). Blog task #1: Principal support of the Teacher Librarian role. Retrieved from http://sachajess.edublogs.org/2013/08/03/etl401-blog-task-1-principal-support-of-the-teacher-librarian-role/

Uern, S (2013b). Blog task #2: Constructivist learning and the Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from http://sachajess.edublogs.org/2013/09/09/etl401-blog-task-2-constructivist-learning-and-the-australian-curriculum/

Uern, S (2013c). Blog task #3: Information literacy is more than a set of skills. Retrieved from http://sachajess.edublogs.org/2013/09/23/etl401-blog-task-3-information-literacy-is-more-than-a-set-of-skills/