Welcome

Thanks for visiting my blog – I’m a Jack of All Trades,  so it goes in all kinds of directions. I’m a librarian, so it goes in that direction quite a bit! Scroll down to see my most recent posts.

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Facebook finds my blog offensive or unsafe!

Or someone associated with it does. Seriously! I talk about school libraries.

Facebook changed some rules for WordPress auto posting on 8/1. I though my posts weren’t posting because of that. So, I read WordPress’s suggestion about setting up a page. Then I followed Facebooks instructions for doing that, changed my Facebook link on my WordPress dashboard, and waited. Not working. So I use the Facebook share button and get this:

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Wow!

So I tried to just post by copying the link. That time I get a message that the url can’t be found. Yes, it can. You just don’t want to find it!

I tried to post the URL in a comment and got this sweet note:

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Other people have told me that they can’t go to Jack of All Trades through facebook because its flagged as malicious. Malicious? Really?

So, someone reported my blog for something OR I got caught in a blog dragnet! I have clicked on and replied to the Let Us Know link above. Now I wonder how long it will take them to respond?

And here I am right in the middle of my series about stations. Makes me sad . . .

Facebook & WordPress no longer friends?

Have you noticed that your WordPress blog is not automatically posting to Facebook?

From WordPress:

Note: Starting August 1, 2018, Facebook is making a change to their platform: third-party tools can no longer automatically share posts to Facebook Profiles. This includes Publicize. If you’ve connected a Facebook Profile to your site, then Publicize will no longer be able to share your new posts to Facebook automatically, and you won’t be able to make a new connection to a Facebook Profile. Sharing to Facebook Pages will continue to work as before.

If you’d like to share your concerns with Facebook, head to their Help Community.

The bolded part above looks promising! BUT, I can’t share. I can’t post using the FB button on my entry. I can’t copy and paste the link. Every stinking time, it’s labeled as spam and redirected. I can’t even put the link to my blog on my Facebook page without raising flags? What’s up with that Facebook?

 

Advance Planning – Stations & Maker Spaces

I always start with the end in sight. I wish I could remember what class I was taking when I realized this was a great way to operate! So. . . What do I want this station work to look like when it’s fully implemented?

I want the students to

  1. Choose a station independently.
  2. Work with their peers cooperatively.
  3. Use voice levels appropriate for inside.
  4. Clean up thoroughly. 😉
  5. Start, pause, and stop as needed for other things that may happen (like class ending, a fire drill, checking out books, etc.)

I also need a couple of station ideas with which to start. Hopefully, these can come from something I already have at the library – like games or puzzles. Yes, those are simple things. They won’t win any prizes for deep thinking activities, but what we are trying to establish is routine and procedure. We’ll develop those thinking skills after routines are automated.

Week one (and probably two and three) in year one:

  1. I assign the students seats. I like groups of three, and I have the room to do 8 or 9 groups. If there are more kids in a class, then I can pull in some extra chairs for groups of four.
  2. We go over the library procedures again. My school is PBIS and our Eagles SOAR, so that’s what I use. By the time I start stations at a school, the kids have heard the procedures enough they are starting to be routine. I’ve wondered if I go over them too much. BUT I only see kids once a week with the odd class missing for a variety of reasons and goodness knows who absent each week. Well, I’d rather be safe than sorry. Here’s a checklist I’ve used in the past. I go over it at the beginning of class quickly.
  3. This week we introduce stations. Stations are at the table and they are all about the same.Each table may have a different game or puzzle. We talk more about voice level, staying at your station, how to ask questions if they need help, etc. We probably won’t even check out this week. (Next week, I’ll rotate that item and we’ll add table check out).
  4. I let the students know when we have about five minutes left. Review what a clean station should look like, and then give them their last few minutes. Before I signal for cleanup.
  5. Then we go back to the checklist. As we go through each section, the students get to decide how to mark each item before we tally it up and give it to the teacher.

When I see that the students are handling this well, then I add a couple of things.

  • Week two or three, we will start to check out by tables. For me, this is one of the huge advantages of stations. I can realistically only help a few students at a time. Everyone is occupied to free me up to help with those students choosing books and checking out.
  • Week three, four, or five, I start to add other activities into the mix. I may alternate tables with puzzles and games. And still rotate those activities each week for a few weeks. I work stations up to having something different on each table. When we can do this, I know we are ready to move on.

I know this seems slow and drawn out. It is slow and drawn out, but every time I’ve tried to speed it up, I’ve regretted it and had to back up and slow things down.

Up next – Students move to the stations!

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Stations & Maker Spaces – Introduction

It’s that time when our brains are shifting back into gear for school (welcome or not, it’s happening!). As those thoughts emerge, I’m getting more and more questions about stations and maker spaces. I’m just going to call them stations from now on.

I’d like to write about everything that happens, needs to happen up front, and where you might end up, but that won’t happen in a single post. People come to the OTES library and ask:

  • How did you decide to use that?
  • How did the kids know to go there?
  • How long does this last?

And lots more. What they are seeing is years of trial, error, and success, so I’d like to share some of the process so you can decide what will work for you, and hopefully, some of the trial and error part can be minimized.

I’d like to address:

  • choosing & managing the materials
  • how to get started with the students
  • managing the day-to-day routines

What else do you want to know as I move through this? Let me know and I’ll do my best to address it!

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Evidences and the School Librarian

So you need some hard evidence that what a school librarian does grows students. I get it, we are data driven as an educational society.

My largest fear when data is requested is to show the librarian link to student learning, there is at least an implication that the learning impact is reflected in test scores.

I want to step back for a minute and consider the job of a school librarian. What school librarians do is highly individualized. We work closely with students, teachers, and parents to make sure everyone is being helped in a way that is most beneficial to each. We have been perfecting individualized learning for ages. Needs at my school are vastly different from the needs at the school just a few miles away. Even in one school, one year the librarian may work more closely with students. Another year, the teachers may get the lions share of the librarian’s time.

So, here are a few ways that librarian impact on student learning can be measured:

  • Long range plans including scope and sequence for student learning.
  • Logs on collaboration, co-teaching, and activities supportive of stakeholders.
  • Samples of rubrics, teacher lead lessons, and student developed projects.
  • Assessments – self, pre/post, formative, performance tasks that are librarian created and/or professional assessments like the ones on TRAILS.
  • Reflection/surveys on learning opportunities by librarian, staff, and students.
  • Monthly and/or annual reports – documenting statistics about activities, programs, initiatives, classes, parent meetings, trainings, circulation, collection changes, and patrons.
  • Evaluation of time spent doing administrative tasks without a direct link to learning outcomes but which must happen to create an environment for learning.

Those seem pretty straight forward. But there are some issues I see in utilizing them. Librarians on various schedules may see students on a limited basis, time allotted to work with teachers may be nonexistent, and other duties assigned to librarians involve large amounts of time away from the library, or inadequate time to work with students.  These are just some of the factors that can change the role of the librarian in his/her school. I can’t stress enough how different the role of each school librarian based on setting, schedule, and/or administration.

I know without doubt that what I do as a school librarian impacts student growth and learning. I push and prod students into the outer regions of their comfort zones. I provide a safe place for them to formulate plans, experiment, and reflect before starting the process again. I know they are learning and growing. In addition to my personal experience, we have multiple impact studies that show the impact qualified school librarians have on the schools in which they serve.

Efforts to try to quantify and measure the direct impact that school librarians have on student learning/growth are appreciated. I was a math teacher before becoming a librarian. Numbers rule! I truly understand how and why we use data. AND I like to think any field can be leveled in such a way that everyone could meet the same specific goals. However, I’m not sure that there is a truly valuable and accurate way to measure the benefit a librarian has on student learning.

What librarians do at each school level (elementary, middle, and high) is very different — different enough they may be barely recognizable as the same profession. In addition, the socioeconomic status of the school necessitates a variance in needs and procedures. Differing student backgrounds may mean that leading students may range from apparently simple to complex activities. A librarian in an affluent school may be able to work with students on developing a TED-type symposium where the students choose topics, conduct research, and present their topics to an online audience. A librarian in a school with high poverty levels may work diligently to help children see reading as a valuable and exciting experience. She/he may work with students to develop greater stamina by expanding daily reading time or increasing comprehension or how to choose a book they might enjoy. We can measure that time reading has increased, ask questions about what they read, or ask students to describe what types of materials they want to read,  but what is the direct correlation to learning?

The collaborative and supportive aspects of a school librarian’s job extend to all the school community. If I help a teacher find digital mathematical manipulatives, how did that effort impact growth and learning? If I help a student find a book to guide them through a personal struggle, did that impact growth? If I provide a space for creatively or reflection, how are the outcomes measured?

I can give you facts and figures like how many books a class checked out and how many weeks books were kept. I can produce student generated book reviews and recommendations, anecdotal logs of student conversations, lists of times and ways I collaborated with teachers. I can highlight the number of books I recommended to students based on their interests, the number of teachers who I helped find the perfect read aloud, or the number of parents who left with an armload of books after the home literacy meeting I led. I know these are impacting learning, but how do we adequately measure that impact?

Thanks to the following extraordinary librarians for their discussion and guidance on this topic.

I’d love to hear from you! What do you use as evidences of student growth? What is different about your role as school librarian from those in surrounding schools? How are you impacting student learning that can’t be measured?