My plan for educational reform

I am a strong proponent of public education, but I’ll be the first to say I don’t like the track we are on. What I see is heavily prescribed learning with little choice for students. We can debate which schools have the better teachers and which schools have the best opportunities. But what we need desperately is for every single school to be place where children flourish.  We don’t need a choice of school. This just opens up a whole different set of problems. We need consistency in all schools.

ALL schools need to offer

  • high quality reading materials
  • time to be curious
  • a variety topics to explore
  • meaningful techniques of expression
  • other learners, teachers, experts outside of their school wall
  • opportunities to fail
  • instruction in how to write personalized action plans
  • to hear viewpoints that are different from their own
  • a community with shared ideas and plans
  • time for thinking and reading and exploring
  • independence and some choice.

We don’t need armed teachers. We need places where students are valued – not artificially valued, but where they develop their own sense of worth through hard work and the ability to to set their own learning agenda. The amazing thing is that most schools already have the mechanism to get this started – the library and librarian. All the things listed above can start in the library and with the librarian. Want to radically change education? Ask your school librarian where to start!

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By any other name . . .

am I still a librarian?

Periodically, I see districts, schools, and other groups trying to come up with a new name that exactly portrays what we do. I get it. Librarians do EVERYTHING. We want a title (other than super hero) that clearly portrays our job to the world.

Most every profession has changed. Most every professional in most every field has had to take on new and different responsibilities, grow in their technological awareness, and move in directions that just a few years ago, they had no idea would exist. And yet, we still call teachers, principals, salesmen, doctors, lawyers, etc. by the titles they have gone by for years, and everyone understands that their jobs, roles, responsibilities have evolved.

AND here’s what I think has happened in all this effort finding the perfect title in the school library world – no one knows what we do. This pursuit of constantly seeking just the right title has diminished our profession. While people are trying to figure out what to call us, they aren’t thinking about what we do and who we reach. While people are trying to understand the relationship between the media and the library, they assume we no longer have books. Instead of having the opportunity to advocate for libraries in every school, I’m explaining why a school librarian they know is called an information specialist.

I would dearly love for us as a profession to embrace the title of school librarian. Let’s own it. Let’s educate people about what we do. Let’s tell everyone who will listen about the difference school librarian make for students and faculty.

No matter the title, I am a school librarian.



Kinders and the first weeks of school

What to do with Kinders/1st grade the first week of school. Mmmmm

Those early lessons are always a dilemma for me. I’ve got a lesson planned using David Goes to School. I’m really happy with the lesson, but I’m thinking it might not have enough pop for the first week. I’d love for the kids to check out books. So, I’ve been digging, and I found this: Children’s Book Week: Kindergarten Style

What a great idea! Essentially kids are playing musical books (without anyone being eliminated). Kids are moving, exposed to a variety of books, and then they check one out. I think this one is a definite keeper.

This has been a great week!

And it has been fabulous! Classes have gone smoothly. Students have been engaged. I went to an inspiring after school meeting with WFU and Donor’s Choose.

So why am I pooped!?

Speaking of Donor’s Choose. These are the computer-related books for The Great Computer Mystery! We just got some more in yesterday and they haven’t been cataloged yet! Can’t wait to get them all into the hands of students!