Ruth Mitchell


Dweck, C. (2015, September 22). Carol Dweck revisits the ‘growth mindset’. Education Week. Retrieved from

Carol Dweck provides her reflection on the Growth Mindset and what we, as educators, need to do to follow the growth mindset journey and adopt a “deeper, true growth mindset.” She explains that in order to do this we need to accept our fixed-mindset and carefully watch for “our fixed-mindset triggers” when we face challenges or feel incompetent as teachers. In addition, she gives the following statements to use when encouraging students:

  • “When you learn how to do a new kind of problem it grows your math brain!”
  • “If you catch yourself saying, ‘I’m not a math person.’ just add the word ‘yet’ to the end of the sentence.”
  • “That feeling of math being hard is the feeling of your brain growing”
  • “The point isn’t to get it all right away. The point is to grow your understanding step by step. What can you try next?”

Teaching the Scientific Literature Review: Collaborative Lessons for Guided Inquiry

dTeaching the Scientific Literature Review: Collaborative Lessons for Guided Inquiry
by Randell K. Schmidt, Maureen M. Smyth, and Virginia K. Kowalski

While not the most important, I think my favorite line in the whole book is, “Don’t go crazy with the highlighter.”  Clearly written by people who actually teach kids, this book, like A Guided Inquiry Approach to High School Inquiry, provides an excellent balance between structure and freedom.  Students are guided through a process in which the first access general press article about a subject they are interested in researching.

Even after they have collected the six required gp articles, they are still not required to have defined their research question.  They use these articles to build background and to develop a vocabulary that will enable to navigate a search on a database.  I find this so satisfyingly brilliant after nearly a year and a half of watching teachers tell kids to, “Submit your research question, now!” after only a period of browsing.  We never expect this of ourselves.  Realistically, I frequently hit Wikipedia before engaging in formal or recreational research simply to gather search terms, including famous names in  a field, discoveries, significant historical events, and so forth.  Then I go about searching gp articles, and, if I am doing formal or professionally-oriented research, I will comb peer reviewed literature. They are guided through the process of highlighting, hence the exhortation at the beginning of this post, and annotating.  Using these articles, students are required to generate a reference list that is graded early on in the process, ensuring they understand how to use and double check EasyBib so they can continue adding to this list throughout the process.  In addition, students are required to keep track of search terms as they go.  I created a document to assist students in doing this as they go.

Students are guided through the process of writing an introduction, searching for and taking notes on peer-reviewed articles, researching in the collection stage and presentation stage, writing a methodology, creating a table, writing an abstract, crating a title and completing the cover page and much more.  A sample and an empty graphic, such as the one that follows helps students track studies for their methodology section:

 Study 1
 Study 2 
 Study 3
Study 4
 Study 5
 Study 6
 Questions driving study
 Groups studied
 Findings-Results of Each Study
 How was the study analyzed:  (Why did the  researchers think they found what they found?)
(include any omissions)

This graph is what students will use to analyze their research.
I love these books because they provide structure and guidance that allows students to teach themselves content and ready themselves for college.

School Libraries Work! 2016 Edition

Sannwald, Suzanne
Scholastic. (2015). School libraries work!: A compendium of research supporting the effectiveness of school libraries (2016 ed.). Retrieved from 

Summary: The 2016 edition updates the previous 2008 version, and it includes new research and trends such as makerspaces. This is a seminal document that Teacher Librarians should study and become familiar with, because it summarizes well the power of school library programs. It may also be shared with other members of the school community as an advocacy piece to help inform them. Of importance, the report not only shares statements about the importance of staffing and funding school libraries, but it bases these assertions on summarized research. Some key ideas shared include the following:

  • Libraries are transforming into learning commons.
  • School libraries consist of (1) The Place, (2) The Professional, and (3) The Program.
  • Successful school libraries contribute to ELA achievement, reading performance, information literacy, 21st century skill building, and overall student success.
  • Successful school libraries require commitment from district and school administration.

Evaluation: I had a difficult time picking a category for this resource since it spans a lot of topics, but I ended up picking “CO” Collaboration since I think it is a strong document supporting the value of collaboration with school libraries. This is a powerful reference resource for all Teacher Librarians!

A review of: Statistics About California School Libraries

A review of: Statistics About California School Libraries
This is the annual data collection of trends pertaining to California School Libraries and the level of library resources made available to students from year to year.
This information isn’t derived from an article, but from the source that directly collected the information.  I reviewed quantitative data that’s been collected for the California Department of Education reflecting the 2013/2014 School Year to examine the availability and types of services offered to California students in grades K-High School.
According to the California Department of Education, in 2013-14, 4,273 California schools completed the survey representing 43 percent of schools (CDE). The CDE report shares, “The following statistical snapshot is based on these data as well as data collected by the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) (CDE)”.
While the intentions of what California will do with this information is unclear, it is encouraging to learn library surveys have gone out to schools across the state.  Findings shared by the California Department of Education show that, California continues to rank at the bottom of professional library staffing numbers. In 2012, the California ratio was 1:7,374 (2011-12 CBEDS Report) and in 2014-15 the ratio dropped to 1:7,187(CDE). Considering the size professional staffed deficit, I’m intrigued and curious as to why California ranks so low in areas of professional librarian support systems. What first comes to mind is the size of California. According to the California Department of Education Fingertips Facts on Education, there are 6,235,520 students in grades K-12th in the state.  Student to educator ratios in general are often compromised, and teacher librarians as important and valued as they may be, are low on the list of improvements for quality the state desires. Another factor that might influence these low rankings can come from the specific requirements Teacher Librarian Service Credential holders are required to have. These requires are in addition to the standard Teaching Credentials these educators must have. In many instances the pay for teacher librarians offers little compensation for amount of extra education and training required to obtain this specialized credential.
Another area of interest in this report, is the acknowledgement of print material as well as web-based. The need for print material is connected to the Common Core State Standards. This condition, validates the significance of having a credentialed teacher librarian as part of the team to increase the quality of student educational experience. 
Since 2011, a steady decline of teacher librarians work in California Public Schools. In my research experience, this decline correlates with state budget cuts. The question isn’t if California can increase the quality of their libraries for students, but when. Many new grants are becoming available within the state to improve California public school libraries.
Statistics About California School Libraries
This is the annual data collection of trends pertaining to California School Libraries and the level of library  resources made available to students from year to year.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
 Questions:   Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division | | 916-319-0881
Last Reviewed: Thursday, October 8, 2015

FLIP Instruction

Successful Flipped Instruction

SNIPES, P. p., & SLONE, M. m. (2015). Successful Flipped Instruction. School Library Monthly,31(6), 17-19.


Flipping is when the initial low level skills of a lesson are taught at home before being started in a more involved fashion in the classroom or school  library.  Flipped instruction includes use of things like role playing, Web 2.0 tool activities, augmented reality, video conferencing, and makerspaces.    The goal is active engagement of the students in their learning.   Talks about how student motivation in this model is often lacking due to being used to being told the answer and not having to work to discover it themselves.  Talks about the importance of teachers and librarians in the motivation process by providing engaging, interactive, and enjoyable.    The article gives some tips to successful flipping including collaborating with teachers on ideas and tools, building a good toolbox of online tools that can be used at home, assisting in video creation, knowing resources that align well with different standards, and turning the library into an exploratory classroom.  


This article really provides a good description of flipped instruction and different ways that school librarians can provide the best experience for students using this type of instruction.    I had not heard of flipped learning before and now that I read this article I feel like I have a good grasp on the concept.  I like how it talks about how many students do not like this type of learning because they are used to just finding the answer for test purposes and how librarians can motivate them in various ways to help them enjoy this type of learning more.  It is often hard to change habits but I see this change would be beneficial to the students learning and help enhance it.

Differences Between Learning and Education

Johnson, Meghan


Heick, T. (2014). Learning is different than education. TeachThought. Retrieved from

Summary: Terry Heick bases his whole article around a quote by Wendell Berry: “… all our problems tend to gather under two questions about knowledge: having the ability and desire to know, how and what should we learn? And, having learned, how and for what should we use what we know?” This excellent quote is not only used to break down the differences between learning and modern education, but also how modern education needs to be a more communal process. Learning is self-directed and driven by curiosity. Education is guided and caused, a measured policy. Heick argues that education needs to be a more communal process, a process in which everyone contributes.

Evaluation: Once again, I find myself baffled for having never looked at learning and education through this lens. As many in our class are, Heick is extremely critical of current education which is based in Common Core assessments and detached community input. Common Core, then, is just a promise to the community that all students will know certain things; the burden is placed on the teachers to fulfill this promise. This is a thought that I have long had. I could say that I did not like the current educational system, but, without having a viable alternative, I was at my wits end on what else to do. I think Heick has that solution. Education has gotten a bad reputation because of Common Core, but it really can be the pillar of any community as a learning tool. In order to be that pillar, though, the community needs to be involved in the learning process. Community, in my mind, refers to parents, siblings, grandparents, local businesses, anyone who has an investment in the community and helping everyone grow. Putting the “burden” of education on teachers alone helps to create this problem.

We need to give students educational opportunities outside of their protective bubble at school. Education needs to extend beyond the classroom.

15 Banned Books for History Buffs (to Read Online for Free)

Amy Hubschman
IL- Location of Information

Anne Rice. 2015, September 25. 15 Banned Books for History Buffs (to Read Online for Free). [Facebook Status Update] Retrieved from

I came across this article on Facebook of all places.  Most authors on Facebook are actively involved in current information study topics and more than willing to share their opinions on controversial “hot topics”.  From reading the comments sections of this Facebook Status Update you will see that Anne Rice, like many of us, grew up in a sheltered literacy environment.  Most people who commented on Anne’s link gave their personal stories of acquiring banned or scandalous books and how the practice was absolutely not necessary and should be done away with.  Whether or not you agree with the practice of banning books it’s a topic information professionals should be aware of and should be following.

There are several authors I follow on Facebook and/or Twitter.  As an educator and future information professional I’ve found most authors will not only “friend” you on Facebook but also Skype your class if asked.  Anne Rice is one of my favorite authors and she’s quite the social butterfly on Facebook.  My students are always interested in what book I’m reading and always want to know why I like certain authors/ genres so much.  A few years back I asked Anne to Skype my classroom to discuss the writing process with them and she agreed.  She was extremely professional, courteous,  and patient with my students.  She helped my students understand what an author goes through when writing a book and help them make a real world connection to the realm of writing.  

Assessments for University-Level Teacher Librarians

Johnson, Meghan


Sobel, K., & Wolf, K. (2011). Updating your tool belt: Redesigning assessments of learning in the library. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 50(3). Retrieved from

Academic librarians face unique difficulties in assessing the effectiveness of their teaching strategies. Unlike most primary school librarians who may have weekly scheduled meetings with students, academic librarians may only have a single 75-minute instructional session with a class in an entire quarter. An appropriate assessment of these one-shot sessions, though, can be crucial in encouraging collaboration with other faculty members on campus.

As far as assessments in academic are concerned, Karen Sobel and Kenneth Wolf are proponents of group assessments to illustrate knowledge of information literacy. While this will not necessarily gage the competence of individual students at the end of a library session, it will illustrate the knowledge gathered by the group, and individuals will benefit from this group knowledge. When comparing 3 different types of assessment (pretest and posttest combos, posttest only, and activities), they found that students responded best to activities. While it was not always easy to fit the “activity” assessment into library instruction, students responded positively to this kind of participatory learning. The only downside to this type of assessment was that it would take time for instructors to develop a rubric for assessment. Ultimately, Sobel and Wolf encourage academic librarians to experiment with all 3 core assessment types discussed and find what works best for them.

I worry that Sobel and Wolf are too accepting that these “one-off” interactions for academic librarians are the norm. In this article about updating tools for academic librarians, they don’t provide any tools that might encourage more lasting and strong collaborations between instructors and academic librarians. Additionally, Sobel and Wolf seem hesitant to take a stance on which assessment type is most successful. Despite all of the positives that are associated with activity-based assessment, Sobel and Wolf choose to focus on the time commitment it will require from faculty and teacher librarians to successfully practice this assessment. This would be another fantastic opportunity for Sobel and Wolf to discuss the ways that librarians can encourage collaboration between themselves and faculty.

One thing that I am optimistic about in this article is the acknowledgement of Sobel and Wolf of the importance group learning can play. They acknowledge that there are benefits to gauging not only what the individual learns, but what the group learns as well. I am also encouraged by their encouragement for librarians to experiment with Web 2.0 tools as far as assessment is concerned. They want librarians to begin experimenting with these online tools.

Overall, though, I feel that Sobel and Wolf are too accepting of the divide that exists between faculty and librarians as far as student literacy assessment is concerned.   

Trust: A "Radical" New Way to Create Better Students

Johnson, Meghan


Schwartz, K. (2014). Why trust is a crucial ingredient in shaping independent learners. KQED. Retrieved from

Summary: This article by Katrina Schwartz discusses the need for trust in schools. Despite the fact that students are supposedly being prepared for the “real world” in high school, they have many restrictions placed on them ranging from the types of materials they can view to the tools they are allowed to use to approach problems. There needs to be trust between students, teachers, administrators, districts, and parents as well. While this is a scary prospect, Schwartz believes that this is ultimately the best way to create fully functioning and accountable students.

Evaluation: I found this article to be absolutely fascinating. I could see myself in the anti-trust kind of teacher described by Schwartz. It is indeed a terrifying prospect to look at entire student body and grant them a larger portion of responsibility for the success of their education. I believe Schwartz is correct, though, when she states that the likely benefits outweigh the potential negatives. She provided great details from a school called New Caanan High School where a system of trust in regards to cell phones and new technologies exists. These students seem to realize the benefits of maintaining this system of trust and honor it, which astounded me! As an academic librarian, though, I can see how this type of system is necessary. I constantly complain to my coworkers about how new undergraduates have no idea how to use certain tools (such as an online catalog) and don’t have any respect for the higher educational institution they get to study at. These are the students most systems are creating, though. Students who have it drilled into them that they cannot be trusted to know what they want to study and to determine which tools they need to use. I think Schwartz is right. Trust-based educational systems are the only way to create students that will succeed in higher education and in society.

VLC’s in the University

Johnson, Meghan

Experimental learning . Retrieved from

Summary: This screencast was created to tour the Virtual Learning Commons created for the University of Rochester. The goal of this VLC is to be a collaborative space for all students to contribute to. Students are encouraged to maintain the site on their own. Students can post photos, calendar events, and create their own Knowledge Building Center (KBC). This site is only lightly moderated by librarians, who post library events and create some base KBC’s.

Evaluation: This VLC for a university-level school seems like a great start for getting students involved in self-directed learning! It leaves the door open for them to guide their own education and follow their interests. I had always wondered if a VLC would be viable at the university level, and I think this proves it could be done. A few questions popped into my head as I was watching this video, though. The University of Rochester is a smaller university (about 10,000 students), of which about half are undergraduates. Would this type of VLC still work with a larger university and a larger range of majors and interests? I worry that features such as the calendar could easily be overwhelmed with larger numbers of students. I also wonder if there is any additional librarian moderation beyond what they discussed in this video. Is there someone who regularly goes through the VLC to ensure that appropriate content is posted? On another note, I thought that some of their labeling was a little less than intuitive. I think that this was a great start, though, to incorporating self-directed learning into the university level.