Crafting Professional Development for Maker Educators

Alicia Morales

CO

Graves, C. (2016). Crafting Professional Development for Maker Educators from Edutopia retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/crafting-professional-development-maker-educators-colleen-graves on September 2016. 
Summary: Maker spaces are a growing trend in many libraries, public or school, they usually involve hands on learning, crafts, and student collaboration, they are great ways to learn. This article’s focus was taking this same concept, maker spaces for student learning, but instead of student learning, it’s moved to teacher learning. Maker Spaces for Teacher PD’s. Creating successful professional development should focus on getting teacher/learners involved in thinking about the process and creativity of learning. It an be messy yes, but in the end teachers experience what students experience when making content. 

ET-Project-Based Learning: Rigor and Relevance in High Schools

Emily Ratica

ET

Harada, V. H., Kirio, C., & Yamamoto, S. (2008). Project-based learning: Rigor and relevance in

high schools. (Cover story). Library Media Connection, 26(6), 14-20.

This article provides an excellent introduction to and several examples of Project Based Learning. This practice fits well with the greater implementation of the inquiry process in schools. Students pick projects that extend their understanding and relate to the real world they will soon encounter, and provides them more control over their own learning. During projects, teachers become facilitators who share the educational control with their students instead of simply directing it to them. This articles shows how using projects increases student engagement and encourages students and teachers to move beyond the traditional lecture/note taking model. It also advocates for the increased role of the teacher librarian, as they can “assist the teacher with the process or thinking skills necessary for students to create meaning for themselves. The synergy of working together provides a learning frame that can be a seamless blend” (20).  Project based learning is a perfect example of how educators can better implement 21st century skills that will help students truly be college and career ready.


PBL is best done in an environment of collaboration between teacher and librarian. This article makes what feels like a complicated task, managable. The examples are thorough and doable without having a huge amount of training or experience using PBL. After reading it, I am excited to share it with my colleagues and see what projects we can work on together with our students.

CO-Dispositions of Exemplary School Librarians as Identified by Graduate Students

Emily Ratica

CO

Long, L., & Jones, J. j. (2016). Dispositions of exemplary school librarians as identified by

graduate students. (cover story). Teacher Librarian, 43(4), 8-12.

This article provides an insight into the important dispositions of what makes a good school librarian, at least according to graduate students working toward their MLIS. These dispositions include collaboration, leadership, life long learning, compassion/caring, and flexibility. These are all essential characteristics for a teacher librarian, and by developing these dispositions, professionals in the field can “cultivate their own dispositional strengths and improve any weaknesses in order
to hone their practice and provide the best library services to their patrons” (11-12).

While it is very insightful and a good reminder of professional practices, the article is also rather sweet in its naiveté.  It rather reminded me of what it was like to be in my teaching program – a lot of discussion about strategies, practices, and lesson planning, but no amount of discussion could prepare me for what real teaching was like.  The same applies to being a librarian – I did a lot of reading and discussing about professional dispositions, but I was not prepared for what would truly be expected of me as a professional as soon as I took this role.  The things discussed here, while extremely important, of course, are just the very basic functions of everything a good librarian does.  This is a hard profession, and definitely not for the faint-of-heart.  These “dispositions” are a good start, but there is so much more to learn that can only be gained through first hand experience on the job.

CA-Starting the conversation about school libraries and ESSA

Emily Ratica

CA

Church, A. (2016). Starting the conversation about school libraries and ESSA. Knowledge

Quest, 45(1), 4.

This short snippet, written by Audrey Church, the 2016–2017 AASL President, quickly reviews the American Association of School Librarians’ official position on the importance of school library programs in light of the new Every Student Succeeds Act.  She reestablishes that “an ESLP [effective school library program] is led by a certified school librarian who is a teacher and instructional leader…[and] school librarians play in instruction in various types of literacies and learning” (4). 

While short, this article gives a clear message which is an important reminder for all: Librarians and libraries are IMPORTANT! It is easy to get caught up in our daily activities as we go throughout the school year, but this reminds us that it is essential that we advocate for our programs at our schools and now we have federal legislation to back us up.  

  

CA-What Educators NEED TO KNOW about ESSA

Emily Ratica

CA

Fennell, M. (2016). What educators NEED TO KNOW about ESSA. Educational Leadership, 73(9), 62-65.

The new “Every Student Succeeds Act” replaces the previously frustrating and often baffling “No Child Left Behind.” Many educators are honestly excited about this new legislation, as it removes items like the necessity of each school to meet their AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress), specific federal teacher requirements (in addition to state requirements), and changes to teacher evaluation. It also adds in items, like how schools will implement new standards that gear students toward college and career readiness, more funding toward professional development and teacher-led professional growth, and, most importantly for librarians, actual funding for school library programs.

This article provides a good overview of the new legislation and how all professionals can become involved it its interpretation and implementation. It is essential for all educators involved in every level of education to get to know and fully understand ESSA, as we must be the ones actively advocating for our programs within our sites and districts.

CO-A Collaborative Journey: The Learning Commons

Emily Ratica

CO

Kolod, L., & Ungar, B. (2016). A collaborative journey: The learning commons. Teacher

Librarian, 43(4), 22-27.

This article discusses both the impediments that many schools are facing in establishing a “learning commons” and the steps that can be taken to overcome those impediments. Many schools are attempting to establish a 21st century skills based curriculum with more technology integration, more access to information, and better inquiry and project based learning. However, space issues, lack of proper funding, no support from site or district administration, and a myriad of other problems often block the efforts of enterprising individuals to create a collaborative space on campus. These educators are inspirational in their attempts. They began small, with a specific plan in place, but relatively no funding, and have gone on to create something functional, useful, and fitted to their specific campus needs.  

I love how these educators sought buy-in from every area of their school. They asked students, parents, teachers, specialists, and administrators for input in order to create a space that everyone could use. They branched out everywhere, thus insuring total participation from everyone. They demonstrated how a learning commons is truly supposed to be a place where all can see themselves working together, regardless of subject area or grade level. The started with an empty classroom and Legos, and through their efforts, were able to obtain funding and support to create a Learning Commons with a Story Lab, Makerspace, Tech Lab, Media Studio, and Research Lab. Their experience gives me hope that as I start this process in my own library, that I too can transform my traditional space into a collaborative commons for my entire school.

IL-The Challenge of Piloting the Inquiry Process in Today’s Learning Environment

Emily Ratica

IL

Lambusta, P., Graham, S., & Letteri-Walker, B. (2014). Rocks in the river: The challenge of piloting the inquiry process in today’s learning environment. Knowledge Quest, 43(2-), 42-45.

This article reviews the steps the librarians and teachers in elementary, middle, and high schools in Newport News, Virginia took to further incorporate a more detailed and thorough Inquiry Process Model into instruction. Most significantly, these educators, after putting in place an initial model, took the time to reevaluate that model, then remove and adapt that model in order to improve their students’ experiences and final results.

The most significant idea they discovered in implementing their inquiry process, and the main reason I share this article here, is the “Explore” stage they added after the fact. At all levels of education, elementary through high school, they realized that students were not engaged in the process because they had not had time to get “hooked” by exploring their own ideas. Starting with a research question, like so many inquiry processes do, was problematic because “students often did not have enough background knowledge to generate questions…many of us individually modified the model in our practices to give students opportunities to search for information on a topic before they began to generate questions” (42).  For an inquiry process to be successful, students need time to be inquisitive.  

This seems like such a simple idea, but it was revolutionary to me.  I work in high school, and I figured that most of the students I encountered as they were doing research already had a subject/area in mind when beginning.  But by allowing them time, even if it is just a little, to explore topics within a subject, I agree with the authors, it will increase student engagement and buy-in, and further develop inquiry skills.

Will Your Students Be Ready For College?

Jeselyn Templin

ET

Cahoy, E. S. (2002). Will your students be ready for college? Connecting K-12 and college standards for information literacy. Knowledge Quest, 30(4), 12-15.

Summary: This article talks about the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) standards and the teacher librarian’s role in helping to implement them in all levels of education. The subject is presented with the intention of encouraging the reader to evaluate the educational standards in their immediate vicinity in order to make sure their students are getting what they need in the long run, not just to pass standardized tests.

Evaluation: This article has two downsides. First, it was published in 2002 which makes it the oldest source I explored for this class. Second, it is very specific about the ACRL standards and a few other sets of standards, all of which are rather old and not widely used anymore. However, the spirit of the article is relevant to teacher librarians of any generation. Teacher librarians are an important part of the educational system, and can take the initiative to make sure their students are getting what they need from the educational system.

Digital Literacy and Why It Matters

Jeselyn Templin

IL

University of Derby. (2014, November 5). Digital literacy and why it matters . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2k3C-iB88w

Summary:
This video is a comprehensive introduction to why digital literacy matters for everyone. It mentions many everyday things that require a certain amount of digital literacy such as filling out job applications online and syncing up your calendar to a friend’s in order to make plans.

Evaluation:
I enjoyed this video because it reminded me that not everyone is lucky enough to have been exposed to technology throughout their life like I have. Whether it is because of their age, the amount of technology exposure they can afford, or other life circumstances, the video reminded me that not everyone instinctually knows what to do when they sit down behind a computer. This lesson was especially prevalent for me now, working in the public library with patrons of all different backgrounds. The video effectively reminds people with the privilege of natural digital literacy not to take these skills for granted.

The Challenge and an Invitation – Kohn – 2009

Jeselyn Templin

CA

Kohn, A. (2009). The challenge and an invitation. Knowledge Quest, 38(2), 12-13.

Summary: Kohn likens the techniques of standardized testing to the concept of reading being “more than decoding.” The article explains that many school programs decontextualize their materials and only teach to the test, instead of putting curriculum into a real-world context that students will be able to retain and use later in life.

Evaluation: I would have liked this article to be longer than two pages because I feel Kohn has a lot of valuable insight on the subject. Well-researched and interesting. The article explains why standardized testing is not effective as a basis for widespread education in a succinct way that anyone can understand.