What are we asking kids to do? Designing research projects that ignite creativity

Van Duzee, Alyssa

(CO) Collaboration

Miller, A. (2018, March 09). What are we asking kids to do? Designing research projects that ignite creativity. Retrieved from https://knowledgequest.aasl.org/asking-kids-designing-research-projects-ignite-creativity/

The term “research” is often synonymous with boring, tedious, and dull. But it doesn’t have to be that way. This article challenges people to shift their thinking and make research more relevant to students.  If we want students to challenge themselves and think critically, we need to ask ourselves two major questions when we are planning research projects:

  1. Do our assignments offer choice and autonomy?
  2. Is there a greater purpose and relevancy to our assignments?

Research needs a purpose and students need to understand that purpose. If we can keep these questions in the back of our minds when collaborating with teachers and designing research lessons, students will become more engaged, thus resulting in deeper and more critical thinking and learning.

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What the Heck is Inquiry-Based Learning?

Van Duzee, Alyssa

ID (Inquiry and Design)

Wolpert-Gawron, H. (2016, August 11). What the heck Is inquiry-based learning? Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/what-heck-inquiry-based-learning-heather-wolpert-gawron

Inquiry-based learning is something that can be difficult for teachers to do because it involves giving up power and control and allowing students to take the reigns. This articles breaks down the steps necessary to bring this type of design and learning into a classroom and library. It is a very basic overview, but it gives a good sense of what inquiry-based learning entails.

This would be a great article to have staff read at the beginning of the school year because it makes something that can become very difficult seem relatively easy. It breaks down the process into 4 manageable steps. If teachers were to get on board with this, it would make an easy transition into co-teaching and ultimately deeper and wider student learning.

Why School Librarians are the Literacy Leaders We Need

Van Duzee, Alyssa

(CO) Collaboration

Sacks, A. (2018, May 30). Why school librarians are the literacy leaders we need. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/whole_story/2018/05/why_school_librarians_are_lite.html

This article essentially summarizes some of the key components regarding what a librarian does. Since many libraries are underutilized (for a multitude of reasons), the article provides good insight as to what a high functioning library can offer. It also touches on the importance of the librarian truly being a literacy leader on campus.

This article is important because it showcases the impact that the librarian can have on a campus. Teachers are amazing and definitely influence their students within their classrooms. but having another person to support literacy campus-wide is only going to help support them. The article concludes with a call to action to support more well-trained certificated librarians being hired on school campuses. Funding is always an issue, but librarians can offer a lot of support and really become a leader on campus.

 

Asinine Assessment: Why High-Stakes Testing is Bad for Everyone, including English Teachers

Van Duzee, Alyssa

(CA)-Curriculum and Assessment

Au, W., & Gourd, K. (2013). Asinine assessment: Why high-stakes testing is bad for everyone, including English teachers. The English Journal, 103(1), 14-19. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/24484054?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Assessment is something that puts pressure and undue stress on teachers, administrators, parents, and most importantly, students. This article discusses the idea that assessment actually seems to contradict not only the professional standards that are put forth by the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English), but also what educators feel is best. The article addresses the history of standardized testing, the validity of it and issues with scoring as well as what research has found to be more effective.

While this article does not specifically mention the library, it does help readers to understand some of the issues that arise when teachers feel this pressure to perform on standardized tests. The reader can infer that one of the reasons teachers may not come into the library is because they feel as though their curriculum is already so “tightly packed” and to come into the library would be adding another thing to their plates. It is then our challenge as teacher librarians to help them understand that we can not only help their students learn, but in doing do also help relieve some of the pressure and ensure that students are achieving at high levels.

8 Examples of Transforming Lessons through the SAMR Cycle

Kinsella, Jason

(ET) Educational Theory and Practice

Walsh, K. (2015). 8 examples of transforming lessons through the SAMR cycle. EmergingEdTech. Retrieved from https://www.emergingedtech.com/2015/04/examples-of-transforming-lessons-through-samr/

Educational theory can seem abstract. In order to implement innovative ideas in the classroom, it is important to provide educators with concrete examples showing what a theory looks like in practice. This article does just that. It explains what the SAMR model is and isn’t, and provides eight concrete examples showing what an assignment would look like at each stage of the SAMR model: substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition. The SAMR model examples include writing a short paper, geography and travel, understanding Shakespeare, assessments, art and painting, email etiquette, learning fractions and  physical education–learning to hit a baseball well.

This is a helpful introduction to the concept of blended learning and the SAMR model. It provides content that teachers can take right back to their classrooms tomorrow. The practical focus on implementation will be useful to anyone who is looking to further integrate technology into their classroom.

Learning Commons as a Catalyst for Instructional Partnerships

Kinsella, Jason

(ET) Educational Theory and Practice

Burress, R., Atkins, C., & Burns, C. (2018). Learning commons as a catalyst for instructional partnerships. Teacher Librarian, 45(4), 28-31. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=2236d0f1-afb3-4b05-858d-ef03fb614de7%40sessionmgr4006

(Log on to your SJSU King Library account for the link above to work.)

Libraries and school librarians must evolve as technology, society, schools and education evolve. This article outlines the Future Ready Librarians’ framework, which details eight principles in which school librarians should be proficient. This articles boasts the innovative and participatory nature of learning commons. It also encourages school librarians to build “instructional partnerships.” The natural connections between learning commons and coteaching is explored, and the benefits of coteaching are detailed.

This text explains to readers how libraries are currently evolving, and it provides guidelines for young and older librarians alike in how to ensure that library services are meeting the needs of 21st-century students and schools. This is an insightful well-researched article. For those of us not yet working in a school library, this article shows us what we need to be prepared to do. And for those already working in a school library, this article can be used as a tool in assessing the current and future state of one’s library.

Design Thinking Visual

Kinsella, Jason

ID (Inquiry and Design)

An introduction to design thinking. (2018). AARK Group. Retrieved from https://www.arrkgroup.com/thought-leadership/an-introduction-to-design-thinking/

This is the best visual I have found related to design thinking. This comes from AARK Group, which a consulting firm, not an educational organization. As teachers, we know the power of visuals, but visuals related to lesson design can often be confusing, especially for students. I think this visual perfectly explains the design thinking process, and teachers may want to use this as a guide when creating a visual to post in their classroom. What makes this visual so effective, in my opinion, is the full circle of arrows, then a smaller, second circle of arrows representing the “Evaluate” stage. This visually explains the iterative nature of design thinking clearly and simply. I have seen some confusing visuals for design thinking out there, but this one represents the idea perfectly.

Design-Thinking-01