Pop culture in the school library

Goering, Patricia


Friese, E. E. G. (2008). Popular culture in the school library: Enhancing literacies traditional and new. School Libraries Worldwide, 14(2), 68-82. Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lls&AN=502950913&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Friese argues that buying pop culture books, including books on Sponge Bob, X-men, Disney princesses, etc., which educators often write of as not “literary,” actually encourages reading, comprehension and a variety of literacies. She gives six specific reasons including the significant role pop culture plays in reaching today’s learners, as well as building both traditional and 21st century literacies.

I like the idea of students seeing the school library as “a place for me” as well as giving them choice and encouraging a love of reading for fun, not just as an educational endeavour, but I think this sort of reasoning could also be taken too far to the other extreme as well.

‘Teaching at the desk’

Goering, Patricia


Elmborg, J. K. (2002). Teaching at the desk: Toward a reference pedagogy. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 2(3): 455-464. doi:10.1353/pla.2002.0050

Elmborg describes how one-on-one interactions with students at the reference desk can model the writing conference and use socratic-style questioning to lead students to finding their own answers to reference questions, learning valuable information literacy skills in the process, instead of simply giving them the answer or a list of best sources.

As a teacher librarian, I found this source to be a practical tool to take advantage of reference questions as teachable moments.

EML436 – The Multimodal Writing Process | 21st Century Literacies | Lewis Dennis 1489881

Bost, Danielle


Dennis, L. [Lewis Dennis]. (2017, April 16). EML436 – The Multimodal Writing Process | 21st Century Literacies | Lewis Dennis 1489881 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOf85O0b0zU.

Discusses 21st Century Skills and Learners and how teachers can adapt to teach students 21st century skills, based in Australia.

As a beginner to the concept of 21st Century Skills, this helped me grasp the concept a lot better and understand how to incorporate ideas into my future curriculum.

SAMR – 8 Cool Tools You May Have Missed at ISTE 2017

MaryLee Helm


Common Sense Media. (2017). 8 Cool Tools You May Have Missed at ISTE 2017. Retrieved from https://www.commonsense.org/education/blog/8-cool-tools-you-may-have-missed-at-iste-2017?utm_source=Edu_Newsletter_2017_07_04&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly

The tools shared in this article move the learner on the SAMR model to Redefinition as they allow for learning to be student-centered and tasks to be completed in new ways. Students get to think outside of the box and have a tool in which to share their learning with others.

I was not able to attend the conference, but am always looking for emerging technologies that can be utilized in the library. This article offers a list of programs to start “playing” and possibly, introduce in a co-teaching lesson or through a genius hour period.

Teaching to the Test

Katy Golden


Shepard, L., Hanaway, J., & Baker, E, ed.s. (2009). Standards, assessment, and accountability. Education policy white paper. National Aacdemy of Education, Washington, DC. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED531138.pdf

I thought this article brought up a lot of great points because, being in the education world today, you can easily understand how tempting it is to teach based on the standardized tests your students are taking – in my case, those tests are a big part of my evaluation, so it’s important to me that they do well! However, when education policy makers are the ones deciding what’s on the test and how it’s formatted, it often makes it so that what’s being tested – and therefore what’s being taught to – is not useful knowledge nor does it involve 21st century skills, rather being rote question-and-answer trivia. This article discusses the idea of standards-based assessments, and how the accountability to standards creates pressure on teachers to “teach to a test.”

This article discusses the complications of having politically created standards, which can lead to either “overly full, encyclopedic standards” in the case of some states, and “vague, general statements” in others. The authors describe the growing movement to the creation of new standards that distinguish between performance standards and content standards, and recommend that educators be given a voice in determining standards. This was a relief to me to hear, because I’d love to hear more about educators being the ones to decide standards. In my old district, they were just starting to incorporate teachers in the development of district wide tests, and hopefully that trend will continue!

Why Technology Alone Won’t Fix Schools

Iansito, Karah


Toyama, K. (2015, June 3).  Why technology alone won’t fix schools.  The Atlantic. Retrieved
Toyama argues in this article that if inequality is what ails public education, technology alone can not help, and, in fact, will only serve to amplify existing inequities.  
Reading this article was a bit of a revelation to me.  I have been an English teacher for 14 years in a diverse socio-economic public school, and have long felt skeptical about the advent of technology in the classroom.  This article named for me what I have been feeling.  I came to the article via a book given to me by my supervisor, Amplify:  Digital Teaching and Learning in the K-6 Classroom by Katie Muhtaris and Kristin Ziemke.


The Four Cs of Learning

The Four Cs of Learning

This is an interesting blog post by Jeff Utecht, who is an educator, consultant and author. He writes about the Four Cs and says there is nothing new in the list that educators haven’t been doing for years. How we view them now is new. He expands and gives ideas on these:

  • Communication: Teaching to communicate the way the world communicates
  • Collaboration: Across space and time
  • Creativity: To a global audience
  • Critical Thinking: Creating Problem Finders
Then he adds one more, the ‘C’ word of education, CONTROL. He says, “When we talk about giving up control in the classroom we do not mean giving up structure. If you are going to give the control of the learning over to the students it means you need more structure in place not less. Routines need to be in place, timing needs to be clearly delineated, and a system needs to exist so that students can have control of the learning. Giving over control of the learning to students does not mean less prep-time, less work for the teacher…..at the beginning it actually means more work as teachers learn a new way of structuring their classroom around student interest, student questions and take on a new role as a facilitator and coach of learning.”

KOHOUT, J., & GAVIGAN, K. (2015). The Years of Our Learning Commons. Teacher Librarian, 43(2), 18-23. Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=111875239&site=ehost-live&scope=site

The following article discusses the journey from inspiration to innovation as several librarian are inspired by our own professor David Loertscher.  This article discusses how two librarians who had attended a conference decided they were going to implement what they learned in their own school district. It outlines their project from the idea stage to full implementation within several libraries within their district and what they did in order to bring their idea to life.

Spector, J. M., Ifenthaler, D., Sampson, D., Yang, L. (., Mukama, E., Warusavitarana, A., & … Gibson, D. C. (2016). Technology Enhanced Formative Assessment for 21st Century Learning. Journal Of Educational Technology & Society, 19(3), 58-71.

This article details the importance of providing formative assessments.  It discusses how formative assessments have changed over time and how now they are more important than ever. Since, these types of assessments have grown in importance they have changed a great deal in structure. This article discusses how formative assessments how grown to include 21st century learning topics or technology.  It discusses how educators have changed their assessements to reflect these new 21st century skills.