The Missing Link in School Reform

Thompson, Ayana

Leana, C. R.  (2011). The Missing Link in School Reform. Stanford Social Innovation review Informing and inspiring leaders of social change. Retreieved from
Summary: Research that shows “social capital” or a teacher’s ability to form relationships and partnerships with others as a necessary investment in school reform.  

Rating: This was a new take on the topic of collaboration as far as it can be measured in the academic setting.  

Piloting the Learning Commons

Mierop, Kerrie


Summary: This article discusses the change of an old fashion school library to a learning commons. The article also discusses the collaboration between the education staff and the teacher-librarian.  The change starts with creating an environment that included the update of furniture, materials, and technology. The next step was the setup of the collaboration between the teacher librarian and the teachers. The articles explored how the setting up of the new collaborative was challenging but using the Schoology learning management system in the collaboration process helped this process through the school year. The authors talked about the complexity of the first couple of years, but the rewards and payoffs for the staff, teachers, librarians, and students has been great.

Review: The article explains the challenges that a school librarian will face when creating a learning commons and incorporating collaborative working units between the teachers and teacher librarians. This article will help teacher librarians who are slowly making the change from the typical school library to a learning commons where the teacher librarian and the teachers collaborate together for the benefit of the students. 

Approaching the inquiry process from a cultural perspective

Esling, Kathleen
Naluai, N. (2014). Approaching the inquiry process from a cultural perspective. Knowledge Quest, 43(2).

In this article, Naluai discusses how Kamehameha Schools revamped their education with inquiry-based practice; beyond this, they also wanted to implement Hawaiian educational traditions alongside inquiry-based practice. To do so, they focused on Eisenberg and Berkowitz’s “Big Six” (task definition, information-seeking strategies, location and access, use of information, synthesis, and evaluation) and paired them with Hawaiian words and proverbs. For example, the guidelines for student “practice” is now “Ho’oma’ama’a.” (For a complete list of the Hawaiian terms and how they tie into the Big Six, I definitely recommend checking out this article!)

I really thought this was a good article, especially because the author explains how the school wanted to call upon Hawaiian educational traditions and history in order to help their students work with inquiry-based learning. Implementing new technologies or educational theories doesn’t need to cancel out a cultural background or focus in school, and I really enjoyed how this school focused on their history as well as the future.

Reinvention of Libraries

Shibrie Wilson

ET-New Trends
ET- Restructuring
Z- Discussions

 Manguel, A. (2015, October 24). Reinventing the Library. Retrieved May 21, 2016, from
Summary: Libraries and information in which they hold are defined in different perspectives. One thing in which most people can agree on is that libraries have been the hub for accessing information. Over the course of history libraries have been able to adapt to changing conditions whether war or other idiosyncrasies in history. During era of Alexandria libraries were viewed as powerful and central place for symbol of society. Libraries have become a social center for many patrons, according to this article, and librarians have done an excellent job befitting such change. Librarians are able to stay relevant in these times by diversifying mandate. Providing services in which traditionally were not provided, in which is excellent because it exhibits how librarians are more than just guiding one to a particular book. Being an advocate for libraries and assuring that they are not cut because they are important for symbols in our society.

Reflection: Enjoyed reading this article though I do not agree with all statements made. Some points are imperative regarding history of library and its essence. As librarians we must continue to provide services for all patrons even when that includes adopting new job descriptions. Ultimately the goal is to provide service, learning commons, and increase literacy. Literacy is an interdisciplinary word not confined to print materials only.  

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.

U.S. Department of Education’s #GoOpen Movement

Sannwald, Suzanne

U.S. Department of Education. (2015, October 29). U.S. Department of Education launches campaign to encourage schools to #GoOpen with educational resources. Retrieved from

Summary: This press release from the U.S. Department of Education announces a new campaign: #GoOpen that aims to expand educational access to openly licensed materials. The move builds upon other trends of open government, but with an emphasis on empowering educators in particular to be able to “find, adapt, create, and share resources” on their own, while respecting copyright. More information about #GoOpen is available at:

Evaluation: This news story is one that I am close to since my school district is one of the ten cohort districts that will be taking on the challenge to “replace at least one textbook with openly licensed educational resources within the next year.” Information regarding this has not been distributed widely within my district, but I was aware that our Superintendent and Director of Instructional Technology traveled last week to Washington D.C. Also, there was recently a form sent to teachers to solicit interest in participating as part of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement. I submitted interest, but have not yet heard an update. After reading more about this project, though, I have now written to my district Teacher Librarian colleagues to encourage them to also become familiar with the initiative. I think that this is a critical opportunity for TLs to collaborate as partners in curriculum development, and I have added this as an agenda item to our next district Library Council meeting so that we may inquire with the Director of Instructional Technology regarding ways we may be able to contribute and participate.

K-12 Education Restructuring – Institute of Progressive Edcuation & Learning

Fluetsch, Christopher
Institute of Progressive Education & Learning. (n.d.) K-12 Education Restructuring. Retrieved from

Our education system is constantly adjusting to meet the ever-changing needs of our students. One of the current change movements is “Education Restructuring.” Education restructuring refers to moving away from teacher-driven, content-based education to collaboration-driven, process-based education.

Traditionally, classroom teachers made the final decision about what would be taught in their classrooms and through what process. Certainly, teachers had to deal with a lot of outside influences, including state standards, district curriculum direction, textbook adoptions and parent expectations. Nevertheless, the classroom teacher was the final authority, often working alone to produce curriculum.

The Restructuring model sees education as a collaborative process, with multiple experts and stakeholders assisting the teacher. Librarians, Special Education teachers, English Language Acquisition specialists, Reading specialists and many others work with the teacher to create and provide curriculum. Student needs, desires and interests are also taken into account, with students moving from passive receptors of education to active acquirers.

Restructuring also includes a movement from Content to Process. In previous generations, acquiring knowledge was considered the most important aspect of schooling. Students memorized dates, figures, names and so forth. Modern technology is quickly making such a model obsolete. Basic facts are at everyone’s fingers, and as technology advances, having memorized information will become even less important.

Instead, students need to learn the process of acquiring knowledge. They need to learn how to identify and seek out the information they need to complete a particular task. They need to learn skills for evaluating the quality of information they receive. These sorts of process-skills are going to be important in a future that holds employment and life possibilities that we cannot even envision.

This article address both these Restructuring issues clearly and briefly. It is an excellent starting place.

A Look at Self Directed Learning at the High School Level

Maciejewski, Gloria

Blakeway, Kristi. (2014, Sept. 2) Blakeway: Riding a roller coaster – How self directed learning changed my views. P21 Blog, Volume 1, Issue 7, No. 20. Retrieved from:

This is a blog post written for the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, which, if you haven’t check out, you should!  In a nutshell, Kristi Blakeway writes about her experience as a vice principal at Thomas Haney Secondary, a self-directed learning high school in Maple Ridge, B.C. Canada. She clearly outlines in her blog post the way this self-directed system is organized.
The school is part of the Canadian Coalition of Self-Directed Learning (CCSDL) which is an organization of secondary schools throughout Canada that are dedicated to the personalization of learning. She touches on the elements of inquiry, collaboration, how work spaces are designed and what test taking looks like. Admitting that she was bewildered at the seeming lack of structure she was used to in traditional education settings, Blakeway chronicles her emerging understandings of the self directed model.  Elements of the article that I found appealing were the descriptions of close teacher and student relationships, the amount of free or flexible time the students have and the strong collaboration that informed the practice on site. As someone who is always considering home-school (or unschooling) as an option for my own children, it was quite enjoyable to get a look at how a high school that values the individual learning styles of each unique student  looks like.

Teacher spends two days as a student and is shocked at what she learns 

Gloria Maciejewski
ET – Educational Theory  

Strauss, V.  (2014, Oct. 24) Teacher spends two days as a student and is shocked at what she learns. The Washington Post. retrieved from:

This is an article I think every teacher should read, no matter where they are in the career.

 It appeared first on a blog by Grant Wiggins, author of Understanding by Design. It turns out that it was written by his daughter, Alexis,  who had transition out the role of teacher after 15 years and was now an instructional coach at an American High School overseas. As part of an introduction into her new role, her administrator asked she shadow a 10th grader and a 12th grader.  She uses her experiences to form three reflective  Key Take-Aways.
1.  Students sit all day long and it is exhausting (no surprise there)
2.  High school students are asked to passively absorb for (a shocking) 90% of the time.
3.  Students wind up feeling like a nuisance all day long.

She then goes on to frame what she would have done differently given the chance to do it all again.

New teachers and old could benefit from this article. I wish there was an elementary version. Wake up teachers and get your kids moving and active.

Understanding the Common Core Standards: What they are – What they are not.

Brugioni, Angela

Understanding the Common Core Standards. (2014). Education Digest, 79(8), 16-21.

ET – Educational Theory and Practice ET – Restructuring  ET – Standards-based Education  ET – Government and Professions 

CA- Curriculum Assessment CA – Common Core Assessments

This article is handy fact sheet for the Common Core State Standards. Along with describing the Common Core and how they are intended to work in conjunction with State mandated curriculum this article explains misconceptions surrounding the Common Core. Being new to the Common Core, I had wondered why they only included language arts and math standards. There is a separate but similar initiative that was developed for science and engineering and released in 2013 called the Next Generation Science Standards. As far as the role of the government in all of this, they have provided funds for the development of “next-generation” assessments aligned with Common Core standards, which are expected for release in 2014-15. Behind the opposition to Common Core are the Tea Party and Libertarians who “disapprove of the idea of national standards in the belief that educational decisions are rightfully made by parents and local communities.” In addition some progressive educators believe that “Common Core will impose more test-driven accountability and open the door to corporate influence over education.”

This is a worthwhile read for those new to Common Core, or looking for clarification on who is behind the initiative and what the process has been for its application. I would have actually liked it to be longer and more detailed, but I feel like a lot is explained in a short few segments. The article is also biased towards the Common Core, but there is a fair assessment included of the challenges faced by schools for implementation in terms of cost, administrative duties and obligations, technology needs, training of staff, etc.