Teen Experts Guide Makerspace Makeover

McNeil, Lauren


Graves, C. (2014). Teen experts guide makerspace makeover. Knowledge Quest, 42(4), 8-13. Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=llf&AN=94845347&site=ehost-live&scope=site

This article describes makerspaces, particularly their benefits. Unlike library programs that are offered at particular times and are thus limited in terms of availability, makerspaces are more accessible, as they are always available (Graves, 2014). Outside the bounds of the school library and its hours of operation, virtual makerspaces can always be accessed by students who possess the necessary technology themselves. Graves (2014) also states that a makerspace is a “nurturing, positive environment” (p. 12).  School library makerspaces therefore increase students’ access to technology, provide them with ongoing learning opportunities, and can lower their stress levels, as makerspaces are low-pressure areas where activities are meant to be enjoyable and are not tied to grades.

Not only does the article make a strong case in advocating for the inclusion of makerspaces in libraries, but, significantly (and perhaps unusually), the author also highlights the importance of obtaining student input as to the resources that should be made available in the makerspaces (Graves, 2014). This way, the makerspaces will accurately reflect students’ information needs and wants and better enable them to meet their personal and academic goals.

School Library Challenge

McNeil, Lauren


Harper, M., & Schwelik, J. (2013). School library challenge. Knowledge Quest, 42(1), 24-28. Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=90230623&site=ehost-live&scope=site

This peer-reviewed article discusses the importance of Library Advisory Committees (LACs), particularly to collaboration and library advocacy. Meghan Harper and Jennifer Schwelik (2013) state that “LACs are established to gather input in the design and development of the school library program” (p. 25). These groups allow the librarian to make “informed decisions” that will have a positive impact on the school community (Harper & Schwelik, 2013, p. 25). The authors essentially outline steps to implement an LAC and aspects such as member recruitment and LAC tasks.

In that vein, the article helpfully offers practical advice for creating an LAC. For example, rather than forming one large LAC, in which some voices may be lost, the authors recommend smaller groups of just one type of stakeholder, which can discuss topics that are unique to them (Harper & Schwelik, 2013, p. 26). They also offer advice regarding types of LAC representatives representing all stakeholder groups and their respective numbers. Meghan Harper and Jennifer Schwelik (2013) assert that beyond school members, “Including community partners such as the YMCA, public library, or other social-service agencies who serve the youth population in the school can help the school library identify possible connections for sharing services or resources and maximize the flow of information and communication among the school librarian and LAC members” (p. 25). For teacher librarians who are interesting in creating an LAC, this article is chalk-full of applicable advice.

Formative assessment practice, formative leadership practice, formative teaching practice, assessment of learning, assessment for learning, assessment as learning

Lopez, Carrie


Dixon, M. (2009). Formative assessment practice, formative leadership practice, formative teaching practice, assessment of learning, assessment for learning, assessment as learning. New Zealand Principals’ Federation Magazine, 15-17.

Article on the idea of assessing FOR learning, rather than the traditional ‘of’ learning. Huge difference, for learning would be much for informative for students and teachers. The article also does a good job of emphasizing the importance of effective feedback for both teachers and students, in order for assessments to be as effective as they can be.

The Kinds of Grading Mistakes that Haunt Students

Amy Jessica McMillan

Heick, T. (2014, September 21). The kinds of grading mistakes that haunt studentsTe@chthought. Retrieved from http://www.teachthought.com/teaching/kinds-grading-mistakes-haunt-students/

Blogger Terry Heick makes a strong case for the harm caused by our traditional grading system. According to Heick, letter grades are motivating for two types of students: 1) Students who see themselves as smart and like to work for grades as rewards, and 2) Students who hate school and only keep their GPA up in order to participate in extracurricular activities. Therefore, says Heick, “They [grades] don’t work for anyone.” In other words, our grading system does nothing to promote learning. Heick lists some common mistakes teachers make with grading, such as grading too much, highlighting the weaknesses instead of potentials for growth, waiting too long to grade, and not using the data. Finally, Heick argues that grades are really the teachers’ “best guesses” and that our system needs to radically change in order to be more student centered and supportive of actual learning.

This blog post is part of an ongoing discussion about problems with our traditional grading structure. Yes, letter grades have been problematic for a very long time. Currently, I see students who just want A’s regardless of the quality of their work or the effort they put into it. This causes top students to avoid taking risks as they try to regurgitate what they think the teacher wants. That behavior is anathema to learning. On the other end of the spectrum, students who continuously receive D’s and F’s reasonably decide to give up because they can’t see a way to possibly be successful. Letter grades do not support their growth as learners. While Heick doesn’t have a solution to our current grading dilemma, he does give very useful suggestions about how to work within our current system.