Thursday, March 19, 2015

Testing, redux!

After reflecting on the testing situation, and talking with wise friends, I am rethinking testing.  I now think it can be viewed as an opportunity - for solidarity with colleagues, we are all in this together, for demonstrating the spirit of team player, showing administrators we can work and play well with others, and for collaboration experiences.


I am always working for more and better collaboration experiences, and I discovered that testing opened that door.  My teachers had less time to cover what needed to be and when I offered to help out and be a part of their teaching some were thrilled.  A second teacher in the room, as I working on embedding myself in classes when the library space was closed.  Once they realized that I wasn't adding more time to their lessons, but supporting their teaching I was welcomed back; this is building that relationship I want.  Sometimes we need to step back and not push our own agenda, just be that extra set of hands.  I am anxiously waiting to see if we progress toward the next step closer to collaboration ...

There are  many resources available, to assist you as you move to a more collaborative environment.  Here is one I really like.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”
Helen Keller

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Reflections on Innovation

I went to a wonderful one day conference, an educonference, yesterday.  We learned about some great innovations in technology and ways to use them with students. Or rather, to collect these resources and allow students to create their own learning!  It was an exciting day, learning about Makerspaces, one word for a vast spectrum of ideas, watching students demonstrate their thinking with technology, hearing what new things are happening in other school libraries. 
Now it is the day after, and I am reflecting on all of that.  I guess my first question should be, what exactly do I want as an outcome of this?  What should I offer?  Who should be involved?  How can it be funded?
Thinking outside the box
Here are the steps I plan to take:
  • 1. Create a survey for students, learning what they would like to have.
  • 2. Create a steering committee of interested students, and go through collected data to formulate a plan of action.
  • 3. Take plan to administration and determine follow through opportunities.
  • 4. Set up Makerspace model and see what happens!
  • 5. Reevaluation after a period of time.
That sounds so matter of fact, so opposite of the creative ideas behind makerspaces, but seems essential for success.

What do I hope to gain from this endeavor?  A new space in the media center for students to have a creative outlet, a place to safely "push the envelope", a haven for students who feel out of step with others. 

How about you?  Are you reflecting on innovation?  What do you see as the future of your teaching and learning space?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Tested by testing!

The end of the second week of testing, and I am so distressed.  It has totally disrupted library use, denying students who need to access resources, denying students who need a safe place to be, denying opportunities for teaching and collaboration.
Because wishing it will not make testing go away, I am trying to reflect on what can possibly be the learning piece in all of this.  What can I do to make this experience count for something positive? 
The best thing I can say about losing this time is that I have been able to get some things done that are long overdue - budgeting, book ordering, even cleaning off my desk.
What is the positive outcomes for my students?  I really can't think of any.  I will be searching for an answer for a while, I think.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Signs of Spring?

Some people can tell spring is coming when certain birds arrive, or when they begin to see grass again, I know when I once again find myself proctoring the standardized test. Here I sit, watching students slog through a test that they took on this one day at this one time could potentially keep them from graduating with their peers.
      I am trying to use this time to make my final book order of the year.  I'm looking for some good books beyond the few trending titles; books for the discriminating reader.  If you have one with good circulation in your library, drop me a note, and I will post a list. 

This is the book that is "hot" in my library right now, we are using it for Battle of the Books and students are coming back raving!  "I cried more at the end of this than Fault in Our Stars!
Even better, one of my students discovered this book and shared
it with me. 

It might be wishful thinking on my part, but it seems as though
I have more students reading for pleasure.  If not, more students
than ever are stopping at the circ desk to talk about what they
are reading. This is such fun; I am working on a way to use
this energy to share books using social media.

Ah well, these are the things I think about when proctoring,
everything I would like to do if I could only find the time!

How about you?