Posts Tagged 'preservice'

Changing Their Minds (With a Little Help From My Friends)

I am lucky to be connected to many wonderful, vibrant school library media specialists who work in high school settings.  So when I thought about how to demonstrate the possibilities of school library media programs, I reached out to friends and asked for their help. Two media specialists, Holly Frilot and Buffy Hamilton, were able to participate.

These future teachers were amazed by Holly’s work at Collins Hill High School library media center in Suwanee, Georgia. She shared a Prezi that showed many of the ways her library media program reached out to teachers and students to enhance literacy learning. Take a look at what her program provides… Her presentation made the connections between the school library media program and literacy learning abundantly clear. The teachers were amazed at what they saw, scribbling notes and links throughout her talk.

I also shared a peek into Buffy Hamilton’s Unquiet Library at Creekview High School in Canton, Georgia. Although Buffy could not take the time to come to Athens, because of her meticulous documentation of her program at Creekview, I was able to search her blog for video testimonials from teachers and students.  The videos I selected are linked from my presentation. (See slide 6).

As I showed these videos to my high school preservice group, they were amazed at the quality of thinking going on in the Unquiet Library. This experience also reinforced the importance of taking time to document (and share) the learning taking place in school library media centers.

In my next post, I’ll share a bit about the final take-away activity I did to try to solidify the new ideas these teachers were creating about school library media programs and literacy learning in high schools.

(In an interesting side note, since my presentation several months ago, both Holly and Buffy have taken new positions, working with wider audiences to further connections between libraries, literacy, and learning.  Thanks to both of them for allowing me to share their amazing work!)

Thoughts on School Library Media Specialists from a Group of High School Teachers-To-Be (Part 1)

“Will you come speak to our class of preservice high school teachers about the role of media specialists*?”

When this question came my way a few months ago, I jumped at the chance to share some insights about school librarians with a group of future high school English teachers. We know that most preservice classroom teacher education programs do little to address the role of the school librarian in student learning. (See Judi Moreillon’s work for an important exception to this general trend.) Although I knew a two-hour session was not an ideal design to transform thinking about today’s school librarians, I was determined to make the most of the opportunity.  My next few posts will share the content of the session, as well as some of the information I gathered from the future teachers who attended.  I found their views to be thought-provoking, and I hope you will, too.

As I considered how to approach the session, I kept thinking about the stereotypes that seem to persist in many pieces of writing about school librarians (not to mention conversations). In spite of all the blogging, presenting, tweeting, writing, and sharing that excellent school librarians have done in an effort to share the way librarians and libraries have evolved, every time I turn around I see the shushing, bun-headed, glasses-wearing librarian stereotype evoked again (and again). With that in mind, I decided to start the session by placing the staid stereotype front-and-center and work from there.

Some of you may know that I am a poetry fan. When I am teaching, I start every class with a poem, often related to whatever topics we are working on that day. I try to include poetry in presentations as well.  So, I searched for a poem to relate to libraries, and found this powerful spoken-word poem by John Goode that addresses the librarian stereotype in an interesting fashion.

In my next posts, I’ll share more about how these young teachers viewed media specialists, and how I tried to expand their ideas.  If you’ve had the opportunity to do similar programs, I hope you’ll share some of what worked well in the comments.

(N.B. In line with the largest professional association for school librarians in the USA, I prefer to use the term “school librarian” in much of my writing. However, the term used in our state is “media specialist.” So, I tend to move back and forth between the terms, and even combine them at times. Interestingly, one member of the class approached me after the program to tell me that she thought that using the term “school librarian” is part of what may be holding school librarians, and perceptions of us, back. After the session, she said she thought “media specialist” was a much more accurate depiction of what today’s school librarians do. Interesting, to say the least!)

A Selection of Blogs for Reading, Literature, and Writing Teachers

During my first classes of the semester with my preservice teachers, I was upfront: they would not leave my class knowing everything there was to know about literacy education. After their astonishment wore off, I explained that, in my mind, a big part of being a teacher is being an ongoing and insatiable learner. So, I told my students that one of my goals for this semester was to help them develop ways to continue their learning that would last far beyond the semester’s end.

With that in mind, this week I took the plunge and started talking about RSS. All semester I’ve been sharing and using resources that came to me through blogs and twitter, but this week students started developing new spaces and pathways for connecting on their own.

About an hour into my classes, I showed the RSS in Plain English video from Common Craft, then talked through some blogs to start with. Many students were surprised that, as google account holders, they had not known about google reader before. There was some excitement as well as some skepticism, which is to be expected.

The big question for me was, which blogs should I choose?  I follow many literacy-related blogs, but wanted them to start with just a handful. I asked my twitter network for their suggestions a couple of weeks ago, and many in my PLN responded with great ideas. I was also asked to share my lists once they were complete. So, my starter blogs for Language Arts, Kindergarten through 8th grade, are listed below.

Note: This list doesn’t even begin to cover all the great blogs out there.  I chose some blogs that seemed to best reflect the principles of literacy education we’ve discussed this semester. I also included some technology-focused blogs, and blogs by classroom teachers. In class, I talked about how important it is to read blogs that are provocative and even opposed to your own perspective, just to keep you thinking. I need to keep working on this last point.

Writing Workshop by David Stoner

Two Writing Teachers

The Book Whisperer

The English Teacher’s Companion

In For Good

Free Technology for Teachers


Larry Ferlazzo

Grammar Girl

Teri Lesesne – ProfessorNana

The tempered radical

The Reading Zone

A Geekymomma’s Blog

Welcome to NCS-Tech

30 poets 30 days at Gottabook

Raising readers and writers



Miss Rumphius Effect

A year of Reading

We will talk in the next couple of weeks about what learning this way is like, and how it might (or might not) be useful. I’ll share their thoughts soon after.

In the mean time, do you have any other favorites that I missed?

recent tweets from librarybeth

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