Common Core Take-aways

Over the Thanksgiving break I finally got caught up on a couple of issues of School Library Journal.  In them I noticed ads for a series of webcasts they’re doing about the Common Core specifically for librarians.  Two of the three have already gone by, but I decided to register for the third in January and view the archived ones I missed.  (The link below will get you there.  You have to register in order to view the archived sessions.  Once you register you’ll get an email with the webcast link.)

I especially enjoyed the first one with Marc Aronson and Sue Bartle.  Called Getting Real it focused especially on the shift in the CCSS to more informational text.  The second dealt with how librarians can take the CCSS and use them as a way to start conversations and collaborative efforts.  Here are my takeaways from both of the sessions:

How you read shapes how you will write

The third “C” in CCSS needs to be collaboration

We need to be talking to each other (teachers and librarians) to assure that major shifts are happening

Librarians are well poised for helping kids to be active questioners

How well do I know my non-fiction collection?

The issue for kids (in reading a text) is “Do I care?”

I need to approach non-fiction in new ways–aim, approach, point of view, voice/style

Spend more time with non-fiction elements and structures

Do the “heavy lifting” for teachers–unpack the standards and show how I can help

Less content, but more meaningful learning

Process is the emphasis;  content will be learned as a result

Why I’m Excited about the Common Core

The more I delve into the Common Core State Standards the more I’m excited about the prospect for librarians.  Close reading of quality texts, the 4th R-research, reading across multiple texts, writing about what you read, etc. are areas where I know we can shine!  The timing for conversations around complex texts and  informational texts is perfect, too, with Candlewick’s “We Believe in Picture Books” campaign. I maintain that picture books are often the perfect choice for direct instruction of lots of literacy concepts, right up through middle school.  So if CCSS gives me more ammunition to “sell” picture books to my teachers I’m all over it!

(I have a feeling the CCSS will provide me with blogging ideas as well, and that’s another good thing!)  Please leave a comment and tell me how these new standards are impacting you.

Looking to the future: a “common(s)” vision

If (as I did) you missed last week’s live session on Classroom 2.0 with David Loertscher on Libraries as Learning Commons, the session is archived here.  You can choose the Blackboard/Elluminate option or the mp3 format.  This is actually part 2 and will focus on helping students and adults create personal learning environments.

I’m going to try to access this soon;  librarians in my district and others in our region have formed a professional learning community to discern how we move forward in our work and what our vision should/could look like for the future.  Sounds like this could help!

Latest report from Keith Curry Lance

I’m putting on my advocacy hat today.

Click here for an analysis of the latest data collected by Keith Curry Lance regarding library staffing and how it affects students’ reading scores.

Thanks to Alice Yucht for the link!

10 Rock Star Take-aways

Last night I “attended” a TL Virtual Cafe webinar about advocacy.  Jennifer LaGarde and Tiffany Whitehead  did an excellent job reminding us about how we can prove our worth, especially in these tough economic times.  The webinar will be archived in the next few days if you missed it, but meanwhile here are my take-aways:

1. Make everything about the kids.  Every policy, decision, purchase, and interaction has to be about kids.  Only then can you show how you impact student learning.  Don’t advocate for librarians or libraries–advocate for your students.

2. Keep an advocacy file.  Store in it thank you notes from staff or parents, successful lesson plans, samples of student work, etc.  These artifacts will tell the story for you of how you make a difference.

3. Show that you know about more than books.

4. Collect and share data.  Jennifer has an “Advocacy Wall.”  Post monthly stats–how many classes came to the library, how many books circulated, etc.  ANALYZE relevant data.  Can you connect the dots between test scores and library use in your school?

5. Share what’s happening in your library–through social media, PTO and department newsletters, local papers, local organizations.  Step outside of the library world and share with those who may have no idea about what today’s libraries are like.

6. Host family/community events in your library and share those in the local press.

7. Have a mission statement.  Post it everywhere;  make it part of written communications.

8. Elevate those people who are your supporters. (administrator, volunteers, etc.)

9. Make the time to advocate.  Don’t be shy about the good things you do–it’s not bragging if it’s true!

10. Bring solutions to the table when attending meetings.  Show how you can help with whatever is keeping your teachers or principal up at night.

TL Rock stars

Mark your calendar for next Monday’s Rock Star Advocacy webinar.  Brought to you by your peers at the Teacher Librarian Virtual Cafe.   November 7 from 8pm-9pm.

It sounds like there will be some great discussion and how-tos for collecting and sharing data to “prove your worth in tough times.” You must  be a member of the Ning, but it’s a simple registration.  Register soon and you’ll be given details about how to participate through Elluminate.


'the new camera!' photo (c) 2007, Kellan - license: have recommended AASL’s Advocacy Tip of the Day before, and in that spirit I am passing along this tip to you:

This year, keep a digital camera handy, right near the circulation desk so that you can document as much of the learning and activity that takes place in your library as possible.  Last June I found that when I was compiling my annual report  I had precious few photos to insert.

Click away all year long and you’ll have lots of raw material for your webpage, blog, Snapshot Day, monthly and annual reports, and presentations to stakeholders.

What do I have to show for 2010-11?

Applausephoto © 2009 Peter Dutton | more info (via: Wylio)
In an earlier post (‘round about the time we were all making New Year’s resolutions as I recall) I challenged you all to think about compiling an annual report for your principal.  I have been doing monthly reports to share with my administrator for a number of years but I’d never done an annual report.  There are some great examples to look at here and I found them very inspiring.  (High school librarians—you rock!)  So I’ve been plugging away at mine, slowly collecting data and thinking about what to include.

It’s been a good exercise.  It has helped me to see just how much I have been able to accomplish and grow this year.  At the same time it is a reminder of what is lacking—greater collaboration with teachers, and more non-print resources for those online environments I keep talking about.

I also have come to realize that I need to take more photos to document what happens in the library during the year.  It would have been nice to jazz things up a bit with images for the report.

Doing this report was also an excuse to try out some web 2.0 tools for creating slick online documents (I’m trying to go paperless whenever I can). Richard Byrne was my inspiration here.  I love how he formatted so many of his resources for teachers using issuu.  Next year’s will be even better, but I’m reasonably pleased with my first attempt.  Please share any feedback or your own report with a link in the comments!

A Vision for my Future

Vision Of Eyechart With Glassesphoto © 2011 Ken Teegardin | more info (via: Wylio)
Librarians in my district this year have been focusing on advocacy and marketing/branding.  Obviously there’s a lot to that, and I’ve shared a resulting mission statement with you in an earlier post.  Recently I’ve been trying to articulate a vision for my library’s future based on this mission statement.

I’ve also wanted to prepare some sort of document that I could have at-the-ready for visitors to my library—parents, other community members, administrators and other stakeholders.  It would contain my mission and vision statements and a few relevant library statistics. this is my first crack at it.  What have I missed?  What’s one way you reach out and share this type of information?

Branding for the Future

AASL's21stcenturylearnerposterphoto © 2011 Joyce Valenza | more info (via: Wylio)
This year the six librarians in my district have begun some very intentional advocacy steps.  We have been endeavoring to better articulate what it is we do, to evaluate our own programs, and to envision what we want for our future.  We have read the AASL “yellow” and “blue” books and discussed them together, several of us have the online planning guide, one of us attended a Learning 4 Life “boot camp,” and we collected data and took photos forVermont’s Library Snapshot Day.

We were advised several months ago to develop a mission statement and after a number of meetings and lots of discussion and wordsmithing we have something we’re happy with..  From there we can each develop a building-based vision and generate goals toward achieving that vision.  We’ve talked about “branding” a lot, and we’ve decided that AASL’s  “Think, Create, Share, Grow” is easy to understand and makes a lot of sense.  It distills down from the Standards for the 21st Century Learner what it is our libraries should be about, and it gives us a template for a 4-part vision statement.

I am excited for us as a unified team and hopeful that we’ll continue drawing from the efforts of AASL andALAand our local librarians association and communicate our message to parents, administrators, and teachers—Libraries matter!

Please let me know what you are doing to advocate for your library, and how you are taking the standards and putting them into action.  (Our next big project!)

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