Saturday, February 1, 2020

The Big Think: David Loertscher

David Loertscher spoke about the need to disrupt our current thinking about the Library Learning Commons.

The ways we access information continue to change, so David prompted the group to think about "Library Learning Commons ² or Library Learning Commons 2.0" as a school-wide learning commons and respond to these questions.

After an energetic discussion period, groups shared their answers which are linked in the TMC6 schedule.

“Yesterday, you had a Learning Commons. Tomorrow, take over the whole school! Be visible and indispensable.” 

David encouraged participants to “get around to it” with these reminder tokens: 

David has created a new School-Wide Learning Commons website directed towards the whole school.

Table Talk Snapshots Round 2

Our second round of Table Talks for TMC6 papers featured as many rich conversations as the first round!  Here are two tables' discussions:

Culturally Relevant and Responsive Pedagogy in a Racially Homogenous School by Rabia Khokhar

In a racially homogenous school, Rabia wanted something specific to work towards in a Culturally Relevant and Responsive Pedagogy (CRRP) and equity framework. The role of the LLR to help students to become active citizens provided a great fit in developing critical consciousness.  

Orange Shirt Day offered an opportunity to provide library learning experiences to primary and junior grades to increase students’ knowledge of Orange Shirt Day. Rabia's guiding question was: “What role am I going to play in teaching the truth?” 

Introducing concepts of allies, reconciliation and discrimination to students in an accessible way was important.  Students started to think critically about Canada’s history of residential schools.

Participants suggested potential next steps including the KAIROS Blanket Exercise and Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada floor map. LLCs are great places to facilitate these, make these powerful connections for students, and to deepen this learning.

Participants also made the connection to Jennifer Brown’s site as a helpful starting point for working with the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada floor map. 

One participant worked with grade 7&8 Indigenous students on I Am Not a Number for an FNMI symposium and had students identify connections they wanted to make.  

During these processes, one participant has had Indigenous elders provide a healing space for students who find the learning emotionally difficult.

Participants also discussed addressing intergenerational trauma.

Reflections in the Library Learning Commons: Collaboration by Jennifer Brown

Jennifer has created a website with embedded podcasts and slides reflecting on her past 10 of collaboration.  

"I felt pretty strongly that I needed to jump into something I could add to and that models the tech and tools I’m working on getting students and teachers to embrace...Why not actually try it?"

We’re trying to work with our kids to see that slide presentations have a lot more potential than someone standing at the front of the class talking to you.  Embedding slides shows students ways we can use a more traditional method in creative ways.

“There are no rules as long as I’m serving my students.”

The site features a section on the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada floor map including the collaborative experience and planning, photos of set up, and documenting and sharing learning. 

Jennifer also wanted to demonstrate what an authentic learning walk that is developmental can be.  Students are now using the learning walk as a text two months later.  Looking at next steps, how can we make this interactive?

Lots of pedagogical documentation from Jennifer as a TL is featured on the site, including noticings, wonderings, discussions, and quotes.

Spotlight Speaker: Deborah Dundas

Deborah Dundas joined us to discuss her article, Who Do We See in Kids' Books? Star Survey Provides Insight into Diversity of Canadian Publishers and the Characters they Develop.  

This research began in March of 2019 when Deborah developed a survey to measure diversity specifically in Canadian publishing in 2018.

This required setting standards for what material is considered Canadian and who to target (approximately 55 publishers across the country).

The majority of participants reacted positively to the survey and the return rate was approximately 75%.

You can read the results of the survey in the article. 

Deborah plans to do the survey again this year and identified certain issues to consider further including representation of disabled people, who gets to read which books and their availability in small-town libraries, listing specific titles as a resource for educators, librarians, and communities, and a more granular breakdown of the authors and illustrators for a full picture of own voices representation.

Questions and comments from our TMC6 participants included representing the diversity of our school communities in collections (rather than of Canada as a whole) and considering the intersectionality of identities in books.   

Spotlight Speaker: Leigh Cassell

Leigh Cassell joined us virtually to discuss her paper, Wise Practices and Intercultural Understandings: A Framework for Educator Videoconferencing.

There has been little research on how educators are using video conferencing in their classrooms.  This paper offers a framework based on the wisdom of educators using videoconferencing with their students with a focus on:

  • Advice
  • Skills & knowledge students gain
  • Challenges
  • How students grow as global citizens

"It gets kind of boring listening to the teacher all the time.  She's smart but it's more fun to talk to people on the computer" - Mark, grade 6 

Leigh discussed how using tools like videoconferencing technology is one of the most powerful and impactful ways we can create authentic and meaningful opportunities for intercultural understanding for students.

This is one way students can experience the curriculum, connect, and network with experts and industry leaders.  Leigh points out that building these new relationships for the purpose of learning is one of the most positive experiences we can provide our students.

"If we can bring the curriculum to life through these meaningful connections, I think we have the opportunity to help students develop as globally competent citizens."

This research has demonstrated the positive impacts these experiences can provide for students.

Leigh thanked Diana Maliszewski for reviewing the paper and planting the seed to consider critical scholars concerned with justice-oriented intercultural experiences.  

She looks forward to the time when the research team continues on with this work - there is a lot of data to still work through and they are excited for more in-depth case studies with teachers who have shared their experiences.

Table Talk Snapshots Round 1

Our first round of Table Talks for TMC6 papers is complete!  

While this blogger wasn't able to capture all of the wonderful discussions taking place, here's a snapshot of two collaborative conversations that took place.

Some snippets from a table discussion of the paper include:

“The biggest obstacle is teachers wondering how do I keep kids safe?” A safety guide and having conversations with students before they participate in the chat help with this. Every discussion starts with setting norms created by students.

People collaborate in different ways. Kids are watching, listening, and participating with the opportunity over the entire month to continue the conversations through "slow chats" and choose to participate in a variety of ways; there are lots of different entry points.

Having one expert adult online can really help prompt thinking among students.

This paper is helpful in advocating for positive use of personal devices and social media for students in areas and schools where there is a movement to ban personal devices.

The growth in students who participate in the ways they express themselves online is an amazing journey. 

Discussion of social media platforms, perceptions of Twitter, and whether students interested in using other platforms. “It has to be organic” - students should decide what that looks like, what the commitment level is, and how they will use it.

It can be so very validating for students to see their ideas engaged with.

Students have the option to participate in chats without sharing any identifiable personal information if teachers facilitate.

Connections Between Campuses: Creating a Collaborative OCULA/OSLA Information Literacy Toolkit by Heather Buchansky 

Snippets from a table discussion of the paper include:

This information literacy toolkit aims to begin a conversation about bridging the gap between secondary and post-secondary staff with the common goal of helping students develop research skills that will help them succeed.

Some participants at post-secondary institutions have identified gaps and start by asking whether students have used school or public libraries.

Outreach initiatives can be one solution.

Teachers, teacher-librarians, post-secondary instructors and post-secondary library staff should all be part of the conversation.

How do we go about identifying skills students need? “The more humans you have involved and the more diversity of perspectives, the more helpful.”

Different teachers come to the LLC different amounts, which can result in inequities for students who may have inconsistent experiences within schools. How do teacher-librarians facilitate this in a realistic way?

How scalable are our solutions? What’s sustainable?

What about schools that don’t have a post-secondary institution nearby?

What can be done online, on paper, in person, and what requires every student on a computer?

How can we show warmth to address library anxiety?  Would short videos or webinars be accessible solutions? Can they have the warmth factor?

Discussion of mandatory library instruction in post-secondary and attaching a credit or value to it.

How many students would take a library instruction course as an elective? People don’t know what they don’t know.

The Eric Walters School Library Summer Lending Challenge: Findings from the Research

A survey of quantitative and qualitative questions was sent to all participants in the Eric Walters School Library Summer Lending Challenge and the conclusion is that we need to set the books free and lend books for the summer! 

Can summer lending programs in Canada's school libraries be successful?  If so, what factors can contribute to this success?

111 schools responded to the survey representing at total of 4365 students who borrowed 28,042 books.  

The response was overwhelmingly positive and 43% of schools reported no book losses.

3 key themes emerged from the survey:

  • Access 
  • Choice
  • Trust
The program will run again this year with earlier promotion!

What can you do at your school, in your school district, or in your association?  

Comment on the paper or share on social media using #TMCanada2020 

Read the paper for specific recommendations for school libraries and school library professionals: The Eric Walters School Library Summer Lending Challenge: Findings from the Research by Anita Brooks Kirkland and Carol Koechlin 

Building Connections: Assessment

What should assessment look like, sound like and feel like in the Library Learning Commons?

Check out the results of our table discussions below and share your thoughts here in the comments or on Twitter using #TMCanada2020. 

Spotlight Speakers: Garfield Gini-Newman and Laura Gini-Newman

Garfield and Laura Gini-Newman began the day by sharing new thinking from their paper, Powerful Instruction and Powerful Assessment: The Double-Helix of Learningbased on ideas shaped by their experiences working with teachers and students around the world.  

What started as a Tweet was meant to become a short article for CSLJ, which evolved into this paper.

Central to this paper is the distinction between assessment, "to sit alongside a learner," and evaluation, "to judge a learner."  The thinking is about how we move from sitting in judgement to sitting alongside, and how feedback can become guidance.

Garfield and Laura use a double helix analogy - the strands of instruction and assessment are seamlessly intertwined and are held together at the core by relationships.  How do we use tools and instructional strategies to make this a reality? 

They suggest starting with thinking as the foundation. Through iterative learning, the story grows as we learn.  Encourage students at important moments in their learning process to stop, pause, and reflect.  Rather than reflecting back, have students reflect forward and consider how what they've learned will move them forward.

The speakers highlighted four innovations to use as metacognitive tools for students:

  • Launches to initiate thinking
  • Cascading challenges - what is the natural sequence of thinking students will have to go through in order to be able to solve this problem? 
  • Thoughtbooks - a safe place for students to park ideas
  • Guides to Success - an alternative to traditional rubrics

Now, Garfield and Laura want to hear from you - what should next steps for this thinking look like?  

Read the paper: Powerful Instruction and Powerful Assessment: The Double-Helix of Learning by Garfield Gini-Newman and Laura Gini-Newman