Saturday, October 22, 2022

Final Thoughts

 There hasn't been a single Treasure Mountain that I've been to that hasn't ended in disappointment.  But as Dr Suess has famously said, "don't cry that it's over, be happy that it happened."  We've covered so much territory in less than 24 hours.  Our retreat is ending with a Big Think.  A time to collect our thinking and ask ourselves, So What?  and Now What?  Why do the things we've discussed matter, and what are we going to do with this information?  

We're reflecting on our thinking through the lens of the CSL Leading Learning Standards.  How do the big ideas present themselves in the context of the standards?  How might the standards need to be finessed to reflect the current thinking?  What's missing?  Ultimately, how can we as school librarians be yet better?

It is this kind of thinking and the drive to serve our communities better that drives us as teacher librarians and makes me keep coming back to Treasure Mountain Research Retreats.  Thanks to Anita, Carol, Joseph, David, and every single person that I've had the pleasure of talking to.  You have made me a better teacher librarian and a better person.  Until next time!

Request for Reconsideration

 What do you do when someone comes to you asking that a book we removed from the collection? 

This is the question that Sheri Kinney and Dianne Oberg addressed in the after lunch speakers session. Luckily for Sheri, she had expert teacher librarians in the greater community willing to guide her through the process. Her advice to us all was to make sure that your policies are not just in your head, but on paper. It’s very important for other TLs and for the Canadian book community to be able to access other experiences. See their paper for links to the database where you can search banned book cases. 

Project Management through Trello


UGH!!!!  Alanna and Tim King need about six hours more to address my interest in what they have to say regarding using Trello as a tool for student inquiry and projects.  Tim's touching story about how students have more than thrived through the agency given to them when given the scaffolding of a project management system and community to enact their own projects kicked off this discussion.  As a person who works with students in just this way, but have never found an effective method for managing these types of projects, I am super excited to continue this discussion and check out their paper and new interview with David Loertscher.  I wish I could say more now, but know that I will have much more to say once this exploration gets going.  

The Kings Take The Floor


Alanna and Tim King
Tim and Alanna are both former educators seconded to roles in cybersecurity and TVO, respectively. 

The Kings elaborated how project management on Trello can allow students to manage their own work and find their joy in learning. By allowing students to use self-directed programming, they have the opportunity to iterate and master not only their learning, but also their leadership skills. 

The transparency of the project management plan (students could see the progress of classmates) encouraged the students to raise the bar of the entire class. 

TMC participants were then invited to join Trello to experience the nature of the program. 

Digital Media Literacy

 This morning's TMC session began with a review of thinking on digital media literacy.  Matthew Johnson of MediaSmarts talked a bit about how we got to the present and made a call for a national strategy for prioritizing and teaching digital media literacy.  There is work being done at a national level but there was a recognition that little is known about how digital media literacy is being taught in schools and what approaches were most effective.  He identified some best practices, specifically this education must include repeated experience making media, it must blend practical and critical approaches, it must start early and must be consistent rather than simply addressing issues when current event demand it.  There is a danger of backlash as there is with any of our teaching.  Preaching and converting students to our perspective is as likely to cause harm as it is in other subjects.  Encouraging students to form their own views and learn tools to effectively reflect on the information that they are being exposed to will make them more educated and self-reliant in their information consumption.

Anita then took us through an activity to work with the ideas of access, use, understand, engage as t relates to digital media literacy.

Celebrating the work

 This evening’s open dinner was pretty star-studded! From Clint Johnston, BCTF President, to Chris Kennedy, Superintendent of West Vancouver School Board, to the four Angela Thacker award winners, to the Leading Learning Implementation award winning district, Surrey, we heard it all. 

We heard from Clint that TLs are one of the strongest collectives, and that our solidarity has been critical in keeping TLs in school libraries. 

We heard from Chris that despite all of the technological changes in the world over the past 40 years, that libraries remain the strongest gathering spaces, and that the culture building that comes through libraries is unmatched. 

From the Angela Thacker Memorial Award winners we heard first from Rabia Khokar that her love for libraries came from weekly visits to the public library and now she sees libraries as the biggest classroom in the school. Rebeca Rubio reminded us that our work takes courage and to keep up our commitment. Jonelle St-Aubyn celebrated the fact that TLs are challenging the norms and that we are a good in the world for our students. Leigh Border, via recording, shared her thanks for everyone committed to moving Teacher Librarians of Newfoundland and Labrador (TLNL) forward. 

Angela Lapointe received the Leading Learning Implementation Award for Surrey, and spoke honestly about how the support she receives from her administration makes it able for her to better support her TLs. Her district leader, also in attendance, spoke of Andrea’s energy and efforts to connect all 150 TLs in the district. 

Every speaker noted the importance of Canadian School Libraries and the impact of the work taken on by the leadership team; but also, the mentorship, friendship and collaboration of Carol Koechlin and Anita Brooks-Kirkland with them. 

The take away for me tonight? We are a powerful group of innovators, supporters, learners, (this list could go on and on) etc, but we do things best when we do them TOGETHER.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Afternoon thoughts from BCTLA

 After a nice walk from New Westminster Secondary down to the TMC hotel, I’ve got my shoes off and am ready to consider all of the wonderful things from this afternoon’s sessions. 

My first afternoon session was SOGI and the Learning Commons, by Robin Low. I took many of my TL courses with Robin, so it was great to attend this session and see the work that she has done for her middle school students. With recent political events bringing safe spaces and library book selection to the forefront, I was keen to hear her experiences and strategies. Robin eloquently addressed awareness and inclusivity, earning your place as an ally, responding to hate groups, talking with students and setting expectations for the library and school. She shared her “inviting in” day: reminding families that it’s always a good time to come out to your child as an ally. During the hour, several TLs at the session shared their own feelings of vulnerability over book challenges and parent interactions. 

To finish off the day, all attendees had a seat to hear the stories of Ivan Coyote. I see that many have already tweeted about the session, so it clearly had an impact! Ivan left us with a lot to think about, but anchored the talk around our “why.” Our why, but also many other hard hitting questions.

What would it take to make people really feel included?

How much resiliency do we really need to have?

What if we focussed on compassion and welcoming spaces instead of glorifying toughness?

Who has already left our communities to go find a safer, more welcoming place?

How good is government policy if we don’t even have day to day systems in place?

Ivan Coyote is master on the stage, weaving emotional moments with laughter and food for thought, along with calls to action in our schools.  

BC Teacher Librarians Conference - My Morning wrap up

     It has been a long time since I’ve been to a library conference of any kind.  Part of this is pandemic, and part of this is that so many conferences that I've attended have given me a surface skim of something potentially interesting, but rarely did I get that injection of something that ignited a fire in me.  This morning is a story of that rare conference experience that has me fired up.

My first two sessions of my BCTLA 2022 experience have had significant crossover in concept, but with entirely different focuses.  David A Robertson kicked off the conference with his keynote which brought up some wonderful ideas around representation and reconciliation.  A Cree author, he spoke to the need for greater indigenous representation in fiction and separated this concept into indigenous characters and indigenous authors.  It is not new that we need more indigenous authors telling indigenous stories.  His personal stories of the importance of that were touching. It was interesting to hear a call for non-indigenous authors to present well researched and respectfully imagined indigenous characters in their work.  Some of my favourite writing these days presents a world where truly diverse communities are the norm, and a single author cannot represent all communities that their characters come from.  

I then went to Rebeca Rubio’s discussion around Curation vs Censorship.  How is it that we walk that line to support our diverse communities and enact solid policies to be able to do that effectively?  I feel like I’m not alone in allowing other priorities to get ahead of a collection policy review at my school.  In our increasingly divisive society, challenges to books are increasing and the need for solid policy is imperative.  But also, it was pointed out that a good policy makes the selection and weeding process less personal.  A good policy provides a mirror to hold decisions up to and challenges to decisions are less of a personal attack. Choices to acquire or weed are made more thoughtfully and less emotionally.

I am so thankful to both David and Rebeca for reminding me of some important things, teaching me something new, and know that they have already had an impact on my space and my community.

BCTLA Keynote David A Robertson

The auditorium at New Westminster Secondary School is full to capacity with teacher-librarians and others from across British Columbia and beyond. The theme of the conference is Leading Forward. I can't help think immediately of the connection between this idea and our national standards for school library learning commons, Leading Learning. I am biased of course, but to me there is no doubt that innovations in education often emerge from the library learning commons. 

The audience is so enthused to welcome BCTLA conference keynote speaker David A. Robertson. David's work is very familiar to this group. His many award-winning books, including When We Were Alone and The Barren Grounds, have provided windows of insight for readers young and old. David helps us to learn the truth, which is the first step on the path to reconciliation. 

David is starting by talking about representation, or more specifically lack of representation in books of the not-very-distant past, or negative stereotyping in the guise of representation. This is something that we as teachers and teacher-librarians of a certain age should be familiar with. I remember trying to expose my middle school students to Indigenous culture in the early 1990s, and could find precious little. We are so very fortunate now that so many Indigenous authors like David Robertson and Ivan Coyote, who will be speaking later today, are being published. 

I will stop now, because I really, really want to listen more carefully to what David has to say. It is clear that everyone in this room is so very engaged in learning from him – part of that open and honest conversation that ALL Canadians should be having about the truth, on our journey to reconciliation. 

Today's the Day!

Today is the day we gather together in New Westminster, first for BCTLA's Fall Conference at New Westminster Secondary School. 

Check out the schedule! 

This evening we gather for the TMC7 Kick-Off Dinner at the Boathouse Restaurant, Inn at the Quay, New Westminster. The meet and mingle begins at 5:45. Opening remarks from our MC Joseph Jeffery start at 6:20.The dinner proceedings include CSL Awards presentations.

Tomorrow, Saturday, we're back at New Westminster Secondary School to dig into the exciting work of TMC.

View the TMC7 Schedule!

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

All 27 papers are now available!

We are thrilled to let you know that all 27 papers submitted for this symposium are now available for you to read on this TMCanada Blog. We are unaware of any other event in K-12 education in Canada that is based on this wealth of input from contributors. TMC is truly unique, thanks to the wealth of ideas and experiences from the dedicated people who have submitted papers.

The other piece that makes TMC unique is the degree to which you as participants are invited to engage in the process. The symposium is about delving into ideas and working towards positive outcomes.

We invite you to continue reading and responding to papers. There are already several great conversations underway. If you are a paper writer, be sure to check in on the conversation that it has inspired, responding to questions and comments as they arise. 

TMC7 and the BCTLA Fall Conference are just days away. We look forward to gathering together in New Westminster!

Please get reading, and get talking! 

Thursday, October 6, 2022

An Invitation to Participate

Treasure Mountain Canada is a participatory event, and we are now ready for you to participate! 

Here's a message from TMC co-founder and symposium co-chair Carol Koechin, inviting you to collaborate with us.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

CSL Awards to be Presented at TMC7 Dinner

Canadian School Libraries has two awards, which are presented every other year, at Treasure Mountain Canada symposiums. We are pleased to be presenting the following awards. 

The Angela Thacker Memorial Award

The Angela Thacker Memorial Award has been established in memory of Angela Thacker, teacher-librarian, library coordinator, and school library colleague, mentor, leader and advocate who served the Association for Teacher-Librarianship in Canada (ATLC) and the Canada School Library Association (CSLA) in many capacities. This award honours teacher-librarians who have made contributions to the profession through publications, productions or professional development activities that deal with topics relevant to teacher-librarianship and/or school library learning commons. 

Angela Thacker Award

This year's recipients of the Angela Thacker Memorial Award are Leigh Borden, Rabia Khokhar, Rebeca Rubio, and Jonelle St. Aubyn. Read more here.

The Leading Learning Implementation Award

The Leading Learning Implementation Award has been established to recognize, honour, and applaud school districts, provinces, and territories who have developed and/or enhanced their school library learning commons on a systemic basis, founded on the tenets, principles and continuous growth and renewal focus of the five standards of Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada.
Leading Learning Award

This year's recipient of the Leading Learning Implementation Award is Surrey Schools, School District 36, Surrey, British Columbia. Read more here.