in which I attempt to be a rockstar teacher librarian :)

Posts tagged ‘motivation’

Freewrite Notes: on being an effective change leader

This morning we heard from a woman who works in curriculum development and implementation on the characteristics/qualities of an effective change leader. Interspersed within the presentation were some group activities that made us analyze our own tendencies, figure out what works, and determine how to build on those strengths and better support our weaknesses so that they, too, can become strengths. We honed in on what we expect a school culture to look like, and how best to support one another in a quest to be a cohesive learning environment.

Below are some notes I took, in snippet form; they are recreated here in the hopes that I’ll continue to reflect back upon them as the year progresses. [Additionally, I’ll likely lose the piece of paper on which they’re jotted, but the Internet forgets nothing].

  • Own your actions, regardless of result
  • Celebration is only authentic when you have something to show for it – don’t build expectations of success before success has actually been realized
  • Sometimes the STATUS QUO needs a WAKE UP CALL
  • The concept of impressive empathy means:
    understanding the perspective which others have
    being able to think “in someone else’s shoes” to determine understandings
    modeling respect even and *especially* when respect is not reciprocated
    realize that behavior is often situational; to change the behavior, first address the situation in which it occurs
  • Practice working against your own distorted brain – by
    practicing humility & admitting/owning mistakes
    create/foster a climate of openness and feedback of the critical kind
    focus on your core priorities, of which there shouldn’t be many – the key is *focus*, after all
  • The implementation dip is real and research bears out that truth – figure out a strategy before implementation to address the recovery period, minimize the amount of time spent in the recovery period, and explaining how you’re moving forward and improving to concerned stakeholders (who may not have the benefit of all the information re: implementation of something new within your school/organization/subculture)
  • Understand that: You will be judged. Judgement does not have to take the form of negativity. Constructive feedback trumps backhanded compliments – be direct and avoid belittling others if you want your feedback to be heard and taken to heart.

Any thoughts? Is it too jargon-y to make sense? Anything that stands out to you as a great idea in the midst of that rambling?

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Thoughts on: Evidence-Based Practice in SchLibs

This week, our professor offered us two different discussion prompts/ideas/guiding questions on Evidence Based Practice.
I reproduce them below, but understand that my thoughts don’t necessarily align with either question, but rather the practice of EBP in school libraries on the whole. My brain decided that’s how it wanted to function today.

What are some of the issues or concerns that might hinder school librarians from engaging in EBP and, in your opinion, are they valid, insurmountable, etc.? What are potential evidence-based strategies that you might use in your school library? (For example, Ross Todd mentions rubrics, checklists, portfolios, etc.)

First, a few statements that may sound a bit harsh:

  • If one’s understanding of EBP is that it is librarian-focused, not student-focused, one needs open up to the greater possibilities.
  • If the thought of implementing EBP is overwhelming, rest assured it’s entirely possible to do so in pieces, and necessary.
  • If you believe school libraries and learning are important, please continue reading! 🙂

What is evidence-based practice? I’ll allow Ross Todd to explain that, in this quote from The Evidence-Based Manifesto for School Librarians which can be accessed here on the School Library Journal website.

“School libraries need to systematically collect evidence that shows how their practices impact student achievement; the development of deep knowledge and understanding; and the competencies and skills for thinking, living, and working. This holistic approach to evidence-based practice in school libraries involves three dimensions: evidence for practice, evidence in practice, and evidence of practice.”

Here’s the beauty of evidence-based practice: it won’t look at the same at school 1, school B, or school 3. The three components that Todd speaks of work together to take in the big picture, apply it to the local picture, and create a local picture. The end result is the ability to say,

This school in particular has been affected/changed/transformed/improved through X, Y, and Z initiatives, which were developed based on this needs assessment based on our local learning community. This team of persons implemented these initiatives and we have witnessed outcomes 1, 2, 3. Our students learned how to do this, that, and the other and successfully reached the learning objectives that were designed to meet their particular needs. These initiatives were developed based on research of best practices, and then applied in specific ways to the needs our learning community presented.”

Wouldn’t you love to be able to say all of that about the projects and learning going on in your school library?!

Perhaps it sounds overwhelming – I can appreciate that. One step at a time! What can you implement into the library program that will turn towards a culture of evidence-based practice, and help incorporate it consistently? Maybe starting with rubrics for projects – and having students help you create those rubrics and engage in their own learning. What about adding in reflective practice on the part of students – starting small with a discussion-style “wrap up” of the project with ideas on what went right, what went wrong, and what went awesome?

The first step to moving towards EBP is to start moving towards EBP. 🙂 Start with analyzing your students needs and determining learning goals. In what ways can you gather evidence to support teaching to meet those goals? In what ways can you gather evidence that the learning goals are being met effectively through both teaching and learning? I firmly believe that simply starting to think about how to incorporate evidence-based practice is the first step to making the transition smooth.

I liked this short summary of areas from which to gain evidence in your practice, from the School Library Media Specialist Eduscapes page.

This means gather evidence from various perspectives (Loertscher & Woolls, 2003):

  • learner level – student gains (i.e., achievement test scores, rubrics, portfolios, attitude scales, checklists, reflections)
  • teaching unit level – lessons and learning (i.e., checklists, collaboration rubrics, evaluation forms, timelines, log sheets)
  • organization level – library output (i.e., center statistics, hardware and software data)

As someone who is about to enter the school library world, I have one more request to make – please share your evidence! Share the successes; share those that didn’t meet expectations; share how you’ve revised; share what you’ve learned; share what your students have learned and how learning outcomes have changed along the way; share how your role as a library media specialist has changed as you’ve learned more; share.

And now, a statement that hopefully wraps up my ramblings coherently and gives us all hope and motivation for the future, that comes to you via Ross Todd (again, from the Evidence-Based Manifesto for School Librarians):

“EBP is not about scrambling to find additional time. It’s about establishing priorities and making choices based on your beliefs about the importance of school libraries and learning.”

Quick Thoughts on: EBooks/Print Books for Students

I’m reading through this blogpost/article/web-hosted-thing-of-words that discusses the implications of a recent study on students preferences when it comes to reading text, print or digital. I thought others might appreciate it. There’s a link to download the study which the author refers to, for further research, if you’re interested.

I’m finding myself very conflicted (unsurprisingly) on the whole debate, between what I think I need versus what my students need. Additionally, there’s this whole “projecting our own needs or ideas onto our students and presuming that’s what they want” mentality that I’ve run into a few times (and I’m certainly not a fan of it). So! Here’s the link, if you’re interested.

I think this potentially affects all of us, regardless of what age level we teach. I know the high school I’m currently at is straddling this divide and still figuring out what direction to go… what do you think?

Some Quick Thoughts from an Elementary Practicum Student!

I know, I know, I’ve been fairly terrible about blogging during grad school. The truth is that I prefer micro-blogging. Think twitter posts and conversations, long comment threads in facebook groups, and the like.

That said, I want to try to be better about putting things down in blog form this semester.
Reasons why:

  • I have to post a blog once a week for my practicum seminar anyway. I may import some, as possible.
  • I’m taking extensive (paper) notes on each day of practicum. I’m going to have to type them up. May as well share!
  • Sharing is caring.
  • I want to look back and say “oh yeah, I did that!” not “oh yeah, I wish I had typed up some of those experiences before I forgot them”.

So without any further pontificating…a few things!

  1. I interact better with the younger age group than I thought I would, honestly. There’s a learning curve on both sides, teacher-to-students and students-to-teacher, but it’s going well so far!
  2. You know how we talk about teaching “just-in-time” so skills align with activities and projects? Right… well, learning just-in-time works too. Like learning how to use a technological tool 10 minutes before you teach it. Not everything has to be rehearsed, scripted, etc. — there’s a freedom in the land of improv, as well.
  3. One of the most frustrating things, after “I can’t find a book” is when the question “well, what are you interested in?” is followed up with “I don’t know”. It’s this that I’m still working on – how to respond, how to find common ground, how to help a student determine what their interests are. 
  4. It’s okay that I haven’t jumped on the iPad bandwagon yet, but time will tell if I can continue to hold that view.
  5. Not having the privileges to update software as needed so that other software/tools can be used causes frustration. Sorry, tech club. 😦
  6. Wrestling books are COOL, y’all. 😉
This book is double-sided. It's like a "choose your own adventure"... in WWE.

This book is double-sided. It’s like a “choose your own adventure”… in WWE.

Yes, I’m talking about books and reading. Deal.

Nothing overly complicated to see here, folks. It’s just that I love reading for the sake of reading and many times, we talk about the things we enjoy most. Oh, I know, it’s a walking cliche for a wannabe rockstar school librarian to love reading, right? But here’s the thing — it shouldn’t be. You know why? Because we’re models for the students we encounter, the children we see on a regular basis, the infant who simply loves the sound of voice.

Logan, Medford, & Hughes have recently researched the effect of  intrinsic motivation on readers of all levels. They found (unsurprisingly) that “academic success for children is usually founded on their ability to read proficiently, as most subjects across the school curriculum rely, to varying extents, on reading skill.” (2011, p.124) The American Association of School Librarians’ Standards for the 21st Century Learner (2007) further stresses, “The degree to which students can read and understand text in all formats (e.g., picture, video, print) and all contexts is a key indicator of success in school and in life.”*

And that’s the thing — reading isn’t just for school. I read constantly for my job – task lists from my supervisor, documentation on how to order services at a conference (the comprehension level required for such documents feel astronomical at times), reading between the lines of an email to find what someone’s really asking. And that’s a life skill. A necessary one. Some jobs may seem to require less reading, and that’s fine: I know quite a few people who, I’m certain, were meant to work with their hands. (Farmers, among others, you rock). But I dare you to make it through a day – no, that’s ridiculous – I dare you to make it through five minutes without reading something. (Staring at the ceiling does not count, but that’s currently the only thing I can come up with that might work).

None of this is mind blowing, is it? I didn’t think so. But it was last night, when I wrapped up several hours of working on various graduate school assignments, and eagerly picked up the book I just started** as a form of mental relaxation and entertainment, that I realized for the gazillionth*** time just how fortunate I am. I grew up in a family that found value in reading for both work and for pleasure; my mother willingly took me the public library about once a week so I always had fresh reading material; I had teachers that encouraged using free time to read; I undertook an undergraduate degree that allowed me to research fascinating topics****. And now, I want my actions to further encourage young people to develop that intrinsic love of learning, of the written word, of the joys hidden within – and that’s why I do this. That is why I do all this. And it’s a good reminder.

Footnotes:
* – taken from a recent collaborative assignment, focused on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
** – “The Wild Queen: The days and nights of Mary, Queen of Scots” – Carolyn Meyer. (Fictionalized history).
*** -Not a real number.
**** – My senior history thesis was on the presidency of Warren G. Harding, last president to come from the Great State of Ohio. By the time it was done, I referred to him as Warren G.
***** – Note this was written at an incredibly early time of the morning, before I’d consumed my usual coffee intake. Excuse the rambling.

On Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles (Or, “I Heart Logic, Numbers, and Words”)

Wrote this for my #ist663 class, but since it’s posted in Blackboard, y’all didn’t have the privilege of reading. So here goes! 🙂

I’m curious if anyone else in this class has studied multiple intelligences theory before, or at least finds it interesting. I’ve always had a penchant for personality theory, on the whole, and multiple intelligences is sometimes considered under that umbrella (although we’re looking at it in a education/learning-focused way in this module).

I fully admit, candidly, that my interest in personality theory stems from my own difficulty understanding people (and I include myself in that). I found this website rather informative in regards to learning styles, and it’s a bit different than the learning styles presented in the book based on Kolb’s research. (The website is listed in the ‘more resources’ section of Chapter 3 on the teachingforinquiry.net website, for the record). Although I think one could simply read through the various learning styles and probably identify their preferences, I thought I’d share this with anyone interested – it’s an assessment for multiple intelligence/learning styles.

My preferences fall in line as such:

  75%
  75%
  70%
  65%
  45%
  35%
  30%
  30%

So I’m curious if anyone else is curious about this subject, or has any thoughts regarding it! I use this knowledge not so much to reinforce my own preferences, but to see where I could stand to gain a bit more understanding – trying to find a greater balance between ‘interpersonal’ and ‘intrapersonal’ is an effort I’ve been undertaking for a while!

Thanks for letting me geek out on this subject. 🙂