Author Archives: LiterateOWL

About LiterateOWL

An avid outdoorsman and passionate photographer and painter. Seeking joy through knowledge, creativity, adventure and Grace.

Tackling the Cognitive Capacity Cap in College…

Tackling the Cognitive Capacity Cap in College Readiness – The Partnership for 21st Century Skills

http://www.p21.org/news-events/p21blog/1597-tackling-the-cognitive-capacity-cap-in-college-readiness?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

Most students are ill equipped for college and most pre-college education in its current state is unlikely to change that. This may seem harsh, but I’ll go even further. Students can demonstrate the knowledge and skills embodied in state standards (common core reading, writing and arithmetic), and still be grossly underprepared for college. (The fact that so many students aren’t even meeting those academic standards is, of course, even more concerning.)
What is missing? Any recent report on college readiness will tell you (Conley, 2007). Skills like inference, analysis of data, interpretation of findings, developing hypotheses, defining alternative explanations, comparing and contrasting, developing cross-disciplinary insights, and providing relevant evidence for an argument are essential for post-secondary success. These skills are all about how complexly and deeply students can process, associate and evaluate information. It is about their skill in attaching meaning and weaving new knowledge into existing networks of understanding. As many have, we might reasonably call these thinking skills.(Stark)

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Stark, Roger. “Tackling Cognitive Capacity.” Tackling the Cognitive Capacity Cap in College Readiness – The Partnership for 21st Century Skills. P21.org, 19 Feb. 2015. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. .

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Freedom to Read is our mantra

http://www.freedomtoread.ca

We are celebrating our freedom- how about you? KSS OWLS – “we got spirit, how about you? ” #owlproud Who’s house? Owls house!
In contrast to our cart of banned books, not only to we lend a broad collection of books to teens, we give books away- free! Share the joy Canada. Visit your library now to celebrate choice and access.

Celebrate Freedom to Read Week
February 22-28, 2015
Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (Freedomtoread.ca)

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“Champions of Free Expression.” Freedom to Read. Web. 18 Feb. 2015. .

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The Learning Commons Mindset

Originally posted on :

Students at West Bay Elementary School Students at West Bay Elementary School

I walk into almost all of our schools in West Vancouver and very often the first thing people want to show me or talk to me about is the changes happening around the library.  Or more specifically, schools are taking great pride in their learning commons spaces that are developing.  While the physical spaces are exciting, the changes to our mindsets are far more powerful.  We are not destined for new schools in West Vancouver anytime soon but the rethink of the library has been both a symbolic and concrete shift in how we think about space and how we think about learning.  The school library – a centre piece in schools – is now the modern hub for learning.

I like the library metaphor from Joan Frye Williams (shared in this blog from Joyce Valenza):

Our libraries should transition to places to do stuff, not simply…

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The BIG Secret Is Revealed! by Lynn Mangold Newmyer

Originally posted on Nerdy Book Club:

Reaching milestones causes a person to stop and reflect. This year is an important milestone year in my career as a reading interventionist and instructional coach. I have held that positon for twenty years and I am entering my (drum roll, please) fortieth year in education. Yes, that is a grand total of forty years including many years as a class room teacher and a special education teacher consultant.

Upon hearing this, people start asking questions. The first one is usually how have you had the persistence to stick with such a challenging job for so long? And the next one is always how have you managed to be successful with so many students who are really struggling?

What is the secret? You should ALWAYS start with a great story! The story can be a fictional work or informational text, but it IS always about the story that will capture…

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Serving up a Learning Commons recipe …

A blog post by Chris Kennedy of West Vancouver, recently inspired me to add my own spices to what is cooking in the learning commons kitchen. I couldn’t agree more when he writes, “While the physical spaces are exciting, the changes to our mindsets are far more powerful. “( Kennedy)

As an experienced teacher-librarian and kitchen hacker, I believe that an exemplary school library is a dynamic learning process not just a nice space. A learning commons model is more than a new space that people congregate in but a cultural, social hub of learning. My librarian mentors knew this for years-some time before David Loetscher or Watters started promoting it. (Loetscher ) The collective wisdom of teacher-librarians has been cooking up innovation in schools for years. (Kuhn) It’s refreshing nevertheless to see revitalization of school library programs and perhaps this will ebb the tide of reductions or library closures. Libraries aren’t simply replaced by the mechanics of web2.0 but rather the new capacity can teach us how librarianship supports learning.

Wikipedia entry defines a LC …

Learning commons, also known as scholars’ commons, information commons or digital commons, are educational spaces, similar to libraries and classrooms that share space for information technology, remote or online education, tutoring, collaboration, content creation, meetings and reading or study. or study.( Wikipedia)

Like a great classroom, it should be an experience as much as a room.  Like cooking a five star meal, it takes more than a set of instructions. A school learning commons needs a team of chefs, great ingredients, effective execution and a creative spirit. Like a great restaurant, a learning commons needs a welcoming environment, great service and a comprehensive menu that prides itself on the experience of building a culture of scholarship.

The school’s hub of learning also needs to cater to diverse demographics.  It needs to be well prepared for the multiple needs that demand support. A school library cannot transition into a learning commons(LC) model overnight.  A LC can be a very exciting and powerful ‘learning’ asset because a progressive program addresses diverse student opportunities that nurture school goals and promote achievement.

Student achievement is a complex matter. If it was easy, we all could do it. A simple recipe for education innovation is seldom effective or enduring.  The new ‘learning commons’ if not built organically will also be doomed and a 2015 footnote. A successful school library is a cultural reality not simply a physical space regardless of how modern it may appear.  It takes experience, expertise and vision by many educators to develop a program that serves the needs of each unique school.

As a teacher-librarian in a large senior high school, our library program has demands and patrons quite different than a small middle school. It tales a team of people to assess, design and implement a sustainable service. An effective library program needs to evolve not revolutionize. Innovation can take time.

When I reflect on our successes and failures, it was planning and people that was the driver. It is my opinion that a library program that effectively serves its clientele is a dynamic social experience not just a physical asset. .  When learners/patrons are engaged with quality resources and services there are substantial costs. The physical space needs attributes that allow the community to thrive. Resources need to be acquired, updated and managed by trained personnel.  The teacher-librarian may be the chef but the entity needs many others to truly create delicacies.

A learning commons is the natural evolution of an exemplary school library program. A school cannot create a LC by simply borrowing a recipe. To build something meaningful from scratch is a major hurdle. A school with a tradition that recognized the diverse contributions of its library has the roots to grow.

The development a great ‘learning commons’ takes more than a nice presentation or directive. It takes a difficult execution of a plan that finds inspiration from the gifts of each school. An effective learning commons demands a school culture that always places learning and scholarship as a priority over appearances or expediency. It takes a culture of trust and collaboration. Teachers need to respect and value the library staff and students need to believe it benefits them collectively. It is not just a holding area. Not unlike a superior restaurant, a library needs a restauranteur, chefs, servers, etc all working effectively toward inspiration.

A beautiful restaurant that serves uninspiring food is a waste. Delivering great services and opportunities without a great space is almost impossible. Unlike the old ‘book truck’ , a modern library now needs to be more than just a great ‘eat street’ sandwich truck. Schools need a library that can provide a large nutritious and creative menu 24/7.

Much like a chef starts with quality ingredients , an inspiring menu and trained staff, a LC needs a great space, appropriate resources and a qualified teacher-librarian. Like superb waiters, that deliver the best dining experience, an LC also needs library clerical expertise. ( my mother would say – tables don’t get cleared and dishes don’t get washed by themselves. ) The learning commons model demands even more social interaction, resource management and instructional design than the ‘library’ before it. Like good food, one cannot rush the preparation or cooking. It needs to be an institutional designed process not simply an experiment. Without these conditions the LC will not be sustainable. I believe this because I know teaching and learning is a complex social endeavour not just an exercise in handing out books.

With many misconceptions around the library’s transformation into a ‘learning commons’ the Kelowna Secondary School LC is derived from an excellent traditional of fine dining. The teacher-librarians, has worked with admin, teachers, and students to develop a culture of inquiry not just trendy fast food. We collectively desire a library that’s provides quality
main courses that match the school’s positive cuisine.

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We don’t remove books ( we buy more) and replace them with comfy chairs( we’ve had those for a decade) We remind ourselves that a common area that includes measurable student learning must also require some careful planning and slow cooking. One cannot just buy ingredients and throw them in small space and hope it tastes delicious!

Starter Recipe for Learning Commons:
1. Add a quest for knowing and finding meaning
2. Mix with spaces that provide a variety of activities
3. Frequent stirring by a teacher-librarian
3. Add scholarship to taste and
4. Cook well with heaps of love.
Yield: happy people that grow

Also Read: http://cultureofyes.ca/2015/02/12/the-learning-commons-mindset/ “I like the library metaphor from Joan Frye Williams (shared in this blog from Joyce Valenza):

“Our libraries should transition to places to do stuff, not simply places to get stuff. The library will become a laboratory in which community members tinker, build, learn, and communicate. We need to stop being the grocery store or candy store and become the kitchen. We should emphasize hospitality, comfort, convenience and create work environments that invite exploration and creativity both virtually and physically.” ( Valenza)

-Al Smith

@kssreads

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Kennedy, Chris. “The Learning Commons Mindset.” The Culture of Yes. 12 Feb. 2015. Web. 16 Feb. 2015.

Kuhn, Nicola. ‘ Evidence Based Inquiry of the Role of teacher-librarians’, The Bookmark. BCTLA. Web. 2011.

Loertscher, D (2014). “Makers, Self-Directed Learners, and the Library Learning Commons”. Teacher Librarian 41 (5): 35–38.

Watters, Audrey (23 November 2011). “Libraries and Museums Become Hands-On Learning Labs”. KQED MindShift. Retrieved 1 August 2013.

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Filed under Editorial, Library Events, Personal Learning Network, Professional Development, Reflective Learning, School Library, Teacher Professional

Orcas pebble beaching near Campbell River

IMG_3146(Orcas)

http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-orcas-rare-beach-rubbing-behaviour-caught-on-video-1.2939355

Read CBC story….(BC Orcas)

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“B.C. Orcas’ Rare Beach-rubbing Behaviour Caught on Video.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 2015. Web. 31 Jan. 2015. .

‘Orcas West Coast Canada’. Chris Wilton. Orcas. YouTube, 2015. Web. 31 Jan. 2015. .

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The murder of knowledge and the importance of school libraries | readingeducator

https://readingeducator.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/the-murder-of-knowledge-and-the-importance-of-school-libraries/

Knowledge is now touted as the thing that is easily and readily accessible at the end of one’s fingertips and via a whole host of devices such as phones, tablets and computers. Knowledge is there for the taking. However we must not get confused with the differences between the idea of knowledge and with information. Information comes at us from all sorts of places and the internet is just one of those. There are endless reams of information that enter our lives on daily, hourly basis but this does not result in knowledge.(Lancaster )

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Lancaster, Adam. “The Murder of Knowledge and the Importance of School Libraries.” Readingeducator. 27 Jan. 2015. Web. 31 Jan. 2015. <https://readingeducator.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/the-murder-of-knowledge-and-the-importance-of-school-libraries/&gt;.

_____”HEAVEN WILL BE A KIND OF LIBRARY”

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“So, why do we read this book?” by Christie McDonald

Originally posted on Nerdy Book Club:

to kill a mockingbirdAs my grade ten class closed their copies of To Kill a Mockingbird, one of my students shot up her hand and asked the perennial question: “So, why do we read this book?” It’s a question I get asked every year, but this time I was ready for it. Sort of.

My grade ten students are delightful. They’re inquisitive. They’re readers. They love to debate. A quick poll told me that they all enjoyed the book – more or less. They thought it was still relevant – more or less. They’ll remember Scout and Atticus  – maybe  not forever, but still… Despite all that,  they still wanted to know why we were reading something so, well, old.

In her Salon article “What makes a book a classic,” Laura Miller decides that not only is the question almost impossible to answer, it’s also “mostly pointless.” Nevertheless, my students and…

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Young adults ereading rise….print preferred by everyone -Pew

A fascinating study on reading patterns and device usage.

www.pewinternet.org/2014/01/16/a-snapshot-of-reading-in-america-in-2013

As of January 2014, some 76% of American adults ages 18 and older said that they read at least one book in the past year. Almost seven in ten adults (69%) read a book in print in the past 12 months, while 28% read an e-book, and 14% listened to an audiobook.(PEW)

Some of these differences are even more pronounced if we narrow the focus to look only at those who read a book in the past year. Among these recent readers, young adults caught up to those in their thirties and forties in terms of overall e-reading: Almost half (47%) of those under 30 read an e-book in 2013, as did 42% of those ages 30-49. E-reading also rose among readers ages 50-64, from 23% in November 2012 to 35% in January 2014. However, the e-reading rate among readers ages 65 and older remains around 17%.

Though e-books are rising in popularity, print remains the foundation of Americans’ reading habits: Among adults who read at least one book in the past year, just 5% said they read an e-book in the last year without also reading a print book.

In general, the vast majority of those who read e-books and audiobooks also read print books. Of the three (overlapping) groups, audiobook listeners have the most diverse reading habits, while relatively fewer print readers consume books in other formats:

87% of e-book readers also read a print book in the past 12 months, and 29% listened to an audiobook.

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Among all American adults, the average (mean) number of books read or listened to in the past year is 12 and the median (midpoint) number is 5–in other words, half of adults read more than 5 books and half read fewer.3 Neither number is significantly different from previous years.

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ZICKUHR, Kathryn, and Lee RAINIE. “A Snapshot of Reading in America in 2013.” Pew Research Centers Internet American Life Project RSS. Pew Research Center, 16 Jan. 2014. Web. 25 Jan. 2015. .

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Sensibility- teacher-librarians in schools -Huffington

Glad to read a ‘sensible’ review of a forgotten and eroding asset. Sadly the ratio of Teacher-Librarians (TL) in schools is way down. Relentlessly, TLs have been advocating their virtues for 2 decades but largely have gone unheeded. Not a single educator in 1975 would be heard espousing the slashing of this valuable specialist. The skills, training, experience and positioning of a TL provides unique collaboration, personalization, innovation and support in vital areas like project learning, technology and literacy. Who better supports and rallies behind the love and benefits of reading? Thanks Huffington Post! For publishing Mr. Williams.
…more…http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yohuru-williams/sense-and-sensibility-why_b_6409076.html?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

Yohuru Williams Headshot
Historian, professor, education activist and author of Teaching US History Beyond the Textbook (2008)

In the broad constellation of professionals who make up public schools, it is important to pause and acknowledge the forgotten education professionals who aide and support teachers. These include the librarians, nurses, social workers, learning specialists, and guidance counselors. They contribute to the growth and development of our young people but often find themselves left out of broader discussions about the preservation of public education. They provide a range of critical support and intervention frequently invisible to us. Most certainly, their value has escaped the notice of so-called education reformers and politicians. All too often, these champions of a “new order” have taken aim at the forgotten teachers in their ever-expanding quest to cut public school funding.

To be clear, budget and personnel cuts have hurt the profession across the board. However, professionals in these areas bear greater risk, given widespread misperceptions about the essential services they provide that remain vital to public schools. As a youngster, for instance, I benefitted from the expertise of a speech pathologist in helping me overcome a minor speech impediment. Having the problem addressed early in my education boosted my self-esteem and ended years of torment at the hands of insensitive friends and classmates. I would not have understood this as a significant moment of formation in my academic and personal growth if not for countless recent news stories about proposed cuts to these position in school districts across the country.(Huffington)

…more…http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yohuru-williams/sense-and-sensibility-why_b_6409076.html?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

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Williams, Yohuru. “Sense and Sensibility: Why Librarians Remain Essential to Our Schools.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 02 Jan. 2014. Web. 04 Jan. 2015. .

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