Category Archives: Announcements

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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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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The One Thing Every Educator Should Do This Year – Brilliant or Insane

http://www.brilliant-insane.com/2015/01/one-thing-every-educator-year.html?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=buffer&utm_content=bufferf669f

One thing teachers must do this year

Say No! Seriously, this is it.

Don’t say No to students–at least not often.

The one thing every educator must do this year is say No to bureaucrats. Say No to the publishing lobby. Say No to misguided administrators. Say No to parents, who demand bad practice. Say No to the That’s-the-way-we’ve-always-done-it mentality. Say No to quiet. Say No to order. Say No to failure.

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What Makes a Master Teacher | The Principal of Change

From: Al Smith <twoloons>
Subject: What Makes a Master Teacher | The Principal of Change

http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/267
The term “master teacher” seems to get thrown around a lot, but is something that many educators aspire to be. In my ten years in the field of education, I would say that the definition of “master teacher” has definitely changed. When I think of a master teacher, here are the qualities that I would suggest they have:

1. Connects with kids first -For all students to excel, teachers must learn about them and connect with each child. This is not just about finding out how they learn, but it is finding out who they are. It is essential that we get to know our students, learn their passions, and help them find out how we can engage them in their own learning. If you are not able to do this as a teacher, the following characteristics will be moot,

Sent from Al Smith
literateowl@gmail

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Invisible Technology – David Truss :: Pair-a-dimes for Your Thoughts

David Truss has strong insights on this instruction design issue.

http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/invisible-technology/

Sent from Al Smith
literateowl@gmail H

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Regulating the Teenage Mind | Harvard Graduate School of Education

http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/14/11/regulating-teenage-mind

ACTIVITIES TO HELP TEENS SET GOALS, STAY ORGANIZED, AND KEEP THEMSELVES ON TRACK

Al Smith
Al.Smith
@kssreads

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