Thursday, March 28, 2013

A good day

Not that every day isn't a good day BUT today was really good because today our Library Team for Community and Service (the student librarians) chose the books and sent them to the Shree Mangal Dvip School for Himalayan Children. This school has an Amazon wishlist and we chose the books from their list together. The students chose books they had enjoyed themselves or ones they thought the students in Nepal would enjoy.

That was really good and then the r-e-a-l-l-y good thing happened - as we asked our students to write messages to attach to the children receiving the books our students started to ask so many questions. How old are these children? Why are they at boarding school? How often do they see their parents? Why do you (Ms Zaza) go there every summer to teach art? Question after question about this country Nepal and these children, who like them are learning in English language but that is not their first language.

So today our students sent 10 brand new books to a school in Nepal which has a small library run by students.

Today our students spent 30 minutes asking about and thinking about children on the other side of the world who have a very different set of life circumstances to them.

Today was a really good day in our Inquiry library. Thanks Ms Zaza. Thanks student librarians.
Shopping on Amazon with Ms Zaza

Sunday, March 24, 2013

CEESA conference presentation

I find that nothing hones my skills or makes me more nervous than presenting to my colleagues so when Ayse and I decided to submit a  presentation for consideration at the CEESA conference in Prague this March we really were stepping out and being risk takers. CEESA is the Central and Eastern European Schools Association and is describes itself in its mission statement: CEESA is a collaborative community of international schools which enhances school effectiveness and inspires student learning and development.  

So in the spirit of collaboration Ayse and I offered a workshop on how we teach her class to make Digital Book Trailers. Our goal was to inspire, offer some ideas that work and show some tools that are available to teachers and students who want to try this way to recommend a great a book.

On the day we found our our workshop proposal had been accepted we both were elated and then terrified. Together we taught this unit and together we presented the workshop about it. 

We showed ways to enable the students to understand that images relayed  ideas and emotion. Our presentation included film trailers, advertisements, activities involving images and of course the final student products. I have uploaded it to slide share just for glimpse of what we did. It doesn't inlcude the images workshop we did with the students or with the workshop participants but it does give you an idea of what we did. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Wondering at work - mystery

When creating a book display showing "Mystery" books we created a tagxedo word cloud using synonyms for mystery. I like how so many of the words also apply to wondering

This week I was paid a huge compliment by a colleague when he was discussing some course readings on a forum. The reading was an article by Barbara Fister entitled "Playing for Keeps: Rethinking How Research Is Taught to Today's College Students" My colleague shared about how we use the Wonder of the Week and invite our school community to answer the question we post on the library door. This week's question "How do hibernating animals know when to wake up?" 

Anyway here are some responses to my colleague's post:   The example of the post it note allowed students to engage without the pressures of the right answer or proper procedure which brings learning back to one of its essential properties, inquisitiveness. Setting a challenge but not prescribing the path to success enables students to find their own way, in their own time, allowing for ownership of the process."

"I also really appreciate the examples you gave of incorporating play into the library. The post-it example facilitates intrinsic motivation by piquing students’ curiosity through an interesting question. It also creates a version of the collaborative research environment Kuhlthau describes by allowing students to see other approaches and responses to the question."

Simmons, Michelle. "LIBR:287: Information Literacy." Lesson #5 Discussion. San Jose State University, 2013. Web. 3 March 2013.

I was so delighted by these responses. I had never thought of the wonder door as achieving these things but it really does. Inquiry at play. My kind of inquiry learning. Barbara's article is worth the read as well.

So we continue to encourage wondering, mystery and play in our library. It is a learning process for us and the students at the same time.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Drive 153.1

Autonomy, Purpose and Mastery according to Daniel Pink these are the key components to motivation. Continuing my quest to read more non-fiction this year I chose this book as so many people are talking about it. I can see why. I found the ideas Daniel Pink explored very interesting. 

It seems that the things we thought motivated people actually make them less motivated. Carrots of more pay, more rewards and sticks of negative performance reviews are not key to motivating people of any age in most situations. The experiments and research Pink quotes are compelling. This has applications for all schools. I will take some key ideas and try to apply them in our library. Perhaps our team needs one afternoon a week to simply be creative with the library, our systems, our look or our Inquiry focus. I wonder how that will go? 

Dan's website includes a test you can take to see whether you are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. I have signed up for his newsletter.Here is Dan Pink's TED talk