Sunday, September 29, 2013

Consultation - Collaboration HELP is what matters

Dictionary.com defines Consultation as a meeting for deliberation, discussion or decision and Collaboration as the act of working with another or others on a joint project.

When discussing collaboration with fellow Teacher Librarians I have heard that the aim is to make sure the Teacher Librarian is as involved with the student learning as much as possible. The ideal would be to plan with the teacher, deliver the content/skills to the student together with the teacher and then to evaluate the learning with the students and teachers together. Being involved with the whole process is collaboration nirvana. I wonder if this goal is totally unrealistic and unsustainable in the school environment? 

Often consultation is seen as the poor alternative to collaboration. I think the measure of this should be the person who is seeking your assistance.

Last week I had many experiences working with colleagues and students that would be described as consultation rather than collaboration. My input to their project came at their request and was only a small part in helping them achieve success in their goal. We looked at how to create resource lists in Destiny,  how to find books on Destiny and on the library shelves, how to access online databases and how to make notes using Google Docs. All important skills and all essential for the person's success.

I hope to develop better skills at both consultations and collaboration. 

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Delightful Duets - my focus for 2013 - 14

I saw this TED talk at the end of the academic year - Lisa Bu gives an amazing account of the impact of reading on her life, thoughts and character. Books changed her shattered dream into a different dream. The way she read books lifted her understanding of many cultures and gave her great joy, as you can see on her face. She ends her talk with the wish "May books be always with you".
           

I decided that my reading goal for 2013-14 academic year would be to do as she suggests read books in pairs, comparative reading for life. Where do I start? She seemed to make quite deliberate choices in her paired reads. 

My first pair of books were complimentary. I real Carol Dweck's book Mindset: The new psychology of success. Dweck's work has been the topic of many conversations amongst my colleagues at work last year. She writes about fixed and growth mindsets. People with growth mindsets are more resislient, often much more success than others. They see that their own efforts can make a difference to their learning and success. I found the many anecdotes she gave very interesting and made her research and findings very accessible. Already the leaders of our school are initiating further discussions about growth mindsets. This is an exciting prospect for our students.

The very next book I read was Gifted Hands Ben Carson's autobiography. This is a great story of a man who went from being a student who was always bottom of the class to being the one who was incredibly successful. Ben Carson is a leading neurological surgeon and has had many successes pioneering life saving surgery. What helped this boy change from being a challenged learner to a successful one? His mother always emphasized that his effort would bring rewards. She challenged him to read and as he did he found he remembered more, his reading ability improved and with it his ability to complete math problems, engage with science and finally discover his passion for the brain.

Both books with the brain as a focus. Both books showing how a growth mindset can help some one develop and fulfill their potential. A delightful duet to begin my reading challenge this year.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A work in progress...

Serife working on her new Welcome display
This week we welcomed our students back to school. It was not the smoothest start to the year for our library team. We were unable to lend books as our data upload to our LMS (Library Management System) was delayed due to technical difficulties with the Internet and SMS (Student Management System) access problems. Students still came to the library, read the books here, studied here and had classes here. The good news is next week we will be able to resume normal service. 

The great thing about life in a school is that each year there is an opportunity to start afresh. A magical time of reinvention. My colleague Serife creates a major welcome display just outside the library doors each year. You can see the beginnings of it on the right here. It is a major work of art and cannot be rushed. It stays with us for the entire year. At the moment it is still a work in progress. 

Our library team is a work in progress as well. We welcomed a new team ember this week. Ozlem was still smiling at the end of the week - always a good sign - despite the difficulties with issuing and Internet. 

Our Inquiry library is continuing to evolve. We have a new question for the wonderwall next week - "What is cool about school?" Also our wonderwall has evolved from black to green. 

With R. David Lankes' books "Expect more" and "The Atlas of New Librarianship" will also be helping us to work toward our school vision of being forward thinking and exceptional in every respect. As I said we are indeed a work in progress.

Serife, Amanda and Ozlem - Marmara Library Team