Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Selecting Turkish language books - Pandora's box?

Selcuk Demirel - artist
This afternoon my colleague Lindsay and I went shopping for nonfiction Turkish language books to add to our library collection. We went to Pandora book shop and met with Merthan who has been helping me get a list together of what we potentially need. Merthan visited our Marmara Campus a few months ago to look at our collection with me. 

We spent a wonderful afternoon selecting books - some in English and Turkish, a wonderful book on birds of Turkey. Most of the books were in Turkish language but more importantly written by notable Turkish writers and scholars. Many of our students do personal research on Ataturk and we have no resources in Turkish language by Turkish authors about this important nation maker. The books we purchased for the sciences are all were written by eminent Turkish scholars. We are slowly building up our Mother Tongue (why do I hate that phrase so much?) collection and to do so with a colleague in an actual bookshop was a delight. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Destiny at IICS - my first ever i-movie

Our New Literacies Team (IICS speak for the ITC integration team) was issued a challenge last November - make a movie to show the new literacies in action in our school. I wanted to show how we use the library management system from Follett - Destiny. From grade 2 our students are given logins to this system so they can use many of its features which empower their learning and literacy development. I think Destiny is an amazing learning platform and we are encouraging our students and staff to use it to the full.

Here is the movie - I hope it gets my message across.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Taking an idea and running with it...

Visiting Department meetings can be dangerous. I went to the English Department meeting a few weeks ago to share the news about our new lexile level search facility on our Library Management System Destiny. The news received some moderate response. The discussion then moved on to how to get our students to read and build a reading culture - I just sat back and listened. It was great to hear my colleagues really wanting our students to engage in recreation reading, for fun. Then came the idea - why can't we have an English Department Shelf in the library? Hmmm I was thinking - how would we catalogue that, how will people find books on a separate random shelf? All the while I was nodding and thinking. This was too good an opportunity to let go by. Okay - let's see what we can do. I found myself saying. So what we did do was create a virtual English Department Shelf on Destiny in the resource List area. Then we photographed the teachers and made little danglers for the books they recommended. The books are now on display throughout the fiction area of the library. The students are enjoying reading the books their teachers recommended and enjoyed. We have a Google Doc list of which book which teacher recommended so that when the book is returned we can return it to the display.  Below is a mosaic showing the work in progress...

Monday, November 11, 2013

Not Reading Habits but Reading Innovations

I am the guest speaker at the PTA coffee morning this Wednesday. I was asked to speak about Reading Habits.  I have been reflecting on my own reading habits, those of my family and friends. 

The picture to the left is of my children. Campbell reading to his younger brother, I believe from the cover and knowing Evan at that age it was a book about diggers. Evan's  interest was everything and anything about diggers, trucks and other large machinery. 

I don't think we can cultivate reading as a habit like we clean our teeth or take our coffee as certain way. I am struggling to find a better word. Reading has always been part of my daily life but I do not think it is a mindless habit. Nothing about our reading should be mindless or routine. Though I have to admit sometimes when the boys were young and they loved certain stories read to them time and time again. it did get rather repetitive. If I tried to skip a page or summarize I was called to account by my ever attentive child. The boys loved those stories for a reason and they certainly were mindful in their appreciation. 

Reading Innovation - there is the phrase I am seeking. I can remember not reading anything for pleasure the whole of my University Career. I was majoring in English Literature. I was delightfully re launched into fiction through Douglas Adam's Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and enjoyed reading the whole series with my husband, we actually read it side by side sharing the same copy. I remember reading The Book Thief and then feeling so unsatisfied with every other book I read for at least 6 months. That book ruined me for the ordinary. I set myself reading goals and enjoy reaching for them. I am inspired by my friends and what they read. I love talking about books with people and going straight to Amazon.com and downloading the free sample to my kindle to try the next day.

I think as parents and educators we should invite our children and students to develop a Reading Innovation and not a Reading Habit. We should enjoy each other's reading innovations as well. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Google SLAM - like speed geeking but different

Since completing the GAFE course earlier this year I have wanted to participate in a way of sharing the great things we have at our disposal with Google. Our school is a Google School. We use many of the great apps Google provides - gmail, calendars, all the drive apps and of course youtube. Tomorrow the New Literacies team will be running a Google SLAM event at our Professional Development Day. We will be presenting on some of the Apps available to us through the Google suite.

I have chosen to present about SEARCH. After all - search is what Google is all about. I know as a librarian I should be really good at using all the search tricks Google provides but the truth of the matter is there are so many I feel somewhat overwhelmed by them all. Don't get me wrong I love Google and use it all the time. I am not convinced I use it efficiently and some times it takes me a while to find the results I want. So with a little bit of practice I hope to get better. I should try the Google-a-day to build my searching muscles. 

I love the website 2lingual it offers a google search in two languages simultaneously. My ELL students love this site too. They get great websites in their home language and then the English language sites help with the keywords and vocab. Awesome understanding and language building at the same time.

I was going to share Search Stories as well but in preparing for this presentation I discovered they are no longer supported by Google - too much went into maintaining this marvelous video creation tool. Barry Schwartz blogging for Search Engine Round Table shares the sad news.

Here are the slides for my presentation tomorrow - I hope you find them useful.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The value of Association

http://www.slanza.org.nz/  It is great to be a member of this Association.

In July, while on "Summer Vacation" in the winter of New Zealand I attended the SLANZA conference in Wellington. It was inspirational and will be the subject of many subsequent posts. For this post I want to focus on SLANZA itself. I have been a member of SLANZA since its beginning, before I had any library qualifications or responsibilities. I remain a member even though I am many miles from New Zealand.

What is it about this association that I value so highly? My colleagues. There is a Maori proverb that goes ..
He aha te mea nui te ao?
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!
What is the most important thing in the world?
It is people! It is people! It is people!
It is in a librarian's nature to share. We are a professional that values access to resources, information and knowledge. I guess that makes us predisposed to sharing ideas, strategies and resources. It makes us stronger as a professional and as people.

It is through this Association that I have received meaningful professional development. My librarian colleagues meet once a term and each meeting has a professional development focus. I have participated in meetings with publishers and booksellers, educational researchers, professors and professionals. The topics ranged from why we should be buying and promoting graphic novels to how to encourage reluctant readers. 

It is through SLANZA that I have received valuable one to one professional mentoring and have been able to encourage others to enter into mentoring relationships. 

Now I am on the other side of the planet why do I consider this Association so valuable? The electronic Journal "Collected" is produced 3 - 4 times a year. My colleagues contribute articles and ideas - sharing their expertise and inspiring me in my work. SLANZA is on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads, I am connected in with my colleagues through social networking as well as professional networking. 

I will continue to be a member of SLANZA throughout my professional lifetime. It seems crazy to me to try work alone. Crazy and lonely. I truly value the work of the people involved in this Association and I thank them for contributing so generously to my life as a librarian.

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.