Learning Curation Prompt #6 (LLED 462)

Learning Curation Prompt #6

Essential Question:

  • How do I set up a learning commons in a brand new school that will become the “nerve centre of the school” (Leading Learning, p.6)

Prompt from Module 6:

“Build your digital toolkit: This week’s prompt is to begin to collect (curate) effective online tools that you can use later for both your students and the teachers you will work with. Begin with the Mediasmarts site, there is a wealth of information here. And then explore out. They can be demos, games, presentations, youtube clips, websites, online commercials, anything that inspires you in your teaching and learning of digital and media literacy. You can organize and present your collection in whatever way you wish.” (LLED 462, Module 6)

Considering my essential question, I see my role as a curator of resources for both students and teachers. These curations could be hosted on a school website or shared by teachers and students for individual units.

While watching the Symbaloo tutorial, I began to envision all the possibilities with this curation tool. The first task that I would like to try is to create a Symbaloo page for my upcoming Science7 Inquiry Unit. Then I would like to curate a list of tools that teachers may find useful when teaching digital citizenship, as well as digital tools to use in class.

I will jot down my journey through this process.

I began with a closer look at:

I appreciate the detailed list of characteristics essential for students and the subset of learning targets for grade levels. This will definitely be handy to keep in the forefront of developing a scope and sequence for K-12 digital literacy.

I then took a look at the lesson plans available on the University of Texas website. Wow, I love it! What a great resource to share with teachers.

As I had just been working with my gr. 7 class on a unit on creating Prezi presentations about digital citizenship, this one caught my eye. I appreciate the suggestions to use class notes and to visually categorize each note with a label. Through the process, students are creating a free form mind map. I think this process would have been helpful in my own class so students could have a paper version of their Prezi categories.

lesson plan using Prezi to create outline

As I use Google Classroom quite extensively in my gr. 7 classes, the following also intrigued me as a way to collaborate student responses. My question, though, was I wondered if some students may not actually complete the assigned task but take the easy route of just mimicking what others wrote. Is there a way for students to add to the spreadsheet without viewing others’ responses until the end?

lesson plan to use google drive for collaboration

These two are similar in that wordless or word clouds are used as a method for generating search terms. I recently introduced word clouds into my class and the students enjoyed the visual way of analyzing their information.

world tool lesson plan

lesson plan to use word clouds to generate search terms

What a cool idea to use images to stimulate discussions on digital citizenship and digital literacy. I especially liked the suggestions to have an image projected and have students write a journal about the image prior to a discussion and to host a gallery walk with images scattered around the classroom. Within the blog post, Mattson has curated a list of images to use.

Using images for Discussion Prompts on Digital Citizenship

This is a very timely site to find as I am in the midst of teaching digital literacy to grade 7 students. A ton of helpful lessons and resources can be found on this site and the best is that the lessons are geared for Canada.

My curation process:

  1. I created a free account with Symbaloo and added resources to fit with an upcoming inquiry research project in Science, grade 7.

Since I already had the links ready, it was quick and easy to set up my Symbaloo page. I checked off the option to “share privately” using a link and then I tried using the option to share with Google Classroom. The link with a copy/paste didn’t seem to find the page.

Science 7 Sample Curation #1 So, I had to go back and change the options to share publicly and get the new link below.

Symbaloo for Science 7 Inquiry Project



However, when I shared through Google Classroom, I was able to set up an announcement for my class that would take students directly to the Symbaloo resources. When I went in through this option to double check what my students would see, I was disappointed to see many ads scattered throughout the page, as well as additional Symbaloo gallery pages at the bottom. These were listed as “Symbaloo-ers that viewed the webmix above, also viewed:…”

I felt that this was false advertising as I had just created this gallery mix and there was no way that anybody had yet viewed my gallery. I would have preferred not to confuse my students with the additional gallery options. I will demonstrate to my students what they should focus on.

  1. I then created a Symbaloo gallery for tools to use when teaching digital citizenship, as well as digital tools that I have tried or been introduced to. I love this easy to use curation site. I will definitely be sharing this tool with my colleagues.

Gallery for Colleagues: Digital Tools



Learning Curation #4 (LLED 462) Due: October 29

Learning Curation Prompt

Essential Question:

  • How do I set up a learning commons in a brand new school that will become the “nerve centre of the school” (Leading Learning, p.6)

“Take a resource you really like and find multi-modes of text, forming a short collection. It can be any combination or grouping (picture book, graphica, novels, digital content, video, web tools, etc.). Tie your grouping together with a short rationale of its theme, big idea, the literacies it addresses and what you can do with the resource.”  (LLED 462, Module 4)

One of the roles that I can play as the teacher-librarian is a curator of resources that would be useful for teachers and/or students. As this will be a new school, there is not yet a pattern or set way of curating resources. So, I began to reflect on what I would find most helpful as a teacher or a student.

As the curriculum hub of the school, what could this look like? How would I organize the resources for future units?

And so…began my quest for this learning curation.

My Curation Process

Topic: Food Chains (including roles of consumers and producers within an ecosystem)

Curriculum Tie: Grade 7 Science within the Big Idea:

Evolution by natural selection provides an explanation for the diversity and survival of living things.


As a small part of our study on changes within an ecosystem and the survival needs of organisms, I wanted to come up with a creative way for students to demonstrate their learning of food chains and the impact when a food chain is disrupted.

As reviewed in Module 4 (p.1), it is important to include multi-modal literacies such as written texts, visual images, graphic elements, hyperlinks, video clips, audio clips, and other modes of representation within my curated list. I appreciated the reminder within this module to view “literacy as the ability to interpret creative forms of communication that combine visual, written, digital, and oral texts”. (Mod. 4, p1) Teaching students how to decode and interpret various forms of communication and how to express their understanding in multi-modes is important. These skills “necessary for producing and consuming multimodal texts requires readers to navigate, design, interpret, and analyze texts in more complex and interactive ways” (Serafini, 2012, P.26). In this role, students will become more proficient “navigators (and code breaker), interpreters, designers, and interrogators” (Serafini, 2012, p.27) as they interact with and compose with images, sounds, videos and print. (Grisham, 2013).

I wanted to deviate from the traditional modes of presenting information (paper posters or hand-drawn food chain). So, I challenged myself and my students to use digital tools to create a multi-modal presentation.

To gather the resources:

  1. I searched through various online sites including com, Shelfari.com, and LibraryThing.com
    1. com was very helpful. I searched food chain picture books. www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/food-chain
  1. I then searched my public library to locate the books recommended to find my ‘perfect picture book’ to use as my hook
  2. Combed other websites and resources
  3. Created a list of resources for students to use
    1. Pictures and images (websites for free pictures)
    2. Picture books
    3. Links to videos about food chains

To curate my list, I created a word document and posted it on Google Classroom for all my students to access.

Print Resources:

Picture Books

Craighead, J. (2008). The Wolves are Back. New York, New York: Dutton Children’s Books.

Godkin, C. (1993). Wolf Island. Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

Reynolds, A. (2013). Carnivores. San Francisco, California: Chronicle Books LLC.

Graphic Non Fiction

O’Donnell, L. (2016). The world of food chains with Max Axiom, Super Scientist (Graphic Science). Minnesota: Capstone Press.

Digital (oral) Resources:

Crash Course Kids. (April 21, 2015). [YouTube video]. Fabulous Food Chains: Crash Course Kids #7.1. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/MuKs9o1s8h8

Free School. (Sep. 23, 2016). [YouTube video]. Food chains for kids: food webs, the circle of life and the flow of energy. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/hLq2datPo5M

Games4Kids. (July 12, 2016). [game]. Food Chains and Food Webs. Education video game for kids. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/h3leiLaaMnA



In addition, the students would have access to our school library and the host of nonfiction texts on the organisms that each chooses to represent in the food chain.

What will we do with these resources?

First, I will read the Wolf Island and The Wolves are Back to the class as read a-louds. The students will then share their thoughts in small groups using a “place mat” format.

Questions to think about as a group:

  • Describe how food chains play a role in restoring balance or causing an imbalance.
  • What possible causes can you think of that results in an imbalanced ecosystem?

Provide time for students to explore the various resources about food chains. Students will complete an Exit Slip by sketching an example of a food chain and defining the roles of producer and consumer.

Then, explain the group activity. As a group, sketch out a food chain. Each member of the group will take responsibility for one link of the chain. As that role, each member will write a short script (2-3 sentences), find an image online (of the animal), and use Chatterpix Kids app on the iPads to create a short voice recording.

As a group, the voice recordings will be linked together using Explain Everything app to create a visual food chain.

My rationale in using these two apps is to introduce my students to alternate forms of presentation and to build the skills needed to navigate, interpret, design and interrogate.


Well, the lesson didn’t go exactly as I had planned. I had an IEP meeting to attend right during my first science block. So, the TOC enjoyed reading the “hook” picture book after I explained the project criteria, goals and resources. When I returned to the classroom, the students were excitedly researching the organism they had selected.

I had created a sample of an orca speaking using Chatterpix Kid to show the class as an idea of where they were headed. However, when I attempted to mirror the iPad to my projector through AirPlay, it didn’t work. So, I had to quickly think on my feet; call the class to my reading corner and show the class using the iPad.  After school, I contacted my school’s IT manager and he came first thing the next morning. As it turned out, the iPads needed to be updated and the AirPlay program needed to be reinstalled on my laptop. Ideally, I would have tested it out last week, but I simply ran out of time and needed to take home the iPad over the weekend to create my sample. (this was the first time this school year to take out the iPads)

The students continued during science block the following day. This didn’t go quite as smoothly as before. A few of the students were very distracted by the iPads and began taking photos of classmates and using the app to make the photos speak. Yikes, I needed to re-convene the class and explain how the iPads are tools for learning and a creative way to display their knowledge and not a toy to distract their peers or themselves.


Grisham, D. (2013). Love that book: Multimodal response to literatureThe Reading Teacher. 67(3), 220-225.

Serafini, F. (2012) Reading multimodal texts in the 21st century. Research in Schools. 19(1), 26-32.

Serafini, F., & Youngs, S. (2013). Reading workshop 2.0: Children’ literature in the digital age. The Reading Teacher, 66(5), 401-404.

Digital Tools:

Chatterpix Kids app

Explain Everything app

LLED 469 Learning Log 1.2 Modules 5 and 6

Module 5: selecting resources for inquiry

Module 5 begins with a question: “Where are you on the Continuum for Change?”

This started me thinking as I reflected on the range from “I am just surviving” to “want to work on a new unit together”.  I connected with the statement “I am always looking to try new ways to engage kids with learning” (Mod. 5, p.1) and describe myself as one who is ready and willing to collaborate and feeds off the sharing of ideas with others.

I admit that some of my crazy ideas work out better than others, but I explain to my students that we are on a journey for learning and that we are like scientists; some experiments work and some need tweaking. I wonder where my students (gr. 7) or their parents would place themselves on this continuum for change.

The following links I want to keep handy for future personal growth and learning:

(I admit that I then got “lost” exploring these two sites. Many great resources to support me teaching!)

Copyright Issues

In reading through Module 5, it was a good reminder for me that I cannot share services through the public library with students. I have not yet introduced my students to the various resources and data bases available on the public library websites but I have thought about it as it was discussed in a previous LIBE course (Module 5, p. 2). I will be sure to insist that students come with their own cards and then we can proceed from there.

As I was busy planning a lesson for Applied Design, Skills and Technology (gr. 7) on digital law, the issue of copyright was forefront in my mind. I got rather lost digging through various resources, which I wrote about in my 1.1 Learning Log under Module 3. My students are continuing their research on what fair use, creative commons, copyright, and public domain mean and how does it apply to them as they create a Prezi to compile their information.

Thought Connections with UBC work and my current classes:

Last week, in Science 7, we talked about Traditional Ecological Knowledge and the Aboriginal perspective on the environment/ecosystems. It was interesting to compare a scientific approach of reason and “proof” with the Aboriginal “ways of knowing”. When I was reading the modules and the readings for this course, I connected with how learning is to be “emergent, collaborative and constructed” and through an approach that offers choice (Module 3, p. 3). This emergent, collaborative learning approach reminded me of the Aboriginal ways of knowing. As teacher librarians and educators, it is a privilege to approach learning with this kind of mindset.

My Thoughts on the Podcast “Challenging Practices”

  • Beaudry, R. and G. Chaddock-Costello. (2016).  Challenging Practices: Podcast with 2016 Recipients of the Canadian Library Association’s 2016 Winners of the Award for Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada.  UBC.

Advice for teacher librarians in dealing with issues of censorship and intellectual freedom:

  • be aware of policies for district weeding and selecting resources
  • don’t act alone; garner the support of others
  • follow district and federal protocol
  • know who you can contact within locals and districts for support and help
  • consider the differences between “classroom strategies” and “library practices” (ie. ‘levelling of books’)

Nurturing Relationships with teachers and students:

  • take time to meet with teachers and work together to develop programs  (ex. Program of transition literacy: train high school students on how to use university libraries; discern resources; selecting resources)

I am not aware of any challenge policies at my independent school. Unfortunately, we do not have a formal policy and procedure manual or document for our school. I can definitely see the wisdom of having one in place before a situation were to arise. To investigate further into this, I decided to dig around and look at what policies or procedures from other school districts have in place.

Surrey District Library Handbook: (2007) (Section 3.6 and Appendix 3) when a resource is challenged, the first step is to complete a detailed form with copies sent to the principal, to a member of management responsible for library resource and to the person issuing the challenge.

New Westminster School District Library Handbook: (2011) The rationale for their policies and procedures regarding challenged materials are clearly outlined.

“The goal of the School Library Resource Centre is to provide materials with broad and varying viewpoints to help students to develop critical thinking skills and become lifelong learners. Our libraries support the “Statement on Intellectual Freedom” from the British Columbia Library Association and the Canadian Library Association. The libraries also support the “Students’ Bill of Information Rights” adopted by the Association of Teacher-Librarianship in Canada.”

The procedures include the following steps:

  1. informal meeting with librarian and the individual questioning the resource to determine the nature of the concern
  2. individual is advised to submit a formal written request that the resource be reconsidered
  3. principal receives request and attempts to resolve the matter at the school level; if not possible, the matter proceeds to the School District staff.
  4. During the process of reconsideration, the material will remain in circulation. The material will only be removed when the final judgment is made. (p. 53)

Additional Thoughts on Readings:

ERAC document:

This document is an excellent reference to use when selecting resources. I would highly recommend that every teacher-librarian has a copy of this resource on his/her shelf. Sections that I would highlight include:

  • needs of various learners: I appreciate the sections on what to keep in mind when selecting resources for the various learners within your community. (Aboriginal Education, Gender Equity, Multiculturalism, French, ESL, Students with Special Needs…) (p.12-19)
  • checklists to use as guides for selecting resources to match your curriculum (p. 21-29)
  • social considerations criteria to select resources that will “support students’ social development…and promote positive social attitudes and respect for diversity and human rights” (p.38). (p. 38-41; 55-58)
  • checklists to use when evaluating videos, novels (p.42-52)
  • roles of various personnel (p. 62-66)
  • Appendix 3 and 8: policies and procedure regarding challenged materials (p.131-133; 140-142)
  • Appendix 5: Websites to help in the process of evaluating and selecting resources (p.136)

I learned through this module that ERAC offers a 2-4hour course for teachers and teacher-librarians about the implications of copyright of materials and technologies in schools and classrooms.

Hay and Foley’s (2009) article outlines the various roles of teacher-librarian, how to build student learning through the resources and services and to build ‘capacity or provide online and digital resources’ (p.18). I found it an excellent guide for what programs and services a library could include to promote student learning. I was inspired by the following statement, “…the real role of teacher librarians is one of instructional intervention that moves students beyond information seeking and helps them to ‘transform found information into personal knowledge’ (Hay & Foley, 2009, p.18)

Zmuda & Harada (2008) has some valuable points to note about the changes needed in the role of the teacher librarian and the library collection due to the transformation in teaching, to shifts in population demographics and to the information explosion. In addition, the role of the teacher librarian is to work alongside educators to design curriculum and instruction to meet the learning needs and learning styles of the net generation (Zmuda & Harada, 2008, p.112). As part of meeting these needs, a teacher librarian and teachers need to guide students on how to become “thoughtful and successful users of information technology” (Zmuda & Harad, 2008, p. 109). I also appreciated the list of criteria on page 109 to consider when evaluating digital resources.


Beaudry, R. and G. Chaddock-Costello. (2016).  Challenging Practices: Podcast with 2016 Recipients of the Canadian Library Association’s 2016 Winners of the Award for Advancement of Intellectual Freedom in Canada.  UBC.

Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium (ERAC). (2008). Evaluating, selecting, and acquiring learning resources: a guide. Vancouver, BC: ERAC.

Ekdahl, M. (2012). FIPPA and the Cloud: Issues for BC SchoolsTLSpecial Weekly Report. Blog. Vancouver, BC.

Ekdahl, M. (2013). Copyright considerationsTLSpecial Wiki. Vancouver, BC.

Hay, L. & Foley, C. (2009). School libraries building capacity for student learning in 21CScan 28(2): 7-26.

School District No. 40 (New Westminster). (2011). New Westminster School District Library Handbook. Retrieved from https://www.google.ca/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=new%20westminster%20school%20library%20handbook

Teacher-Librarian Handbook Committee. (2007). School District No.36 (Surrey) Teacher Librarian Handbook. Retrieved from http://www.sd36.bc.ca/destiny/manual/documents/Handbook%2009-08-20.pdf

Zmuda, A. & Harada, V. H. (2008). Looking to the future: Providing resources to support 21st century learning. Librarians as learning specialists: Meeting the learning imperative for the 21st century (pp. 103-115). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Module 6: evaluating and curating online resources

As I digested Module 6, I my questions were ‘what is included in “multimodal texts” and how do other teacher librarians curate their resources?’ Is there a particular software or digital tool to help with this process?

In reading Serafini’s article (2012), multimodal texts include “written text, visual images, graphic elements, hyperlinks, video clips, audio clips, and other modes of representation, require different strategies for navigating and comprehension” (p.27). Ah, that makes sense; I just wasn’t familiar with the term “multimodal”.

Research guides are a collection of information sources that are useful to help students begin a particular research project. Hamilton (2011) suggests using LibGuides or any “web-authoring tool [that] can be used to create a research pathfinder” (p.36). I was part of the discussion moderators for this week so we eagerly posted a question to see how our colleagues curate resources.

As suggested on p. 5 of Module 6, teacher librarians can help teachers through the process in inquiry research by putting together ‘inquiry bins’ that would include a variety of engaging theme-based resources. I love that idea. When I first began my teaching practicum (many years ago!) I was blessed to be stationed in an elementary school in Langley. To help with some of the units I taught, I borrowed a few bins from the School District. These bins had nonfiction and fiction resources, some hands-on manipulatives and some teacher resources. Some museums and art galleries lend out similar type of bins. I would like to make this one of my goals for a future TL position.

To test out some of the sites listed in Module 6, I searched for some resources in preparation for a grade 7 field trip to the Nikkei Japanese Museum (on the topic of internment), I dug around Historica  http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/internment/  Definitely interesting footage to start a riveting discussion on social justice in my classroom.

Commito, M. (Aug. 13, 2014). Heritage Minute-Canadian Japanese Internment in WW2. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Sm5FFoTIpz8

Heritage Minute: Japanese Canadian Internment. (Oct. 24, 2012). The Historical GeogrpahyBritish Columbia, University of BC. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWJ-yg6RE6s

This led me to consider the importance primary sources are and what an impact they can have on student understanding. As I am sifting through resources for my inquiry science unit, I began thinking about what primary sources I might be able to dig up; perhaps some newspaper articles, video footage or personal interviews. Hmmm…

Evaluating Resources: Discernment Needed

Presenting students with hoax sites is a great way to begin the conversation about critically evaluating resources. I was shocked to read that people would alter facts about popular children’s authors just for fun. I loved Amelia Bedelia as a child (and still do). Her way of interpreting the world often reminded me of the primary students I have taught and their literal interpretations. (see link in References for a detailed account; caution this blog post contains some mature language and is not suitable for children)

Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything [web site] (2011) is an excellent website filled with resources, handouts and lesson ideas to teach critical literacy to my students; definitely one to keep handy!   http://www.schrockguide.net/critical-evaluation.html

The webquest (Zunal.com) is another great tool to use as a self-guided lesson for elementary students.

Another interesting site that I found is Crockett’s (2016) web site “The Critical Thinking Skills Cheatsheet”. A fantastic visual poster is available as a free download that guides students to consider the validity of new information.

Searching with Databases

Students need to learn the skills to adeptly search using databases. Going beyond Google takes time, effort and some practice. Teaching students the skills needed is definitely an important lesson. Our school has an EBSCO bundle, however, this seems to be quite underutilized. My mission last year (gr. 7) was to introduce my students to these search options. During one research project, students were required to dig around the EBSCO database for articles related to their research question on Ancient Egypt. I spent some time poking around the following sites that were listed on Module 6 of LLED course and found each offers a wealth of resources to use for inquiry projects.

 Curation tools    One interesting site to check out for possible tools to use for curation can be found on the wikispace webtools4u2use.  In particular, the page on curation tools gives a variety of options to consider. In reading the articles and blog posts written by Joyce Valenza, I was impressed with the depth of information she offers. I definitely want to follow her blogs. Some of the curation tools she suggests include Padlet and Symbaloo. I have played around with Padlet a bit but would like to become more adept at these tools.


Hoax sites to keep for future reference, consider using these sites as discussion starters with students: (LLED 469, Module 6, p. 2)


Bird, E. (2014, August 1). Wikipedia, Amelia bedelia, and our responsibility regarding online sources. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2014/08/01/wikipedia-amelia-bedelia-and-the-responsibility-of-online-sources/#

Hamilton, B. J. (2011). The school librarian as teacher: What kind of a teacher are you? Knowledge Quest39(5): 34-40.

Serafini, F. (2012) Reading multimodal texts in the 21st century. Research in Schools. 19(1), 26-32.

Vacca, R. T. & Vacca, J. A. L. (2005). Content Area Reading: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum.NY: Pearson Education.

Valenza, J. (2012). CurationSchool Library Monthly. 29(1): 20-23.

Valenza, J. (2014). Librarians wanted for smashing, blending, toolkit building. In Neverending Search(blog, July 26, 2014). School Library Journal.

Valenza, J., curator. (n.d.). InformationFluencyTransliteracyResearchTools: Helping learners perform more meaningful research. Scoop-it.

Learning Curation #3 (462)

Essential Question:

  • How do I set up a learning commons in a brand new middle/high school that will become the “nerve centre of the school” (Leading Learning, p.6)

Consider the following Secondary scenario

A grade 10 student comes into the library weary because he has to submit an intended reading list and goals for the year. The teacher is excited about his/her new syllabus and is making attempts to slowly integrate more choice in reading in combination with the required novels assigned.  The only novels he has ever finished, reluctantly, have been the ones that were required reading in class. He dislikes reading and the idea of finishing one novel let alone a list for the year is overwhelming. He is thinking of dropping the class.  (Module 3)

As a teacher-librarian, I see my role as two fold. First, my role is to act as an empathetic support to this grade 10 student. Second, my role is to be a collaborator with the teacher. For the sake of personalizing this scenario, I am going to refer to the student by the pseudonym “Dave” and describe a possible dialogue in a script-like format.

In considering my essential question of building a culture in which the library is the bridge within the school, I feel that collaboration amongst staff is a large component. I spent some time reading about how to build a participatory culture. In Hamilton’s (2011b) article “The school librarian as teacher: What kind of a teacher are you?” essential conditions that lead to a participatory culture are described (p.35). As a teacher librarian, I hope to foster a culture of collaboration through

  • the creation and sharing of lessons and units that recognizes the value of each contributor
  • mentorship
  • the development of social connections

In this article Hamilton (2011a) describes a new library model as one that moves away from a “data warehouse” to a “learning site” (p.41). Yes! That is what I desire; a learning site where the “the school librarian is a partner for learning, the boundaries between the traditional classroom and library space become one shared learning space” (p.43).

In the dialogue below, I describe the mock scenario in which I take on two of the many roles of a teacher librarian.

A: Teacher-Librarian as a Student Support

TL: Dave, I am so glad to see you today. But, you look frustrated. Is there something I can help you with?

Dave: I am thinking of dropping English Lit 10. I have to submit an intended reading list and my reading goals for the year. I admit that I am not a big fan of reading and only took this course because it fit my schedule and I needed the credits. Reading novels is so hard; the only ones I have finished in the past are those that were assigned readings. Thank goodness, movies and Coles’ Notes were available for those novels. Now, I need to come up with a whole list of books that I will actually finish.  I can never do that.

TL: Would you mind if I helped you? Perhaps I can speak to your teacher and see if she will allow us to come up with a list one book at a time, rather than an entire reading list.

Dave: I guess I can give that a try. What book do you recommend?

TL: What are your passions, hobbies and interests? Let’s start with that. Then, let’s see what kind of books you like.

Dave then describes his hobbies and interests and his love for action movies, especially those with a clear hero.

TL: I have an idea, let’s look at a book list and see what we can find. I will show you a few, tell you a bit about each and then you can choose one to start with. I will talk with your teacher and describe the plan that you and I have come up with. I know your teacher loves reading and is so excited with her new plan to allow students more choice in the books they read.

We then spend some time digging through the Novelist in the ERAC bundle on the library computer. I show Dave how to search for books by topic or by type. From the list, we then narrow it down to three choices. I pull them off the shelf and give a mini book talk to Dave. He selects one to try. I encourage him to read the first two chapters and then come and tell me what he thinks.

 We write down the names of the other two choices to keep for future possibilities. I ask Dave to check back with me tomorrow, after I have had a chance to talk with his teacher. Dave feels supported and listened to and leaves the library feeling much more hopeful. 

Screen Shots of EBSCO site that could help Dave find books of interest.

Background Knowledge:

As I heard recently on Stephen Krashen’s video: “The Power of Reading” one positive reading experience can make someone into a reader. He referenced a book titled “The Read Aloud Handbook” in which one’s ‘homerun book’ becomes a catalyst for a love of reading. Furthermore, as stated by Gaiman (2013), “to discover that reading per se is pleasurable…you’re on the road to reading everything”.

So, if I can find one great book that Dave will enjoy he will be motivated to read another. Tackling an entire list is too daunting, but starting with one book seems more manageable.

Through a 1:1 conversation, I helped Dave identify his ‘reading identity’ and to find that one “home run” book that will lead him down a road to reading.

B. Teacher-Librarian as Collaborator

I am very careful to approach the teacher with enthusiasm and support for her efforts to encourage more student choice and for her goal of stimulating a love of reading. I explain that Dave came to see me and how he was feeling frustrated because he just didn’t think he could come up with a list of books. He has struggled to read any book, let alone many. I explain that I helped Dave find one book to begin with. I share Gaiman’s article with the teacher and ask the teacher’s permission if I can work alongside Dave to create an ongoing list, rather than a complete list at the onset of the course. I explain that I asked Dave to check in with me tomorrow after I had a chance to speak to the teacher.

I tell the teacher how I am so proud of her for deliberately including in her syllabus more student choice. I show her the following quote from the article:

“The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.”

I also share with the teacher the link to the study by the Institute for Education (2013) about reading for pleasure. I tell her how surprised I was to read that “reading for pleasure was found to be more important for children’s cognitive development between ages 10 and 16 than their parents’ level of education” (web post).

I ask the teacher if she would like to bring the whole class to the library so I can demonstrate how the Novel search through EBSCO works and how this may be a good starting point in finding books.

The teacher is delighted that I have helped Dave get started and that he is willing to give the class a try. The teacher wholeheartedly gives me permission to work with Dave and to allow him to submit an ‘ongoing’ list (formative) rather than a complete list. She is equally thrilled that I am willing to work with the whole class to support them in finding their books and in creating their lists.

The initial project takes off and becomes a treasure hunt for the nuggets of gold in the library!


Gaiman, N. (2013, October 15). Why our future depends on libraries, reading an daydreaming. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming?CMP=twt_gu

Hamilton, B. J. (2011a). Creating conversations for learning: School libraries as sites of participatory culture. School Library Monthly 27(8): 41-43.

Hamilton, B. J. (2011b.). The school librarian as teacher: What kind of a teacher are you? Knowledge Quest39(5): 34-40.

Institute of Education, University of London. (2013, September 11). Reading for pleasure puts children ahead in the classroom, study finds.  Retrieved from http://www.ioe.ac.uk/newsEvents/89938.html

Krashen, S. (2012, April 5). The power of reading. The COE lecture series. University of Georgia. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSW7gmvDLag

Learning Curation #2: October 1 (LLED 462)

A teacher-librarian wears many hats and has many roles within the school. As a classroom teacher with no actual experience (yet) in the library/learning commons, I do wonder if I can accomplish everything and can meet all of the demands. However, I find the role very exciting as a teacher-librarian has the opportunity to really feel the pulse of the entire school.

I like the change from “library” to “Learning Commons”. As stated in Leading Learning (2014), “a learning commons is a whole school approach to building a participatory learning community” (p.3). Like the center hub of a wheel or the centre of a spider web, the learning experiences spiral outwards into all aspects of the school. “This space, which is a blend of physical and virtual environments, transforms teaching and learning by allowing both staff and students to co-create knowledge” (Leading Learning, 2014, p. 5). I love that description to ‘co-create knowledge!

To create my ‘recipe for a school library as a place of literacy and learning’, I decided to make a Prezi. I have only dabbled with this tool a bit a few years ago but had hoped to use Prezi as a digital tool with my grade 7 classes. One of my curriculum mini-units is centered around digital literacy/citizenship. With each lesson topic, I want my students to then create a short presentation summarizing the information using a digital tool. I framed the assignment as “create a short presentation to teach grade 5-6 students about what it means to be a good digital citizen.

My essential question framing my thinking is:

  • How do I set up a learning commons in a brand new school that will become the “nerve centre of the school” (Leading Learning, p.6)

In formulating my recipe, I consulted a number of readings and have listed them below as References.

The link to my Prezi:

Recipe for Literacy and Learning


DeWith, Y. (n.d.). [web blog]. Tech Tools for learning. Retrieved from www.techtoolsforlearning

Canadian Library Association. (2014) Leading learning: Standards of practice for school library learning commons in Canada. Ottawa: Ontario.

Ekdahl, M. and Zubke, S. (Eds). (May 2014). From School Library to Library Learning Commons: A Pro-Active Model for Educational Change. Vancouver School District #39. Retrieved from http://bctf.ca/bctla/pub/documents/2014/SL2LLC_ReviewingCopy.pdf

National Library of New Zealand. (n.d.). School libraries. Retrieved from http://schools.natlib.govt.nz/school-libraries)

Together for Learning School Libraries and the Emergence of the Learning Commons: A Vision of the 21st Century. (2010). Ontario School Library Association. Retrieved from https://www.accessola.org/web/Documents/OLA/Divisions/OSLA/TogetherforLearning.pdf


Learning Curation #1: September 17

Ah, the development of an essential question!!

In reading the passion profiles, I was immediately struck by Passion #2 “The Curriculum”. I love tweaking curriculum to make it more relevant and engaging for my students. I rarely teach the same lesson in the same way. I always considered myself a bit of a ‘nerd’ to actually enjoy curriculum planning and development. Over the course of my 24-year career, I have seen several re-inventions of the BC Curriculum: from “Whole Language” to “Back to Basics with detailed IRPs” and a variety of iterations in between.

My second passion would be #4: “Teaching Strategies and Techniques”. Yes, I do find myself lying awake some nights devising new strategies for teaching a particular concept. I do have my tried and true methods that are successful, but I love to glean and/or invent new ways to engage my students.

Passion #7 “Advocating Equity and Social Justice” certainly ranks in my top three. I love to challenge my students to think deeply about social justice issues that pertain to both world events and to their local communities/relationships. Moving to grade 7 last year provided many opportunities for rich conversations about “Conflict”, “Stereotypes”, “Homelessness” and “Refugee Crisis”. I created action projects in which my students went out into the community to help build community gardens for Habitat for Humanity housing complex, make sandwiches/cookies for a weekly homeless ministry in Burnaby and interact with immigrant and refugee children at a nearby non-profit housing complex. The reactions from my students were fantastic. One student commented, “It felt great to meet some of the needs in my community, even though I am only a kid.”

Passion Profiles

I suppose one could say that my goals for this course are wrapped up in my passions. I seek ways to interact with the curriculum (both this course and the new BC Ed Plan) through a variety of tools and techniques that would really cause my students to pause and think about what they are learning and how they can impact the world around them.

Essential Question formation:

In wrestling with my essential question, I need to provide a bit of background into my teaching environment. I am teaching at at K-7 independent school. (just a side note, it is the same school that I attended as a child!) We are bursting at the seams and are in the midst of a building project of a new high school. I have strongly indicated my desire to take on the role of the teacher-librarian at this new site. My administration is completely on board with the Learning Commons model and whole-heartedly embraces this direction. However, we are new to this! I have the possibility to set up a new library in a new facility. What a fantastic opportunity!

So the essential questions I am wrestling with are:

  1. How can maker spaces in the Learning Commons be used to foster knowledge building, creativity and innovation? (Leading Learning, p. 30)
  2. In a brand new Learning Commons, how can I foster a culture that values life-long learning? [refer to Leading Learning, p. 30]
  3. How do I set up a learning commons in a brand new school that will become the “nerve centre of the school” (Leading Learning, p.6)

Response to Readings:

 “Leading Learning”

I have looked through this document on several occasions as part of my previous course work in the T-L program. It is a well-written document that clearly outlines the steps schools can move through in transitioning towards a learning commons model. I am especially drawn to pages 6-7 that describe the rationale and the explanation of the learning commons model. I don’t want my library to be just about collecting dots but about “connecting [the dots] through cross-curricular partnerships that boost critical thinking, problem solving, decision making and communicating abilities” (Leading Learning, p.6.

As listed in the document, the following standards outline the various roles of the Learning Commons and provide a framework for my thinking as I set up a Learning Commons:

  • “The library learning commons plays a key role in cultivating and facilitating collaboration to provide rich experiential learning opportunities” (p.11)
  • “The ultimate goal of the library learning commons is improved student achievement through the refining of instruction for essential literacy, research and inquiry and communication skills.” (p. 13)
  • “Knowledge-building, creativity and innovation, and honing of information management and literacy skills are key goals of the learning commons. (p. 15)
  • “The school Library Learning Commons has a leading role in assisting learners to hone and apply an expanded notion of literacy as well as fostering an active reading culture.” (p. 17)
  • “Active and knowledgeable involvement in participatory learning… through the [development of] security, privacy and good digital citizenship practices as well as effective collaboration skills and ensuring accessibility for all.” (p. 19)

IFLA School Library Guidelines

The second reading is a very helpful resource. My school does not have a library handbook and I can see that much of the detailed information within this document would be so useful in creating one. I appreciate how well laid out the document is and the extensive list of resources at the end of each chapter. In light of the possible direction of my essential question, chapter 5 “Programs and Activities of a School Library” stood out for me.


 Bermudez, P., Cabera, B., & Emm, L. (n.d.). Passion Profiles. Adapted from G. Thompson-Grove’s, “Student Profiles,”. National School Reform Faculty. Retrieved from http://www.nsrfharmony.org/system/files/protocols/passion_profiles.pdf

Canadian Library Association. (2014) Leading learning: Standards of practice for school library learning commons in Canada. Ottawa: Ontario.

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. (2015) IFLA School Library Guidelines., 2nd revised Ed. Den Haag, Netherlands.


Evaluation Plan to Improve Reference Services: Assignment 3

Assignment 3: Yvonne DeWith

LIBE 467: Winter, 2017  Assignment 3 Y. DeWith


Children are curious by nature; one of the first words my children ever learned was “why?” Although children have an innate desire to ask questions and search for answers, the skills needed to “determine what information best fits our needs at any point in time involves a skill called ‘information literacy’ and a process called “information inquiry’” (Riedling, 2013, p. 3).

The school library provides information through quality references sources and instructs or guides the use of this information. Both are instrumental components to increase student achievement. This second component of instruction for information literacy skills has been a ‘hit and miss’ endeavour in my school. Currently, my school does not have any policies or procedures in place regarding the library and/or information literacy skills. Some of the skills are taught in isolation within the library, while other skills are taught within the classroom setting as parts of curriculum units. However, the absorption and adoption of these skills is most effective when the teacher-librarian collaborates with the classroom teacher. (Haycock, 2003)

To clarify, the term ‘information literacy’ includes “students’ capacity to find, evaluate, organize and transform information” (People for Education, 2011). Although there is a growing recognition on the importance of these skills in the 21st century, many schools are lagging behind. When Ontario principles, for example, were asked if their school had an information literacy plan, most principals pointed to plans to improve test scores in reading and writing and ignored the need for information literacy (People for Education, 2011, p.2). Because of the importance of information literacy skills, I would like to develop a scope and sequence plan that can be incorporated through collaboration between the teacher-librarian and the classroom teachers.

Analysis of Current Practice

To begin with, I wanted to get a sense of the current practices in my school as described by the teachers. So, I developed a google form survey. Realizing that it is report card week and teachers’ time is so limited, I tried to create the form to be simple to use and quick for teachers to complete. As described below, my initial hunches were confirmed. Teachers were implementing some form of information literacy skills into their lessons and units but these were disconnected to the library and were sporadic in nature. There did not seem to be a common, shared vocabulary among the staff as teachers were ‘doing their own thing’.

Rationale for Improvement

Because information overload faces 21st century students, explicit information literacy instruction is crucial to increase student achievement and to develop lifelong learners. Haycock (2003) states “such contributions are essential to student achievement and [are] most successful when the teacher-librarian works collaboratively with the classroom teacher” (p.22). Furthermore, “information literacy is most effective when integrated with classroom instruction through collaborative planning/ team teaching; in other words, the school library extends beyond its walls as an integral part of every classroom experience” (p.22). Teaching these skills in isolation of real-life, practical or classroom applications diminishes the effectiveness of the lessons. Through a scope and sequence that is mutually agreed upon and collaboratively planned between classroom teachers and teacher-librarian, the benefits of integrated information skills instruction will be maximized (p.23).

During a recent project on Ancient Egypt, my grade seven students engaged in the research process and reflected on the information literacy skills learned along the way. The following student quotes taken from DeWith’s blog (Feb. 15, 2017) demonstrate the effectiveness of incorporating skills within classroom application.

  • “I learned that books actually have a lot of useful information since I always used the internet”  (Note, I insisted they had to start with 3 books)
  • “It was hard to think of a question that I really wanted to do…I learned that books are REALLY helpful”.
  • “Facts are not only on websites but there are a lot of facts in books!”
  • “I learned that you should be organized and know where you got those facts”.
  • “I learned that I shouldn’t rush through looking for facts but instead, I should look thoroughly and also keep track of where my information was from.”
  • “I learned that sometimes you have to look at multiple books and websites to find facts and also to verify facts.”

In collating background research to develop a scope and sequence, I looked at the following resources:

As the basis of my scope and sequence, I used the Points of Inquiry (BCTF, 2011) to structure the categories.

Points of Inquiry

Points of Inquiry Resources


The Plan

The Leading Learning Document is a great resource to use when guiding a school through transition. Although the guide targets bringing a school towards a Learning Commons approach, I adapted the steps of the process to my plan of integrating a shared vocabulary and a scope and sequence for information literacy skills.

Leading Learning Document: Standards of Practice for Learning Commons

Leading Learning
  1. Consult phase

As part of the consult phase of leading a school through a transition and to create an environment conducive to change, I would enlist the support of my administration and primary/intermediate coordinators. I will share my rationale for developing a scope and sequence.

2. Plan phase

I would assess the current practice at my school regarding information literacy skills through

  • Informal conversations with teachers and with the librarian
  • Google form survey for teachers

I created a google form survey but due to the busy time of year, only a limited number of responses were recorded. In the future, I would conduct this survey during an August staff meeting. However, the results did show some interesting trends. I found it interesting that ‘inquiry process’ was most familiar with teachers and that none of the teachers had heard of ‘points of inquiry’.

Familiarity with Research Processes

As recorded, skills in isolation at the library were infrequent.

Information Literacy Skills in the Library

By looking closely at the skills of each stage of the research process, I was able to get a sense of what the teachers expected of their students at grades 2, 4 and 6. I was curious to see how many teachers value collaboration and was pleased to see that 100% of the respondents would love to collaborate on a unit.

Interest in Collaboration?

Develop a suggested scope and sequence as a draft document (August Staff Meeting)

  • As a staff, preview the suggested scope and sequence I developed
  • Meet in grade level groups and primary/intermediate for feedback and suggested changes or additions
  • Revise the scope and sequence

Share finalized scope and sequence with administrators and staff (September Staff Meeting)

Information Literacy Skills Scope and Sequence

Scope and Sequence Page 1 (sample)
  • Points of Inquiry research process
  • Encourage a ‘shared vocabulary’ throughout the school for the research process
  • Provide posters of Points of Inquiry to each classroom teacher

3. Implement Phase

Invite teachers to collaborate with the library  (begin in October and continue throughout the year)

  • Co-plan lessons to target specific information literacy skills
    • Points of Inquiry lesson planning resources may be helpful

Elementary Planning Package: BCTLA

  • Lead professional development sessions for primary and intermediate staff to target specific skills such as how to teach ‘effective keyword searches’ and ‘how to use databases for searching’

Encourage and support teachers as they continue to teach information literacy skills within their curricular topics and units.

4. Monitor Phase

Encourage the use of information literacy skills and a shared, common vocabulary through brief monthly check-ins at monthly staff meetings. Each month, I would draw attention back to the scope and sequence and invite feedback on how the process is going and inquire if help is needed in any area. Through this, I can also then target mini professional development workshops to assist teachers in developing these skills.

5. Evaluate Phase

At the end of the year, I would create a short google form survey to ask for feedback on the effectiveness of the scope and sequence. Did they notice an improvement in information literacy skills of their students? Were students more prepared for the inquiry process? What gaps were found? What skills will be needed to target those areas?

6. Follow Up Phase

If any changes are necessary, revisions will be made and an updated scope and sequence will be drafted for August’s staff meeting. Due to the nature of a fluctuating staff, I will meet with new staff members each August/September to share the scope and sequence plan, to invite collaboration with the teacher-librarian, and to highlight resources and professional development assistance offered through the library.


Asselin, M., Branch, J., & Oberg, D. (Eds.). (2003). Achieving Information Literacy: Standards for School Library Programs in Canada. Ottawa, Ontario: Canadian Association for School Libraries.

BCTLA Task Force. (2011). Points of Inquiry: A Framework For Information Literacy and The 21st Century Learner. BCTF. Retrieved from http://bctf.ca/bctla/pub/documents/Points%20of%20Inquiry/PointsofInquiry.pdf

Canadian Library Association. (2014). Leading Learning- Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada.

DeWith, Y. (Feb. 15, 2017). “Student Reflections on the Research Process”. [web blog] Experience Learning. Retrieved from https://ydewith.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/student-reflections-on-the-research-process/

Haycock, Ken. (2003). The crisis of school libraries in Canada. Toronto, ON: Association of Canadian Publishers. Retrieved April 8, 2014 from http://bccsl.ca/download/HaycockReport.pdf

Riedling, A. (2013). Reference skills for the school library media specialist: Tools and tips (3rd ed.). Santa Barbara, CA: Linworth.

People for Education. (2011). School Libraries and Information Literacy. People for Education Annual Report on Ontario’s Publicly Funded Schools. Retrieved from http://www.peopleforeducation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/School-Libraries-2011.pdf

New York City Department of Education. (2017). Standards and Curriculum. [website] Retrieved from  http://schools.nyc.gov/Academics/LibraryServices/StandardsandCurriculum/default.htm

Stec, E. (2004). Guidelines for Information Literacy Assessment (A flyer). The Hague: IFLA