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:
- Provincial Specialists’ Association. 2006-2017). BC Teachers’ Federation. [website]. Retrieved from http://bctf.ca/PSAwebsites.aspx
- TeachBC. (2015). BC Teachers’ Federation. [website]. Retrieved from http://teachbc.bctf.ca/
(I admit that I then got “lost” exploring these two sites. Many great resources to support me teaching!)
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:
- informal meeting with librarian and the individual questioning the resource to determine the nature of the concern
- individual is advised to submit a formal written request that the resource be reconsidered
- principal receives request and attempts to resolve the matter at the school level; if not possible, the matter proceeds to the School District staff.
- 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:
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 Schools. TLSpecial Weekly Report. Blog. Vancouver, BC.
Ekdahl, M. (2013). Copyright considerations. TLSpecial Wiki. Vancouver, BC.
Hay, L. & Foley, C. (2009). School libraries building capacity for student learning in 21C. Scan 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.
- Webquest: Evaluating Websites for the Elementary Student. (n.d.) Zunal.com. Retrieved from http://zunal.com/webquest.php?w=137540
- Johnson, L. & Lamb, A. (2007). Teacher Tap: Internet Resources for Teaching and Learning. Eduscapes. Retrieved from http://eduscapes.com/tap/tap2.htm
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.
- Crockett, L. (Dec. 12, 2016). The Critical Thinking Skills Cheatsheet. [blog post]. Retrieved from https://globaldigitalcitizen.org/critical-thinking-skills-cheatsheet-infographic
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.
- National Geographicand National Geographic Kids
- NASA Education for Educatorsand NASA Education for Students
- The Encyclopedia of Earth
- The Canadian Wildlife Federation
- The Canadian Encyclopedia
- The Atlas of Canada
- BBC Schools
- Smithsonian Education
- Virtual Museum of Canada
- Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History
- The Chinese Experience in Canada (1850-1950)
- The Critical Thinking Consortium / Resources
- Facing History
- Sparticl (Module 6, p. 5)
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)
- Dihydrogen Monoxide
- The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
- Buy Dehydrated Water
- Pets or Foods
- Mike the Headless Chicken
- POP! The First Male Pregnancy
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). Curation. School 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.