Monday, November 12, 2007

Lots Happening, Part II: Class at Dominican U.

This actually happened Tuesday of last week so it's a little out of order with the previous post.

Martha Allen, a former English teacher-extraordinaire at Redwood, has invited me for a few years to come a talk to her secondary curriculum class at Dominican University. This was the third time I've visited and been able to share my insights with would-be teachers.

There were about 15-20 students present for the class which is a good number for sharing and discussion. I was with the class for just about an hour. About half of the time was taken by my explaining just what a library media teacher is in California, the sad state of our libraries in general and what a good librarian can do for them in promoting and teaching information literacy and helping their kids learn and hone skills they will need their entire lives.

Many of the students had had experiences with librarians, both good and bad, and as always I stressed that most librarians are eager to help in whatever way they can. I emphasized that they really like to be part of the planning process so that the opportunities and challenges of any assignment can be discussed before the kids begin their projects.

We talked a bit about what kids are reading these days and I reassured them that we have a wide range of materials to support various reading levels and interests. We also discussed the concept of free reading which many teachers put restrictions on. I explained, and Martha concurred, that the best kind of free reading is really free, ala Stephen Krashen. His theory and practice is that whether students (children or adults) are reading comic books, magazines or the most ancient classics, it's the act of reading which is essential, not the content.

I really like the opportunity to share with folks who may not be very comfortable around librarians the chance to interact in a free-flowing sort of way, bring up challenges they have faced and see what kinds of solutions we can reach. It's too bad we don't have the time to do something similar at our school sites often enough.

Lots Happening, Part I: The TV Taping

Wednesday of last week I, along with two other Marin County librarians were interviewed by Marin County Superintendent of Schools, Mary Jane Burke, at the Comcast studios. The interviews were part of the up-coming Education Matters TV program to be aired in December.

Also present for the interviews were Dane Lancaster, director of technology for the county office of education, Jane Ritter, district librarian for the Mill Valley school district, and Lori Deibel, library director at the Branson School in Ross.

Never having participated in such an experience it was fun to see how it all happens. Comcast had already been to Redwood as well as to Strawberry Point Elementary School to tape activities in their library media centers. Two short pieces will show their students and teachers in action in the library.

Taping started with the program introduction and closing by Mary Jane. The five minute segment with second graders at Strawberry Point was aired so we could all see it. Then Jane and Dane were asked a series of questions by the superintendent. The time, just under nine minutes, went very quickly with the two defining information literacy and talking about how technology has changed the way we look at and use information starting in the youngest grades.

Next it was the high school librarians' turn. The segment filmed at our library was shown and Lori and I were interviewed in our turn. Questions focused on how high schools students are finding and using information in ever more sophisticated ways. The time was way too short and in the end we assured Mary Jane that we'd love to come back for a follow-up some time.

Look for more information as soon as we find out when the program is available online and on the air.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

California at the AASL 2007

Here's a picture John McGinnis, photographer extraordinaire, took at the conference following the first keynote speaker on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Comcast taping

Last week Comcast cable came to the Bessie Chin Library to film students and teachers using technology and other resources to access information for reports and projects.
The film crew was here for over four hours. They filmed Mr. Hettleman's Academic Workshop students looking for information about how to do videotaping for a play they had written and Mr. Brown and Ms. Kemp's Government classes presenting their Mock Senate following weeks of research developing the bills they were to discuss and vote on.

This project grew out of something which the Marin County school librarians have been working on for quite a while. We had developed a scope-and-sequence of information literacy skills for grades K-12 based on the California School Library Association's Standards and Guidelines for Strong School Libraries. Just recently a link to the scope and sequence was added to MCOE's home page and the COE decided it was time to publicize the resource and the work that library media teachers throughout the county are doing to teach information skills to all students in the county.

LMTs are going to offer some staff development training sessions through the COE next semester but in the meantime we are going to be featured in an episode of EducationMatters, the locally-produced program about education in Marin County. Part of the program will be what they filmed here at Redwood last Tuesday.

This coming Wednesday I will be going to the Comcast studio on Anderson Drive to be interviewed along with a couple other librarians and Mary Jane Burke, County Superintendent of Schools. I'll be able to report about the whole experience afterwards and will also be able to let you know when the program will be aired. The program will also be available online through video streaming.