by Laura Guest, ASD
Session: Fostering wonder, empowering curiosity and inspiring inquiry –Presented by Katie Clark
Katie’s serene presentation was spot on. Through her presentation slides, she reminded us how curious children are by nature. How often do we hear “why” from the youngest child, then a bit later “how come, what is it, how does it work” only to have them replaced by stony silence as they move from grade to grade? As we rush through curriculum we feel pressured to move on at the speed of light leaving no room for curiosity. Many of my lessons were designed for a 50 minute library class and I realize now, I am trying to teach them in 30 minutes leaving us all frazzled at the end of library.
Trying to prove to administrators, co-workers and parents that I am teaching something of value, I have forgotten to take the time to slow down and enjoy the books I am reading to my students. I have been rushing through the story, maybe calling on one or two students to quickly answer a question I pose and turning the page. I often have an activity that relates to our books that include the AASL library standards and the related CCSS as proof I taught something of value. Katie’s session reminded me that I need to teach these skills by allowing the students to do the inquiring. Katie suggests using the phrases “I notice” (understanding what you see) and “I wonder” (a form of critical thinking). A website that would have been perfect for my oldest son, whose first word was ‘why’, is Wonderopolis®. Their website states “Welcome to Wonderopolis®, a place where natural curiosity and imagination lead to exploration and discovery in learners of all ages. Each day, we pose an intriguing question—the Wonder of the Day®—and explore it in a variety of ways.”
My next lesson will use the book Do Not Open the Box by Timothy Young a book that will easily encourage curiosity! Rather than squeezing too much into one lesson, we’ll slow down and it might take three or four for the students to create their own box with a surprise.
DEED is beginning the process of reviewing and recommending Library/Information Literacy content standards, which were originally adopted in 1999. The process will involve writing and review committees who will work collaboratively online to develop new standards. There will be no face to face meetings and compensation will be in the form of one continuing education credit from UAA. Most of the work will be done over the summer. DEED intends to present the standards to the Alaska Board of Education by winter 2019; adoption would be finalized by spring 2020. Applications due May 7, 2019 to Janet Madsen, School Library Coordinator (email@example.com). CLICK HERE for APPLICATION and HERE for detailed information sheet.
By Julie Doepken
One of the best parts of attending any large library conference is the BOOKS! Everywhere, BOOKS! After attending AASL twice, I had an idea what to expect regarding access to advanced reader copies (ARCs) and giveaways, and ALA Midwinter was much the same. In fact, it felt a little like *the* place to be to see up and coming titles and series. Perhaps that was because of the buzz of anticipation over the Youth Media Awards and knowing attendees were on the search for the newest, best books for their libraries.
No matter where you looked, publishers had myriad books on display.
Their reps were ready to answer questions, offer an ARC of a particularly
inviting title, or encourage you to pick up and see for yourself if a book
would meet the needs of your library. You could start a conversation with
just about anyone within earshot, comparing notes on books already read,
books waiting to be read, or books newly discovered, or give or receive a
book recommendation. As the exhibit hall opened, conference goers
flooded through the doors and those wonderful free tote bags were soon
filled with books.
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By Deborah Rinio
Like any field, research into school libraries helps inform librarians on the newest trends, methodologies, and thinking around school library practice. Trade publications such as School Library Journal and Voice of Youth Advocates contain articles and advice from practitioners and are definitely useful, but they rarely contain research reports and are not peer-reviewed.
Taking the time to read the newest research can help school librarians improve their teaching, management, and advocacy by exploring the newest trends and methods in the field. For example, an article on guided inquiry in School Library Journal might focus on the how of the approach; whereas an article on the same topic in School Library Research will explore not only the how, but the why, and the resulting data from the researcher’s study. This additional information can be used by the school librarian in applying the approach to their own circumstance, as well as making a case for the approach to teachers and administrators.
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Get Booked! How to Make the Most of Children and Teen Author Visits in Libraries, School Libraries and Classrooms
By Julie Doepken
A group of six authors and librarians shared tips and insights to encourage attendees to arrange author
visits for their school or library. The session was an informal panel discussion, guided by a moderator
who asked questions of the authors. There was a brief Q & A at the end as well.
One of the first questions asked was why even go to the effort and expense to arrange an author visit.
The answers varied slightly, but most of the authors viewed visits as a way to model writing as a
vocation. One author suggested that visits help to ‘humanize’ authors, to make them regular people and
therefore presents writing as something that could be attained by any student as well. Another author
shared that visits could get students excited about writing in a way that regular classroom instruction
could not. Author visits are a unique way to get students to engage with literature.
As far as preparing for an author to come, all of the authors agreed that the host school or library must
prepare the audience by sharing as much information about the author as possible before the visit.
Share the author’s books, tell about the author’s background. If students do not have a sense of who
the author is, it is much more difficult for them to connect with the author once the author is there. One
author shared that a visit went quite awry because the students had no idea what books that author had
written. By laying some groundwork, the visit should be much smoother. By being super positive and by
advertising well, a host librarian or teacher can make it feel as though a celebrity is coming, making the
visit highly anticipated and more well attended.
The panel advised potential hosts not to hesitate to reach out to publishers and ask questions. Find the
author’s website and peruse it for information that will help set up a potential visit. Do some homework
to know if the author’s fees are affordable. If it appears that cost will be a factor, seek out grants or PTA
funding. See if the event can be connected with another library. And, a large number of authors will
Skype for free or a reduced fee. Kate Messner has a great list of authors who will Skype for free. It
may not be the perfect option, but one author on the panel shared several Skype success stories, with
the visit being more focused on one aspect of writing or the author’s books. The authors acknowledged
the fees may feel expensive, but that in the end, it is worth the cost to bring an author to a school or
Throughout the discussion, it was quite evident that the authors enjoy author visits and use them to
energize student learning and encourage future writers. There may be a lot of paperwork involved, but
in the end, fighting for ways to better engage students is worth the work.
By Lydia Frankenburger
Not long before I attended the 2019 ALA Midwinter Conference I saw #ownvoices on a list for types to book to read for the year, which made me reflect about the books I get for my high school. Am I getting books that my students identify with? I like to think I am, but I need to make sure I am more conscious about it. I should add that a month or so before seeing the hashtag one of my big fantasy readers pointed out that he was not seeing any new fantasy books with a male protagonist. Because of this conversation, I searched for more recently published fantasy books with a male protagonist, which I found is not easy. I also connected the student with one of my favorite fantasy books, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, which he loved, but I digress.
When I saw that there was a session featuring #ownvoices authors I knew ...(CLICK HERE to continue reading)
By Lydia Frankenberger
Rick Steves, American travel writer, advocate, and TV personality was one of the auditorium speakers during the 2019 ALA Midwinter. He spoke for over 75 minutes about his travels in Europe, especially related to his book, Travel as a Political Act. One thing he spoke about was concerning current issues such as world trade, the environment, and the opioid epidemic where America’s views or solutions differ from much of the rest of the world’s. (Click here to continue reading)
By Lydia Frankenburger
The 2019 ALA Midwinter conference in Seattle was my first national library conference. I was encouraged by a fellow high school librarian who is also a friend to go to it, especially since it was one flight away in Seattle. Before attending, my friend gave me some tips from her experience:
Submitted by Robin Riddell-Gambel
Big Lake Elementary
I wrote this lesson plan for UAF class LS593 Invigorating Your Library with AASL National Standards. Learning About Your Library – Each One Teach One
Intended grade levels 3rd and up
Prior knowledge needed: Genres, alphabetizing, numerical order
Materials: Sticky notes labels with sections ( i.e. 398.2 L-S or RIO-RYD), index cards for notes, tent cards or numbered signs.)
Objective: Each student becomes a mini-expert or guide for their section and shares their knowledge with others as they come through on tour.