Well, I would most certainly like to think that this is not an end, but a beginning of a new chapter in my career. Though I do not yet have a library to call my own, I am most certainly hopeful that an opportunity will soon present itself. When it does, I do believe that will be my time to leave my classroom and become a Teacher-Librarian. To be honest, it scares me. My stomach is in knots as I think of leaving my classroom for the library. I have an amazing classroom – the best location in the school actually. The view of the mountains is spectacular. The light is just perfect in the late afternoon, and I have worked so hard to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. My students, and visiting teachers, love it. I have invested in soft white lights and lamps scattered around the room. There are four bean bag chairs and about 8 floor mats that the students can use anywhere in the classroom. I have a huge 8 x 10 carpet, which is our class meeting area. This space, my second home, will be hard to leave. As I commented on this with a colleague, she said that with the library, I will just have a larger space to recreate. She’s right, but it’s always scary to leave a place of comfort, for one that is new and uncertain. Our last Professional Learning Day began with a discussion on fixed versus growth mindset and I have decided that I will embrace this challenge when it presents itself and put as much effort into my own library as I have into my own classroom.
My Vision Project – Why?
When I wrote my first blog post in September, I chose three keywords to guide me on my journey through this course – inquiry, assessment and digital portfolios. What I discovered during my research and further blog posts is that these key words are integral in my classroom, and also to Teacher-Librarians (TL). These key words have helped me see connections between what I do in the classroom and what I plan to do in my own library.
During Phase 2 of the course, I focused on the words connection, collaboration and pedagogy. Reading and researching these concepts revealed yet another connection between what I do as a classroom teacher and what happens in our library. I realized, after talking to our Teacher-Librarian, that some teachers and parents do not truly understand the role of the TL in a school. This truly baffled me, but her comment that some still believe all librarians do is shelve books, bothered me. Then again, some believe that all teachers leave the school promptly at 3 pm and never do any work at home. Sometimes, conversations happen for a reason.
Phase 3 was when the final visioning process began and after much thought and the conversation with our Teacher-Librarian, I decided that I would focus on advocacy. Over the last 15 years, budget cuts have resulted in a reduction of 345 Teacher-Librarians. Here is the report.
Some schools have no librarian, or have suffered a reduction of library hours. Many TLs spend their time teaching prep blocks and have very little time (or money) for maintaining their library collections or collaborating with staff. These activities will most likely happen before or after school.
Thankfully, there has been a large amount of research that spans a 40-year period that discusses the positive impact on learning in schools with a qualified full-time TL. If you’re interested in reading the research, please see the BCTLA advocacy webpage or the BCTF School Libraries page.
My Vision Project – How?
Many different platforms exist for creating presentations, but some are more effective than others. iMovie is the most common application used for creating movies, but there are newer online applications such as WeVideo and Animoto, but they have certain restrictions, such as cost and time limits. The other consideration is privacy. Creating content online means the data is stored on a server that is probably located in the United States. We must take this into consideration when using tools with our students.
I chose to use PowToon. A great new tool that can be used as a slideshow or a movie. Animations and special effects make PowToons fun to watch, and to create. In my classroom, I have been teaching my students to use Google Slides as we have embraced Google Apps for Education (GAFE), but I think they would have fun using PowToon. It is very easy to use, includes tutorials and is actually quite cheap at only $8/month for a teacher and 60 students. My students would not have to create an account as they can use their existing Google account, and your creation can be kept private, if you purchase the Education account. As I was just piloting the platform, I did not pay, but I might consider using this in the future. I would probably ask another teacher to share the account as I only have 24 students in my class.
My Vision Project – Finale
My PowToon focuses on the role of libraries in schools and the role of Teacher-Librarians. It is not so much about advocacy, but more of education. I feel that many stakeholders don’t truly understand how TLs contribute to their schools – administrators, teachers and parents. The creation of this ‘movie’, helped me really understand what my future role will be in the school library. I’m excited because I think there is so much that can be offered – a culture of reading, learning and collaboration.
Resources used in my research:
America Association of School Librarians. (2014). American Libraries: School Libraries Transform Learning (Digital supplement on school libraries). Retrieved on November 21, 2015, from http://www.ala.org/aasl/advocacy/tools/transforming
BCTLA Position Statement. (2010). School Library Programs, Teacher-Librarians and Effective Teaching and Learning. Retrieved on November 24, 2015, from http://bctf.ca/bctla/pub/documents/SchoolLibraryProgramsPositionStatement.pdf
BCTLA Working and Learning Conditions, Survey Results 2014-2015, Retrieved on November 28, 2015, fromhttp://bctf.ca/bctla/pub/reports/wlc/1415WLCReport.pdf
CASL, The Role of the Teacher-Librarian: A Checklist for the Future. Retrieved on November 24, 2015, from http://www.cla.ca/AM/Template.cfmSection=Publications2&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=2709
Haycock, K. (2011). Connecting British Columbia (Canada) school libraries and school achievement: A comparison of higher and lower performing schools with similar overall funding. Retrieved on November 21, 2015, fromhttp://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1105&context=ken_haycock.
Ministry of Education, British Columbia. (2015). Introduction to British Columbia’s Redesigned Curriculum. Retrieved on November 21, 2015, from https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/sites/curriculum.gov.bc.ca/files/pdf/curriculum_intro.pdf
NCTE. (2013). Framework for 21st Century Curriculum and Assessment. Retrieved on November 28, 2015, fromhttp://www.ncte.org/governance/21stcenturyframework
Oberg. D. “Ignoring the Evidence: Another Decade of Decline for School Libraries.”Education Canada. 55, no. 4. (2015) Retrieved on November 28, 2015, from http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/ignoring-evidence-another-decade-decline-school-libraries
Sykes, J. (2010). Transforming Canadian School Libraries to Meet the Needs of 21st Century Learners: Alberta Education School Library Services Initiative – Research Review and Principal Survey Themes, Retrieved on November 21, 2015, from https://education.alberta.ca/media/1293749/slsi_research.pdf