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I’m Teaching as Fast as I Can:

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Presentation on theme: "I’m Teaching as Fast as I Can:"— Presentation transcript:

1 I’m Teaching as Fast as I Can:
making purposeful connections through your library program Session 1210 OLA Superconference Tina Antoniou, Ruth Hall & Marc Kopyto Earl Haig Secondary School, TDSB January 31, 2008 Welcome to “I’m teaching as fast as I can”. [identify ourselves (give notes to Kate Johnson our convenor)] Before we get started we’d like to find out a bit about you. Can you raise your hand if you are from: Secondary school library/ Elementary school library? Anywhere else? Raise your hand if you are from: TDSB or TCDSB How long have you been in your school library: 1 - 2 years 3 - 5 years Veteran (I.e. more than 5) We’re hoping that what we have to say will be relevant to all of you and that we will meet our goal of giving you some practical ideas to take away to use in your program. We assume that you’ve come to this session because, like us, you work incredibly hard at what you do and you’d like to feel that your efforts are not going to waste.

2 Making Purposeful Connections:
We constantly trying to partner with everyone, treating each teacher and each student as if they are an individual unit: Supporting individual teachers Creating activities for individual classes Meeting the needs of individual students But do you get a clear sense of how this benefits the whole school? How can we make our connections purposeful? Making connections is a 2-edged sword. We want to be responsive and work hard to meet everyone’s needs but it’s as if we have to continually guess who’s coming to dinner. We are like a great host or hostess, welcoming everyone, creating inviting displays, providing literacy support and PD opportunities We’re constantly whipping up activities to support the needs of individual teachers, classes and students. But how can we be sure in all of our busyness, that our actions are achieving what we intend - to benefit the whole school?

3 The Challenge Often work alone Expectations from stakeholders
Variety of roles The journey - starting with the end in mind What challenges do we face which make it difficult for us to get that bigger whole school picture. Many of us work alone, We need to meet expectations of the various stakeholders in our communities: our fellow classroom teachers, students, administrators and ourselves. We need to decide how to manage the roles: teaching classes, managing the collection, the facility, the room, partnering, facilitating, training, leadership It’s as if we are on a journey, we have an idea of the places we’d like to visit without always having the clear picture of the route we need to take.

4 The Journey Everyone else has a text book or a profile to teach from, to serve as a road map for their journey. Where’s ours? So where are we going, We start with the end in mind (benefiting the whole school) but how decide on our route in the absence of a curriculum document, course profile, textbook. And while we are figuring this out we have the added challenge of maintaining a facility which is both a teaching space for classes and a service area for independent use by members of our learning communities.

5 Mapping the road ahead Creating a framework Focusing your efforts
Setting measurable goals Tracking what you do Building the big picture We wanted to create sanity in an insane world by moving beyond the piecemeal approach where you partner with 1 teacher at a time on one lesson and then partner with another teacher on a similar lesson. You’re doing a great job partnering with individual teachers but there’s a lack of clear vision or common approach. It isn’t always clear to your students that lessons in the library aren’t always the same 15 minute talk on databases.. You’re incredibly busy but you aren’t sure whether or not you’re making progress. It’s time to stop to map out a framework which will let you focus your efforts, set, goals, track your work and build a picture of your library in the context of the whole school. Naturally this takes time and it is always a work in process.

6 Creating a Framework Designing a “brand” (library handouts)
Framing lessons through a Research Process Model Finding common threads across grades & subjects to create an interdisciplinary approach to research skill building Where might you start. There are 3 primary areas that we have focused on. First creating a brand (image), 2nd is framing our lessons through a research process model and 3rd using curriculum mapping to identify common threads of research-related tasks across grades and subjects. All of these are tools in creating that bigger picture. Let’s look at these in little bit more detail.

7 Creating a Framework with Handouts
Source Log (MLA) Note Sheet Focused Note Sheet - Gr. 9 Science Note Sheet - ESL-D This is the simplest place to start. Be sure to put your library’s name on all of your handouts. If possible post them in a central place where students can access from home as well as from school. Do this through your school’s web site or consider setting up a wiki space for your library. One of our early “best sellers” is a fill in the blanks list of MLA style list of sources. It’s an easy way for kids to put together a citation once they learn where to find the required information using different sources. Even teachers who never want a lesson in the library send their students to pick up this handout at the circulation desk. We do a similar handout for APA style and use different coloured paper for each so that students can find them easily. We introduce these tools in our grade 9 Science classes using the Source Log and a “focused” style note-making sheet. This is a great opportunity to teach kids how to frame their research and to teach teachers that keeping track of sources and making notes are important steps in the research process. They are also part of the gr. 9 science curriculum. Question - I this a spot for Marc to talk about Civics/Careers handout?

8 Handouts Common style: Research Process stages identified Benefits:
Science 9 Common style: library name border around title same font Research Process stages identified Benefits: Create new documents by modifying existing Common look & feel reinforced Dance 11 Marc - as a newer teacher-librarian I find it helpful to use a common approach to setting up my documents. Our library handouts all have a similar style. This makes it easy for me when I set up a new handout. Because we post our handouts online, to be accessible to students from home I can get ideas from what has already been posted. That means that I don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel or worry about being consistent. It’s almost like having a template. TINA - In my classroom I have even gone so far as to give handouts on different coloured paper to reinforce the stage of the research process they represent. This could easily be followed in the library might want to follow my lead. However for those who have some discomfort with this environmentally, these handouts could be posted online on the school web site in folders by the stage of the research process

9 Research Process Model
Identify Relate Stage 1 Preparing Define Explore Research Process Model Knowledge and Understanding Thinking Communication Application Reflect Transfer Stage 4 Transferring Revise Present Select Collaborate Stage 2 Accessing Locate Gather Sort Synthesize Stage 3 Processing Analyze/ Evaluate Test Many of you are probably familiar with this graphic representing the 4 stages of the Process of Inquiry and Research. This Research Process Model is a framework which we don’t have to create. It’s already laid out for us. The achievement chart and achievement chart is applicable at each stage of the process. Although not all stages need to be evaluated in every assignment. The Process of Inquiry and Research

10 Avoid reinventing the wheel Modify to fit your needs
Research Guides Avoid reinventing the wheel Modify to fit your needs Student Research Guides such as the ones pictured here are excellent tools to focus your lessons and in planning your library program at the whole school level. It can be a challenge to move beyond always addressing stage 2 - accessing resources. A teacher recently commented that she didn’t understand why we spent so much time working on stage 1 - developing research questions” - with her ESL class until she saw their work when this step was missed. In the absence of focused questions, her students simply copied information blindly with no purpose, thought and little comprehension. And from the teacher’s point of view it makes the work less likely to be platiarized It is important for all of us but particularly for new t-ls - to keep track of the stage of the research process addressed in your lessons. Do a tally by grade and by subject of who is in the library for lessons (keep track separately of use which is lab time only - no teaching) so you know who you are reaching, and who you are not reaching and decide what to do about it. . Remember no effort is lost, often we take years to put ideas into full practice the idea of a framework is merely to give yourself a blueprint from which to build. The research process model makes a lot of sense to us in the library but what happens when you move it to the classroom

11 The View From the Classroom:
The dilemma of TIME Why it’s so hard to get beyond “show them the resources” The pressure to cover the curriculum How can you partner when there are so few moments to Plan & Reflect? Tina Teachers are unfamiliar with the research process model or haven’t bought into it. It may look like more work when really at the end of the day using the model actually creates work which can be divided into chunks and makes assignments much more manageable. Some teachers don’t plan weeks in advance. Time in the library can be difficult to get. There are issues of getting enough evaluation done Each stage of research process just takes too long and competes with covering curriculum content This is why from the classroom teacher perspective it’s hard to get beyond the “show them the resources” By framing the assignment through the 4 stages it makes it easier to plan what to ask to be taught in the library (or not to be taught) - t-l can share what’s going on in other subjects at the same grade level (e.g. doing plagiarism and citation across a grade) so I don’t have to teach it all! I’ll give you an example - 2 periods in the library for stage 2 (accessing resources). Ask class how many had learned about databases and searching library catalogues, so we didn’t teach that and focused on using specialized subject guides for law. This was positive for both teacher and kids because they were asked and listened to and didn’t get the same lesson over again. When crunched for time this let’s us focus on what is the most benefit RUTH say this -Real change takes time, creating an effective library program takes years to put in place, don’t be discouraged if it seems like slow work. It often is.

12 Creating a Framework with Assignments
Tina explains how she has framed these assignments in the 4 stage Process of Research & Inquiry Model Law - 12U Ancient Civilizations - 11M

13 Framing Research Assignments
Offer to “tweak” assignments to organize them into the 4 stages Encourage sharing “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” RUTH - Sometimes it starts from working with 1 teacher, who follows the RP model and then their work is used by others teaching the same course TINA - , a teacher in my department, took some of my handouts for grade 12 law and applied it to the grade 11 course. This is a good thing because kids will recognize this process when they get to grade 12. Also another teacher in grade 11 saw the handouts and they too are going to use them with their students. Revolutions start with a single step.

14 Common Assignments Completed by all students in a grade
Reinforce the research process model and skills needed to do research tasks Efficient way to plan & teach Work with the whole child R You hope to get everyone on board but at least start with a common activity which will ideally take all classes through the library. Do a block booking for all teachers and hope they will all agree to do the assignment with you. Through this process you have the opportunity to instruct both students and teachers. It’s an opportunity to Introduce/refine specific skills. The focus is essential learning in grade 9 & 10 which allows for building instruction in more complex tasks with the more complex assignments and expectations in the senior grades. We look at skills, not just the expectations of the subject being taught and that let’s us work with the whole student. Working with the whole child M .In grade 9 we do our library orientation through geography. We teach the research process model and have students do a map of the regions of the library. This introduces the language which we want them to apply to their research assignments throughout high school. In Grade 9 science we partner on an element superhero assignment through which we teach documentation skills, recording notes by source and requiring a list of sources (stage 3 & 4) In Gr 10 civics and careers we instruct students to brainstorm and record keywords and search terms to find relevant articles from canadian periodicals in subscription databases (stage 1 & 2), with history we are using a common assignment to focus on learning to provide evidence to support a position: we taught students how to record notes, evaluate and document a variety of sources ,and thesis construction (stage 3 & 4) Grade 11 English - academic honesty seminar, citation activities to teach embedded citation and citing a variety of print and electronic sources, distributed copies of Student Research Guide But short of teachers coming to us, how do we start to identify the skills and lessons we want to focus on with each grade. A certain amount will depend on the requests made by your teaching staff but subject teachers may be limited by the view from their subject area. We can’t expect them , to have the whole school picture and to be aware of similar research-related expectations which happen across the curriculum.That is the job of the teacher-librarian.

15 Creating a Framework with Common Research Expectations
Find where we “should” teach note making One of our advantages in the library is that we can take the perspective of the “whole school” all of the subjects being taught, across different grades and at differing levels. Part of our job is to use everyone’s curriculum to frame our library program by extracting the expectations which are relevant to research tasks. As an experienced t-l I started out trying to collect these expectations on my own using the “find” search feature in the curriculum planner. This started to give me a sense of the language used to talk about research tasks and to tie them to specific courses but the task was monumental

16 TDSB Secondary T-Ls Wiki
It was after last year’s Superconference that a few TDSB t-ls and our instructional leaders started talking about working together as a team to pull out the expectations from the planner and to map them into a chart which would let us see several subjects at a time. We were inspired by a wonderful presentation by Michael Rosettis and Hetty Smeathers of York Region Catholic District School Board which used the approach of targeting common activities across grade levels. Working as a team in YCDSB they had mapped out an impressive program teaching research skills. It was clear that working as a team would let us do so much more than any of us could do on our own. We were lucky enough to have a “wiki” expert in our group who volunteered to set up and mount our work into a wiki. After meeting in June to thrash out our purpose, the wiki team - pictured in the photo above - was born . This is the result of their work. Just a google search for - wikispaces tdsb

17 Grade 9 Academic This is a work in progress. The structure of the wiki is organized by grade. So far we have mapped core subjects in gr 9 & 10 academic and applied subjects. ESL is in process. Each section has a table with expectations and research projects and lessons relating to specific subject areas in that grade. Anyone can see this content and use the materials found there. Let’s look at some sample expectations.

18 Expectations by grade Expectations were identified by the team using the Curriculum Unit Planner as well as curriculum guides. The team identified expectations that dealt with the full research process - coded R, or stages, coded 1 to 4 to represent each of the 4 stages as well as P for Project ideas. The date of the curriculum document is listed at the top of each column. You will notice a significant difference in wording and content in older documents. For example the grade 9 Phs. Ed document asks students to identify the effectiveness of various methods for preventing pregnancy and STD without actually mentioning research. No mention is made of evaluating types of sources for currency, accuracy, or bias. But clearly that forms a part of effective decision making which is part of the phys.ed. Curriculum. Take a few moments to look at the gr 9 document. Let’s look for the term Research - note the lack in phys. Ed. Consider other subjects - are you working with classes in these areas, are teachers covering them without the library, are they aware that they are in the expectations. Look for note, evaluat (evaluate, evaluation), what common threads do you see - share with someone around you.

19 Identify Common Threads
Repeat your search in grade 10 - both history and science are asked to evaluate sources used for research. Consider this information for yourselves and to share with your colleagues, individually and at department meetings. Increased my confidence level because I am not just trying to get people into the library but now I can look at coordinating expectations across subjects within a grade, and perhaps this will buy us more teaching time in the subject classroom.

20 Sample Projects Assignment Library Handout
Feel free to view the site and to share your work. See sample assignment - not framed in 4 stages. Library support handout breaks assignment into 4 stages. See the difference between the look when an assignment is framed in the RP as Tina has done. Assignment Library Handout

21 Where to Begin? Types of lessons being taught?
What are you already doing? Types of lessons being taught? Stages in the research process covered? Pick one grade to start with Focus on essential skills Get help from Research Guides, TDSB Wiki Look over your bookings and start seeing what kind of work you’re doing and who you’re doing it with. Identify what type of lessons, you’re asked to teach most often. And then see where these fit into the stages of the research process - are they all stage 2 - accessing resources. Choose a grade to focus on. It’s generally best to start with grade 9 so that you are building base skills, Next look at the research expectations for the core subjects in that grade and choose an area or areas to focus on, be it note-taking, evaluating sources, You have several options, see if there is a common activity which is already being done which you can modify to most effectively address the research expectations you have identified. OR if you have one teacher who has a good assignment, partner with them and then see if you can take it back to the whole department or even just one other department member. OR go to a department and propose working together on a project addressing specific research skills, such as web site evaluation. Don’t worry if only a few people want to get on board at first. This will also give you time to refine and improve your work. This business of building frameworks is an ongoing learning exercise. Part of your job in creating this framework is to make sure teachers understand that this doesn’t happen overnight the constant pressure of covering the curriculum makes it difficult to allocate enough time to properly teach the skill but it is important to remember than learning any new skill requires repetition, - Being exposed to a concept is very different from mastering it with any level of sophistication or complexity Mastering skills takes time.

22 Connect to the Big Picture
TDSB Secondary T-Ls Wiki


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