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Thursday, December 3, 2015

With all this technology, what do we need [teacher] librarians for?

Many years ago, when I first started my M. Ed (Teacher Librarianship) at CSU, a colleague that I was sharing an office with asked me "What do you actually do in the School Library?".

His perception of the school's library was that it was "old fashioned", "where teachers go to retire", a place to drink coffee and read books and that students didn't need to use the library because they had access to the "University of Google".  We know that this mindset is narrow minded and fails to recognise the different learning styles that students have and also the specialised training and value that Teacher Librarians can offer to a learning community. This theory is clearly articulated in the article by the Bulletin by Abby Spegman called "With all this technology, what do we need librarians for?"

There is an article in the newspaper today which talks about how Bendigo South East College are closing their School Library and distributing their books throughout the school. This is not a new thing as there have been many schools who have gone down this road including, Coburg Senior High. My daughters school has also decentralised their library resources, but not their Teacher Librarians.

For me the true crime is that Bendigo South East College has not recognised the value of having a fully trained curriculum specialist such as a teacher librarian on staff.

The job title of "teacher librarian" doesn't do our profession any justice. 

Teachers and parents seem to understand and value the role of "curriculum specialist" a bit more and this title clearly communicates our role as an educator to support and improve teaching and learning programs.

If the school community does not value the role of the teacher librarian and school library, who is at fault? I know that this is a closed question for an open ended topic ... but work with me for the moment!

  • Is it the School Executive's or Leadership Team fault for not supporting and promoting the school library?
  • Is it the Faculty or Domain Leaders that don't understand how teacher librarians can be used to raise their academic standards?
  • Is it the parents, who are not exposed to what a teacher librarian can do to help their students?
  • Or, is it the Teacher Librarian's fault for not promoting themselves enough or making themselves indispensable?

Teacher Librarians need to be proactive in building social capital and make themselves indispensable by supporting the needs of their school and learning community.

Do you agree?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Are our ICT skills really failing?

There has been lots of conversations around the water cooler this week about the results of the ICT survey that NAP conducted.

As someone who has taught in schools for over 20 years, this does not surprise me. You would think that with the dollars that parents have put into technology programs over the years, ICT proficiency should be through the roof. Operating systems are getting easier to use and applications are so much more intuitive than before WYSIWYG operating systems (can you remember WordStar). So the decline in results is a bit worrying from every perspective.

When laptop programs first came into schools, there was an emphasis placed on induction or technology orientation. Acceptable use, formats, conventions, tips and hints and typing skills were all explicitly taught. Schools also actively trained their staff in applications that they could use with their teaching. At one stage, many schools had Professional Learning points to encourage teachers to do and deliver regular ICT professional development. There would also be an assumption that new teachers have these ICT skills already -  of which they don't.

Over the years, this part of the technology program implementation was overlooked, dropped and taken for granted. As the perceived technology proficiency of students increased, the perceived need for explicit teaching declined. The students were so confident with the technology they didn't need to be taught anything as they were all "digital natives" of course! Teachers who wanted these skills taught were told that they were old fashioned and that the school needed to move with the times.

Was this perceived confidence a reflection of the evolution of operating systems rather than skill level? It amazes me how my son can navigate the iPad and get his TV shows or games to work. My daughter the other day made a movie on her iPod about her trip to the Zoo. The pervasiveness of the technology has increased and so has the opportunities. But has our technology teaching kept up with the innovations. Once upon a time, I taught Year 7 Information Technology. I had the students for one period a week and my job was to teach and reinforce the skills that were not being taught in class. Formats, conventions, typing, layout, problem solving.

For years I have observed students in the senior years being unable to organise their files properly or update their computers. The teachers just expected the students to do it. Of course once in a while there is a whiz bang student who comes along with a skill level that just amazes everyone, but overall are we doing our students a disservice if we don't explicitly teach and reinforce these skills?

Are the skills that the National Assessment Program survey evaluated appropriate? I noticed that the Year 10's were tested on changing font formats and conventions. How does this align with Information Literacy and Digital Fluency skills?

Is there a correlation with good ICT proficiency results and an effective School Library? Many teacher librarians teach information literacy skills and conduct technology orientation sessions. We deal with students every day who are trying to print, save and convert files and yet this part of our role isn't acknowledged.

There is certainly food for thought in the National Assessment Program report, but the scope of the research needs to be widened to include more factors that might impact on skill development. I am sure that there is a PhD in there somewhere ;-)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Three things that Teacher Librarians can do to encourage recreational reading.

Fond memories of seeing Stephen Krashen at a professional development event run by Learning Team Australia at the Library at Docklands.

This video does go for close to an hour, but so enjoyable to hear someone talk about a realities of free voluntary reading or sustained silent reading in schools.

As a Teacher Librarian, what hit home was the importance of the role of the Teacher Librarian in promoting voluntary free reading at school. We know that students will increase their understanding of their reading if they talk about the books that they are reading. A neutral encouraging Teacher Librarian is wonderfully positioned to assist with that.

Three things that Teacher Librarians can do to encourage "Free Voluntary Reading"
  1. suggest similar or appropriate books and authors to match students interests.
    If you liked "Fault in our stars" by John Green you might like "If I stay" by Gayle Foreman. There are web sites and tools that you can use to connect students to similar books that you know they enjoy. When students discover a genre or author that rocks their world they magically start to perceive themselves as "a reader".
  2. discuss books with students to increase understanding.
    What did you think of the ending? What about the main character, do you feel that they got what they deserve? What about that plot twist. I have found myself several times quickly reading a Young Adult book over the weekend so that I can talk through a book with a student the following week.
  3. encourage students to develop frequent reading habits.
    Keeping tabs on how long students take to read a book.  Reading 10 pages of a book every two weeks isn't very satisfying. I compare this reading habit to pressing pause on a TV program and getting back to it a week or two later.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Library at the Dock Makerspace

A few weeks back we headed off to a professional learning session at the Library at the Dock run by Learning Team Australia.

The workshop focused on how the School Library or learning commons can build influence and become an agent of change within the school community.

It featured presentations and workshops that identified ways teacher librarians can establish influential relationships within their school. James Henri spoke a lot about understanding your circles of influence and making sure that you are building and maintaining them. Influence and Social Capital are two closely aligned terms, check out Joyce Valenza's talk.

The Library @ the Dock is all new and shiny and as you would expect they have a 3D Printing section where they have a number of 3D printers that are available for the public to use. Consumables are charged per gram of the finished product and of course there are samples sitting around including a Tardis!

I liked the way that they had the filament rolls above the unit on a stand made by the 3D printer of course!

The Library at the dock have plenty of Makerspace workshops that you can attend and they are all FREE!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Reflections on Makerspace, Science Week and Shrinky Dinks

Every Thursday Lunchtime we set up a Makerspace area in the Learning Commons where students can tinker with makeable objects, be it technology or crafty gadgets.

In an ideal world we would have a breakout space where we could allow students to get access to this equipment all the time, but for the moment, our Learning Commons is a shared space and space is at a premium. So at the end of lunch the space needs to be packed up as it is used for teaching and learning during Period 4.

For Science week, the Learning Commons staff collaborated with the Science Domain to set up a shrink dink workshop where students could create their own science jewellery, brooches or key-rings.

It was a great session, we had over 20 students and 4 staff members jostling for access to tools and equipment. Lots of conversation about what "science" emblem, element or diagram they were making and why. The Learning Commons at lunchtime is normally full of students and teachers, this added to the atmosphere of the maker space.

As we wiped down the tables at the end of the session, there were a few thoughts and reflections on how it went and what we could do better next time.

1. Be clear on procedures for Bump in and Bump out

In an ideal world students would assist with this, but realistically there needs to be support staff to ensure that these stages go smoothly. Labelled containers, plastic pockets and tools all need to have a place to live and return to. What is the expectation of the students at the end of the session? Do they have to help pack up?

We held our workshop at lunchtime, so we had everything set up the period before so that students could just sit down and play with the technology and tools.
  • Craft Placemats x 16
  • Hole punches x 5
  • Coloured Pencils x 3 packets
  • Permanent fine tip markers x 2 packets
  • Sandpaper
  • Pre-cut shrinkable plastic
  • Instruction sheets x 6
  • Scissors x 8
  • caution tape (for drama)
  • witches hats (for drama)
  • Variety of jewellery piers and hardware to make earrings, pendants and brooches.
We found that the stools around tables worked better than chairs.

2. Instructions

Even if you don't think that students will need it, instruction sheets ensure that the teachers know what is going on! I like the idea of having a simple side and and a complex side to instructions so that students can choose which side they like to use.

We made a simple 6 step instruction sheet for the students to follow and the rest of the details of how to use Shrinky Dinks is on the Learning Commons Libguide space.

3. Safety - OHS considerations

Do you need to manage tools? Do the tables need protecting? I would like to get some padded table protectors so that we don't have to worry about accidents when working in this shared space.

For the shrinking, one of the science teachers took groups of students to the staffroom to use the oven. A toaster oven would be a great idea, but then you would need to maintain it and get it tested regularly.

4. Time Expectations

How long does it take to do the whole process?

If it took you 10 minutes, it will take a student 20 minutes (not because they don't know, but because they need to decide on their picture, talk to their friends and work out which colours to use).

Have ideas or images pre-laminated to trace over. Most of our students actually traced off their iPad's or phones the images they wanted to "shrink".

5.  Follow-through

Makerspace initiative isn't just about tinkering in the school library. It is about igniting that curiosity within so that students go home and continue to tinker and learn.

Make sure that the students have something to go home with. Instruction sheets, equipment lists and a hashtag to share their creations with.


Have you found this article worthwhile?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Makerspace Bookbinding Adventures

As with most schools, our Learning Commons (Library) budget is stretched. So any Makerspace activities are done on a shoestring.

Today at lunch we tried book binding as an activity using recycled and bought materials.

I am not sure if it was the hammers, but we were swamped with students wanting to try their hand at bookbinding. We didn't have waxed thread or japanese tissuepaper, but we did have kitchen twine, some leather hole punches and also hammers ....

There was a lot of noise and a lot of interest and the senior students were great at encouraging the younger ones with the equipment.

Next time we do book binding we will have more equipment ready to go, as this tends to be a lunchtime activity. I'm working on form to use when planning Makerspace activities, so hopefully that will assist me in the planning for these events.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Celebrating Science Week #natsciweek

Science week comes to an end and the Learning Commons has been busy with running events this week. We have had puzzles, quizzes, kaleidoscope workshop and today we did a shrinky dinks workshop as part of our Makerspace.

As a knowledge space, we set up a science book display with some of our more visually interesting books and a collection of home made kaleidoscope's as part of National Science Week celebrations.

We made a bunting using Periodic elements using MyFunSTudio and we set up one of the Tetris Lamps to engage curiosity in conductivity and Rubrik's Cube. Lots of conversations about how to solve the cube and the algorithms needed to manipulate the cube.

Today students had great time designing scientific shrinky dinks that could be used as earrings, cufflinks and brooches. The activity was a huge success and there was much learnt by both the Science and Learning Commons staff members in regards to running a workshop like this.

More reflections about our experiences later though!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Librarians and Social Capital

I've been reading up on how teacher librarians can leverage social capital to improve teaching and learning and I came across this.

Not only is Joyce knowledgable on the topic, she is also great at explaining how introverted teacher librarians need to get over it! That it is essential to our survival to get our there and get active!


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I got published!

I enjoy writing! 

So when the opportunity came up to write for the School Library Association of NSW at the end of last year I jumped at the chance. Lyn Hay was wonderful in allowing this very *new* Teacher Librarian to write down her thoughts about engaging students with author visits.

My article was published at the start of this year and I was very excited when I got my own copy through the mail. In preparation, a good friend took some "author photo's" for me (glamorous from the waist up) and some close friends did some proof reading for me.

My article spoke about my experiences with a number of author visits; Michael Pryor, George Ivanoff and James Phelan. In particular, I reflected on how we felt the impact of the author visit years after the fact. With Year 10 students still borrowing Michael Pryor books years after the visit, because they can remember the "burning book" trick.

This poses the question, are author visits essential to creating an engaged reading culture in schools?

Feedback has been very good and I am looking forward to writing more articles in the future if given the opportunity.

The reference for my article is in the publications page on my blog. If you are interested in my writing or you would like me to expand any of my blog entries into "articles" then please contact me via my blog, twitter or email.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The unconventional guide to Writing Prompts

Last year I co-ordinated the Student Write Club at school and I loved putting together interesting writing prompts for students.

You might ask me ... so where do you get your inspiration from?

Here are a few strategies that I used throughout that year.

Reading meaning into random words

You can either take a line from a less than conventional song or use one of the song lyric generators.
I normally look for one or two lines that make sense and then use them as writing prompts.

Similar to the song lyrics, using a line of computer generated poetry as a writing prompt. Poem Generator allows you to choose words that will be used randomly and they have sample lists that you can experiment with.

Using your senses

StereoMood can set the mood in terms of music. Type in what your mood is and it will set up a playlist for you to listen to. Musicovery is another site which performs a similar function.  Another option is to get the students to shut their eyes and allow them to inhale some essential oil. What does it make them think about? Or perhaps touch fur or sandpaper. Prompts don't have to be written!

A picture tells a 1000 words

Flickr Explore is worthwhile taking a look. 20Under20 has some great photo's that could be used as writing prompts or if you want you can use google to find images which represent genre's. You can also generate random images in Flickr using BeesBuzz and BigHugeLabs.

Students can bring their own images from home and swap them with each other for writing inspiration. Take a normal picture and use various filters to make the image say something different.

The art of observation

One of my favourite past times is to wander the city for a day with my camera and just observe. What is down that lane way? What happens at the top of a building? Who is that person sitting and reading?

This article appeared on Junkee and I loved the way that the owner of the garage turned what would have been an annoyance into an opportunity to write something about the backstory of the graffiti and who might have created it.

Part of being a writer is to observe and read meaning into what others might pass over.

How do you find your writing prompts?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Winter Reading Packs

At the end of last term, Kaitlyn (our wonderful Library Tech) and I put together some winter reading packs at the end of last term.

Our goal was to encourage students to borrow a book that they were unfamiliar with. A classic, a brand new book or a book of a lesser known author.

We tried to combine at least two books that related to each other in some way:

  • A classic and the modern day equivalent,
  • A book and movie of that book,
  • A collection of different styled poetry books,
  • Themed books and similar topics, for example: two books about dogs.
  • Books from the same genre.
  • A popular book, such as Hunger Games, and a less popular book of the same genre.

The books were wrapped up with a strip of wrapping paper and string and students liked that after we "processed" the books we wrapped them back up again for them to take home.

By the end of last term we had 24 packs (at least 48 books) borrowed in addition to our normal borrowing patterns.

Many students who borrowed the paired up books returned the first one and re-borrowed the second one so that they could finish it.

We are hoping to survey students who borrowed the Winter Reading packs to see if it would be worthwhile to do it again, perhaps as a Spring Reading Pack.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Using Playfic to write interactive fiction

During my university years, I played MUD's with a number of friends. As we sat in the vax lab at Uni the adventures were rich and satisfying. I was surprised to find out that these interactive text environments are still being used, not for games, but for interactive fiction.

Playfic is a platform using Inform for writing and playing interactive fiction. The program that is created is used to tell a story within an interactive world. The reader can move through the text by giving simple instructions which allow the reader to respond to the text. There shouldn't be any ambiguity in the text, so writers need to be clear on their intentions.

Readers can experience the text adventures or write one of their own. The code for this interface looks straight forward and it would be fun to teach a unit on interactive fiction as part of an English/IT. You could also use Playfic as a story starter tool, getting students to document their adventure and turn it into their own story.

As you can see the Source Code is really easy to understand.

Interactive fiction (aka "text adventures") is a genre of game that uses no graphics or sound, but instead, uses text to tell a story in an interactive world.

This reading environment is the next step in the old "Choose your own adventure" or the new "you choose books" where you have power over the direction that the story takes.

Further Reading:

Monday, June 22, 2015

Winter Reading Display

Looking for a different strategy to encourage students to read more, we paired books up as reading suggestions for the winter break.

Using a tool such as "What should I read next?" and our knowledge of the collection we paired up books that we thought would complement each other. Either within a genre or across genre's. Pairing a popular book with a classic or a book with the movie adaptation.

Since putting the display together this morning, we have "borrowed out" eight packs to students today - woo hoo!

How did we do it?

The sign was made using Canva and the wrapping strip is just the backdrop image from Canva spliced up into strips with some Reject Shop BakersTwine!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Monday Musings

Made me giggle, so I thought I would share ....

I miss the days of the old paper train tickets. I would leave them in books and discover them years later and wonder what I was doing on that day so many years ago ...

Monday, June 8, 2015

Super Awesome Sylvia

On Friday at Northern Beaches Christian School I had the opportunity to take part in a workshop with Gary Stager and Super Awesome Sylvia.

I have heard Gary talk a number of times before and I know him professionally from my days at Methodist Ladies' College. But this was an opportunity to participate in a workshop and chew the fat over a few issues.

Gary is provocative and really challenges the way in which you look at technology in schools. He won't provide the answers neatly wrapped up product in a box for you, but what he will do is get you to think deeply about the philosophy and pedagogy behind your technology program.

So after a presentation from Gary, Sylvia took over the reigns and spoke about the projects she has worked on and the WaterColor Bot that she collaborated on.

This is not her first time speaking in front of a group of educators, Sylvia came to us via Edutech in Brisbane where she keynoted for a room of educators. She has also presented at TED!

Further Links:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

#BigRockTrip Reflections on providing Internet Services to remote communities

One of the aspects of our big trip that has been quite obvious has been our reliance on the internet and also the lack of this essential broadband service in the outback.

We found this sign in "the" pub in Maree. The only cold beer that the pub had was in a bottle and they were awaiting their ice delivery for the week.

Granted it would cost the government a fortune to provide fast broadband to everyone in Australia, the reality is that Australia has many remote communities, indigenous and otherwise. Getting them connected to a reliable internet broadband service will change their lives forever. Not just from an education point of view but also from a health, financial and community point of view.

As a country we need to start to think creatively about services to ALL communities, rather than saying that it is all too hard and withdrawing support to these communities. It has been interesting to see how the influence of thinking outside the box has revealed tourism opportunities to facets of the outback that were long forgotten

Increased services brings increased opportunities, and perhaps it is a socialist ideal that every school and community should have access to the same services. As a country we have the resources to do it. We are a rich nation who pays not enough tax for what we actually have. Our GST introduced in 2000 has not risen from 10% although an increase on services has increased. 

Like it or not, the traditional industries that Australia relied such as farming and mining are dying. The knowledge economy is what will make this country strong. Remote schools should have access to more than the School of the Air to prepare their students for life in the 21st Century. Communities shouldn't have to shut up shop and move to the big cities to get these services.

Imagine if indigenous communities had the ability to converse in their native tongue between communities? Or perhaps they had the ability to share their culture nuances online with the world? What windows of opportunity would there be if we looked upon our first people as a blessing rather than a burden?

Monday, March 16, 2015

5 ideas for celebrating St. Patrick's Day in your #learningcommons

Making your library space dynamic and changing displays is important to encouraging interest in the space and collection. St. Patrick's Day is one of those celebrations that can be easily put together and decorating your learning space shouldn't take any longer than an hour at most.

Here are a few ideas for decorating your learning space.

1. Bunting

What would the world be without Bunting? All you need is some string, some colour printouts and a hole punch and voila!

Brother have some lovely Lucky Shamrock Bunting to download for free. The other option is to use green scrapbook paper and cut into triangles or squares and punch away!

You could even use green pom poms or green felt shamrocks to create a point of interest.

2. Shamrocks

Print off and cut out some shamrocks by hand or there are many online stores that sell Shamrocks that have already been cut out in paper and also felt.

Alternatively, invest in a Silhouette Cameo and cut them out yourself. I love what this person has done with the story of St. Patrick.

3. Book display

Goodreads have a list of some popular Irish authors and there are some great articles out there about some must-read Irish authors.

Encourage discussions about some of the more prominent Irish authors such as Oscar Wilde, Yeats and Maeve Binchy. You might even have a lunchtime spoken word event where someone reads out an exert from "The Picture of Dorian Gray".

We were hard pressed to find an adequate amount of authors in our library so we had a combination of stories about Ireland, Irish authors and every green book we could put our hands on ...

Another option is Irish Non-Fiction and links to articles which talk about the successful commercialisation of St. Patrick's Day.

4. Food

We set up a bowl of green lollies for students who are borrowing! We came up with Spearmint Leaves, Green Aeroballs and Green M'n'M's.


There are some lovely free printables out there. I like the bookmarks which acknowledge the foundations of the day and also Irish sayings or blessings.

Some of these bookmarks can be enlarged on the photocopier and become wall decorations.

Enjoy your celebrations!

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Flipping Classroom

I had the opportunity of watching Andrew Douche strut his stuff at a Professional Learning session a few weeks aback about the Flipped Classroom.

He was engaging and inspirational presenter who used many of his own classroom examples to engage and carry his audience through the journey of designing curriculum to meet the needs of his students. During the presentation he also demonstrated how some of the newer software tools could be used to present material in an engaging way.

In a former life I worked at Methodist Ladies' College in Melbourne in their (Information Technology Learning Centre) and during that time I team taught with two other wonderful Information Technology teachers. We were doing team teaching, flipping, differentiation, formative assessment. All the good stuff before it had it's own #hashtag.

[source: Wayback machine]

Teaching for 20 years, you notice "good teaching practice" being re-packaged and re-branded again and again.

Flipping the classroom is more than just sending kids home with a video to watch. It is intentionally seeing the "out of class" time as an opportunity to continue learning and comprehension of what is happening in the classroom. A classroom without walls.

But what if your sports commitments are five nights a week or what if you have to go home to take care of your younger siblings? In an ideal world, students can go home and study or continue their learning. But often we don't know what their home life is like. As teachers we don't understand that perhaps the only time they have to engage in structured learning is when they are at school.

Flipped learning can work well for some units of work but not necessarily others. And in that case, isn't it just good teaching practice to integrate opportunities for students to continue to develop their thinking outside your classroom?

Some links to get you thinking ...

Monday, February 23, 2015

How to improve your blogname

I am working with some classes at the moment setting up blogs to document student writing, so that students can create and share their writing with a more global audience.

Rather than using a common nickname, Sheryl123, that you have used with other social media sites, establishing a more "grown up" name might be beneficial for students in the long run as they learn about Digital Citizenship and establishing a responsible online presence.

If you find idea generation a challenge, it might be useful to use some of the random generator web sites out there.

This web page throws out suggested names every 10 seconds. Clicking the option can give you further control over the randomness of the page. Names like CubicStack or FunLunatic might not mean much, but might provide some inspiration for a generic blog that can evolve with you over the years.

Another site that provides you with name suggestions based on

Hipster Business Name Generator
Even though it is generating business names, it might come up with a good name for a blog. Names like "Feather and Grass" might be a generic name to use for a blog name.

Random generators are great to use for names, writing ideas and blog post topics.

How do you generate your name?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Writing Opportunities for students

Young Writers are spoilt for choice with a wide range of opportunities and competitions that they can contribute to.

[source: via Centrum]

Letters to the Editor
Do you feel passionate about an issue, submit a concise summary of your position on an issue to the editor of The Australian, , The Age or the Leader Newspaper in your local community.

Contribute to an interest area
Do you have an opinion on a new Album or movie? Send your thoughts into Beat Magazine 

Oz Kids in Print
Provides students with the opportunity to submit their work for publication into their quarterly magazine and they publish a Young Australian 

Express Media
There are a number of publications that young writers can contribute to:

Look Locally, what is your local council doing?
Dandenong Ranges Autumn Writers Festival has writing opportunities for all students and also adults throughout May. Many Municipalities have writing festivals which give students the opportunity to submit their writing and you don't need to be a resident of the municipality.

Charlotte Duncan Award 2015 opens on 1 February 2015 and closes 30 April 2015
Award for a short story for young readers aged 9-12 years. This award has been established in the memory of Charlotte Duncan to raise funds for the neo-natal unit at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital. Entry fee: $9.90 per story. 1st prize - $75, 2nd prize - $50, 3rd prize - $25. Winning entries will be published on the Celapene Press website.

2015 Dorothea MacKellar (National) Poetry Prize opens on 1 March and closes 30 June 2015
Available for all students, they can submit up to three poems EACH.
Many schools do poetry in Year 9 and this is, an excellent opportunity for students to get published. Schools pay equivalent of $1-2 per entry.​

2015 Short and Twisted Anthology
Lots of opportunity for poetry and short stories to be submitted. Free to entry.

Enjoy your writing!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mater Christi Learning Commons

I was fortunate to have a tour of the Mater Christi Learning Commons late last year.

Their recreational reading section looks across the Dandenong's and there are various different styles of furniture for students to sit or lounge on.

I can imagine that  this space might get hot in summer but the large window is beautiful.

The study space mean be booked by teachers and can have two different classes in this space. A lot of these tables are used by staff after school for meetings and often you can see students studying while staff members are talking pedagogy.

Again, there is a range of furniture that the students move around to suit their study needs, be that group work or independent study.

A suggestion book is maintained to encourage students to make the learning space theirs. Students request books, physical changes or opportunities for events.

A Senior fiction and staff fiction reading session is maintained, growing with the needs of the Learning Commons clientele.

A few as more points struck me as being conducive to establishing and developing a learning commons. Students can borrow as many books as they want and they are encouraged to take books home over the summer break to read. At lunchtimes the students use the space in which ever way they want to. Study, socialising, game playing, making things. The philosophy that it is their space to use and develop is reinforced by this attitude.

It should be interesting to follow Mater Christi College as they continue to develop this site and push the boundaries of what a library could be.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

5 free printable bookmarks for your circulation desk

I came across some lovely printable bookmarks that might work well for the school library. Yes I know that eBooks are the way of the future but kids love it when you put a bookmarks into a book that they have borrowed. Make it easy for them to start reading the book straight away!

Picklebum's has so much great stuff on their site, especially if you have small children running around.

I found this next one on Tumbler, so I am not sure who own's copyright over it. But if your Year 8's are going nuts over John Green, then this collection is for you. I'd love to print off the John Green bookmarks and get the kids who have read the book to make their own. It could be a good Library Week activity.

via Tumblr

I love these bee bookmarks -  so cute! The site is great as well, worth a meander through! I love the article on Interesting and Fun bookmarks.

I thought that these ones were rather cute. Some of them could be used for Library Lovers Day which falls on a Saturday this year.

And of course, ALIA Library Lovers Day is happening again this year.

via ALIA

And of course, don't forget those creative souls that just want to make their own bookmark. Design your own bookmark is a free template that you can use.

I would print these off on the thickest card that you can afford, or take the files to one of the small business print shops and they will print them and guillotine them for you as well.