Friday, September 2, 2011

2011 RILINK Conference Recap

Thanks to Sharon Webster with RILINK, several of us recent URI GSLIS grads were able to attend the group’s summer conference a few weeks ago. Here are some of the things I learned.

Collaborating by the Numbers
Toni Buzzeo was the keynote speaker, and since I forgot to bring my checkbook, I’ll have to get a copy of The Collaboration Handbook later. I did manage to take these notes:
  • Teaching by the numbers IS NOT the same as teaching to the test.

  • When doing data-driven instruction, you need to ensure that your data is legitimate. Unfortunately, Rhode Island doesn’t have a standard tool (e.g., dataMetnor, eduphoria) yet for crunching the numbers, but you can ask your administration for the info.

  • Start with achievement gaps: What can’t your students do? What don’t your students know?

  • When collaborating, assign specific roles at the beginning so there’s no question about who is supposed to be doing what.

  • Make sure to figure out how you will assess, then document how your project/unit impacted student achievement, and SHARE the results.

Instructional Partnership
In her second session, Toni Buzzeo described the levels of partnership:
  • Cooperation: Gather resources, respond to random requests … no instruction. Often includes some less than exciting tasks. Figure out which ones you can unload … can students/volunteers do some of them? To make your case, you’ll need to show how you would make better use of the time if you had it back.

  • Coordination: More of a working relationship, more time/headsup given

  • Collaboration: Interdependent relationship: team planning, teaching, and evaluation. Greer Monaghan of the Scituate Middle/High School Library suggested using online survey tools like Google Forms to gather assessment data. You can embed the surveys on your library Web site or email a link to the students.

  • Data-driven collaboration: Ask for four practices of skills that the data shows are lacking. (Marzano says that you need 24 practices to reach 80% proficiency, and the first four are the most important.)

Here’s who you work with:
  • Early adopters = oh yeah! They’ll try all kinds of new ideas/technologies/etc.

  • Wait and see = yeah, but … They want to make sure it’s been tried at least once already.

  • The rest = no way. Don’t stress about getting them on board; it’s the administrator’s responsibility. And you can get the kids into the library even if you can’t get their teacher.

Ask “so what?” and “what if?” questions. For example, don’t just ask the kids to do a report on a Native American tribe; ask them, “If the Wampanoag moved to the desert, how would their culture change?” Donna Good from Narragansett High School mentioned a lesson where students researched national teams’ mascot names, as well as the teams’ hometowns, and determined whether the mascot name was appropriate for the team/location.
Karen Mellor from OLIS showed us all kinds of incredible resources available FOR FREE to every Rhode Island resident, including test prep, homework help, World Book, Mango Languages, and EBSCO databases.

Destiny: Beyond the Basics
Dorothy Frechette of RILINK delved into some lesser-known Destiny features. One that generated some discussion was showing “Historical information access,” or a patron’s previous checkouts. Benefits: help with readers’ advisory, answering “what was that book I read?” questions. Serious concern: privacy/confidentiality issues.

Other topics covered:

  • Creating title records for your magazines and adding holdings under circulation type “magazine issues.” You may or may not want to catalog subjects when it comes to publications like Cobblestone.

  • One Search, which lets you add databases and Ocean State Libraries holdings

  • Resource lists …you cannot manually add random web sites; you would have to add them as a title record

Digital Resources
You can add any kind of digital content – PDFs, PPTs, sound files (not URLs … they can be added as an 856 record) – to the catalog as long as you have copyright approval. This includes student-generated book trailers, presentations, and mock interviews with characters. Make sure you know the policy for student work at your school before posting anything.

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