Sunday, October 23, 2016

I MAY be a Little Behind - Ideas/Notes from ALA/AASL Pubs

The stack of magazines and journals under my desk is ridiculous. I'm working backwards in time with the goal of having everything read by the end of the school year. Today: May 2016.

I like "the National Academy of Sciences' metaphor of the internet as a swimming pool: It offers plenty of opportunities for recreation and learning, but it can be dangerous, too." As Deborah Caldwell-Stone from ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom says, "You can teach them how to swim, or you can put up a fence. What happens when they climb that fence and open the gate?"

Denise Agosto of Drexel University thinks we're using too many scare tactics when educating kids about online privacy. I'm going to look into the San Jose (CA) Public Library Virtual Privacy Lab.

Yet another goal: Some kind of event for parents during Choose Privacy Week. I wonder how they would take my suggestion to stop posting so many pictures of their kids when they're on vacation? "Hey, robbers, we're not home!" Do they realize that they're creating a digital footprint over which the kids have no say? Sometimes beginning in the womb?

Our students all have Gmail accounts, and for the first time, they're accessible via Aspen. Maybe I'll start some kind of "pro tip" communication for them. And ask my principals to include more info from me in their parent emails. About all kinds of things, not just privacy.


Idea #4,589: Post "Weed of the Week" somewhere, in the spirit of (tagline: "Hoarding is not collection development"). I regret not taking pictures of some of the gems I've gotten rid of so far.

Interactive Readalouds

From an article by Priscille Dando in Knowlege Quest:

"Joan Frye Williams' analogy frames libraries as no longer being grocery stores stocked with ingredients but kitchens where ingredients are combined to create something new."

I like the idea of working with classroom teachers to choose readalouds that can be delivered during library time.

"Readers never ask a question that they already know the answer to. As the reader, ask interpretive questions rather than factual."

Questioning as a Literacy

From an article by Sara Kelley-Mudie and Jeanie Phillips in Knowledge Quest:

"Understanding a question is different from answering a question; it means being able to form an idea of what an answer might look like and what type of information is being sought."

Write arounds

Question Formulation Technique from the Right Question Institute

Sample prompts: "How would it be different if ..."; "What is the purpose of ..."

Criteria for prioritizing questions

  • Which questions will best help us solve the problem?
  • Which questions will make interesting research questions?
  • Which questions can we answer through direct observation?
  • Which questions can we develop an experiment to answer?

Data Literacy

From an article by Kristin Fontichiaro and Jo Angela Oehrli in Knowledge Quest:

"Students often believe that numbers are objective, though data in the real world is rarely so. In fact, visualized data - even from authoritative sources - can sometimes be anything but." Categories include:

  • Statistical literacy: "Discerning correlation from causation; recognizing the difference in the meaning of mean, median, and mode; understanding what margin of error signifies in polling data; recognizing potential biases in collected data (e.g., where did they gather it from?)"
  • Data visualization: "Having skills to create and comprehend mapped data, graphs, pie charts, and emerging forms of visualizations"
  • Data in argument: Infographics need to make a point, not just be a random collection of facts
  • Big Data and citizen science: How much personal data is too much?
  • Personal data management: "While students might like seeing relevant ads or music recommendations that match their favorite, few know it is because of the breadcrumb trail they leave behind. ... "today's online content creators and social networks are engaged in a balancing act between maximizing advertising revenues and delivering quality content."
  • Ethical data use: Realizing that data can be "framed, edited, manipulated, or otherwise modified" to sway or confuse click to link to PDF version

Gaming as Meaningful Education

I've had board games available in my libraries for years. As the ALA infographic notes, "In game play, players work towards mastery and rarely experience failure as an obstacle to trying again and again. There is something in play that gives players permission to take risks considered outlandish or impossible in 'real life.' There is something in play that activates the tenacity and persistence required for effective learning."

Other key points:

  • "Many board games encourage players to detect patterns, plan ahead, predict the outcome of alternative moves, use deductive logic, and learn from experience."

  • "Research shows there is a link between playing certain types of board games and scoring well on math tests."

  • Games are a more powerful learning tool when we teach kids that problem-solving ability is like a muscle: It can be strengthened with practice and learning."

Source Illiteracy
This article by Nora G. Murphy in Knowledge Quest reminded me of when I worked for Johnson & Wales University, and The Daily Show wanted to do an interview with one of our deans re: the new "Sip and Spit" law in Colorado that allowed underage students to do wine tastings. "It's a national news show!" some people exclaimed. But my friend/colleague Stacie and I could only imagine the questions a comic fronting as a serious reporter would ask. We turned down the interview.

Kids need to have "the ability to interpret from context, to know what to ask, to read the clues, and to use the understanding brought from knowing about other sources." That understanding is hard to teach, because "source literacy is usually gained through experience and not instruction."

I like Murphy's suggestion of having kids create source banks, similar to Pinterest pages with boards for different types.

Creating a Literacy Plan for Your School

Realize that it "takes years of intentional effort" and don't "try to tackle every grade at once."

  1. Be the leader - Gather a group of stakeholders and start with SOMETHING with the knowledge that it will undergo a ton of changes
  2. Know what you can and can't control - Focus on what you can do without relying on anyone else
  3. Make the goals visible and generate excitement - Get decent posters made; present at meetings with teachers, parents, and administrators
  4. Determine where the skills will fit - Build a big-picture view by meeting with every teacher, even just for 20 minutes, to create a comprehensive document re: what is already in place and where the holes are
  5. Plan, plan, plan - Map out ways for student understanding to grow and build over the year through all subjects/classes
  6. Assess, rinse, repeat - Share accomplishments and make adjustments as necessary

Sunday, October 9, 2016

RI Mock Newbery 2017 - November Reads

Love Jen J's spreadsheet! Because of it, I'd already read most of the books on the list before the list was even out. I'll be adding to the post as I make my way through the list: favorites at the top.

MaydayMayday by Karen Harrington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fantastic. Loved it. So much humor for such heavy topics. And the holding planes in his hands? I laughed. I cried. True story.

p. 223 - "When you want something in your own life, it looks like everybody at every table in a restaurant has it. I'm not just talking about eyebrows."

The Girl Who Drank the MoonThe Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautifully written, albeit overlong, and I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. However, the writing definitely deserves to be considered "distinguished."

Counting ThymeCounting Thyme by Melanie Conklin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fantastic portrayal of a girl struggling to make her way in a new setting while her family is preoccupied with her brother's cancer. And the shout-out to No Fits, Nilson! was great.

Thank you to Conklin for giving me my new favorite knock-knock joke:

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Europe who?
You're a poo, too!

GhostGhost by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reynolds is able to capture his narrators' personalities within a page or two.

p. 27: I felt like I had seen this in every single sports movie I had ever watched. All of them. "Ma'am, your son has potential." If this went like the movies, I was either going to score the game-winning touchdown (which is impossible in track) or ... die."

p. 155: ... you can't run away from who you are, but what you can do is run toward who you want to be.

Ollie's OdysseyOllie's Odyssey by William Joyce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Epic. Will be recommending to my 2nd grade teachers who do class readalouds.

The Best ManThe Best Man by Richard Peck
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

On the fence on this one. Loved the dry style and some of the ridiculous - yet realistic - things that people said. However, the plot was choppy, and I'm very confused on the timeline of uncle Paul and Mr. McLeod's relationship.

p. 137:
"This isn't the body I wanted to take to middle school. Look at it. I need another year. I'm pre--what?"
"Prepubescent?" Mom offered.
"Probably. You'll have to homeschool me."

The Seventh WishThe Seventh Wish by Kate Messner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First off, I liked that Catherine named her flour baby MEREDITH. I also enjoyed the family word game, which is similar to Apples to Apples. And Charlie's thoughts about Abby's drug use and relapse were spot-on (I also have an addicted sister and have thought a lot of the same things). I very much appreciated when Leah said, "There's nothing you can do when someone you love is an addict. So you just ... you keep living. And do other stuff." (p. 212). Because I needed therapy to get to that understanding.

But I took away a star for the magic fish. The fantasy and the harsh reality just didn't mesh for me. Poor, poor Robert.

Nine, Ten: A September 11 StoryNine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The kids' stories were fine, but the actual 9/11 events were kind of vague. If the reader doesn't already know what happened, they will be confused. Also I'm not sure I buy that all four families would have made the trek to NYC in 2002.

p. 79. "'...what matters is what's in here.' She tapped her heart and then her head. 'And here. And how you treat people. Yourself included, dear one.'"

GhostsGhosts by Raina Telgemeier
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Realistic sister relationship, but the ghosts were just odd.

When the Sea Turned to SilverWhen the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So I gave "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" 5 stars, and "Starry River of the Sky" 4. But this one ... this took me forever to get through. At one point I literally fell asleep. It was like homework. But people I respect on the RI Mock Newbery committee raved about it, so I saw it through until the end. But I wish I hadn't bothered and had spent more weekend hours binge-watching "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" instead.

The stories being told seemed like just interruptions until about page 140, when I started to see connections. However, by the time we get to the Sea King, and Yishan's stunt with the string, I didn't care anymore about how anything was going to go together. And the tortoise chapters were distracting. And the big reveal on p. 345 made me roll my eyes.

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