Monday, January 14, 2008

Three Weeks to Winter Tonic

Here we are at Friday, again:

So now the whole blog including the archived entries is keyword-searchable, and I have separated each entry into separate pages so it doesn't scroll into eternity. Try out the video clips, too. To re-read the previous blogs, you can check the Blog Archives on this page ... or any page.

Thanks Carolyn for the email that the first attempt to post this was in a font way too small. Blogging can be just a little finicky and you will note that I haven't been able to enlarge the font of the last entries. Check out the comments from the outside community added when Val H posted this to the BCTLA Forum. So now "the world" knows what we are up to and is capable of engaging with feedback. If you want to post a comment (which would be lovely), you need a gmail account. If you email me to request an invitation to open a gmail account ... and you should as it is a remarkable tool ... I will send you one. Here's the news for the week:

Cohort -- of course not!

Well, I liked the "rhyming" / metrical aspect of this subtitle, without really intending to make too light of the message. Some of you have asked the possibilities of another UBC/VSB or Metro-area Cohort to continue your courses towards the TL diploma. I have just received word from Marlene Asselin that there will not be another one this year. For information about courses being offered, I was delighted to find that my counterpart Heather in
Coquitlam has a wonderful TL webpage with the information (choose Courses under sidebar "What's Happening?"). Heather also includes a link to this blog!

School Library 2.0

Please consider my recommendation of a special course in teacher-librarianship LIBE 477/565 being offered this summer called School Library 2.0 with Instructors James Henri and Sandra Lee. Several of us who were lucky enough to take "the Great Henri's" course at UBC nearly ten years ago -- well, Gwen and I -- would highly recommend this opportunity. And Sandra, who has worked with James in Hong Kong but now lives in Victoria, is delightful.

Here's the intro to the course description:

Web 2.0 is a metaphor for a spectrum of emerging novel Internet applications. Examples of these are blogs, wikis, social spaces and casting. These innovations are not just novel applications; they provide new ways of understanding the Internet. In this context, Web 2.0 is often seen as a “paradigm shift” to a new level of human understanding and expectations of the Internet and associated technologies.

This course is designed to introduce teachers and teacher librarians to a variety of Web 2.0 tools and to facilitate an exploration of how these might be applied to enhance productive student and information-centered pedagogies in K-12 schools.

Throughout the course, attention will be paid to the linkages between Web 2.0 and the provision of information services in schools to enhance teaching and learning. This field of study is known as School Library 2.0 and it places emphasis on information as construction of meaning, rather than on information as packaging of ideas.
For a much more detailed description, let me know and I'll email you the course description.


Don't forget to send in your registration and $30 to Jan Berney at False Creek for the annual Winter Tonic event which, this year, is at Gladstone on Tuesday, Feb 12, and is a celebration of The Year of the Rat! Don't, like me, forget to check off the workshops you would like to attend. We regular attenders have come to know this as the professional highlight of the year.

Wine and Cheese 4 pm.

First Session, 4:30: Choose one of Creating Web Pages with Gordon Powell, Adult Reads with Wendy Cowley, and Book Clubs and Books that Spark Discussion with Dr Christianne Hayward of the Lyceum.

Second Session, 5:30 -- Choose one of Cyberbullying with Danielle Law, or Wendy's or Christianne's sessions which will be repeated.

The lavish feast will again be provided by Paul et al and starts at 6:30 pm.

Accounting Workshop

See you Tuesday after school at the VSB, Room 100. This is the session that was cancelled/uncancelled/re-scheduled from the "snowy" day in December. If you haven't signed up, come anyway ... well, that's what happens, isn't it! New and Nearly New TLs, this is for you.

TL Studio Workshop for February

Presently this is scheduled for the same week as Winter Tonic. Would anyone mind if I re-scheduled it? And if I had it on the Monday 18 Feb in the next week, Akemi could come too. I will try to contact everyone who is already registered, but I am hoping you are reading the Pro D Connections booklet and to dates posted here. All new and nearly-new TLs are welcome and encouraged to attend. Watch also for the upcoming two-part Weeding Workshop in February and March as well. We're having it at Dickens Elementary to help Cheriee get ready for her move to the new and greenest elementary school in the city. We will have to come back when she's moved in as well. The plans look fantastic.

Call for Dragon Books for VSB Dragon (with Rat) Display

Thanks to those of you who offered to provide books for this display in the VSB lobby during the second week of February. A reminder that I will need those books very soon. I am willing to pick up a pile of books but, if you have a special one you believe should be amongst the items, please blue-bag it ASAP. Make sure your name or school identification is with the book please.


Thanks yet again to Elly and Marianne for all their hard work in selecting the titles for this year's event, and to Louise for offering Ecole Bilingue as the venue for the May 27 event. Here are the titres:

Liste des livres de Livromanie 2008


Noémie: Grand-maman fantôme, Gilles Tibo
Pas de chance, c’est dimanche, Danielle Simard
Mission Ouaouaron, Alain Bergeron
Le père Noël travaille à mon école, Élaine Turgeon
La grande peur de Simon, Andrée-Anne Gratton


La fatigante et le fainéant, François Barcelo
Le Trio rigolo: Ma plus grande peur, Johanne Mercier
Mon plus grand exploit, Johanne Mercier
Mon plus grand mensonge, Johanne Mercier
Brad: le génie de la potiche, Johanne Mercier
Les malheurs de Pierre- Olivier, Lyne Vanier
Einstein, chien-guide?, Pierre Roy


L’Île d’Aurélie, Véronique Drouin
Darhan: la fée du lac Baïkal, Johanne Mercier

What's New at Christianne's Lyceum of Literature and Art?

More Wine for TLs! Can you believe it! Check out this invitation and it's a FREE event ... but call to register by Tuesday Jan 29.

Hello Everyone,

We would like to invite you to a special evening at Christianne's Lyceum of Literature and Art on January 31st [6:30 to 9:00 pm]. We are hosting an open house especially for educators and teacher-librarians to showcase a new series of Professional Development Seminars. [An informational flyer has been circulated by email.] Please call the Lyceum at 604 733 1356 if you have any questions. ... We look forward to seeing you at the Lyceum on January 31st!

Christianne Hayward, Susan Ma, and Vanessa Braun
Christianne's Lyceum of Literature and Art
3696 West 8th Ave., Vancouver


Literacy Day -- Feb 8 at Killarney

Here’s what is going on at Killarney on Feb 8. Lots of interesting things but we need you to promote these with your colleagues. Only three weeks left and registrations are due now. Cost $25.00

I am excited to have so many TLs involved. We are often found presenting to ourselves while what we have to say is worthwhile for our teacher colleagues. We are too often the “converted” preaching to the converted!

Look for TLs presenting four workshops this year amongst the other 30 being offered …

Nancy Hundal will be working with Cynthia Nugent on a session about the process of creating picture books, on using them in classrooms, and on the reading-engagement factor that is so important. Both are published authors; Nancy is one of our own, and Cynthia, a well-known illustrator, is also an instructor on Writing for Children. Should be interesting. I would say that, while this is classified as primary, it would be of interest to anyone who has ever thought about writing and illustrating for children.

Celia Brownrigg is working now in the Gladstone school library, part-time, as well as at Kidsbooks. She will work with Susan Ma, also from Kidsbooks, to present one-third of this workshop on Graphic Novels. Also featured in this session will be English teacher Leonard Wong from Templeton, local expert and seller of graphic novels … look for his display booth as well … and Tim Everett of The Comic Shop who you might have met at the BCTLA Conference in Surrey this year.

Denise North and Aaron Mueller are doing databases. Both are dynamic presenters. Encourage your lilteracy-minded colleagues to find out how to use these for professional resources that support literacy as well as for age-appropriate non-fiction informational materials for students.

Janet McKinlay will be working with Teresa Diewert who teaches at Tupper and Maryam Moayeri (formerly my student teacher, now a PhD student at UBC). Maryam, having taught in Richmond and West Van, recently won the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching. Maryam's initial published resource package which she presented years ago at a workshop has taken a different shape depending on the context, from what Teresa and Janet began in the Churchill school library to what Teresa uses in her classroom at Tupper. They will be sharing their experiences in building an independent reading program with you and with each other. There's even talk of a new and more comprehensive resource package. And the library at lunch time at Churchill provides real evidence of its success.

Next week: details of TL presentations at Technology Day.


Take in one or more of the following three events
co/sponsored by the BC Coalition for School Libraries:

Literacy for Today's Youth - Wed, Jan 23, 7pm
Metrotown Branch, Burnaby Public Library

Today’s youth are active users of technology in their personal and social lives. This presentation will discuss bridging the gap between their school and home use of technology and preparing our youth for their future participation in the larger world.

Dr. Marlene Asselin and Mr. Keith McPherson

Free admission. All are welcome. Free underground parking.
Easily accessible from the Metrotown skytrain station.

Good Medicine Stories -- Thursday, Jan. 24, 7 pm,
Vancouver Public Library

"Good medicine stories" -- for families and the child in everyone
Author Richard Van Camp, a proud member of the Dogrib (Tlicho) First Nation, presents a hilarious, empowering evening of stories for the whole family -- about the beauty of life and how time is a friend.

Media literacy for kids
Wed., Feb. 6, 7:00 pm, Burnaby Public Library

"Critical thinking about media for today's kids"
for parents, teachers, tweens and teens

Media critic, educator and award-winning author Shari Graydon equips students (their parents and teachers) with the tools they need to evaluate and challenge what they're seeing in the media.
Her presentations are always both entertaining and informative.

We are also planning an after-school session here at the VSB with Shari for Feb 7 with the Social Responsibility co-ordinators. Watch for the flyer in the Pro D booklet and sign up online.



From BCTLA Forum's Rick, in Surrey: For a great way to focus on Victoria and the Victorian era in Canada, take a look at this:

Victoria's Times Colonist newspaper is celebrating its 150th anniversary and is in the process of scanning all of the old newspapers to be put online and it's to be free of charge. Here is the site to check out
the announcement.

From Linda Hof's Webbits:

The Quality Information Checklist (or QUICK)
We first heard about and saw this info-lit website for evaluating information with Michele Farquharson's Research Process powerpoint. Now reviewed by SFU Faculty Advisor Holly Stibbs, you will want to make sure you have this resource on hand: "I've used with middle school students as an online tutorial to help them understand how to evaluate online resources. I'd recommend it for older grades as well. It's quite self-explanatory, and comes with a built-in teacher guide."

Arden: World of William Shakespeare
The immortal Bard knew his fair share of discontented winters, and it would be interesting to know what he would have thought about this rather fascinating online interactive game created by the Synthetic Worlds Initiative at Indiana University. Arden allows users to explore the world of Shakespeare's many plays in a highly interactive and user-friendly fashion. With funding from a variety of sources (including the MacArthur Foundation) Edward Castronova and his colleagues have created this virtual world which allows users to move around in 17th century clothing and even join guilds. For anyone interested in virtual worlds, Shakespeare, and any number of related matters, this website and accompanying game will be a very welcome find. Users should note that the game will run on computers running Windows 98 and newer. [KMG]

From Denise:

The Stellar Award book checklist and posters created by Denise for staff and for library displays were sent out by email earlier this week. Denise suggests that you may find the booktalk/author summaries of the books on the Stellar Award site to by useful:


Rocky Mountain "High": Insights from a Winter Workshop

And finally, for those of you who have come to this on Saturday and who have read through to the end, I had intended to include some thoughts about being "away from my desk" for a day and a half this week, off to the East Kootenays as a workshop presenter, but I hit a wrong button and lost the first thoughts! My excursion was wonderfully refreshing -- cold, bright, and thought-provoking. Although I spent a long time hesitating -- winter travel conditions, avalanches, planes dropping from the skies, the constraints of time -- I was so glad I went.

So how was it wonderful? As a geographer, I have a fascination with mountain terrain and Tuesday was a brilliantly clear day for a short flight! My mid-afternoon escape aboard a 30-seater plane which left from the south terminal was immediately captivating and my novel was set aside. I had crystal clear views of the city and then cirques, aretes, towns, rivers ... and an arrival to the cold of Cranbrook as I would stay through the coldest day yet, reaching minus 19! My host Raydene had been jogging while she awaited my arrival so I might suggest the eastern edge of the province appeals to hardy souls!

The window of my mountain suite at the Kimberley Marriott hotel overlooked the skilifts. The hotel was full of British tourists on ski holidays. Raydene and I spent the evening planning, with a 7:15 am departure in mind, to arrive in Invermere by 8:30 am. A flat tire meant that the Associate Superintendent Barb Morris -- a former TL -- carried the show until 10:00 am, speaking to 17 TLs (including four administrators and four from nearby SD #5 Cranbrook) about, amongst other things, the work of Learning Coaches, a newly created position in their schools. Even the flat tire proved to be perfect! It meant we were delayed enough that I saw the sunrise over the Rockies in vivid colour lighting up the snowy peaks and valley floor, and Raydene pointed out the head of the Columbia River, the lake and ice huts, the wall of hoodoos, the frozen wetlands, and Cariboo-like topography with the mountain "teeth" to the east and west ... but enough of my waxing poetic.

Imagine, as I did, being Raydene and providing quality library leadership and support for the building of strong programs in a district that takes three hours to drive from one end to the other, where library funding is a school-based decision, and where the student population is less than a tenth of ours. I had been invited to share the story of our writing the Role document. This story begins of course with the Haycock Report and the creation of the School Library Resource Centre Consultative Committee to implement the recommendations of this report. It also begins with the Ken's work that identifies the factors that account for the Crisis in Canada's School Libraries. It begins with an identified need for common understandings. We reviewed a summary of the research that relates school libraries to success with learning, and each group took on the advocacy role to share the findings about funding, staffing, collections and achievement.

Our VSB Role document, four years in the creation process, began with the Haycock recommendation that there needed to be clarification of our role and responsibilities. Teacher-librarians wrote, reviewed, and re-wrote collaboratively until there was agreement that this fully described our work and that we could take it to the unions for review. The union concerns brought more changes and took more time. But two years ago we took it to SLRCCC with a view to getting agreement from administrators and management that this was a set of guidelines that could be used and shared in describing what we do. We are almost -- but not quite -- there as we await review and acceptance from the administrator associations. These guidelines will provide the missing "common language" -- those all-important shared understandings -- about what we do, understandings that we can share with colleagues, administrators, and those considering the specialized nature of the job or their own needs for professional development. Finally to be on the same page ... what more could we ask!

Those who wrote our document considered the process to be amongst the most valuable professional development experiences of their TL careers. I would agree. Taking it out to "the world" made it easier to see not only how important the process has been but how good it will be for us to finish the approval process. Not set in stone as policy but "fluid," the Role document is intended for annual review by SLRCCC to be able to reflect the way our work is being transformed by technology, to move with the times, to capture in language the changing nature of our role in the learning equation for schools. TLs in the Rockies are on the edge of the process now, considering the differences for their libraries which do not have a union catalogue, for example, visualizing their programs, and considering the nature of their work in schools and the ways this can be captured in language.

Barb finished the afternoon with a return to the notion of learning coaches in schools, stating clearly that she saw that TLs were learning coaches whose work with students was valued and important.

I want to thank everyone there for what was a wonderful professional development "boost" for me! While our districts don't have a lot in common, TLs do in their shared passion for the work and their commitment to student learning. Thanks, Raydene, and East Kootenays TLs for an inspiring day!


Aaron Mueller said...

Exellent work Moira! I like how you were able to embed the Youtube clips right into the page, no need to click 'away' from the blog to view them.

Also, great collection of resources and sites!

Moira Ekdahl said...

Hey, thanks, Aaron. Now to try to figure out how to allow the comments to be specific to the topics within an entry. Thanks for the next challenge.