Weaving the Future – Inquiry based learning & DigiTech curriculum


On Friday, 17 March, School Library Association of Victoria conference Weaving the Future: Inquiry Learning within a Digital Curriculum will feature, Dr Mandy Lupton from QUT and Paula Christophersen formerly of VCAA.  Focus of the day will be the Digital Curriculum and the role of School Libraries can take in its implementation and execution.

Dr Mandy Lupton is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at QUT and well known to library and literacy professionals through her blog Inquiry Learning and Information Literacy.   Mandy teaches units in the Master of Education (teacher-librarianship) and has undertaken a number of research projects into inquiry learning and information literacy.  She will present a number of tools for the design of inquiry learning curriculum including questioning frameworks, process models and Mandy’s GeSTE windows model for information literacy. Delegates will have the opportunity for hands-on application and evaluation of these planning resources.  This is an opportunity to work closely with a renowned Australian information literacy specialist.

Ms Paula Christophersen (formerly of VCAA) is a familiar presenter at SLAV conferences having introduced ICT in the curriculum and general capabilities.  As a major architect of the new Victorian Digitech curriculum, Paula is the ideal person to present Ways of thinking in Digital Technologies.  Through this Paula will explore the essential features of the Victorian Digital Technologies curriculum, paying particular attention to the different ways of thinking in the curriculum, namely computational, design and systems thinking. Exploration involves teasing out the breadth and depth of content associated with this curriculum, and how meaningful connections can be made with other learning areas.  As schools seek methods of integrating the new digital curriculum into both primary and secondary schools, this session gives library staff background and understanding to support digital learning through the STEM curriculum, makerspaces, coding clubs etc.

SLAV is pleased to be starting the year with professional learning support for Victorian teacher librarians, teachers and library staff generally.   Don’t miss out.  Register here.

In collaboration – readers, stories, literacy

An partnership between School Library Association of Victoria and The Kids Bookshop has been formed to present a professional development program of workshops focussing on young readers, their reading habits and growth as readers.  Literacy is the key to success for all learners, influencing the way they see the world and the experiences they can share.

Readers,  Stories, Literacy – A forum for learning and discussion will offer news, views and strategies for motivating your readers with books and stories to provide positive literacy outcomes.   The five workshops, to be held between April and October 2017, will be presented by highly accredited children’s literature specialists and are designed to suit both primary and secondary educators and library staff.

Below is a summary of the workshops.  Full details are available at The Kids Bookshop

27 April (Primary) – Venue: Xavier College Library (Burke Hall)
New Books to share (The Kids’ Bookshop)
Literacy – with a focus on reading programs incorporating thinking skills and digital technologies in reading response (Dr Susan La Marca)
Guest author/Book Launch: Felice Arena, The Boy and the Spy

22 June (Secondary) – Venue: Melbourne High School Library
New Books to Share (The Kids’ Bookshop)
The Classroom Novel – tried, true and new plus resources to support taking a risk with your text selection (The Kids’ Bookshop)
Guest Author: Robert Newton, Mr Romonov’s Garden in the Sky

2 August (Primary) – Venue: Genazzano FCJ College Library
New books to Share (The Kids’ Bookshop)
Literacy – strategies to keep ALL children engaged with reading with a view to enhancing literacy achievement (Dr Pam McIntyre)
Guest author: Susannah McFarlane, The D-Bot Squad

21 September (Secondary) – Venue: Albert Park College Library
New books to Share (The Kids’ Bookshop)
Language – Yes, you can select novels rich with language and complex themes and enhance language development AND engage readers! (Laura Gordon)
Guest author: (TBC)

19 October (Primary/Secondary) – Venue: Abbotsford Convent Community Room
New Books to share (The Kids’ Bookshop)
Language and Literacy – the importance of non-fiction books in an online world (TBC)
Selecting books for awards and graduation (for both primary and secondary students) (The Kids’ Bookshop)
Guest authors: Carol Wilkinson, Ten Pound Pom PLUS two additional guests for our grand finale!

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/z33be/6186670636

Engaging teen readers & Awarding success

SLAV wound up a busy year of professional learning for school library staff in 2016, with a vibrant Literature Conference- ‘Engaging Teen Readers’ featuring Will Kostakis, author of ‘Being Brave’.  Will spoke on difficult topics in literature and writing for adolescents and as you will see by the tweets in the embedded Storify, he was inspirational and insightful providing delegates with ideas to develop and inclusive approach reading for all students.

Held at the State Library of Victoria, the conference was an opportunity to focus on new and exciting ideas in the promotion of literacy and reading in the Victorian curriculum.  As always, it was a popular conference with 160 delegates attending.

SLAV appreciates the generosity of members to present their own successful practice to peers.  Workshops and presentations, which can be accessed on the member’s section of the SLAV website, include:

  • Capturing your reader – Will Kostakis
  • Book clubs and reading enrichment – Susan La Marca
  • Reading: the challenge and the competition- Reina Phung
  • Young Adult literature and programming in the US – Adele Walsh
  • When reading is hard – Chelsea Wright
  • The case for diversity in youth literature – Julie Purcell
  • Window to the real and online world – Joyce Sendeckyj
  • Reading programs for Years 7 & 9 – Hope Do
  • From A to Zine – Karys McEwen
  • Reading-unbound-a-book-club-journey – Sue Osborne
Check through the Storify for links, ideas and reflections shared throughout the day.
Read the contributions of Will and other presenters in the latest edition of SLAV’s FYI  and Synergy Journals on SLAV members’ page.

The November Conference is also an opportunity to recognise colleagues with awards presented for various levels of achievement.  We congratulate the following award recipients:

John Ward Award is presented for an individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding contribution to learning and teaching at their school and a raising of the profile of their profession through their role as teacher-librarian.

Awarded to: Miffy Farquharson
Miffy is well known within the SLAV Community and is a recognised Leader and Innovator. Not only is she involved in Information Technology, e-Learning and Web 2.0 Tools but also continues her passion for books and reading through her work at school and as a Volunteer for the Aurealis Award, the CBCA and Review Panellists of the Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge.
Her personal motto is ‘I aim to put the right resource into the right hands at the right time, and provide appropriate resources to students and teachers using Library and Learning Management Systems, social networking and Web 2.0 tools’.  Congratulations Miffy.  Follow Miffy on Twitter @MiffyF02

School Leaders Award is presented to a school leader who demonstrates outstanding support of the school library and the work of the school library team.

Awarded to: Fran Reddan – Principal: Mentone Girls’ Grammar SchoolThrough her support and direction, Fran has enabled Kerferd Library to excel and meet the challenges of 21st Century learning and literacy support head on. She has allowed the Library to be innovative and take risks. At at time of increasing competition between schools Fran has allowed the Kerferd Library to share their learning with other school libraries.  Of strategic importance was Fran’s support as Principal along with the Senior Management Team and School Council Library, of the Library’s 3 year strategic plan,  giving the Library a road map to support the Curriculum, literacy and learning.

The partnership between Library staff and the Principal is critical for the success of the school library.  Congratulations David Feighan on your planning and vision as Head of Library.

Research Fellowship supports action research and evidence-based practice, taking the form of a $1000 grant to provide practical support to a teacher librarian to implement a local research project.

Awarded to: Julia Petricevic,  Teacher Librarian, Genazzano FCJ College, Kew.
Topic of Julia’s research is ‘The impact of the teacher librarian on developing interest and engagement with reading in Year 7 students’.  The purpose of this research project is to extend the library team’s understanding of our impact as a teacher librarian on the development of interest and engagement with reading in Year 7 students.

With the objectives:
To understand the reading habits and attitude towards reading of incoming students in Year 7.
To identify students in need of support, extension or motivation.
To evaluate the effectiveness of teaching strategies to foster interest and enjoyment of reading.

We look forward to hearing from Julia as she presents the outcome of her research in the future.

Truly an exceptional SLAV conference to close the year.

Hour of Code – coming soon!

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In the space of just 3 years since the Hour of Code was launched in December 2013, it has grown into a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries.  In that time the awareness of how computer programs work and the coding that drives them has become more accessible to students and they have taken to it with enthusiasm.

This year’s Hour of Code will be held during the week December 5-11, although you are not limited to dates and can host an Hour of Code all year round.  You can complete the challenge as a class or as an individual, there’s no limitation.

As we all become more digitally literate, terms such as algorithms and computational thinking are being better understood.   Discussions about Facebook’s algorithms in defining what you see in your social media feed and their role in the US Elections are making more sense.  We are surrounded by gadgets, devices, gaming and social media.  The Hour of Code is a creative activity that provides students with the opportunity to be more than just a bystander.  It takes some of the mystery out of digital tech and exposes students to a world of resources they can revisit and explore any time they like.

The new Victorian Digital Technologies and Design and Technologies Curriculum has clearly embedded digital technologies into learning.   Thanks to the Hour of Code, the resource bank is huge – some recommended resources for Australian schools are:

Give it a try.

 

FUSE learning resources – a NEW look!

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FUSE, the resource portal for Victorian educators, early learning, primary and secondary students has just got better. It’s had a facelift!  If you are a regular user of FUSE, you don’t need to be convinced of the relevant, high quality learning resources and links to Victorian and Australian organisations contained within it. If you are an educator and are not using FUSE regularly, or directing your students to it, now’s the time to explore!

So often we look to overseas sites for learning resources, overlooking materials prepared specifically for Victorian schools.  The new look FUSE is clean and easy to navigate.

Learn about:

This barely scratches the surface but is an indication of the breadth of resources.

There’s a login level of access and functionality available to Victorian government school students and teachers only, nonetheless, FUSE is recommended as a valuable portal for all educators. It saves time, guides students to appropriate resources and makes direct links to VCAA Curriculum documentation.  Spend some time with it as you reflect upon the year and plan ahead for 2017.

Making a Nation & Federation: Australia

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With the tension of the Federal Election behind us, parliament has reconvened and it’s that time of the year when study of Australia as a nation enters the curriculum.  Students study various aspects of Australia’s nationhood, identity and history particularly in Year 6 to Year 9 with the support of sites such as the Parliamentary Education Office.  This post contains a range of resources to further assist that study.

Federation Referendums – is a collection of 13 digital curriculum resources focusing on the rounds of referendums held in Australian colonies to decide whether they would federate to form a nation. It is organised into four categories – the referendums in overview; the 1898 referendums; the 1899 referendums; and the 1900 referendum in Western Australia. The collection includes interactive learning objects, photographs, artefacts and cartoons.

The Federal Parliament History Timeline is an interactive timeline that enables students to gain a perspective of the sequence of events surrounding Australia’s nationhood. It is easy to navigate and links to resources for further investigation.

Federation resource by History Teachers’ Assoc of Australia (HTAA) is an Australian Curriculum lesson plan directed at Yr 6 students. It is a full unit of work with links to resources.

Making a Nation by the Australian Electoral Commission are inquiry-based interactive modules designed for students studying the history of Australia’s democratic system at Year 9 and 10 levels. There is a wealth of information on the site and links to teacher resources

National Archives of Australia – Your Story, Our Story continues to develop as a resource and has two particularly good resources on the Constitution and Federation – Creating a Nation and Constitution for a Nation

BI vrroom browse topicAlso recommended is the Virtual Reading Room (VRROOM) of the National Archives. Step 1) Choose the topic ‘Our Democracy’ 2) Refine it to Constitution or Federation using the drop down options 3) Click ‘browse’. Register on the site (free) and login to save these primary resource files to your personal folder. This site is an excellent resource for student exploration.

ABC Splash presents Sir Henry Parkes’s Tenterfield Oration, a re-enactment and discussion of the speech at Tenterfied in 1889 which laid the foundations of the movement towards Federation. 14 minutes in length, it provides background to this historical event. Also from ABC Splash is Federation of Australia

National Film and Sound Archive is a site that takes time to explore but contains short historical clips that provide context and an historical perspective. See The Founding of Canberra for a reminder that in the early years of Federation, Melbourne was the national capital.

The Trove database of the National Library of Australia is a rapidly expanding historical resource containing primary source material such as books, images, historic newspapers, maps, music, archives and more. In researching a topic such as Australia’s early days of nationhood, it provides access to newspapers of the day, and images that put meaning to an event.  To find resources: Select topic, refine by selecting sub-topic – browse.

Parliamentary Education Office provides an excellent range of videos about Federation and how the parliament works.Units of work Getting it together: From Colonies to Federation were developed by the Museum of Australian Democracy and split the topic into two parts, the Victorian story Victoria: Road to Federation and and the national story The National Story: Road to Federation.  Life at the Time of Federation is another unit of work that could easily be adapted to the classroom.

Federation Referendums – a collection of 13 digital curriculum resources focusing on the rounds of referendums held in Australian colonies to decide whether they would federate to form a nation. It’s organised into four categories – 1) referendums in overview; 2) 1898 referendums; 3) 1899 referendums; 4) 1900 referendum in Western Australia. The collection includes interactive learning objects, photographs, artefacts and cartoons.

A search of Federation on the National Museum of Australia site returns a very useful range of resources from the Citizen’s Arch and the story of William Farrer and Federation wheat

Road to Federation – is an easily accessible interactive telling the Federation story.  It’s suitable for student use.

Centenary of Federation is the story of Victoria’s role in the process of Federation and Australia’s early years as a nation. The site is no longer being maintained so there are some dead link, however, it is still a useful resource.

The resources on Federation Gateway are no longer being maintained. While there is still valuable information on the site, it’s recommended that at search of the Trove database will return a better result.

Image: The ‘Secret Premiers’ conference captured for the record. In order to secure the agreement of all the colonies to the Constitution Bill, urgent changes were made at this meeting of the six Premiers at Parliament House, Melbourne, from 29 January to 2 February in 1899.  Source: National Archives of Australia  [A1200, L16930]

Reading for Pleasure – Book Week and more

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At this time of year the focus is on reading as we celebrate Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book Week.  It’s a time for author visits to schools, writing workshops, dressing up in favourite storybook characters – all with the purpose of developing a love of reading in our students.  In a world driven by technological developments that are changing the nature of future employment, the ability to read is an absolute necessity. The joy it brings is a bonus.

But how far do we go beyond dressing up and celebrating for this one week of the year?  How do we engage parents as key stakeholders in this process?  A movement in Sydney, Street Library Australia which is based on the US group Little Free Libraries aims to make reading front and centre by bringing it into family gardens.  Family involvement is key to a child’s success as a reader as its at home that habits are formed and established.

The National Library of New Zealand in their Services to Schools provide and excellent resource to support reading both at school and at home. Included on the site is Reading for Pleasure – a Door to Success where they advocate:

The benefits of reading for pleasure are far reaching. Aside from the sheer joy of exercising the imagination, evidence indicates reading for pleasure improves literacy, social skills, health and learning outcomes. It also gives people access to culture and heritage and empowers them to become active citizens, who can contribute to economic and social development.

This site tackles reading from all angles and brings a bounty of resources together in the one place. It well worth exploring in depth.  Every child is a reader – it’s not an option.

Event: How to Survive the Apocalypse

apocalypse

The Centre for Youth Literature (State Library Victoria) is planning a fantastic Young Adult event.  Learn how to build and destroy characters and worlds in a day of workshops with favourite Young Adult authors Jay Kristoff and Lili Wilkinson!

Event Date:  2 July 2016 – 12:00-6:00 pm
Author Presenters: Lili Wilkinson and Jay Kristoff
Cost:  Free event – Bookings required

Author workshops*.  Venue: Conference Centre, 12-2pm

Workshop 1 – Jay Kristoff: How to build and destory worlds
Workshop 2 – Lili Wilkinson: How to build and destroy characters

* These workshops are designed for a teen audience, aged between 12 and 20. Proof of age will be required on the day. Workshops are a parent-free zone!  Tickets to the workshops are limited to only 30 places per workshop.

If you miss out on the workshops, there are plenty of tickets available to attend the panel and film screening (capacity 200), open to all ages.

The panel discussion and audience Q&A with Jay Kristoff and Lili Wilkinson will be held in the Village Roadshow Theatrette, 2.30-3.30pm.

Finally,  in the Village Roadshow Theatrette, 4.00-6.00pm
The Maze Runner film screening with audience participation, 4-6pm. The Maze Runner is rated M for a mature audience.

Slow Reading: the Power to Transform

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Reading programs and the support of a culture of reading is a common commitment in school libraries.  As teacher librarians, and librarians, we promote reading for enjoyment as a means of raising literacy levels through activities such as reading classes; engaging children in the Premiers’ Reading Challenge; running Book Clubs or supporting English teachers. To this end, the Synergy article Slow Reading: The Power to Transform by Dr Pam Macintyre, Senior Lecturer in Portfolio of Design and Social Context in the School of Education at RMIT is of particular interest.

In this article Pam says it’s logical to state, ‘greater understanding produces greater pleasure when reading’.  To fully understand and learn the skill of reading she encourages us to take time and to give students time, through a process of ‘slow reading’ saying:

Students need us to slow the reading, to model and facilitate the enjoyment of contemplation and the sharing of responses and interpretations. We need to share our enjoyment of language, and the delight in the places reading can take us well beyond the physical, geographical, emotional, intellectual boundaries of our daily lives. We also need to share our knowledge and pleasure about the how of what is said, not only the what.

Pam mentions the Australian research, the Children and Reading literature review which reports a 4% drop in the number of children reading for pleasure between 2003 and 2012.  As a passionate advocate of adolescent reading, she notes the opportunities for further research in this field as reading formats change from hard copy to digital.

In promoting a reading culture Pam quotes Terry Eagleton’s, How to Read Literature (2013)  and urges us to encourage in students a peculiarly vigilant type of reading, ‘one which is alert to tone, mood, pace, genre, syntax, grammar, texture, rhythm, narrative structure, punctuation, ambiguity’ (2013, p. 2).

This article, published in SLAV’s professional journal Synergy, provides teacher librarians and educators involved in raising literacy levels through a formal reading program, with a thoughtful approach to developing skilled readers.  Synergy is published bi-annually and is freely accessible online, apart from the two most recent editions.  It is a valuable source of research relating to school libraries.

Redesigning thinking in school libraries

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As school libraries forge a new future, it’s clearly apparent that no two libraries are the same.  Whilst we can exchange ideas and hold discussions on ‘what works’ for us, defining the role of a school library is an exercise in knowing what is best for our own community.

Last week, at the SLAV workshop Redesigning thinking in Libraries, Hamish Curry of NoTosh guided library staff through a design thinking approach to exploring the future possibilities for their libraries and schools.  With an explicit focus on the areas of Mindset, Skillset, and Toolset, delegates were led through a critical and creative process learning to think deeply and constructively.  They thought through the current position of their school library and explored possibilities from different angles and through various lenses.

The room buzzed with energy as throughout the day they used words such as ‘and’, rather than ‘but’, to shake off the limitations we often place on our own thinking.  Delegates learnt about ‘ideation’ and ‘actions’ and the ‘7 spaces’ concept.  By the end of the day new ideas had been formed along with the conviction to put them into practice.

Hamish is an old friend of SLAV, having previously collaborated through his role in the Education Team at State Library of Victoria.  The new knowledge he brought from No Tosh is timely inspiration and guidance for school library staff charged with the responsibility of re-envisaging the traditional school library service.

This Storify captures some of the Twitter feed shared via #slavconf.  Thanks to delegates who tweeted from the workshop enabling the capture of this valuable record.