Colet Bartow AASL Issues Position Statement on Labeling Books with Reading Levels 9/9/11

This posting describes the position that the AASL has taken regarding organizing libraries by reading level.  In many elementary schools librarians are encouraged to coordinate reading levels in their libraries so that students can find the books that are appropriate for their skill level.  Librarians argue that this type of organization can inhibit students to freely search the library for books that interest them.  Students may feel obligated to check out certain types of books or books that are required by their teachers instead of those books that they truly want to read.  This could unintentionally change the way a student feels about books or the library.

Nancy Schley IPad2 as Document Camera 9/9/11

Nancyposts about her school’s use of the iPad2.  She suggests using the technology as an advanced document camera in the classroom.  It was also suggested that you could use it to shoot a live picture of the document or a still photo.  I thought this was very timely as we just had an in-service today regarding our library’s new iPads.  We saw a number of applications that could be used in the classroom.  There were apps for chemistry, anatomy, social studies, poetry and much more.  The iPad does have the potential to be a great classroom tool for students of all grade levels.

Kris Politis Washington Post Answer Sheet How to teach Wikipedia by the Daring Librarian 9/7/11

This post is a reflection of an article on the Daring Librarian’s blog.  The article encourages teachers and librarians not to ban their students from using Wikipedia, but rather to teach them how to use it effectively.  Most educators agree that Wikipedia is not a source that students should cite in scholarly research but it is an acceptable resource to use for background information.  In addition, the author of the article suggests teaching students to use Wikipedia for, technology terms, cultural literacy and for the resources at the end to gather more information.  I agree with this position.  I believe Wikipedia has some benefits to students.  For fast, basic background information you cannot get it as efficiently in many other places.  However, for teaching students how to evaluate quality information for research, there are many other resources that meet those needs.

Blog Postings

Preparation for Living in a Public World by Stephen Abram as posted on the AASL website.  September 10, 2011

As we look ahead toward Banned Book Week, the AASL would also like to recognize banned Web sites.  Stephen Abram echoes the thoughts of Connie Coyle from August 22, 2011.  The suggestion is that instead of simply banning student access to Web sites, we teach students how to use these sites effectively.  In addition, students need to know how to disseminate valuable information from the other sort.  He highlights some rules associated with the CIPA that some people may not be aware of.  For example, You Tube is not banned by the CIPA nor do Web sites have to be blocked for teachers.  Stephen gives several examples of reasons that some sites are banned including sites using the word “affairs” or “magna cum laude”.  Abram argues that schools are responsible for teaching students to become good citizens and that information literacy is a key component of that education.

Mass Customization in Education by Doug Johnson on September 7, 2011.

In this article, Doug Johnson reflects on the criticisms of public education that institutions are providing mass education and creating robots rather than creative, unique individuals.  The argument is that public schools do not have the budget to create a customized learning plan for each student.  He asserts that there are a great many careers out there that require a person become trained and acquire the necessary skills to carry out their duties.  Johnson feels as though public schools to a pretty effective job of creating a balance between knowledge and skill and creativity.  This post was very interesting because we have heard for decades that our students need more rigor, skills and knowledge.  Then, when schools try to create programs that are based on skill and common standards, they are criticized for not providing enough room for creativity.  He also argues that although companies say they want individuality, they really are scared of it and would just prefer that everyone would conform.

From the Unquiet Librarian’s blog on September 10, 2011.  In the spirit of Benjamin Franklin: 13 Virtues of the next-gen librarian.  Authors Andy Burkhardt, Catherine R. Johnson and, Carissa Tomlinson

This is a re-post of an article that reflects on the role of librarian and its evolution.  The author suggests that any librarian can be a next-gen librarian regardless of age or experience.  Any librarian who is willing to embrace the changing role of libraries and librarians and embrace the 13 listed virtues can fit the description.  I will just expand on a few of the 13 listed virtues here.  Flexibility is a virtue that all school librarians can understand.  With students comes unpredictability and librarians need to be prepared to be flexible with schedules, hours, access and more.  Another is to be service oriented.  Instead of encouraging teachers and students to find you if they need help, extend your service to them often and make their library experience meaningful.  Creativity is another virtue that next-gen librarians must have.  Finding creative solutions to problems, creative ways to market your programs and draw kids into the library is a daily activity.  To read more about the 13 virtues follow this link:


From Inside the New York Times book review.  This podcast included an interview of author Thomas L. Friedman who writes That Used to be Us.  He believes that “America is the tent pole that holds up the world”.  The book reflects on the decline ofAmerica and its impact on the rest of the world.  He talks about the end of the Cold War and the effects of 9/11.  Tom suggests that in order forAmerica to be great again they need to reinvest in the following five pillars: education, immigration, good infrastructure, guidelines to regulate business, and government funded research.   

Also in this podcast, on this the 10th anniversary of 9/11, many 9/11 books have been released.  A memoir of an FBI agent who worked on counterterrorism was released.  What We Saw is an account of 9/11 that has been updated and The Looming Tower has been re-issued. 

Finally the podcast reviewed the work of a best-selling author named Christopher Hitchens.  Hitchens who is dying of cancer writes ofAmericaand secularism, and activist government.

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4 Responses to Reflection

  1. Floyd Pentlin says:

    In some ways it seems as if libraries are being encouraged to be a lot of things besides libraries — organization by reading levels means the library is a reading room; organization by topics means the library is a book store. It raises the question of is this really making a change or just rearranging the deck chairs on the “Titanic?”

    How many iPads did your library get and what are the conditions for borrowing one from the library?

    I can’t figure out why “affairs” would be blocked.

    I think many librarians might be uncomfortable with the need for “creativity.” Or they wouldn’t think that it is a priority. What do you think? Is it important?

    Unfortunately, I’m behind in my “NY Times” podcast. What was the discussion about regarding Hitchens? Was it just about his looming death or did it include a recent work?

    • colemanlsw says:

      Our library purchased 5 iPads. They collaborated with teachers to come up with the applications that would best suit the classroom. The only conditions are that we sign a waiver in case it is lost or damaged. Otherwise they are available for teacher check out. I just used one in class yesterday for the Brain application. I used a 3D diagram that you can manipulate and highlights each area and its function. It was very cool.

      I assume the word “affairs” was blocked because of its negative implications. I wonder if they were afraid that inappropriate material about human “affairs” would pop up in that instance.

      I do think that creativity is important. Like we talked about on Skype the other night, sometimes getting our students involved in something that is new or different as a way to take them to the learning is essential. So we have to keep innovating and re-inventing.

      The podcast about Hitchens was about his career, his work and his condition. A review of some of the work and controversy of his life.

      • Floyd Pentlin says:

        Well, cool about the iPad applications. One question — does it hook up easily to a data projector so what you are doing is easily demonstrable to the class?

  2. colemanlsw says:

    Yes! It comes with an adapter cord that works really well with my mounted projector. It was really easy to use!

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