Mary Boyd Ratzer: Knowledge Products and the Brain

The incredible Mary Boyd Ratzer will be speaking this morning at NYLA-SSL. Don’t miss it, New York readers! For the rest of our colleagues around the country, here’s her column from our November 2015 issue, in case you missed it.

If a learner’s brain could talk, it might provide some valuable advice about inquiry. Engaged learning experiences that lead to rigorous knowledge products build in dynamics that work for the brain. The outcome of brain-based teaching and learning is what Ross Todd calls formative knowledge—knowledge that hard wires and becomes the foundation for new learning. Without a knowledge product that demands synthesis and manipulation, use, and application of new knowledge, the brain’s recycle bin gets emptied in two weeks. Stopping short of a knowledge product disempowers learning experiences and learners. Just ask a candid kid about that. You will hear a tasking mindset concerned with “getting done” and giving the teacher what she wants for a grade.

Continue reading “Mary Boyd Ratzer: Knowledge Products and the Brain”

Great Reads for Earth Day

Need some great nonfiction titles for Earth Day? Check out these recommended Nature & Environment titles from the April issue of School Library Connection.

Amazing Biomes: GrasslandsAmazing Biomes
Deserts.  9781781212417
Grasslands. 9781781212424
Oceans.  9781781212431
Polar Lands.  9781781212455
Rivers and Lakes.  9781781212448
Tropical Rain Forests.  9781781212462
2015. 32pp. ea. $31.95 ea. hc. Black Rabbit Books. Grades 3-5

Each title in this series contains a brief overview of its specified biome. All follow the same format including a world map, Climate and Zones, Animals, People, Future, a Quiz, and a Fact File. Attractive stock photos span most pages, and backgrounds complement each book’s theme. Text features include captions, headings, bold print, and books for further research. Some discrepancies regarding Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion were found in identical information across volumes. An enjoyable series for casual research or browsing despite a few flaws. Glossary. Table of Contents. Websites. Index.— Leticia Kalweit, School Library Media Specialist, Cobbles Elementary School, Penfield, New York
Recommended

Continue reading “Great Reads for Earth Day”

Help! My Assistant Doesn’t Like to Shelve Books!

This column by Mary Keeling from the latest issue of School Library Connection has been getting some buzz. Happy reading, and remember: “Everyone is a volunteer!”

Keeling_MaryAt a recent meeting of new elementary librarians and their mentors, someone asked, “What is my assistant supposed to do? She doesn’t like to shelve books!”

A paradox of school library management is that the librarian is in charge of the library program, but a school administrator evaluates support staff performance. Without clear lines of authority, supervision experience, or detailed descriptions of successful task performance, the new librarian may feel it would be easier to have no help at all. Continue reading “Help! My Assistant Doesn’t Like to Shelve Books!”

ICYMI: Daniella Smith on Working with Public Libraries

With PLA meeting in Denver this week, it’s a perfect time to think about working with public libraries. Be sure to check out Dr. Daniella Smith’s recent SLC article about strategies for collaborating with public libraries. 

Nurturing Youth Pathways through Learning

Smith_DaniellaI attribute my experiences in public and school libraries with enabling me to understand the nuances that make both positions crucial to the development of young people. According to Barbara Immroth and Viki Ash-Geisler’s 1995 report, regardless of their location, libraries are institutions of education, whether it is formal or informal. Children are often introduced to their first organized educational experiences in public libraries. The library was my playground as a child, and this was by design.  Continue reading “ICYMI: Daniella Smith on Working with Public Libraries”

ICYMI: Sylvia Vardell on Lit for ELL Readers

Vardell circle

In case you missed it, check out Sylvia Vardell’s recent editorial from reVIEWS+ for our issue on English language learners.

Did you know?

  • It is estimated that there are 4.4 million public school students in the United States who are English language learners (ELL).
  • English language learners represent approximately 10.3 percent of the total public school student enrollment in the U.S.
  • Twenty-one percent (21%) of all urban public school students across the U.S. are English language learners.
  • The English language learning population is the fastest-growing population of public school students in the U.S.
  • An increasing number of English language learners are newcomers to U.S. schools, having just recently immigrated to the United States.
  • There are 400 languages spoken by English language learners across the U.S.

The great majority of students learning English claim Spanish as their native language (79%), followed by Vietnamese (2%), Hmong (1.6 %), Chinese, Cantonese (1%), Korean (1%), and other (15.4%).
If you work in public schools in the U.S., particularly in cities, you have certainly encountered students who are learning English as a new language. They may have recently emigrated from other countries or have grown up in families within the U.S. who don’t speak English fluently. Many years ago, that was ME! My parents were born and raised in Germany and immigrated to the U.S. shortly after I was born. Continue reading “ICYMI: Sylvia Vardell on Lit for ELL Readers”