Professional “Pick-Up Lines”

Those of  you who know Paige Jaeger (and really, who doesn’t?) know she’s big on inquiry and collaboration. In her latest webinar for SLC @ The Forefront, Paige offered solid advice on repackaging those social studies research projects so inquiry is front and center. For attendees looking for Paige’s pick-up lines  for approaching teachers so you can get started collaborating, we present this article from February 2016.

When I firsJaegert started as a librarian, I had to fish for collaborative teacher friends. I didn’t wait in line for them to swim up to me, but I floated around the building with a baited hook. My pick-up lines included, “How can I help you?” “How can I connect to your curriculum?” “How can we work together to increase achievement?” I’d leave little weekly notes in teacher’s mailboxes to see who would befriend me.

Initially, teachers may have collaborated out of pity, but they returned for the fun. They were hooked. I remember modifying an insect unit with a first grade teacher so that kids would not only have to “report” on their insect but also speak in the first person voice. I remember reforming a biographical presidential biography report to a first person campaign speech, and I remember teaching perspective because a fifth grade teacher said he didn’t have time. It was a slow walk down a long road, but we eventually reached that collaborative plateau.

When we successfully collaborate, it weaves us into the fabric of instruction and it enlarges our students’ world. It allows students to travel on our Internet Superhighway to destinations unknown. There are a few levels of collaboration, and dare I say we have experienced them all? We have covert collaboration, low-level collaboration, and full-collaborative planning. Continue reading “Professional “Pick-Up Lines””

‘Tis the Season?

via flick https://www.flickr.com/photos/43089317@N04/8239376115/in/photolist-dy5XsT-qc8DpX-9eoN3Y-7oJC9Z-pEx4vg-puDANL-dJPoiC-aX4v9i-qeHUD-5MFdMa-4dEjTW-5Kdy93-bWiDEZ-5LkDKj-4zrYnA-bsQWGP-iBcPXb-dNadaE-vdEdsG-dybxDc-4wRe18-dxCmZZ-6Gz6jq-jr5CLZ-dD5QrL-9W586C-dog7nD-7prbXw-7EePs-4cisDD-pG8pee-aXabFR-7oW5NL-dCZry2-9Df3TD-Nz6tF-5KAysh-8YQdSQ-7bX7yM-jr7ym1-86mdJs-6XqgBt-du8LbC-9KxTHB-92NZHC-5KEAZs-8Rwdw2-4cDnWL-dJ2DxA-cDmR
“Humbug” by SK via Flickr Creative Commons license

I love Christmas. I love Hanukah. I love giving gifts, the cookies, caroling and all the other festivities that go along with this December season. But…every time that Amazon ECHO commercial comes on television I turn into Scroogette incarnate. That’s right. The hairs on the back of my cybrarian neck just stand on end, and I begin to pontificate on how tomorrow’s leaders are going to be intellectually impaired. The same reaction ensues from the Google Home equivalent. Why in the world would we want to insert in our homes a thinking device, a data-miner, and a microphone that listens to every word we say…just awaiting her name to be called (i.e., the “wake up” word)?

Library of Congress
Library of Congress

Almost eighty years ago, Aldous Huxley wrote A Brave New World, in which he espoused that humans will come to love technologies that undo our capacity to think. Fast-forward 80 years and here we are embodying his theory. So here we are. We now have devices that can and do think for us. In the 1940s, what technologies did they have?  The typewriter? Morse code?

Today, impoverished children have strikes against them. They are likely arriving into kindergarten having heard merely half the vocabulary as their peers entering school from an educated home, but dare we claim that in the future their brains might be a bit better off? Will they demonstrate resourcefulness? Will they have more experience problem solving? Once they catch up with language and other skills, will they exceed children from privileged homes where they don’t need to think and where the kids have spent the mornings on their iPad swiping away or asking Alexa how to spell or what the meaning of life is? Only time will tell. Continue reading “‘Tis the Season?”

Congrats Newbies!
You’ve Survived the Toughest Month of Your Career

JaegerIf you’re a new librarian, chances are you’ve just finished the hardest month of your working career.  Take a deep breath and read on…

Thus concludes a month of figuring things out, extensive meetings, wondering if you’ll remember any names, skipping lunch, and staying late.

Twenty years ago, I walked into my first elementary librarian position hoping to change the world.  Or, at least the school.  I was uber-excited, passionate, appreciative of the opportunity, and in love with the students.  I was wearing rose-colored glasses, and yet the year did not disappoint me.

Flash forward a couple of years:  I could say that, “everything I needed to know to be a good librarian did not come with the MLS degree.”  I was successful, but it was not without chastisement, faux pas, alienation, and blunders along the way.  Let me save you a few mistakes by sharing what I learned from my “finer moments.” Continue reading “Congrats Newbies!
You’ve Survived the Toughest Month of Your Career”

Are Your Seniors Ready for College, Career, and Civic Life?

The Presidential Citizens Medal
The Presidential Citizens Medal

School Library Connection’s own Paige Jaeger reminds us that in this political season of change, pontificating, bloviating, orating, and more…the truth gets buried deeper than normal.

Now more than ever we need to teach our students to make informed decisions— based upon evidence—and ensure that they see the link between history and real life.  Now may be the best time to ensure we understand the new College, Career, and Civic (C3) readiness.

new-picture-2Swept up in the tsunami of educational standards reform, the National Council for Social Studies completely overhauled their teaching framework so that social studies content is aligned with the Common Core (CCSS) reforms. Even if your state has not adopted the Common Core, it’s likely that they have been influenced by it. State education departments use the national standards to inform changes at the state level and it often takes a few years for the aftershocks to be felt by the students. Be ye hereby warned: The changes are massive.

It’s likely that your state will be, is currently, or has reviewed their state Social Studies Standards for alignment. Here are a few thoughts to ponder as you start the school year and begin to review possible social studies (SS) projects for alignment with new national standards.

The Arc of Inquiry

Storytelling may still be alive, but lecture is dead. There is no doubt about it—new standards want students to manipulate content, get down and dirty with the past, draw informed conclusions, and deeply uncover, discover, and understand the why behind our (hi)story.  In fact, the crafters of the C3 put it up front and center in the change.  If you are not familiar with inquiry-based learning, now is the time to embrace this learning model that fits the learning styles of the NextGen students who want to be in control. The inquiry model is defined in  “dimensions,” where students are asking questions, researching, deliberating, and making claims, all wrapped up in a knowledge product, thus making them more capable of taking informed action. Continue reading “Are Your Seniors Ready for College, Career, and Civic Life?”

Sneak Peek: Inquiry as a Lone Ranger

JaegerToday, we’re wrapping up a series of posts about creating deep learning experiences on a fixed schedule with this sneak peek of an eight-part workshop by School Library Connection’s own Paige Jaeger. Click the video below to watch. (Subscribers can view the complete workshop online here.) We know you’ll enjoy some of Paige’s ideas for leading the charge on inquiry learning as a “lone ranger” librarian. And thanks to Sue Kowalski for putting in a special request for these resources from #ALAAC16!

Inquiry as a Lone Ranger Librarian

Read Like a Wedding Crasher!

800px-Charles_Sprague_Pearce_-_Reading_by_the_ShoreLooking for some great summer reads? School Library Connection’s own Paige Jaeger challenges you to look beyond those light-hearted, easy-to-read, beachside paperbacks and instead try a little “reading up.” Tweet us @SLC_online with a picture of your own challenging book for the beach this summer with the hashtag #ReadUpChallenge.

There’s this (unofficial) librarian law that says, “When a movie is released, you are not allowed to see it until after you read the book.”

We’ve all been there. So, last winter when the movie In the Heart of the Sea was released, I resolved to read the book before seeing the movie and I also decided to re-read Melville’s Moby Dick. They were my “beach reads” for a winter vacation. There was also an element of wanting to go back and remedy the error-of-my-ways as I recollect taking the short cut for Moby Dick in high school.

Both books were a challenge for me. Although I did not find them difficult, it was predictable to have to look up a word on every-other page in Melville’s book—and I like to think I have a large vocabulary. Some of the sea-faring tier-three vocabulary was new to me, and cultural references of the 1800s I had to ponder. At times I felt “out of my element.”

Catching up on professional journal reading, I came across a brilliantly written piece by Tom Newkirk, espousing that we should “read like wedding crashers.” When crashing a wedding, we are out of our element—where we are not comfortable or intended to be: “It’s an act of impersonation, of seeming to know things you don’t. It’s knowing just enough to get by, to pass.” Continue reading “Read Like a Wedding Crasher!”