Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Reflecting on Student Learning in Library, 2010

School Bus Reflectionphoto © 2009 Ingrid Taylar more info (via: Wylio)

It is natural to use the end of the year as a time to reflect. This has been true for me as an educator in past years, but now that I am using this blog as a reflection tool I felt obligated to write a post on this reflection. Several ideas have been swirling around in my brain, but when I read Buffy Hamilton's recent post a bell went off for me. She recommends that we reflect on what our students have learned, not just what we learned. I think this is a wonderful idea. Our impact on learning is what we are judged on and should be what we examine when judging ourselves. I will use her questions as a guide for my reflection and highly recommend that you read the entire post and see what she has been teaching in 2010. Her work is a wonderful model to try to emulate.

1. What did they (your patrons or those you serve) learn through your library program and the conversations for learning you facilitated? What do you hope they will learn in 2011?

For my most frequent library visitors, sixth grade, I have had the opportunity to introduce literacy skills using stations (Dewey matching game, web evaluation activity, book trailer viewing, citation, and Your Next Read reading lists). I created a web quest on figurative language using Jog the Web. We participated in the SLJ Trailee awards with Poll Everywhere voting. They have been avid readers as part of the summer reading program, Teen Read Week and the Wrestlemania Reading Challenge. I taught a lesson on propaganda using Christmas commercials.
Seventh grade science students have come for disease research when I taught them citation for their Glogster projects. I assisted in research on topics related to the novel "Tears of a Tiger". I introduced the teachers to Photostory, Glogster and Google Earth which allowed these tools to be used to create digital Chrstmas stories and Glogs with Google Earth links on Imperialism.
Sadly my impact on eight grade is not where I want it to be. I have to do something to make sure these teachers know that I want to help and I can help meet their goals in the classroom. So far I have only seen them for orientation and the book fair. Two teachers brought classes in for literacy stations, but then only wanted the students to watch a few book trailers. I'm going to keep trying.
All grades have participated on our gaming in the library lunch program called Horseplay where they used information literacy skills to learn and play board and video games.
I have taught the teachers how to use technology in their lessons including Flip cameras, Hue webcams, iPods, Kindles, Senteo clickers, and even cell phones. At faculty meetings I introduce one Web 2.0 tool. So far I have taught staff about Diigo, Big Huge Labs, Zamzar, Poll Everywhere and Wordle. The special education students have benefited from our growing collection of Playaways. The teachers have seen a major improvement in their enthusiasm to read and participate in silent sustained reading. They beg for more reading time!
I do not know how to measure this but I believe my enthusiasm and welcoming atmosphere has improved our schools attitude about reading and the benefits of the library.

2. How do we know what they learned? What tools did you use for assessment? Did the patrons engage in metacognition and self-reflection on what they learned?

This year our sixth graders took the TRAILS assessment. They will take it again in late Spring to assess information literacy skills. This is my formal evaluation goal for the year and it has been a great way for me to target the weak areas and focus my lessons. The weakest area was ethical use of information. I have a unit planned for the Spring semester to correspond with a large research project. So far I have been modeling ethical use by pointing out citations in my own work and introducing the topic in a literacy station lesson in September.
During a Christmas commercial lesson on propaganda techniques I used Poll Everywhere to assess the knowledge of the techniques. The students were actually excited to answer the questions because they text in their answers. This was a fun and useful way to achieve informal assessment.
At the end of a figurative language web quest students answered a few questions on a Google Form about which types of figurative language they understood and which they wanted more help on. The teachers had never used Google Forms before and they loved the ease of collecting the data.
During our reading promotions our students have recorded using different measures including minutes read, pages read and number of books read.
As part of our Kindle program "We eRead" our students will be measured using MAP (Measuring Academic Progress) scores in language arts and Lexile scores. I will also monitor their state standardized test (PASS) scores in addition to their grade in the regular language arts classroom. We hope that using the Kindles will have a positive impact on their scores. Each student took a survey on reading motivation that will give me more data about the Kindles' impact on reading attitudes with these students.
Incorporating self assessment is something I need to improve on. Usually the final product is completely up to the teacher. I have made suggestions but am not usually included in the process even though I would be happy to help. I will try to make sure they know I am willing to help. If not included in the grading process I can still use questions in my mini lessons that have self reflection components.

3. How are you privileging and honoring what they learned? Where are their stories of learning shared in your physical and virtual library spaces?

There is a part of me that doesn't even want to answer this question because I feel like I have not done a very good job of this. But the point of evaluation is to celebrate success and continue to improve so here goes.
I have highlighted our reading program participants and winners by putting their pictures on bulletin boards and their names in the school's morning news program, weekly updates, school webpages, and even the library Facebook page. Student projects are on display in the library and I put the top patron's names on our Top Ten Books bulletin board display.
I have requested that the teachers send me examples of impressive final products including glogs, Photostories, and mock Facebook pages. So far I have only received a few Facebook pages about diseases. I saved them and highlighted the teachers in our principal's Shout Out section of his weekly email to staff, but did not go further. I really wanted to send a few of the best Christmas digital stories to our elementary librarians so that they could show them to their students, but I still haven't received any from the teacher. Even if I get them later I plan to post them on my library Youtube channel with the student's approval (no names are included).
Since this area is a weakness I need to find more ways to celebrate student learning and share with a broader audience. Maybe I need to start carrying a flash drive with me when I check on these classes in the lab so that I can save the projects myself and will not be at the mercy of the teacher's remembering to send me a copy. Maybe I should do more to brag on the teachers that share with me so they will have incentive to remember to include me.

Any suggestions on how you highlight your student work would be appreciated. How would you answer these three questions from Buffy Hamilton?

1 comment:

  1. Amazing reflections, Tamara. You've inspired me to do some more serious reflecting. I've focused on trying to collaborate with teachers, but was really affected by Allison Zmuda's keynote at the OELMA conference when she suggested that the focus should be on individual students' information needs as they use the library.