Monday, July 27, 2009

ISAIL: Get on board

I attended a session about ISAIL, Illinois Standards Aligned Instruction for Libraries, hosted by ISLMA (Illinois School Library Media Association) recently. I've been to a couple sessions about ISAIL to date. The project is really picking up steam and is a fabulous effort to coordinate school library objectives, goals, and benchmarks with ISBE content standards, AASL standards, and NETS standards. The document is in an easy-to-use format.

What really excited me this time around is the push for creating a mISAIL component, where schools can individualize ISAIL to meet their needs. As I am reworking the library standards documents for my school, I look forward to using mISAIL to help me do this. Down the road there is also going to be a wISAIL component where people will have a chance to collaborate and share.

I'm proud of the effort that ISLMA members have put into this project to date. This work is really help blazing a trail in the country. If you haven't seen this project yet, do check out the ISAIL wiki. All the ISAIL documentation uses Creative Commons licensing and sharing is encouraged!

More than just talking to yourself: Power of Self-Talk, Think-Aloud, and Talk-Aloud

I was reminded the other day of the impact that hearing someone talk through a process aloud as they are doing it can have in teaching and learning.

After getting a haircut, the stylist took the teachable moment and talked through the steps she was using as she styled my hair. I really appreciated that. Seeing her doing the steps and hearing her talk about what she was doing and why, really made the information stick in my brain. I gained some new insight and could replicate and adjust accordingly.

I lead a lot of sessions with students attempting to teach them how to do research and use information. I need to remember to share my mental process as I am searching even if it does feel silly. Most of the important stuff when a search is being conducted and the results are being evaluated is happening in the head of the searcher! If we don't model for our students what we think before we click and type, we are missing a huge teaching opportunity. Thanks, Sophia, for the powerful demonstration and for helping to remind me of a really critical technique.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Grant Writing Session

During our class five meeting, our focus was on Grant Writing for School Libraries. We went through a problem solving model in order to develop a grant program idea. We followed this up with a mock-up of key parts of a grant application for the project idea that we chose as the way to best solve the problem (building literacy, particularly in students who are English language learners) we identified in our mock school.

Below is part of our brainstorming for possible solutions that could lead to a grant project:

Here is the the outline of moving our project idea into a grant proposal:

Research is Recursive

I was reading the chapter, "Modeling Recursion in Research Process Instruction" by Sandy L. Guild, and suddenly a light bulb in my head turned on. I know modeling of my thought process is important when demonstrating searching. But I realized that even though I know research is a recursive process and that I talk about it as a cyclical process, often times when I am working with students I present it in stages. The idea that it is linear probably causes a disconnect and additional frustration for students.
I really liked the way Guild connected this idea of teaching recursive thinking and laying it over the process models of information seeking. I appreciated having that aha moment! The short chapter gave me plenty of food for thought and helpful examples. I hope to incorporate these ideas in my teaching and work with students more formally in the fall.

Work Cited
Guild, S. L. (2003). Modeling Recursion in Research Process Instruction. In B.K. Stripling & S. Hughes- Hassell (Eds.), Curriculum connections through the library (pp. 141-155). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Monday, July 13, 2009

AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner & Permissions to Use

I have been following with interest the postings that Chris Harris has been doing on his Informancy Blog about AASL restricting the use of the standards for the 21st Century Learner. Harris is raising several questions including pushing for the idea of adopting Creative Commons licensing or looking for some other alternative to allow those in the field to actually use the language within the standards in teaching situations and in discussions within the school library field.

This is surprising as it was a member-created effort and supposedly incorporated lots of input from school librarians. I'm curious about how this will play out. What do you think?