Roadschooling

We’ve come back to Bundaberg for a week with Nanna, and this is a chance to get stuck into our roadschooling adventure. The enormous challenge at the moment is the absence of wifi. Mum doesn’t have it, and Telstra being the monopolied rip-off merchants they are don’t offer a prepaid service that meets our needs. They also have very interesting methods of calculating data use. How the heck they think I used up 6GB in 1 week checking email, social media and using Google Maps, The End, is beyond me?

Anyway, we’ve made use of the Bundaberg Library, which is a lovely space (today they randomly had a highschool brass band playing) and I’ve finally been able to subscribe to Mathletics. On the road I have also purchased a bunch of workbooks which, given the state of flux we are in puts my mind at rest for the time being. My biggest challenge at the moment is finding a free online curriculum organiser that will help me keep track of things.

Our rough curriculum at the moment is focussed on getting into a routine.

Maths

I’m being very boring with an hour of Maths each day, starting with revision: New Wave Mental Maths (who have helped us uncover some main problem issues), followed by a unit in Nelson Maths. Now we have Mathletics we might focus on that as I think she’ll be more motivated there. I’m still stuck in teacher-mode, worrying about which grade she should be doing, but trying all the time to shift my thinking to the level where she is being challenged, but not being completely overwhelmed.

Language

An hour if we can, letting Matilda choose the language: English, Spanish, Chinese. I added about half an hour of grammar to this today with a Grammar Rules workbook I picked up in the local newsagents (much to her disgust). Once we get to Spain she will focus on Spanish and I will need to keep an eye on English. Chinese is a little more problematic. I think we are going to have to rely on a serendipitous encounter for this.

Units of Inquiry

We’re not doing so well on this as we haven’t had time. We’re focussing on Australia, makes sense as we are here, but although she is discovering a lot of new things (museums, art galleries, rainforest walks), we have not had time to follow it up. She has collected about 3000 brochures and the plan is to put them together into a sort of journal/record of the trip, but this is a bit low on Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Science, Society & Environment, Geography etc

This is a bit annoying as I have to do more work before she can. I’ve decided to check out the ACARA (Australian Curriculum) and Scottish curriculum topics and see what she should cover as these are the most likely curriculums she will end up in for Secondary. I want to try to incorporate these into the UOI as much as possible.

Music

Gah, don’t even speak to me. Only plus is that she is missing it and keen to start learning again when we get to Spain.

All in all, it feels like it’s more work for 1 student than for a class HAHAHA

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Panda Awards

Discovered a very cool thing when I started here and joined the Beijing Librarians Network: the Panda Book a Awards. Librarians from international schools all over China nominate recently published works in 4 categories: younger, middle, older & mature readers. A steering committee shortlists them and schools buy the books and promote over summer. After Lunar New Year, online voting takes place.

Our books only just arrived, so we’re behind the 8-ball, which means our display looks a bit bare, but we’ve had enthusiasm from the kids, and staff are keen to get more involved next year.

Our display, with charts for readers to mark off which books they’ve read:

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QR code linking to website for the awards:

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I found the first question was “what do we win?” And as I have no idea that meant kids lost a lot of interest. Quite a lot simply don’t get the idea of “reading for pleasure” This is a struggle for me to adapt to, as I have always been a serious bookworm, but also because I’ve just spent 3 years in public libraries, where people come in because they love reading.

Hopefully get the kids more engaged over the next week or two before voting.

2/4. Frances – doctoral researcher

Cannot recommend this blog enough – each new post I think “argh, I won’t read I don’t have time and I’m not sure I’m interested” but I make myself and each time I come away fascinated and inspired! So many library roles, so little time! (Also I secretly hope to be on the list one day – if Scotland ever lets me come back…)

23 Librarians - and counting!

Frances Breslin Davda Frances Breslin Davda

Frances Breslin Davda is a doctoral researcher at the University of Strathclyde. That’s her on the left with her poster, which won the prize at Strathclyde’s Research Day. Frances also won best student paper at ISIC 2014 (The Information Behaviour Conference).

Books and libraries were central to my childhood: as a child I was regularly taken to my local library and one of my earliest memories is being in fancy dress enjoying stories on a mobile library.  As a voracious teen reader, I was amazed that Glasgow Libraries allowed me to borrow (via my aunt’s ticket) more than the four books my local library allowed, opening up a new world of books.

When I finished school, I undertook a degree in Film and Media Studies at the University of Stirling as I wanted to work in public relations.  During my degree I worked part-time in East Dunbartonshire’s public libraries; it…

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The most important place in town

I’m missing public libraries enormously. There were a lot of sensible reasons for moving back to a school library job, but they faded before the end of the first week. I miss my community. I miss working with other staff. I miss my networks, who haven’t really gone far, but I’m just not part of the crowd any more.

One of the those excellent reasons was to find out whether school libraries were my ‘calling’ and I’d just had some negative experiences, or if public libraries were really my niche.

It is well and truly the latter.

One of the things I used to do while I was a student teacher was gaze longingly out of the window (while I should have been planning to teach Shakespeare to Year 10) at parents, cars driving past, bin men, and longing to be “out there” in the real world.

15 years later I find myself once again staring out the window.

The other realisation I have made is that my skills, my abilities, my ‘talents’ if you will, are best suited for public libraries. There are reasons my most recent job (in a public library) was the longest I’ve ever stayed in one workplace. I LIKED IT. I WAS GOOD AT IT.

So, here I am in the 2nd month of a 2 year contract, wondering what an earth I have gotten myself into!

Community Centered: 23 Reasons Why Your Library Is the Most Important Place in Town

‘In a way, the quakes have pushed us to develop our community role’: Interview with Carolyn Robertson of Christchurch City Libraries, New Zealand

Love this –> ‘We want to change the way people see libraries and use them. We understand the word “library” in the widest possible sense. In the 21st century, the library has taken on the role of the village square.’ Carolyn Robertson, Christchurch City Libraries (borrowing for Prezi on libraries and citizenship, thanks Matt!)

matt finch / mechanical dolphin

There can be no greater challenge to a library service than a natural disaster – except perhaps that same disaster repeated.

That’s exactly what faced Carolyn Robertson and her team at Christchurch Libraries when, in September 2010 and again in February and June of this year, earthquakes struck their home city on New Zealand’s South Island.

Yet, as Carolyn explained to me recently, ‘In a way, the quakes have pushed us to further develop our community role. They’ve actually strengthened Christchurch Libraries’ vision of equity of access.’

Carolyn Robertson of Christchurch City Libraries, New Zealand

I visited Carolyn, Christchurch City Libraries and Information Manager, at the city’s South Library earlier this year. It’s one of the liveliest and most modern I’ve seen in on literacy adventures throughout Northern Europe, the USA, and Australia as well as New Zealand.

The community has clearly taken to this bright, multipurpose space which includes a great café, children’s play area and an…

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Networks

One of the things I love about social media is it’s capacity to facilitate network building. This is such an important part of my job. I’ve also found twitter and Pinterest particularly brilliant for professional development and ideas. In my last job, my first in public libraries, I felt our service was a bit out of touch with contemporary library-ing, so twitter became my lifeline to all that was new and shiny.

As a teacher librarian, I had subscribed to OZTL_net listserv. In my first library role it was invaluable as I was in China, did not have a vpn (in any case social media was not such a Big Deal) and struggling to find my feet. I also joined the Shanghai Librarians Network yahoo group.

One of the most daunting things about returning to teacher librarianship is the loss of all my networks. There are beautiful people with whom I have built online (and sometimes IRL) connections that I know I will now leave behind to an extent as I am back in the land of school libraries. I am sure there are lots of TLs out there doing great things, but so far it has been a struggle to find them.

I tried posting to OZTL listserv, and although I got a couple of replies I was mostly ignored. Perusing the archives there don’t seem to be a lot of newbies on there asking questions.

I then tried Beijing Librarians Network, and got burned. My first post introducing myself has been ignored for over a week. My second one asking for help with collection codes received one response:
“Why don’t you visit a few libraries and see what others have done?”

Wow. If that were remotely possible, then I wouldn’t be posting this question on an e-list!

Feeling dispirited 😦

23 Librarians takes over the world!

Love this concept. Hopefully I’ll be on this list one day! #23Librarians

23 Librarians - and counting!

23LibrariansWell, not quite, although there is evidence that it has been read and discussed as far away as Japan, South Korea and Australia, as well, of course, as in other parts of the UK. It’s been so well received there that librarians in England (Virginia Power), Wales (Kristine Chapman) and Northern Ireland (Elaine Mulholland) are launching their own blogs alongside the second Scottish series in the autumn. You can find their contact details on this blog’s About page along with information about how and why the 23 Librarians concept started.

So, to quote Virginia: “Do you work in an Information Specialist role – public, academic, school, FE or HE library or in a museum or archive as an information manager?  Perhaps you work in a commercial environment as an Information/Records Manager? As part of a project highlighting the diverse range of working environments that librarians and information specialists now work in across…

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Imagination Stations

I love public libraries and at this point I am still slightly hysterical about leaving the public library job I adored to return to school libraries which historically have not always treated me well. There were countless motivations for my decision, but that’s another post.

One of my concerns is that I feel like there’s a huge gap between the work of public and school librarians. I been trying to reconcile myself to the notion that my favourite ideas, tasks and creations may need to be shelved for now. I have been stubbornly toying with the idea that some of them could be adapted, so it was brilliant to stumble on a post at another blog talking about ‘primary centres in the library’ – providing kids with hands-on activities in the school library.

Every school holidays we developed ‘Imagination Stations’ which were set up in all our branch libraries for kids to drop in and do in their own time. They always linked to our holiday theme and I was also developing more purposeful, pedagogical programming whereby we tried to have centres focussing on a range of developmental areas, e.g. Writing, play, verbal skills…

It’s something museums and galleries have been doing for a while and taps neatly into concepts of self directed learning. In their cases it is usually a response to something in their collection so in our public library we tried to incorporate our collection as a focus/stimulus.

On stopover en route to Europe we came across a brilliant ‘imagination station’ at the Singapore Art Museum where people were asked “What would you like to unearth?” The cool thing was adults engaging in the activity as well as kids – and participant creations becoming an artwork in themselves:

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