The November 2010 library monthly report is rich in data, including multiple videos featuring student and teacher interviews as well as samples of student work! Check out our November 2010 monthly report hosted by LibGuides.
Since opening my library in August of 2006, I have compiled a monthly report as part of my efforts to share what is happening with the library program and as a tool for reflection and action. I have always completed paper reports using Microsoft Word and posted them on the library website as Word document or Adobe Acrobat PDF; each year, I have added tweaks and additional data. Last year’s reports (you can see here or here) represented a somewhat dramatic improvement as I incorporated more images, improved graphic design, some additional quantitative data, and a correlation of collaborative lessons (and the accompanying research pathfinders) to assorted standards, including AASL, ISTE, and state performance standards (Georgia Performance Standards or GPS).
While I was pleased with the monthly reports and the culminating annual report for 2008-09, I wanted to add more depth and dimension for this school year to better illustrate what is happening with the library program. In addition, I felt that a reporting format with more than just print data would help me evaluate my program more effectively and consequently, engage in more thoughtful decision-making.
Originally, I envisioned adding only a master a multimedia video format full of images and data to accompany the print format. By late October, though, I had this vision of creating a web page in Google Sites for every collaborative assignment that would showcase the link to the pathfinder, student work, assessment tools, video, photos, and any other relevant material and to house these individual pages under an umbrella “month” page. In addition, I wanted to complete a lesson or unit plan using the AASL Standards for 21st Century Learner template for each collaborative effort and to embed this on these individual pages as well.
While I had good intentions and grandiose visions of this form of reporting, the reality of library life , which has happily been more time-consuming than ever, prevented me from actually following through with my reporting ideas. Until this year, I have been fairly punctual in creating and posting my reports, but I am sad to say that has not been the case this year! About a week ago, I finally got a slight break in the action to get all my data together since August and to set about the task of getting caught up. I realize more than ever that somehow, I must designate a day a month to make sure I stay on track with my reporting and reflection efforts whether I do so at work or at home. While I feel guilty for letting the reports slide so long this year, I think I did so because I felt preparing the lessons and learning resources for all the collaborative lessons we’ve been doing this year took precedence.
So here is what I’m now including in my monthly reports, which I am generating via LibGuides:
- A tab featuring an embedded print report (which I’ve uploaded to Slideshare and also attached as a PDF file), a photo show of events for that month, and a link roll to each research pathfinder
- A tab featuring student video interviews
- A tab featuring teacher video interview
I still need to catch up this week (I am on vacation) on the November, December, and January reports. However, in the process of getting the August 2009, September 2009, and October 2009 monthly reports created, I’ve come to recognize several significant insights:
- I have come up somewhat short in being consistent in incorporating student self-assessments and feedback tools (such as polls) on a regular basis in each research pathfinder; I am determined to correct this shortcoming by making it a tab/element in each LibGuides pathfinder.
- I have not been consistent in creating links or space for student work to be featured on the pathfinder pages at the end of a project; I want to include a tab in each LibGuides pathfinder for this element.
- I need to do a better job of collecting those student and teacher quotes so that I can incorporate more as qualitative data into the print report.
- I have not been as consistent as I would like in documenting projects and gathering feedback from students and teachers with photos and videos; again, I can include a tab in each LibGuides pathfinder to document this qualitative data with multimedia.
- I now want to include a tab in my each pathfinder I create to reflect the lesson plan (using that AASL template) and the standards we are addressing through the project.
In other words, all the elements I originally envisioned as parts of multiple pages in Google Sites can simply be embedded as essential parts/elements of the LibGuides research pathfinder.
One other insight I’ve gained from this process relates to the standards documentation. While I need to take ownership of documenting the AASL standards the collaborative lesson or unit addresses, I need to give the ownership of documenting state performance standards to the classroom teacher. I have now devised a simple, low-tech, and already effective method for doing this: I simply print a copy of the state standards from the GPS website, attach a friendly note on top of the printout to the teacher, and have the teacher highlight all the course standards he/she feels the collaborative project addresses. In the past, we’d talk about the standards we’d cover, and I’d jot down notes as I did not want to force teachers to fill out a collaborative planning form, but many times I’d realize my shorthand was not terribly effective. Now that I’ve started asking teachers to use this method, both the teacher and I find the process of documenting the GPSs painless and easy! In addition, this exercise has really opened the eyes of my teachers as to how many content standards they are addressing through our collaboratively planned research projects. Last week, one of my 10th grade English teachers came by to tell me how excited he was about how many standards his students were mastering in a hands-on, meaningful, real-world sort of way and not through the superficial means imposed upon him by the test-driven approach. I am now “backtracking” in include these standards on all project we’ve engaged in since January 1 and incorporate this process into each collaborative effort from this point forward.
These “light bulb” moments of recent days are energizing and exciting for me! I feel that the tweaks to the pathfinders will not only improve the pathfinders themselves but will support my endeavor of creating dynamic and multifaceted monthly reports that tell the story of my library program rather than merely reporting facts and figures.
The process of creating monthly reports is a yearly evolution for me; each year, I try to find ways to include more meaningful and relevant data while presenting that information in more interesting ways. Last year’s reports were a major step forward as they were packaged in attractive Word document (and converted to PDF format) with statistical and anecdotal data about happenings in the library each month.
One of my professional goals this year is to do a better job of assessment and data collection. After an insanely busy first three months of school, I am finally beginning my first steps toward adding more dimension to my monthly reports. In August, I used Animoto to create a “video” report; the response has been positive to this format. Now I want to supplement my reports with additional layers of evidence as I try to be even more transparent about what is happening in my library program. I will now be creating a page for each month (example: September 2009 in its infancy). On the home page for the month, I will include the statistical data and a video. I will then add subpages to that month to represent each lesson or unit I create with a classroom teacher. As you can imagine, this will take time, but I think the investment in collecting more anecdotal data will be worthwhile in terms of getting better assessment and reflection for me in regards to library programs and practices as well as better educating our learning community about what we do with students and teachers.
This page represents a very rough draft of what I hope to be the template for this new mode of reporting. Essential elements for each teacher page will include:
- an attached PDF for a unit or lesson plan using the AASL Standards for 21st Century Learners template; having a copy of the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner is essential for identifying skills, benchmarks, dispositions, and responsibilities.
- a link to the research pathfinder
- a link to student learning artifacts and/or embedded student work on the actual page
- Written and/or videotaped reflections from students and the teacher
- Any other multimedia to support the collaborative lesson or unit
This example is my first effort, and it is rather rough, but hopefully, it will provide a model of what I hope to accomplish. I will still need to refine my details on the template and do a better job of collecting formative assessment, but I think this page represents a decent start. It is missing some of the additional assessment data I want to include (polls, surveys and the teacher video), but I feel this is a step in the right direction. You can see additional videos featuring teachers and students that I will am collecting and preparing to incorporate into the collaborative lesson pages at our library’s YouTube Channel.
I love how Google Sites easily lets me embed this data; I also like the attachment option as well. My goal is to go back and create pages for all the collaborative projects I have done since August 1; then I will be ready to move forward and document the projects as they are developed. I hope to have all pages completed by December 1, so I will provide an update at that time on this project and hopefully be able to showcase a much broader range of data for you; I also hope to better show the “vision” of these pages that I have in mind to feature as many kinds of data as possible.
If you can think of additional data that would be helpful and meaningful to include, please share your thoughts here with me on the blog!