GLMA Summer Institute 2012 Presentation: Leveraging the Discourse of Common Core Standards to Spur Conversations for Student Learning and School Libraries

Thank you to GLMA for the warm reception and the opportunity to talk about Common Core Standards, learning, and librarians.  The presentation in PDF format is also available below:

Leveraging the Discourse of Common Core Standards to Spur Conversations for Student Learning and School Libraries by Buffy Hamilton June 2012

Links of interest from today’s presentation not embedded in the PDF or slides:

Crowdsourcing Recommended Reads for Issues in School Librarianship

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About two weeks ago, I received an email from my mentor and cherished friend, Dr. Mary Ann Fitzgerald, of the University of Georgia, who shared the following charge:

Here’s a question that’s perfect for you.  I’m teaching an Issues class this summer as an elective (M.Ed level). In the past, I’ve come up with a laundry list of topics and we’ve explored those.

Another approach might be to choose a single book — a paradigm shifter sort of book that relates to SLM.  Not a textbook.  Something like:

  • information + social + technology + education, multiplied by radical
  • Something we can all read and have some rich discussions about, preferably available in e-book format
  • TED talkish

What title would you nominate?  Something published quite recently.

While I had some titles in mind, I decided to tap into the wisdom of my PLN (personal learning network) via good old-fashioned email and crowdsource the list a bit.  Thanks to my sage colleagues, I have compiled a reading list that I think fits the criteria described by Mary Ann: I think this list gives veterans a rich reading menu as well!  What would you add?  You can share your own suggestions by adding them to the public Google doc I’ve created; you can also download the initial list I originally created in Word from SlideShare below.

Getting There Together: Assessing Student Learning

I would like to thank Sophie Brookover and Jessica Adler of LibraryLinkNJ, the New Jersey Library Cooperative, for inviting me to share today’s virtual presentation, “Getting There Together:  Assessing Student Learning”, a session in which we explored the idea of reframing ourselves as learning specialists and how school librarians’ participation in the assessment of student learning  is an integral part of the learning experience/process and essential for reflection and student metacognition.    In this session, we explored:

1.  Rationales for school librarians participating in the assessment of student learning and why we must take on that role if we are to claim our role as teachers in our learning communities

2.  Formative and summative assessments as well as the importance of student self-assessment

3.  Thinking about incorporating backwards design into the collaboration process as a means for creating conversations about assessment and student learning

I cannot thank the participants enough for their generous sharing of ideas, questions, experiences, and strategies as their engagement really created a powerful conversation for learning for all of us today.  I’ll be sharing, thinking, and writing more about my role in the assessment of student learning in the upcoming months  and how that role informs my collaboration with teachers and students, but until then, I’d like to share three resources to spark your thinking:

In addition, you can access additional readings (free on the web) and resources from today’s webinar wiki page.

Missing in Action: School Librarians and the Digital and Media Literacy Plan of Action

If I have completely misread this report, then I apologize right now for putting my foot in my mouth, but I’m wondering why school librarians are generally absent from the “Digital and Media Literacy:  A Plan of Action” (A White Paper on the Digital and Media Literacy Recommendations of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy) report written by Renee Hobbs, someone whom I hold in high regard.    Why are Hobbs and the Knight Commission overlooking school librarians as  critical and essential stakeholders who could help leverage this plan into motion through public schools?  School librarians are perfectly positioned in terms of knowledge and skills to help implement the recommendations outlined in the report.

Recommendation 3, which advocates the creation of a Digital Media and Literacy Youth Corps, has some language that I find somewhat disturbing:

Congress should dedicate 10 percent of Americorps funding for the development of a Digital and Media Literacy (DML) Youth Corps. The DML Youth Corps would be a service outreach program that offers training and professional development in digital and media literacy to a group of recent college graduates and places them, in teams, to work in public libraries, school libraries and technology centers, local public access centers, and other community non-profit organizations.”

While this DML Youth Corps is a lovely idea, I would suggest a better idea is Congress providing funding for every public school in America to have a highly qualified and fully certified school librarian.    Instead of outreach in “school libraries and technology centers,” how about providing funding not only to put a school librarian in every building, but to provide funding to build a team of school librarians for every school where we can be embedded in grade or content level teams to truly infuse and integrate these literacies as a seamless and essential part of every student’s learning experience on a daily basis throughout the school year?     Is a “recent college graduate” really someone who is best qualified to provide the kind of instruction and learning experiences on an extended basis to infuse these literacies in the lives of children and teens?  I think it is already well established that “youth” does not necessarily correlate with one’s competencies in these literacies.  I would also say the same for public librarians—while the idea of a digital/media literacy core is admirable, you already have a corp in place with our talented peers in public libraries to serve populations of all ages.

I am normally a huge fan of Hobbs as well as the Knight Foundation, and I do like several of the recommendations and find them meaningful.  However,  I think that this report, while driven by noble principles, misses the mark in overlooking school librarians as an obvious and existing resource in helping cultivate these literacies in more powerful and consistent ways and as sponsors of these new media literacies to help close the participation gap.  Perhaps if there were more of us in place already and if our programs were not being cut across the nation at an alarming pace, we would not be dealing with the gaps we are seeing now with youth in terms of effectively cultivating these literacies  in conjunction and collaboration with classroom teachers.  I’m disappointed that Hobbs and the Knight Foundation seem to be overlooking school librarians as a ready, willing, and able resource who could be powerful facilitators of this plan.

What do you think?  Have I misread this report, and if not, why have Hobbs and the Knight Foundation made this glaring omission?


Buffy Hamilton