Who doesn’t love learning? Certainly not anyone reading this post! Conferences offer opportunities to expand your knowledge, connect with friends rarely seen, and make new friends.
The 37th annual South Carolina Association of School Librarians’ Conference was held March 14-16th at the T.D. Convention Center in Greenville, SC. The theme this year was “Advocacy Starts with You @your library.” Approximately 500 professionals gathered to learn from, and network with, each other.
Our organization is always seeking ways to improve our conference, and this year was no exception. Hats off to Heather Loy, SCASL Pres Elect, and Patty Bynum, Local Arrangements Chair, for one of the best conferences ever! Many others helped make the conference the success it was, and I appreciate all the hard work and efforts of each person involved.
Two additions to our conference this year were located in the Exhibit Hall: the SCASL Committee Showcase and the Learning Commons. SCASL committees created inviting displays to inform our members of the work we are doing and to encourage them to volunteer to serve on a committee next year.
The Learning Commons was sponsored by the SCASL IT Committee. Members were encouraged to sign up and share a lesson, idea, program, etc. I loved the informal nature of the Learning Commons and look forward to it again next year.
I’ll share some snippets of information I gleaned from each of the sessions I attended. Many presenters have provided links to their presentations/handouts which can be found on http://scasl.net.
“Big 6 by the Month: Comprehensive and Essential Information Programs Now!” Bob Berkowitz (pre-conference session)
Bob encouraged us to use the Big 6 not only as a research/problem-solving model, but also as an instructional model. He stressed that problem solving is not linear, and although there are 6 components of the Big 6, they do not have to be followed in any particular order.
Because our ultimate purpose in teaching is to prepare students for success in the world after high school (whether secondary training or the world of work), we need to focus on problem solving. To illustrate how the Big 6 works in everyday life tasks, he asked one attendee to share her recent experience with buying a car.
Planning Your Year
“Information literacy is too important to be partial or arbitrary.” (Berkowitz)
Just as other teachers must create long range plans, we need to create a yearly plan with a focus for each month. We need a comprehensive plan that can be defined, is predictable, can be measured, and the results can be reported.
You might begin the school year with an overview of the Big 6. Then in September, you might focus on Task Definition. Continue to plan your year in this manner.
Our plan needs to be predictable, meaning we will follow certain planning procedures. What role will the teacher-librarian play? What role will the classroom teacher play? How is the plan related to our district and school schedule? How will our plan address the standards? Create an annual grade level or subject plan.
As we plan our program, we must include the evidence we will use to determine our students’ success. Will we use portfolios? Worksheets? Tests? Observations? Self-assessments? Then we need to determine the criteria we will use to determine how well students met each objective.
“Track It! Documenting Instructional Impact” Donna Shannon, Gerry Solomon, Elizabeth Miller
I was anticipating this session from the moment I first read about it. If I had to name just one area in which my library program needs to improve, it would have to be documenting the learning that takes place as a result of our instruction and resources.
The presenters created a wiki that provides both background information on why documenting student learning in our library programs is essential and links to resources to assist us as we incorporate documentation into our programs.
The presenters shared a variety of documents and ideas (all on their wiki) including collaborative planning logs, learning logs, rubrics, project based learning checklists (I really like these!), and more.
Please take some time to explore the resources they have gathered.
Exhibit Hall Grand Opening
As always, the first day of conference ended with the opening of the Exhibit Hall. Attendees were treated to refreshments as they browsed vendor booths, checked out the SCASL Store, and visited SCASL Committee displays. Attendees left with their appetite whetted for the sessions planned for the second day of conference.