October 9, 2011

Module 3- Learning Log 5- Final Log

Posted in Learning Logs- Module 3 at 8:39 pm by lmt84

From the readings as well as classroom experience, I see that differentiation has great value in the world of education. Our students are all different, therefore they learn differently. We as educators cannot assume that one lesson will suit the needs of every student, which is where differentiation comes into play. Differentiation is described by Gail Bush as “A learner-centered instructional design model that acknowledges that students have individual learning styles, motivation, abilities, and, therefore, readiness to learn” (253).  It would be fantastic if teachers could implement differentiation into every unit they create—this will help to make certain that we doing our best to reach all types of learners.

I like how differentiation provides the opportunity for collaboration between the librarian and classroom teacher. I feel that only through collaboration can differentiation truly be maximized and successful. Gail Bush states that in order for differentiation to occur, “the library media specialist is prepared to consult with teachers to match students with the appropriate resources” (254). It is up to the librarians to have many ideas and resources to share with the classroom teacher for all aspects of differentiation.  

I think that a key to being able to implement differentiation is the collection itself. The librarian must work her hardest to ensure that she has resources for varying ability levels (this includes resources for low level, on level, and high level readers, students who receive special education services, as well as those who receive ESOL services). I feel that it is also important to have resources that vary by genre and format. If the collection is not well rounded, then unfortunately it cannot serve the diverse learning styles in the school. Having a varied collection also serves to help students meet AASL Standard 4.1.4- seek information for personal learning in a variety of formats and genres. The librarian should therefore be very careful when developing her collection, as the library should truly be a space for all learners.

When the librarians carefully select varying resources and technologies for the school as well as work with teachers, I feel that differentiation has a greater chance of occurring. Bush states that “Differentiated instruction is simply an honest and mindful approach to teaching our diverse student populations. It acknowledges individual differences and seeks to make learning meaningful for all students” (255).  In order to make differentiation a reality for all content areas in the school, it is crucial that the librarian be a central figure in the planning, creation, delivery, and assessment of instruction.

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October 8, 2011

Module 3- Learning Log 4

Posted in Learning Logs- Module 3 at 2:24 pm by lmt84

The readings on assessments were very helpful to me in looking at assessments through the eyes of a librarian. As a classroom teacher, I use diagnostic, formative, and summative assessments throughout my units, but I had never considered how these would impact my future as a librarian. The Pappas article stated, “High quality school library media programs can increase academic achievement scores by as much as 20% (Lance 2001) (180). If we want to show that we have had an effect on the school in any way, then I see assessments as the means to serve as our evidence.

Assessment requires the librarian to look at her program with a critical eye. In order to best meet the needs of the students, collaboration should occur with classroom teachers. Developing assessment tools allows the opportunity to meet with content teachers to design tools that directly apply to their curriculum, ensuring that students are being exposed to information literacy skills throughout the school day. Teaching information literacy fluency in the library alone is not enough; students will not absorb the skills or the importance of having them. Working with teachers to create meaningful assessments that yield data to assist the student at each step of the assignment is key to proving the impact that your program has on student success. By being involved, we can show the school that information literacy is crucial for our learners and that we are a resource that cannot be denied.

It is our responsibility to advocate for our program and we should constantly showcase that we do have a positive impact on the school environment. Stripling writes, “Library media specialists who are able to provide evidence that students have learned information fluency skills will be more successful in their teaching and more integral t the instructional program of the school”  (170). By creating assessments with teachers and using them throughout our lessons/units, we will gain data that helps to show student growth. It is up to us to communicate this data to our teachers and administration. If we do, we can prove to everyone that the library is in fact a central and essential part of the school.

October 5, 2011

Module 3- Learning Log 3

Posted in Learning Logs- Module 3 at 2:49 pm by lmt84

As a classroom teacher, I have learned about multiple intelligences in college and have also attended a few professional development sessions on this topic. Despite this, I found the articles very useful because they offered new perspectives on multiple intelligences as well as new information on the topic.

The article An Educator’s Journey Towards Multiple Intelligences was a great refresher for me on this subject. Although brief, it was extremely informative. My favorite quote from this article was “MI theory is neither a curriculum nor a goal nor an endpoint, but it remains, 26 years after its birth, a powerful tool for helping educators to teach more effectively and students to learn more deeply and enduringly”(6). MI is quite different than Backwards Design, which revolves around the notion of starting to plan with the objective/goal, and going backwards from there. While this model has great value, I do see the importance of multiple intelligences in the world of education. Educators should look at MI as the means to achieve a goal or standard. One can use MI while engaging in Backwards Design, therefore you are using 2 beneficial strategies at a time which will lead to strong lessons.  MI Theory is truly a tool that we should try to use on a daily basis in order to best reach all of our learners.

Our students learn in different ways, so it is only natural that one type of activity will not suit every child’s needs. I think it would be beneficial to do some sort of assessment at the start of the year so you can see what kind of learners are in the school. As the librarian, I would approach the teachers to do just this—it could be as simple as creating a survey for students to take using Google Forms or Survey Monkey. After analyzing the results with the teacher, we could then plan out how to incorporate myself and other technologies/resources into future lessons and units. If we take the time to tailor our lessons to the individual needs in our class, we will create a more authentic learning experience for the students. There might be a stigma that to incorporate multiple intelligences, one must give up a large part of their planning time. By pairing with the librarian, I believe that more work would not be added to the teachers’ plate because you have two heads working on an idea. Perhaps this is one way to sway teachers into designing their lessons around the MI theory. One educator in the article Teachers Are Taking Multiple-Intelligences Theory to Heart states, “My philosophy is, you don’t have time not to do those things” (2). Schools that embrace the MI theory have seen the positive effects of this practice first hand. They have students who are more engaged and are therefore achieving high academic success. I could not see something like timing be enough of a deterrent for wanting to try this strategy.

I see MI Theory as an excellent opportunity to show the worth of the school’s library media program. The librarian can use her expertise regarding resources and technology to gear teacher lessons towards several intelligences. Librarians offer teachers the chance to truly include all students in the classroom. Not only can we really help our students to learn better, but MI allows us to further insert our curriculum into that of the content teachers. The article Tapping Into Multiple Intelligences echoes my thinking, “Using multiple intelligences theory to teach information literacy standards is a natural combination. Information skills help students become lifelong learners” (6). Getting involved in teacher classrooms and enforcing multiple intelligences offers us the chance to come up with very creative activities that also revolve around AASL Standards. We can meet AASL  Standard 1.3 by being an instructional partner to teachers and alerting them to the great possibilities for student engagement. To a degree we are even encouraging 1.1.6—read, view, and listen for information presented in any format (textual, visual, media, digital). By addressing students’ multiple intelligences, we will ultimately see that some students learn better by reading, others by viewing, others by doing. This is where having a variety of resources in our collection can really influence the impact that librarians have on the school. By showing teachers that we have resources that allow for MI Theory, we are taking a stand as an educational leader and giving our students a greater chance at success.

Another quote from Teachers Are Taking Multiple-Intelligences Theory to Heart that struck me was that MI “gives them the ability to explore and learn and resist the temptation to define themselves through others.”(3) Multiple Intelligences encourage our students to recognize how they learn and start to accept it as their strengths. If they realize that teachers are playing to these strengths and that they actually can be successful while being engaged in learning, I feel that they will see school in a new, positive manner. I feel that it would be fantastic to have a school in which differences are celebrated thus causing learning to thrive.

October 1, 2011

Module 3- Learning Log 2

Posted in Learning Logs- Module 3 at 5:12 pm by lmt84

I enjoyed viewing the two videos posted on the Module 3 homepage. Even though I find all of the articles interesting, the videos give me the chance to see students and teachers engaged in inquiry based learning. When I see this with my own eyes, I see how great the potential of these learning models can be.

I was intrigued by the Multiple Intelligences Thrive in Smartville video. The students looked so excited to be learning, and all of the classrooms shown in the video were simply buzzing with activity and creativity. One quote that really struck me from the video was from Dr. Gardner himself. He stated, “Education which treats everybody the same way is actually the most unfair education.” As educators, we do not need to read articles or studies to know that students learn differently—we see this first hand in our classes on a daily basis. Therefore, we cannot expect every student to learn at the same pace, or expect one worksheet to teach the needed skills to everyone in the class. This is where adapting the concept of multiple intelligences comes into play. If we, as educators and librarians, can recognize that students need to learn in the way that speaks to their ‘smarts’, then we will give them a better chance at being successful students.

It was interesting to me that this school not only embraces the concept of multiple intelligences, but actually sets up instruction and daily life around it. I saw students that were not only 100% engaged in what they were doing, but were creating products that showed true learning was occurring. One teacher said that students are “Excited about learning each day and excited about showing what they know. It’s not about just making a grade on a test, but actually saying, “I can do this. Watch me.”“  It was refreshing to see students taking such ownership and pride in their learning. The video made me want to be a part of a learning environment like this.

The video What is Authentic Assessment? also helped to further speak to the articles for this module. Each reading this module has shown me the importance of knowing how our students learn, and adjusting our lesson planning in order to better accommodate student learning styles/needs. I also see the importance of assessment, in terms of before, during, and after the lesson/unit. If we do this, we will know how to best serve our students and the students can self-assess how they are progressing through the given skill set. It seems to me that in order to truly engage students, we must motivate them with activities that speak to how they learn. In other words, the learning experiences have to be authentic. One teacher in the video stated that authentic assessment is the “Window into the true understanding of the student.” We can truly see how each individual student is doing by providing hands-on lessons which provide students the opportunity to take their knowledge base and create products that showcase their understanding. Another quote that I liked was when a teacher stated, “Work needs to be something that the student really cares about… it needs to address students in their hearts.” When we reach the point where our assignments are student-centered and they are taking charge of their own learning, I believe that this is when the most valuable learning moments will occur.

September 29, 2011

Module 3- Learning Log 1

Posted in Learning Logs- Module 3 at 5:46 pm by lmt84

Backwards Design is not a concept I am unfamiliar with. It is one that I have often used myself when planning units/lessons for English 9. Backwards design offers you the opportunity to start with your overall goals and standards. This type of planning allows the lesson to develop around the standard, rather than creating a lesson and then trying to fit it to the standard. I feel that Backwards Design thus ensures a more carefully crafted lesson, as each step of the creation process will tie into specific objectives and thus be a lesson of strong quality.

Backwards Design also offers us the opportunity to again establish, maintain, and increase our collaborative efforts with classroom teachers. This model allows us to join with teachers in order to create a lesson that integrates standards and skill sets from both the content curriculum and school library curriculum. If we want our students to truly develop their information literacy skills, then they should be practicing such skills in all of their content areas. When this occurs, we are giving them the chance to grow into more successful learners.

I like how Backwards Design offers the chance for an authentic learning experience to occur. Backwards Design ensures that we are creating strong lessons that give the students the chance to experience inquiry based learning.  Marjorie Pappas writes, “Inquiry, problem solving, or cooperative learning approaches cause students to take some responsibility for gathering information and applying that information to the construction of a product or performance task” (182). When our students are personally invested in their work, they will bring more effort to their tasks. This can only lead to students thinking more deeply about the information at hand, as well as staying engaged to create a product that reflects their learning experience. Every teacher wants their students to be excited about learning as well as how to showcase their learning in unique ways. I see Backwards Design as the means for the librarian to join with the classroom teacher in order to create units that challenge, offer new technologies, and ultimately inspire students to do great things.