Diversity by Design- Pennsylvania School Librarians Association 46th Annual Conference March 28-30, 2019

April 5th, 2019

The K-12 Library team was fortunate to attend this year’s conference in its entirety or in part, to attend relevant workshops of our choice, to peruse pertinent vendor offerings, and to network with other colleagues across the state. The following workshops were attended or presented by one or more of our team:

PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOP: BUILD A COLLABORATION ACTION PLAN WITH THE AASL NATIONAL SCHOOL LIBRARY STANDARDS

After a further explanation of the new AASL National Standards and how they align with the PA CORE Standards as well as ISTE and Future Ready Standards, we partnered with other similar grade level librarians to take the lesson plan(s) that we brought and worked to turn them into an action plan that we can use in collaboration with classroom teachers for increased information literacy competencies for our learners. It was also shared that our PA Model curriculum is going to be updated beginning this summer.

THE READING LIFE: CONNECTING CLASSROOMS, LIBRARIES, AND COMMUNITIES  THROUGH STORY

Notable blogger and ultimate book fan, John “Mr. Schu” Schmacher serves as the Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs.  His expertise in children’s literature coupled with his passion for reading promote a culture of reading among students, staff and parents.  He discussed the importance of telling a school’s story and librarians walked away inspired (and some tearful!) to implement heart-growing literacy practices that make the world better and brighter for readers.  Very inspirational and motivational.

WINDOWS AND MIRRORS: CELEBRATING DIVERSITY IN THE SCHOOL LIBRARY

Park Hills librarian, Shannon Resh, presented this workshop for the second year in a row to compliment the conference theme of Diversity by Design.  Attendees explored the concept of using literature as “Windows and Mirrors” into the world as the perspectives of others is such an important and relevant topic today. Diversity by design happens when pairing readings with text that showcases a continually diverse and ever-colorful world as well as reaching out within the school culture and surrounding community to provide opportunities for conversations and experiences that combine resources.

STEAM SUCCESS IN THE K-6 LIBRARY MEDIA CENTER

STEAM/Literature activities along with two specific STEAM units were shared that followed the 5 E’s : Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate with an emphasis on UbD. The district these librarians were from have a partnership with Delaware Valley University through which they acquired a STEM specialization. Their focus to “stemify” lessons for the library- a user-centered flexible space that encourages reading, facilitates higher engagement, and is a safe place to fail.

PAIRING DIVERSE BOOKS WITH HANDS-ON STEM ACTIVITIES

Collaboration between a Franklin Institute teacher and an elementary librarian brought forth a plethora of STEM activities that were paired with favorite children’s books.  The presenters discussed each of the children’s books individually and how they would connect a STEM activity to each book. Time was then given to walk around and try many of the STEM activities that were discussed for each book.

STANDARDS DRIVEN MAKING: CONNECTING the STANDARDS

Four Pennsylvania Librarians shared different ways to connect the ISTE and AASL standards to makerspace projects.  Multiple projects and activities were discussed, showing how the projects can be connected to the standards to make the activities more meaningful.

BEYOND THE BOOK WITH TECHNOLOGY

To prepare students to do more than read- to also think, do, and create- a whirlwind of children’s books were presented with ideas to incorporate no, low, and high technology. Csunplugged.org, Storyboardthat.com, Blabberize.com and Flipgrid.com were referenced as resources.

CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE LITERATURE AND INSTRUCTION

This session challenged participants to review the cultural norms centered in learning environments and teaching practices; reviewing if collections reflect students’ diverse needs and identities; and how to work to engage in critical conversations about bias, racism, and equity, all with the ultimate goal of developing a more culturally responsive approach to text selection and instruction.

PUTTING THE NEW AASL STANDARDS INTO PRACTICE

Ever since the new Standards were published in 2018 librarians across the state have been learning how to integrate and align the standards into their lessons and curriculum.  This session was an extension of an earlier session which was an introduction to the new framework. Attendees learned how to analyze the new standards and how they correlate to lessons they already teach.  The proper citation format was also explained.

WE READ DIVERSE BOOKS: A LOOK AT THE BEST OF 2018

The PSLA Literature Review committee reads and reviews hundreds of books each year.  In this session they booktalked the best in fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels in grades K-12.  The focus was on books that included diversity in character, settings, and genres. The session handout included all the books that were presented with cover photos, book review, book talk, and the reviewers own thoughts about the book.  Also included with each title were ideas to make connections to other books or learning activities, lists of starred reviews, and awards. The handout is especially helpful in choosing new titles for the library collection.

WHERE ARE THE BOOKS THAT LOOK LIKE ME?

This elementary focused session took a look at the challenges of librarians feeling obligated to provide books that students will read verses feeling obligated to build a collection of books that reflect broader representation of the world. The answer can be both. Attendees looked at literature through a more critical eye to determine if a text was written to learn more about culture, by a person in the culture sharing a story, or an everyday occurrence that happened to have diverse characters -and the need for all three in collections.  Many book lists were provided.

DIVERSITY IN THE LIBRARY PROGRAM

Diversity in the library needs to go beyond having diverse books in the collection but should also include the physical space, interaction with students, technology, and electronic resources.  The presenter first asked “What is culture?”. We usually think of ethnicity and race but it also includes ability, gender identity, language, religion, sexual orientation, belief systems, and socioeconomic status.  She also explained that we need to move away from giving students equality (all students are given the same resources – same) and move towards equity (all students are given access to resources they need to succeed – fair).  She charged the audience to work to become more “culturally competent” and to engage in discussions about equity and inclusivity.

FIERCE FEMALES; OWNING THEIR STRONG VOICES AND BODIES

Kim Briggs, an author and speaker, shared how females can advocate for their own bodies and voices through the use of literature. She shared books that have strong female heroines that we can recommend and share with our students. There are many ways that a female can be fierce including: innerstrength, strength through intelligence and knowledge, strength of hope and courage, strength by protecting those who need us, strength to admit the truth, strength through special gifts, and strength of those who fight mental illness and loss. Many other librarians in the workshop also recommended titles with strong female characters. The titles will hopefully encourage not only our females but everyone who sees a need to stand up and speak out when needed.

LIBRARY ISSUES AND COLLABORATIVE SOLUTIONS

Sandra Reilly, a Pleasant Valley High School Librarian, along with a panel of other grade level librarians shared challenges that they have faced as they have tried to progress to 21st century libraries and how they have overcome those challenges. They offered many ideas and solutions to implement some of which will be helpful in our district libraries. Ideas were shared to make our libraries more comfortable and inviting, with flexible seating, creative displays, collaborative spaces, and STEM opportunities, etc. We discussed some good time management, advocacy, and curricular/collaborative strategies to use in our libraries. We also discussed Google Classroom tips and techniques as well as other tech tools we can use effectively in our setting. She had a great presentation and also provided us with additional reading (both links and print) on these important topics.

RAMPING UP YOUR STUDENT CENTERED DIGITAL RESOURCES

Jennifer Hendry, from Milton Hershey School, and Jane Farrell from Dallastown Intermediate School shared pertinent information about staying relevant by providing student centered digital resources in school libraries. These resources can be accessed 24/7 and can satisfy the diverse population of learners we all work with. Redesigning your website and library spaces to include eBooks, STEM and STEAM, Breakout EDU activities, and educational research databases will not only enhance your program, but they are necessary to meet the needs and interests of our students and staff. We are definitely ramping up our digital resources at SWSD, but I learned about some new tools as well as ideas for implementation. Jane Farrell was also named PSLA’s 2018 PA School Library Innovator and a great person to reach out to for inspiration and support.

READING (AND WRITING) FROM THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS

Newbery Award winning author, Matt de la Pena shared his personal journey from reluctant reader to writer, with a focus on the barriers against working class men and boys when it comes to literacy. His moving and poignant story of coming from a working class, mixed-race, mixed-culture family left many participants eager to do more for children and literacy.

SPEED DATING WITH PYRCA TITLES

As a member of the Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award, grades 3-6 Committee Strand, Park Hills librarian, Shannon Resh, participated in this panel sharing.  Attendees were given an overview of this statewide program and how books are selected before breaking into grade level strands. In smaller groups, committee members and attendees discussed the fifteen titles on the 2019-2020 reading list, as well as programming ideas for implementing PYRCA in individual schools.

SHARING STORIES: LIBRARIAN AS HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE

As librarians, we have the opportunity to reach a tremendously diverse audience.  Stories aid students in empathizing with “the other” – those whose lives either through circumstance or choice may vary greatly from their own. Resources were explored to better aid in studying these topics.  There was a focus specifically on Holocaust studies, as the presenter was a former fellow through the United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum.

JOHN SCHU’S REVIEW OF BOOKS FOR YOU AND YOUR READERS, TOO!

In addition to making the Keynote Address, John also presented a session booktalking some of his favorite reads and authors. He shared a number of titles that will be released this year, many sequels and must-haves for every school library. In addition to upcoming releases, John showed book trailers and activities that could be added to school library programs. His love of reading and excitement for these new titles was infectious!

LIBRARY CENTERS EXPLORATORIUM

Collette Jakubowicz, from the Wilson School District, shared how she incorporates centers into her elementary library classes. Her use of Google Classroom helps her manage the activities and track each student’s learning progress with the paperwork. Some of the topics she covers in the centers include research, resource citations, and digital citizenship. This concept allows students to work at their own pace where they earn badges as they complete the various centers.

2017 PSLA Conference Creating a Culture of Curiosity

April 4th, 2017

On Friday, March 31 I had the opportunity to go to Hershey Lodge for this year’s PSLA Conference with my team and was able to attend three different sessions, network with colleagues, “play” with makerspace items, and make connections with current and future vendors. For the final session of the day, the elementary library team, along with Dr. Kelly, was fortunate to be selected to present the history of the One District One Book program here at South Western and how it has made reading together a family experience.

The first session I attended was “Future Ready Librarians” presented by library gurus, Shannon McClintock Miller and Joyce Valenza. The role of the librarian was explored in connection with educational technology, empowering learners as creators, content curation, and instructional practices. It was exciting to learn that Dr. Rupp signed the online pledge on to support the Future Ready Schools to maximize digital learning!

The second session was “Using APPS and Databases to Bring More Choice to Research Projects.” Though I appreciated the presenters’ efforts, most of the APPS and databases were already familiar to me or had to be purchased for quite a substantial amount of money.

“Digital Tools and Apps to Connect, Create, and Collaborate” was the third session I chose. Shannon McClintock Miller presented a whirlwind plethora of ideas for learners to use as communicators and producers. Shannon shared stories and real-life examples of how she used these tools and brought learning to life. One of particular interest to me was Flipgrid where learners’ thoughts can be captured on a 90 second video with only a link or an access code. Buncee also seems like a great idea for digital storytelling in that original artwork can be uploaded and then kids share their thoughts and can put “stickers” on their original design. Lots of great ideas to implement to engage learners! Shannon gave us permission to share, so enjoy:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1DUW5wtxh5LwOImh-R35TrqkTbhhZ0cf6pWbe20WfyIg/edit#slide=id.g1611c583e7_2_18

 

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