Over the last month I have been working on my professional learning plan (PLP) for the 2012/2013 school year for the Saskatoon Public School Division. To support our Professional Learning Plans, our school division has created Collaborative Inquiry Teams (CIT’s) that allow teachers to engage in a collaborative inquiry to: a)construct understandings of student learning problems b) collect data c) collaborate to find and test out solutions d) reflect on learning. My role as a teacher-librarian in the CIT’s is to be an instructional leader and support the teachers at my school during this process, and to learn alongside them around how to best support student learning. Ultimately, our schools and school libraries are working together to support and advance the learning of each student.
Advocacy and Action Research
Over the last two years I feel as though I have been an observer and I have to admit that I felt disconnected from what is an extremely valuable division initiative and process. My role was to support teachers, but I felt removed from the process because I was not directly collecting evidence of how the school library contributed to the school’s priority to student learning. There was nothing stopping me, I just had to develop a focus and make a plan that aligned with my school and division priorities around literacy for life, expository writing and developing students conceptual understanding within an inquiry framework. I had to be strategic, and I identified goals that aligned with SPSD initiatives and I discussed and conversed with teachers and other teacher-librarians to identify learning goals.
Developing a Focus
It was hard to narrow down the topic to develop an action research focus. I kept going back to my vision of school libraries that I created this summer in my Information Technology for Learning masters course. One of our assignments was to represent our personal vision for librarianship, teacher-librarianship or teaching and learning for the 21st century. I chose to articulate my vision by creating a video that addressed the question “what should be the future of school libraries?” The answer was simple, we as teacher-librarians are perfectly situated to create and transform the future of school libraries.
A vision is important, but without a plan it is void and useless. I had this great vision, I knew where I wanted to go and I had a few ideas of how to get there but it needed to become more transparent. It was then that I realized that my vision aligned with my school division’s learning goals and out of this came my action research question:
” In what ways can the teacher-librarian facilitate opportunities for knowledge creation that enables students to be effective users and producers of ideas and information?”
One of the sections of our PLP asks us to consider, “the effect on student learning I expect will result from my professional learning.” In order to address this question I need to collect both quantitative and qualitative data to gather evidence. I have already collected baseline quantitative data from students in grades 5-8 derived from a survey that Laurie Hnatiuk, another teacher-librarian, and I co-created. Throughout the year I will also collect qualitative data in the form of student interviews, and student work.
Collecting and Making Meaning with the Data
I have had an opportunity to look at the data collected through the survey and I plan to share it on this blog and in my school in the form of an infographic. The results from the survey have allowed me to narrow my focus and target my instruction to meet the needs of the students. The following areas have been identified as a focus for my instruction this year and also reflect Saskatoon Public School Division’s Digital Backpack.
1) Digital Citizenship: using information thoughtfully and ethically
3) Produce and share powerful, compelling digital media
4) Transliteracy: the ability to read, write, and interact across a range of platforms, tools, and media
As I continue to analyze and make connections with the data collected I will need to identify action strategies. How am I going to address the needs of the students? Who can support me in this process? How will I collaborate with teachers?
Stay tuned for an infographic coming soon!