How do you quantify this moment?

So, yesterday, I’m standing up in front of a Year 10 class, waxing lyrical as I do, when one of the students chimes in with, “You know that book you gave me last time, Miss? Well, it was really good. I finished it in 3 days.” “That’s great,” I reply. “Have you returned it today?” “Yes, Miss. It’s in the chute thingy.”

So I go and get it out of the chute thingy, and ask the student if he can give the group a run-down of the plot, unless it will be too spoilery. And he thinks it will be too spoilery, so he just says, “It was really, really good, Miss”. The book is a little over 300 pages – it’s Bruiser – and I say out loud that this boy has read 100 pages a day – “So it must be a really good book.”

One of the other boys asks to read it. I admit it, I’m a bit disappointed that he’s got it, because last time this class was in the library, two weeks ago, I had to reprimand him for talking and interrupting other students when the focus is all on reading in a sustained way in preparation for VCE. At the end of the lesson he was the last to leave, so we had a bit of a chat about his focus, and what he wants to do with his life, and he’s pretty honest. He has no idea. And I agree that focus is hard when you don’t know where you want to go. And that’s that.

So we settled down to reading, and this week the class is on fire. They are reading their heads off. It’s all quiet, and everyone is giving their books a chance to speak to them. The 45 mins passes really quickly (I’m reading Alex as Well – must read!) and it’s time to borrow.

I suggest that the students need to borrow their books as we have had a few books get snitched out from under noses because the kids won’t borrow them (!) and then I notice that Bruiser boy is walking towards the exit with the book. I ask him, “Are you going to borrow that?” And I hope my surprise isn’t showing on my face when he replies, “You know what, Miss. I think I will borrow it. I’m really enjoying it.” I act really cool, and just say, “Great”, but inside I am doing a happy dance and my heart is singing, because a boy who has resisted and avoided and downright refused to read for the last three years is BORROWING A BOOK!

And this is my question – how in the hell do I quantify this? It has taken three years, with new suggestions of great books given every week, for this young man to borrow one book. His English teachers and I have despaired of this moment ever happening. It sounds small, and in some respects that’s true. But really it’s a triumph. It’s a win. It’s a bloody miracle.

And I’ve worked really hard to provide great books, to work with the teachers and kids, to read widely and enthusiastically, but how do you quantify this when you are trying to show Senior Management that what you do all day, every day, is important. I can’t test it, or examine it. I can’t count it or test it.

But this moment is an A+ moment. And there is no way to measure it other than to share it as a story.


Week 9 – What comes first, pedagogy or technology?

Key activities

As a teacher librarian in collaborative mode, it is sometimes difficult to get Web 2.0 embedded into your curriculum. Too often teachers don’t come (like today), or they have another agenda, it’s ‘their’ class and you don’t want to butt in, or they have less skills in Web 2.0 than you and aren’t interested in getting up to speed.

My main aim with Web 2.0 is to get more teachers up to speed with a number of Web 2.0 tools, and to keep feeding them expertise and assistance. Last week I had a Moodle win, and an Elluminate win (same teacher, and the Elluminate success fed the Moodle tryout). Trying to get into the regular all-staff PD sessions is also tricky, as they are being gate-kept at the moment. I will keep on plugging away nonetheless.

I can see so many great ways to use Web 2.0 tools in classrooms, but as a newby I have to tread softly and carefully lest I step on toes. 🙂

3. Here is my Tagxedo of this week’s main points

 Well, it would be if it would upload! Epic fail! Twice! See my Tagxedo in Week 8 for my ace technique!

4. Jenny Sargeant’s presentation was quite text heavy (as she said in her intro) but there was heaps of great stuff there to share with ‘other’ staff in a PD situation. I can see myself using that Elluminate to inform other teachers about p vs t.

5. Can we quantify student improvement when using Web 2.0 tools vs. traditional tools? Should we try to quantify? Why or why not? Does this article by Will Richardson help clarify your thoughts?

It’s an interesting article, but a bit airy-fairy on the detail. Of much more interest to me was the model shown by Richard Buckland in Week 8 where he used a wiki to increase learning, and where the learning WAS transparent and quantifiable. I think that sometime teachers get really caught up in the assessment and not in the long term, and possible unassessable goal. For example, the English department at my school recently decided to timetable English class into the library once a fortnight to increase literacy. Great! Woot! said I. The HoE then send an email saying that teachers must check what the students are reading, and get work from them. Aaaargh! If this is a long term project, then we’re not going to see the results of this initiative for at least 12 months. But we had to be seen to be assessing the work, and not just sitting around on our bums reading, which IS what we are doing – but there’s is so much more going on than just a ‘slack’ lesson for the staff and students.

Small steps, small steps. 🙂

Week 2 – Twitter/ Tweetdeck update

In my last blog I said that I had declined an invitation to link to Facebook. In the end, I succumbed and linked. Big mistake! I was get little ‘ding dong’s’ every 30 seconds or so, and it was so distracting. I also didn’t like the format, and would rather be ‘in’ Facebook and have Tweetdeck tell me about tweets, than sit in TweetDeck and have it do nothing very much.

I have unlinked my Facebook from TweetDeck.

I’m also not really happy with how TweetDeck is working on my phone – and it uses huge amounts of download bandwidth! I think that I have to join my TweetDeck account to TweetDeck on the iPhone.

Another day maybe.