Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Redesigning Education: Rethinking the School Corridor

Discussing education reform, this article's hallway as important design element thesis is compelling, especially due to our own recent design and remodeling endeavor, and our history of value engineering (read: cutting) positive design elements -- like skylights -- out of the final product.

Some of the comments left by the article's readers are noteworthy, seeing the above school corridor image as prison-like. At Grand Ledge, we were more interested in selling our bond proposal on the theory of buses and egress than on physical issues, such as ambient light, or real world issues of student achievement. I recall a visit to the new Williamston High School, which very well succeeded at
Adding furniture, nooks, information portals and views into classrooms, or the outdoors will invite students and visitors to slow down and interact in new ways - to learn in the places that were formerly strictly for transport.
Our much-criticized new entrance is a step in the direction of what's being quoted above, and achieved in the photo at right, but many schools and districts are constrained by legacy buildings and designs, where hallways populate conflict and lockers, not learning. And leave it to the Europeans to really move school design forward with this example from Hellerup Denmark:

LIFE - Google Books

Pretty cool development, this partnership between Google Books and the former LIFE Magazine, from 1936 to 1972, and with full photo sharing rights.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Public Speaking – How I Prepare Every Time

Solid advice, I like how Tim Ferriss breaks down presentations into thirds, and I especially liked the 'no caffeine until just before presentation' notion. Coffee all morning while awaiting one's own spiel can create havoc on the nervous and digestive system, not to mention the psyche. And my own BER rehearsals took place a week in advance, rather than the night prior, but that was due to the sheer length of my 7 hour presentations.

Friday, April 23, 2010

NYC Mayor Signs Library Card Act into Law

You can enact laws requiring library card information and applications be distributed, but have you done the due diligence of maintaining school libraries and professional librarians?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A nice show of collegial support

The teachers of Batavia salute their school library employees as "integral" during National Library Month. The nation's school library employees need more of this support from their own colleagues, and from their elected officials.

Letter: Teachers salute school librarians

Friday, April 16, 2010 10:11 AM EDT

April is recognized as National Library Month. The Batavia Teachers’ Association wishes to recognize and thank our school library media specialists and clerks. These people are integral to the effectiveness of a well-run school district.

Our school library media specialists collaborate with faculty on multi-disciplinary teaching units and in purchasing print and non-print materials. They participate in training to keep ahead of any new technology offerings. They then train and support our staff members and students to learn the new technology inherent in the application of such systems. They have to troubleshoot problems and are ready with backup plans for when the system is being upgraded or when there is an electrical outage. These professionals are able to put their finger on needed material at a moment’s notice. They provide guidance and support with a wide variety of age and ability levels for Batavia learners. They store all of our needs/wishes/requests and get back to each person as soon as possible. This is a monumental task with no predictability from day to day.

This month, please join us in thanking these talented, dedicated people in our schools.

The Batavia Teachers’ Association

Friday, April 16, 2010

Book decision upheld by Board

Ann Wentworth of Fond du Lac listens Monday as the Fond du Lac Board of Education upholds a decision to keep a book challenged by Wentworth in middle school libraries. (The Reporter photo by Justin Connaher)

Another day, another attempted book banning, today we're in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. I will quote the article, rather than paraphrase so much information:
"The Fond du Lac Board of Education voted on Monday to uphold Superintendent Jim Sebert's decision to keep the book, "One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies," available to students in sixth through eighth grades.
Ann Wentworth, who had opposed the sexual content and age-appropriateness of the Sonja Sones book, said she was not surprised by the final word in what had been a long book reconsideration process.
"I've asked the School Board to look into how books are selected and consider a rating system, but it's taking forever. I can be patient," Wentworth said.
She is also waiting to move two additional books through the process: "Forever in Blue, the Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood," from the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares; and "Get Well Soon" by Julie Halpern...
The reconsideration committee, and then Sebert, had concluded the sexual references in the book were not graphic in nature."
An interesting angle to the controversy is the request that the Alexandria library automation program be configured to disallow students of a certain age -- or at the request of a parent -- from checking out library materials deemed 'sexual.'

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

National Library Week

Library Advocacy Day

Alarming news for the school library community, and it's not job reduction-related

Due to incessant bullying from classmates, South Hadley High School student Phoebe Prince committed suicide on January 14, 2010. Now, according to court papers, some of the verbal attacks took place in the school's library, which is made even more alarming as the nation's school libraries are being stripped of certified library educators. Prince's tragedy even has hints of the anti-immigrant, 'you're taking something from me' hysteria. Three of the case reports can be read online:

Friday, April 02, 2010

Friend Me?: School policy may address friending students online

Appropriate that School Library Journal takes an interest in social networking, and how teacher and student 'friending' could have pitfalls. Before I broke up with Crackbook, I was only friends with one student, who also happened to wrestle for us, but I did note some of my colleagues who had student friends, some numbering in the hundreds.