Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Transition to Bring Your Own Device?

Torbert, Nancy
Johnson, D. (2012). On Board with BYOD. Educational Leadership, 70(2), 84-85.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a topic that schools are exploring. Should they let students bring their own personal devices to school and use for learning? Why should schools consider letting students bring their own device? 

One factor is that as districts have been facing budget cuts and are finding it more difficult to provide a school-owned computing device to every child, personal devices—tablets, laptops, and smartphones are becoming more affordable.  If schools are considering moving to BYOD, planning and policies should be established for a smooth transition.  These include

·    an acceptable use policy that include personal devices
·    consider why transitioning to a BYOD is acceptable
o    student engagement
o   online collaborative work in the classroom
o   increased student access to school online resources
·         meet infrastructure needs for wireless network (bandwidth)
·        provide staff training—classroom guidelines for technology use and help teachers create lessons that use personal devices, e.g. student polling, writing and editing, multimedia projects.
·       schools will also need to provide guidance to parents on minimum specifications for appropriate devices that may be used.  
·       for students who may not be able to afford a device, schools will need to provide access to online resources by lending out devices or using labs so that all students have access to online resources.

BYOD is an ongoing discussion at many schools. Our school has a strict policy regarding electronics--no cell phones, electronic signaling devices, CD, MP3 Players, and iPods. If the policy is violated the device is to be confiscated.  As a “rule follower” I will have to admit, I've broken the electronic device policy.  When some of my students formed a book group in class, there were not enough print copies of the book they chose in our school library for all in the group to checkout—the solution, I let them use their e-reader instead. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Laptops, Part 2

Torbert, Nancy

Rapp, D. (2011). Libraries, Chromebooks, and Google Apps. Library Journal, 16.

Many schools use Apple products—Macs, iPads, and the iPod touch as technology tools as well as part of the Apple 1:1 program.  Some schools are finding that the program can be too expensive and students are struggling to make their payments on their lease to buy their laptop or iPad. 

As an alternative to Apple’s laptop program, some schools are transitioning to the Google Chromebook available at a lower cost and using Google’s cloud-based applications.  Students don’t have to worry about the applications being out of date, as Google upgrades the applications with new updates.

Not only are school’s using Google apps but some public libraries have also migrated to Google—two examples cited in the article are Palo Alto City Library and the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL)--a large contract with the city of Los Angeles.

Beginning in 2013-2014 our school will phase in Google Apps for Education, beginning with Chromebooks for students who have opted to participate in an Academy that will focus on grade level collaboration among core departments. Teachers have been selected from English, Science and Social Studies.  In the meantime, however, teachers not in the Academy will need to learn Google Apps—sounds like a good use of the learning commons to provide some professional development in the ELC!

Laptops, Part 1

Torbert, Nancy

Warschauer, M. (2005). Going one-to-one. Educational Leadership, 63(4), 34-38.

This article written in 2005 discusses advantages and disadvantages of implementing a 1:1 laptop program resulting from a two-year study in Maine, grades 3-12, in rural, urban, and suburban schools.

The article presented a balanced con and pro for schools and districts considering a 1:1 program. The results of the study for why not implementing the program—districts are not likely to see higher test scores; reform of troubled schools; or a decrease in achievement gaps. On the other hand, the positive benefits of implementing the program was 21st century learning skills; greater engagement through multimedia; more and better writing; deeper learning and easier integration of technology into instruction.

The article further made recommendations on what to think about before starting a laptop program:
·         Total cost of ownership (how will purchases be financed?)
·         Vendor
·         Maintenance (could use the iTech squad of the school library here)
·         Keeping students on task (not only is the laptop an educational tool but a game center, chat, etc.)
·         Time for teacher collaboration (to plan, and share lessons)
·         Go slowly (roll out the program in phases)

Three years ago our school implemented 1:1 laptops using Apple as the platform. Due to the costs associated with Apple laptops, they are being phased out and replaced with the Chromebook for incoming freshmen; current Apple laptop users will continue with this platform until graduation. 

In the lease to own program some students were facing financial hardships in trying to make the monthly payment and techs were putting in more time than expected to keep up with the tech requests associated with student laptops. Many schools have implemented 1:1 with iPads. Our school did not go in the direction—though the cost is less at $500 there was concern that even this cost may present a financial hardship; the chromebook is $249. There seems to be excitement generated by implementing the chromebook as it uses Google cloud-based applications and the opportunity for collaboration. 

Google Apps for Education

Torbert, Nancy

Google Enterprise. (2010, November 19). Google Apps for Education K12 Demo [Video file]. Retrieved from

An introduction to Google Apps for Education and produced by Google.  The Day in the Life of a K-12 teacher provides an overview of how a teacher can use the Google calendar, documents, forms, spreadsheets and how students can share a document with the teacher through a shared folder.

Although the narration can be condescending at times, the information provided packs a lot of information and “food for thought”. Although created as an overview of a teacher’s day, I can see a lot of applications that the teacher librarian can incorporate into “their day”—for example, the teacher librarian collaborating with a teacher through a shared Google docs folder; forms to create book request, or an equipment check out request form; calendar to share the library calendar and also have faculty share their calendar; or assist teachers to use sites to create a classroom web page.

K-12 Distance Learning and Blended Learning: Trends on the Rise?

Wirtanen, M. (2013, June 18). K-12 distance learning and blended learning: Trends on the rise? [Web log entry]. Retrieved from

The following infographic describes how blended learning -- the use of which has increased dramatically over the last decade -- is being utilized in K-12 classrooms across the nation.

stance Learning and Blended Learning: Trends on the Rise?
Courtesy of:

A Different Kind of 'Flipped' Learning: Students Teaching Students

McGuire, D. (2013, May 13). A different kind of 'flipped' learning: Students teaching students [Web log entry]. Retrieved from

The author discusses how he integrates multiple technologies in his daily lessons as a fifth grade teacher.  In showing his students how to operate the technology, McGuire's students became so engaged that his "role is now more of a facilitator while [his] students collaborate, coach, and instruct each other."  As a result, student achievement has increased significantly. This personal account I peppered with examples of engaging and meaningful lessons.

25 Critical Thinking Strategies for the Modern Thinker

TeachThought Staff, (2013, June 8). 25 critical thinking strategies for the modern thinker [Web log entry]. Retrieved from

This outstanding infographic from Mentoring Minds describes skills needed in the development of 21st-Century critical thinkers.
Click on link below to see larger picture

7 Talks for Inspiring Transformed Education

Samimi-Moore, S. (2013, May 9). 7 talks for inspiring transformed education [Web log entry]. Retrieved from

Compiled for Education Week 2013, this blog showcases seven TEDTalks that discuss innovative ways in which schools and curriculum are being transformed around the world.

Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover; March 2010 (11:39) - Meyer discusses why students in the US do not retain math processes, why that is detrimental to society as a whole, and what can be done to combat it.

Mae Jemison on teaching arts and sciences together; February 2002 (21:25) - Former US astronaut Jemison says that "The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity."

Liz Coleman's call to reinvent liberal arts education; February 2009 (18:41) - Coleman postulates that traditional educational systems be transformed into cross-disciplinary, hands-on learning environments.

Shimon Schocken: The self-organizing computer course; June 2012 (16:26) - In his talk, Schocken discusses the power of self-learning. He, along with Noam Nisan, developed curriculum that later moved online and became the first MOOC. Schocken states, "Self-study, self-exploration, self-empowerment -- these are the virtues of a great education."

Geoff Mulgan: A short intro to the Studio School; July 2011(6:16) - To combat student drop-out rates and dissatisfaction of employers on employability of people coming out of school, the UK developed a school where 80% of the curriculum is taught through practical projects. Mulgan says that, "You work by learning, and you learn by working."

Tyler DeWitt: Hey science teachers -- make it fun; November 2012 (14:11) - DeWitt noticed that students in his science classroom were not understanding the material presented in the textbook. He found a way to bring the material to life by means of demonstrations and stories. Through this method, students are more apt to understand an retain the information.

Kiran Bir Sethi teaches kids to take charge; November 2009 (9:32) - Sethi, founder of a school in India, declares [I'm paraphrasing her here] that when learning is embedded in real world context -- when the boundaries between school and life are blurred -- children go through a journey of aware (see a change), enable (be changed), and empower (lead the change).

Online Resources for Engaging Every Student Every Day

Ormiston, M. (2013, June 11). Online resources for engaging every student every day {Web log entry]. Retrieved from

Students will not learn if they sit passively in class.  Students must be engaged and participating in meaningful activities.  The author of this article says that students should work actively with the curriculum not only inside of the classroom, but outside of the classroom as well.  Students should also collaborate with each other. The author mentions several tools throughout the article: PollEveywhere, Google Hangouts, and Edmodo -- just to name a few. 

In Command! Kids and Teens Build and Manage Their Own Information Spaces:

Williams, R. T. & Loertscher, D. V. (2008). In command! Kids and teens build and manage their own information spaces: And…learn to manage themselves in those spaces (Refresh ed.). Salt Lake City, UT: Hi Willow Research and Publishing.

As a teacher, I have been repeatedly told about the importance of using technology in the classroom. I have been inundated with how-to's, App lists, and educational studies. All I really needed was to see Chapter 2 of this book: "Scenario of a Kid Working in the Information Space." These few pages provided me with a very clear picture of HOW technology can impact student learning which leads to WHY it is so important to implement. [For those of you not familiar with the book, Chapter 2 outlines a high school student using the information space. In the span of an hour, he works MEANINGFULLY on four different classes using varied Web 2.0 tools].

The book goes on to describe in detail how teachers can assist students in the construction and management of their own information spaces. Unfortunately, much of the book discusses iGoogle (why am I only learning of this site now?) which I discovered will not be available after November 1, 2013. Hopefully Google will replace it with something more wonderful.

One thing I really love about this text is that there are sections written specifically for adults and sections written specifically for students.  There are A LOT of excellent Web 2.0 tools featured in this book.

5 Ways to Support Teachers Skeptical of Technology

McCusker, S. (2013, July 18). 5 ways to support teachers skeptical of technology [Web log entry]. Retrieved from

Regardless of where you teach, you will come across those teachers that will not ride the technology train.  Some may see technology as the latest educational flavor of the month. Others may be complete luddites.  Whatever the reason, how can we as librarians assuage their fears? According to this article, we can (1) identify their concerns; (2) listen; (3) build on what they are currently doing well; (4) help them to understand the meaningful use of technology; and (5) "Let them know the greatest 'Why?'" When these five steps are followed, teachers may be more acceptable of the school's technological changes.

Why Your School Should Consider a BYOD Initiative

EdTech Staff. (2012, February, 21). Why your school should consider a BYOD initiative [Web log]. Retrieved from

The district in which my school is a part does not allow the use of electronic devices during school hours. Phones are to be off and away all day, including at lunch and at passing periods, and all other electronic devices are not to be brought to school at all.  For this reason, BYOD is very interesting to me.  A report cited in this blog entry states that "86 percent of students use technology more outside of school than they do in class."  As a teacher and as a librarian, that seems criminal to me. BYOD allows for increased student engagement, increased student participation, and increased collaboration.  It allows students to use the technology they are already familiar with. For the matter of the possible digital divide, the article says that monies can be used to procure devices for those students that do not have their own.

At the bottom of this article is a link to a white paper titled, Bring Your Own Device: Preparing for the influx of mobile computing devices in schools.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

ISTE 2013: Building Technology into the Common Core Standards

This short video provides suggestions from five educational professionals on how to use technology to increase student outcomes and student engagement in light of Common Core.  One of the speakers, Kevin Honeycutt, states that teachers "were covering content, but we weren't uncovering anything."  Now that subject standards have been reduced, teachers no longer have the excuse that they have 'run out of time.'  Honeycutt adds, that "Now that teachers won't have many things to cover, let's go deep and make sure kids understand."  Technology can help to increase student understanding.  The last speaker in the video, a library technologist, says that her vision for Common Core is to transform her library into a makerspace where students can learn for the sake of learning.

Monday, July 22, 2013

For Better Or Worse? Technology and Student Writing

Michelle Windell

The recent PEW Research report presents data collected from almost 2500 teachers on how they see technology impacting students’ writing. On the positive side, technology fuels students’ creativity and enthusiasm. Students are writing much more now than their teachers did in middle and high school. They are more inclined to be thoughtful in their writing, because new technologies give them a wider audience. They are also more inclined to improve their writing, based on peer feedback in shared documents. A downside of technology on student writing is that it tends to be more informal than in the past...a carry over from facebook? Also, students have shorter attention spans, and they struggle with writing longer pieces. And of course there is the matter of citing one’s sources, which most students do not do well. This issue is difficult for teachers to address, as they are often unclear themselves on proper citation of digital resources. In spite of the negatives, most teachers view affects on student writing favorably, and are willing to address the negatives. This article didn’t hold any surprises, but we would expect to be the case is now supported by this research.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Use of Node Chairs

This is a great video that shows how Node chairs can be used to enhance student learning.
Node chairs not only allow teachers and students to reconfigure class seating, but are also more comfortable and useful for the students.

Honors Classes Part 2

Gualano, Gabriela

Wolpert-Gawron, H. (2013, July 8). More diversity in honors classes: An update. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

After a previous post about unequal demographics in honors classes, Wolpert-Gawron and others at her school decided to increase outreach to all students.  A major reason for fewer Latino students in honors classes was that they simply were not even applying.  All English classes were visited by Wolpert-Gawron early in the year to discuss applying for honors the next year.  Families were called and informed about honors in their native language, and provided parent informational workshops.  Also, AVID teachers explained honors during their classes.  For the upcoming school year 14% of honors students are Latino.  It’s still a small percentage, but it’s a great and significant improvement over previous years.

What a great and encouraging start for this school’s honors programs.  I applaud their efforts for recognizing the huge disparity in honors students, and attempting to bridge the gap.  Though the school recognizes there still is work to be done, they made a huge jump for the upcoming school year.  The school also used a variety of assessment measures to determine honors for the next year.  Report card grades, test scores, teacher recommendations, and a writing test are all considered when determining class placement.  As noted in the article, teachers have different grading styles, writing preferences, and teaching styles.  A variety of assessments better ensures that students have a fair chance of demonstrating their strengths.  Class grades may be average because of a low test grade, or neglecting to turn in homework.  However, the writing sample may be superb.  It will be the student’s responsibility to live up to the expectations in honors, but at least the student will be given the opportunity to try.

The article concentrated on ELA classes.  How did math, science, and history fare?  There are also often number differences based on gender.  Was that a factor at this school, and how did the new method approach it?

Honors Classes

Wolpert-Gawron, H. (2013, March 28). Honors classes: A need for more diversity. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Gualano, Gabriela

Wolpert-Gawron works at a diverse middle school where approximately half the students are Latino and the other half Asian.  It would make sense that honors classes would mimic these statistics, but that is far from true.  Instead, honors classes are about 98% Asian and 2% Latino.  The school decided that enough was enough and there needed to be a change.  Students themselves can be their own worst critic as Latino students say honors are for Asians and Asian students say AVID is for Latinos.  Wolpert-Gawron and the school are attempting a solution by increasing outreach to all students in all classes.

It is very interesting that middle school students have strongly established stereotypes about honors and AVID classes.  These views are preventing some students from achieving their true potential as they stick to the classes they are familiar with, and neglect to challenge or support themselves.  Although middle school sounds young, these decisions are often made a few years earlier in elementary school.  Already young children have decided if they are good or not at school.  The school believes the gaps in achievement are not purely ability, but more often morale or misperception of tracking.  In order to change these, the school began emphasizing honors classes more clearly, and specifically explained the application and testing process to students.  Parents and students demand honors classes, but then society complains when there is a gap between achievement.  Hopefully, Wolpert-Gawron and her school will be able to further explore this issue and come up with some kind of solution. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

20% Me Time

Gualano, Gabriela

Juliani, A. J. (2013, June 25). Why “20% time” is good for schools. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Google has a policy where their employees are given 20% of their work time to spend on something else other than assigned projects. The article proposes carrying this idea over to schools, and giving students 20% of the day to work on something that fits their interests. The 20% time gives students time to work on their own projects while still meeting standards and grade level skills.

I think this model, if used properly, could go a long way in making school more applicable for students. The idea is also rather revolutionary for schools, and I wonder how it works for various subjects. Thinking back to my own school experience, I would have loved having 20% to myself in history or English, but would have been utterly lost in science or math. I could follow a lecture and memorize information, but I would have hated having to devise my own project and learning outcomes. Without an interest in the topic, I would not have been able to come up with something to learn. Even now I often equate success with an “A” on a test. Success in high school was earning an A on my report card; not creating some project that may or may not be successful. On the other hand, some might argue that by being able to create my own assignments I would gain an interest in these subjects. Perhaps so…the only time I remember being truly invested during science for its own sake and not a grade was in 7th grade. We were supposed to trace hemophilia through Queen Victoria’s family. The genetics and historical implications were endless fascinating! Would more assignments like these piqued my interest more? Giving students 20% of the time also allows them to work at their own pace. Differentiated instruction is a key buzzword, but it is difficult to achieve meaningful DI in practice. 20% would inherently solve DI. Some would speed ahead, while others would be able to take their time until a concept was truly understood. Plus, students who are invested and interested in their work will actually learn something. My biggest concern is for the students who, for whatever reason, do not care about school in any capacity. Will 20% reach them, or will it be just another opportunity to waste time?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Children and Nonfiction

Gualano, Gabriela

Korbey, H. (2013, July 12). How to get kids hooked on nonfiction books this summer. [Web long comment.] Retrieved from

Blogger Holly Korbey proposes that nonfiction reading is as important, perhaps more important, than reading fiction. One recent study by Publishers Weekly shows that children read four times as much fiction as nonfiction.  Children’s science writer Vicki Cobb wants to change the imbalance. She strongly believes that children need to be exposed to more high quality nonfiction books with Common Core connections and has created a website, iNK THINK TANK,, with recommendations for grades K – 12.
While narrative fiction causes the reader to look inward to self-discovery, nonfiction causes the reader to look outward at the world at large. High quality writing, whether fiction or nonfiction, uses dynamic literary devices that captivate the reader. The website has many recommended books listed by grade level and cover science, biography, poetry art, and other genres.
I agree that a well-written nonfiction books is as fascinating as a fiction book. Nonfiction exposes readers to ideas and investigates these experiences. Although, I am not interested in science I am interested in other nonfiction ares such as biographies, which the website does cover. The CCSS emphasizes nonfiction and by 10th grade more reading for the curriculum will be nonfiction. This type of reading may be more complex and the more exposure children have will ease their introduction to a new area.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Great Teachers Don't Teach

Duncan, Laura

Johnson, B. (2013, June 28).  Great teachers don't teach.  [Web log comment.]  Retrieved from

This article drives home the point that, while there are many important qualities that make an excellent teacher, perhaps the most important quality is a willingness to put the student in the driver's seat.  The author's sites his own learning experiences, describing a class he took in college, in which the students participated in a number of psychological experiences.  Rather than merely being lectured to or simply discussing theories, the students directly participated in psychological theories, and the author argues that this form of learning had the greatest impact on his long-term knowledge.  Thus, he encourages project-based learning, in which students learn and apply skills in a real scenario, rather than simply thinking about them theoretically.

This is a valuable article - it emphasizes the value of participation, engagement and higher order thinking and encourages teachers to move away from a passive teaching approah.

Monday, July 8, 2013

How to Apply Design Thinking in Class, Step by Step

Duncan, Laura

Stevens, A. (2013, June 26).  How to apply design thinking in class, step by step.  [Web log comment].  Retrieved from

This article walks the reader through the basic process of transforming the classroom environment into a design thinking classroom.  First, the author says that a space needs to be created that invites possibility, creativity, surprise and engagement from the students.  Typically, a gym is often a school's "space of possibility," since there is little imposing material in a gym that dictates its use.  The challenge is making the classroom environment produce the same effect.   The author recommends holding "studio time," in which students are invited to freely create and adjust to the new set of expectations for this more flexible time.  Further, teachers can engage students in creating a new design thinking curriculum, by encouraging them to brainstorm about design careers (e.g. interior design, architecture) and then start thinking like designers.  Students should be invited to contribute how they'd like to develop the new classroom and what tools they'd like to add.  Concept development is an important part of the process.  Teachers should help students through the creative process, giving them up to an hour to think, brainstorm and draft out their ideas.  At the end of studio time, it's important for teachers to engage students in reflection about their work and the experience of studio time.

This article is useful, though not as step by step as it claims, in my opinion.  Since the concept of design thinking and studio time is somewhat abstract and probably fairly unfamiliar to most readers, it would have been helpful if the author had spent more time elaborating on the concepts of design thinking and studio time themselves.  Nonetheless, it's a creative concept and inspires teachers to think outside the box and promote flexibility.

Can Digital Games Boost Students' Test Scores?

Duncan, Laura

Barseghian, T. (2013, June 17). Can digital games boost students' test scores? [Web log comment].  Retrieved from

This article addresses the huge presence that video games hold in most children's lives, and whether they can positively impact students' achievement.  According to a new study, which analyzed 77 peer-reviewed journal articles of students, digital games, as compared to forms of instruction that did not include them, showed a positive effect on students' cognitive competencies - particularly in science, math, engineering and technology.  The author noted that integration digital games into classrooms is becoming increasingly popular, with organizations like the Gates Foundation launching labs to "prototype and develop games formative assessments."  Recent studies show that digital games are becoming one of the most popular types of technology integrated education and teachers are observing the positive impact that these games are making. Still, the author acknowledges that some teachers remain skeptical, pointing out the value of feedback and live interactions in the classroom.

This article is valuable, as it shows yet another example in which technology is moving into the classroom and  the positive potential that this integration could engender.  Worth reading for an appreciation of the role of video games in particular, and how they can be used in an educational manner.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What Does 21st Century Learning Look Like in an Elementary School?

Duncan, Laura

Jukes, I. (2013, June 18).  What does 21st century learning look like in an elementary school? [Web log comment].  Retrieved from

The author notes that tech integration is often focused on high school and middle school settings but is an equally important topic for elementary schools.  The article argues that teachers must emphasize Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking to students, ensuring that students are actively participating in their education rather than "consuming passively."  Technology has a big role in these goals, as it can connect students to each other and the outside world, to share and participate in the creation of ideas.  Further, the author argues that technology allows students to learn according to their own needs and learning styles, rather than forcing students to all learn via one unchanging route; it allows for the differentiation of instruction.  Thanks to the presence of technology, a fifth goal (in addition to the 4 C's listed above) is to get students producing and consuming content that provides a meaningful connection to the greater world.
The author provides a brief list of resources about teachers who have focused on this last goal, such as teacher blogs.  He encourages the teacher to integrate his/her integration of technology instruction according to the availability of tech tools, the curriculum and the students' needs.  Teachers are encouraged to enact a few small steps that won't break the bank, such as using just a couple tech tools for a couple subjects to get started.  Further, teachers should make use of websites like Google, which provides a wealth of free tech services.

This is an inspiring little article about how to start thinking like a 21st century doer and helping your students to in that mindset, too.  It offers some practical tips about implementing ideas in the classroom and also emphasizes the broader goals that teachers should keep in mind as they set their goals and directions.

Six Big Tech Trends in Education to Follow

Duncan, Laura

Schwartz, Katrina. (2013, June 5).  Six big tech trends to follow in education.  [Web log comment].
Retrieved from

This article summarizes the NMC Horizon Report of 2013, K-12 edition.  Schwartz explains the big take-aways follows:  First, due to the ever-increasing presence of the internet in students' lives, there are more opportunities for blended and online learning classroom models.  Further, print and digital textbooks are suffering as open-source content becomes better-known and utilized.  The increase of the internet's presence has also decreased teacher isolation and increased collaboration and discussion thanks to social media.
Second, these changes are making some educators feel uncomfortable, as they struggle to keep up with technology's evolution and broadening role in education.  Some teachers are resistant to adapting and professional development has had trouble keeping up with the vast changes.
Next, the report predicts that in the next year, the demand for cloud-based computing in schools will increase and mobile learning may move to foreground, as the market for educational apps continues to grow exponentially.
Learning analytics (using real-time data from digital learning platforms to inform teaching approaches) will also increase, according to the report.  More high-quality open content will also become readily available over the next few years. Lastly, the report predicts that 3-d printing will eventually become part of the educational movement, as these printing devices become less expensive.

In all, this article was fascinating and useful.  Technology's integration into the classroom is moving at an increasingly rapid speed, and it's essential that we prepare and inform ourselves so that we can stay ahead of the curve in our work and keep our school libraries on top of the trends.  This is a great article for a brief summary of what's to come.

Why Teachers Should Be Trained like Actors

Duncan, Laura

Schwartz, K. (2013, July 1).  Why teachers should be trained like actors.  [Web log comment]. Retrieved 

The author makes the argument that, although performance is an essential component of teaching, there is little professional training for teachers on this particular skill.  As school director Ken Lemov notes, "Knowing what you want to do is a long way from being able to do it."  Lemov has started providing teacher workshops in which beginner teachers can role play and practice teaching in front of one another, while the group acts like a class of students.  Lemov believes in encouraging teachers to respond in "real time," learning how to think on their feet, receive feedback and use that feedback immediately to adjust their approach.  He notes, however, that teachers often have trouble letting going of old habits.  He notes that there is an apparent correlation between the quality of instruction and the quality of content.  He says that a "A teacher who pays enough attention to make instructions clear is probably also paying close attention to how academic discussions and projects are structured."  

These points all rang true to me.  I've met many school librarians who say that their biggest complaint about their MLIS/school librarian education was the lack or limited amount of focus on behavioral and classroom management.  Being comfortable in front of a class of students, sometimes unruly, sometimes bored, sometimes confused, is one of the foundations of excellent teaching, and yet it's something that teachers - and school librarians, especially - have little training on.  This article is worth the read, as it encourages you to reflect on your own teaching style and presence in the classrom, and to keep an open mind about your approach.