With National Library Lover's month starting in just a few days, we thought it would be great to share some of the work that has been happening in libraries over the past 10 months.
Since March 2020 our schools have worked through a flux of transitions between remote learning, in-person learning, and hybrid learning. Not just once but multiple times during the school year, depending on the health and status of each cohort, class, school, our county and the state. As our schools have focused on supporting students and families while continuing the learning, our school libraries have continued to work to meet the needs of each instructional mode, safely providing access to resources and instruction for students and staff.
Libraries are the heart of the school community. Often referred to as the hub of the school, school libraries offer support for all students and their families, host community events, hold a diverse collection of books and resources for all, offer a place for all learners to explore interests and provide an instructional partner for teachers in the Digital Teacher Librarian (DTL). DTLs serve many roles in a school, but one of the most critical is to be a partner and coach for teachers, as teachers and DTLs collaborate and explore innovation in their teaching practice, in particular integrating technology and critical thinking skills throughout lessons.
The work for libraries, in particular our Digital Teacher Librarians, preceding the pandemic helped to prepare our schools for a smoother transition into remote learning. Grounded in the ISTE Standards, DTLs authentically embed digital literacy skills in content, working to prepare our students to be future ready citizens. Information and Media Literacy coupled with fostering a love of reading, DTLs curate relevant and meaningful resources for all students, providing opportunities through instruction to reflect and grow as learners.
In a traditional, non-pandemic setting, the library is a busy space all on its own. Now with the added challenges that come with properly quarantining resources and overseeing the management of the library in a whole new way we have found some great opportunities and continue to address the evolving challenges.
Bradford K-8 South Digital Teacher Librarian, Denise Cushing, found a new way to connect with students and promote a love of reading with their “Breakfast and Books” program. The group, of over 40 (mostly Kindergarten - 2nd grade) students, meet online weekly before school starts and engage in discussions and share books. Over Winter Break, Mrs. Cushing and the students participated in Read Across America and shared titles connected to states, such as Grand Canyon by Jason Chin (Utah) and Big Moon Tortilla by Joy Cowley (Arizona).
From the start of the pandemic the request for books to be read aloud has been resounding nationwide. Publishers have responded and have temporarily adjusted their copyright permissions during this time to allow read alouds. With the guidelines shared, students and teacher librarians have found new ways to share their love of literature.
Kyle Walker, Digital Teacher Librarian at both Kullerstrand Elementary and Maple Grove Elementary, recently shared his read-aloud of Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock, retold by Eric A. Kimmel. (you can watch as snippet of the video below).
Another success during the pandemic, students discovered new access to thousands of ebooks on their school library websites (Destiny Discover Library System). This is the result of a project three years in the making that happened to come together in the Spring of 2020.
During the periods of in-person learning, school libraries have worked to continue to support the desire for books. More now than ever before students appreciate and miss the ability to browse the stacks of books in the library. Our elementary libraries are working diligently to fill the demands as students request and place Holds on selections of books. The challenge in this time is managing the balance of properly allowing books to sit in quarantine for 72 hours, pulling the requested titles and (the best part) delivering the books to students in their cohorts. Our DTLs have had to think creatively about how best to support teacher and student requests, some schools are managing well over 200 requests at a time. Now, 10 months into this pandemic each day seems to get a little bit smoother.
Delivering books to students in classes has been one of the highlights throughout this time -the students are all so excited for new books!
Secondary students have been managing remote and hybrid learning throughout the school year. Middle School and High School libraries have worked to support students and staff through the new and innovative formats of asynchronous and synchronous learning. It has been a challenge to support the ever growing demands of overseeing the management of thousands of TechforEd devices deployed throughout the district, while continuing to keep the focus on the instructional practices that have grounded our DTLs, as they are teachers first.
Angie Wagner, DTL at Bear Creek High school, shared that she feels that one positive that has come from this time is that , “The students appreciate our space and all we do more, knowing how good it used to be when they could come and hang or work on work, a place to recharge.” While the challenge has been “Helping those students who really like coming in and thumbing through books. They like to put their hands on them, see the size of the font, the length, etc.”
At Conifer High School, Digital Teacher Librarian Karen McIntosh, reached out to the author of Watermarked, Danielle Butler, from the UK and connected her virtual reading group for an author visit.
Colleen Sologub-Sobering, DTL at Brady High School, said it well when she shared, “We are a conduit for our students and our teachers and staff to navigate through this uncertain time. They are looking to us for help in researching, learning, and trying new things. Not that this is so unusual, but it is the fact that we are working without always seeing the kids face to face, but we are helping them as much as we can.”
So if you get a chance this February - share some love with your school libraries! It will be greatly appreciated.
check out "The Elementary ELement" Below:
Jeffco's one stop curriculum resource shop for K-5 teachers!
ENHANCE STUDENT COMMUNICATION AND CRITICAL & CREATIVE THINKING WITH ORIGINALITY REPORTS
Today’s students are dealing with a complex challenge: In a time where all of the world’s information is at their fingertips with a simple Google search, how do they balance what is already created with their own unique perceptions and ideas?
Educators have spent endless hours copying and pasting passages into Google Searches to check if student work is authentic. This process is not only inefficient but also biased.
Originality reports use Google Search to help students AND teachers. Originality reports are available in Google Classroom and in Schoology using the Google Assignments app
Originality reports how-to guide
“Originality reports are created by scanning submissions for matched phrases across hundreds of billions of web pages and tens of millions of books.” (Google for EDU)
When assigning work in Classroom and Assignments, teachers will have the option to enable originality reports with the simple click of a button. Students will then be able to run up to three originality reports on documents they attach to the assignment before submitting their work. This gives students an opportunity to proactively improve their work.
After submission, a comprehensive originality report will be available for use when grading the assignment. Originality reports will highlight text that has missed citations and/or has high similarity with text on the web or in books. The report will also show the web matches and even give the teacher the link to investigate for themselves.
Students today have to learn to navigate between millions of other people’s ideas and their own. They also need to know the tried and true methods of how and when to properly cite sources. Fortunately, now Jeffco students can use originality reports to support writing original thoughts while also teaching them about properly citing sources!
Advantages of student use of originality reports (From Google Support):
Teachers spend a lot of time giving feedback about missed citations and improper paraphrasing. Integration of the power of a Google search directly into assignments and grading tools, makes the teacher’s job much more efficient. Originality Reports make it easy for instructors to screen for potential plagiarism and to use those reports to create teachable moments for their students. Originality reports are built to be a teaching tool rather than a “gotcha”.
Advantages of teacher use of originality reports (From Google Support):
Additional features in enterprise for education
Educators have unlimited access to Originality Reports
Students have access to three reports per assignment
Originality Reports are available in Google Doc assignments, but will soon also be available in Google Slides assignments!
Teachers will be able to receive originality reports that include student-to-student matches within the @jeffcoschools.us domain.
On Saturday, November 21st, the first day of Thanksgiving break, 200 Jeffco educators came together, without pay, to learn how to better provide digital and hybrid learning. Why? They were looking for the electric feeling of hope and possibility that the EdTechTeam Summits provide. The Becoming: Moving from Surviving to Thriving event focused on online teaching, blended teaching, coaching, leadership and more. Educators spent time learning about lesson design, synchronous and asynchronous content delivery, assessment, engagement, communication and best practices in using digital tools. Jennifer Snyder (Secrest ES) said it was a great jumpstart to inspire teachers and get them out of the survival rut.
One of the most useful and exciting things about the summit was building confidence with Jeffco-purchased tools such as Pear Deck, Google Classroom, Jamboard, Seesaw and more! Teachers also received hands-on resources they were able to immediately use in their classrooms. Karrie Dallman (Arvada West HS) was excited to walk away with some great ideas to make her class more interactive and to keep her students more engaged.
Above all, the Summit reminds of us of our why -- the students. "It's about what we can do to provide as engaging and successful a learning experience as possible for them," says Dodie Sale (Meiklejohn ES).
What do you know?
We asked our Jeffco teachers to share their biggest takeaways from the Summit:
Keeping the Learning Going
For those that didn't have the opportunity to attend the live sessions, videos of the recorded sessions are available to watch, thanks to our subscription to the EdTechTeam online learning catalog, which is available through May 2021.
Course material included in the Jeffco subscription:
Jeffco staff members will need to create their own individual account in order to access the courses. Use your @jeffcoschools.us account and your Jeffco password when creating your EdTechTeam PD account. Please see the videos on the site for support in creating your account and signing up for courses.
Each course is FREE and requires 15-hours of learning and creation. Your work will be evaluated and graded by a member of EdTechTeam Inc. Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a certificate of completion that can be submitted to CDE for recertification. Additionally, you may apply for graduate credit through Adams State at an additional cost ($155/credit). See specific courses for additional details.
*The ability for Jeffco to send educators to attend the summit for free is a result of a Google promotion we receive by purchasing Chrome devices for our district-wide TechforEd initiative.
No doubt you have grown familiar with the concept of screencasting: Creating a recording of your screen or face (or both!) for demonstration and communication purposes. Below is a quick list of best practices and considerations for creating engaging videos for your students, staff or the community! While Screencastify is the premium screencasting tool for Jeffco Public Schools, the hints below are useful even if you’re using another application or web tool!