Final Vision Project: Learner Consideration

I am really enjoying creating these videos for my final vision project. I am a verbal thinker, so being able to freely speak aloud about my ideas and my process has been a great brainstorming activity. I find myself filming the same video three or four times before my words start to make sense, and my idea comes to light. I really appreciated the positive feedback on my last post. I have created another video, but this time with a clearer focus, and the idea of who this artifact I am creating is for.






CC for my video:

“Hi everyone, I’m back! Janelle the Island TL. Today I’m going to be talking about who I am creating my artifact for. My topic is “Fostering a Love of Reading”. This is a topic I am passionate about, want to pursue, continue to implement, to do research on, and continue to grow in this area. What I know so far is that I am going to be creating an infographic. It will be able to be used as a printable poster, or a PDF, or however else you see fit. I am picturing it as a printable poster that can be put up on a wall, so it can be used or referred to. It will be really clear, with clear titles and descriptions, as well as clear graphics. The person that this is for, or the people that this is geared towards is Teachers and Teacher-Librarians. Could even be for admin to pass along to their staff, or people who work in the education field. That’s who I have in mind while creating this. It’s not really meant for the purpose of handing it out to children, or to be sent out in an email to parents, it’s not for that. It’s for in the classroom setting and in the library, to help keep the focus on “How are we fostering a love of reading”, “ What steps are we taking”, “What are we doing well”, “What could we change”. I will be creating this infographic of what I know so far, what I hope to continue doing, and what I’m already implementing. Maybe there are some cool ideas in there that others haven’t thought of. Things that I am doing that others might think “That’s a really neat idea, and I haven’t thought of that”. That’s my hope. Not to do anything revolutionary, I’m sure, but just to spark some ideas. I am passionate about this and I hope to create something that other people may be passionate about as well. 

When I was in the classroom setting, I created a cozy corner in my classroom. I used things like pillows, a bench, and plants in my cozy corner. We made it a really sacred spot, it wasn’t a spot to sit at during lunch, or to hang out with friends. It was for reading, to give them a quiet spot, or to give them a spot to take a break. It was special, and a cool area for kids to read with a friend or read independently. My intention, as I have said, is to create something like that in my library. To create a really awesome space for kids to come and read (when I can open my library again). I will include some pictures of the benches that I have. I am dreaming of the day when I can use them to their full potential. Right now, sometimes I sit on them myself. I’m excited to be able to implement those in the future. This is what I have a vision and a passion for, so this will be part of my infographic. As well as other ways to foster a love of reading in the classroom or in the library. 

Another idea I have is to include reading aloud. Kids love when someone reads to them. It gives them a break, to relax, and have words put over them like a blanket. I remember as a kid being so excited for lunch time everyday to have my teacher read to me. To have that calming voice, of someone I know and trust, telling me a story. I still love being read to. I now get to be that person for kids, which I think is quite neat. I have other steps and ideas that I will be including into the infographic/poster/PDF. I will disperse this to my staff, as well as I hope to share it with the other Teacher-Librarians in my district. If they wish to share that with their teachers, they can do that. That is the purpose behind it. It’s not created for parents, the students, or the community, but it will be an open resource if someone wants to use it for that. My vision and idea behind creating it is more for people in the education world to create that space, that cozy home feel at school. As well as to make reading comfortable, a happy thing, and to foster a love of reading.”

I will be using Piktochart to create my infographic. I used it once before in my education degree, and I remember it being fairly straightforward and easy to use. I have done a bit of research of some helpful tips and tricks that will help me along the way as well. Here is a video I found that helps lay out the basics of Piktochart, to start me on the correct path. My goal is to make it clear and concise, as well as visually pleasing, so that it catches the eye.






Thanks for following along on this journey as I continue to learn and grow in new areas.

Janelle, The Island TL

References:

“Create Infographics, Presentations & Reports.” Piktochart, piktochart.com/. 

The Island TL, Janelle. “Final Vision Project Learner Consideration.” Youtube, 2020, youtu.be/EvFKIt0A_d4. 

Piktochart Video. “How To Create a Piktochart Infographic Easily.” Youtube, 2014, youtu.be/SzI9RzvnwZA. 

Final Vision Blog Post #1

A vision for the future of my library.

As I was reading through the description for this assignment, I saw the words “Think out-loud” and “production” and my wheels started to turn. I decided that for this post, I would create a video of myself talking about my final vision. Here’s my verbal brainstorm.




CC from my video:

“Hi friends, my name is Janelle Ten Have, and I have self-titled myself “The Island TL” on my blog posts. That’s because I am a Teacher-Librarian, and I work on an island. I live on Vancouver Island and I commute to work on a ferry everyday to Gabriola Island. If you’ve never been, it’s beautiful and a little less touristy than the other Gulf Islands. I love it there, and I love taking a morning ferry ride to work. As I have said in some of my previous blog posts, it is my first year doing this, I am new to this, I don’t know what I am doing most of the time.

In the past few years, I have been in the classroom setting, striving towards being in a library. This year I finally got to do that. It is so peculiar being in this new position, during a pandemic, it’s insane. I’ve always had this vision of having kids come to my library, pick out their books, silent read, and do activities (as normal library would run). Instead, I have to bring bins of books to the classrooms, on a cart, checking out books. It is different than what it should be, but this is what we’re working with right now. I generally take the time to prepare a bin of minimum enough books for every kid in the class to have two or three books. If they have requested a specific book, I take the time to put that aside for them, so that they have the book that they want to read. What I have talked about a lot in my previous blog posts is fostering a love of reading. I honestly believe that kids aren’t going to be able to love reading, unless they are reading a book they want to read. If they’ve requested a specific book, I am going to take the time to give them the book they want to read. I think it’s really important for them to have choice in that, because as adults, we do have that choice. As an adult, I read because I love reading. I read to take time for myself. I don’t want to read a book that I don’t want to read. I choose the books that I want to read, that are relevant to me, so why is it any different for children. Unless of course, it is specifically requested by the classroom teacher. I believe the books from the library should be book that they enjoy reading. This is really why I take the time to hand pick these books for these kids. That being said, I only have 150 kids at my school so much less than most schools. It is a little bit less, but it is still a lot of work. I think that eventually being able to open up my library again will take a load off me, take a load off them. It will be amazing.

I really want to foster a love of reading in my library, I have always been passionate about this. When I was in the classroom setting, I had a cozy corner filled with pillows and plants, and basically made it feel like my home. I really wanted the kids to feel like they’re at home as well, that they have a say, and that they can feel comfortable. It is a cozy time and I wish that I could provide that again this year, but I can’t. I can’t bring pillows, blankets, or plants every time I step into a different classroom. My vision for the future, which this blog post is about, is fostering a love of reading in my library, but in the future. Right now, I can’t achieve what I want to achieve, but I am doing the best that I can.

Basically, my vision for the future is really for once the pandemic is over and once I can open my library again. I want to be able to fill it full of beautiful things and make it really cozy and comfortable for these children. When they come into my library, I want them to feel like it is a safe place. I also want to be able to host several different clubs. When I was a kid, I was one of the children that put the books away. Honestly, I thought everyone did that at some point in time. I remember in university, for teaching, I remember talking about it and some people didn’t even know the club existed, and they definitely were’t a part of it. It was at that time that I realized that I needed to switch gears. It was really cool to look back and realize that I have been passionate about doing this for so long. I really want to provide that for the kids at my school. I want to give them the option to stay in for recess because their best friend is away and they want to hang out with me instead, I am ready for that. I also want to host other clubs, like boardgames clubs, video game clubs, and book clubs, every day of the week. I want to be in my library with these kids, spending time with them. The thing is, you need to be in close quarters for those things, in small groups, and mixing cohorts. Those things can’t happen this year, maybe next year, or the year after.

That’s my vision for what I want my library to look like. I want it to not only be a place where kids can get books, read those books, and feel comfortable. I also want to have this safe place and for me to be a safe person in their life. That’s my heart behind it, that’s where I am at.”

As always, let me change my tone a bit. There is lots I can’t do this year, but there is still some things I can do. I read an article written by Lisa Dabbs, called Read With Me: 5 Tips to Foster a Love for Reading. She shares some great tips that I think I could alter a bit to make them work for this year.

1. Read aloud
I feel very lucky to still be able to visit the classrooms, do book exchange with the students, and read to them. I look forward to this time I get to spend with them, and I know they do too (from the little cheers I hear as I walk into each classroom). With the older grades, I read a different novel to each class. I feel as though this is starting to help us build relationships with one another, and it also gives them a break from reading themselves, as they can just sit back and listen to the words being read to them. In the younger grades, I find new and exciting books to read each week that reflect their classroom theme. This sparks some really wonderful conversations.

2. Visit the library

This is still a bit of a dream, but I can see opening up the library for short periods of time, when things settle a bit. Maybe this will look like just reading a book to one class or one cohort that week. Maybe it will be just for book exchange. Maybe I will be able to run very small clubs.

3. Develop a classroom library

If the students can’t come into my library, I can try to do the next best thing and give them a sense of a library in their classroom. Every week I touch base with the teachers at my school and ask what theme they are working through at that time. I curate a bin of books in that subject area and check it out under their name. This gives the students more choice. They then have their library books they can take out, as well as a selection of books in their own classroom.

4. Start a book club

Another dream of mine, but maybe not totally unachievable. I know that some of the counsellors and child and youth care workers at my school run the occasional friendship club at recess. I have hopes to address the idea of starting a small book club with some of the students that will run once a week.

5. Write stories

In preparation for the upcoming virtual book fair at my school, which is jungle theme, I had all the classes do activities and write stories around this theme. It was both fun and successful, and gave me the idea of continuing to write occasional stories with the classes. It seems to spike an interest in most students, and gave them the chance to be creative!

Janelle, The Island TL

References:

TheIslandTL, J. (2020). Final Vision Post #1. Retrieved 2020, from https://youtu.be/_bGFzGdUwsI

Dabbs, L. (2014, February 14). Read With Me: 5 Tips to Foster a Love for Reading. Retrieved November, 2020, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/5-tips-foster-love-reading-lisa-dabbs

Reflections on Phase 2

What are your key takeaways, learning and direction after all this exploration?

Phase two was a time of learning, researching, and personal growth. It gave me the opportunity to communicate freely where I am at now, and where I hope to be in the future. I think a consistent theme throughout my phase two blog posts has been “I am here, learning and growing, but if it weren’t for a pandemic, I would be at a different point in my journey”. While this is still true, I think I need to shift my focus a tad, and instead stay in the mindset of “What can I do and where can I go from here, despite the circumstances I am in”.

What are the new avenues for development in your personal and professional practice?

A goal I have is to continue on my journey to implement and incorporate more technology into my teaching practice. I know I still have a long way to go in this respect, as I have spent a lot of time being reluctant to change. I have always felt more comfortable and confident using things like pen and paper, and physical books. Technology can fail, but tangible things like paper have yet to do me wrong. I do know that technology can enhance my teaching, so this is an area I would like to continue to push myself in. I would like to start with incorporating e-readers into my practice, as I can see them helping to provide a wider range of books that I may not already have in my library.

What are you going to take with you, moving forward from your own explorations and also from the explorations of others in this class?

Yet another area of growth I see myself working through is to start the process of weeding in my library. It has been years since it has been weeded, so I know this will be a huge undertaking. I am still feeling a bit overwhelmed by the idea of it, as this is all new to me, but I know my library will become a condensed and more useless version of itself when that is done. I have gathered a few ideas from my classmates in this respect, and I think I will be give first priority to the teachers at my school to choose from the weeded books. After this, I will place a “Free Books” table outside of my library so that the students will have access to free books of their choosing. Lastly, before I discard of them completely, I will check to see if there are any relevant books remaining, and offer them up to my community.

If you could pick just one topic from Phase 2 that resonated with you, which is it and why?

The topic that resonated with me the most from phase two was fostering a love of reading. I hope to continue to foster a love of reading at my school. In my first inquiry blog post (https://janelleraeth.wordpress.com/2020/10/11/inquiry-blog-post-1/) I mentioned a video titled Fostering a LOVE for READING in your Children by THE OGLESBY OHANA. In the video she carefully outlines some steps you can take to be able to foster a love of reading in children. These steps are very well applicable to the classroom, as well as my position as a TL.






Step one: STRUING: Make books accessible to children, leave them along their path so they can grab them when they want to read.

Step two: MAKE READING COMFORTABLE: Get pillows, blankets, couches, to make reading comfortable for them. Take them outside. Make the energy gentle and accepting. 

Step three: READ TO THEM AND READ WITH THEM: Reading becomes special when they foster relationships. Make the time to reading aloud with your students. Don’t be afraid to stop reading to explain things, to laugh, and make connection points.

Step four: LET THEM PICK OUT THE BOOKS: Let them read the books they want to read, because at least they’re reading (if it is appropriate). Let them know they have a voice in their reading.

Step five: LET BOOKS BE THE ANSWER: Instead of going straight to your phone, get them to look it up in the books they have on hand or a dictionary.

References:

THE OGLESBY OHANA. “Fostering a LOVE for READING in Your Children.” Youtube, 2020, youtu.be/h4B0n4IDbfI. 

Janelle

The Island TL

Inquiry Blog Post #1

Fostering Reading Cultures in Schools

No one ever needed to foster a love a reading for me, well they probably did, but I don’t remember feeling reluctant to the idea of picking up a book, reading it, and falling for every word. I have loved reading and writing for as long as I can remember, so when I hear a child say “I don’t like reading”, it breaks my heart, but also confuses me. How could anyone not like reading?

When I taught in the classroom, I always made sure that we had at least twenty minutes of silent reading each day. Understandably, the younger grades would need to read for a shorter amount of time, but in my intermediate classroom, we made silent reading a ritual part of our day. We would either start off the day this way, or instead read after lunch to recenter before we continued on with the afternoon. My students knew that they could sit anywhere in the class, in our cozy reading nook, on the floor, or even outside. My class was located directly next to the library, and twice a week it was empty, so we used it as a “special treat” to be able to read in the library too. I had a lot of students with anxiety, and this quiet reading time provided them with the opportunity to find a calm spot and refocus. When the weather was kind to us, we would take our lunches and books over to the provincial park next to our school, and read in the woods, next to the ocean. It was beautiful, relaxing, and inclusive, but I understand that not every student has this relationship with reading.

Reading in the library.
My grade 4/5 class enjoying reading in the sun.




I have a new role now, the role of someone who walks into a classroom, with a bin of books to deliver to students in which I have not yet built deep and meaningful relationships with. I bring them these books, in hopes there is something they’ll like, despite not knowing their stories, or their history with books or reading. I don’t know the kinds of books that bring them joy, or the books that create fear in their hearts. It is a rocky and uneven ground that I walk upon, and its been a tough beginning of the year, trying to foster a love of reading in the hearts and minds of the young ones in my life.




I watched a video by THE OGLESBY OHANA titled Fostering a LOVE for READING in your Children, in the video she carefully outlines some steps you can take to be able to foster a love of reading in children. It is geared towards parents who are homeschooling their children, but the steps are still very well applicable to the classroom as well.

Step one: STRUING

Make books accessible to children, leave them along their path so they can grab them when they want to read.

Step two: MAKE READING COMFORTABLE

Get pillows, blankets, couches, to make reading comfortable for them. Take them outside. Make the energy gentle and accepting.

Step three: READ TO THEM AND READ WITH THEM.

Reading becomes special when they foster relationships. Make the time to reading aloud with your students. Don’t be afraid to stop reading to explain things, to laugh, and make connection points.

Step four: LET THEM PICK OUT THE BOOKS

Let them read the books they want to read, because at least they’re reading (if it is appropriate). Let them know they have a voice in their reading.

Step five: LET BOOKS BE THE ANSWER

Instead of going straight to your phone, get them to look it up in the books they have on hand or a dictionary.

In Will Richardson’s Why School he speaks of a time when he approached parents, asking them the question “Why School?”.

Not surprisingly, the first answer on their lips is not “I want them to be good test takers.” Nor is it “I want them to know a lot of stuff.” What I hear instead are things like: “I want them to love learning.” “I want them to be able to solve real problems.” “I want them to be independent thinkers.” Those, and many similar outcomes, are what I want for my kids, too.” (Richardson, Why School).

This is a great representation of my heart for the students at my school. Not only do I hope they build a fluency for reading, are able to read, decipher, and articulate information into knowledgable presentations. It’s more than for them to be able to access resources, to then be able to contribute intellectually to a conversation. For me, I aspire to inspire my students to foster a love for reading, to know that they can come back to this calming activity when everything else in their life may seen overwhelming. They can pick up a book, and escape to another world, for a little while. I don’t want reading to be a scary thing for them, I want it to be beautiful and wonderful, as it it for myself, and so many others.

References:

Richardson, Will. Why School?: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere (Kindle Single) . TED Conferences. Kindle Edition.

THE OGLESBY OHANA. “Fostering a LOVE for READING in Your Children.” Youtube, 2020, youtu.be/h4B0n4IDbfI.