#12 ALAR 4

This week I worked to get the ALAR portfolio put together. I pieced together the logic model and the worksheets we filled out for class in order create a formal paper layout though it certainly needs some work. My goal is to meet with my group tonight and then polish the paper to ensure it flows properly. Once I feel that the paper is ready I will get the presentation prepped and ready for the presentations on 12/11. I feel confident that the collaboration process will work and we have made some great progress in bringing the teachers and administration around to agreeing to participate more freely in collaborative efforts. The teachers have agreed to allow us to observe their classrooms and before we even began the observations we had three new teachers setup collaboration events. We begin observations after Thanksgiving break and hope to get at least three more teachers signed up for collaborations.

The initial meeting with administration and the teachers where we explained how collaborations are important, how they can impact the school positively and what they can do for all parties involved. It went really well, we received new interested teachers and set up times to collaborate. Administration is more open to assisting in getting teachers interested. We created a presentation with information on how collaborations are important with testimonials from teachers who are already benefiting from collaborative efforts. We hope to see more growth after the observations and feedback meetings once we get back from break. We hoped to fit more in before the break but unfortunately schedules did not allow for that to happen. We are excited to hit the ground running afterwards and to have a solid start before we even begin our expected process. I am looking forward to beginning the observations to see where we can help the teachers and what we can provide that will improve their processes.

#11 ALAR 3

The ALAR saga continues, I met with my critical friends group on Sunday. We each went over the ALAR project plan and the ALAR plan graph. It was hard to ask questions rather than to just suggest things but I really enjoyed that challenge because it made me think of what I was saying and how I was wording it so that they can better create their own idea and think over what they want to do. We got through both of theirs and had some really good questions to help build on the foundations they have built for their projects. Unfortunately, there wasn’t feedback on my project but I will keep chugging along and hope to work through any kinks in the plan next week when we meet again. If nothing else while we discuss the different plans and ideas I get to hear what they are doing and see if where I am at makes sense and if I am moving in the right direction.

I have decided to move forward with improving the collaborative efforts with the teachers and get the administration more involved in encouraging these efforts. I really like the cascade idea with all 3 areas that the school library is currently lacking but I just don’t think that I can get that to pass and it would be a much longer time frame than I have available. I lucked out that the librarian I am working with is very open to really any avenue I want to take for this project and is willing to back my play as long as I bring her a solid proposal. Well this week I did just that and brought a proposal for how to increase the collaborations and co-teaching efforts throughout the school. She was very pleased and we have begun the process by compiling data on past collaborations and asking teachers who are currently collaborating with her to provide feedback. We have also asked if they would be willing to participate in a video for collaborations that would be used to convince the teachers and administration that collaboration is important and benefits all stakeholders.

By next week’s check-in, I plan to have my portfolio complete and the presentation started. I plan to have a presentation ready for the teachers and will have observations set up with each teacher for the coming months with a follow up session set in the new year where we will discuss options, findings and how best we can collaborate without interfering with what they need to do.

#10 ALAR 2

I have three issues that I want to work into a cascade fix for the school library media center I am working with. My difficulty has been to figure out whether or not I can work this into one action learning/action research project or if I need to come down to just one. When I think of the cascade idea I see how improving one and creating a small project with that fix will lead to the next item being fixed and each will flow into the other to create an overall improvement to the library’s alignment with the IMPACT guidelines.

I believe that if I get the MTAC utilizes its diverse makeup to collaboratively come up with a diverse set of books that diversify and grow the collection it can enhance the ability to collaborate with teachers throughout the school. There is already an MTAC in place and has the expected group of participants but they are there to brainstorm with the librarian they are not there to make decisions that power lies only with the librarian. If they had the power to make decisions they would have the motivation to ensure that the decisions were what was best for the school and as stakeholders they would have a dog in the fight for everything they would be deciding. I think this would be a fairly natural cascade effect, in having the first decision of the MTAC to improve the libraries collection while using that as an in to bring collaborative efforts to a higher percentage of the school.

I think that if I cannot figure out how to create a realistic cascade effect through my research and implementation planning I think I could stick with the collection and collaborations. I think that taking a day or two per classroom to see what the teachers are currently teaching, what materials they have and make notes of how the library could enhance what they are doing. In reviewing what is currently working and what could assist the teachers the librarian could make a case for improving the collection with books and technology that would best improve the projects the teachers have planned. The librarian would ideally spend a day or two per class and at the end of the viewing would sit with the teacher to discuss findings, what is available currently and what recommendations she has for the future improvements that could also assist. At the end of each meeting their should be a scheduled collaborative effort.

The librarian I am working with is open to any and all of these ideas if I can come with the appropriate proposal to sell the idea to her. These each align with the logic model created so it is all about proper implementation and planning.

#9 Action Learning/Action Research

Well I have created the logic model and provided a goal sheet to show where I would like for my ALAR project to go based on the rubric of where the library currently is. I think it may be a lot to take on all at once but I also feel that each piece bleeds into the other. In bringing the MTAC up to IMPACT standards they will need to have meetings and discuss items that need work. Two of the items that need work are the collection size and diversity and the lack of collaborations with teachers. If we grow the collection to where it should be while diversifying it at the same time we should be using that opportunity to create more opportunities for collaborations. So while they are separate goals they cascade into one another. I am trying to find the best method of making a case for this and creating the proper cascade and timeline to ensure each of these is possible in the timeline provided.

In speaking with the librarian I think that we can work this into the goals and transition each of these within the time promised. This project in conjunction with my project for RES 5000 and the Praxis are coming together for the perfect storm of nerves and trying to find the right place to balance each of these along with the countless hours of overtime I have to work with my position currently. I am currently working through the provided worksheets so that I can best lay out a plan and have two meetings set with my friend group assigned in class and a few meetings scheduled with the librarian I am working with to get this in motion and see what we can fit in while class is in session.

This is off topic for class but I really enjoyed the Graphic Novel seminar this past weekend. I am a supporter for graphic novels in the classroom/school and think that they can assist in building a love of reading among other skills and passions. I think that each of the sections we discussed in the seminar brought different aspects and a whole lot of books that I now need/want to read to get a better understanding of the format. I look forward to working on that assignment as well as I believe it will give a good insight into how to advocate for graphic novels in schools. I have really enjoyed going to different seminars for this field as it helps supplement different topics while I am still working outside of the field. I took 6 or 8 this summer which were really interesting and gave me a good insight into librarianship. I hope to find more opportunities to delve into the different aspects of this career path both in and out of school.

#8 Action Research

The article on action research expanded on the information I have learned so far and made the process clear. Understanding how to best plan and research this to get the best results is really important because it is something we all have in common. Advocating for what the library needs is not always going to be viewed by the stakeholders as it is by the librarian. There are many times where the librarian sees an issue or issues that the stakeholders find unimportant, uninteresting or unremarkable. When this happens you will run into trouble trying to convince them that these items are needed and how they will assist the school and the stakeholders overall. The action research plan gives you a step by step guide on how to bring the most impact to the library. It tells you where you should start, you should find where the library is at and ask where it should or could be and how to get there. In asking the right questions you can start to come up with ideas to bring to the stakeholders. If you choose the right area that intrigues the stakeholders they will be motivated to assist with the efforts and in the process could find a passion for the library.

I like the information on types of research, I personally am a fan of a mixed method of research but having the information on qualitative and quantitative as well as mixed to see the benefits of each and how they can be utilized for different scenarios is very helpful. I know we had two articles to read this week and they both provided good information but I am very interested in the action research method so I chose to focus my journal entry on that particular article so that I could reflect on it as well as find what parts provided the most insight.

#7 Media Program Planning and Evaluation

This week we utilized the IMPACT rubric to score the libraries we are working with. The rubric was enlightening in some areas but mostly it showed the weaknesses in the library that we are already aware of. After going through the rubric to see where the library falls on the scale I created a logic model for goals that the library should achieve based off of the rubric. I will say I learned a lot about my own technology deficiencies while trying to create and organize this. We were given a couple of templates within google docs that I just could not format to meet my needs for the logic model I had in mind and the software I typically use for work is not something viable I can use for this so I scrambled and stumbled a lot before finally getting it together on google drawings which was a saving grace for me. It was so easy to use and allowed me to not have a complete meltdown. I was able to get my logic model up and running with the end goal being to get the library up to IMPACT standards via a full functional MTAC, increasing collaboration by 25% and increasing the collection to have 15 books per student. From the logic model I was able to create an objective outline for each of these three objectives with each having questions of where to start, how to gather data for them and then what the intermediate goals were. I will say I think that the intermediate goals were the hardest part because I felt like leaping from the questions and data to the end goal and had a hard to finding that middle ground from time to time.  Overall I feel like this was a good assignment for me to struggle through, I needed to learn the technology piece and I really enjoyed having several ways to work through goals and objectives for the library. The logic model and the objective worksheet were different ways of writing the same information and I feel like that really helps to hone the ideas that you have. I hope to garner feedback that will help me learn and grow to be better at these things and look forward to what else I will learn as I progress through this project in the coming weeks.

#6 Literacy Skills & The Principal

I enjoyed the report from the field article but I had a hard time really processing that information. I am not sure if I just couldn’t process how best to discuss what I read. I liked the study and I think it provided some very valuable information on the importance of literacy I just feel I got more out of the Donham chapter this round. In Donham,  I was surprised to see the breakdown of a principal’s day. I understand that there are many demands on a principal’s time and that they have to divide their time between but the actual breakdown from the survey conducted was really interesting. While reading the information on administration and the principal role I kept thinking back to the interview I completed with a principal. I couldn’t help but compare how the principal I spoke with compared to the standards and survey feedback. I think that his schedule is very similar to the feedback provided and he seems to want to get to a place where he can meet the standards but he doesn’t seem to know how to make that happen.

I really like the idea of splitting some of the responsibilities up between the administration, teacher leaders and even the librarian in order to allow the principal to meet standards while also giving others a shot at leadership which will provide them chances for advancement. While I work outside of the education system, I find that many people in leadership roles do not understand what being a leader means and how to implement that in their daily lives. Many times they are managing a team but not leading it and while that seems like a minute difference it is actually quite large. I think that in giving others throughout the school the opportunity to complete tasks that a leader does you are giving them the skills to become leaders and to advance their careers. We all grow when we create more leaders and build leadership skills. I think that a combined effort method would do wonders for a school system and for all who participated.