Book Week 2016 – Australia: Story Country

Junior School (Years K-6): On Monday morning the Junior School celebrated Book Week with a Grand Parade of Australian Stories. Every class recited a poem they had learned, dressed for the occasion and also decorated the hall with art work to illustrate their recitation.

Old Man Platpus

Old Man Platypus Display

A ‘Shelfie’ competition is taking place this week in the IRC for the Senior School (Years 7-12). Students and teachers have to guess which teacher belongs to which ‘Shelfie’. Next week all will be revealed with the teachers’ ‘Selfies’ that were taken in front of their bookshelves.

Shelfies

IRC Display

IRCstaff

The IRC place and space for Year 3 Guided Inquiry

Year 3 are all studying Minibeasts – having selected their favourite minibeast they have constructed some ‘wondering’ questions and are finding answers. The IRC space means they can work…
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Students are only using library books and all work in in workbooks with scaffolds pasted in before they began. The teachers are now experienced in Guided Inquiry and students are very focussed and excited about learning. Reading and Writing are integrated with Science for this unit of work.

Kindergarten’s ‘Farm Day’

After a day filled with exhausting ‘farm’ activities all three classes headed to the IRC for some ‘Farm’ stories. First we read two stories illustrated on the Interactive Board attached to a projection lamp so everyone could see the book. Michael Rosen‘s picture book Oww!: A wriggly piglet with a prickly problem was popular then Russell the sheep by Rob Scotton was a real favourite!
Finally we had some good old-fashioned fun singing “Old MadDonald had a farm” with all the puppets and sound effects we could muster.
RussellTheSheepPuppets

Library Lovers Day @ Broughton

Every year, on Valentine’s Day, the English Department joins with the IRC in a little bit of silliness that actually becomes a very successful time of reading for enjoyment. We have been doing this with Year 8 or 9 English classes for six years. Even students who do not normally read for pleasure take part enthusiastically and have an opportunity to experience many genres especially selected for their age group.

Neil Gaiman lecture on “reading, libraries and daydreaming”

The Guardian recently published a lecture by Neil Gaiman entitled Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming
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The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.

The whole lecture is worth reading but this quote emphasises what I discuss with secondary students constantly as I try to entice them to read for pleasure.

And the second thing fiction does is to build empathy. When you watch TV or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people. Prose fiction is something you build up from 26 letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world and people it and look out through other eyes. You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. You’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed.

Understanding ‘txtng’ as a linguistic skill

Do you know when to use ‘LOL’ and ‘slash’ in your texts?

In his TED Talk Txtng is killing language. JK!!! , John McWhorter says that texting is actually an expansion of people’s “linguistic repertoire” and is “language in speech” and not writing as we have come to know it. He notes an emergent complexity in the subtle structures and conventions of its use.

Does texting mean the death of good writing skills? John McWhorter posits that there’s much more to texting — linguistically, culturally — than it seems, and it’s all good news.

Linguist John McWhorter thinks about language in relation to race, politics and our shared cultural history.

Library Lover’s day @ BACIRC

It has become a tradition in our library for all of Year 9, on February 14 each year, to take part in ‘Speed Dating’.  Books are pre-selected from all genres with appropriate but varying levels of reading.

Senior students observing the ‘set-up’ this morning could be heard reminiscing about their own experiences doing this three years ago. Clearly it was memorable and favourable!

Statistics are kept from the ‘rating’ sheets to make a display of most popular ‘dates’ and many students come back for second dates.

Library’s Lovers day!!

By Hayley B (Year 9 student)

Today was Library’s Lover’s Day 9. Our English class made their way down to the IRC where we stood behind a table, which was very prettily decorated, and which made us feel as if we were in a restaurant with our date sitting there staring at us. On the table next to our ‘date’ we had a cute red heart chocolate. Everyone was nervous for their first date, sitting down and opening to the first page and getting to know all about their date. After four minutes everyone rated their date and moved on to a new date and did the same thing all over again.

I think being at Library Lovers Day today was a great experience for everyone to perhaps find the right book for them, one which suits them best or maybe not even finding the right date at all but reading a variety of books.

 

 

Making use of our K-12 library again!

Yesterday the Year 9 Child Studies students came to the IRC for their lesson . First they were taught about the stages of the development of literacy skills from birth to school age, with emphasis on the importance and inter connectivity of all forms of communication. The use of books, digital or print, as a foundation for literacy development was demonstrated with illustrations from baby’s first recognition of shapes on a page. The introduction of words that eventually introduce concepts of fantasy as distinct from reality was then discussed – the problems this can cause and the fun this can initiate.

The Year 9 students looked at the K-2 collection of books and as Year 3 was in the IRC ‘borrowing’ books at the time, their teacher allowed us to ‘borrow’ the students in 3B to read them stories and discuss their story choices. A great time was had by all!

eBooks – New Book, New Reading, New Reader

Jamie McKenzie has been offering free online educational articles and information on his site From Now On: the educational technology journal for years. I have followed his work for over ten years. These days one would say he is part of my PLN.

His latest article is about eBooks Vol 21|No 4|March 2012.
As books become more interactive the possibilities in the educational environment are enormous and exciting. This article is a great place to begin learning about how to embrace change.

The New Book, the New Reading and the New Reader: We’re talkin’ ’bout revolution This article discusses:

  • reading as a dialogue
  • reading as an exploration
  • and the challenge for schools?

Jamie McKenzie also has made available his own eBook, The next best thing, from this site. It has just become part of my collection!

Benefits of K-12 Libraries! National Simultaneous Storytime

Yesterday we celebrated reading and picture books by taking part in the National Simultaneous Storytime event. Right across Australia, in schools and public libraries, children gathered to read The very cranky bear by Nick Bland at 11:00AM.
Three Kindergarten classes came to the IRC where they were enthralled to see and hear the story unfold through the use of the iPad App “The very cranky bear” which was screened on the Smart Board.

A group of Year 10 students then performed a Reader’s Theatre production of the book

…after which the children heard the story again – taking the part of the bear. Roars of sixty very “cranky bears” filled the IRC followed by the appearance of Happy Bear masks at the end of the story.

Not many of the thirty Senior Year 12 students “studying” in the IRC did much work that period – they also chose to enjoy the experience!

Maurice Saxby – A real inspiration to all Teacher Librarians – and to this Nanna as well!

Maurice Saxby spoke at the Awards Night for the School Library Association of NSW on 30 March held at the Children’s Bookshop at Beecroft.

In 1955 Maurice Saxby was the second Teacher Librarian ever to be appointed to a school in New South Wales. He has inspired teachers and Teacher Librarians for many years and his book “Give them wings” impelled many to offer exciting opportunities for children to experience literature.

He spoke of his own encounter with books and reading as a young boy and told us of the influence of the special teachers he had as a child – who inspired in him a love of literature simply by reciting a poem or leading a discussion.  Teachers, parents and even ‘Nannas’ still do this today but we now have at our fingertips so many rich resources to extend these experiences even further.

Maurice told us why reading literature is important: “Apart from what we see about human beings when we read and what we find out about life, we’re attuned to story and to the shape of story and to the way words work.”

The night of the awards I went to stay at the home of my son where I regularly read books to my two granddaughters and we make up and enact imaginary stories. With renewed energy to instill a love of literature and reading into the lives of these two little girls, aged two and four, I seized hold of opportunity and here is what enfolded the next morning.

As usually happens, the four year old commandeered my iPad to open a folder full of books and activities selected for her. The younger two year old went for my iPhone where she too knows how to open relevant folders and spends a lot of time looking at family photos and videos of herself in particular! This photo was not “set up”!

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Four had, on a previous occasion, asked me to get the “Playschool App” as she had seen it advertised on Playschool and it had cool puzzles in it! I had done so and she now was looking at a previous episode of Playschool she had found on the app – streamed live from the ABC website. She was watching the reenactment of “The Hare and the Tortoise” and we discussed the meaning of the fable and the saying  “Slow and steady wins the race”.

 

 

I was a little dismayed to find there was no print copy of the story in this home to read to the girls – Nanna will have to rectify that!

 

 

Later I took the girls outside to play.

“Lets play races”, said Miss Four…

”I’ll be the tortoise and you can be the hare,” she said to her little sister.

“Well, we’ll need a washing basket and some ears,” I said.  So she ran off and came back with some ears out of the dress-up box – left there from Easter bunnies last year. The washing basket was emptied and straps were attached to it by her mother.

With very little help from Nanna the story was enacted – again and again! The little hare asleep on the mound of the basketball stand was just beautiful… then she awoke just in time to see the Tortoise win the race!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later in the day when the technology was again “picked up” Miss Four asked if there was a book app for the Hare and the Tortoise. I found a traditional version with original pictures as well as a more modern version. Both offered read-a-loud support and some interactivity. A couple of dollars later we read both versions together and Miss Four mastered all the activities – while Miss Two once  again watched herself in family videos on my phone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An exhausted Nanna was sure by the end of the day that both girls had encountered literature in many engaging ways – a day we will all remember! Thank you Maurice!

 

 

 

 

Library Lovers Day @ Broughton: Speed Dating with a difference

After discussion with the English teachers, it was decided that Year 9 would take part in our literacy event for Library Lovers Day and the launch of the National Year of Reading – Speed Dating some carefully selected books!

Fiction, Non fiction, graphic novels, biography and even poetry books were gathered and set on the tables. Students read a book for 5 minutes before rating it and moving to another table and repeating the exercise.

Students enjoyed eating a chocolate heart during their first ‘read’ and many rated their ‘dates’ with the top option on the rating sheet: “I have had a wonderful time! Could we please meet again very soon”. There were also some honest students who opted for the rating “That seemed like a very long five minutes. You’re just not my type!”

This was a very successful and interesting way to expose students to genres and books they would never have found on the shelves or tried to read. Hopefully some “lonely” books will soon be borrowed!