The issues of the teacher librarians and para-professionals in California School Libraries. Please share your concerns, feedback and questions.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

PD:  Summer Conferences

By Rosan Cable, VP Communications

Summer is soon approaching and school may be over for you or soon will be.  Just as teachers are continually thinking about lessons and how to better help students learn, Teacher Librarians and Paraprofessionals do the same.  Whether it be by reading new books, learning about new tech gadgets or apps, or by attending professional development seminars; when summer comes, the opportunities to keep learning abound.  ALA and ISTE are two great choices to attend to help you learn and grow in the library and tech fields. 
There is still time to register for either ISTE or ALA. If the costs seem prohibitive, ask administrators for funding out of this or next year's budget, find other people to room with via Twitter, Facebook, or your own network of friends, and  registering early helps defray costs as well as being a member of the associations.
If these conferences are of interest to you but you cannot attend this year, you can apply for first-timer grants; however, this must be done ahead of time, usually starting in the fall.  Funding help ideas for ISTE seem to change annually while ALA’s grants remain consistent.  There are many to choose from at the ALA Grant page.  Start planning NOW for next year’s conference.  Meanwhile, listen to the Twitter chatter, Facebook posts, and Snapchat stories.  Even not being there, you can learn a great deal from those who share ideas on social media.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Count On Teacher Librarians To Support New Math Standards

By Dr. Lesley Farmer, CSI Committee Chair

Mathematics might not be the first subject that comes to mind when thinking about ways that Teacher Librarians (TLs) and other library staff can support Common Core State Standards (CCSS). However, many of the new math standards are mirrored in the California Model School Library Standards and ICT (information and communication technology) literacy. CSLA’s Curriculum and Standards Integration Committee’s May webinar explained these issues (the recorded webinar will be available on the CSLA website at some point). Here are some of the issues covered online.

       As you know the library standards state that students should be able to access, evaluate and use information, ans well as integrate information literacy skills into all areas of learning. Numeracy is part of information literacy so libraries do need to offer a range of materials in different formats that can inform students about math: from math-oriented picture books (e.g., concept books, visuals,biographies, embedded math in stories) to online math tutorials (e.g., www.math.com, www.khanacademy.org, www.mathplanet.com). Titles can vary from Jon Scieszka’s Math Curse to Danica McKellar’s Math Doesn’t Suck, and Edwin Abbott’s Flatland. Recreational math books can pique  student interest in math, such as The Mathematics of Oz, Golden Meaning, The Grapes of Math. But, wait, there’s more. Librarians can also provide links to repositories of resources that include math (e.g., http://www.merlot.org , http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Content_Directories, https://nsdl.oercommons.org/).
                The new math standards differ from proscriptive specific objectives such as “Solve quadratic equations” in that they focus on mathematical reasoning more than rote skills. When teachers ask a student to express as a function, they also want students to explain their problem-solving process and thinking. Let’s take a look at each math practice, and how they align with ICT literacy and library standards.
  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Extracting meaning is a core information literacy skills, and perseverence is critical for inquiry.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively. Research skills involve inferential thinking. Being able to represent information numerically is an important literacy skill as well.
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Critical thinking and comparing conflicting information are key skills for both research processing and communication. Critiquing can lead to the deepr concept of peer review.
  4. Model with mathematics. As with #2, understanding and being able to represent information in different ways helps extract key features.
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically. Matching the resource to the task, and using that tool effectively, are core literacy practices.
  6. Attend to precision. Anyone who knows what happens if cataloging or shelving is incorrect appreciates this practice.
  7. Look for and make use of structure. Information structure, such as the DDC and databases, are central functions of information organizatoin and retrieval.
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. Building on prior knowledge, such as citation styles and searching strategies, accelerates learning.
Furthermore, math includes several aspects of reading literacy:
       Focusing on discipline-specific vocabulary
       Noting unique text structures found in informational text
       Developing informational and technical writing skills
       Focusing on critical analysis and evidence.
Here are some of the associated specific math standard indicators:
       Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grade-level texts and topics. (6-12.RST.4)
       Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of math and other technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions. (6-8.ST.1)
       Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words. (9-10.ST.7)
       Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content (6-12.WHST.1)
       Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of math/technical processes (6-12.WHST.2)
       Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed. (6-8.WHST.5)
Digital literacy is also found in the math standards, as follows:
       Practice reading screen-based texts
       Practice in digital writing (including math symbols)
       Practice in collaborative writing
       Practice in working with informational texts (e.g., links)
       Practice in using math-based simulations.
So how do TLs get started in collaborating with math teachers? The most obvious first step is to jointly look at the math standards and the state math framework  and align them with the model school library standards. Together identify the prerequisite information and digital literacy skills needed for students to be successful mathematically. Librarians should give a tour of the library’s resources that support math (don’t forget math-related materials such as almanacs and spreadsheet applications); library collections, especially in primary grades, should also include math manipulatives. Together, TLs and math techers can develop information-rich learning activities that meld math and ICT literacy.  Here are some math-related learning activity idea starters:
       Compare numerical systems around the world
       Locate newspaper stories that involve math
       Research how sports uses math
       Research the impact of technology on math – and impact of math on technology
       Locate and conduct statistics on data sets
       Capture photos of geometry in nature
       Create a math-based infographic
       Create a graphic novel about a math concept
       Use drawing software to make tessellations
       Explore math-related careers.

More Resources:

In sum, TLs  + math teachers = student success!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Digital Learning Day! February 17

February 17, 2016 is Digital Learning Day!

It's a day to share what’s happening in your library as you integrate some of the latest tech tools to engage learners and design effective instruction.

The Alliance for Excellent Education's Digital Learning Day started in 2012 and has become another venue for highlighting what’s happening with learners in our school libraries. It’s become a nationwide celebration to share best practices that benefit today’s learners.

How can you participate? Visit the DLD website to register and add your celebration to the map! Resources are available to learn more about past plans that have been archived. Interactive lesson plans are also highlighted on their site. Watch Digital Learning Day Live webcast this year that includes notables participating on panel discussions about technology.

Tweet your news using the hashtag #4csla and #DLDay as we share the community of California school libraries and learners where everyday teaching and learning helps prepare our students for the challenges of the 21st century. If you share your favorite collection of digital classroom tools and resources by Feb. 12 and you could win an Apple Watch!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

President Signs New Education Reauthorization Bill

Jeff Frost, CSLA Legislative Advocate

On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed into law a new education reauthorization bill that had been worked on for several weeks by Congressional representatives.  The new law, called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), makes a number of important changes on how education policy will be handled and allows states, not the federal Department of Education, set standards for educational success. This act had not been updated since the NCLB was agreed to in the first term of George Bush’s presidency.  Additionally, this bill makes strides toward including school libraries as an educational priority.

One of the biggest changes to the new Act is the inclusion of specific library references.  School librarians and school libraries are now considered true educational partners.  AASL President Leslie Preddy said, “For school-age students, ESSA represents an historic new chapter in federal support of education, one that will ensure effective school library programs are there to help them learn how to use new technology tools, develop critical thinking, and the reading and research skills essential to achievement in science, math and all other ‘STEM’ fields.”

The new ESSA Act authorizes the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program that allows the education secretary to “award grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements, on a competitive basis” to promote literacy programs in low-income areas, including “developing and enhancing effective school library programs.”  Those funds can go toward library resources and providing professional development for school librarians. States and districts can also use Title II funds for “supporting the instructional services provided by effective school library programs.” And the bill encourages local education agencies to assist schools in developing effective school library programs, in part to help students gain digital skills.

The new ESSA statute includes several references to school libraries and teacher librarians.  A summary of those changes is outlined below:

Title I – Improving Basic Programs Operated by State and Local Educational Agencies – Under Title I of ESEA, local educational agencies (LEAs) must develop plans to implement federal education activities.

* The ESSA includes new provisions that authorize local plans to include a description of how the LEA will assist schools in developing effective school library programs to provide students an opportunity to develop digital literacy skills and improve academic achievement.

Title II, Part A – Supporting Effective Instruction – Under current law, Title II, Part A provides funds for States and school districts to increase academic achievement by improving teacher and principal quality (primarily through professional development).

* The Conference Agreement includes new provisions that authorize States to use funds to support the instructional services provided by effective school library programs.

* The Conference Agreement includes new provisions that authorize LEAs to use funds to support the instructional services provided by effective school library programs.

Title II, Part B, Subpart 2 – Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) – Includes a new literacy program to help improve student academic achievement in reading and writing by providing federal support to States to develop, revise, or update comprehensive literacy instruction plans.

* The ESSA requires local grants that focus on children in kindergarten through grade 5 to provide high-quality professional development opportunities for teachers, literacy coaches, literacy specialists, English as a second language specialists (as appropriate), principals, other school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, school librarians, paraprofessionals, and other program staff.

* The ESSA requires local grants that focus on children in grades 6 through 12 to provide training for principals, specialized instruction support personnel, school librarians, and other school district personnel to support, develop, administer, and evaluate high-quality comprehensive literacy instruction initiatives.

* The ESSA authorizes all local grants (that serve children in kindergarten through grade 5 or children in grades 6 through 12) to provide time for teachers (and other literacy staff, as appropriate, such as school librarians or specialized instructional support personnel) to meet to plan comprehensive literacy instruction.

Title II, Part B, Subpart 2, Section 2226 – Innovative Approaches to Literacy – Includes a new authorization of the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program (previously funded through appropriations legislation) that provides dedicated funding to promote literacy programs in low income communities.

* The ESSA authorizes funds to be used for developing and enhancing effective school library programs, which may include providing professional development for school librarians, books, and up-to-date materials to high need schools.

Title II, Part B, Subpart 2, Section 2232 – Presidential and Congressional Academies for American History and Civics – Includes a new American History and Civics Education program to improve the quality of American history education and teaching.

* The ESSA defines an eligible entity as an institution of higher education or nonprofit educational organization, museum, library, or research center with demonstrated expertise in historical methodology or the teaching of American history and civics.

Title IV, Part A – Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants – Authorizes a new Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program to help States and school districts target federal resources on local priorities.

* The ESSA authorizes States to use funds to assist LEAs with identifying and addressing technology readiness needs, including Internet connectivity and access to school libraries.

* The ESSA authorizes States to use funds to assist LEAs in providing teachers, paraprofessionals, school librarians and media personnel, specialized instructional support personnel, and administrators with the knowledge and skills to use technology effectively, including effective integration of technology, to improve instruction and student achievement.

Title IV, Part B – 21st Century Community Learning Centers – This program supports community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children.

* The ESSA authorizes grants to be used to support expanded library service hours (consistent with current law).

Title VIII – General Provisions – Contains definitions that apply to all activities under ESEA.

* The ESSA updates the definition of “specialized instructional support personnel” to include “school librarians.”

ESSA in a Broader View - On a broader scale, the new ESSA is a significant departure from its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act.  NCLB was driven by federally established metrics that, under the Average Yearly Progress (AYP), resulted in nearly every school being forced into Program Improvement status (PI).  In the new ESSA Program Improvement is eliminated.  It is replaced with state's identifying the bottom 5% of Title I schools and developing intervention and restructuring strategies to improve student outcomes.  The question is how districts and the state will make this calculation. Currently the State Board of Education is working on a new accountability system that is intended to drive LCFF decision making and determine the effectiveness of LCAP decisions on student outcomes and other critical metrics like drop out rates and high school graduation.  The SBE will have to determine whether it can make these “lowest 5%” calculations without  having to maintain some form of the current Academic Performance Index (API) which ahs been on hold as the SBE considers a new accountability system based on the Common Core State Standards and the new digitally-based SBAC examinations.  If we are able to do that without maintaining some form of the API these changes to federal law should be a welcome improvement.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Video Contest for CSLA Members

CSLA is excited to announce a new members-only video contest. Members are invited to submit an instructional video that addresses competencies within the California Model School Library Standards. Finalists from the contest will be asked to present their videos, and share how they created their work at the CSLA State Conference in San Diego on Feb 6, 2016 during a session from 7:30-9:15 a.m. Presenters will receive a coupon code for full conference registration or conference registration reimbursement. A reimbursement form will be sent to finalists who have already registered for conference. We hope that you will join us in creating a video for your school community and our contest. Good luck and enjoy the process!

A video might explain how to:
  • develop a search strategy,
  • locate a magazine article from a database,
  • evaluate websites,
  • use the library online catalog,
  • create formulas on a spreadsheet,
  • make animated flashcards,
  • produce a podcast,
  • practice netiquette,
  • develop a design process,
  • or another competency.
We also invite you to consider a video that incorporates the theme of school libraries as Doorways to Diversity, but you don't need to be limited to the conference theme.

All submissions should be sent to https://dropitto.me/videocontest
password: cslavc
Rules and Guidelines
  • Content must be accurate, current, informative and useful.
  • The video must support the implementation of CA Model School Library Standards.
  • The video must be aligned with, and support, school librarianship and CSLA goals in the broadest sense.
  • Content must be original.
  • The submission must be technically sound, easy to access, and engaging.
  • Videos may include screencasts, animations, “Ken Burns” effect, as well as movie-type genre, or similar types of videos.
  • The video must be web-based, have a URL, and be publicly accessed.
  • Video URL must be made available to be posted in the CSLA website.
  • Audience for the video must be specified (teachers, students, other TLs).
  • Video length should be 2-4 minutes.
  • Videos must be made by CSLA members.
  • Each member can submit only one video.
  • In the video, please include your name, job title, and school.
  • Finalists will present how they made their videos in a concurrent session at the Annual CSLA Conference February 4-7, 2016 in San Diego.
The videos will be reviewed by CSLA Committee on Standards Integration (CSI) and the State Board.

All video submissions will also be reviewed for possible Seal of Alignment recognition.
Deadline: Midnight, December 31, 2015
Finalists will be announced on January 10, 2016.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Teacher Librarian Day is OCTOBER 19, 7am-8pm. 

The Library Online conference is celebrating the fifth anniversary! Huge thanks and a shout-out to founding partner The School of Information at San José State University<http://ischool.sjsu.edu/> and its director (and conference co-chair), Dr. Sandra Hirsh <http://ischoolapps.sjsu.edu/facultypages/view.php?fac=hirshs>, for the vision and support that has made this unique event a reality. 

With their help the conference community has grown to over 21,000 members, and teacher librarians are encouraged to learn more, make connections, and get future announcements by joining Library 2.0<http://www.library20.com/>. 

For the pre-conference event this year, the conference organizers are excited to announce Teacher Librarian Day <http://www.teacherlibrarian.org/page/teacher-librarian-day> on Monday, October 19th, a five-hour special (and also free) series of online sessions around the topic of "Teacher Librarians and School Culture" - organized by Joyce Valenza<http://about.me/jvalenza>, with lots of special guests<http://www.teacherlibrarian.org/page/teacher-librarian-day>, and supported by CiSSL, the Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries at Rutgers<http://cissl.rutgers.edu/>. The conference has inherited the Global Teacher Librarian Ning network, with over 7,000 members--learn more and connect with others at http://www.teacherlibrarian.org<http://www.teacherlibrarian.org/>.