Assignment Reflection

Traditional vs. LC

Courtesy of sjl11687

The process of creating my Vision of the Future was challenging at best!  I struggled for days to find an area that would expand my learning and connect with the concepts learned throughout the course.  However, I am proud of the end result and am excited about sharing my presentation with others at my school.

As I step into a new role as Teacher Librarian in the fall, I am keenly aware of the obstacles that lay before me.  I have inherited a collection of over 18,000 books which are in desperate need of weeding.  Over 800 books have not been checked out in 10 years!  Also, as described in my final project, the physical space needs to be improved and an online presence for the Learning Commons needs to be created.  I have no experience in either of these endeavours, but I am very motivated and enthusiastic to begin this new journey.

Creating the Google Slides document was both exciting and frustrating.  I initially used Google Docs to write the paragraphs and then found myself skipping back and forth to insert images and put slides in a logical order.  I have enjoyed using Prezi in the past and should have probably used it for this assignment due to its less rigid organization.

I have been very fortunate to work for the last 23 years in such an innovative district that has allowed me to explore new ways of teaching, collaborating with my colleagues, and fostering an inquiry mindset with my students.  Now, as a new T-L, I look forward to further my learning and “figuring it out” as I go along!  This course has pushed me to consider new possibilities and I am grateful for the opportunity.

Vision of the Future

When I first started this course, I planned to teach students at my school about Digital Literacy using the resources provided by Media Smarts and Common Sense Media.  However, when I recently secured the T-L position for September at Caulfeild Elementary school, I took a critical look at what was most needed for the students and staff.  In the last few weeks, I have discovered a disconnect between what is happening in classrooms and what is occurring in the Library Learning Commons (LLC).  My Vision of the Future will combine the positive elements that are already occurring in the school with new physical and virtual learning environments to engage and encourage greater participation by both students and teachers.

After speaking with the former T-L who was in the position for six months and the Library Assistant, I found out that the LLC was used in a traditional manner that resembled aspects of libraries of the past.  The T-L provided Prep. time to teachers in 11 of the 13 divisions over the course of two days.


From School Library to Library Learning Commons (p. 6)

Although the space had been renovated several years ago, the built-in furniture and shelving does not move.  Despite the restrictions, the space is well-utilized for school events because it is so large.

In addition, through observations and discussion with teacher colleagues, I discovered that very few students and teachers were accessing the online databases provided by the School District or using the school catalogue to find books.  There currently exists a Learning Commons page on the school website, but it is simply a list of links for online resources.  There is no space for adding videos or student creations.

As a result of my investigations, I have decided what is needed most in the Caulfeild LLC is a re-design of the space and the creation of a Virtual Learning Commons website.  This initiative will really stretch my professional learning as I have never created a website before.  However, I plan to enlist support from my colleagues and apply for a District Innovation Grant in September to secure funding for release time to create the Google Sites website.

For my final assignment, I decided to create a Google Slides presentation that can be easily shared with administrators, parents, teachers, and students to elicit feedback on my ideas.  For the purposes of this assignment, I have added all the words within the slides.  However, for the actual presentation, I will only include a few points per slide (5 maximum) with graphics and will include my ideas in the Speaker Notes section so that I can talk directly to the audience.


Brooks Kirkland, A. (2011, November 6). Imagine your library [Video file]. Retrieved from

Brooks Kirkland, A. (2012). School Library Websites: The Bricks and Mortar of the Virtual Library Space. Retrieved from

Canadian Library Association. (2014). Leading Learning: Standards of Practice for School Library Learning Commons in Canada. Ottawa: ON, Canada: Canadian Library Association’s Voices For School Libraries Network and CLA School Libraries Advisory.

Ekdahl, M. & Zubke, S. Eds. (2014). From School Library to Library Learning Commons: A Pro-Active Model for Educational Change. Vancouver School District #39 and the BCTLA.

Follet School Solutions. (2017). Flipping a Library to Genre Organization. Retrieved from

King, A. (2016, January 26). Cultivating participatory cultures in your library learning commons. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Loertscher, D. V., & Koechlin, C. (2012). The virtual learning commons and school improvement. Teacher Librarian, 40(1), 20-24,4,63. Retrieved from

Loertscher, D. V., & Woolls, B. (2013). The virtual learning commons: A facility designed for students to experiment with meeting the challenges of everyday life and learning. International Association of School Librarianship. Selected Papers from the Annual Conference, 405-410. Retrieved from

Ontario Library Association. (2014). Together for learning: School libraries and the emergence of the learning commons: creating and transforming physical and virtual learning spaces. Toronto, ON. Retrieved from

Richardson, W. (2012). Why School?: How Education Much Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere ( TED Conferences Publishing. [EBOOK]

Valenza, J. (2010, December 3). A revised manifesto. [Blog Post]. Retrieved from

Virtual Learning Commons. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Virtual Learning Commons Template. (2018). Retrieved from

West Vancouver Schools. (2018). Caulfeild iDEC – Inquiry-based Digitally Enhanced Community. Retrieved from

WGSS Library. (2016). Walnut Grove Secondary School Virtual Library Learning Commons. Retrieved from

Google Slides Presentation



Equitable Access for All

When I considered the question, “Should libraries in economically developing nations rely on donations and weeded books from more economically developed nations?”, I immediately thought of Chimamanda Adichie’s (2009) TED talk where she describes growing up in Nigeria reading stories from Europe or North America about children who eat apples and always talk about the weather.  Her talk made me question the value of sending weeded books from our school libraries to Africa, as was the practice for many years in our district.  Boxes of discarded books were sent to the Afretech Aid Society (2013) without consideration of their appropriateness.  Instead of receiving boxes of old books, shouldn’t children in developing nations have access to current technology?

In researching the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) website, I discovered the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Libraries are in a unique position to be able to have an impact on all of these goals in developing countries around the world.


Creative Commons licensed image courtesy of IFLA – CC BY 4.0

After searching the Library Map of the World link, I found one of the SDG stories that intrigued me.  Coding for Kids in Libraries in Romania was a pilot project set up in 2017 to develop the coding skills of 450 Romanian children.  The project focused on using public libraries to help highschool students learn coding.  The results were impressive: “a significant improvement in kids’ skills, a decrease of time they spend on internet as consumers of entertainment and an increase of time they spend for educational purposes, librarians are more confident in working with youth and, due to better communication, services they offer to kids are more diverse” (Progress Foundation, 2017).  These children were learning valuable skills that would help them get jobs in the future.

Another story that highlights the use of mobile devices is the Lubuto Literacy Partners (LLP) of Zambia that developed curriculum materials that were accessed on mobile devices to teach children to read in one of the 7 major languages.  The youth participants used the low-cost, durable One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) XO laptops that were available in the Lubuto libraries to learn to read in their mother tongue.  This initiative had profound impacts on teaching literacy to vulnerable children and youth (Meyers, 2016).

Both stories highlight how ensuring children from economically developing nations have equitable access to technology benefits their societies in many ways.  Children can learn new ICT skills as well as build stronger ties to their own communities.  Sending our used books to other countries, although a noble intention, does not appear to meet the needs of developing nations; rather technology, accessed through libraries, has a far greater and more meaningful impact on people’s lives.

Adichie, C.N. (2009, July). The danger of a single story [Video file]. Retrieved from

Afretech Aid Society. (2013). Retrieved from

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. (2018). Retrieved from

Meyers, J. K. (June 10, 2016). LubutoLiteracy: Use of Digital Technology to Teach Reading in Zambia. Retrieved from

Progress Foundation. (August 19, 2017). Coding for Kids in Libraries.  Retrieved from

Supporting my Colleagues

At my school, teachers are expected to have expertise in technology as each student regularly uses either their own laptops (required in Grades 4-7) or ipads (used by students in K-3).  Therefore, the Teacher-Librarian is not viewed as the only expert in the building.  Sharing strategies, resources, and technology is built into our culture.

Once a month, our administrators and teaching staff, including ELL and LST teachers, meet for Collaboration Time 2:00 – 3:00 pm before our regular staff meeting (3:00 – 4:30 pm).  During this time, we share new practices, websites, apps, or other technology resources.  Next year, I will use this time to share district-wide database collections and school-based collections and how to locate them on our internal staff website.  My goal is to use Destiny Collections to create “pathfinders” for teachers and students to access from the main Destiny Homepage.  These collections will be public to all West Vancouver users and will focus on resources used in Inquiry Units focused on the Big Ideas in BC’s New Curriculum.

Destiny Collections

Image retrieved from West Vancouver School Libraries Destiny Collections

In order to ensure these resources are suitable and relevant, I will consult with grade group teachers during their Team Collaboration Time.  I will request access to their shared Inquiry Units on Google Docs, so that I can support them in finding resources that meet the needs of their students.

Another way I can support my colleagues is to showcase professional and student resources in the staff room.  When we purchased a large quantity of Indigenous Education books in April, we put them in the staff room before they went into regular circulation in the Library.  Teachers browsed through the books and found titles that gave them ideas for lessons and their Inquiry Units.

Finally, I will continue to use district email and Twitter to connect with my colleagues on new books and professional resources that they may be interested in.  As the school’s Professional Development Rep. and new Teacher-Librarian, I will share teaching strategies, resources, and technologies with my colleagues to support their teaching of students in our school.

Twitter share

Image retrieved from @andreaasmith45 Messages

Follett Corporation. (2018). Collections by Destiny. Retrieved from

Province of British Columbia. (2018). BC’s New Curriculum.  Retrieved from


Supported by Innovation

I am fortunate to work in a district where there is a culture of innovation and a willingness to try new ideas and practices.  Our Superintendent, Chris Kennedy, who writes a weekly blog, Culture of Yes , has been a strong leader in supporting innovative practices.  He has supported teachers to learn, unlearn, and relearn by bringing in guest speakers to our opening days including Yong Zhao, author of World Class Leaders, partnering with others to support the independently organized TEDxWestVancouverED conferences, eliminating letter grades from intermediate report cards, promoting the use of Twitter and blogging by staff and students, ensuring all teachers have a free laptop provided by the district, and instituting BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) for all Grade 4-7 students in the district.  The district has also provided multiple professional development opportunities for e-portfolios (FreshGrade) and Inquiry-based learning (Kath Murdoch), and ensured that schools have the digital resources needed such as Google Apps for Education, Discovery Education, short-throw projectors, and an upgraded internet infrastructure.  Finally, the district has supported teachers’ professional growth by providing Innovation Grants ($1000-$3500) for teams to investigate new ideas and practices. I feel like my teaching has transformed significantly in the last ten years since Chris arrived in our district.

As a result, I would not drop anything from my current practice, but I want to explore two of Richardson’s ideas:

Talk to strangers 

As Richardson (2012) notes, “it’s now easier than ever to communicate, create, and collaborate with others from around the globe who share our passion to learn.”  Although my school has a focus on technology, I feel that students need to connect more with others around the world and learn from them.  I know of teachers who have connected with classrooms through Twitter and my goal next year is to connect with an Australian school that is also using the same Inquiry Model at Caulfeild. I want the students to share their Big Ideas and Essential Questions and get different perspectives to expand their learning.

Do real work for real audiences –

Real-life inquiry-based learning is key to student engagement and ownership.  So often, students can not see the purpose of their learning.  By ensuring that their learning is tied to action, students will begin to see how what they are learning is meaningful and has an impact.  Richardson suggests that “real work for real audiences” may be hard to find, but it is worth it.  I found several examples in Ritchie’s (2017) article about Marc Prensky’s (2016) book on Real-World Education.  My goal is to attempt at least one such activity next year with students, using technology as Richardson suggests, and getting students to focus on their audience.  Students should not simply “do work” for their teachers, but instead share their learning with others.

Kennedy, C. (2018). Culture of Yes. Retrieved from

Prensky, M. (2016). Education to Better Their World:Unleashing the Power of 21st-Century Kids. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Richardson, W. (2012). Why School?: How Education Much Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere ( . TED Conferences Publishing. [EBOOK]

Ritchie, N. (March 2017). World Changers: A bold new educational paradigm is emerging that literally has the power to help students change the world. Melbourne’s Child. Retrieved from

Zhao, Y. (2012). World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Developing More Skills

Well, it’s official – I will be the new Teacher-Librarian two days a week at my school in September!  I will also work a half-day each week as the T-L at Eagle Harbour, a K-5 Montessori school.  Having been an elementary classroom teacher for the last 23 years, this will mark a significant change in what I will focus on for my own professional learning.  This change in role has sharpened my focus on what I can do to further develop my ICT skills and pedagogy next year.

1. Learn the Destiny Library Manager software – This action will be my priority this summer.  Since I now have login access to the platform, I will investigate the instructional videos on how to find circulation statistics and how to do an inventory of the collection.  I will use the steps outlined by Follett (2018) to categorize and organize the collection.

2. Connect with other T-Ls – I have been attending the monthly school district T-L meetings since February and will continue to stay connected with my colleagues via email, Twitter, and Google Docs.  Currently, the T-Ls are working on a shared Google Doc listing online and print resources related to the Big Ideas in Social Studies Curriculum from K to 7.  Also, I will continue to follow the numerous individuals and organizations on Twitter that continue to influence my learning over the past three years.


Image from @andreaasmith45

3. Document the changes to the Library Learning Commons space – I have spoken to administration, the former and new PAC chairs, the Library Assistant, and teacher colleagues about my ideas for the LC space in September.  I plan to update the space and organize the collection by genre.  In order to keep track of the transformation, I will post photos and videos of the changes on this Blog.

4. Attend the BCTLA Conference “Challenge Accepted” on October 19, 2018 – This will be my first conference in the role of T-L and I’m so excited to attend!  I really enjoy professional development and I am keen to learn more.  I joined the BCTLA PSA last year so I hope to make better use of this resource in my learning.


Image from @bctla

Follett Corporation. (2018). Genre Services and Best Practices. Retrieved from



A Reading Culture

The promotion of reading continues to be as important as ever in schools today.  Fortunately, access to excellent print and online resources has been expanded through the use of technology.  Digital resources such as apps, websites, and databases are engaging for students and can be utilized with iPads, laptops, and desktops.  Despite this increase in technology, getting real books into the hands of children should be the single most important mission of any library.

blueskunkblogImage from @jillsiefken

At my school, teachers use a variety of resources for reading instruction and promotion.  At the Primary (K-3) level, teachers use the Oxford Reading Tree series of levelled readers.  The RAZ Kids and Epic Books apps are also used with the school ipads.  To improve reading comprehension, teachers are using Adrienne Gear’s Reading Power with their students.  The school library collection is currently being expanded to include more picture books related to the Powers: Connect, Question, Visualize, Infer, and Transform.  PM Benchmarks is used to assess reading levels of all students.  Finally, in order to engage more students with reading, the primary teachers organized a “Book Competition” set up as a NCAA March Madness style Tournament Bracket where sets of books competed.  The students voted on the best book in each pair and books “advanced” to each round. This event was hugely successful in that the students heard or read all of the books and had opinions on the best books.

At the Intermediate (4-7) level, teachers use many novels and picture books to engage students in topics related to our Units of Inquiry.  Novels are used in Literature Circles, as read-alouds, and in full novel studies. To improve and assess nonfiction reading comprehension, teachers use online resources such as Currents4Kids and Newsela.  Both websites have engaging and informative articles on a wealth of topics.  In the near future, more books will need to be purchased to align more closely with the Big Ideas in our revised BC curriculum.

Even though the teachers at my school use many superb print and online resources in their classrooms, my hope, as the future Teacher-Librarian, is to increase the circulation of books in our library.  To do this, I hope to organize the space to feature fronts of books in displays, to upgrade signage, to update the collection, and to categorize both fiction and nonfiction books by genre. By improving the library space and collection and continuing to promote a reading culture in our school, books will have an even greater chance of getting in the hands of our students.

Siefken, J. [Jill Siefken]. (2018, May 22). [Good time of year to share this reminder from @BlueSkunkBlog #plaea #edchat]. Retrieved from

Reading Review B


Creative Commons Image from Pixabay

For the last three years, the Caulfeild staff have been working with Lee Watanabe Crockett, president of the Global Digital Citizen Foundation, to use the Solution Fluency inquiry model in our school.  Through regular meetings, professional development activities, and small group sessions, Lee has supported our staff to build our capacity as inquiry teachers.  After reading his recent book, Growing Global Digital Citizens: Better Practices That Build Better Learners (2018), I have focused my attention on this important and increasingly relevant area of study.  As a future Teacher-Librarian, I hope to support my colleagues by teaching students information literacy and digital citizenship.  The following resources have helped me to better understand these topics of interest:

  1. Crockett, L. W. (February 25, 2016). Global Digital Citizenship—in 15 Minutes! [Blog post]. Retrieved from

This post is a great overview of global digital citizenship and has many excellent links to daily lessons on Personal Responsibility, Global Citizenship, Digital Citizenship, Altruistic Service, and Environmental Stewardship.  The Foundation has created a Code of Honour which could easily be used or adapted for students of all ages.

  1. Searson, M., Hancock, M., Soheil, N. et al. (December 2015). Digital citizenship within global contexts. Education and Information Technologies. 20(4), 729–741. Retrieved from

This article describes the iKeepSafe model – BEaPRO – that features the core competencies and skills required for digital citizenship.  Also, the article suggests the importance of ensuring all stakeholders are involved in the education and promotion of digital literacy.

  1. Crockett, L. W. (March/April 2018). Librarians lead the growth: of information literacy and global digital citizens. Knowledge Quest, 46(4), 28–33. Retrieved from

This article is an urgent call for librarians to teach global digital citizenship to students.  Crockett presents the Information Fluency Model, also known as the 5As: Ask, Acquire, Analyze, Apply, and Assess.  He also lists Five Steps to Effective Questions and offers a definition of global digital citizenship.

  1. Maughan, S. (Aug 18, 2017). School Librarians Are Teaching Digital CitizenshipRetrieved from

This article features three educators and their experiences with digital citizenship.  Topics explored include fake news, cyberbullying, and the increasing use of social media.  Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship are included with links to additional resources.

  1. Province of British Columbia. (2018). Digital Literacy Framework. Retrieved from

The Framework describes the six characteristics that 21st century learners require:
1) Research and Information Literacy, 2) Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making, 3) Creativity and Innovation, 4) Digital Citizenship, 5) Communication and Collaboration, and 6) Technology Operations and Concepts.  Examples of each characteristic are explained in detail for each grade range.


Crockett, L. W., & Churches, A. (2018). Growing Global Digital Citizens: Better Practices That Build Better Learners. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Reading Review A

Caulfeild wordle

Wordle by A. Smith

In the spring of 2016, I made a conscious decision to apply for a teaching position at a school in our district that was focused on inquiry and technology.  The moment was both exhilarating and frightening at the same time. Although I had been teaching with an inquiry mindset for several years, I considered myself a newbie when it came to technology.  I had piloted BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) with my Gr. 5/6 class, dabbled with Google Classroom, used FreshGrade (e-portfolio) and Edublogs with my students, and yet I still felt I needed to learn more.  Nevertheless, I applied for the job because I wanted to throw myself into the unknown and learn new skills.

The job description detailed the technological expertise required:

  • Proficient with Google Apps for Education, e-portfolios and blogging;
  • Experience utilizing digital tools that span the SAMR model of digital tools.

Also, teachers must be able to:

  • Demonstrate leadership with implementing/embedding the use of digital tools into student learning;
  • Promote digital literacy authentically and purposefully by integrating technology into curricular areas;
  • Demonstrate a willingness to explore ways of developing effective digital citizenship in their students.

In September, I quickly immersed myself in the new school culture at Caulfeild Elementary and found myself learning, along with my Gr. 4/5 class, how to navigate all of the online offerings: Google Classroom and Google apps, IXL, Mathletics, and Khan Academy (Math), Currents4kids and Newsela (Reading Comprehension), Duolingo (French), Typing Club, Scratch (Coding), Discovery Education (Science), Prezi and Google Slides (Presentation), World Book Online (Research), and all the ERAC databases.  These resources replaced textbooks and were more engaging for the students.

However, I discovered that students had little knowledge on how to effectively search for information online.  Almost all students just typed in questions or keywords into the Google bar and then looked at the top 2 or 3 websites.  Clearly they needed to be taught how to find age-appropriate, relevant, and accurate information! This topic continues to be important to me.  As a future teacher-librarian, I feel very strongly that I need to teach students how to use more advanced techniques such as using Google search operators, analyzing websites, and developing critical thinking skills.

As I have now been at the school for nearly two years, my focus is also turning to global digital citizenship.  I want our students to expand their learning outside of our school to collaborate and connect with others.  So many of our Inquiry Units focus on larger issues, such as environmental stewardship or empathy for others.  These topics should be explored on a global level by students so that they understand the diverse issues that affect others around the world.  Through greater understanding, my hope is that our students become change-makers and take action to help solve the problems facing our global community.