Monday, November 25, 2013

Meet Alyssa Calhoun

IASL member Alyssa Calhoun serves as the K-12 Media Specialist for Central City Schools. As a 1:1 school (iPads K-4 and laptops 5-12) much of her five years in the district has been devoted to refining the library curriculum to include more technology.  When library classes (PK-6) meet now there is always meaningful use of all things tech. Alyssa also teaches two robotics classes for junior high and high school students.

Google Docs Research Tool
“We integrate technology into almost every lesson, whether it is for research or using the Destiny library catalog. We also use Educreations on the iPads to talk about characters, make predictions, and create alternate endings to stories. Currently, the 5th & 6th graders are using the research function in Google Docs to learn about how other cultures celebrate winter holidays. The 1st-4th graders are learning about the functionality of the Destiny catalog and some of the advanced features of adding books to their personal bookshelf and rating books."

Alyssa carries three goals to school each day “for students to love reading, for students to have a passion for learning, and for them to believe that they are capable of reading and learning.”   When her high school students joke about the easy job of a librarian they can’t contain their laughter for long - they know she is so much more than that kind of librarian. “I am rarely the person who does the actual checking out or in because I'm always teaching!” Alyssa went on to say,  “I try to defy the typical librarian stereotype and I tell kids that they don't have to fit into one specific group either. It's okay to enjoy and participate in sports, music, art, book clubs, robotics and anything else they want.”  Alyssa enacts this advise in her varied roles of athletic coach, guitar player, robotics coach, and teacher's book club member.  She reminds those joking students that her ubiquitous presence in the life of the school “makes me the coolest librarian they've ever met!”

 To learn more about Alyssa’s library program visit her website:

 profile contributed by Ernie Cox / @erniec

Thursday, November 21, 2013

AASL Concurrent Session: What Does the Research Say?

What Does the Research Say? (F1-R27)

ESLS-juried papers to be presented include: School Libraries as Innovative Spaces: Stimulating Student Creativity and Inventive Thinking; College Research: What Can We Learn from First-Year College Assignments; School Librarians’ Experience with Evidence-Based Library and Information Practices; and Can a First Year School Librarian Be a Technology Leader?
Ruth V. Small, Professor
Jean Donham, Professor
Jennifer Richey, Assistant Professor
Maria Cahill, Assistant Professor
Marcia A. Mardis, Associate Professor
Nancy Everhart, Associate Professor
Strand: Research
Target Audience:
School Librarians; Administrators; Classroom Teachers; Library Supervisors; Higher Education; Curriculum Specialists; Students; Technology Coordinator; Public Librarians working with Children and Young Adults
Grade Level(s):
K–3; 4–6; Middle/Junior; High

Notes from Current Research Presentations

Ruth Small
School libraries as innovation spaces.
Self determination theory of dece or deci
Use intrinsic motivation inventory.
Research question 2 what are students information needs during the innovation?
Most helpful... Web, youtube, etc
Least ... Databases, books, School library...
People most helpful... Parents, teacher
Least...  School librarian ... only 5 percent
Question about how school librarians could help
Students said...Help identify best quality sources...
Conclusion ... We Could have space in library devoted to fostering creativity and critical thinking... Innovation spaces, or makerspaces

Jean Donham’s
First year college assignments
Themes of assumption in college,first year assignments.
Assume students can pick out what is interesting and exciting for them
Assume students can figure out on their own about how many sources they need for the paper assigned.
Assumed students were able to determine authoritative sources.
No mention of technology. Were all traditional assignments ...writing a paper.
Implications from high school assignments
Arriving at own line of inquiry
Supporting argument with evidence
Self reliance
-Karla Krueger

Thank you to all who participated and provided us with information! We are grateful for your insights! And be sure to check out Shannon McClintock Miller's blog Van Meter Library Voice for any potential upcoming posts about the conference. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

AASL Keynote Address...Innovative Approaches Are Key

What does innovation look like?

Tony Wagner at AASL Hartford, CT

Tony Wagner, author of Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World gave the keynote presentation.  A few highlights:

Three challenges in education today:
  • Democratization of information means that anyone has access, so teachers and librarians and adults no longer hold the “keys.” What, then, is a teacher? What is a school? What is a library?
  • The nature of jobs is changing and so our graduates need to be able to create opportunities for themselves.
  • Unlike school, learning from the Internet allows student to be the architects of their own learning

What skills will our graduates need to prepare them for college/career/citizenship?
  • Critical thinking and problem solving as evidenced by their ability to ask good questions
  • Collaborative skills and the ability to lead through influence
  • Agility and adaptability to accommodate change
  • Initiative and entrepreneurship
  • Effective oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to access and analyze information
  • Curiosity and imagination
Instead of manufacturing things, they need to be able to manufacture ideas.

Five stark contrasts:
  1. Schools reward individual achievement BUT the future calls for teamwork
  2. Schools compartmentalize knowledge BUT innovation happens at the margins and intersections of disciplines
  3. Schools are passive environments BUT the future calls for creating, not consuming, ideas
  4. Schools reward extrinsically BUT the motivator is making a difference
  5. Failure in schools is typically considered bad, but it is from failure that many innovations occur.

Additionally, while schools focus on grades and test scores to determine achievement, other more authentic evidence is important—and is increasingly valued and used by employers in hiring.

One idea for changing school culture:  Every school needs a research and development budget to stimulate and support creativity of educators.

-Jean Donham
-Denise Rehmke

Play, passion, purpose: Tony Wagner at TEDxNYED

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

AASL Preconference...A Sampling Of Workshops

Mission: "Promises to help school library professionals rise to the challenges of their careers" (ALA News).

Here is the link for all the Preconference Workshops

From our on the scene reporters...

Instructional Partnerships that Deliver Success: Meeting the Leadership Challenge Judi Moreillon, facilitator.

Job-embedded professional development.  One benefit that can happen from the collaboration of teachers and TLs, is that individual, face to face PD can occur.  If "elevating the instructional practice of teachers" is an goal, when two professionals are working together, this can happen!  When asked who we (teacher librarians) primarily serve, students or teachers, most say "students."  However if we consider our role in serving teachers, ie. collaborating with them, planning instruction with them, suggesting and teaching new tools, resources, strategies, the effect, power, and impact, could be greater.  (See Ken Haycock study).
-Denise Rehmke

-Deanna Weber

Preconference ESLS Educators of School Librarians Research Symposium 

Focused on an analysis of all states DE teacher evaluation tools and what they mean for TLs. Heard about Tennessee and how Race to the Top influenced teacher evaluation there, which includes school Librarians and also has 50 percent of evaluation based in student achievement scores. Areas of assessment for teachers and for TLs -- planning, environment, and instruction. Very structured defined emphasis on specific components of instruction also required for observation.

In Virginia, have 7 professional teaching standards.  One is student achievement. A survey asked TL s how they were going to meet that, if through setting goals for student achievement or if they were going to set program goals such as about how much instruction was done. Some TL s used student academic achievement goals tied to state standards i.e. selecting student standards from core.

Discussion sought researchable questions and methodologies. Ideas proposed were to learn state by state about how the CCSS is changing our information literacy curriculum as we share more objectives with literacy teachers? And how might we become prepared for requirements for evaluation if based on students assessment.
-Karla Krueger

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bringing the AASL National Conference in Hartford, CT home to Iowa

This post is the first in a series of ongoing reports linking us to the happenings in Hartford. To help get us started check out the links below to gain access to multiple perspectives associated with the conference.

Upcoming posts will feature reports from...
  • Shannon McClintock Miller
  • Karla Krueger
  • Denise Rehmke
  • Jean Donham
  • Deanna Weber

There are a variety of social networking/ Web 2.0 options connecting us to conference information...take your pick.
AASL Conference Website
Unable to attend? Bookmark this page then return to read the digital versions. Links will also be distributed via AASL's social media channels.
Pinterest: AASL 16th National Conference and Exhibition
Twitter hashtags (Shannon McClintock Miller)
  • #AASL13
  • unconference on Friday night we will be using #AASLuncon
  • #tlchat
  • #iowatl

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Teacher Librarian is...

We have self-described our profession in many ways! Thanks to all Iowa TLs who participated in the 1 question survey! 

Trouble seeing the Tagxedo on this blog?  Find the JPEG on our Facebook page!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

#IAedcchat - Teacher Librarians & Libraries in the Digital Age

Each Sunday night on Twitter at 8 pm CST, an #IAedchat moderator guides a question/answer session that starts at 8pm and lasts an hour. The topic is decided in advance and shared via the #IAedchat hashtag prior to the weekend discussion. It's a fast moving, energetic exchange and you never know who is going to participate or what they are going to say. This effort was started by Jimmy Casas, Principal at Bettendorf High School, Matt Degner, Principal at Iowa City's South East Junior High, and Aaron Becker, Principal at Fairfield High School.

This past Sunday, the topic was the vital role 21st Century Teacher Librarians play in Iowa schools, with moderators Leanne Wagner, Chelsea Sims and Shannon Miller. The chat was attended by TLs, teachers, administrators, even superintendents from all the US - Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, and New Jersey!  

Conversation centered around the following questions:
Q1: What roles do you want a 21st Century TL to assume in your school?
Q2: What would you consider the most important impact of TLs on student learning?
Q3: Where should the Teacher Librarian fit in the leadership structure of a school?
Q4: How can administrators best support a strong library program?
Q5: What do students lose when there isn't a full-time TL at each building?
Q6: What responsibility does the TL have in implementing the Common Core?
Q7: How can collaborative teaching w/ TLs and Ts best be cultivated?

Below is the full transcript, captured using the Storify Twitter tool.

Don't wait until the the next time we are invited to participate! 

When Teacher Librarians join these Sunday evening discussions, it is noticed! And even if you aren't quite ready to participate online, it is extremely valuable to follow these Question/Answer sessions to understand the concerns and issues of our Iowa administrators and teachers.

Cybraryman also has an awesome page of links on how to follow a Twitter chat:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Iowa Association of School Librarians - PopUpPD - Goldfinch Award

Here is the most recent PopUp PD. The professional development committee for IASL is excited to offer you a resource for promoting the Goldfinch Award nominees to your students and staff! Thank you to Amy Gardner, Sandi Ellis and Sarah Staudt!

Thank you to Kathy Kaldenberg for the information to create this post! 

Watch our Google Hangout on Air recording here:

Collaborative Slideshow Google Doc: New ideas welcome! 

 On tap for session #3...ITA and IHSBA award programs

Do you have any ides for PopUp PD? Please share and follow this link!

If you want to coordinate a hangout, let me know. It is a great adventure!

Contact Kathy Kaldenberg @

Friday, November 8, 2013

IASL represents - at the Iowa Library Association annual conference

A small, but energized contingent of IASL members attended the ILA annual conference in Coralville in mid-October. The conference program had several programs sponsored by IASL. Our members have generously shared their presentations.   

Jean Donham

Kathy Kaldenberg

Sam Garchik

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

AASL Launches National Surveys on Branding of School Librarianship

Please share the links below widely to get as large a sample size for this survey as possible!

CHICAGO – In order to provide a refreshing and inspiring image of school librarians and school library programs, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has launched two national surveys to examine the brands of the profession. The surveys will determine what the brands “school librarian,” “L4L” and “@your library” mean to current and future school library professionals and educational stakeholders.  
School librarians are not only encouraged to complete the profession-focused survey, but to ask members of their educational communities to take the stakeholder survey as well. The comparison between the data collected from each survey will help AASL determine how it can best address gaps and meet the needs of both groups.
School Librarians survey

Stakeholders survey
The survey will be open through Dec. 2, 2013. To reach a wide audience and collect a representative sample, AASL will also reach out to several national educational organizations and request their help in disseminating the stakeholder survey to their memberships.