Right off the bat, I made friends with Nicole as I tried to navigate the halls of the convention center - she’s a high school librarian in Western AZ and just like that, I found a buddy. Not easy for an introvert like me, but it was so helpful to have a friend to chat with about sessions we didn’t want to miss, dividing and conquering so we get the most from various panels (and signings!), then standing in line together to chat about authors and books. It’s so easy to focus on the content of these conferences, and miss the connections. There were many more librarians from my Twitter PLC I wish I had seen in person at AASL, but I know they were busy learning, as I was throughout the 2 days!
The reason I was most excited about attending AASL was 1) Jason Reynolds. Oh, I mean… the new standards! I’ll get to Jason Reynolds in a bit, but honestly, I knew being in Phoenix to hear from the task force that wrote and prepared to unveil the new national school library standards would help me buy-in and integrate them immediately. At the opening session, I appreciating hearing how the committee looked back on decades of standards and wanted to keep the new ones in the same vein, more as updated and modernized, not all-new ideas. The six “foundations” relate to what we do as librarians, and how we can pass knowledge and skills that are core to our profession on to learners. I’m sure it wasn’t on accident that the foundations are verbs: inquire, include, collaborate, curate, explore, and engage. Then, learners should think, create, share, and grow within that competency. At first, the framework was a bit overwhelming to look at - one large grid with lots of small, bulleted examples of that competency/domain in action! But taking the time to attend breakout sessions that focused on 2 foundations at a time, I was able to see not only how they work individually, but also how the standards blend and rely on one another for deepening knowledge and building skills.
Below are my notes from the breakout sessions and in reviewing the documents in the weeks since AASL17. I’m leaving them bulleted as I think we will all take away our own connections based on our unique circumstances, which is exactly how standards should work.
- Allow for student curiosity
- Asking good questions should lead to more good questions
- Students should be sharing what they learn with an authentic audience - overlaps with Engage foundation
- Questioning and working with experts
- Reflect back to their interests (Explore) and connect to other learning
- Librarians need to work more with teachers on the inquiry process and PBL - learning as well as Design Thinking (Launch by John Spencer*)
- Help students develop a mindset that they’re willing to persist, take risks, fail, innovate
- What connections can we as librarians make with this foundation and our need to fulfill action research in our profession? (ties in Explore & Engage)
- This foundation overlaps with evidence-based reading of literature & informational text (Vertical ELA team goals), as well as implementing a plan of action, taking peer/adult feedback to edit and improve work
- Equity & Empathy are the heart of this foundation
- Inquiry & Exploration must include various perspectives and diverse thinking
- Students should identify with/grow from reading stories and experiences that are both alike and different from their own
- Engage in debate and conversations
- More opportunities for global discussions - let’s use our Global Classroom/GRA / vertical teams to make this happen
- “Learners demonstrate empathy and equity and make informed decisions”
- Learner-led: educators are not the sole distributors of knowledge
- Like Jason Reynolds’ story of the 1st class passenger who was too entitled to look closely at the package, let it “tell him” that there’s a perforated edge to help him “open here” — kids have this too if we slow down, act with humility, and acknowledge that kids can teach US something, especially since we don’t all have the same walk through life
- Our vertical teams need more diverse representation - invite in students, parents, ESL, guidance, etc. to help us be informed in our plan of action (later date) to address our diverse learners
** What is my place in the global learning community? - students, teachers, support staff, admin all need to reflect on this question
- Working together on common goals
- “Learners demonstrate communication strategies needed to participate fully in a learning community”
- Overlapping skills with Include as learners are exposed to diverse ideas as the collaborate; focus on community and not the individual
- Solving problems that affect a wider audience; seeing new perspectives
- Focus is on solutions & establishing connections
- Reflection is necessary - learners should consider their problems & perspectives while also seeking & using feedback from others
- “Recognizing learning as a social responsibly” → powerful realization.
- How do we do this from Kindergarten up? Students should reflect on WHY they go to school & what their purpose is in the greater learning culture
- Learners are able to find relevant resources and find the information they need within those resources
- Relates to Engage - using resources ethically and getting value from them
- Also to Include, as information sources should be diverse & represent multiple viewpoints; Inquire as students should be asking questions of the information, not just assuming information they find is accurate/ may lead to new questions
- Critical thinking & depth of knowledge … moving beyond having the information given to them, they need to seek, evaluate & apply
- How to organize information and systems
- What resources can we share with them to help them organize information?
- Pinterest comes to mind… Google docs/slides/sheets → Collaborate
- For librarians, a component of this is virtual access to resources, not just in the physical library
- Learners investigate their interests through reading, writing & tinkering
- Love that this includes hands on —> lends to makerspaces, STEM, arts integration
- Folding inquiry & design process (Inquire standard) into personal interests - relevant inquiry
- Also w/ inquire: authentic problem solving within local and global communities
- Purposeful problem solving
- “Learners identify their own potential by accepting feedback and self-assessing” > GROW
- “Learners have a growth mindset and develop the habit of lifelong learning”
- We need to model this as educators
- Create physical and virtual spaces for conversation and wondering (not just access to information… also overlaps with Include & Curate as we must provide for diverse interests)
- Model & foster curiosity & persistence > what problems are you trying to solve? How do your students know what you’re working on? How it’s going? How they can help?
- Provide TIME to wonder!
- David Shannon’s reflection on kids being so busy, not enough time to think, connect, wonder, innovate, take risks…
- Ensure learner voice & choice (surveys? student-led committees?) reflection and authentic learning opportunities
We also discussed effort as it relates to exploration - how much effort do we put forth? do students? it’s a necessary part of exploring on their behalf… we shouldn’t do all the effort ourselves…
- Plays into responsible, ethical use of information
- Base level must be exercising critical evaluation when exploring, using & citing wide range of resources
- Respecting intellectual property rights
- Specifically missing in the term “copyright” > as discussed with our DCS Media team
- Practicing civil discourse and cultural awareness by participating in local & global communities (include & inquire)
- Need to provide plenty of opportunities in person & virtual for students to engage in these *authentic* conversations
- Grow = putting these things into play in order to engage with and INSPIRE others
- Are we giving students enough leadership experiences to inspire others?
- Peer to Peer coaching on access & use? High to middle/elementary?
Clear advancement in the understanding and application of this standard - from access to use to reuse to new application
- Makes me think of research papers from elementary (teachers hand over materials often) to MS (choose from sources selected by teachers) to HS (turn in a bibliography) to college (find your own sources and apply new knowledge to what’s out there)
- Also a focus on POSITIVE digital citizenship - there aren’t “don’ts” in this standards, but rather like PBIS a positive focus on using information and technology
- we ENGAGE with information, not just use or recycle it…
What’s real? What’s not? Who has the authority to decide?
Most importantly, he said this: “When was the last time you thanked a young person for coming into your library? OUR LIVES ARE BETTER BECAUSE THEY EXIST”
“Mistakes should be made. It’s part of the process.”
“Write young people as whole people.”
“Be humble enough to admit what you don’t know yet.”
Thank you’s seem to be more out of obligation or decorum than sincerity these days
- saying it more often isn’t the same as saying it with meaning
With email, social media, demands on our time, he reflects, “what threads in our web of connectedness do we choose to tug on?”
- Love this because we often feel the pressure to respond to everything - need to take the time to think about what’s necessary? what’s important to me? what’s important to others?
Many kids feel unseen in the landscape of diverse-less books… “Where else are kids feeling unseen? What can we do about it?”
Told a story about being in 1st class on an airplane:
- 3 types of people in first class, those who are flying for the first time make eye contact with each coach passenger, proud to see them move to the back… those who fly occasionally who realize you’re only getting a bigger seat, more snacks, early on/off privileges, then there’s the frequent 1st class who believe flying such gives them entitlement in life beyond the airplane. Man next to him, having to TRY to take up some of Jason’s space, was clearly an entitled frequent 1st classer
- Snacks come around, and the guy makes a big show of picking his cookies. After fighting with plastic and being unsuccessful in opening those cookies, guy shoves them in the pocket and proceeds to pout.
- Jason shares how he grew up eating lance peanuts and to this day, watches TV at mom’s house with those peanuts in hand. Because he has walked a different path than his 1st class neighbor, he activates prior knowledge (“my mama taught me that those bags are perforated…”) and can eat his snack. Dude never got his open
- Jason: Don’t be like that guy. Don’t act so entitled by your 1st class life that you forget the kid in front of you, who might be acting tough for 1 of 1,000,000 reasons, but has a very clear “open here” perforated spot if you are willing to look for it.
Also shared about watching a self-help talk show w/ his mom:
- Blind date where a girl and guy were told to do crazy things to make the date successful (embarrass yourself, make an inside joke, say thank you excessively)
- He thought it was crazy while watching it, but reflecting back on his writing life & engaging with readers, he sees an important formula that helps him be successful in storytelling, can help us be successful as educators:
- In embarrassing themselves, participants were exercising HUMILITY
- in books, young characters are exercising humility that might be challenging for the reader in real life due to family situations, community, obligations, life experiences
- “We don’t owe anyone anything. Don’t tell someone to smile - they don’t owe you that.” — tough exteriors are often there for a reason… seeing these emotions in fiction that are guarded in real life help kids feel human
- Their shared inside joke was developing INTIMACY
- “We are obsessed with the idea that someone can know our inner-selves” - that’s why people fall for magic tricks, go to psychics, yearn for friendships based on mutual experiences
- Language is a direct connection to intimacy - must be willing to speak their language, not some adult language or down on them
- “We don’t allow children to write in their language at school”
- Saying “thank you” excessively was showing GRATITUDE
- Do we show enough gratitude to our students? To our colleagues?
- It feels so awesome when someone notices our effort, successes, generosity and we are thanked for it… we need students to have that same feeling
- “When was the last time you thanked a young person (for coming into your library)? OUR LIVES ARE BETTER BECAUSE THEY EXIST”