August 31, 2014

Classroom Libraries

In an effort to help once again...I've created another board on the school's Pinterest page.
Wendell Phillips Academy Classroom Libraries Pinterest Board

The Classroom Libraries Pinterest board provides teachers with a virtual guide for setting up a marvelous library in their classroom.  Teachers can see creative physical spaces, gain decorating ideas, download helpful signage/labels and read more about how the classroom library feeds into the central library within the school.

Now I know those of you who are teacher-librarians really take a hands off attitude about assisting with the classroom libraries.  Like you, my library budget has been cut in several schools so that the classroom libraries can receive the financial support....ouch right?   Years ago, Chicago Public Schools librarians were instructed to provide a teacher overview of how to set up classroom libraries.  After the presentation, the classroom teachers received a set of books across the genres for their libraries.  Librarians did not receive books but did receive a heartfelt thank you.  That really stung.  Okay, I'm being a little snarky here but that really angered many of us.   In addition, I refuse to re-org my library by genre, lexile or whatever new reinvention of the wheel that they come up with.  When libraries are re-orged, it hurts the students because there's no transfer of knowledge when they visit libraries that are organized by Dewey.  Let me stop my rant now.
Teacher-Librarians Are Leaders!

Returning to the 'positive', there are some benefit I see in supporting my fellow teachers in providing advisement on setting up classroom libraries .  Also, if you have any additional benefits, please share them with me!:

1.  Classroom teachers are often 'lost' when it comes to setting up their libraries.  They request my support because I am the trusted and reliable reading/book/literacy expert in the building. 

Book display in the  Library Media Center 
2.  I read the books (really I do!!) and can connect them directly to the curriculum.  Teachers use me as their 'go to' person in the building.

3.  I share with classroom teachers which books kids will actually read (not just enjoy) and those they will put down.  When shopping at those half-off and discounted stores, teachers will be a little more selective in their purchasing decisions.

4.  Books in the classroom libraries can provide just a taste for reading, but the school library will satisfy a hunger for reading.

5.  Because the classroom library is an 'unbalanced collection' and does not represent all interests, beliefs and cultures students will use the school library as a greater and expanded resource of information.

6.  Students will see that the classroom library and school library do compliment each other and both encourage the love of reading. 

One of my fav book displays I pulled off of Pinterest
All roads lead to the school library right?  The main key to making this work is school libraries must receive financial support to purchase books from the school budget.  They shouldn't have to rely on grants, donations or other means to maintain a healthy collection that serves the entire student population.  No program should be deemed more important than the other.   Face it, no classroom collection can duplicate the depth of a great school library collection....not one. 

The Ultimate Classroom Library:  Your School Media Center
by Buffy Hamilton  

Meme - The Four Roles of the Teacher-Librarian 

August 29, 2014

Marketing Your Library!

I'm wearing a Krazy Kreations
original T-Shirt

My friend, Sabrena
aka Super Library Girl
Yesterday was the Chicago Public Schools annual Back to School Professional Day for Teacher-Librarians.  It was great seeing all of my librarian colleagues but also sad because many have lost their positions due to funding.  My prayer is positions will open up and these librarians will be able to return back to their librarians.  Please say a prayer for them.  Below is one of two presentations I gave.  Enjoy!

Marketing Your Library!
We know that you know all the wonderful things going on inside your library, but does everyone else?  View the steps in promoting your program to your students, administration, staff, and community. Highlights of this session will include free resource you can (and should) use, clever ideas for promoting your program, and how you can use this to document your professional growth and portfolio. 

August 27, 2014

Digital Literacy Video

I cannot wait to use this video in a Digital Literacy lesson!   This is absolutely great!

August 22, 2014

Classroom Bulletin Boards

In an effort to help my co-workers, I created a new board on my school's AUSL WPAHS Pinterest page.  Each year I see some of my colleagues struggle with creating an interesting theme that will highlight their program of study.  The compiled Bulletin Board pins will hopefully assist them and make life just a little bit easier.

I also have some cool pins for school libraries!
School Library Displays -

Wendell Phillips Academy High School Bulletin Board Ideas

August 11, 2014

Culture, Dignity and Identity

It's here!

Chicago Public Schools has finally launched the Interdisciplinary African and African-American studies program.  This new program was developed to heighten students’ understanding and awareness of African and African-American history and culture, while also fulfilling CPS’ commitment to ensuring that students are 100 percent college ready and 100 percent college bound.   

The curriculum is also grounded in the Common Core State Standards as well as other national, state, and local standards.  It is aligned directly to the CPS Content Area Frameworks.  The Illinois House Bill 2859 and ISBE mandate that every public elementary school and high school include the instruction of a unit of African-American studies.

CPS teachers can access additional materials
through the Knowledge Center.
The four hour training session for CPS teachers was held at the historic Du Sable Museum.  The museum was founded in 1961 by teacher and art historian Dr. Margaret Burroughs and other leading Chicago citizens.  This museum is one of the few independent institutions of its kind in the United States.  Developed to preserve and interpret the experiences and achievements of people of African descent, it is dedicated to the collection, documentation, preservation and study of the history and culture of Africans and African Americans.   


The training session began with greetings from Pemon Rami, Du Sable Museum's Director of Education and Public Programs educating the audience about the importance of students receiving universal lessons about learning about oneself.   There was also a discussion about Dr. Burroughs famous poem, "What Will Your Legacy Be?" and challenged all teachers and administrators to celebrate the importance of culture, dignity and identity through the curriculum.
Chicago Public Schools Knowledge Center

The 157 page curriculum guide includes lessons plans and websites for study.  Additional material can be accessed by CPS teachers through the Knowledge Center where there are tons of downloadable materials.  
Discussion about the Montgomery Bus Boycott
The keynote address was excellent!  The presenter provided a 'sample' lesson of how to tie in multiple events in African-American history to produce a successful lesson that the students would enjoy.   Using the Montgomery Bus Boycott as an example, the presenter discussed how so many 'quiet' activists played a major role during this important event in American history.  It was really interesting to connect the names with the faces of the tireless activists and hear about their stories of courage.  

The first break out session was delivered by King High School's, Angela Davis.  Her presentation about 'Africanisms in America' provided attendees with an in depth view of culture and how it influences us as individuals and people.   She modeled a short lesson that used music, the black church, art and architecture as examples.  One thing I would like to note is the book list she provided for attendees is excellent and I hope it will be shared so that all CPS students can access it and enjoy.  

The next breakout session was supported STEM education and was just plain fascinating.   CPS teacher, Kwadwo Oppong Wadie discussed how students can use tools and technologies developed in Africa to investigate the Earth and Solar System.   It was fascinating to learn how stellar bodies, their characteristics and attributes are integrated into African cosmologies. 

While listening to the lectures today, I downloaded 'The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks' by Jeanne Theoharis. The book highlights Parks' great personal, financial and psychological sacrifices she made in her personal life. In addition, it was interesting to learn that her grandfather and Malcolm X father were both Garveyites and active members of the movement.   

Overall, this is one of the best professional development session I've attended this year.  If you are a CPS teacher, you can access the copyrighted curriculum designed by CPS teachers at the Knowledge Center.  Within a couple of months, the Latin American Curriculum will be released.    Stay tuned!