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Permission to Dream: COMO 2013

  1. 1. Permission to Dream: Libraries as Places of Participatory Culture, Transliteracy, & Connections with the World Andy Plemmons, School Librarian David C. Barrow Elementary Athens, GA
  2. 2. Tweet the conference #gacomo Backchannel
  3. 3. “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” -- Unknown cc image:
  4. 4. “Let’s consider that reality testing may be just another way of stifling imagination.” Source: Cc image:
  5. 5. “Great librarians experiment with new services and are not afraid to fail rapidly. There is a difference between a failure and a mistake. A mistake is when you do something wrong and don’t learn from it. A failure is something you try that is a little bit beyond your reach, but you can figure out how to do it better next time.” ~David Lankes, Expect More CC Image:
  6. 6. "School libraries can serve as test beds to explore. As others follow our lead, teacher librarians can play a valuable role, SUPPORTING EDUCATORS for whom this brave new world represents change and uncertainty." ~Mark Ray, Vancouver Public Schools
  7. 7. Successful library programs are made of many strands tangled together.
  8. 8. CC Image: Librarians and members weave these strands to create a beautiful tapestry.
  9. 9. Participatory Culture is grounded in…
  10. 10. Relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement ~Henry Jenkins Source:
  11. 11. How can we lower barriers for our members?
  12. 12. Co-teaching
  13. 13. Students as teachers
  14. 14. Collaborative partnerships
  15. 15. How can we INVITE FAMILIES to participate in our programs?
  16. 16. Reorganizing our collections based on user needs
  17. 17. strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations with others ~Henry Jenkins Source:
  18. 18. “When we allow children to experiment, take risks, and play with their own ideas, we give them permission to trust themselves.” ~Sylvia Martinez & Gary Stager, Invent to Learn
  19. 19. Weather forecasts in PreK
  20. 20. Muralists in Kindergarten
  21. 21. Digital Photography projects in 1st grade
  22. 22. Regions of Georgia Commercials in2nd Grade
  23. 23. Paul Revere Choice Projects in 3rd Grade
  24. 24. School T-shirt design in 4th grade
  25. 25. Documentinghistory in 5th Grade
  26. 26. Gamification
  27. 27. the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks. Source: Transliteracy:
  28. 28. Not Print vs. Digital
  29. 29. How can students experience and create across multiple platforms, tools, and media?
  30. 30. New forms of mentor texts
  31. 31. Multiple platforms for gathering information
  32. 32. Multiple platforms for experiencing an event
  33. 33. Source: Transmedia storytelling ~Laura Fleming
  34. 34. what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices ~Henry Jenkins Source:
  35. 35. “It is unacceptable and unnecessary to deny children the opportunity to work on something they are passionate about because the teacher is not an expert in that particular field.” ~Sylvia Martinez & Gary Stager, Invent to Learn
  36. 36. How do we identify expertise?
  37. 37. Pairing older with younger
  38. 38. Students sparking new ideas
  39. 39. Students designing instruction
  40. 40. Students as school-wide tech leaders
  41. 41. members believe that their contributions matter ~Henry Jenkins Source:
  42. 42. “We should expect more than simply being consumers or users of the library; we should expect to be members--helping to shape the library itself.” ~David Lankes, Expect More
  43. 43. How do we honor student voices?
  44. 44. How do we connect students to opportunities?
  45. 45. Making decisions about library content
  46. 46. Designing ways to make all voices heard in library decisions
  47. 47. Surveying every grade with iPads and Google forms
  48. 48. Analyzing spreadsheet data
  49. 49. Collection development
  50. 50. Students marketing to students
  51. 51. Expanding to Community Contributions
  52. 52. Not every member must contribute, but all must believe they are free to contribute when ready and that what they contribute will be appropriately valued. ~Henry Jenkins Source: Source:
  53. 53. How do we invite our members to participate in their library?
  54. 54. “Libraries need to be of the community, not simply for the community.” ~David Lankes, Expect More
  55. 55. Opportunities to contribute
  56. 56. Opportunities to problem solve
  57. 57. Opportunities to find something new
  58. 58. Inviting creativity through contests
  59. 59. Student-made book displays
  60. 60. “The learning space is the „third teacher‟ in the parlance of the Reggio Emilia approach. It should inspire, motivat e, nurture, and inform practice as much as a parent or teacher.” ~Sylvia Martinez & Gary Stager, Invent to Learn
  61. 61. Celebrating success
  62. 62. Source: members feel some degree of social connection with one another ~Henry Jenkins
  63. 63. Do our students understand the global society?
  64. 64. How do we connect them to experiences beyond our walls?
  65. 65. “We serve the same youth.” ~Marcus Lowry, Ramsey County Public Library, MN Collaborating with Public Libraries
  66. 66. Collaborating with local bookstores
  67. 67. YouTube
  68. 68. Blogging
  69. 69. Facebook
  70. 70. Twitter
  71. 71. Tweeting with 1st graders
  72. 72. Bird research with Cornell Lab of Ornithology
  73. 73. Skyping with Rick Brooks Co-Founder of Little Free Libraries
  74. 74. World Read Aloud Day
  75. 75. Talk like a Pirate Day
  76. 76. International Connections
  77. 77. CONNECTING with other librarians leads to rewarding experiences for students.
  78. 78. multiple FORMS of collaboration to connect beyond walls
  79. 79. collaboration can start with a simple CONVERSATION that leads to UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITIES
  80. 80. Connecting through shared text
  81. 81. Connecting through student blogging
  82. 82. Paper Blogging
  83. 83. Making our posts public
  84. 84. Paper commenting
  85. 85. Online commenting
  86. 86. Connecting with Authors
  87. 87. "I like to HEAR MYSELF read my TuxPaint story. Everybody knows I can read now." ~Ja'Cari, Kindergarten student
  88. 88. Long-distance librarians
  89. 89. What are your barriers? Cc image:
  90. 90. Cc image: Filtering
  91. 91. Limited Funding Cc image:
  92. 92. Time Cc image:
  93. 93. Inadequate staffing Cc image:
  94. 94. Lack of volunteers Cc image:
  95. 95. Reaching our library members
  96. 96. Cc image: Developing independence
  97. 97. How do we build bridges to move beyond these barriers? Cc image:
  98. 98. How do we find the threads that move us forward rather than remain tangled in our frustrations? Cc image:
  99. 99. “One of the responsibilities of being a teacher is to translate the mandates of the educational system to something that helps children understand their world.” ~Sylvia Martinez & Gary Stager, Invent to Learn
  100. 100. We have the opportunity to start the conversation now.
  101. 101. Expect the Miraculous
  102. 102. cc image:
  103. 103. Contact: Blog: Twitter: @plemmonsa @barrowmc Facebook: Elementary-Media-Center/128735320830 Website : Email:
  104. 104. Resources: • Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A.J. & Weigel, M. ( 2006). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education For the 21st Century. Retrieved September 22, 2013. NMLWhitePaper.pdf • Lankes, R. Expect More: Demanding Better Libraries for Today’s Complex World. CreateSpace, 2012. Print. • Martinez, Sylvia Libow., and Gary Stager. Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Torrance, CA; Constructing Modern Knowledge, 2013. Print.

Editor's Notes

  • Foundations: What is my program built on. Participatory culture, transliteracy, and global connections
  • Love of conferences. A chance to bring together so many talents with a common goal in mind. Permission to imagine.
  • Conferences are not about reality testing. It’s a time to push the boundaries of reality. To think aloud with others about the craziest of ideas.
  • Great libraries strive to meet the needs of our members, so we should constantly be experimenting with new ideas. To not be afraid to fail. It’s not about mistakes. It’s about taking a leap of faith with an idea that hasn’t been tried and see where it takes you. Even if you feel like it is failure, you will learn from it in the end and your program will be better for it.
  • I hope to unravel my program today to show some strands that might in some way be helpful as people think about their own programs. Our programs are a tangle of ideas.
  • But even if our programs feel like a tangle, with outstanding librarians, the strands are woven into a beautiful tapestry. I’m not here to tell people what their library should be, but instead to offer my own program and thinking in order for us to all reflect on our own programs and what we dream our programs to be.
  • Foundation of my program is participatory culture.
  • Participatory Culture part 1: Discuss the apprehension by some to allow younger students to be creative through technology. The most common compliment I get is I had no idea you could do that with younger students.
  • Storybird and ABC books…again highlight the structure needed for younger learners
  • I never say impossible when it comes to a lesson idea. Instead, we think about what will it take to make this possible for our students. It might be thinking through the best time to schedule the lesson to maximize the number of adults.
  • Sometimes having older students as co-teachers allows more students to get one-on-one attention during the lesson.
  • Who are my collaborative partners in the school? Special connection with the art teacher and gift teachers who work with students and teachers on a regular basis. Sometimes we plan projects in a way to flow them into the media center, into art, and into the regular classroom supported by multiple support teachers.
  • Sometimes our barriers are access to the resources that students need in order to gain information or create. Many librarians are experimenting with new ways of organizing the collection. Shannon Thompson….genre labeling and highly-visible signs allow students to see where different topics and genres are located.
  • Participatory culture Part 2: In planning with teachers, I often bring up the question of what do we hope students will create during a unit of study. The library is far more than a place to consume information and stories. It’s a place to create them and share.
  • Allowing students choice in the kinds of projects they create, giving them space and time to create, and helping them find an authentic office encourages risk taking for our students.
  • PreK students exploring what meteorologists do through videos and books, studying weather vocabulary, touring our morning broadcast room to learn jobs, writing their own scripts, recording their weather forecasts, and having them showcased on our morning news show.
  • Kindergartners who read Sky Color by Peter Reynolds. Became curious about murals. Studied multiple muralists in class and in the library. Began searching for murals in the community and beyond. Finding an attachment to the work of Chuck Close. Creating their own mural. Having the mural displayed in the library and also used as the backdrop for class pictures on picture day.
  • In class, art, and media center, 1st graders learned about the weather in the 4 seasons. They drew scenes of each season, made paper dolls for each season, took digital photographs, wrote a script for each season, and put everything together in a photostory to share with parents at a class gathering. Navigating the Information Tsunami published by Cherry Lake Publishing.
  • 2nd graders researched the regions of GA in class and in media center, wrote persuasive scripts of why to visit each region, created backdrops and props, filmed commercials on iPad. Projects were uploaded to youtube and put into a thinglink so that anyone could take a tour of the regions of GA by watching the whole grade’s commercials.
  • 3rd grade had multiple options for projects on Paul Revere that hit multiple learning styles and platforms. From puppet shows to interactive maps to screecasts to Glogster posters to animotos. All students in the grade could view the projects and learn about Paul Revere in multiple ways.
  • 4th graders visited the DOE’s Center for 21st Century Learning try out a new learning space while working on a project. In collaborative groups, students created a t-shirt design for our new school, skyped with a graphic designer on-demand, created marketing plans to persuade the principal and students to choose their designs, presented their work for their peers, and ultimately had a design chosen that was purchased for every student in the school.
  • 5th graders explored the history of our school through scrapbooks, photographs, and other artifacts. Learned the craft of question writing and interview etiquette. Interviewed over 25 former Barrow buddies and archived their stories on our school website for others to listen to for years to come.
  • 12 boys 2nd-5th grade explored how video games could be used in education. As they played xBox, Gamestar Mechanic, Nintendo DS, and Minecraft they created a google doc to give to all teachers to show them how they might use video games to teach content in their classrooms.
  • When planning projects for creation, I think about multiple ways to consume and create. How can our students replicate what learners in the real world are doing every day? Our students shouldn’t have to power down when they enter the school.
  • It’s not about print vs digital but rather how many tools, resources, platforms work together to help students experience a story or gain a whole informational picture. It’s both.
  • When planning with teachers, I ask myself and the team how students can experience and create. We think about the multiple angles we can hit a particular topic.
  • But….it’s not just print. The kinds of texts we offer to students as mentor texts should model the kinds of products we hope that they create. Publishers and vendors are constantly reinventing how different kinds of media interact with one another. Pottermore allows the reader to do what they’ve always wanted to do….step inside the world of potter, capstone interactive library uses music/human read aloud/and text highlighting to engage the reader. Pebble go merges text, read aloud, videos, graphic organizers, and text. Etc.
  • Laura Fleming & her graphic organizer
  • There’s no such thing as one person holding all of the answers. Within a school, within our communities, within our libraries there is a collaborative of expertise just waiting to be tapped into. Our students, library members, community members, families, and teachers are a wealth of experiences that can be called upon when needed.
  • We don’t have to be experts in everything, but instead we must be willing to open up the space for students to explore something new and learn right along side them. Truly model what it means to be lifelong learners.
  • How do we tap into the expertise within our schools: conversations, surveys, opportunities for self-identification
  • Giving kids opportunities to mentor one another. Math buddies-older with younger planning instruction
  • Fishing for the constitution designed in class and implemented as part of a center rotation
  • Clarke Middle Geek Squad:kids have been helping teachers and their peers around the school and the kids have taught several sessions for students (in various classes), parents (at our Family Lit Night) and teachers (at the CCSD Summer Institute) over the last year.  
  • When students create something in the library, they need to believe that it truly matters. How do we facilitate this?
  • Showcasing work does not have to be elaborate displays. It can be found opportunities.
  • Connecting students with mentors. This takes listening and harnessing opportunities.
  • Section 4: Begin talking about student book budget and connect to how student input and decision making is a big part of our library.
  • Looked at catalog selections. Thought about school population. Thought about who was in the selection group and how to overcome gender barrier.
  • Used iPad to survey as many people as possible.
  • Mention that these books are among the most popular and this project has been one of such importance that it is now a part of our budget every year. It’s hard to argue with data that comes from students.
  • Multiple opportunities. Every member doesn’t have to participate in everything. They just need to know that they have the opportunity to choose where they fit in.
  • Lucy jumping into my lesson to help me pronounce the chinese words in the story I was reading.
  • Offering multiple ways for kids to participate….connect back to element of participatory culture….not ever member must contribute. Mention bookmarks here.
  • Take the frustrating things that I want to throw in the garbage and find a creative way of making it a shared problem.
  • Rather than feeling like I need to have conferences with every student to match students to books, find ways to let students sample books they have never tried.
  • Poetry, persuasive writing, design contests
  • Invite students to design book displays no matter how elaborate.
  • You don’t have to have the elaborate. You simply think of the space you have and how that space can be used in order to inspire, motivate, nurture, and inform practice. Remind that pics came from 3 different spaces and the same kinds of learning happened in all 3 libraries, even when there were over 25 buckets catching water pouring from the ceiling.
  • Always celebrate the success within each participatory opportunity. There aren’t a few winners but rather multiple outstanding contributions.
  • How do we begin to facilitate a conversation among our library members? How do we facilitate a sense of connection among the members of our program and beyond?
  • Tanya Hudson at Chase invited local bookstore Avid Bookshop to share with students how they create shelf talkers in their book store. A bookseller/publicist held a mini lesson on shelf talkers, students organized their writing on graphic organizers, and published shelf talkers were displayed in the library.
  • For morning broadcast and student created projects.
  • Allows me to document my library, support other libraries, reflect on my practice, but also to connect with other libraries and educators around the world.
  • Originally a communication tool for parents, our facebook page has become another place to connect our students to the world. Facebook has connected us with several authors and web 2.0 creators.
  • Originally a tool that I used at conferences, twitter has become a way for me to collaborate with other educators, find connections for our students, and also expand the audience of our projects.
  • Planned over a weekend through twitter.
  • Clarke Middle shared poetry with Sao Paulo Brazil
  • Jennifer LaGarde did a hangout with Shannon Miller’s students to teach them how to design their own avatar on the ipad. Matthew Winner skyped with my gaming students to share what he has learned about gaming in the library.
  • When you build collaborative relationships with librarians outside of the school there are always ideas in the works.
  • We have to acknowledge our barriers. They exist, but they don’t have to hold us back. The barriers are different for each of us. Some of us have many. Some big, some little, but all stand in the way of the programs we dream of developing.
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