A little while ago, before Christmas 2016, I was asked by MicroLibrarian systems to give a short talk on how Librarians engage with parents in their schools. I delivered this talk at the BETT show in January 2017. I had put the enquiry out on my Twitter, Facebook and mailing list networks, so that the topic was crowdsourced and covered lots of exciting ways to engage with parents, for both senior and junior schools. There are lots of good ideas there which I intend to adopt in my school – hope you find something of interest as well.
I am proud to announce that Heart of the School has been nominated as one of the best Educational Blogs in 2016! This is in UKEd Magazine, and the blog is featured alongside teacher’s blogs. Thank you to everyone who has contributed stories to Heart – all your hard work has been acknowledged! Please do keep your contributions coming in – everything from lessons you teach on information literacy to displays you put up. It is really important to show the breadth of things that school librarians do – we don’t just stamp books, we have a vital role to play in educating children. If you wish to read the UKEd magazine with the nomination in, then you can download it from here. Thank you everyone – and keep it coming! We passionately want to show that school librarians make a difference to every school!
School Librarian Kim Davis from Fort Pitt School in Chatham recently shared her excellent lesson plan for getting pupils to think about libraries and their purpose. This is what Kim said about her innovative activity:
‘I thought that possibly some of [the students] would have only experienced one type of library and that might have formed their impression of all libraries. We did a little library history, looking a bit at the great Library in Alexandria and why it was so important, the concept of chained books and then Carnegie libraries- how books were made accessible.
We also looked at cool libraries around the world- a pop up library on Bondi beach, Biblo Toyen in Oslo and Stuttgart’s crisp white cube library. Finally we looked at an infographic of weird things some libraries loan and also a meme about what librarians do.
The students sourced their own materials, although I kept some boxes aside in case. They were allowed to present it in any way they wanted so some just drew a picture, others presented me a floor plan and one even used design software to create the library. … one of the libraries[was] made of post-its as that was all they had at home! One created an eco-friendly library using their recycling. They didn’t have any lesson time but they had a month after the presentation to complete.’
The libraries are lovely, and what a great way to get pupils really thinking about the function of a library!
This year, in my school, we plan to take part in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. There is a Young Writer’s Programme for the under-18’s. So I have created my Virtual Classroom, added in the participating students and their teacher, and await November 1st to see how it all pans out. Has anyone else taken part in this with their students? How did it go for you? Leave a comment!
Here’s the website if you want to join in too: http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/
Debbie Kennedy, the Librarian at Wilmington Academy wrote to tell me of an amazing event her school held for World Book Day:
So this year’s theme needed to be even bigger and better and after a lot of deliberation we chose the Harry Potter series, turning our Academy into Hogwart’s to hold a Tri-Wizard Tournament.
I absolutely LOVE this display that Senior School Librarian Terence Chan has created in North London Collegiate School! He told me that Year 7 pupils got a shock when they entered the Library only to be confronted with a life sized Shakespeare staring back at them! “It is amazing what you can do with a mannequin and a plastic skull from the Science Department” he told me.
Terence is known for his creative displays using mannequins; you may remember his beautiful dress made out of book pages for his ‘Strike a pose’ writing competition a year ago.
Kim Davis, Librarian at Fort Pitt Grammar school in Medway, wrote to tell me about the Anime Club she runs in the Library.
“We run Anime club weekly after school where we show two episodes of an all-ages Anime followed by two of a slightly more mature theme. Manga club runs fortnightly at lunchtime and focuses on drawing, craft and sharing Anime/Manga news. We also run special events such as “Live Action Day”, when we showed live action drama adaptations of Anime and compared them to the cartoons, which was really popular! This term we also made “Naruto” style ninja headbands and next term we are going to hold a “Cherry Blossom Picnic”, collaborating with the food technology department to make our own Japanese bento style lunches and then eat them under the blossom trees.
Anime and Manga can be educational in much the same way as literature, but with a distinctly Japanese flavour. It can engage reluctant readers, help develop visual literacy, encourage creativity and has a valuable role in widening perspective. We’ve even presented these benefits to a school focus group for enrichment to promote the club! Many people worry about violence in Anime and Manga, but there is a lot out there that is suitable for younger years, just like with any media. Legal streaming on subscription websites such as Crunchyroll provides an easy way to show anime in school.
It can be difficult to get support from parents, who may not understand “the point” of Anime or Manga and who may be apprehensive about it. To combat this I made a leaflet outlining some of the benefits of anime and manga and introducing parents to Anime they might like to share with their children at home. I love to watch students from all years chatting eagerly with each other, especially those with social difficulties who struggle otherwise to make friends. School can be a very stressful place for students today, but the students who enjoy Anime and Manga are creative, more able to create a home/school balance and bounce through the halls, knowing there’s something to look forward to (apart from homework!) when they get home.”
You can download the wonderful leaflet that Kim has so generously shared with us here.
I love this 6 word story competition noticeboard, and the idea behind it! Gloria Clarke from Gillotts School sent me this photo from a competition she ran in the library on Open Evening. There were over 100 entries from parents and prospective students viewing the school! The English teachers saw it, loved it, and got the pupils involved as well, so that over the 3 days the competition ran there were 130 entries. The English Staff judged the winning entries, which were:
Year 7 (1st place): Beneath the ground, her father moved.
Year 9 : Without my Sensai, I am lost.
and a honourable mention to a Year 11 entrant: Burnt the haystack, found the needle!
What a fantastic way to promote the Library to parents and prospective students – and what a great competition to run.