What Parents Want

In a recent study by the Fordham Institute, participating parents reported that in addition to wanting an academically challenging school for their child, they also desire a more granular program focus, specifically vocational education.



The Fourth R in Common Core Standards


In this summer’s School Library Journal article about Common Core, an interesting piece of data was unearthed in the CCS documents.  Words were counted as a matter of identifying a level of purpose and priority in the standards, such as reading, non-fiction,  and vocabulary. The word “research” was one of the most commonly used.  Interesting, for sure.  Washington State School Librarians are already well-organized for supporting teachers and their students with research skills.  We teach “research” every single day using a variety of delivery systems: teaching classes and individual students, instructing large audiences with screen cast videos, and providing professional development.  We also offer multiple, high quality resources to back up instructional delivery.  Research skills are the core of what we do in school libraries.

The author calls Research Skills the Seventh Shift although I think it deserves greater status.  The Fourth R is I think much more appropriate.  And by Fourth R, I mean an extension of the 3R’s that we commonly know as Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, but also the modality, or for that matter, the curative for problems and complex questions.











The Finns Finish First in Global Education


Internationally renowned author and Finnish education expert, Pasi Sahlberg, will speak at the University of Washington’s Kane Hale on Wednesday, November 14 at 7 p.m. Dr. Sahlberg’s numerous articles about educational reforms in Finland include “What Makes the Finnish Kids So Smart?” in the Wall Street Journal, and “From Finland, An Intriguing Reform Model” in the New York Times. Be sure to arrive early in Room 210 for a fascinating presentation about why their education system is rated consistently the best in the world.

More about his presentation: http://scandinavian.washington.edu/events/2012-11-14/finnish-lessons-what-can-united-states-learn-educational-change-finland


Turns Out It’s All About The Relationship

Take a few minutes to listen to NY Times education reporter, Paul Tough, discuss how non-cognitive skills such as curiosity, grit, and positive attitude affect childrens’ cognitive skills. Neuroscience has found that these kinds of assets need to be nurtured in order to improve cognition, mental health and physical health. How’s that done? Listen to this short KUOW podcast find out.

More on the book How Children Succeed.

Need Help With Homework?

The local neighborhood has a few options for you to find volunteer tutors, computers and a quiet space to complete your homework.

1)      Nathan Hale High School Library, Mondays through Thursdays, 3:15-4:30

2)      Lake City Branch of Seattle Public Library, Mondays through Thursdays, 6 p.m. -8 p.m.  Website: http://www.spl.org/locations/lake-city-branch

3)      Northgate Branch of Seattle Public Library, Mondays & Tuesdays, 4 p.m.-8p.m.; Wednesdays and Thursdays, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.  Website: http://www.spl.org/locations/northgate-branch




9 Amazing & Unusual Printers

My circulation desk is close to one of the busiest printers in the school, the library printer.  It wins the prize for printing volume.  Printers themselves have become so integrated into our lives that we think nothing of it to create something tangible, as in paper and ink, from an idea on a screen. We do it every day.  Imagine in another twenty years when students will be near the circulation desk printing 3-dimensional objects for their class projects, things like a replica of a protein for a science project or a timeline of developing technologies for the technology project or even sugar-based models of foods for a nutrition presentation.  This kind of printing exists although not yet on a scale for personal home computer, but it’s not too far off.

9/13/2013 Update: Not too far off indeed.  Between the time I wrote this original post and now, desktop 3D printers have been designed to use at home.  Check this out:  http://store.makerbot.com/replicator2x.html



From Information Superhighway to Personalized Dead-End Streets?

Eli Pariser, Internet Activist, believes this is actually happening. Google, Amazon, Netflix, YahooNews, and Facebook, among others, want the experience on their sites to be so immensely enjoyable they use algorithms to personalize results from a substantial history of users’ link selections, even if the user isn’t logged into an account. The algorithm acts as a sorter to insure that users see only what the algorithm predicts they want to see. Pariser calls it the “filter bubble” and anticipates future implications for the kinds of information users will never see. For some, that’s O.K., but for many, it’s a dead-end street, and information that might otherwise challenge or enlighten one’s thinking won’t penetrate the mathematical membrane. For our students, that’s algorithm censorship and a case for greater use of subscription databases and print material.