A pupil from Oban High School wrote to Barry Hutchison about her school library.
There is never enough time to do everything you plan to do. I knew that I would struggle to persuade students to join the new Shadowing Group, everyone is so busy and pressure is on the students to finish assignments, portfolios, exams etc. I received the Carnegie publicity material, bought a set of the shortlisted books and proceeded to put up my Carnegie display in the centre of the library.
The Head of English told me that she had three girls interested in joining the Group, oh well I thought to myself we’ll just go with three, after all they say that it is the quality not the quantity that is important. As the day progressed I noticed a girl hovering around the display, I asked her if she would give some thought to joining our Group. Then at lunchtime a couple of boys came in, again drawn to the display, so I asked them and they said that they would come to the meeting to find out what it was all about. They spoke to two other friends and before I realised what had happened I had eight students in my little Group, four boys and four girls, perfect!
They worked so hard and really contributed to the meetings, the teachers supported us by allowing the students to attend the meetings. Two of the Group entered the ‘Journey’ writing competition, sadly they never won,books were read and the Shadowing Magazine was completed. I am so proud of their commitment to the Shadowing process and the Shadowing Magazinemagazine_preview 2 turned out so well!
Learning Resource Centre Manager
Taylor High School
This was the first time that Taylor High School had taken part in the Carnegie Medal Shadowing Scheme, I thought that it would be a fun way to encourage pupils to read a variety of books, engage in discussion, review and post online to the dedicated shadowing page on the Shadowing Site.
We had seven S3 girls meeting twice a week in the library. The discussions were very lively as their reading preferences varied immensely.
A colourful display promoted the 8 shortlisted books, the Carnegie Shadowing Scheme and all the free publicity material including posters, bookmarks and stickers.
We linked in with the school’s iPad initiative, the girls signed a contract whereby they were allowed to take the iPads home initially for the Easter holidays. This iPad pilot was so successful that the group were allowed to extend their contract until the end of May.
The books were downloaded onto the iPads providing the ability not only to read the books but electronically highlight certain paragraphs and passages. They also had the opportunity to discuss the books with each other before posting their reviews on the Group Page.
They enjoyed having access to their Group Page, they could post reviews, create blogs, chart their favourite Carnegie books, create videos. The group also entered the ‘Shadowing Competition for the Best Shadowing Group Magazine’ There is a chance to win tickets for 12 shadowers and 2 adults to attend the awards ceremony in London on 22nd June plus other prizes.
This was a pilot scheme so group feedback was very important. They loved having responsibility for the iPad and the downloaded books but most of them still preferred the hard copy to the e-book.
Our meetings took place in the library during their English periods, latterly this caused some tension as some within the group felt that they were missing important coursework. So we compromised, one English one other subject.
We were late setting up a group so the S3 girls were picked as they were all good readers. At the first meeting they all maintained that they would be able to read all the books within the allocated timescale. Due to the different types of genre and content within some of the books this was not possible. They recommended that future Shadowers should divide the books between themselves and that more time be set aside to achieve the aims of the project.
Every member enjoyed taking part in the pilot but suggested that next year we widen the group to include boys and girls of mixed reading ability
They predicted that the 2015 Carnegie Medal winners would be:
- Cuckoo Song Frances Hardinge
- The Fastest Boy in the World Elizabeth Laird
- Tinder Sally Gardner
Learning Resource Centre Manager
Last week there was a letter in my tray from one of our DHT’s from Education Scotland about their initiative called ‘National Digital Learning Week 2015’. This particular event celebrated the use of technology in schools. What better way than promoting the work librarians make to their school community than a Wiki on Glow? As librarians, we use technology every day, so I thought, why not promote this very fact?
Have a look.
Report in Coventry Telegraph, 17th October 2014
With Roald Dahl Day falling on a Saturday this year (13 September), I knew the library would celebrate it in the week leading up to that date. And as it was my first big book event in St Aidan’s, I decided that the whole week would be devoted to Dahl.
As this year is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we used that novel for our theme. The week before our events, our newly recruited army of pupil library helpers prepared the library, with the help of some talented S6 pupils, by turning it into Wonka’s chocolate room, complete with a chocolate river flowing through the centre and an Augustus Gloop-filled pipe. By the start of our Roald Dahl Week, the scene was set.
Monday lunchtime introduced pupils to the characters of Charlie… as they were given the opportunity to interview Mr Wonka and an Oompa Loompa (aka a couple of very game teachers!) and find out about their lives in the chocolate factory.
On Tuesday, the chocolate room truly lived up to its name as pupils were invited to make their own sweets from mixed fruit, marshmallows and the contents of a chocolate fountain. Beforehand, pupils enjoyed some time standing about in the playground as, in pure synchronicity, the school fire alarm happened to go off at the same time as I accidentally burned the chocolate in a smoke-billowing microwave. (I will remember that moment should I ever be interviewed for CILIP Update’s “Most embarrassing professional moment”.) Back inside, and with fresh chocolate, pupils were also able to sample some teacakes gifted to us from Tunnock’s as well as goodies provided by our pupil Fair Trade group. And all this to the accompaniment of my dulcet tones reading aloud Augustus Gloop’s story – a warning about chocolate-gluttony if ever there was one.
Wednesday was a much more peaceful affair, with our writing group creating adverts for their Roald Dahl inspired inventions. Top inventions included the Eye Glass (texting, facetiming and TV watching all available via your lenses when you put your glasses on), Hover Boots for when you’re tired of walking, and the Clobber Cupboard (giving you complete, ready-to-wear outfits). After all that excitement, we needed a relaxing finale, so we ended the week with a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film show (accompanied by the left-over teacakes).
The week’s events have seen our lunchtime visits soar, a trend which will hopefully continue over the next few weeks as we launch the Scottish Children’s Book Awards.
I arrived at Taylor High School at an awkward time, the exams were in full swing, the library was being used for the exams and the weather was beautiful so the students, understandably, wanted to be outside rather than visit the library.
Who was this new person working Thursday and Friday instead of Mrs Leslie.
So I thought to myself how can I make an impact before the Summer Holidays?
Once every four years the whole nation becomes involved in the excitement and anticipation of the World Cup. It doesn’t matter whether Scotland is involved as most of us enjoy the opportunity to see the best teams in the world play teams from lesser known countries. Waiting in anticipation to see who will win the coveted cup.
This also gives the library the opportunity to show the staff and pupils of the school that we are followers of ‘the beautiful game’ too!
The FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 Fixture Poster was the focal point of our World Cup display in the library supported by football books and general books about Brazil. A big thanks to those of you who entered into the spirit and filled in the daily scores on our behalf. Well done!
In order to add a little of our own competitiveness we decided to hold a few World Cup related competitions.
Football colouring-in-sheets, World Cup 2014 Qualifiers word search and World Cup Trivia Challenge.
Well done to everyone for supporting our World Cup extravaganza! I was very pleased with the success of our project and hope to have many more throughout the new academic year!
by C. McIntyre
Click on the image to see the report.
The Beating Heart of the School: improving educational attainment through school libraries and librarians makes four recommendations which will only be applicable in England. However, reference is made to the situation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and most of the research is applicable to the Scottish situation too.
Click on the image to view the report.
You know when you reply to e-mails that start, “Would anyone be interested in …”. You never know what you’re going to get involved in, but it’s usually a lot of hard work, a fair bit of stress and a great big dollop of mixed relief and pride at the end!
That just about sums up El Dia de los Muertos – Our Lady’s style. This interdisciplinary project was the brainwave of Mr Pegard from the Modern Languages Department and run between Art, RE, Modern Languages and myself.
Day of the Dead is a cheerful festival remembering those who have died, and inviting them along to a massive party. In Mexico, people create ofrendas, or altars, covered in flowers and the deceased’s favourite things, dress up as Catrinas, or skeletons in costumes from the 1900s, and eat sugar skulls and pan de muertos or special bread, along with the usual party food. Celebrations are often held in cemeteries, and last for two days with bands playing and even parades.
So how do you transfer all of that into an afternoon for 2nd year pupils?
Well, RE took care of the altar, with pupils bringing photos and mementos of loved ones, and colouring crosses; Art made clay skulls and decorations; Modern Languages explained the background to the festival, and then there was me. What’s the role for a Librarian in all this?
Well, as usual, a bit of everything: ideas for activities (e.g. making hats for Catrina, after Rhona Skea pointed her out to me); identifying problems (if you hang out with Home Economics teachers, you’ll learn a lot about hygiene rules); identifying solutions (go and talk to the Home Economics Department, guys!); my personal favourites of taking photographs, researching, writing the quiz, and reporting everything afterwards; and of course being the go-to girl for the fiddly but necessary team lists. Well, I suppose when you insist on doing lots of investigations involving teams, it’s not surprising other people notice.
The whole event was a blast and the pupils loved it. They decorated cakes with fondant icing skulls, designed and made hats for Catrina, said prayers in Spanish and completed a Dia de los Muertos / Hallowe’en / All Saints Day quiz. The two hours flew past, ran like clockwork and the classes disappeared with their cakes and their photos, leaving us to tidy up, review what we did, think about what we should do differently, and put it all away for the next ten months.
Interesting weekend at the Police College, supporting pupils who are being trained in MVP. Although we only had 2 S5 girls, our HSPO and I, there were plenty of other schools from across Scotland so a great mix of people. We were also joined by one of our DHTs for the duration of the workshops on Saturday.
Friday night was movie night, watching The Angel’s Share, introduced by actor Paul Brannigan himself. He was happy to answer questions afterwards and was very open and honest about his upbringing which was similar to his character in the film although he said that was a coincidence. Before the movie, pupils were split into groups in an almost “Apprentice” style teambuilding contest.
Saturday was a series of workshops all looking at different types of violence including bullying, domestic abuse and texting. All speakers were experts in their areas, extremely knowledgeable and not afraid to skirt around issues.
Pupils were treated to a disco on Saturday night, after the winners of the teambuilding contest were announced – unfortunately not the team with our girls but they all did really well to perform in front of an audience of about 100 people!
After the group photo on Sunday morning, the remainder of the time was spent teaching pupils how to use the Playbook so that they can then deliver the programme to S1/2 when they return to school.
The weekend was most enjoyable and a real eye-opener in terms of what constitutes violence and learning strategies on how to prevent it happening in schools.