Reflection #2 Susan Scanlon

I am excited! Excited about Graduate School. Excited about Library Information Studies. Excited about Young Adult Literature. I felt so new to all of this just 12 weeks ago, but now I am adjusted and thriving. In these twelve short weeks, I have learned more and been inspired more than I ever thought I could in such a short amount of time.

Going back to school after sixteen years was scary, but the best decision I have made for myself in a long time. I have enjoyed many of the different materials we have read as a class and those that I have picked out for my reading log. I certainly have found materials I didn’t necessarily like as well. However, that is just part of the learning process – finding what works and doesn’t work for my learning experience.

One item in particular that I had a hard time with was the AASL Standards for 21st Century Learners. I found this difficult because I don’t have a formal teaching background and experience with standards in general. However, this allowed for great conversation in the forum posts. I learned a lot from my fellow students.

They have opened my eyes to different ideas that I may not have thought of.

After reading the AASL Standards for 21st Century Learners in week 9, I wrote a forum post about the standards being so overwhelming, redundant, and hard to get anything out of. After reading through a few posts from students who do have experience with standards, I felt like I could give the AASL standards a second chance. Michaela Connelly’s week 9 forum post, Love to Hate – Standards, made me think further. I thought about the alternative to not having standards, how having guidelines really can be helpful in creating lesson plans. Michaela says, “And, because the AASL standards are fairly vague, everything I do connects in more ways than one. Don't hate the standards, everyone needs an outline...just play the game and use them to your advantage.” Why not use the standards to my advantage? I could definitely create meaningful lesson plans and have them match up to these standards. Now I am excited to do so!

Communication and collaboration with this class has been so rewarding throughout. The weekly readings and activities encourage great discussions and idea sharing. We began with the idea of choice for teens in reading. How important it is for students to have choice in what they read to develop their love of reading and in turn become lifelong learners. I will carry this idea forward with me forever, with my future students and with my own children. I can see what a difference choice has made for me as a reader. I haven’t ever read so much, or wanted to – choice makes all the difference.

Collection Development was another topic covered that brought together great collaboration. At first, I was unsure of what to weed, keep, and add to a library collection. After reading the articles from weeks five and six, I began to feel more confident. Visiting a local high school and meeting the librarian there was a wonderful experience. She shared so much of her knowledge with us (Jessica Lombardi and I) and offered considerable guidance throughout the process. The experience in performing a collection analysis in a real library was instrumental to my learning.

Engaging adolescent readers was a fun topic to learn about. We learned about makerspaces and all the exciting ideas educators are using to engage young adults. I had heard about makerspaces before this class, but hadn’t gotten a chance to really investigate. Once I explored makerspaces, I felt inspired. And the fact that schools are looking to include makerspaces in the library is even more exciting.

I definitely see myself including a makerspace in the school library I will be so lucky to work in. Students always learn better with hands-on activities – I will be sure to encourage makerspaces throughout my career as a librarian.

In week 8, we read Book Love by Penny Kittle. I fell in love with this book because it emphasizes all that I hope to do as a librarian. Kittle describes how to encourage reluctant readers, how to engage with young adults, and how to transform a life. What could be better? I believe every librarian and ELA teacher should read this book. I am so grateful this was a required text for this class.

Week 8 also encouraged us to attend a library program event. This gave me an invaluable experience to interact with young adults in the library and to observe what they like about the library. In just an hour, I discovered the importance of the library in my community. The young adults love coming to the library for different “teen” programs. I saw how they are treated with such respect and attention by the young adult librarian that it inspired me to work with them too. I hope to volunteer at my local library with these teen programs in the future.

The last few weeks have been focused on digital literacy. This is a great topic for me because I hope to focus a great deal on digital literacy in my future school library. I come from a technical background and would love to incorporate my past into my future. Learning about the exciting technology for students can be overwhelming, but makes it clear that I will be a lifelong learner too. The articles and websites assigned will be so helpful in the future. I especially enjoyed learning from Kelly Mendoza, from Common Sense Media (K. Mendoza, virtual session communication, November 10, 2016).

Kelly shared the invaluable resources of Common Sense, which I will be making use of often. The communication and collaboration Common Sense uses among educators, families, and students is inspiring. The digital citizenship tab and lesson plans tab under For Educators will be a tremendous help to my future as a librarian.

I wasn’t sure I could do this – go back to school and become a librarian. Now, I am more motivated than ever. I am excited, eager, and confident that I can do this. I have learned more in this one class than I could have imagined. I look forward to what the future has in store and will continue communicating and collaborating with my peers!

References:

American Library Association (2007). AASL Standards for the 21st-century learner. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/guidelinesandstandards/learningstandards/AASL_LearningStandards.pdf

Connelly, Michaela. “Love to Hate-Standards.” Forums / Week 9: Reading Discussion / Week 9 Reading Prompt / Love to Hate – Standards. 3 Nov. 2016. < https://sakai.uri.edu/portal/site/0e354a32-194a-498b-acdd-dd130757e8c6/page/0cc15968-1d06-48ee-914c-1b55b4027a5c>

Kittle, P. (2013). Book love: Developing depth, stamina and passion in adolescent readers. Portsmouth NH: Heinemann.

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