Because learning happens 24/7 and not just during the school week, I attended the Massachusetts School Library Association (MSLA) Conference in Framingham the last weekend in March. There were some incredible speakers, including Andrea Davis Pinkney and Jack Gantos. There were also some amazing presenters, talking about everything from creating a student-centered library to making the library accessible with technology.
I presented on two different topics at the conference. The first was titled Virtual Learning Commons (VLC): The digital heart of a school community and district. The panel presentation focused on cultivating a school library web presence to reinforce the role of the library as the “heart of the school community."
The second presentation was titled “Making Readers”: How Makerspaces Can Impact Literacy. The presentation explored the learning opportunities that emerge when bringing student imagination to life and demonstrated the unique affordances of maker activities to ensure meaningful student engagement and transform teaching and learning. We showed how students can use hands-on materials to take control over their own learning and become an active part of the learning process when reading stories. We looked at some real project examples, showing attendees resources they can use in their own space.
I had a wonderful time meeting librarians from across the state, sharing tips on how school libraries are for everyone. It was an exciting night for the Shaw as Ms. Osei-Bobie won the Administrator Advocate Award. This award honors administrators who have made significant contributions to the promotion of effective school library programs and services. It recognized the significant impact Ms. Osei-Bobie has had on the Shaw’s library.
Even on a weekend, my students and the Shaw library are never far from my mind. Sunday led me all the way to Worcester, MA where I attended the The Massachusetts School Library Association (MSLA) Conference. This conference was called “Future Ready” and focused on the work school librarians are doing to transform their own schools into places of fruitful learning. The morning started off with an inspiring talk from author A.S. King. Her own school library experience helped shape her as a writer, and she spoke to how much of an impact school librarians can have on students that otherwise feel excluded or different.
With King’s moving message resonating, I participated in a presentation titled, “Using Action Research to Improve Your Practice” alongside Boston Public Schools library colleagues. During this panel presentation, I talked about an action research project I have been working on in the library. Over the past few months, I collected data to see if reading selection influenced student story comprehension. I shared my findings in the hopes of increasing coherent school library teaching and learning access for students, and improving my own practice through the use of data. My research showcased active student learning in the library.
Lunchtime offered up-close and personal conversations with some amazing authors and illustrators. I was able to get an inside look at the creative processes of Mike Curato, Matt Tavares, and Lisa Yee.
I was lucky enough to be one of the few chosen to exhibit the Shaw’s vibrant library community and the foundational skills being built. Library teachers from across the state commended the work being done in our library and commented on how engaged our students seem in their work.
I accepted the President’s Award, which goes to someone "who has made an impact on student learning and positively contributed to their school in a career of five or fewer years as a School Librarian."
The evening concluded with a presentation by author and teacher Jennifer Casa-Todd. Casa-Todd spoke about how our role as educators is to embrace social media and inspire students to use it positively, making them digital leaders instead of just followers. The shared experiences and conversations I had with school librarians from all across the state allowed me to see all the positive work being done in the field. Speaking with my colleagues gave me some wonderful new ideas to try out in my own library space, and I am excited to see what the future has to hold for all of us in this field.
Last week I found out that I was chosen as one of this year’s recipients of the 2018 Massachusetts School Library Association (MSLA) President’s Award. This award honors someone that has made a significant impact on student learning through a quality school library program. I will receive the award on March 25th at the MSLA Awards Banquet at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was newsworthy enough for The Boston Globe's James Vaznis to tweet about it!
I am so thankful to be recognized.
It's hard to believe that just a few years ago we didn't have any books or shelves! The library space has certainly come a long way. I am so proud to be part of the P.A. Shaw School community and all of the incredible work that our students partake in each and every school day.
Mrs. Keohane is the School Librarian at the P.A. Shaw. She loves hockey, going to the beach, and reading (obviously!)