ETL504: Assessment 2 Part B – Reflection

Part B: Reflection

Though I always viewed the management of schools as being driven by the executive and not the sole responsibility of the Principal I now see the relevance of encouraging classroom teachers into other leadership roles. My understanding about the different models of leadership and how they can be applied has grown through the case studies, especially distributed leadership which assists Principals to achieve shared goals and empower staff members (Harris, 2014). I believe this is the ideal leadership model for schools as the principal can select staff members for tasks based on their unique skill set.

As far as my own leadership skill set, while I know that I do have skills to offer developed working in the corporate world, I felt that as a “novice” Teacher Librarian, I would be out of my league working in the case study groups. I surprised myself when I was the first of our group to set up our Wiki. I was happy to volunteer to post the first two case study responses on behalf of my group, and in doing this I felt that I utilised my planning, prioritising and negotiation skills in setting deadlines for group member to contribute their views before I posted. The communication with groups members located as far as Singapore was inspiring, sharing ideas and stories.  Further, working in the case study groups also helped me to appreciate how other people’s points of views, can be useful to build a broader response.

In the Module 3.1 discussion forum on 3 April 2019 I shared my story of 2016 when I was located at a school that experienced significant change when our school merged with the other local school. Change will always be hard for some staff members and thus needs to be approached in an environment of trust and respect. Though I didn’t realise it at the time the Principal, as a transformational leader, put into place every appropriate measure to both unite and support staff at both schools. Now I can see the benefit of the processes put into place I applaud her. The most important thing to affect change is for there to be a vision that motivates, unifies and guides the group (Aguilar, 2015).  Having a vision is paramount to provide direction, even when tough decisions need to be made.

My appreciation of the leadership opportunities available through the role of the Teacher Librarian has been significantly improved because of ETL504. Though I didn’t see the role as a leadership position, we can make a difference, teaching critical thinking and collaboration skills, developing self-directed learners and as an instructional leader upskilling teachers and students alike on using technology to maximise their learning and ensure they are digitally literate. I recently volunteered to upskill staff in a software platform that I am familiar with, and so now have come to realise that this is definitely a possible part of the Teacher Librarian’s role, and I am left feeling enthused about putting my leadership skills into practice. Though well aware of the challenges to the profession (Lupton, 2016), I see evidence of the role remaining visible, and relish the prospect of being a ‘leader from the middle’, demonstrating best practice (Farrell, 2014) and advocating for the importance of the library to student learning (Levitov, 2012).


Reference List

Aguilar, E. (2015, July 16). Cultivating healthy teams in schools. Retrieved from

Farrell, M. (2014). Leading from the middle. Journal of Library Administration, 54(8), 691-699. doi:10.1080/01930826.2014.965099

Godin, S. (2011). The future of the library. [blog] Retrieved at   

Harris, A. (2014, September 29). Distributed leadership. Teacher Magazine, ACER. Retrieved from

Levitov, D. (2012). Activism and the school librarian: Tools for advocacy and survival [Libraries Unlimited version]. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Lupton, M. (2016). Adding value: Principals’ perceptions of the role of the teacher-librarian. School Libraries Worldwide, 22(1).

Assessment 2 – Task B: Reflection

How my view of children’s literature has changed

Before the study of this module, as a Baby Boomer, I too suffered from the Euro-centric idea that “childhood” was a universal state that did not change according to ethnicity, culture, or gender (Burke, 2008). At least in relation to reading and  literature choices.

Why did I think this? As my pre-subject blog post discussed, based on my own childhood memories of reading, I thought it was about being entertained, even though I do recall some moral learning of a moral from the tale of “The tortoise and the hare”, and “The boy who cried wolf”.
However, I have now been enlightened to the skill of many children’s author is to entertain with a good story, that teaches some valuable age-appropriate life learning, either curriculum content or social issues, which, according to Broomhall (2017), the crux of these moral lessons have evolved over time according to changing values and attitudes.

How my view of children’s literature has developed

Literature can teach:

While on professional placement, I had my first opportunity to really investigate what is popular in children’s literature today, (compared with my own childhood memories) and witnessed first hand Short’s (2018)  observation of the move away from “happily ever after” endings, towards texts that focus on realistic fiction and current social themes. This build empathy as well as teaches knowledge (Cornett 2014).

A quote in the chapter by Conrett (2014) says it all.

It’s not what we read, but what we remember that makes us readers.

Inez Tennenbaum, South Carolina State Superintendent (1999-2007)

Using literature to teach, encourages learners to comprehend at higher levels, and motivates students, due to the enjoyment of the reading. Literature which is aesthetically satisfying and visually stimulating supports the growth of comprehension (Cornett, 2014).

Many titles offer insights into the lives, experiences and struggles of refugees or social issues such as “bullying”, demonstrating a blur between realistic fiction and historical fiction (Brannan, 2013). A discussion with the TL confirmed Oltmann’s (2016) point that the culture of a school does not have to make a social issue relevant for teaching.

Literature can be visual:

Short’s other observation on the increased use of images, as an important form of communication (2018, p. 290) that exploits new ways of expression and thinking that engages all readers, also stimulated my interest in the graphic novel trend that has hit secondary schools. I was blown away with the complicated use of panels, non-linear text, and image to provoke thought, even in reluctant readers. Further, the sophisticated use of literary features offers a fresh way to use narrative to teach content (Botzakis, 2018).

Most obvious was the separate classifications, which as Keen (2016) suggests, help to attract senior’s to the section, especially the graphic novels and picture books for seniors. A point that resonated and stuck from one of the “Readings” was that the graphic non-fiction is a great way to offer both aesthetic and efferent reading in one (Travers 2008). I’m sold.

Literature can be digital:

Being a bit “old school” myself, I revelled in the discovery of the new digital literature available online. I am not just talking about eBooks. I am talking about the fully digitised versions of printed books like “The Boat”, or sometimes the title may only available in digital form such as “Sticky” (Bales, 2019).  As Wolf (2014) points out, this is the new move form the dominance of print and text, to image and screen, and teachers are making the shift and adopting theses transformations designed to meet the needs of the wider spectrum of learners’. The issue is the hours it takes to find suitable online material, has been a common theme of discussion forums (Rivers 25 January; Evans 26 November). The simple answer is that TL need to collaborate, not only within their school but also with each other through networks, in order to share links to resources.



Bales, J. (February 2019) @www: Free Literature to Inspire and Inform. Retrieved at

Botzakis, S. (2018). Comics in the classroom: Using graphic novels for content learning. In Children’s literature in the reading program: Engaging young readers in the 21st century 5th Ed., D. Wooten, B. Cullinan, L. Liang & R. Allington (Eds).

Burke, C. (2008). Theories in childhood. In Encyclopedia of children and childhood in history and society. Retrieved from

Brannen, J. (2013). All about realistic fiction for teens. NoveList. Retrieved from

Broomhall, S., McEwan, J. & Tarbin, s. (2017, March 30). Once upon a time: A brief history of children’s literature. In The conversation. Retrieved from

Cornett, C. E. (2014).  Integrating the literary arts throughout the curriculum. In Creating meaning through literature and the arts: An integration resource for classroom teachers (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River,  Prentice Hall.

Cornwall, G. (2018, July 22). How genrefication makes school libraries more like bookstores. In Mindshift. Retrieved from

Keen, N. (2016). Stopping the slide: Improving reading rates in the middle school. Connections, 99. Retrieved from

Oltmann, S. M. (2016). . “They kind of rely on the library”: School librarian serving LGBT students. Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults, 7(1). Retrieved from

Short, K. (2018). What’s trending in children’s literature and why it matters. Language Arts, 95(5), 287-298. Retrieved from

Travers, B. E., & Travers, J. F. (2008). Children, literature and development: Interactions and insights in Children’s literature: A developmental perspective. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.

Wolfe, S. (2014). Children’s literature on the digital move. Reading Teacher, 67(6), 413-417.

Assessment 3 – Part C: Reflection

Part C: Reflection

On reflection of my learning journey to becoming a Teacher Librarian, the most resounding goal of the ASLA/ALIA Professional Standards for Teacher Librarians to my personal learning journey, is the third goal of professional commitment to life-long learning and education.standard 3

Drawing on my earlier observations, I really appreciate the “hybrid” (Christensen, Horn and Staker 2013) idea of the school library, old merging with new. So, I anticipate that blended learning within the library will ensure its sustainability (31 January 2016). I see the library of the future as a user-focused, centralised learning hub, teaching multi-dimensional learners the transferable skills needed for life-long learning, and doing our bit to close the digital divide (IFLA 2013). ‘The library of the future remains irreplaceable’ (Freeman 2005, p. 9). The key to this is “flexibility”.
Next I turn to professional practice. I relish the collaborative nature of the new role, however, shudder as I draw on my earlier observations…

First see it as a “role of “supervision”. Watching, learning, I see that the only link to the role of educator is to “promote good reading habits and facilitate the use of the Library as a of place of reading.” Other than that I observe “collaboration with teaching staff” purchasing and maintaining resources…but not much teaching!!
I started to feel disillusioned. Am I joining the “invisible profession” Karen Bonanno talks about?

standard 2Thankfully, my strategy to implement an inquiry-learning project, involving myself and the TL in the whole-school learning process of student’s assessments we gain a greater stake in the outcomes of the school and provide a more “critical” and invaluable role for ourselves (Haycock 2007, p. 29) I begin to establish some of the goals of professional standard 2.
By drawing in the support of the Principal I also tapped into the goal of leadership,….The Principal passed my article on to the HT in charge of the library with a message saying that he want the HT to ensure this project is implemented.




The one goal that still needs to be developed further is standard 1.4
This is mostly due to my circumstances. I am not practicing as a TL. And my limited experiences, thus far, have not provided a great platform on which I could develop this goal.standard 1
Firstly, my school does not have an information literacy policy. It does not have a library policy or collection management policy.
Why? These policies should be flexible working documents, and not rigid policies to “shackle” the TL. So why are so many TLs frightened of developing such documents. In hindsight, I have learned when I am in charge of my own school library, these policies should be completed with the presence of mind that they are to help me in my practice, and not documents filed away and never looked at again.

Similarly, based on my experiences at two secondary school libraries, I am in two minds about just how much the focus of the TL is on improving the ICT skills of students which are not connected to the library. In one sense this reinforces the library as an important central role in the school’s greater educational objective. However, I found there were obvious gaps in the targeted skills, that a good TL should implement. Inquiry-learning methods, bookmarking websites and referencing and citation skills. Also, many students don’t understand the Dewey system, so some basic instruction in how to locate non-fiction titles in the collection is needed.

However, one area of expertise I can draw on is my knowledge as a “curriculum adviser”. In addressing standard 1. 2, I plan to harness this expertise and aim to introduce some form of evidence-based assessment and the wider use of rubrics within assessment practice.

As I reflect on the way I worked through the earlier stages of the course it resembled eating a meal, taking a bite of this, and a bite of that. Hmm, tasty. Yum. yuk. Not sure?
So, I’m so excited to write that recently, I feel like I have moved onto desert.

The role started to sound juicier than it did at first. I still want to be a teacher and like the idea that the Library should be a ‘centre of learning first and a centre of resources second (Herring 2007)’.


Haycock, K. (2007). Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning. School Libraries Worldwide, 13(1), 25-35.
Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library


Assessment 3: Part B – Final reflective portfolio

Part B
As a changing profession, we should be ensuring that we, as current or future Teacher Librarians are not only a “good fit”, but an “essential fit” for our schools.
As Lamb (2011) suggests, TLs must make a transformation from ‘managing physical resources toward facilitating information and technology’.
Similarly Purcell (2010) proposes that the school library become the ‘hub of the learning community’, and that it is the role of the TL to ‘make a difference in the way ‘teachers teach, and in the way students learn.’
How we do this is through continual growth in ourselves and the profession, learning new pedagogies, developing innovative teaching strategies and resources as part of a collaborative effort with classroom teachers.
This blog entry discusses my professional learning journey, covering three specific themes: the future focussed library, learning through projects and visible literacy, as I progress from ‘a bit of an idea on how things work’ to … a sound understanding from which I can embark into a new profession.
Of importance to note, I am not a practising Teacher Librarian, and have only two experiences upon which to draw from. Firstly, I was placed in the school library temporarily for 1 term, to support the TL due to an increase in allocation due to increased enrolment. I utilised this opportunity to its fullest with the implementation of a trial inquiry-learning module.
My next and only other experience was the 10 professional placement.

The future focused library

At the beginning of the M Ed TL course I had an “underwhelming” idea of what future focussed learning was. Nor was I fully aware of the kinds of Web 2.0 technology, that would be, or could be, applied to the school library.

The Melbourne declaration (MCEETYA 2008) identified opportunities for critical thinking, problem solving and the development of digital technology skills as key priorities for the educational and career futures of 21st century learners (STEM advisory team, Learning and Teaching Directorate, NSW DoE, 2016). Since then, there has been much focus and on what pedagogies are needed to meet this objective.  

However, for me, “four” learning opportunities have added to the growth in my understanding of what a future focussed library would look like.

Firstly, during the subject INF506 I had the chance to dabble with wiki’s and blogs, and curation sites for the first time. This was when I first began to contemplate the opportunities of the TL to provide future focussed explicit instruction and implicit learning opportunities for the 21st century learner.

As the Teaching Standards apply to everyone I was already aware, that the role of the TL, like any teacher, is to educate students to be digitally aware students that are conscious of their own digital footprint.

However, INF506 provided new opportunities to learn how to use the unique “inter-operability” of Web 2.0 technologies as collaborative online learning spaces where learners have the ability to interact with other sites and platforms. I was specifically interested in having a working knowledge of the key criteria for effective library website design.
As a baseline to use as a guide of what I could aim for, I discovered, and was blown away by the bottomless pit of the ASU library’s website and online services. It is one thing learning the theory and value of harnessing the 4 C’s of Web 2.0, collaboration, conversation, community and content creation, but the value of seeing it put into action by ASU library, using new 2.0 technologies to connect with their students, was invaluable.
What an eye opener to what we can achieve for a 21st century library. Their use of digitization and portability of information is a leading example of what is needed for a library to not just survive, but thrive (O’Connell 2008, p. 52). An opportunity for the future awaits, I hope.

My second learning opportunity came while on my professional placement.

I recall my earlier observation is that the role of the TL is becoming more concerned with preparing students to become “Digital Citizens” and “life-long learners” ready for the 21st Century, than the traditional keeper of books.

The refurbishment of the school library provided another opportunity to learn how to “create” a future focussed library. Interestingly, an evidence-based study on the most influential physical factors that affect student learning found that most are connected to the natural elements such as air quality and temperature and natural light. Other than these natural elements, the study found that two main factors of importance are “flexibility”, being breakout spaces connected to the main spaces, and “complexity”, being a variety of learning spaces for learners to choose from (Barret et. al. 2015).

Hence school library spaces are being transformed. Filippi (2016) points out that students today need to be empowered with the skills to effectively use and interpret the huge increase in data found online in today’s learning environment. For this to occur, two changes in pedagogy are required. A focus on “Inquiry” learning models and new innovative learning spaces designed for collaborative and flexible learning. I am really excited that TLs have the opportunity to take a leading role in providing this new learning environment (Filippi 2016). Lindsay (2017) similarly points to the changes in pedagogy needed, so that learners have the necessary transferable skills, for global learning that occurs beyond the classroom. The report into School Libraries of the 21 century commissioned by the Literacy Unit of the NSW Department of Education (Education Matters), identified 3 major factors driving changes in the roles for educators such as Teacher Librarians, being an increase in:
• Online resources and social networks for learning
• Ubiquitous nature of mobile devices
• Need for digital media literacy

My third and most significant learning opportunity came via a Teacher Librarian network meeting. I had the opportunity to meet Sunny South, TL at Sydney Secondary School, Leichardt Campus who is transforming the school library with flexible spaces, a variety of learning tools, and activities that offer opportunities for innovative thinking. South (2017) writes, ‘With dynamic learning spaces and a range of learning tools, the school library easily becomes the most sort after learning environment in the school’. Hence, at the school where I did my professional experience placement, there was a focus on more collaborative, flexible learning spaces that can easily transform from explicit teaching to group work, with access to online digital technology at ones’ fingertips anywhere in the library space. To make way for this transformation, the non-fiction section was reduced dramatically to account for the increase in use of the internet for more up-to-date access to data, that books can no longer provide.
This third learning opportunity came in the form of professional learning. I had the opportunity to join a TL network group in Sydney for one day.
Just as the Learning and Teaching Directorate (2016) team suggests, an integrated STEM framework for implementation in all schools K-12, I was pleased to find the opportunity to learn a number of strategies to incorporate STEM and STEAM projects in the library, both Primary and Secondary. Some libraries are using Beebots and coding to assist in improving literacy skills, by targeting a chosen story/book and developing prediction tasks, literacy sequencing activities and “recount” tasks.

Littlebits are being used by some libraries to offer “maker-space” programs in order to promote innovation and creative thinking (little bits Educators guide) with forums and resource sharing ideas on the Littlebits’ .cc/browse-lessons website.
Then lastly, a fourth learning opportunity came in the form of a professional learning day facilitated by the NSW DET. I learned about choosing appropriate IT technology according to the “learning modes” using the DET’s Learning Tool Selector.

The principles derived from the Victorian DET study identify that pedagogical activities require specific spatial qualities to be effective. Each principle requires specific pedagogical approaches to support that principle, and these pedagogies are applied through the five core activities or modes. These modes have direct implications for learning settings and design (Fisher 2005).
Just as Parkes (2010) writes, Web 2.0 is transforming the school library. Not just by increasing the number of e-books and journals as readers turn to digital texts. But rather, it is because learners now use the internet to search, discover and find answers.
After some reflective reading, I now realise, that the TL of the 21st Century library is sooooo much more.

Project style learning in the school library
My second theme to explore for the professional learning reflective portfolio is the varied forms of learning which can be completed in the library through projects.
I purposefully avoid the terms Project-based learning or PBL as these can refer to a specific style of study, as opposed to other research styles such as Inquiry-based learning, or makerspaces, or blended learning styles, and others.
Schell’s (2006) investigation also included a combination of using blended learning styles utilising online collaboration and learning forums with PBL research tasks. That is to say, the library can be a vessel for many different types of project-style learning, combining traditional methods with 21st century digital learning tools.
I begin with my early experiences with projects conducted in the library, by remembering my previous school, where many faculties, including the HSIE faculty, suffered from TRS (Traditional Research Syndrome) a pedagogy that runs counter to the learning experienced through ISP (Maniotes 2014, p. 9). As Fitzgerald (2011, p. 27) points out, traditional methods of ‘go find out about’ research fail to link “First space” [the students world] and “Second space” [the school curriculum]. If student fail to connect these two spaces, then they can’t move onto “Third space” which is where they transform knowledge into deep understanding and make sense of the world.
Unfortunately, there was no digital media, no information literacy skills, no guided inquiry.
Just kids gathering information, “cut and paste” style and gluing them onto a poster along with pretty pictures, some of which had nothing to do with the topic. There was no deep learning or understanding….but they were pretty!

Full of enthusiasm and ideas gained from my study and wide reading in ETL401, I set about to initiate an Inquiry-based learning project, not only held in the school library but led by myself and the fulltime Teacher Librarian. With the support of the Principal, I set out to initiate the collaboration of two faculties, HSIE and Science, based on the fact that the Australian Curriculum specifically identifies these KLAs should be teaching inquiry-based learning. Along with the new inquiry-method of learning, we would implement some Information Literacy lessons that would be directly connected to assignments that students have been asked to complete. Students were taught how to identify a valid website that provides quality information useful for education versus commercial “.com” sites that might contain unverified data and or bias information. They were shown how to bookmark websites, make notes in their own words and include source citations at the same time before they forgot the source completely.
Barrett (2014) promotes the use of digital learning portfolios to support the principles of Assessment for Learning, as they help the learner tell their own story about their own learning. For our project, we chose to use “exit cards”.

Exit cards as well as journals/portfolios can be completed on paper as traditional methods dictate, or they could be in digital form which then adds to the level of digital literacy needed to access and use specific online learning tools. We chose digital form to improve students IT skills, which was a huge learning curve for some students, hence the decision was made to use exit cards at the end of each lesson, as a simpler task, rather than a reflective journal.
The inquiry project I initiated was very much related to the curriculum for each discipline.
However, the recent opportunity to attend a TL network meeting provided other insights into the types of projects being conducted at schools in and around Sydney.



However, the recent opportunity to attend a TL network meeting provided other insights into the types of projects being conducted at schools in and around Sydney.
As mentioned earlier, Sunny South is implementing STEM and STEAM projects in the school library at Sydney Secondary College, Leichardt campus, to promote problem-solving skills and creative and innovative thinking using VR technology, BeeBots, and Littlebits.

Tempe High School has just implemented PBL recently. The strategy is to pose a “driving question” for student to investigate and answer using a visual and written presentation. Common themes for this have been the cross-curricular priorities from the Australian Curriculum, of Sustainability, Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia, and Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Histories and Culture.

As PBL has been in place now long enough for there to be an analysis and evaluation, some recommendations have been made with regard to equity of student input and the identification of explicit group roles and allocated tasks. The use of a jigsaw puzzle to randomise the allocation of group roles, which also explicitly teach the expectation of each role within the group teaches collaboration skills, which are central to PBL, as well as student self-directed learning and decision making and problem-solving skills (Schell 2006).
Schell (2006) also points out the use of digital technology platforms within the blended learning models used in 2st century PBL, increased the learners retention of new knowledge due to the increase in visual, audio and authentic learning environments.



Visual literacy
In my investigation of the “true” interpretation of visual literacy, I was first drawn to Michelson’s (2017) paper that alerts us to the Rochester school of thinking that children learn to interpret visual cues, including body languagequero cup, before they begin to read and interpret words. Interestingly, the school of thought included the study of cultural anthropology and art history, in the development of the 2011 ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, which includes the ability to interpret the meanings of images and evaluate, analyse and use images effectively for communication. verse


While on a recent trip to South America, while visiting the Pre-colombia museum of anthropology I was reminded that visual literacy had been around for thousands of years, with the many forms of visual representations and story-telling found on pottery, weavings, knot-tying and other art forms. knot-tie necklace
Similarly, Barrett (2014) quotes Frank Smith, ‘The best teachers are story tellers. We learn in the form of stories.’ A basic interpretation of visual literacy is the ability construct meaning from visual images (Giorgis et. Al. 2008). For generations well-crafted illustrations, using various techniques from ‘use of line’, ‘use of texture’, ‘use of composition and design’, ‘use of colour’, ‘use of perspective’ have been overly utilised in children’s books to provide an opportunity to stimulate critical thinking (Giorgis et. al., 2008). This is a not a new concept within library pedagogy, nor a new avenue for teaching within the school library. Illustrations on their own have just as much of a story to tell than the words on the page, and repeated opportunities to explore visual elements provide a richer understanding of the story it tells (Giorgis et. al., 2008).

While on my professional placement I grew to love the graphic novels and appreciate that they were “genrefied” just as is the common trend in many school libraries and city libraries, located front and centre near the library entrance, as a kind of “gateway” (Cornwall 2018) to popular reading. The graphic non-fiction is a great way to offer both aesthetic and efferent reading in one (Travers 2008). I noticed that there is a marked number of titles that offer insights into the lives, experiences and struggles of refugees, either before and or after they come to a new country. this is a trend that was also identified by Short (2018). As Brannan (2013) points out there is a growing blur between realistic fiction and historical fiction. Many issues that are currently being studied in a number of subject areas such as “coming of age” “bullying” “race and religion” or “class and gender” can be studied through realistic graphic fiction.

Moving forward into the 21st century, the increase in digitally enhanced images surrounding us in our personal, work and educational spheres has led to the emergency of the study of Digital Visual Literacy. digital visual literacy

As Spalter and van Dam (2008) point out, the World Wide Web has given the concept of “freedom of the press” a whole new meaning, with limited censorship for age appropriate viewing. With the media saturation of digital images, and he ubiquitous nature of computer graphics and special effect, means that photos can be stored using 1s and 0s, and the emergence of fauxtography where images are easily altered, means that learners must now be more critical interpreters of visual information, including active images, than ever before. In the knowledge economy of the 21st century, today’s learners need to more appreciative and critical of visual material than ever before (Spalter and van Dam 2008).

Simply put, visual communication is the process of sending and receiving messages using images. Cheung and Jhavari have gone a step further to identify visual literacy as the ability to understand, produce and use culturally significant images, objects and visual actions. In this sense it would also include the ability to understanding anthropological tribal dances or new-age interpretive performing arts/dance. Though visual representation and communication through story-telling has been around since before the Inca Empire, the age of the internet and 21st century technology has re-ignited the focus on visual literacy to include 3 of Debes’s concepts of importance:
• That an importance be placed on analysis of images
• That pedagogy needs to adapt new approaches in accordance with the new information technologies that are affecting childhood development and learning
• That the information revolution requires students’ to take a larger part in their own learning processes (Michelson 2017)

From an investigation into visual literacy, led to an investigation of Visible Thinking, and its context within the school library.

thinking routines linked

As Cheung and Jhaveri (2016) point out the crucial role of developing learner’s critical and creative thinking skills through visual literacy. difference in teaching using visual aids, versus the actual teaching of visual literacy. One team in the Sydney TL network have created a number of projects for the TL to implement, for both EL Primary to Secondary, using the strategies of visible thinking as a framework for enriching learning and intellectual development. thinking routines

By following strategies known as Thinking Routines, the practice of Visible Thinking has two goals: to cultivate students’ thinking skills and dispositions, and, to deepen content learning, with four underpinning ideals: Understanding; Truth; Fairness; and Creativity ( The concept behind it is that visible thinking is utilising all the senses, not just what you see with your eyes. Further to this, to make a learner’s thinking visible not just to themselves but also their peers and the teacher, encourages improved engagement and deeper learning. Within the context of the new Australian Curriculum, the Thinking Routines support the development of the following general capabilities:
• Critical and creative thinking
• Ethical understanding
• Intercultural understanding
• Personal and social capability

lesson ideas
The amount of resources available to support the implementation of visible thinking strategies and projects was vast and too much to list here, hence the number of hyperlinks and images included. However, I have a good base on which to draw from for future learning strategies in a school library space.



Allington, R. L. and Gabriel, R. E., (2012, March). Every Child, Every Day. Educational Leadership.

Barrett, P., Zhang, Y., Davies, F., and Barrett, L., (2015). Clever Classrooms. University of Salford, Manchester.

Barrett, H. (2014). Electronic Portfolios as Digital Stories of Deep Learning. retrieved at

Cheung, C. and Jhaveri, A. D., (2016) Developing student’s critical thinking skills through visual literacy in the New Secondary School Curriculum in Hong Kong. Asia Pacific Journal of Education. 36:3 p. 379-389

Education Matters Magazine. (2018). School libraries supporting 21st century learning.

Ferguson, S., Hider, P., Lloyd, A., (2008, February). Are librarians the ultimate knowledge managers? A study of knowledge, skills, practice and mindset. The Australian Library Journal.

Fillipi, M. (2016). Future focussed learning – step forward and lead by example. Scan. Vol. 35, issue 4

Fisher, K. (2005, March) Linking pedagogy and space. Department of Education and Training (Victoria). retrieved at:

Fitzgerald, L. (2011). The twin purposes of Guided Inquiry: Guiding student inquiry and evidence based practice. Scan, 30(1), 26-41.

Gaiman, N. (2013, October 16). Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming. The Guardian.

Giorgis, C., Johnson, N. J., Bonomo, A., Conner, C., Kauffman, G., and Kulesza, D., (1999, October) Children’s Books: Visual Literacy. The Reading Teacher. Vol. 53, No. 2, p. 146-153

Hutchinson, A., Beschorner, B. and Schmidt-Crawford, D. (2012). The Reading Teacher. Vol. 66, issue 1

Lamb, A. (2011). Bursting with Potential: Mixing a Media Specialist’s Palette

Lindsay, J. (2017). Connecting beyond the Classroom – Move from local to global learning modes, Scan. Vol. 36 issue 2

Maniotes, L.K., Kuhlthau, C. (2014) Making the shift. Knowledge Quest. 43(3) 8-17

McLean, N. (2002). Information futures – professional issues. ALIA biennial conference, Powering the Future, paper

Michelson, A. (2017, April). A short history of visual literacy: the first five decades, ALJ.

Purcell, M. (2010). All Librarians Do is Check Out Books, Right? A Look at the Roles of a School Library Media Specialist

Schell, R. (2006). Piloting an online narrative-driven case study for problem-based learning, Simon Fraser University, Thesis

South, S. (2017). School libraries as incubators – where good ideas hatch! Scan. Vol. 38, Issue 1

Spalter, A. M., and van Dam, A. (2008). Digital Visual Literacy. Theory into Practice. 47:2, p. 93-101

STEM education advisory team. (2016). STEM education: the story so far. NSW Department of Education, Learning and Teaching Directorate, Scan, Vol. 35, issue 2


Assessment 3: Part A

Part A
My statement of personal philosophy:
An “effective teacher librarian” is one that promotes learning first and foremost. Books, and reading are only the tip of the iceberg. A library is place of education and, a destination for life-long-learning.
While as start, reading for pleasure assists to raise literate children, reading also promotes “empathy” and learning about key issues in and around us. Learning about others and our own place in the world through reading also stimulates knowledge building, imagination and creativity and an interest in learning. Therefore, libraries are places where people go to for information, in any form; paper, digital, audio: and, in essence, the library represents freedom of education or freedom to learn.

Gaiman, N. (2013, Oct 16). Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming. The Guardian,

Series Fiction and the young or old reader

  • I resonated with the literature on series fiction for children as the nostalgia of remembering the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series which were a favourite of mine growing up.

The attachment of any child or adult to a series fiction book is the “comfort” of knowing that if you enjoyed the last one the next one should also be well-received. As Wooldrige (2015) suggests the reader enters the ‘reassuringly known world’ with familiar plots, characters and settings but gains other benefits such as further exposure to the elements of prose fiction, as well as enjoyment and pleasure in reading. The other quite poignant factor is the social connection with other readers who share the same love of the series. In this sense, reading changes from the ‘solitary activity’ of the past to a current social activity, (McGill-Franzen and Ward 2018) that engages readers beyond the paper page of the book.

i also enjoyed the confirmation of a long known fact that being exposed to the same style of writing or formulaic modelled texts (the magic number I thought was 7) such as Stahl’s 12 encounters was a way to not only help a learner read but when they are exposed to the conventions of reading for understanding they also are able to develop those skills to write.

Another point that jumped out was Westfahl’s point that a “planned” series was better than one that was just added to over time, as in these cases the author sometimes tires of the story themselves. To substantiate this he pointed out the success of JR Rowlings planned 7 titles for the Harry Potter series. This reminded me of a the planned series of the adult fiction series of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, where sadly the author died before writing all 10 planned titles. In this case I believe the publisher’s interest in cashing in on the un-written titles meant that subsequent titles written by a different author were not as well received. so it is not just the familiarity of character, plot and setting that a reader seeks, it is also the consistency in writing standard (also suggested by Wooldrige 2015) that the reader has developed with the author. In this sense a shared passion between reader and writer.


McGill-Franzen, A. & Ward, N. (2018). To develop proficiency and engagement, give series books to novice readers. In D. Wooten, B. Cullinan, L. Liang & R. Allington (Eds). Children’s literature in the reading program: Engaging young readers in the 21st century, (5th ed., pp. 153-168). Retrieved from Proquest Ebook Central.

Westfahl, G. (1999-2018). Series fictionWorld of Westfahl. Retrieved from

Woolridge, T. (2015). Series fiction and Sallly Rippin’s Billie B Brown series: The ‘Most important continuous reading children do on their own’mETAphor, 3, 30-35. Retrieved from

Curriculum planning for 2019

Today I was able to spend some time with the two Teacher Librarians as they planning the curriculum of learning for the library skills for next year’s Year 7.

We created a scope and sequence for the year with targeted planned learning for each term.

Term 1 is labeled ICT fundamentals. I was mostly surprised at first as these skills were not “specifically” library related, but apparently it has become the expectation of the librarian to cover these skills.

Also, they covered some very very basic skills but as student come with widely varying ICT abilities, it needs to be done in order to make life easier for the library staff as well as the teachers.

Soem of the term 1 skills included, learning how to log onto the DET student portal, and checking sending emails. Also using the schools learning management system called Sentral, to access and check their timetables etc. As the school is a BYOD school, the also need to make sure student know how to access and log on to the school/DET’s Wifi.

Then the more library related skills such as using Oliver, customising their homes page, saving/bookmarking books of interest,  how to access the catalogue, make requests for titles and make bookings  for devices and spaces in the library (especially for students studying through Distance Education need to sometimes book the small AV rooms).

In Term 2 they will cover Britannica online encyclopedia (available and accessed via Oliver through subscription) and teaching students to use Microsoft Teams, for each subject which is a new whole school focus  as an approach to a more cenral method of resource access and collation, and collaboration. The technology team is pushing for wide use of OneNote so this may be covered as well. What I found intesrting her is that once I questioned “why?” they didn’t really have a very good pedagogical answer other than telling me how fabulous OneNote is….as though I have never used the software. I tried to present my concern that the parameters of OneNote (which I, an adult,  use in a corporate setting) may just be too sophisticated for some students and so enhancing a Gap in technology skills.

Term 3 was then to focus on other technology skills such creating Fake Websites…(the aim was lost here) and so remains a work in progress

Again I am in two minds about just how much the focus of the TL here is on improving the ICT skills of students that are not connected to the library. In one sense this reinforces the library as an important central role in the school’s greater educational objective. However, I found there was obvious gaps in the targeted teaching skills not mentioned in this scope and sequence. Inquiry learning methods, bookmarking websites and referencing and citation skills. Also, many students don’t understand the dewey system, so some basic instruction in how to locate non-fiction titles in the collection once an item is identified within the catalogue or through simple browsing. I think that the non-fiction collection can be quite in-accessbile to many student for the Dewey system and why circulation is so low. I would prefer to genrify the non-fiction collection to address this.




As promised to my practicum supervisor, I have been assisting with the pre-stock take weeding of the non-fiction collection. As I am unfamiliar with the collection. I chose to use an analysis report as a guide, with some curriculum knowledge and gut instinct to confirm any removal of items from the collection. he parameters were set to pick up items older than 10 years and with no circulation in 6 years. This was set to remove approximately 40-50% of the non fiction section to make way for new compacted shelving and make way for greater space for collaborative learning.

As i didn’t not know the collection very well I found this a great way to get to know it on an intimate level.

Some items were most definitely ready to be culled, but if I was unsure I made stacks for the TL to check. During this negotiation phase, I learned great respect for the TL to know the collection so closely so as to know which items are commonly used by the various faculties. I hope that some day I will also be as familiar with a collection.





Transforming the library – new spaces for twenty first century learning

Just as Parkes (2010) writes, Web 2.0 is transforming the school library. Not just by increasing the number of e-books and journals as readers turn to digital texts, it is because people now use the internet to search, discover and find answers. hence school library spaces are being transformed. In many cases information such as data and demographics changes so rapidly that books can’t keep up. Hence the non-fiction section is decreasing in size to make way for more computers to access up-to-date information online. Similarly are the increase in literature related digital resources, and media tie-ins connected to a book (Harvey 2015), that also include a fifth trend in inter-activity with reading. digital and multi-modal digital texts provide a deeper connection with the literature through interaction and experiences (Winch et. al. 2014). Peowski (2010) highlights the number of teen related review websites  and blogs dedicated to YA literature for the teen audience that enhance and embrace the internet with life-long learning.

Similarly, teaching and pedagogy needs to also follow suit, and the teaching spaces within schools such as the school library are doing just that.

While on professional placement, I was able to join in the discussion about the refurbishments being planned for the school library in 2019.

First on the agenda was a dramatic reduction of the non-fiction section. It needed to be halved to make way for more inquiry learning and collaborative teaching spaces. This also included an increase in the number of computers. Whether this will be desk tops or borrow-able laptops for use only within the library is both on the table. As the use of the library increases to be a place os instruction, and the digital environment takes a large impact, so there will be new interactive panels installed that can serve as a regular whiteboard for notes, but with the ability to annotate and save for later. the panels are interactive and connected to the internet, so access to research, video clips, and student practise are all within one device.

The inclusion of booth seating for group work and collaboration and round tables for discussion which can be re-arranged to increase the size of the group as it expands or reduces. These are all things that can be made versatile to make the library a future-focused place of education to equip students with transferable skills for the future as life-long learners

See proposed new floor-plan below.

refurbishment floor plan-1gidfso.


Harvey, E. (2015, December 8). Five trends affecting children’s literature. In Book Business. Retrieved from

Parkes, D. (2010). Web 2.0 and libraries: Impacts, technologies and trends. In D. Parkes & G. Walton (Eds.), Transforming the library – e-books and e-buildings, pp. 13-29, Oxford: Chandos. Retrieved from eReserve.

Peowski, L. (2010). Where are all the teens: Engaging and empowering them onlineYoung Adult Library Services, 8(2), 26-28. Retrieved from

Winch, G., Ross Johnston,R., March, P.,  Ljungdahl, L. & Holliday, M. (Eds.). (2014). Literacy: Reading, writing and children’s literature (5th ed., pp. 557-581). Retrieved from Proquest Ebook Central.

Browsing the graphic novel section

I found some time to browse the graphic novel collection in preparation for ETL402 I loved that the graphic novels were genrefied just as is the common trend in many school libraries and city libraries and front and centre near the library entrance, as a kind of “gateway” (Cornwall 2018)  to popular reading,  with a small quiet reading section nearby. the genre selections were graphic fiction, graphic non-fiction, picture book fiction and picture book non-fiction. As this is a 7-12 school, I  felt that as Keen (2016) suggests, within each section some further classification into junior and senior would also help to attract senior’s to the  section. Especially the picture books for seniors.

I was really impressed, and pleasantly surprised that some of the more common titles were there, including the Pulitzer prize winning Maus. I was also able to browse some titles that I was unsure about. Further, the graphic non-fiction is a great way to offer both aesthetic and efferent reading in one (Travers 2008). I noticed that there is a marked number of titles that offer insights into the lives, experiences and struggles of refugees, either before and or after they come to a new country. this is a trend that was also identified by Short (2018). As Brannan (2013) points out there is a growing blur between realistic fiction and historical fiction. Many issues that are currently being studied in a number of subject areas such as “coming of age” “bullying” “race and religion” or “class and gender” can be studied through realistic fiction. And the school culture does not have to be experiencing the trend for it to be relevant. As Oltmann points out, even if the school has no students or teacher that identify as LGBT it is part of society and so highly likely they will know someone through family or friends.


Brannen, J. (2013). All about realistic fiction for teens. NoveList. Retrieved from

Cornwall, G. (2018, July 22). How genrefication makes school libraries more like bookstores. In Mindshift. Retrieved from

Keen, N. (2016). Stopping the slide: Improving reading rates in the middle school. Connections, 99. Retrieved from

Oltmann, S. M. (2016).  . “They kind of rely on the library”: School librarian serving LGBT students. Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults, 7(1). Retrieved from

Short, K. (2018). What’s trending in children’s literature and why it matters. Language Arts, 95(5), 287-298.
Travers, B. E., & Travers, J. F. (2008). Children, literature and development: Interactions and insights in Children’s literature: A developmental perspective. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.

Some graphic novel selections to support the senior HSC English study

Selecting some texts

Darlene browsing a selected titel