Reflecting on ETL402 


This course reminds me of a pick-a-path book. There are so many adventures and its impossible to go on all of them. Searching articles on one topic would lead to new topics just as exciting and worthy of study but eventually one had to make a choice and go with it until the end. 

I have found new ways to run library lessons. Not that I wasn’t using quality texts and activities before but now I see another way of doing things that can work better than the stand alone approach I have used in the past. I can support units being taught in classrooms by incorporating quality literature and response strategies. What students learn from me may help in the classroom and vice versa.  

The learning that sticks with me most was around Indigenous Literature and what that actually means. There is no one answerAs a Teacher Librarian I need to be able to back up my decisions when questioned and I took away from my readings one simple statement that I will apply to future purchasing decisions that deal with any specific group Aunty Joy Murphy (Allen, 2016said It should show respect. If I make my decisions based on that statement I can’t go wrong.  

 As I said in my blog (Condrick, 2021) I have always tried to find books with characters that looked like my students. All the reading I did on mirrors, window and sliding doors reinforced that I had been doing the right thing.  I have been able to gather a great deal of “book learning” in this course, I think I often forget what I know or why I started doing things and in the past when someone questioned why I was using a picture book for stage 3 I would back down even when I knew I had the students learning at the forefront of my mind. Many of the readings both prescribed such as Literacy: Reading, Writing and Children’s Literature (Winch, 2014) and ones I have discovered on my own are now in a file ready to produce when I need them. Why is there a LGBTQ collection? Read this. Why did you give yr 12 a picture book? Take a look at this article. I don’t like conflict but I am also not one to back down if I can prove I am right. This subject has given me lots of ways to back up my actions.  

This course has allowed me to find evidence of why Teacher Librarians are important, what direction I should move in in the future, and thanks to Jennie’s online presence, how I need to publicise it in the future. I will be preparing kits to support units, putting together how to pages for strategies that can be used with various books and send these out to staff and gain a deeper understanding of the senior curriculum so that I can inform teachers of what we have in the library that can support their teaching. I’m hoping it will be a case of if you build it they will come. 


Allen, N. (2016). Cover book – Welcome to country. Magpies, 31(4), 12. 

Condrick, T (2021, January 10). Reflections on Assignment 1 ETL402. Tracey’s Thoughts: Are you ready to fall down THIS rabbithole? 


Winch, G., Ross, J.R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L., & Holliday, M. (2014). Literacy : Reading, writing and children’s literature (5th Ed.). Oxford University Press.   

Does anyone else plan lessons as they read books for pleasure?

Having recently discovered the brilliance of audiobooks I am able to explore some of the new titles in the school library. Trouble is I cant stop planning work based around the book.

The first book was Catching Teller Crow and it blew me away. While it ends up being about pretty sensitive material I think you could do lots of good things with this book in English or Aboriginal studies. the fantasy element will get the kids in and could be the basis for descriptive or persuasive tasks easily.

His name was Walter was the next book I listened to and for someone who isn’t really into reading fantasy these two in a row should have been too much but I found myself driving around the block to listen longer. The potential for this book was limitless. writing fairytales, researching local history, imagery, predicting, prequels, etc, etc.

Books reach kids in a way teachers can’t. We can tell them facts and anecdotes but in my experience most of the time something in a book hooks them much more than anything else happening in a unit of work. I remember a struggling reader looking at a picture in a DK book and wanting to know more. It sent him down a research path I could never have forced on him. Books are powerful.

Reflections on Assignment 1 ETL402

This subject frustrates me so much because I can’t get lost in it the way I want. I would love to spend my days flitting from book to book, article to article, genre to genre but deadlines loomed and decisions on focus had to be made,  Everything I read changed or added to my perspectives and my where to next.

Once I had settled on my topic, Using indigenous picture books to give students a sense of belonging, the rabbit hole just got more complicated. So many books to choose from, so many different ideas about what really is “indigenous literature”. Being white I was looking for guidance and it was hard to find. there is no right answer so in the end I went with choosing books that respect aboriginal culture. Hopefully that will keep my chooses in the future moving in the right direction.

I grew up in the same street as Bronwyn Bancroft, years apart mind you, and have always held her up as an example to all students of what a kid from a country town can do when they follow their passion. I remember her talking to our yr 12 class and telling us a company had taken her artwork without permission and created fabric or something from it and she had to fight them. They didn’t think it mattered because it was aboriginal art. That story has always stuck with me.

Before I knew about books are windows, mirrors and sliding doors I had always made sure my personal book collection that I had in the classroom represented the appearance of every child in my class. Sometimes the nationalities didn’t match but an Asian or Arabic child could open at least one book and see a character that looked like them. I didnt know the science behind it but it just seemed fair.

Now all these years later we can all agree children need to feel they belong and that they are heard if they are to achieve.  In my current library we had Tongan students start and someone asked me to get in Tongan books to help them settle in. a bell went off in my head what about our Aboriginal students? what about LGQBT students am I helping them out?  That one question changed my whole mission in the library for the past 18 months. I am not finished but I am certainly on my way and proud of my efforts.


How to get more in touch with children’s literature.

For someone who LOVES books, and has over 1500 childrens books (fiction and non) in boxes in her shed, I know very little at the moment about what’s hot, what’s  not and whats actually quality.

I have started using audiobooks on my commute to “read” books I have ordered for the library based on recommendations and now at least I can give a genuine review when asked.

This year I subscribed to Literature base and Magpie but I haven’t given the time they need to impart their knowledge to me. I have read bits and pieces of the magazine booktopia sends after you put in a big order and was relieved to see reviews from kids talking about the quality of books I knew were in the collection.

I have to admit that at the moment my book knowledge is coming from the students. We just bought the first 5 books of wings of fire because stage 2 kept asking for them. We buy anything minecraft because it won’t stay on the shelves.  Series books are kept up to date because we know they will be borrowed.

I noticed we had no LGBTQ collection so I went to another HS library photographed there collection and then ordered it. We had no recent aboriginal perspectives texts so I hit the net and found list of quality and popular texts including the Australian Speech Pathologist Book of the Year awards short list and past winners (which I highly recommend.)

Its a cop out but this is my last subject and that means the hours I have spent studying will become hours I have to read and research and enjoy books again then pass that on to my students.

Professional Reflective Portfolio

How did all the Teacher Librarians I ever met make all this look so effortless? As I reflect back on my journey so far I can see hurdle after hurdle and most of them are knocked over rather or run around rather than successfully cleared. I have learned so much, more than I had expected but I feel I still have so much more to go. Experience is a great teacher but so too are other people going on the same journey. I could not have done this course without the support and wisdom of many others.


The Three main areas I want to focus on in my reflection are ICT in the library, Building community and Library management. I would not claim to have been a roaring success in any of these areas but I have definitely grown as a professional and can see the path I need to be on.


ICT in the library

When I started my position I was only working with K-6. 3-6 were clearly capable users of technology and had plenty of skills. K-2 rarely had access to technology and it showed. This was not the fault of the teachers, the bizarre booking system the school uses for the laptops that live in the library generally sees infants classes prevented from using the devices. Teachers were grateful when I explained I planned to incorporate ICT into most library lessons.

I had a win very early on when I introduced minecraft education edition to the school. Licenses were provided for all students and lessons were exciting. Sadly teachers would walk in and see students “playing” and questioned the educational value. I had to talk an angry executive through my lessons only to have them light up at my integration of literature computers. STEMT4L Robotic and VR kits were also wonder ways to inspire students.

Figure 1 Creating a minecraft world based on a picture book

When Co-vid19 closed schools I was completing Digitial Citizenship in schools. This was probably the course with the biggest impact me at the time due to the fact it coincided with remote learning. It was also one of the most frustrating because I was learning things that could be useful but never got the chance to put it into practice because being “The Librarian” meant I had “nothing” to do so I was attached to Primary and had to add to their google classrooms in their way.

I missed having my own class where I could innovate and put everything into practice my own way.

As I said in my blogpost on June 1st 2020

 “As I sit here typing this reflection I find myself torn between regret and anger. Regret because I should have ignored the usual politics of ‘the exec will handle this and tell you what to do’ and stood up and said “Hey, I actually know a bit about this”.” 

I know I need to find my voice as a librarian and this is one thing I keep coming back to in every reflection for every subject.

The other aspect of this course that I learned a lot from that I wasn’t expecting was the collaboration and the way we meshed together so well. I was in awe of these women who had families and multiple jobs and made it all fit when I was struggling to plan lessons and turn up for our zooms. We had different perspectives but made them fit together so well. It was by far my most satisfying academic experience to date.

As a result of the learning I did in this course I was able to adapt my delivery of library lessons. When Schools reopened I was also given a 7-10 load and quickly put the Digital Learning environments I had learned about to good use. I was also able to pass on skills I had picked up my students are now all users of powtoon and canva and many have used these in assignments for other teachers. That is what I think is important. They haven’t just learned what they need to get through my lesson but they have taken that information and applied it to their next challenge. This is what a librarian is meant to facilitate.

I believe ICT based tasks need to be authentic and not just done for the sake of using the technology. Research (Drossel et-al, pp568-569, 2017) supports my opinion but also states that teacher attitude can impact on the success of ICT lessons too. I think an aspect of my teaching style that helps here is I am never worried about doing something wrong in front of students and will actively seek their suggests when things go wrong.

A recent example of creating authentic lessons that was highly successful, far more than I expected, was showing students how to use the Trove and state land record websites to research past events and the people involved. I explained if they were asked to talk about Guyra 100 years ago for instance instead of just giving facts they could use trove to research local papers and give a fuller picture of the community. Without fail every class, yr 5 – yr 9 went down a rabbit hole. Two students who knew they were related found an article about a family wedding from 50 yrs ago and where sharing the information excitedly and reading it out only to have a third student realise it was their family too. Students looked for the old hospital the school was rumoured to be built on but the maps did not support this story at all.

The only exception I have to this is what I call taster lessons when I introduce something to the students that needs to be “played with” first such as when we have the STEM T4L kits in the school. I fond students exploring the technology after a brief introduction form the teacher in the first lesson not only gives the students a chance to discover and have A-ha moments for themselves but also means they are more focused in future lessons.

Figure 2 Playing with paint 3D

One day I hope to follow the example of Sally Turbitt and create a makerspace of sorts in my library to allow students to be creative and ideally tie it to books within the library for example putting out Sadako and books about origami for a week or two allow with a big pile of paper. In my head children across the school will work together to master a paper crane. Kindergarten walking out proudly carrying their paper crane which was essentially made by someone in yr 8.


Building Community

I went for two Teacher Librarian positions in the same week. In both interviews I talked a big game about building a community around the library. When I was appointed I immediately set about doing what I said I would do. Rather than just have the library open for 30 minutes a day I opened the library at every break except one on the day I have a 5 period teaching day and need a moment to myself. This means 5 mornings, 4 recesses, 5 lunches and about 5 after schools (Primary have a 30 minute recess at the end of the day. If I have a high school class timetabled or booked primary cannot come in.)

Figure 3 A typical lunchtime


Due to the minecraft introduction the library computer bank is always full. I saw this as a negative in the beginning and we needed to timetable the primary students computer use due to the popularity but as time has gone on I have seen community growing. High school students talking primary students through how to use a crafting table, Primary students building something high school students make a fuss over. It’s not the community I wanted where students came in to read books and share a love of different authors but it clearly the community the students want. It is a very good start.

The biggest thing I am taking away from my time in the library so far is you cannot make people (including teachers) come to the library, you can only work on making it a space they can find what they need. This is challenging. No matter how many times I ask for input or outline what the library can do for them I am still just seeing the same few regulars. This is a future goal. Getting people using the library.

I carried out a survey at the start of term and the most common responses were to the question what would you like to do in the library? Answers “Use our phones” “Eat” Neither of these things will be happening anytime soon so I must find other ways to create the Library community. It did show me that I still have a lot of options to get students into the library and I need to promote what is available more.

Attending New England Teacher Librarians Network Meetings are always my favourite days of the term. Being from a primary background working in a Central School the knowledge I have gained just from conversing with these experienced TLS has been so very valuable. I have raided book lists for LGBTQ and wellbeing collections, asked about engaging high school students and been amazed by the way everything just “happens” for them.


This leads me to library management. When I arrived I looked around at a very full library. I was delighted students had access to so many books. Then I looked more closely. Atlases in the reference section contained countries that no longer existed, Picture books had duplicates sometimes 3 or 4 and there were few books on topics that some might considering challenging topics such as mental health and sexual identity. Those that were on the shelf were not easy to find and rarely if ever accessed.

I wish the course about collection management had been later in my journey but something had to come first. This was a hard unit at the time as I had no library experience at the start and no time to think about it all when I did. I also don’t think I really had a handle on online learning and didn’t take away as much as I should have from the online meetings and use them as opportunities to ask questions etc as others did.

Reading back on blogposts from this subject not a lot has changed I still walk around the library and ask myself questions. I just have less time to answer them now. Until recently I only had a Primary load which meant I could dedicate three full days to managing the library collection now I have maybe 7 hrs a week and rely heavily on my library assistants to do the bulk of the work once the books are delivered.

Now over 12 months later I am wishing I could do it again. I announced in 27th May 2019 I needed a collection management policy and to date I still don’t have one officially as it waits for Principal signoff but I follow my draft and can justify every purchase using it and my budget.  When writing the collection management policy, borrowing heavily from the work of Barbara Braxton (who I knew of before this course through my Professional Learning network but I hadn’t found 500 hats. This has become a go to resource. I am also putting together procedures for all the things that happen in libraries and having a cohort to talk to in the forums would be great.

I have made a concerted effort to involve staff and students in my purchase decisions but generally in the end I have taken and “if you build it they will come approach”. It’s easier to make the choices myself and have the teachers marvel at the new books than wait and wait for a response to an email or face to face request. This goes against my assertion on 22nd April 2019 that collaborating with my colleagues would be a vital step to ensure the library had the right resources for the new high school curriculum. I guess I have had a steep learning curve.


I have purchased a range of stories and texts on aboriginal issues to appeal to students across K-6. Our AEO, who has been very enthusiastic about a number of the books is working with sista speak students to paint me a bookcase to house them all in as I saw how excited students were when they were on the new books self.

Figure 4 new forward facing shelving to house picture books and display new items

My Library assistant is always popping off to show a teacher a book she has just covered that she thinks they may like. I was gratified recently to hear that a staff member had said how much she loved all the effort we were putting into updating the library and the quality of the texts we were sourcing. It feels like a win but also feels a bit like the little red hen, no one really wants to help but they are all happy to reap the reward.

I recognise the flaws in my character and my aim is to get the management policy ratified and procedure documents in place so I can hold these up when my inner people pleaser is struggling to maintain workable boundaries. As I said on April 22nd 2019

“Collaboration is something I consider myself very good at. I do tend to be overly flexible thought and feel that I need to be slightly less accommodating as a librarian or my attempts to please everyone will disadvantage the library as a whole.”



Braxton, B. (2018 February 7) Sample collection policy. 500 hats the teacher librarian in the 21st century


Condrick, T (2020, June 1) Hindsight is 2020 but reflection is blurrier. Tracey’s Thoughts are you ready to fall down this rabbit hole?


Condrick, T (2019, April 22) Collaborator steward and thinker. Tracey’s Thoughts are you ready to fall down this rabbit hole?


Drossel, K., Eickelmann, B., & Gerick, J. (2017). Predictors of teachers’ use of ICT in school – the relevance of school characteristics, teachers’ attitudes and teacher collaboration. Education and Information Technologies, 22(2), 551-573.

Hindsight is 2020 but reflection is blurrier

The timing of this course still blows my mind. I found it amazing to be learning about Digital learning environments (DLE) at the same time that they were the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Sadly being the new kid on the block and not part of the executive my new found knowledge was overlooked. As I sit here typing this reflection I find myself torn between regret and anger. Regret because I should have ignored the usual politics of ‘the exec will handle this and tell you what to do’ and stood up and said “Hey, I actually know a bit about this”. Anger because it never occurred to leadership that other staff might have knowledge worth sharing and its not a secret that I am currently doing this Master’s and it would hurt to ask if I had done anything in the course so far that may help. Neither of these emotions make me seem professional and hindsight makes experts of us all. But if the second lockdown comes I will be ready.

The remote learning experience has taught me just as much as this subject has in reality. I have always been a proponent of teacher choice. We are expected to embrace the different ways our students learn yet rarely are we allowed to embrace our own individuality. If I was still a classroom teacher I would have struggled to follow the blueprint laid out for our schools DLE. Numeracy, Literacy, HSIE, Science, STEM etc all in separate lessons on google classroom and mostly just worksheets modified and uploaded. I would have preferred an inquiry based model.

Having focused on the 7 learning spaces, plus our added head space, in assignment 2, I was conscious of the need for variety not just in the way we wanted student’s to present work but also in how we presented it to them.  I readily admit I was too focused on ICT and things like videos were impossible to include in printed packages but every attempt was made to provide enough information that they would not be disadvantaged if they didn’t watch the video of me reading the text or watch something I put on a clickview playlist.

The reading I did for the final assignment made me reflect further on the covid experience. I was knowingly being ineffective yet I didn’t know how to approach the situation with school leaders. Patrick Larkin’s (2016) article suggested setting up a blog of ideas that could be shared with others. Even if I had just done that it would have made me feel more proactive, whether colleagues looked at it or not.

Weirdly this course has me longing to be back on a “regular” class. I have already starting changing my library teaching practice and am planning more changes in the future but I see so much potential in using a digital learning environment with a class on a daily basis. I would have been so excited to have a class during lockdown. Of course I am talking about one where I could set up my DLE my way and quite possibly after a week my excitement may have changed.

Going forward I want to be more vocal about DLE in our school setting and may bite the bullet and submit assignment 3 to the executive for their consideration. I am also going to show the Technology team the work my team did in assignment two and suggest it be introduced at one of our PL meetings the work we did could really be useful to other teachers as they continue refining their online practices.

My biggest regret is I didn’t get as immersed in this as I wanted to. Its a flimsy excuse but the real world got in the way. Lucky for me there are PDF’s to dip back into whenever I can.


Larkin, P. (2016). #EDTECH: A pathway for leaders to create digital learning environments. Principal Leadership, 17(2), 24-25. Retrieved from

ETL523 Reflection Post

I don’t need to reflect on this experience to tell you it was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in my Masters.  I could say stars aligned to allow me to be doing this unit at this crazy time of change in schools but I was already on the digital learning path long before now so it wasn’t necessarily the content that made it rewarding so much as the people I was working with and the journey we took together.

We were four individuals thrown together to get a task done and get out. That’s what uni assignments are aren’t they? Do your bit the best you can, hope everyone else does the same and hope you aren’t the poor sucker that puts it all together. This was nothing like that. This was collaborative learning the way it should be done. This was collaborative learning the way I will be encouraging my students to do it and the way I wish my school would run PD.

Three of us had a shared interest and a clear direction but turns out we were all wrong. We tried again. This time we had a zoom meeting rather than emails. This time we connected. We talked things through in real time and could adjust our ideas. We made a plan. We had a fourth join and I thought we were doomed after a couple of emails but again with a zoom meeting we brought everything together.

The members of my group are amazing, they bring so much experience to the table and if one has a weakness it seems to be another member’s strength. We built up a trust quickly, we regularly check in for advice and feedback and have no need to worry about a negative experience. We are teaching each other as we go. “Why won’t this work?” “You really have to look at this site.” “Anyone else struggling today?” This is the supportive community I want to create for my students to work in.

We were learning about digital learning environments in a DLE. We were combining group spaces with watching spaces with publish spaces with head spaces. I don’t know if the others were aware of that. I certainly wasn’t until recently when I logged into a meeting feeling ill and looking it. The last people I had laid eyes on was this same group days before in our last meeting. I was asked if I was okay. That’s when the penny dropped for me on how valuable a well-constructed DLE could be. I wasn’t isolated, I was supported.

I have learned the importance of conscious and deliberate planning of a DLE. I know we will never have an equal footing for all students but we can use a multi layered approach and let them dip in to what they need. They may not have the data to watch every student performance but they may make the effort to come to a group meeting or join a chat. They may have to talk to their group members on the phone rather than a Microsoft teams meeting but they can still join in somehow. Connections are valuable and now as a teacher I need to support my students so they can experience those connections.

Week one of social distancing

What a crazy week but I have to say I have loved the working from home days. I had three at school and two at home, even at school I was mostly creating online work.

the timing of taking ETL523 could not have been better. Its inspiring me to search beyond the google classroom platform and enhance the tasks so they are more engaging. (Have not got that far yet, well I did add a few clickview links so thats a start and the kids can access youtube at home so sprinkling that around like fairy dust lol.)

Don’t get me wrong there are problems. we have kids who have no tech so things still have to have a paper version or alternative which is frustrating and time consuming.  Then there is the problem of chromebooks and minecraft hating each other. So the one thing you know will engage 99% of your class cant be accessed by anyone borrowing devices from the school because thats what is being sent home.

My favourite find so far is POWTOON and it will be something I teach my high school students is we ever go back to face to face lessons. I am not currently providing high school lessons but I am thinking about making some how to instructions for students so they can deliver work in a way they may find more interesting than a google doc.

I have been filling up the SENTRAL posts with information for teachers and trying to help them transisition but I do believe people have to come to the mountain when they are ready. I am here when they want help climbing it.

I hate Covid-19 but I have to say I love the opportunity it has given me to play with tools I never had time to before. Its no longer a waste of planning time to teach yourself new skills.

Part B Reflection ETL504


I found this subject more confronting than I expected. I have struggled with leaders in the past and found it difficult to relate much of the theory to the leaders I have worked under. I was often, however, able to look at the actions of colleagues who were not technically recognised as leaders and identify the type of leadership they showed. I was also surprised at the level of leadership I could prove I had shown although I do not think I fit neatly into one style of leadership as such and should, perhaps, focus on refining my style in the future.

I found the group tasks very interesting. There were clear leaders in the group which is not a criticism of the leaders or the followers. There is a time to lead and a time to follow and I think our group did an excellent job of balancing that. No one tried to out shine anyone else but someone always knew when to step in and take charge.

We interacted well together but it was not in real time which is what I was expecting like in a google docs setting where we would collaborate on the document. Instead, and perhaps more realistically in hindsight, we left messages when we could. In some ways I found this positive as you could digest the thoughts of others before commenting, where as in a real time interaction you can be more focused on sharing your ideas than actually hearing others. I discovered the benefits of collaborating at a slower speed. This process could be the technique I need to use to encourage colleagues to become more involved in collaborations with the library.

Decisions were made about what to include and everyone was always professional. I submitted a plan to one of the case studies that was left out but it was not done in a way that made me feel like I had done the wrong thing it simply didn’t fit with the group response and was probably more an ‘at the coal face idea’ than an answer to the question anyway.

I was able to learn from my group mates and from the other students in the course. Sometimes they elaborated on ideas I had had but dismissed as too this or that but they presented them more rounded out in a way I hadn’t considered. I was exposed to issues I had not thought of and could see the logic in their reasoning. I also disagreed with some posts but they still gave me a wider understanding of the issues we were facing.

During my research I found an article that I feel I will carry with me going forward. It could be a coincidence that it was one of the last articles I read or it could be that the rest of the course has opened my mind to the messages it contained. Making your school library essential An advocacy guide for teacher librarians (Gordon, 2017) may well become my bible going forward. I feel the need to champion my library and make it a valuable resource for all students and staff. This article was a call to arms almost and has picked me up when I was starting to doubt my ability.


Gordon, C. A., Making your school library essential : An Advocacy Guide for Teacher-Librarians. Synergy. 15(1), 2017. Retrieved from;dn=217206;res=AEIPT

Module 2 Seminal Reading thoughts

For a business article I could easily relate this to a school setting. Unfortunately I still think schools use the old oxen style towards their teachers while pushing teachers to teach our students to be 21st century style leaders.

My main thoughts are –

  • The pig iron quote doesn’t give any credit to the metal worker for skills and creativity. We need to value both these concepts in our libraries and schools.
  • The flattening of hierarchies is a vital step in school leadership. It would improve the standing of many school libraries in the eyes of other staff.
  • Recognising the need for change and acting on that need are two very different things. many factors can impact on what changes we can make.
  • The Jetson reference reminded me of something I heard years ago – You can only imagine what you already know. I sounds silly but i find it so true. The big thing may be something never seen before but the smaller components are already known to us. So even though Jetsons was set in a future with flying cars and robots and spray on makeup the workers serving the bosses was still within the realms of believably for everyone.
  • We need to remember at the end of the day its the human component that is the most important. Shared values are important and respect should be one of those.