A Barbarian in the Reading room

Welcome to my blog

 

Why this title? Well in my last school job I had a reading (as in reading a book) room and this was used on Open Days by the Learning Support Department. At one such event they put up a notice saying Leaning Support and I said "Oh I suppose this is the Reading (as in UK town to the west of London) Room now." They retorted by naming me the Barbarian and it has sort of stuck.

 

Sadly, this blog does not include much about Reading (as in the UK town to the west of London) or barbarians but will contain my thoughts on issues in the library and information world and also detail some of the events I have attended, places I have visited and courses I have run. Enjoy!

By sjpavey, Feb 5 2016 01:12PM

2016 started early - well VERY early with a trip to Maidenhead for delivering an INSET session at Cox Green School on Curiosity and Creativity for Independent Thinking. I thought it would be tough at 8,30am the first Monday after the Christmas break but the staff were delightful and happy to join in with the session. After an hour keynote I ran a workshop on the same topic for a group of newly qualified teachers who all had fantastic innovative ideas. The amusing bit was the coffee and croisants trolley being positioned directly underneath a sign declaring NO FOOD or DRINK - well I just had to take a photo! Cox Green is a great school and they are using Ian Gilberts "Thunks" on a daily basis to try and evoke a sense of curiosity in their students to compliment their impressive exam results.


Next up was a day in Warwick at the National Grid as part of the Teen Tech initiative implemented by Maggie Philbin. With the launch of CILIP Information Literacy Group's resource sheets myself, Darren Flynn and Rebecca Jones were able to run sessions on research methods and questionnaire design as part of this Innovation Day. Student numbers were a bit disappointing but those attending were very enthusiastic - especially for Darren's session which foussed on crisp flavours - very apt as it was over a working lunch! We also had a fascinating tour of the premises and the highlight for me was the Innovation Room where we played with Leap Motion (I got one for Christmas - Yaaay!) VR Headsets, 3D phone Scanners and more. So inspiring!


Creative Education also kept me busy with a course in London on the Effective Mentor and then an Online Safeguarding course in Bristol. Both were filled with a good range of delegates which made for lively debate and discussion on these two areas so vital to be considered by schools today. I managed to dodge the first snow of the year in my trip west to Bristol but had a marathon run at the end to catch my train with about 30seconds to spare - phew!


I managed to squeeze in the annual pilgrimage to the BETT show but was a bit disappointed in the content. A lot about robotics but not a great deal to support information literacy really. It was good to catch up with friends at TTS, Plotagon, International Baccalaureate and to play on a few things - I have still to wade through the vast quantities of literature I brought back and to try on the tatfoo sleeves!


Much of the later part of the month was occupied by music events - it being the Burns Night season and also the season to get the tax done. However I am also penning another tome on reading for pleasure for Andy Walsh and that although a bit late is firmly underway!

By sjpavey, Jun 9 2015 03:56PM

May was certainly as busy as it promised to be with a lot of travelling around the country and meeting some great new groups of people and renewing old friendships.


First slot of the month was a Creative Education course on Personal Management that included time management and managing stress. I was a bit stressed myself as it was a new course for me and I had a diverse bunch of delegates but I need not have worried as all went very well. I decided to abandon the rather dry representations of the human body in the handbook in favour of some 3D wooden models where delegates could stick notes depicting areas where stress might manifest physically. The time management game with big balls and little beads went down well too.


Westminster School was the location for the Librarians of the Rugby Group's meeting and here I delivered the presentation on using visual literacy skills to explain the thinking behind information literacy and the interpretation of text. I also had time to show some of the interactive educational toys from TTS . Unfortunately I was unable to take up the lunch offer as we had a full day meeting for the finalised first 4 chapters in our revised Innovative School Librarian that afternoon.


Another Creative Education course in London beckoned next on Being an Effective Mentor. This was another new course for me but the feedback was good and the 3D wooden men came into action again. The course focussed on the role of Learning Mentors and was very detailed and evokes a lot of debate from the delegates and a lot of sharing of ideas


The Heaths course on IB to A Level Perfect Essay drew a crowd from home and abroad. This one is a regular for me and has proved successful. It was here I met Helen Jones from Malvern College and when I mentioned I was heading to Ledbury later in the month she invited me to call in.


Then it was north to Nottingham. The weather was awful unfortunatley which meant I did not see Rufford Park the training venue at its best. There was a good crowd for this annual training session for librarians in the Nottingham area run by Nottinghamshire ELS. The session concentrated on how the library could integrate with teaching and learning and we covered a lot of ground during the day. Again there was some time to look at the TTS products and other lo-tech toys.


The evening after Nottingham I enjoyed a "Zen drive" through the Peak District to Macclesfied to stay with my library pal Janet in advance of the SLA Manchester course in Altrincham the next day. This session looked at how librarians could use SMART targets to improve collaborative lesson planning and everyone came up with some great ideas for lessons and learned to understand more about differentiation.


May finished off with a trip over to Malven. It was lovely to meet Helen on a glorious day weather wise at the College and to meet her deputy head line manager. Her library is very impressive with lots of space and lots of ideas on how it could be developed. I took her advice for a drive through the Malvern Hills before arrriving at the hotel for Independent Thinking's Big Day Out in a Primary School at Ledbury. We were honoured to have the presence of Sir Al Aynsley Green at drinks and dinner and it was fascinating to hear about his time as Children's Commissioner and his plans for his presedential term at the BMA. He is a man passionate about education and who finds little good in the current system endorsed by the Government. Other entertainment that evening included Dave Keeling introducing me to Frixion Pens via a magic trick - I now have a set of them including highlighters.


The day at Ledbury was amazing from the magical start of the assembly by candlelight and time to reflect to the wonders of the playpod (a kind of scapheap challenge) in the playground where the new equipment lay untouched in favour of upcycling the scrap and making camps. Also present doing sessions in the school with the children was Andy Salmon who owns Think a Link - a great idea for memory and being able to work things out. The session with Simon on engaging with writing was also excellent and I think it could be adapted to be a practical demonstration of referencing for 6th formers. Basically it centred on brainstorming ideas within your own team and then collecting ideas from other teams - all done under a time pressure with music. My session was about innovative libraries based on no money, some money and loadsamoney. I found some great ideas such as story tents and using dairy crates as lampshades to share. It was also wonderful to meet Jenny who is a professional librarian working at Ledbury Primary School and who has worked wonders in their library.


June is looking equally full on for me so more to report back then!

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