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, Jan 3 2016 12:52PM

Bit of a catch up here as the last two months have been hectic with deadlines, training and music performances so I'm doing 2 months in one!


November and December were busy for me with Creative Education when I ran a number of courses on Promoting Reading in the School Library, The Effective School Librarian and Working with Parents to Raise Achievement, (in November) and then the Reluctant Writers course in December. The parent course was new and it was interesting for me to learn more about the expectations from Ofsted and the importance of keeping parents and guardians involved with the school and the curriculum. The delegates were really varied and I met some lovely people from very challenging schools including PRUs and a Virtual School. It really works both ways this training.


November also involved a trip to Stockingford Primary School in Nuneaton for the Independent Thinking Surprising Big Day Out. It was a fantastic day with lots going on and fun learning. Matthew McFall had his wonder room, Nina Jackson blew us away with bubbles, Jonathan Lear told us about the Monkey Curriculum and Mark Anderson had a real Star Wars bot running up and down the room. I delivered my magic eye visual thinking talk and the sight of 80 teachers all making magic telescopes was brilliant!


At the beginning of December I did a mini tour to the West Country for a couple of training sessions. First up was at Cirencester College with Gloucestershire LSE. This looked at how we can promote our libraries to our school communities and beyond and then in the afternoon we discussed the issue of censorship and considered scenarios where it might be appropriate and when not including online safeguarding issues. We had a good day and highlighted many issues. Thank you everyone for the great feedback


The second day of the tour was to The Hive in Worcester for the SLA Midlands group. This drew delegates from a wide area including as far flung as Switzerland and to a lesser extent Exeter. This session concentrated on Academic Honesty and Copyright. Again it was an excellent day and delegates commented in their feedback how much they had gained from the course and how much they had enjoyed it. I do try to gve my delegates practical advice and get them to try things out that they can take back and put into practice in their schools.


I was lucky enough to be invited by Jane Secker from LSE to a lunch with Maggie Philbin as part of the Teen Tech initiative that CILIP's ILG are involved with, She was speaking about the project to an HE group of librarians in the afternoon. It was lovely to meet her and hear her passion about getting students engaged with STEM subjects - particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. I am looking forward to taking part in the Warwick Teen Tech Event in January.


This winter has been a writing month with the publication of There is Another Way and a grear response to my chapter on Libraries - thanks particularly to Caroline Roche for a great review on Amazon. It was also good to see many non-librarians commenting positivity too. The Innovative School Librarian is also nearing the end of the editing phase and we are on schedule for a publishing next year. Finally I have been invited by Andy Walsh at Huddersfield University to write a short book for him on reading for pleasure.


This winter has been a learning month. I had the final assessment for my AET - the microteach and now the folders are in for external assessment but I have passed. We should get the certificates soon but it is good to have a teaching qualification under my belt. I was also able to attend a very interesting free seminar at Kew National Archives on technology delivered by Andy Mink. He suggested a number of useful Apps and sites which would be very useful for a school library and also in teaching.


January looks busy for me too starting straight away on 4th January with an INSET session on Curiosity and Creativity for ITL. We were so pleased to get our paper accepted for LILAC in Dublin in March and I will also be presenting my jigsaw puzzles at the Lagadothon.

By sjpavey, Nov 1 2015 07:15PM

The start of October was marred by sleep deprivation from attending a folk festival in my other life!


The Access-It training continued at a steady rate this month with a variety of schools. It is so good to see people getting started and the system helping them to get books and resources out to the students. Some staff I train are not familiar with libraries which is a reflection on the type of recruitment being adopted by schools desperate to cut costs. But my trainees are always enthusiastic and it is nice to have an opportunity on the back of the catalogue sessions to point them in the direction of qualifications and support networks. I just wonder how many others are out there with no real idea of how to manage their library and no idea of where to get help.


Surrey SLA engaged me to run a twilight session at Guildford High School for Girls on visual literacy and we also had a chance to play with the talking products (some from TTS) and have a go with the Create an Essay jigsaw puzzles. It was a fun evening and good participation from the 30 who attended,


Next stop training wise was a course on Writing Skills for Creative Education in Birmingham. I love running this course because we get to indulge in creative play. It was an interesting scenario beginning the night before when the hotel car park was full save for one impossible space. A knight in shining armour appeared and offered to attempt to squeeze my car in for me but alas he didn’t have any luck either. Finally a hotel knight in shining armour appeared and allowed me to park in a disabled space – phew! However first man drove my car to the said space and I was a bit alarmed to see my car disappearing with me chasing after with my case and the man’s case too. All ended well. The next day one delegate was ill and one did not turn up so I just had one trainee. We agreed to do a one to one when suddenly the other delegate appeared – he had forgotten he had a training course and had gone to school where his colleagues reminded him! So it was a good day after all and lots of creative learning.

My AET course continued throughout the month and all the assignments are now safely in. I just have the microteach to do in November and then it’s time to submit my portfolio. It has been a useful course and has certainly honed my skills in preparation for sessions. Some of it is more directed towards adult education on an ongoing course run by an institution which is not so relevant to me but it has given me an understanding of pedagogy, andragogy, inclusivity and diversity, assessment and feedback.


The focus this month has been on writing and seeing the fruits of my labours! The SLA Cataloguing course will be live imminently, the Independent Thinking Press’s book “There is another way” is published officially on 2nd November and we have been working hard on the second edition of “The Innovative School Librarian” now putting in the final touches before it is delivered to Sharon Markless for an edit and thence to Facet for an estimated publication date of May 2016. It has been an almost complete rewrite and we had no idea that so much had changed since we wrote the original in 2009.


The final involvement to report is with Teen Tech. We have now completed the set of information sheets (ably compiled and designed by Rebecca Jones of ILG and overseen by Jane Secker). I am really looking forward to attending Maggie Philbin’s seminar on 12th November.


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!

By sjpavey, Apr 1 2015 04:11PM

It's been an action packed start to the year and juggling music and consultancy has been fun and vibrant.


February started off with a welcome return to Heaths in Sutton to run the "Lost Library Years" course about KS4 engagement with the Library. The course was well attended which made for some lively discussion on many of the issues we covered from identifying opportunities within the packed curriculum, revision techniques and some games. It is likely that some coursework elements will remain even after the curriculum changes due over the next couple of years and so there will always be room to teach information skills to this key stage. We know these skills are so important for universities and the workplace and yet it is often just assumed students will somehow assimilate them without any formal guidance.


The Independent Thinking Day held on a Saturday in Nottingham was inspiring with a session on Mindfulness run by David Hodgson and then followed up after a great lunch with a general debate on the future direction of education.


Next stop was a course for Creative Education on promoting reading and the school library. I had two delightful delegates in a nice hotel near the Southampton waterfront. We discussed the various evidence from recent surveys on the state of reading and reading for pleasure amongst secondary school students. The talking tiles, photo album and talking pen helped to inspire ways to engage students further together with many other ideas.


Following up from BETT 2015 I met up with two representatives of TTS in London. We had a useful and productive meeting with a two way flow of information. Many of their excellent innovative products would be so useful in numerous ways within a library environment and I am hoping to work with them further to see how the ideas can be incorporated into the teaching and learning us librarians do!


Another Creative Education course I ran in Manchester was on Online Safeguarding. This was a new course for me and I was delighted in how smoothly it went and the fact that I received excellent feedback from the delegates - very reassuring as there were no librarians on this course. The course was well written and easy to deliver and my knowledge - albeit mostly from a library and tutoring background served it well.


...and so to Newcastle and Independent Thinking's Big Day Out at the Racecourse. I delivered two workshops - one on Visual Literacy use in Information Literacy and another on how we can get students to cope with the information overload from online and print sources. Both sessions were well received by the teacher delegates and requests for the slides. One delegate emailed me the day after to tell me excitedly that he had already used some of the techniques in his lesson that day. It was an action packed day conference with Nina giving great ideas on the use of iPads, Roy showing us his hero learning path - part of his Butterfly Model, Dave filling us will laughter and learning, working with Hywel on the literacy strand summary videos, Will sharing the alternative route to a perfect OFSTED via Dr Seuss and great conversations with Tait, Martin, David George and Nick Owen and of course Lisa and Dave Harris for bringing it all together. Did I forget to mention that we also had Matthew McFall's fantastic cabinet of curiosities on show which was wonderful - all those gadgets to play with. I am so looking forward to the next BDO in Ledbury in May. These events are so inpiring and they really do get you thinking about the whole education process.


There was more inspiration at the LISSEE meeting at Mayfield where a group of librarians from Independent Schools gathered to listen to speakers including Rosie Hill talking about her book service and a great informative session on the CILIP qualifications framework. After a good lunch we discussed other hot topics such as Apps for revision and Library Policies.


It has been a busy couple of months with my colleague Sally and I continuing to work on our chapter for the new edition of The Innovative School Librarian ..and so far we have all managed to keep to our deadlines - quite an achievement! I have also written a chapter for the new second additional Big Book of Independent Thinking which is about why we need school libraries and librarians more than ever in this day and age. I am also drafting another chapter for a forthcoming new edition of SLA's Sixth Sense looking at teaching academic honesty. My information skills support products also seem to be selling on Teachers Pay Teachers which is nice and comforting


So immediately after Easter I am packing bags to deliver my paper at the LILAC conference - yes back to Newcastle again. At the BDO one of our first tasks was to say "Motivation" in a North East accent and by the end of the day it was perfected so I shouldn't have to take a dual language dictionary this time!!!

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