The alarm clock was again set to go off at 6:00 am and, of course, I was awake – wide awake – at 4:20 am. Nothing to do except turn on my computer, dig through all my hand-scrawled notes from Circle Time evaluations of last year’s Kindergarten wiki fables project, and add them to the new wiki page I intended to use in my presentation today.
Yesterday, Dr Ross J Todd had challenged the conference presenters – and all the teacher-librarian attendees – to embrace evidence-based practice when presenting educational research results. Although I had the students’ opening comments (scribed quotes from oral statements) on a page of my school library wiki site – ready for my tutorial session today – I had not yet planned to divulge all of the the evaluation comments (scroll down the page of the same URL) from the culmination of the unit (lest I decided to use the information elsewhere).
Oh well. I’m glad I decided to appease Ross, and fill in my time until breakfast, compiling the students’ final responses onto the wiki page, and uploading it ready for today’s talk. I’d quite forgotten how informative the students’ final comments were. (“Why did we use a wiki to write and publish our core value fables?” One answer: “Pencils run out of lead”.) Comparing these closing comments against the syllabus outcomes, over the next few months, is going to be very interesting.
By 11:00 am, my session was over for the conference – I was a free man! – and had a great and more relaxed time – especially by attending: author Paul Stafford‘s fascinating talk about his Dead Bones Society (targeting reluctant young male readers) and how he has taught creative writing to hardened criminals; and an equally stimulating session, chaired by Kathy Rushton, on the Indij series of books, written by groups of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
A highlight of Day 2 was the closing panel, hosted by bookseller/teacher Paul MacDonald, and featuring several popular Australian children’s authors, including Libby Gleeson, James Roy, Kate Forsythe and Deb Abela. They were all contributing to a discussion on “Multiliteracies in a digital world”, including postulating whether “the book” was as dead as the dead trees of which books are made. (While text books and hardcopy encyclopedias may well be on their way out, none of the guests seemed to feel that children’s picture books or other fiction in book form were in too much danger – yet. Well, except for the rising cost of paper.)
Interestingly, the Kindergarten students’ work I was showcasing today backed up the professional authors’ feelings about books. One student’s response to my question of “What should we do next (ie. now that our wiki project is over)?” was:
“More drawings! Make lots more fables. Make a book with page numbers.”
Great summary of the 2 days, haven’t been successful in downloading of the notes from the various sessions. Maybe you might want to do your wiki “thing” for a Blue Mountains meeting in term 3?
Thanks Laureen. Sounds good to me!
A brief expansion on my mention of the “Indij Readers” (above):
These great resources include fiction, non fiction and big books – narratives and yarns, biographical recounts, poetry/raps, etc). The teachers manuals for these resources are excellent, too. The analysis of language features used in the readers was not done until after the readers were finalised, so the texts retain the authentic voices of the writers (K-12 indigenous students, AEAs – Aboriginal education assistants – and community members).
Check out the article “Working with community to support reading” by Margaret Cossey in the current SCAN (vol 27 no 1, pp 38-41). It discusses how the “Indij Readers” came about.
Kathy Rushton co-presented workshops about them at last weekend’s ASLA/DET conference and her papers should be available from the conference website.
Do they have giveaways like books or paperbacks? The presentors are authors of children books. I missed that one. I love children books and I wanted to meet the authors of these children books. Hope you can give me more informations about that convention.
No the presenters at the authors’ panel didn’t do any give aways, just shared their opinions on the future of books and reading for school students in the upcoming Web 2.0 world.