"Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is, not a preparation for life; education is life itself." -John Dewey
As a K-12 Librarian, I operate on many different levels. The opening of school after summer vacation tends to be both exhilarating (the kids are back!) and confusing (how can the LMC staff fit in lunches when the MS/HS is on an A/B two-day schedule and the Elementary School now follows a six-day rotation?!!) Add to that the excitement of an impending wedding (my daughter's...on Saturday!) and it makes for quite a roller coaster ride as the new school year begins.
All things considered, everything went well today. A Kindergarten and a First Grade class each came for a first visit, and their behavior was excellent for such little guys. We talked about manners, in general, and library manners, in particular, with some appropriate tips from Clifford the Big Red Dog, Mr. Wiggles the Bookworm and Rosie, a small creature trying to learn Monster Manners.
I met the eight brave souls who signed up for my newly-created Current Events class - the number may increase as schedules are ironed out, but I hope that the group remains small. Their initial task was to follow the directions I posted and write their name on a puzzle piece, then attach it to the whiteboard. I was deliberately vague about details and later pointed out to them that no one had chosen to connect their piece with anyone else's; I told them that collaboration is going to be a key component of the course and that we will be combining in a number of different ways for projects. For the rest of the class, I took them on a virtual tour of the tech tools and websites I've been collecting all summer. Only one student knew what a blog was, and seemed excited about using one in school. None of them were familiar with RSS feeds, wikis, flickr, tagging, etc. It should be fun exploring together. I did specify that the tools would be secondary to the content, but we'll get into that more later. The fact that I was able to show them two YouTube clips ("Miss Teen South Carolina"made them laugh and "The Perceptive Pixel" puzzled and intrigued them) means that our network will support most of the resources I want to utilize. Next week, we'll slow down a bit and discuss how we'll use all of these cool "toys" to learn more about the world. Exciting times, if I can just keep it all together and focused (although we didn't access their student sites, I did mention Jo, in Australia, and Clay and Anthony, in Korea, to start my students thinking globally).
It should be quite a year!
"Education is not to reform students or amuse them or to make them expert technicians. It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, inflame their intellects, teach them to think straight, if possible." -Robert M. Hutchins