Socrative Style of Questions

By General, Librarian's Role, Readaloud 3 Comments

Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel —Socrates.

Much research has shown the benefits of reading, and despite the rich evidence, librarians are struggling to support reading habits. However, reading habits are not the sole responsibility of the librarian but the entire education system and the parents. When students see adults reading, thinking, and questioning, students will imitate and follow along. Reading breeds Reading.

One of the critical aspects of building a reading habit is developing curiosity and interest – this will then lead to the joy of reading.

How to read aloud?

I’ve noticed that when librarians or teachers read aloud picture books to children, the questions that they ask are simplistic and obvious, thus not challenging children to think and question. Children need to begin thinking and asking questions right from an early age. As librarians, when we read aloud, we can change the way we ask questions and pave the way for discussions.

For example, before we read aloud stories or after we have read a story we often ask –

  • Who is the author?
  • What is the title of the story?
  • What did you learn from the story?
  • What is the plot?
  • What is the setting or where is the story taking place?

Instead, we should learn the art of Socrative type of questioning or simply as we know it as Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) on the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

What is Socrative style or type of questioning?

Socrates was a Greek philosopher, and he said – Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel. If we have to kindle the flame then it is essential to create a library space where there is a dialogue between the students and librarians. There is little or no space for lectures and therefore, no rote learning.

The teacher-librarian can be the one who initiates the questioning process – helps the students to think/ponder and brings out their values and beliefs in the process of discussion. Therefore, building a safe intellectual space for their independent thoughts and opinions.

Types of Socratic Questions?

There are several types of Socrative style of questions, here are three.

1. Clarification Questions

Questions in this Socrative style sound like this:

  • What do you mean by…?
  • The author has said it this way…. how would you explain it another way?
  • What is the main problem here – Can you explain it with another example?
  • Why is this important?
  • Is this easy or hard?
  • Why do you think so?

For example, when you read the book called No Smiles Today by Cheryl Rao illustrated by Saurab Pandey (Story Weaver – Pratham Books) (A story about a little child who is sad and her friends try to guess why she is sad and eventually finding her lost pet which makes her happy again.)
Socrative questions to ask when reading this book would be-

  • What is sadness?
  • Why do people feel sad?
  • The author talks about the child losing her pet and feeling sad – What are other reasons for sadness?
  • How do you overcome sadness?
  • Is it easy to overcome sadness? Why?

2. Questions about an Issue?

When one reads aloud a picture book with a global issue or problems in society, questions in Socrative-style may sound like this:

  • Why is this an important topic to discuss?
  • Is it easy or difficult to solve this issue? Why?
  • What assumptions can you make about the issue or subject?
  • Does this topic/problem lead to other problems and questions?

Use the above questions for this picture book when reading a book like Riddle of the Riddleys  (A story about thousands of olive ridley sea turtles on the beach of Orissa, who die each year due to the callousness of fishermen and people.) or any other book related to issues

Another example, if you are reading a picture book like The Why-Why Girl by Mahasweta Devi illustrated by Kanyika Kini (a story about Moyna who can’t go to school because she is a girl and because of her socio-economic conditions). When reading this book, you may ask questions like –

  • What is the issue in the story, and why is it essential to discuss this topic about gender discrimination?
  • Why is education opportunities not available for all?
  • What are the conditions that lead to inequality of education for all?
  • Is it easy to solve this problem? Why? Why not?
  • What might be different ways to address this issue?
  • What can we do at different levels to address this problem?

Similar questions can be asked of a novel. For example, Rippler by Cidney Swanson free on Bookbub is a fantasy novel dealing with a genetic disorder and inhuman experiments during the Nazi rule. Questions about scientific experiments, human body and genetic disorders can be explored, some questions may include:

  • What are the different conditions maintained in the laboratory for scientists in India when conducting experiments on animals?
  • How human or inhuman is testing on animals? Why? What do you think?
  • What other topics are related to genetic engineering?
  • If we assume genetic engineering is ok for plants, how can we justify genetic engineering in animals and humans? What are your reasons?
  • Can genetic engineering lead to other problems and issues? Can you explain it?
  • Questions like the above can open children’s minds and promote thinking, creating interest, curiosity, and reading?

3. Viewpoint Questions

Socrates style of questioning includes learning about different perspectives and opinions. When you learn about other perspectives it builds humility, kindness and empathy. Understanding viewpoints is not to argue and to prove a point, but understanding that others have a viewpoint and it must be equally respected. Each individual has the freedom to think and be responsible. Keeping this concept in mind, different viewpoint discussions can be held during the library class. Before discussions, the librarians must ensure that each individual’s point must be heard, is important and is respectfully conveyed.

Questions to consider are:

  • How would other people in other sections of the community feel/think about this? Why?
  • Why do you object to this consideration? What facts have you gathered to prove this viewpoint?
  • What is an alternative to bring further acceptance or rejection?

Another example to try is this book called, Father’s Inheritance by Elizabeth Laird (Storyweaver – Pratham Books- level 3)

Socrative style or approach of questioning helps students and adults become thinkers. We learn to conduct meaningful conversations. This disciplined approach teaches us to examine ideas and processes with logic and create a practical exploration of content leading to knowledge.

Students and adults may not have answers to any of the questions but it can lead to enquiry, curiosity, interest and reading to investigate their questions and sharing of new knowledge. Asking questions in the right spirit of curiosity and learning leads to success. If you google – Socrative-style of questions you will find lots of resources or check this out.

Warren Berger, a journalist in his book, The Book of Beautiful Questions, say, “You don’t learn unless you question.”

Present-day Profile of a Librarian – Attitude and Skills

By General, Librarian's Role, Lockdown - Covid-19 3 Comments

What is the need of a school library?

For every accreditation of the school, the Library is an essential part of school systems. Libraries are built and given importance to support multi-literacies, nurture life-long readers and learners. Thus, placing the librarian to perform a teacher’s role, an information specialist, and the library program administrator. Therefore, the librarian is a necessary aspect of the school system. They are responsible for acquiring resources like books and online databases, organizing and maintaining the resources to meet the school community’s learning needs.

What are the Librarians doing during the pandemic of 2019?

This year of the pandemic has shown that when the librarian has been a risktaker, independent & collaborative in learning, committed, and adaptive, they have been successful in this given situation.

Many librarians have had a reduced number of classes. Some have not had lessons but instead collaborated with classroom teachers, librarians have provided digital resources to support teaching & learning. Some librarians have been co-teaching, teaching other subjects, taking after school activities for reading sessions or engaging in debates, competitions, and school events. Librarians have taken on different roles (not traditional bookkeepers of the Library) which must not be mistaken to believe that the librarian’s position is unimportant, but recognize librarians as adaptive, flexible, and versatile.

Many local private schools administrations requested the librarians to take a sabbatical from work during the pandemic. After ten months, the administration is now offering them to return to work by providing them with the professional training to bring them up to speed with technology and teaching pedagogy. Had the administration, used this opportunity to train all educators and librarians simultaneously, it would have helped them financially and, including the librarians, would have helped raise the librarians’ standards and the Library’s role in the school.

The librarian role, like other educators, is evolving each year. Having the right attitudes are essential for success. Besides the required academic qualifications, librarians need to be adaptive learners and experimental in their approach.

What skills must Librarians have to meet the needs of schools?

  • One of the most crucial skill is finding ways to serve the community of learners, from students to teachers and even parents. So, when students do not have access to printed books, they can find other ways to introduce new eBooks based on students’ interests and needs, as seen during this pandemic situation. Sometimes, teachers need books to teach, but with no physical books available, the librarian needs to identify eBooks and resources to serve the teachers’ needs. Besides, teachers and students, librarians can reach out to parents. For example, during – the pandemic, librarians can provide well-research articles to parents to develop a balanced understanding of print and digital life.
  • Librarians need to be adaptive to revise systems and develop new ways. For example, librarians have started creating websites to provide a one-stop-shop for all users during the pandemic. They have altered the procedures for book checkouts. Some librarians in rural India started sending PNG’s instead of Jpegs because of its small size file through WhatsApp messages to direct students to websites.
  • Librarians need to take new initiatives. This pandemic has shown the librarians and the administration that eReources are essential for learning. Keeping this mind, the librarians should take the initiative by requesting changes in the budgets to support subscription of electronic resources in the form of databases to support differentiation and personalized learning paths.  All free resources may not meet all learners’ needs; therefore, structured eResources for building language literacy and other subjects will need to subscribe. Librarians can take the initiative to learn about the school curriculum, learn about the new databases, request for database trials, and recommend appropriate electronic databases or programs that will support teachers and students. Librarians must restructure and relocate funds for these new resources, make practical suggestions, and allocate a judicious amount spent on books and eResources.
  • Librarians must become familiar with many technology tools, and use it purposefully. Using fancy tools and making glamorous presentations without merit and learning value must be kept in mind and avoided.
  • Most importantly, learning to use technology is not as crucial as knowing and reading children’s literature for primary and secondary schools.
  • Learning, using and helping others use information and media ethically and respecting the copyright works of authors who put in the effort to share their craft and knowledge. And, most importantly, to credit and learn to use information and media lawfully.

What other skills and expectations should Librarians develop?

librarianship as a profession, one must always remember to keep the light of learning alive and relevant to meet new school programs and initiatives that continue to evolve to meet each child’s needs. Librarians must, therefore continue to fine-tune the following skills.
– Learning to prepare reports in written and oral form.
– Learning to interpret the school curriculum and find ways to add meaning and value to the library program.
– Build healthy, safe, and effective relationships with all community members, including students, teachers, parents, supervisors, vendors,       and volunteers.
– Creatively adapt and use best practices to meet the needs of the school community.

Steve Maraboli, a Behavioral Scientist, specializing in motivational psychology, leadership dynamics, and peak performance mindset, says, “Look around you. Everything changes. Everything on this earth is in a continuous state of evolving, refining, improving, adapting, enhancing, and changing. You were not put on this earth to remain stagnant.”

So, I say to myself, what I learn today is good for now, but the wisdom I have gained in the process will support what I will need to know tomorrow. Learning never stops.

Professional Growth and Learning

By Librarian's Role, Professional Development, Professional Learning One Comment

What is Professional Growth?

Growth and learning are essential facets of professional life. As I begin, reflecting on my personal, professional experience, I realize the only thing constant thing in my professional life is the desire to learn and grow so that I can continue to support the school community. I am grateful to the many people in my professional life, the professional development opportunities I have received to grow, learn and give back to the educational community.

Professional development is not collecting all the certificates to show and prove your growth. Yes, credentials are essential at initial points of your career. Certificates of courses are an incentive and motivation to continue to learn. Certificates do prove a point. As you begin to think and practise your craft of teaching, you understand that learning is an intrinsic part of professional life, where pursuing current practices, updated pedagogical approaches are the only essential aspect of growth.

CC-BY-SA-4.0 Redaksjonelt: Åse Elin Langeland

What do Librarians Learn?

As an elementary and secondary school librarian, I aimed to learn all about new literature that is available, for all children and literature for teenagers. Understanding their interests is important and giving them voice and choice, instead of downing students with what I thought was suitable for children.

Soon, I realized, librarians not only need to know about literature but understand how technology and technology were impacting the learning. Teachers and librarians are learning about information and media literacy, learning how to evaluate sources and teach students how to evaluate news and media. To stay relevant, learning and evolving is a process, and one cannot hold on to the laurels of the past.

Learning can be anything of your interest. I have dabbled in learning new tech tools to deliver and support teaching and learning. Tech tools should merely be the bells and whistles instead should be used to add meaning and value to the teaching, as taught by my teacher, Bernajean Porter.

Recently, I took a course on best practices for online teaching and learning; next, I learned how to create an online newspaper with my students. I took a course on writing blog posts while learning new strategies and techniques in writing. I read philosophy. I took short courses in teaching EAL (English as another language), and now I am taking a short study-course in understanding how one can support the high abilities students.

Are these related to my Library? Is this going to help me in the Library and Information Sciences? Working in a school as a librarian, I believe, it is essential to learn about the strategies and tools that teachers are using in their classes so that librarians can continue to be relevant in the changing needs of the educational landscape. Follow the Liferarian Blog to learn more

Where can Librarians Learn?

Liferarian Association is hosting a Virtual Conference with presenters who are practising librarians in various International Schools, being abreast with new technologies and pedagogies of teaching and learning, they too are active learners. Teaching and sharing is another facet of professional development when individuals hone their skills, deepen their understanding as they share with others.

Join the tribe and learn from this virtual conference on the 21st of November 2020. it is free, hosted by the Liferarian Association. This conference will include more than 20 presentations, author presentations and meet with some book distributors. Registrations will open on the 7th of November, 2020

I love what Gandhi said, ” Live as if you were to die tomorrow, Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Impact of NEP 2020 on Teacher Librarian (India)

By General, Librarian's Role, Teacher Librarian No Comments

According to the NEP 2020 Policy – “Education is fundamental for achieving full human potential, developing an equitable and just society, and promoting national development. Providing universal access to quality education is the key to India’s continued ascent and leadership on the global stage in terms of economic growth, social justice and equality, scientific advancement, national integration, and cultural preservation”.

This new education policy is to build Indian’s talent and resources and help develop universal society, country while positively impacting all. The Government endeavors to provide high-quality educational opportunities to grow holistically for oneself and society.

The SDG goals emphasis on Education is reflected in the 2030 plan of Sustainable development of Education in India, ensuring that Education is inclusive and equitable to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all – including children, adults, and professionals in the field of Education. In fact, 50 hours of Professional Development is required to ensure that educators have the necessary skills and pedagogical understanding and practices for executing the new education policy.

All practices included in the Library and schools must be inclusive and equitable. Being inclusive, it must consist of all groups of individuals to receive the services of a library and include all individuals from different tribes, rural, socially economically disadvantaged groups (SEDGs) children with special needs (CWSNs) and minorities.

NEP 2020 from a Librarian’s Point of View

Looking at the NEP 2020 from a teacher librarian’s point of view, here are some of the takeaways:

To provide best practices to support the fundamental principles of Education, the teacher-librarian to collaborate with Teachers that can promote fundamental principles laid down in the NEP. And, this can be done by pursuing – Curiosity & Passion Projects through cluster groups.

The NEP emphasizes the teachers and faculty, including the Librarian, to have an attitude of service. Keeping that in mind- the Library becomes the education service center of resources in print, digital, and personnel.

Passion Projects with the Librarian to map Fundamental Principles

A collaborative project of creating project work that is driven by students interests, strengths, and choices will enable students to reach its potential as recommended by the NEP that has mapped out the fundamental principles mentioned below:

  1. To help recognize, identify and foster each individual’s strengths and talents while promoting each student’s holistic development in both academic and non-academic sphere
  2. The flexibility of choice of learning
  3. Multidisciplinarity and a comprehensive education across the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, and sports when learning about India and the world.
  4. Emphasis is on conceptual understanding rather than rote learning
  5. Critical thinking to encourage logical decision-making, problem-solving & innovation
  6. To provide opportunities to express themselves creatively using a variety of technology tools or drama or writing or service
  7. Social, ethical, and emotional capacities & dispositions.

Library Place and Dispositions are exemplified in the NEP.

To build an education for an individual, schools, and libraries must provide a safe, welcoming place, where he/she is intellectually stimulated and where the Library becomes a Learning Hub.

A Library – Learning Hub, where the learning environment exists and can engage and provide a variety of learning experiences to the students. Where the focus is on the 21st-century skills with the dispositions that form the core of the individual’s character & personality

Librarians instructional practices and curriculum, therefore, must include a variety of dispositions in an informal setting to help students develop the dispositions cited in the NEP are:

  • Values like empathy, respect for others, cleanliness, courtesy, democratic spirit, the spirit of service, responsibility, pluralism, equality, and justice.
  • Life skills, such as communication, cooperation, teamwork, and resilience to be included.
  • Scientific temper and evidence-based thinking, creativity, and innovativeness; a sense of aesthetics and art
  • Oral and written communication; collaboration and teamwork; problem-solving and logical reasoning; vocational exposure and skills;
  • Digital literacy, coding, and computational thinking;
  • Ethical and moral reasoning; knowledge and practice of human and constitutional values; gender sensitivity.
  • Promoting multilingualism and the power of language in teaching and learning.

A collaboration where teachers and Librarians learning process with continuous professional development, positive working environments, and service conditions

Emphasis on the Library in the NEP emphasizes the following, and they are:

  • Enjoyable and inspirational books for students at all levels are developed, including through high-quality translation (technology-assisted as needed)
  • Public and school libraries to build a culture of reading across the country.
  • Digital libraries to be established and serve the community during non-school hours and book clubs may meet in public/school libraries to further facilitate extensive reading.
  • A National Book Promotion Policy will take extensive initiatives to ensure the availability, accessibility, quality, and readership of books across geographies, languages, levels, and genres.

According to the NEP – Curriculum and Pedagogy in Schools: Learning Should be Holistic, Integrated, Enjoyable, and Engaging. Library classes and lessons, therefore, must be

  • Inquiry-based, discovery-based, discussion-based, and analysis based learning.
  • The curriculum will focus on key concepts, ideas, applications, and problem-solving.
  • Teaching and learning to be interactive, questioning to be encouraged, and sessions will include engagement from the student side.
  • Art and sports integration
  • Multi-lingual learning

Collection of the Library, as recommended by the NEP, must be inclusive and include the following:

  • Digital
  • Multi-lingual
  • Multi-leveled books
  • Bi-lingual books
  • Indian literature with global literature
  • Blend of modern and classical literature in all languages
  • Books based on inquiry, critical thinking and problem solving
  • In addition to high-quality offerings in Indian languages and international languages, language learning is encouraged to help students learn about the cultures of the world and enrich their global knowledge.
  • Folklore and stories from different states
  • Resources to include pride in India, and it’s diverse, ancient and modern culture and knowledge systems and traditions
  • And resources to lead to Global awareness( we cannot live in isolation)

Librarians Lesson plans to include the following skills when planning

  • Scientific temper and evidence-based thinking
  • Creativity and innovativeness, problem-solving and logical reasoning
  • Sense of aesthetics and art
  • Oral and written communication
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Digital literacy and information literacy
  • Ethical and moral reasoning

According to the NEP, the content to include the following:

– Knowledge of India: ancient and modern
– Environmental awareness including water and resource conservation, sanitation and hygiene
– Current affairs and understanding of critical issues facing local communities
– The specialties of each state, countries and the world around
– Tribal and indigenous knowledge
– All forms of literature Indian and International
– A multi-disciplinary approach to all subjects

If a librarian nurtures the profession to become a teacher-librarian, they can also request continuous Professional Development of 50 hours a year as prescribed by the NEP 2020.

For schools to execute new practices offered by the NEP 2020, they will be introducing a wave of Professional development opportunities that will be provided to all faculty members. Here is a chance for Librarians to learn with the others in the schools transforming your role from a bookkeeper to a Teacher Librarian.

Virtual Class for Librarians

By Librarian's Role, Literacy, Virtual Learning One Comment

Tina Franklin libros y ebooks, Flickr

During the lockdown and virtual classes, librarians are looking out for ways to connect with students, teachers and the community. 

So, what can librarians do during this time of virtual learning with students?

Virtual Learning eBooks

During this time, librarians can capitalize on all the beautiful eBooks available for students. An opportunity to use the interactive eBooks where the books are either animated and read aloud rather than the pdf versions.  Many Pdf’s are floating around, but as ethical users of information, we must ensure that our students are using the eBooks ethically. Fair use guidelines may not always be used, especially when eBooks are available for purchase or shared by the vendors at discounted rates or free. 

Let’s capitalize on the eBooks that are offered for free by the companies.

Library Classes – Virtual

During the library online classes, we can capitalize this moment to create a love for reading and writing. Instead of using activities like – making your bookmark, asking questions like who is the character? what is the moral of the story? Let us use this opportunity to ask open-ended questions? Questions that help students think and help students develop the 21st-century skills of thinking analytically, critically or even having their own opinions and perspectives of stories that they read.

Examples of Virtual Learning eBooks

Vooks is offering a 1-month free trial. A kid-safe, ad-free streaming library of read-aloud animated storybooks. A curated list of eBooks that help builds vocabulary, love of reading, immersion, and fluency. 

For example, Title fo the book: The Easter Unicorn is a story about an Easter Bunny who is away on vacation, when a magical unicorn comes to the rescue, saving Easter Day!

Here is a list of activities that might go with the story:

Activity 1: Students can read the picture and retell the story and record the story using the Flipgrid app (video response)

Activity 2: Students can research and draw three magical creatures that do not exist.

Activity 3: Students can write a paragraph, describing a unicorn to someone who hasn’t seen one. 

Activity 4: Students can research and describe why rabbits are related to easter?

Activity 5: Students can explain why easter celebration is in April?

Virtual Learning Activity

RazPlus is offering a 2-month free trial. A guided reading program, with lesson plans and discussion cards. Try this out. For example: Title of the book: Gorillas by Keera Freed.

Gorillas are the largest primates in the world. Gorillas is an informative text that highlights how gorillas survive in the forests of Africa. The book can also be used to teach students how to identify main idea and details as well as to summarize to better understand the text. If you want to teach using the skills, get this trial and learn new teaching strategies and apply them to your students. (Available on Discussion Cards of the story)

  • How are gorillas similar and different than human beings (Skill of compare and contrast)
  • Why do you think humans teach gorillas sign language. How does this help man and animals? (Analysis)
  • Why might gorilla babies ride on their mother back (Make inferences & draw conclusions)
  • Why are gorillas endangered? (Cause and Effect)
  • How can people help gorillas? (Evaluate)

VooksA streaming service for kids, where storybooks come to life!

Finally, a better screen time option. Title of the book: Inventors, who changed the World.

Activities related to the story:

  • What qualities or characteristics should a person have to become an inventor? What are some traits you may have?
  • Select on the inventions you learned about and explain how it has impacted the world.
  • Research on the internet and find out three inventions in the 21st century that have positively impacted the world and explain.
  • What would happen if inventors did not share their failed research ideas and successful ideas with the world? 
  • Why is it important to share ideas with others? How is it beneficial to the community?
  • What is the author’s purpose in writing the story? How do you know it?

StoryWeaver is another free eBook resources that students can use to inquire, think critically and use the eBooks to create stories.

Title of the book: More or Less? Need to Guess! ,Written by Gayathri Tirthapura, Illustrated by Sahitya Rani – So many mithai boxes to count, so little time! Can Ranjita and Vikram do it? Yes, using a cool math trick called ‘Approximately More-or-Less’! Read this fun wedding story to learn the trick yourself. 

Activity 1: What was the problem in the story and how was it solved?

Activity 2: Describe a wedding that you last attended? 

Activity 3: What is the author’s purpose for writing the story? Is it to inform? Entertain or Persuade? How do you know that? Explain

Activity 4: Create a story that will help solve a math problem.

Activity 5: What genre is this story? Explain.

GetEpic:  An online eBook Platform: Title of the Book: The Trojan Horse: The Fall of Troy.

Ancient Greece’s best warriors battled their enemies, the Trojans, in a desperate attempt to win back King 

  • What genre is this story?
  • How is a myth different from historical fiction?
  • Describe the external and internal characteristics of the main character?
  • Who are the supporting characters and how do they bring out the best qualities of the main character?
  • Rewrite the Greek Myth using Indian setting and characters
  • What are some of the Indian myths you have heard? How is it different and similar to the Indian myths

For more eBook Resources – check out the Liferarian Padlet

What should I be Reading to Children in January 2020

By Indian Literature, Librarian's Role, Literacy, Readaloud, Reading Program One Comment

Reading Stories & Information

How can you build a growth mindset with Reading? How can you help build knowledge, perspective and develop the habit of good reading for children? it is when adults model and read the right text, at the right time through open discussions. So what do we do?

India is blessed with a variety of religion, culture and language. It is a celebration all year round. You and I can take this opportunity to invite our students to learn about the festivals and purpose behind the holidays.

 Most importantly look for a common thread, a theme that overlaps one another.  A common theme will bring unity, understanding and respect that we owe to all human beings. It will lift us from a basic description of festivals to thinking about the cause, impact and importance of the festival.

What should I read to my students/children in January or the Winter months in India?  What can librarians and teachers read to students?

Reading For Young Children:

  1. New Year Celebrations is often recognized by students as the beginning year with promises and resolutions. This book The Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Leg by Pratham will help invite students to think about kindness, care and make decisions to begin a year with empathy. Children can either discuss, share or write on index cards -about their resolution and stick it on the resolution tree on the bulletin board.
  2. This Book Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi, Sindhi & Other F…by VyanstGurivi G shares why and how different festivals are celebrated. And this one can be used to think of the similarities, and the differences among the festivals Lohri, Pongal and Makar Sankranti – each of them related to harvest time. The compare and contrast reflection sheets help in teaching students to evaluate works about similar topics offer positions of differences within the subject – while developing a theme.

Reading about Important dates in January 2020

Reading & Question

Time and Date tells us the events in India

Jan 1Wednesday New Year’s Day Restricted Holiday

Jan 2Thursday Guru Govind Singh Jayanti Restricted Holiday

Jan 14Tuesday Lohri Restricted Holiday

Jan 15Wednesday Pongal Restricted Holiday

Jan 15Wednesday Makar Sankranti Restricted Holiday

Jan 25Saturday Chinese New Year Observance

Jan 26Sunday Republic Day Gazetted HolidayJan 29Wednesday 

Jan 29 Wednesday  Vasant Panchami Restricted Holiday

Reading and Discussions with Older Students in January 2020

Reading, Thinking & Analyzing

Republic Day 

Instead of colouring the flag, asking students, what happens on Republic Day, who was the first president, as educators we need to ask open-ended and higher-order thinking questions that can promote thinking and analyses. It is a challenging process for teachers to deal with controversial topics, if we do not do take the responsibility, then who will?

  1. Researching on what it means for India to be a Republic?
  2. How is India’s Republic Status different from other countries Republic Status?
  3. Does it mean the same for all the countries – Explain?
  4. How is the  CAB bill (Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019) an extension of the Republic? Why is it a pressing bill?
  5. How can we ensure that CAB and National Register of Citizens bills are well understood?

Media Literacy with Reading

Teaching when done at the right time, becomes the Aha Moment! that we look for – Relevant and Timely. This is the time to introduce Media Literacy and look into biases and perspectives of different people by asking these questions? 

  • Who wrote or created the video, app, meme?
  • Does the author have credible credentials to back the information?
  • Why was it created?
  • Does the information match with other websites?
  • Are these different points of view?

If the article or media creates a strong emotive (positive or negative) reaction, we must remember to hold off and not jump to conclusions. Unless we read extensively about different perspectives and then draw informed decisions based on personal knowledge. We need to remember to hold off before spreading and passing on the information, especially if it is biased and/or has only one point of view. 

Responsible Digital Citizen & Reading

The internet has allowed everyone to share their voice and opinions. But, that doesn’t mean, everyone who shares on the internet is well informed when making opinions. It is crucial to learn how to be a responsible digital citizen. While discussing controversial topics, it is important for the teacher, to provide newspaper cuttings, articles from different sources to build on information, analyze, think and clarify. 

New Year Reading Topic for Older Students

Older students can also look up the history of ‘New Year Celebrations’ – What it means to different people in different religions and countries. 

  • How can we be respectful and celebratory of all religions? The Bahaii, Islam, Hindu, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians all have different days for their New Year.

    Read & Discuss with a Heart!

  • What can we do as a nation to build solidarity, empathy and dignity of all? 

What is a Discussion?

A good rule for analysis or discussion needs to be based on hard facts and a soft voice. A discussion should be an attempt to explore and understand the subject from all points of view and not a clash of who is right or wrong.

Discussion is not a debate – no one is right or wrong. It is an attempt to emphatically listen to each other. The teachers’ job here is that of a facilitator, not taking sides, recognize and encourage fact-based discussion with an emphasis on the origin of the information.  (Where did the information come from and what makes you stand by that information – is it based on facts or opinions) Ensure that we build a community of learners with a heart.

Teachers as Reading Facilitators

Open discussions and respect of varied opinions are a part of a matured mind and elevated intellect. 

Having robust discussions about politics, religion are challenging but not impossible. An excellent reminder to the teachers and students would be to remember, we all are humans, we all have rights and responsibility, and it is necessary to adopt and include all members of the human society while each one performing their responsibilities. 

 

School Library Association – India

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School Librarian Association’s first Newsletter for you! SLAI Scoop FINAL(SLAIndia Newsletter) Vol.1 Issue 1 Oct (002). 2019

School Library Association – India has recently been given a separate entitlement in India. Earlier, they were clubbed under one umbrella of all Indian Libraries. But, school Librarians are a different breed altogether. They have come a long way from being merely a book collector or a maintainer of the resources to playing several dynamic roles in an educational organization. Right from organizing the library, supporting and building the curriculum, to transforming the library into a creative space using all kinds of resources building on students’ imagination and dreams.

Librarians work towards building and supporting all forms of literacy from language, research, technology, et.all, contributing to the emotional, social wellbeing of various individuals through stories, and becoming knowledgeable.

The mission of the School Library Association India is to serve as a national platform. It aims at supporting professionals as knowledge ambassadors (SLA – India) while collaborating with all government bodies to support School Librarians.

The main aim is to:

  • Advocate for school libraries
  • Promote understanding of school librarians and their role
  • Integrating and raising the standards of school library programs into the curriculum
  • Promote research, publication and support professional development
  • Promote all forms of Literacies

Information about awards and grants can be found on this page. All updates and communications can be found on this website.

Habit of Giving Credit – Citation

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Giving credit to others contribution is important. And why is it important? Many businesses tycoons of successful projects know that success comes when it is built on other people’s ideas or ones own with others help. These leaders give credit to all those who have been a part of the endeavour.  Giving credit where credit is due is a very rewarding habit to form. Its rewards are inestimable –  Loretta Young, an American Actress.

Acknowledging and giving credit is one of the key aspects of any project or research. We all need to know, learn and practice giving credit when we create our presentations and work. As librarians, we are constantly reminding our students to cite their sources. When we give credit to the resources we use for teaching, we are not only modelling it for our students but also valuing other peoples work. This only establishes our credibility and reinforces what Google Scholar’s Mantra states: Standing on the shoulders of giants.

Learning and giving credit to all our images, using copyright free images or sharing ideas from others in our own creative way is a part of the Creative Commons and understanding the licenses are a part of being Information Coaches/Librarians. The IBO office recently released – An Ideal Libraries/Librarians putting a huge emphasis on the ethical use of information, protecting the environment and being respectful of all races, religions, and sects. Using any form of citation, be it MLA, Chicago or APA style, it is important to teach students to recognize others work. And, not copy and paste – which is outright plagiarism. Students need to paraphrase, add their own perspective and cite their sources of information. This practice will help all become critical thinkers and ethical users of information, and one must know that simply copying and pasting information out from the internet is not learning. Let’s model, practice and support the ethical use of information.

Evaluating Information – Caarp or Cars

By General, Information Literacy, Librarian's Role, Research Skills No Comments

There is a plethora of information online – so how do we navigate the flood of information and recognize information that is authentic, real and something we can trust. All IB librarians are pretty familiar with the acronym – CAARP or CRAAP.

To recognize information as worthwhile and with credibility – it is important to teach our students how to question their sources. My favorite criteria is the CAARP  from the California State University And, you can apply it to almost anything, a book, a website, a blog post or even a media product. To test the authenticity of the information you can also use the CARS checklist from McGraw Hill. As librarians, we must teach these to our students starting from Grade 4 all the way up to the high school students. No one is too young or too old to learn these acronyms to guide us when evaluating any source of information.

When you come across a video on Whatsapp or through social media channel, using any one of these acronyms of evaluating will help identify the authenticity and value of the information and will help you from getting carried away with fake news and other morphed videos and images. If you don’t see the creator of the video – IGNORE IT… It’s not worth passing it on.

I often tell my high school students, that if they come across some information on a website and it is only found on that particular website, and that particular information sounds unique, unbelievable or even rare, then, more often than not I would ignore it. To get an all-round perspective on a particular topic it is important that you find other credible sources that would compare, comment or even discuss it from different angles. Always when in doubt, look for other sources to compare, get perspective and viewpoints on the topic, never trust only one website, or one source for a particular topic.

Compare, contrast, think, analyze and use your own understanding to arrive at your opinion and views. This will help students and researchers to develop a grasp on a topic and get a 360 degree perspective on the topic.

Reading Aloud Stories Beyond Folklore 2

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Read aloud stories beyond folklore: there are plenty of stories beyond folklore being published in India. It is time to look at the originality and the creativity of these stories. I love the uniqueness of the recent stories that are being published, they have a profound purpose and goes beyond the folklore.  In today’s post, we will look at picture book stories about Urban India. These picture books can be used to talk about India: Where we are in place and time OR Who we are? OR Comparing city or village life or urban and rural life.

Fakruddin’s Fridge by Meenu Thomas and Tanvi Bhat is about little Fakruddin worrying about everything and asking endless questions. One day, when his fridge stops working, Fakru is frantic! How will he survive a hot summer without cold water? Ammi says: “Think of a way out yourself,”  A light-hearted story with cheerful watercolor illustrations which bring alive the ambiance of Fakru’s neighborhood in Bhopal city.

For Ju, old is gold. Her mother brings her hand-me-downs from the homes in which she works and Ju welcomes them like new friends. Ju graciously receives well-used textbooks and the treasures sometimes hidden among their pages: pressed flowers, poems, even a dead butterfly. One day Ju finds a sealed envelope in the maths book. It has a stamp but no address. Ju’s Story is part of ‘Different Tales,’ a project by Anveshi Research Centre  Paul Zacharia, sensitively shares this moving story, with Asma Menon’s strong, painterly illustrations suggesting a sense of empowerment. Slums are a part of every city life and cannot be ignored.

Princess Easy Pleasy by Natasha Sharma and Priya Kuriyan

Princess Easy Pleasy is all but easy to please. She drives the royal packer up the wall with her quirks that are as seasonal as her royal vacations. Where does it all stop? This rollicking picture book written by Natasha Sharma and illustrated by Priya Kuriyan guarantees many laughs and gives you a glimpse of another aspect of an urban lifestyle.

Papa’s Marathon by Nalini Sorensen and paired with Prashant Soni’s illustrations is a lighthearted story is about fitness goals that go awry and the unflagging faith of family. A cheerful story, about Gia’s Papa who has signed up for the marathon. And he buys clothes and fancy gadgets to match his new hobby. A story about Gia and her grandmother who become his biggest cheerleader. Another glimpse into some of the urban lifestyle’s in India.

Enjoy these stories and should you have others to share, please add them to the list. Most of these stories books can be found with Peacock Feathers.