Book review: From Master Teacher to Master Learner

From Master Teacher to Master Learner argues that  the teacher should be someone who models learning as opposed to modelling being a content expert. The teacher models learning by delving deeper into their own practice and emphasizes depth over breadth. Richardson’s “modern learning” uses technology as a tool for inquiry, and is student-led as opposed to teacher organized. The rest of the book is a toolkit of web tools and teacher dispositions meant to drive classrooms towards this modern learning environment.

The teacher as learner: computational thinking

IMG_0530Reading this book has encouraged me to continue to learn about coding. Having been given the opportunity to collaborate with Ms Cechini’s and Ms Kuo’s ELL classes, I encouraged them to learn with me about computers and technology. Since I don’t know very much about coding, I recognized this process as what Richardson calls “an equal partner in the learning.” It has been a steep learning curve, I had to confront math anxiety, and log more than 15 hours learning about computers, circuits, and innovations. However, the process has given me renewed energy for breaking new ground, I love seeing student engagement and I’ve received the unexpected gift of more family time. Mr. Jones is a software engineer and has been good about explaining the basics of computing . Our five year old listens attentively and has been my partner solving binary math problems. From Master Teacher to Master Learner is a quick read and a fine introduction to teacher development in the digital age.

Reading and the athlete’s mindset

I was recently on the blog written by my coach, Don McGrath, and find that his post on mental attitude resonates with our context here of developing our skills are learners, and in particular, as readers.  As in sport, our mental attitude greatly affects our performance as readers.

As proven by a number of research studies, reading is a gateway to academic and personal success. In other words, when you invest time to read, you are investing in your future. However, our mindset as we read determines how much reward we gain from it, in the same way that a productive mindset makes the difference whether or not we succeed in sport.

We can cultivate a positive attitude towards reading in many ways and I believe you can find avenues for improvement by  cultivating some aspects of the athlete’s mindset:

  1. Remain open. Expand your awareness about what reading can do for you in terms of helping you achieve your goals.
  2. Remain curious. Books allow us to encounter creative solutions to problems. Reading brings us close to others by uncovering our common humanity.
  3. Remain real. While it is hard to eliminate all negative attitudes overnight, keep training your mind just like you would train your body. Resolve to monitor your negative mental habits like giving up too soon on a book or jumping to conclusions, like that you are bored. As Don says, “notice your successes” instead of your failures.
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Becca Caldwell takes a break on El Capitan

Efforts to engage in reading can nourish us and make us better off today and tomorrow. If you love sports as much as I do, you know that your mental game is as important as your physical training. Keep fit and read, my friends !

Hyack Teen Read 2015-16

The Hyack Teen Read Award is a joint program between NWSS Library and NWPL designed to increase voluntary reading among New Westminster teens. This year’s nominees have been selected by teens and librarians who propose books to run against each other and then have our teen patrons choose the year’s most interesting book. NWSS Library has hosted three of this year’s authors- Ranj Dhaliwal (Daaku), Ashley Little (Anatomy of a Girl Gang) and Elizabeth Stewart (Blue Gold), all who engaged their audiences in fascinating discussions and read-alouds.

There is substantial research that proves that youth who read often, voluntarily, and have access to books, have  higher literacy and academic outcomes. We hope that by showcasing local and international books shortlisted by their community, our youth will receive even more encouragement to read.hyack teen read award 2015 2016

Alessandra Naccarato – Spoken Word Poet @ NWSS Library

The Vancouver Writer’s Festival generously funded a school visit by Spoken Word Poet, Alessandra Naccarato on June 1, 2015.  Alessandra performed some incredible poems to Mr Gebert’s and Mr Forsythe’s English classes, including “Coyote Medicine/ Medicine Coyote” which was a CBC Poetry Prize Finalist.  Ms. Naccarato is a recipient of a Canada Council Grant, writes creative non-fiction and is an RBC Emergent Writer.  She  is set to release an album of spoken word and music in the coming weeks. She is also working on her first YA novel, an environmental thriller set in a dystopic Canadian future.  If you want to read further works by Alessandra Naccarato, “Re-origin of Species” is a free ibook put out by the Writers’ Trust of Canada.

Student Q & A:

Why does your speaking voice sound different from your reciting voice?

I use my training in theatre to change octave, rhythm and tone to accompany and emphasize the message of the poems.

Metaphors or similes : which do you prefer ?

Similes are easier to insert into poems and are effective for conveying imagery. However, extended metaphors can structure an entire poem and are effective for drawing your audience into your thought process as they provide multiple points of entry into the poem.

Who are your literary influences?

howlIn Grade 10 I had an English teacher  introduce me to Howl by Allen Ginsberg. Howl showed me what poetry was capable of , in particular, its revolutionary aspect; Howl inspired me to become a poet. My  other influences are Ursula K. L Guin and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.


Where can young people hear and participate in spoken word ?

Check out the Vancouver Poetry Slam and monthly open-mic events at Café Deux Soleils

Do you have any hobbies?

I like to make jewelry, teach yoga, and read tarot cards.  I study tarot cards with mentors who use the cards as storytelling devices through the analysis of archetypes.

Any words of advice ?

“Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and do the work.” This means that sometimes, poems come easily to me; most times, I just have to write everyday and refine my work, sometimes for years.  Basically, the more I write, the easier it becomes.

Ribbet collage a naccarato

Hyack Teen Read Winner 2015 !

This year’s Hyack Teen Read Winner is ….. Our Interrupted Fairy Tale, by NWSS grad, Megan Williams. As a partnership between the NWPL and NWSS Library, the Hyack Teen Read program promotes reading for pleasure by recommending 10 books every year and encouraging New West teens to rate their favourite.  Fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels are shortlisted by an Advisory Group of teens and librarians.  New West teens are always invited to join the Advisory Group.  This year’s promotion events included author visits by Megan Williams, book clubs, flyers, bookmarks, and contests.  Our next year’s Hyack Reads will be announced in October !

This year’s grand prize winner : Jennifer Dewan – A Kobo eReader !

Secondary winners : Hyack Teen Read book bag and Scholastic certificates.

Ribbet collage hyack reads 1Ribbet collage hyack reads 2

Célébrons la Journée internationale de la femme

The library is celebrating International Women’s Day with book displays and promotional materials.  Note that the Government of Canada Status of Women has prepared a series of resources  to highlight the contribution of women to Canada’s economy in a range of areas.  Aussi disponible en français

ribbet collage intl womens day

Reading Challenge Contest !

reading challenge 2015READING IS THE NEW BLACK.  Join the 2015 Reading Challenge and win prizes !!  Read books in a variety of categories and enter to win recognition and loot. Log booklets and contest details are available in the library.

“Double-dipping” categories is allowed. However, the student(s) with the most unique titles (singletons) will be declared Grand Prize winner.

Students entering and successfully completing the Challenge will have their names entered for random prizes. Teachers, teacher-librarians, parents, and public librarians can assist students to choose the Reading Challenge books that are appropriate for their age, interest and maturity levels. Download a booklet here.
reading challenge booklet

February 14 – Love your Library Day !

Show your love of life and books by coming to library and borrowing some great books.  Share the Love : Fill out one of our pink hearts and write down the name of a book you love.  Your opinions will be entered as book reviews in our catalog. This will help your fellow classmates find a book they will also feel good about  !valentines displayvalentines display 2