Getting back into the swing of things

2010 is here, and tomorrow we welcome the students back to school. We staff had a Professional Development week last week, full of meetings, policy updates, planning sessions, first aid training, excellent food, and lots of slightly befuddled expressions as people tried to remember where they put those books/files/illicit chocolate supplies last year.
For me there were some valuable discussions about technology directions, ways to coordinate library classes so as to support classroom projects, and lots of colleagues dropping in to grab boxes of resources as they set up their classrooms.
This year will see some more tweaking of library classes; Year 5 and 6 classes will again be a team-taught, integrated approach, Year 3 are looking for research skills lessons to support a class unit, and Year 2 will be coming to the Big Library for a full 50 minute lesson, so as to give them a better start on book and information skills. To give me the time to do that, Kinder library will be taken by the JS head, so I will put together a “Beginner’s Guide to Teaching Library for Littlies” to support that. The Deputy head will also be taking Preps for 25 minutes, mostly for sharing stories, while I do a separate information skills lesson – this will be an interesting arrangement, needing some coordination to keep things relevant.
I see some big benefits in these arrangements for spreading the understanding of what library time can add to children’s education.
* Firstly, everyone knows how very busy the head and deputy head are, so having them teach library lessons may increase the perceived value beyond that of relief time for classroom teachers.
* Secondly it will provide more opportunities for collaboration between executive and I, and hopefully class teachers too, around the topic of information skills.
* Thirdly I hope that through reading with the small ones every week, these teachers will recognise the importance of helping children discover the riches to be found in reading for pleasure, so that this valuable facet of education is not neglected in favour of more assessable skills. Boys often struggle to see the point of reading, but my hope is that those who have warm memories of sharing great stories as children will rediscover reading later on, even if they get a little distracted (eg by adolescence) along the way.
Right now I have a certain amount of planning to do, so enough of the chitchat.

Administrivia

It is amazing how much time can be spent on the admin details – I spent at least an hour yesterday checking through the new term timetables, sorting out period changes for some English classes and trying to work out how often I will be seeing my various classes this term, what with various camps, athletics carnivals, concerts and speech night preparations (I have been warned to expect the unexpected from late October onwards – apparently rehearsals fall from on high without warning or mercy).

Today’s important-but-fearsomely-monotonous task is stocktaking.¬†There has not been a stocktake in at least six years (I am not enquiring too deeply into the history of this), and there are a lot of errors in the catalogue database. The bar of chocolate at the end of this will be a much more accurate set of records ready for the planned software changeover over the summer. I have decided to call it the Tour de Stocktake, because it will be accomplished over several weeks, in stages, some of which could be called sprints, while others are enormously challenging mountains of items. The first Stage (French accent please) was achieved on Monday, with the scanning of all fiction books present in the infants library. While about 35% were missing, I’m hoping that at least half of those will miraculously reappear when I work my way through the infants classrooms.

Time to unplug my laptop, grab the scanner, blue cable, stocktake folder and mug of tea, and head off to the wilderness – that is, the non-fiction section of the infants library room. If I don’t make it back for morning tea, send out a search party.