Monday, February 17, 2020

The Clutter Conundrum and Decision-Making Fatigue

(Happy Family Day to those in Canada who celebrate!) This week has been a challenging one, and not just because of the strike action. Learning, unlearning, and relearning is really difficult.

The most recent piece of the pie was that while I was picketing, a health and safety inspector came to visit my teaching space. I received three violation notifications for infractions that I needed to deal with ASAP. This stressed me out, even though my caretaker reassured me that this was not catastrophic news. My principal even said that I could indirectly thank H&S for spurring me into action - because I spent the Parent-Teacher Interview day on February 14 consulting with various experts and completely re-configuring the school library layout. Visual-spatial skills are not my forte; I can't imagine new set-ups clearly unless I see them. Big thanks to Michael, Jessie, Renee and others for providing their suggestions and feedback. In order to address the concerns expressed in the health and safety report, we revamped the way the school library is organized. This was tough. (I actually didn't take a lot of photos during the process so far, because I needed to be totally present and documenting had to take a back seat.)



(These are the only two photos I took. The first image with the blank wall used to be where my graphic novel / comic collection shelves were located. Now it will be where my interactive white board goes. My comics area is elsewhere. I also stripped the bulletin boards. The second image withe the bare board has trim. More on that below.)

I need to remind irregular readers of this blog that I am not a tidy person. (See https://mondaymollymusings.blogspot.com/2018/08/i-got-n-on-my-report-card.html) My husband has famously said "Just because you buy organizational tools does not make you an organized person". So a day of cleaning and rearranging was not my idea of paradise, even though I will appreciate the end result.

Compounding this is the cognitive dissonance and conflict I feel as I'm learning things in my Kindergarten AQ course. I started the course on January 15, 2020 (as I mentioned in this blog post) and it's been fascinating. It's also been challenging a lot of my prior knowledge and ideas around play, resources, purchases, question prompts, and the class environment. I've been talking about my learning and the struggle I'm having with some of the ideas with other educators. They've been very supportive and cautioned me to not "throw the baby out with the bathwater". The biggest internal struggles have been around "clutter" and set-up. I read two articles that was part of our assigned readings for Invitations for Learning (they are https://www.childcareexchange.com/library/5015738.pdf and https://www.edonline.sk.ca/bbcswebdav/library/Curriculum%20Website/Kindergarten/Resources/Core/creating_invitations_for_learning.pdf) and both made a point about "orderly, beautiful arrangements". My inner devil's advocate keeps yelling things at me like "Who has time?" and "That feels too artificial and Pinteresty". However, these points about aesthetic considerations for displays have rationales and research behind them so I cannot dismiss them entirely and I know part of my internal debate stems from my concern with changing how I teach. (e.g. I know that big bins of stuff lead to dumping everything out, because I've seen that behaviour, but what if supplies are insufficient in these artful displays?) In a reading on the learning environment (especially http://ocw.umb.edu/early-education-development/echd-440-640-eec-language-and-literacy-course/learning-module-1/module-11/consider%20the%20walls.pdf), there were serious objections to clutter and to commercially prepared decorations. I agree, but I also sob inside when I consider how much money I've spent on posters and trims over the course of my career. This means that there are so many things I need to get rid of, including things I've collected (not hoarded) for school use over the years.



(These are two of the learning provocations that our instructors set up for us on February 12. I really struggled with the top one, because I didn't understand the question ["What is the rhythm in your skin?"] at all. Once I finally figured out it was more along the lines of "How might you make music?", I was slightly more ready to try but my initial attempts involved smashing everything in the display on its side and off the table. Sorry I hit you Emily, although it was just once and by accident.)

I can weed books. It's weeding toys that can be hard. Toys have faces and sentimental attachment. I still remember when my parents threw out Barley the Bison and a few other stuffed animals we played with as children. I understand points made about using loose parts instead of toys because toys can prescribe the play in certain ways, may limit creativity, and might indirectly reinforce stereotypes around gender and class. Yet, I also know how much fun students have with playing with the toys I have and that they can use toys in unpredictable ways. Which toys stay and which toys go?

And this leads me to the second part of my blog post title. I looked it up and saw a quote that claims that the average classroom teacher will make more than 1 500 educational decisions every school day, which works out to 4 decisions per minute. (The source for this was https://www.teachervision.com/too-many-tasks-not-enough-day) Other articles say that average people make 35 000 decisions a day, and 226 of those are just about food. (The source for this information was https://raywilliams.ca/neuroscience-can-help-us-make-better-decisions/). Your "decision tank" gets empty after 75 decisions, according to this article. With the extra responsibility of being one of the three school union stewards, I find that it's tiring to make important decisions, especially when they impact several people and/or need to be made relatively quickly. Where do we picket? Where should we meet for the attendance sign-in and sign-out on province-wide strike days when there's a big crowd? How should we coordinate the selection of translators for interview day when certain activities constitute struck work under our work-to-rule guidelines? Which toys do I get rid of, and where do they go?

Thankfully, I've come up with one decision (as I lay in bed, thinking things over when I should have been sleeping) that will make me feel a bit better about the decision to purge some of the unnecessary clutter.


Wednesday, February 19, 2020 is #IReadCanadian Day. I've signed up our school for this event. It's simple: everyone read a Canadian book for just 15 minutes.





My plan for my school is to announce that if a class reads a Canadian book/author/illustrator for 15 minutes on February 19, the students are allowed to choose a stuffed animal (with an "I Read Canadian" tag on it) for free. If you take a photo of you reading that Canadian book that your teacher-librarian can use on social media, then you can have two! I plan on sorting through the tons of stuffed animals at school and categorizing them into ones I want to keep for personal reasons, ones to keep for teaching purposes (limited to one bin) and ones to give away to my students for I Read Canadian Day. I hope that by consoling myself with knowing that the stuffed animals will be going to the homes of my students for a good cause that it won't feel like I am "throwing them out". It's a decent compromise decision and will hopefully reduce some of the clutter. Maybe I'll even get my new student-teacher to help. (New student-teacher? More on that probably in next week's blog post!)

Monday, February 10, 2020

What's it like to strike



I wasn't sure I was going to write this post, because other people have done a better job with similar themes - the current actions by Ontario educators in response to the actions of the Ontario government.

There are more examples, but you can see Doug Peterson's compilation list or samples from:

Kyleen Gray (@TCHevolution on Twitter) - https://teacherevolution.me/2020/01/24/dear-ontario-parents-dont-stress-about-withheld-report-cards/

Will Gourley (@WillGourley on Twitter) https://heartandart.ca/?p=8425

This is my twenty-third year of teaching and only the third time I've ever not been in class due to political job action.

The First Time


The first time was in 1997. I started the school year as an LTO and had just recently accepted a permanent full-time contract position at another school. It was about Bill 160. As has been pointed out online, it technically wasn't a strike. It was two weeks long. My sign in the photo says "We do not like when Tories lie. We do not like it, teachers cry" with a Cat in the Hat drawing. To quote my own tweet ...

This was October or November of 1997. I desperately needed the break and staff bonding, even though it was a big financial hit as a new teacher. As Doug will assuredly note, I was into costumes even back then (my hat and mask [not seen here] matched my sign)

The Second Time





The second time was December 18, 2012 - a one-day action related to Bill 115. My home-made signs say "It's not about the money, honey. Bill 115 stings our rights" (to match my Winnie the Pooh costume) and "Do you hear the teachers sing? Singing the song of angry men. It is the music of a people who want unjust bills to end" (using a Les Miz reference).

Currently





Here we are, for the third time. So far, it's been January 20, February 6, 7 and will be February 11 and 12. I hope that things can be resolved. My signs (to match my leopard / cheetah suit) say "No limits to class size? A CATastrophe" and "Education cuts are CATastropic".

See any patterns? There are a few similarities. A lot has to do with unfair legislation. A lot has to do with students' learning conditions (because teacher working conditions are directly related to student learning conditions). And it always seems to generate an opportunity for me to wear a costume and make my own signs.

But what's it actually LIKE to strike? It's a mix of emotions and thoughts, both positive and negative.

The Positive Parts


  • The camaraderie can be very uplifting. By walking the picket lines with other educators, you are reminded that you aren't alone. You get to know colleagues better while you walk and talk.
  • It's good exercise. I'm exceeding my Fit Bit step goal regularly.
  • The support (especially this time around) by the general public has been very encouraging. The honking horns, kind words, gifts of food and drinks have been wonderful

The Negative Parts

  • I miss my students! Even though I must commend the union on how they've tried their hardest not to make anything unpleasant for the parents or students (i.e. we didn't withdraw extra-curriclular activities until Phase 5 of our Work-to-Rule plan), being away from them is hard. We'd rather be teaching.
  • It's exhausting! Three hours of pacing the sidewalks outside in the cold takes a different kind of energy from the seven hours of teaching inside. I've been going to bed earlier but it still doesn't shake the persistently tired feeling.
  • It hurts financially. For anyone who claims it's about compensation ... I'm losing more money being on strike. (As a single-income family, it makes an impact.) The unions (and it's all four Ontario education unions - ETFO, OSSTF, OECTA and AEFO) don't take these actions lightly.

So Why Strike?


(Image says "Reg 274 works for schools and teacher because hiring is no longer about 'who you know' - it's based on qualifications and experience.")


(Image says "Quality Public Education for All Ontario Students: Ontario has one of the best public education systems in the world, providing high-quality education for every student regardless of where they live. The government must prioritize students and our schools. It's time to reverse funding cuts and invest in public education."


(Image says"Kindergarten Works: Extensive research has shown that Ontario's current Kindergarten model, which includes a full-time certified teacher and a designated early childhood educator (DECE) works best for students. Created by education experts and based on international research, Kindergarten makes Ontario a global leader in early childhood education."


(Images says "Addressing Violence in Our Schools: Violence in our schools is a symptom of broader issues facing the education system, including larger classes, a lack of resources and student supports and fewer staff to meet the varied needs of students. Schools need more guidance counsellors, child and youth workers, mental health supports and timely assessments for students who need them"


(Image says "Support for Students with Special Needs: The funding model for special education programs is based on a predictive model rather than student needs. Funding is disconnected from what is happening in elementary classrooms and the needs of students in our schools."


Our class sizes are larger than they should be. Not only do we need to maintain the Grade 1-3 Primary class size cap, we need to instate class sizes for our Junior and Intermediate classes too.

I really hope that the government will come back to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith. We are not being secretive about our requests. I'm prepared to strike for as long as we have to do so. I want to publicly thank our union executives (led by Sam Hammond) for working so hard for teachers, students and parents. It's not easy, but good things don't always come easy.


Thursday, February 6, 2020

OLA SC 2020 Day 4 aka TMC6 Reflections

Someone has done this already, and to be brutally honest, done it better. Jordan Graham was the guest blogger for TMC6 and she was a machine ... or a force of nature ...or whatever metaphor you choose to share to indicate the incredible quantity and quality of reflections on Treasure Mountain Canada 6 she produced in such a short period of time. (Jordan even captured quotes from the award winners during their acceptance speeches - how did she DO that?) I truly do not know how she was able to listen, synthesize, summarize, and write (with photos) during the actual symposium.

Still, it's worth me sharing my $0.02.

Saturday, February 1, 2020 - 7:45 a.m.

Another early morning (but my first night's sleep in the hotel where I didn't wake up during the night) and breakfast with the participants of TMC6. I couldn't resist doing some final "red-vest" duties with Emily Burns, directing people to OLBA Bootcamp and answering questions. I will miss working with you Emily!

Saturday, February 1, 2020 - 8:30 a.m.

The TMC spotlight speaker was Garfield and Laura Gini-Newman. Their paper was a real brain-buster for me. I read their paper, "Powerful Instruction and Powerful Assessment: The Double Helix of Learning" before the symposium and this was part of my response:

As someone who was fed and consumed heartily from the Wiggins & McTighe backwards design model, this new way of planning, thinking and assessing is going to take some unlearning and relearning for me. I've got to ask myself some tough questions, like "does this assessment inspire learning?". I think I will need my PLN to help me digest this even more and see what it actually means in practice for me.

I like Jordan's paraphrase about how the Gini-Newmans are encouraging us to rethink assessment:

Central to this paper is the distinction between assessment, "to sit alongside a learner," and evaluation, "to judge a learner."  The thinking is about how we move from sitting in judgement to sitting alongside, and how feedback can become guidance.

 Saturday, February 1, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.

Anita Brooks-Kirkland spoke about The Eric Walters School Library Summer Lending Challenge research paper that she and Carol Koechlin wrote. For those of you who have not yet read the paper, it's lengthy but extremely thorough. I really need to think about their suggestions. One was to reduce the amount of extra hoops or bureaucratic steps needed to make it happen. I was one of those schools that arranged a special note, translated into Chinese and English, to explain and gain permission. Am I at the stage where I can get rid of that yet? I'm not sure.

Saturday, February 1, 2020 - 10:30 a.m.

Time for table talks! Seven of us that had contributed papers to Treasure Mountain Canada 6 gave a one minute promotional blurb to encourage participants to come to our tables to discuss the papers.

The photo below includes Rebeca Ruibo, Alanna King, Beth Lyons, and me, Diana Maliszewski (#5).

Presenter line up

I didn't take pictures during my table talk, but I did take notes. I wanted to treat my session as a discussion forum where I could learn from the participants just as much as they might learn from me.

Promo slide for my talk


In the first round, I had Pam, Alison, Sarah, Jonelle, and Lisa at my table and I want to thank them for their contributions. I like how Pam admitted that she wasn't a "manga person" and that led her school's manga club to make purchasing recommendations that she often followed (with series research by her). I like how Jonelle used an online wish list and included benefits like being the first to borrow the book if you suggested that the school library buy it. I also like Jonelle's future plans to include the leadership class in making some more purchasing decisions for the school library. I appreciated Lisa's work with her school in teaching students with an equity lens so they can develop the criteria for examining the school library collection. I also admire how Alison said she want to make how she chooses books for the school library collection more visible and transparent.

In the second round, I had Leigh, Erin, Toni, Jess, Dawn, Christie and Jane, and once again, I want to thank them for their contributions to our discussion. They had such good, important points to make. When circumstances prevent you from actually taking students to buy books at book stores or with approved board vendors, there are other options you can employ. Christie uses a mailbox of requests (and it's fascinating to see that half of the suggestions are titles already in her school library's collection). Jess uses wish lists and asks students to put in their requests. Leigh wondered about the possibility of using the Scholastic flyers as ways for students to give input. After considering how selecting from lists or recommendations would be similar or different from in-person shopping (while being mindful of the equity issues that are part of those actions), the group also talked about the kinds of evidence or proof that could be collected to show that involving students makes a different. Suggestions included circulation statistics, surveying parents to see if they noticed any behaviour or comments from their children after the experience, asking teachers to identify students disengaged with reading and invite the class teachers to observe and record any changes in those students after such a trip, and meta-cognitive data. 

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to hear the other morning table talks. They sounded good!


Once again, big thanks to Jordan Graham for capturing the essence of two of the other morning table talks - you can read them here: https://tmcanada.blogspot.com/2020/02/table-talk-snapshots-round-1.html

Saturday, February 1, 2020 - 11:30 a.m.

Leigh online
We had a virtual spotlight speaker present at Treasure Mountain Canada - Leigh Cassell. Leigh spoke about her paper regarding "wise practices" (not best practices - a significant difference) when using video conferencing. I really appreciated how Leigh followed up my request for names of critical scholars involved with justice-oriented, intercultural experiences by providing a list in her presentation. No excuses for me now not to become more acquainted with these researchers. My favourite line from their paper was this one:

"Learning about, with, and from people of varying cultural practices requires educators to help students reject ethnocentrism while better understanding their own cultural practices of which they may lack consciousness."

Jordan Graham summarized Leigh's talk here - https://tmcanada.blogspot.com/2020/02/spotlight-speaker-leigh-cassell.html and Carol had us do a building connections activity just before lunch.

Reaching 3 types of educators (I forgive whoever took my cell)


Saturday, February 1, 2020 - 1:15 p.m.

Our afternoon, whole-group spotlight speaker was Deborah Dundas, from The Toronto Star. She shared her work doing her version of the Cooperative Children's Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison's investigation into Diversity in Children's Books. Deborah was very patient with our flurry of questions and I'm so glad to hear that she'll be doing a follow-up survey. 


Deborah speaks

Jordan's reporting of this spotlight can be found at https://tmcanada.blogspot.com/2020/02/spotlight-speaker-deborah-dundas.html

Saturday, February 1, 2020 - 1:45 p.m.

More table talks! This time I was lucky enough to listen instead of speak. Jordan attended two sessions that I did not. You can read her impressions at https://tmcanada.blogspot.com/2020/02/table-talk-snapshots-round-2.html

Getting shadows to work with you
The first talk I attended during this round was Jane Dennis-Moore's "If you Give a Kid a Camera: Participatory Visual Literacy in the LLC". She had so many great things to share. Students learn through discovery, especially with photo-taking; allow them to explore. Photography isn't just taking photos, but looking at photos. You don't have to have a fancy SLR camera to involve your students with taking photos, although when you trust students with a camera like this, it wows them and they rise to the challenge. It builds a sense of excitement, is invigorating, empowering increases confidence and encourages risk-taking. We participants asked where we might start. Jane suggested a "Who am I?" task, based on taking photos using different angles of students. If you have limited number of iPads, borrow the grade iPads. Taking photos with Chromebooks is possible but not ideal because hits hard to get close. Jane recommended using the devices collaboratively; for instance, creating a photo booth centre involves several roles. Jane's favourite photo prompt is "do a self-portrait that is NOT a selfie that reveals something about you". 

Christine's photo


Jane's session also involved taking as many different angles of a small object as possible. Here are all of the shots I took.in a BeFunky photo collage.





The second session during this round that I attended was by Jonelle St. Aubyn, called "The Human Library at the Luise Arbour Secondary School Library Learning Commons". I've wanted to replicate this at my school for years and Jonelle explained how she did it, both at her table talk and in her paper. She said that some of her students are quite sheltered (i.e. they are not allowed to take public transit on their own) so this event was helpful to change their perspectives. It's tricky to contact individuals who might make great "human books" because the philosophy is that no one gets paid for this encounter. Thankfully, Jonelle had a lot of contacts. The most popular "human book" was their school's NPU officer - questions asked included things like "What do I do if I get pulled over by the police?" Some groups were more interested in hearing the person's story than asking them questions, like the heart transplant recipient. It was important to have representation and role models. Jonelle recommended listing multiple parts of identities (e.g. LGBQT + testicular cancer survivor / South Asian + artist). She emphasized that this event is not meant to be a career fair. Her advice is to start planning early because visitors need to have a criminal background check.


Saturday, February 1, 2020 - 2:55 p.m.

The "Big Think" is a David Loertscher speciality - getting participants to synthesize, prepare next steps, and think beyond. Why not involve other specialist teachers in co-planning, co-teaching, and co-assessing? What if the music teacher worked in conjunction with a classroom teacher? Or a phys-ed specialist? What might be possible if it was a School Learning Commons and not just a School Library Learning Commons? Each group brainstormed areas inspired by various papers presented during the symposium. (Jordan writes about this session here - https://tmcanada.blogspot.com/2020/02/the-big-think-david-loertscher_1.html



We ended the day with a surprise present for the "godmothers of Canadian school libraries" and Canadian School Libraries Chair and Vice-Chair, Anita Brooks-Kirkland and Carol Koechlin. 


Lots of great connections were made, both near ... (as in TDSB, my own school board)


and far ... (as in other provinces, like my friends in Manitoba and our Nova Scotia connections)



Let the learning live on!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

OLA SC 2020 Day 3 Reflections

Friday was still #RedForEd but it was also the third day of the Ontario Library Association SuperConference. Here are my reflections and report from that day. (And before I forget, I want to give a big, big thank you to my co-planner, Kate Johnson-McGregor. Is it okay to say "I love you, my friend" publicly? Well, I hope so because I just did. [Love you too, Richard!])

Me, Kate, and OLA President Richard Reid


Friday, January 31, 2020 - 7:00 a.m.

Who has a meeting this early in the morning? The OLA SuperConference planners do! This meeting is an important time to chow down together and reflect (using the "2 Stars and a Wish" format) on how the conference has been proceeding. We should have taken Deanna's advice to get a proper group shot photo across the street. We chose not to, and that meant that there isn't a quality image of all of us planners together like the one we took last year (with all our champagne glasses).

I popped my head into the Tinlids-sponsored Forest of Reading invitational breakfast briefly to hear the speeches. It was filled with authors and selection/steering committee members, as well as huge appreciations for Meredith Tutching, the director of the Forest of Reading.  


Friday, January 31, 2020 - 9:00 a.m.

Two OSLA-sponsored sessions began at 9:00 am and two others began and 9:50 am. Easing the High School to University/College Transition: Building Effective Programming to Bridge the Information Literacy Gap was presented by Sophie Bury, Samhita Gupta, Sarah Shujah, Christopher Tamasini, and Kate Johnson-McGregor. There was also Designing a Library Learning Commons Through an Equity Lens and Becoming an Equity Leader by Rabia Khokar. I am proud to tell people that Rabia was in my Library Part 1 AQ course with York University and in a short time has become an important figure in the school library community. I wished I was able to stay for longer than a few minutes at a time, especially at Rabia's talk. I always learn so much when I'm around her. However, I needed to ensure my other OSLA sessions were properly supported. Speaking of support, I was so pleased to see and meet Rabia's sister, who came to watch her presentation and support her sibling.
Great panel at Easing the HS to Coll/Uni Transition

It's a packed room for Rabia!

At 9:50 am, it was difficult to choose between sessions, even for the presenters! We had Make Writing: The Encore with Angela Stockman, Melanie Mulcaster, Pam Taylor and Amanda Williams-Yeagers and at the same time, there was Schools and Data Privacy, or Don't Let Dreams Turn Into Nightmares with Andrew Campbell. I really liked both but I couldn't stay, because there were two huge events that needed my attention.






Friday, January 31, 2020 - 10:45 a.m.

 We were so fortunate to have Shakil Choudhury as the OSLA School Libraries Spotlight session. Even the people from Thinglink who were hired to create the sketchnote based on his talk said they were captivated, as was Robert Nishimura, the OLA "photographer on assignment". Once again, thank goodness for the summary visual, because I was called out of the talk to deal with some last-minute logistical issues related to the other big event from Friday - the OSLA Sandbox. I really, REALLY wanted to stay and listen but duty calls. I even have to postpone getting one of Shakil's books for my principal (who registered for the conference but was unable to attend), but it will happen.

Friday, January 31, 2020 - 12:30 p.m.


The OSLA Sandbox is a huge experiment. It's an odd beast - 7 different presentations happening simultaneously in a Minds-On-Media-style set-up for two hours on the Expo Hall floor. There are a lot of moving parts to this portion that can be challenging to juggle. I want to thank Emily Burns and Jennifer Marriott for their patience with last-minute changes and alterations. I also want to thank Denise, Roland and Sonny for agreeing to be an addition to the program.


Even though we couldn't accommodate everyone's set-up requests, I feel like it was a successful second "kick at the can". We improved from last year - for instance, we had bigger, more visible signage advertising exactly what this was - and we still have room to improve even more. I also want to thank a teacher-librarian from TDSB who really gave me an "AHA" moment. She said that she couldn't afford to purchase a day's admission to the conference, but she was able to buy a pass to the Expo Hall and was looking forward to the Sandbox. It hit me - the OSLA Sandbox might be one of the few professional learning opportunities available to attendees who, for economic reasons, cannot experience #OLASC fully except through the Expo Hall. The Expo Hall is great - lots of authors to meet, tons of supportive vendors (with great swag), the Idea Hub, Poster Sessions and Gadget Zone, not to mention the Style Lounge - but having the Sandbox as part of the Expo instead of being on the main floor as a "session" means that we increase the learning opportunities.  








Overview of the OSLA Sandbox

Friday, January 31, 2020 - 2:00 p.m.

The final OSLA sponsored session was a great one: The A-Z of LGBTQ for K-12 by Robin Stevenson and Tom Ryan. Once again, I didn't get a chance to spend time listening to Robin and Tom because I had to help with dismantling the OSLA Sandbox. After all, Kate Wilson had a large audience waiting for her to present at S.T.E.M-ing Up Storytime immediately after her Sandbox time! (Sadly, I'm not even sure I got a photo of Tom and Robin - sorry!)

If you've been keeping track, you will notice that I haven't had lunch yet. This is where I made what I'd consider to be my biggest goof-up of the conference. Around 2:30 pm I checked with my mini-unicorn (the OSLA version of where we had to be and when) and I erroneously thought I had time to grab some lunch across the street. I thought we weren't due for our next duty until 3:45 pm - WRONG! All the conference planners were supposed to be in line ready to go on stage for 2:45 pm because the closing keynote was scheduled to begin at 3:00 pm. It was at 3:00 pm or 3:05 pm that Kate and I received a Slack notification asking us where we were. We ran like our shirt tails were on fire down to the massive room and flew to our seats just in time. (Emily, Zack, Elizabeth - I am SO SO sorry we were late!)

Friday, January 31, 2020 - 3:00 p.m.

This was the first and only keynote I was able to attend completely, and I am certainly glad I did. First of all, I got to see Fay and Fluffy received the OLA President's Award for Exceptional Achievement. Secondly, Choir! Choir! Choir! was amazing. I got to go on stage, not once (for Sweet Caroline) but twice (to capture the audience singing Don't Stop Believin'). I wish I had considered their song picks before I did my karaoke the night before!





Friday, January 31, 2020 - 5:30 p.m.

For many people, this signified the end of OLA SuperConference, but for OLBA (Ontario Library Boards of Ontario) and OSLA (Ontario School Library Association), this was just the beginning of another important chapter. For OLBA, it's OLBA Bootcamp, a chance for "representatives from public library boards across Ontario to share their perspectives". For people in OSLA, Friday night was our kick-off dinner, with awards presented and a celebrated keynote. 

There were 3 winners of the 2020 Angela Thacker Memorial Award:

Alison Bodner from Manitoba


Alanna King from Ontario


Sarah Wethered from British Columbia


And the Leading Learning Implementation Award went to Pembina Trails School Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


The three individual award winners were very gracious and clicked almost immediately upon meeting each other. (Below is a photo of the three of them.)



Big thanks should also go to Eric Walters. He was our opening keynote for Treasure Mountain Canada 6 and the entire room was both impressed and moved by his stories about undertaking big projects, phone calls in the car, mass mailings of autographed book marks (especially when the estimate of 20 participants turned into 150+!) and how educators make a difference in the lives of students.


(One more day of reflections coming up!)

MEMORABLE MOMENT: Singing with reckless abandonment with Choir! Choir! Choir! Days later, and I'm still humming the songs. (Thank you for teaching me harmony to Karma Chameleon!)