Doug, I'm sorry I made you feel bad about posting your excellent recount of our big revelation - https://dougpete.wordpress.com/2020/01/11/voiced-radio-recognition/ - we can totally have more than one person write about the experience. (Plus, I'm going to add a second element and then show how they relate.)
Worth the Energy (of Preparing a Nomination) - VoicEd Radio
I love how Doug starts the story three years in the past. I'm going to begin my retell in the fall of 2019, when the OLA and OSLA advertised various awards and encouraged people to nominate others. I've had the honour of winning a few awards myself and it is such an exhilarating experience to discover that someone thinks you are worthy of the energy it takes to be nominated. (I wrote about it on this blog here.)
I was the nomination team lead (a point that, in my excitement to reveal the secret on the air, I forgot to mention explicitly) but it took a team of people to accomplish. We began the work in September 2019. My first step was to contact Doug Peterson, connected educator and VoicEd regular. I coordinated, but Doug consulted, and he dug - for data. We talked about the best evidence and key accomplishments to highlight as part of our nomination package. Doug had the unenviable job of locating and linking all (or most) of the shows on VoicEd Radio that included references to libraries and/or library professionals. Doug's response when asked to perform this Herculean task?
That's no lie. VoicEd Radio has hundreds of hours of archived podcasts. I found a few but Doug discovered many, many more and linked all the recordings that we then placed in a single document so the OLA Board of Directors could hear for themselves.I can try. That's a tall order.
I asked Doug who we could approach for recommendation letters. Doug came up with the list of writers and we included them in our plan. There were so many potential writers because there are so many people inspired and influenced by Stephen and VoicEd Radio. Doug compiled a list of eloquent educators: Lisa Noble, Beth Lyons, Sheila Stewart and Paul McGuire. They wrote such beautiful testimonials. I will need to talk with Lisa, Beth, Sheila, Paul and Doug to decide when and where we actually give Stephen a copy of the letters that were written on his behalf.
When we learned on January 6, 2020 that Stephen Hurley and VoicEd Radio had won the award, we were elated. There was discussion about revealing it on The Dock (the Saturday music call-in show that Stephen runs on VoicEd) but Doug and I decided to reveal the news live on TWIOE (This Week in Ontario Edublogs). I rearranged my schedule (thanks to Kerri Commisso and Matthew Webbe) and Doug surreptitiously sent me the link so that I could secretly join the broadcast in person. Stephen was startled to hear my voice during the broadcast, unscheduled but, being a professional, he continued on as if uninvited guests are commonplace. It was only when the actual news broke that Stephen was actually at a loss for words. On his blog, Doug posted a screen shot of Stephen's initial reaction to the award on Twitter. On my blog, I'm going to share the Hurley family's reaction.
I don't want to speak on behalf of Doug, Lisa, Beth, Paul, or Sheila, but I felt it was worth all the planning and writing and emailing. VoicEd Radio and Stephen Hurley are such worthy recipients.I love this! https://t.co/SNU2TyUXIh— Diana Maliszewski (@MzMollyTL) January 11, 2020
Worth the Energy (of Arranging Chats) - Forest of Reading
January means the launch of our Forest of Reading program at my school. Students had already approached me about starting our chats - students chat with adults who have also read the same books and the adults will sign the passports as proof that the students read and understood the title - so I opened the doors to the library after school and started chats.
School ends at 3:30 pm. I never left school any later than 5:00 pm this week. Students were eager to earn their signatures (even though I didn't have the physical passports ready to go until Tuesday!) I like to track how many chats I conduct (because I'm a data nerd) and from January 6-10, I was part of 37 conversations! Some were solo, but others were group chats. I had students qualify on the very first day the program "officially" started. Don't let anyone tell you pre-teens are lazy or unmotivated! For instance, J in Room 207 explained that she set a personal goal to read all 10 Red Maple books this year. She said that she knew that the public library request list gets clogged during the winter break, (and that the school copies aren't available until January because the teachers are still reading) so she looked up the list of books on the OLA website in the fall and placed holds on all the nominated titles early. By January 6, she had already read 7 of the 10 titles. Isn't this awesome?
Now, our work-to-rule is escalating. I have to give credit to our unions; they are trying very hard not to negatively affect the lives of students and parents while still trying make their dissatisfaction known with the school boards and government. As part of this new stage of job action, we won't be able to run any extra-curricular activities after school or before school. We can still run them at recesses and at lunch (i.e. during the instructional day) so I'll move my chats to Mondays and Fridays at lunch. Yes, it means that there's less time. Yes, it means that I'll probably get through fewer chats. I make these changes willingly because it is both worth the energy (and reduced lunch hour) to have literacy-rich conversations with students so they can meet their reading goals, AND it is worth the energy (and reconfiguration) to abide by our union guidelines so we can demonstrate that the elimination of Kindergarten Intervention Programs, the potential dismantling of the Kindergarten class set-up, and the removal of class size caps are moves that hurt students more than they save money.