Friday, February 29, 2008

Teacher librarians in short supply

Teacher librarians in short supply
By Lisa Schencker
The Salt Lake TribuneArticle
Last Updated: 02/11/2008

Students know how to use MySpace, Google, Facebook and e-mail, but they don't always know how to use their computer savvy to do something more old-fashioned: research.
That's where teacher librarians such as Theresa Mbaku at Salt Lake City's West High School come in. She spent a recent day teaching a class of students how to find accurate information about Fiji on computers in the school library.
"They need to be able to get to information quickly and efficiently and be able to decipher what's good and bad information," Mbaku said. "Knowing these resources is so important because whatever they do after high school, they will have to work with technology."
Teacher librarians such as Mbaku don't just smile and check out books. They're licensed educators with endorsements in library media who teach students how to understand, research and organize information - and some state leaders would like to see more of them in Utah schools. Rep. Tim Cosgrove, D-Murray, is asking for $1.7 million a year for the next three years to help hire 50 more teacher librarians for Utah schools. Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. has asked for $1.5 million for more teacher librarians.
Now, only six of Utah's 40 school districts have licensed and endorsed teacher librarians in all their schools, and only 14 percent of Utah's nearly 500 elementary schools have teacher librarians.
"When I say 'librarian,' someone might picture someone telling you to hush or checking out books, but there's so much more we've lost out on," Cosgrove said.
Specifically, students in schools without teacher librarians are missing out on a K-12 state curriculum designed to teach library media skills, said Sharyl Smith, former Utah State Office of Education Specialist for library media.
Teacher librarians are supposed to teach kindergartners, for example, the difference between an author and illustrator. They're supposed to teach sixth-graders how to recognize that advertisements and other media messages are edited to achieve a certain message. They teach students how to cite sources and attribute information.
"Unless you've got a media teacher teaching in the library, kids get virtually none of this," said Dennis Morgan, retired Murray School District director of library media services.
Supporters say in this era of Internet research, students stand to benefit from teacher librarians more than ever.
On Thursday, Mbaku helped a class find information on Fiji by showing them how to get to the Merriam-Webster, CIA World Factbook and CultureGrams Web sites. These are better ways to find accurate information than by typing 'Fiji' into Google, which could produce hundreds of Web sites, she said. She also squeezed in a quick lesson about attributing information from the Internet.
"Now when you're working on this, will you just cut and paste this?" Mbaku asked the class. "No, because that's cheating. That's plagiarism."
Teacher librarian Sarah Herron, who was helping a class of students learning English prepare for the Utah Basic Skills Competency Test in another corner of the West library, said such research skills are essential.
"Without having that instruction, they get to college, and don't know how to do research," Herron said.
Cosgrove, Smith and Morgan, who are working together to push for more teacher librarians, point to research that shows correlations between teacher librarians and student achievement.
On Thursday, lawmakers on the Public Education Appropriations Committee preliminarily ranked the request for teacher librarians relatively high on their list of priorities for education funding this session. But the request still faces some stiff competition for state money this year.
At least 10 other bills seeking money to ease the state's teacher shortage are progressing through the legislature.
And those bills address other areas of critical shortages such as math, science, special education and other teachers.
Still, Cosgrove and many others believes his request for more teacher librarians is one legislators should heed.
Cosgrove said schools have to prepare students to function in a world with an endless, immediately accessible supply of unfiltered information.
West High sophomore Akesa Kioa said Mbaku's lesson Thursday helped her learn how to sort through some of that mess.
"This way it's much easier to get a lot of good, reliable information," Kioa said.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Life after the GRE

I'm getting ready to take a teacher's test, the Praxis, next month so I can apply to the Salt Lake City School District. I am not looking forward to another test! I thought I was done after the GRE!!! Anyway, I heard that there might be 3 openings for school librarians for next school year and I'm going to try for them. I'm just not seeing any opportunities for full-time in the Children's department anytime soon. So, I'm going to try the school route. I would love to have my summer's off! I could help at Brighton Girl's Camp again, or EFY? Or travel? Might as well, while I still can! I guess being single isn't soo bad! (hehe)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Total Eclipse of the Heart

I was home Thursday morning battling a head cold, trying to decide whether to go to work or not, when Kade (bro-in-law) called me that Dad was in the hospital with chest pains. I was so scared - we all were scared - but Kade kept me updated throughout the morning and I soon knew that Dad had had a minor heart-attack but was out of danger. I guess he had a 4 stints put into his major heart arteries - fed through the artery in the upper leg. That was hurting Dad the most. When I went to visit that evening, he was sitting up in bed and very attentive. I never saw him in pain. Everyone in the family and ward have been so nice and loving. People came out to see Dad at the Murray IHC Hospital and even brought meals to the house after he got home. Talk about humbling! I heard that Dad's name was on prayer rolls at 4 different temples. I haven't seen Dad this week, but I heard he's doing really good. He's taken the week off, but is still doing work from home and just taking it easy. Now Mom is looking for more heart-healthy recipes to be better. I want to think that because Dad has been eating better and exercising that his heart-attack was not more severe. Who knows if it could have been prevented. Who knows the Lord's complete plan for our lives!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Mutts Valentine

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pictures from 29th Birthday

Here are some actual pictures from my birthday - enjoy!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sweet Something Birthday Bash (a B,GRL PRTY!)

For those who couldn't come to my birthday party - I have this short accurate movie to show how it went! (hehe) In 24 great smelling colors!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

President Hinckley and the new First Presidency

Of course you heard about President Hinckley's passing - Mom and I were watching Masterpiece theater and Anna called to tell us to turn to channel 5. I was shocked, then sad, then happy for him. What a sweet man he was. How can you be sad when he's reunited with his dear wife? It was an interesting week watching the little bio's on T.V. about him and hearing about all the people who went to the viewing at the Conference Center. I heard from more than one person that the waiting line got longer and longer and it would take four hours to get through just for a few seconds to walk by the casket. I didn't get the opportunity to go, and I didn't feel like I needed to go. I had a work conference in Provo on Sat, sponsored by BYU, and we got to watch the funeral during our lunch break. I love being in Utah! I did ok until they showed a pictures of Pres. Hinckley during the closing hymn - I heard a lot of sniffing going on in our conference room.

Monday we were anxious to hear about the new 1st Presidency and I was excited about President Monson, Eyring and Uchtdorf. It will be interesting to see where the church goes in the future. To infinity and beyond!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Birthday Party!

In case you forgot, my 29th birthday was just last Monday. It was good. I threw myself a party the Friday before. I invited more than 50 people, but only got a handful RSVPs - so I was anxious to see who would actually come! Since it was Friday I wanted it to be an open house. I bought stuff for ice cream sundaes and planned for us all to play and planned on playing some games like Apples to Apples and Balderdash. So, the party time started and my friends started showing up. I was surprised at who did show up and I was constantly going to greet who came in! Some many came! I was so flattered! All the family was there and Mom went around and took pictures for me. I'll post them when I get them uploaded. Anyway - it was a fun evening and I hope everyone had fun! Some even brought me presents- so nice!

My actual birthday wasn't as quite exciting - it was Monday so I had to work and do other usual stuff. I did go over to Mom and Dad's for dinner (Kade's chicken enchiladas) and cake and presents. I finally got my own IPod nano! I'm way excited to start using it! It was a good birthday and hopefully this will be the best year yet!