Principled Creators and Consumers of Online Content

A few weeks ago I attending the, “School Libraries in a Global Context” workshop facilitated by Dianne McKenzie in Seoul. It was a great opportunity to learn, connect with people in different contexts and share ideas. I had been thinking about how to introduce and reinforce the idea of academic honesty to primary aged students in a more engaging way and this workshop provided me with a variety of ideas that I thought I could utilize.

Authentically developing the ATL skills associated with academic honesty is challenging. In the past, I have found that the children understand the concept of academic honesty; but, are not necessarily motivated to modify their practices to acknowledge sources. An idea that Dianne suggested involved the children creating something then another child receiving the accolades for the creation. I thought I could modify this idea to my context. The Grade 5 children were recently introduced to the Morning Calm Medal, which is an annual book award created by teacher librarians at international schools in Korea. Upon entering the library I provided the students with this challenge:

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They were provided with the appropriate resources and given a very short time frame to complete the task. The students were excited and completely engaged in the design process. After the allotted time they were required to write their name on the completed badge and I selected the four best as winners.

I photographed the winning badges after crossing out the creators name and replacing it with mine. I then posted this tweet:

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And shared the post with the children. The reaction to the post included:

  • Lots of giggles.
  • Annoyance.
  • “You made a mistake.”
  • “You stole my work!”
  • “That is not fair!”
  • “Why did you change the name?”

I responded by telling the children that because I had taken the photos of the work and it was me that had created the tweet it was okay to say that the work belonged to me. This provoked a great discussion about ownership and sharing permission. I linked this conversation to their individual blogs and posed this question: How is what I did different to the way you share images and photographs on your blogs?

As a group we then explored our roles as creators and consumers of digital content:


The initial provocation enabled the students to connect with the idea of acknowledging their sources and the importance of this in terms of being a principled creator of digital content. They are returning to their individual blogs to identify the source of their images. The next will require them to reflect on and acknowledge where they find information.







Illustrator Study: Unpacking Form Using See Think Wonder

Grade Two classes explored the central idea, “Creativity enables us to express ourselves.” This unit provided an excellent opportunity to authentically look at picture book illustrators. The exploration focused on illustrations as a form of self-expression. 

Small groups of children in each class were given a selection of titles by a particular illustrator (e.g. Emily Gravett, Anthony Browne, Graeme Base, Eric Carle). They were asked to identify the key element of the illustrations that combined to create a particular artistic style. The “See Think Wonder” routine was used to facilitate an in-depth analysis of the illustrations. The children were provided with a graphic organiser with guiding questions to help support the investigation. Their findings about each illustrator were shared with the class.

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The children identified the artistic elements that were used by the specific illustrators to create their images. They could see how they could apply these styles in different contexts. The “Think” guiding questions prompted a lot of discussions about creativity and who was creative. Lively debates about the creative merit of each illustrator followed. The children had a lot of wonderings for the authors and illustrators. For example, Why did the illustrator use dark colours? How did the author choose the illustrator that they wanted? Why were the pictures drawn in this way?

Responding to Reading Interests

Once a week I have the pleasure of supporting the EY team during, collaborative time. This is an opportunity for students in JKP, JK and SK to work with their peers. The EY team set up a variety of provocations (that are usually supporting a specific transdisiplinary / approaches to learning skill) for the students to experience. They can choose to engage with whatever interests them.  

After talking to and reviewing the books that EY students were borrowing from the library it was clear that a large number of children had a special interest in space. In response to this I collected a variety of texts about space to share with them. To provoke their thinking I asked them the question, “What transportation would you design to take you to outer space?

Here are some photographs of their varied responses.

The children that chose to participate in this provocation were extremely focused. Space was something that particularly interested them. They utalised and developed a variety of communication (e.g. listening to others, expressing ideas, recording information), social (e.g. listening to others, sharing materials) and thinking (creating and designing, making decisions) skills throughout the experience.

Think about a book you have read and …

Choose one of the following: Story Box: Create a story box for one of the books you read over the summer. Look at this fabulous example: The Imagination Tree: Little Red Riding Hood Box. You can add photographs of your story box to this page.

Letter to the Author: Write a letter to the author of a book that you read over the summer. What did you like about it? What else would you like to know about the characters? What happened after the story finished? How would you find out how to contact the author? Would you post or email your letter?

Character Diary Entry: Write a diary entry from the perspective of a character from a book you have read this summer. What are their secrets? Dreams? Hopes?

여러분이 읽었던 책에 대해서 생각해 봅시다. 그리고 아래 항목 중 하나를 선택하세요. 이야기 상자: 여름방학동안 읽은 책들 중 한권에 대한 이야기 상자를 만들어 봅시다. 여기있는 좋은 예시를 살펴보세요.  The imagination Tree: Little Red Riding Hood Box 작가에게 편지쓰기: 여름방학때 읽은 책의 작가에게 편지를 써봅시다. 책에서 무엇이 좋았나요? 등장인물에 대해서 더 알고 싶은 것이 있나요? 이야기가 끝난 후 어땠나요? 작가에게 연락할 방법을 어떻게 찾아낼 건가요? 여러분의 편지를 우편이나 이메일로 보낼건가요? 캐릭터 다이어리 작성: 여름에 읽었던 책 속 캐릭터의 관점에서 일기를 써봅시다. 그들의 비밀, 꿈, 소망은 무엇인가요?

请回忆你读过的一本书并。。。 在下面的话题中随意选择一个: 故事箱子 :为你在暑假读过的一本书做一个故事箱子。请看例子:The Imagination Tree: Little Red Riding Hood Box 一封给作家的信 :向你暑假读过的这本书的作者写一封信。你为什么喜欢这本书?关于主人公你还想知道什么?故事结束后发生了什么?你如何找到联系到作者?你会选择写信还是写电邮? 写主人公日记  :为你书中的主人公写日记。 她/他们的秘密是什么? 梦想?希望?

A Garden of Poetry

Grade Two have been exploring poetry. In class, they have identified and experimented with the visual language of poetry. Inspired by the Lawrence Public Library’s PoeTree Installation the classroom teachers and library embarked on a collaborative project to create a poetry garden.

Lucy Calkin and Stephanie Parson’s book, “Poetry: Powerful Thoughts in Tiny Packages” was used to guide the development of learning experiences.  We shared photographs of the PoeTree Installation with the students and identified how we could relate it back to our context (e.g. choosing a subject from our environment, identifying how the installation would look in our space). Initially they examined a variety of natural and man made objects from the perspectives of a scientist and of a poet. They identified and discussed the way descriptive language could change when you look at the same object from different perspectives.

Individually the students choose an object from the environment around the library to examine with poets’ eyes. The photographs below were taken by the students of the object they selected to write about.

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While making careful observations with poets’ eyes, the students documented their ideas to use for their final poem.  Together with the classroom teacher they created, edited and reviewed their poems before sharing them in the library.


The “Poetry Garden” installation is almost complete. It is already getting a lot of attention from teachers, students and parents. Hopefully it will provoke our community to read, write and share poetry.





Promoting Literature with QR Codes and Book Trailers

Generating excitement about literature and encouraging students to become life long lovers of reading is at the heart of what teachers do. Finding different ways to promote books to the school community can be challenging. In our middle and senior school we have only a small number of regular borrowers. We are trying to change the schools reading culture and attitude towards the library. We have decided to explore using QR codes that link to book trailers as a way to promote different books (take a look at the sample below).

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Initially we are using commercially created book trailers and hope to work with different groups of children to develop a variety of student made book trailers. We believe that creating these trailers will provide the students with opportunity to develop both traditional literacy and 21st century literacy skills. The aim is to develop students skills so that they can be creators of content not just consumers.