Students and Critical Thinking Skills

critical thinking skills

The above chart is a fantastic way to improve students critical thinking skills, no matter at what stage of an assessment. These question stems also inspire new ways of thinking and promote deeper learning.


Techthought. (2015). 25 Question Stems Framed Around Bloom’s Taxonomy. Retrieved from


Students Web Research Skills

webJust finished reading an interesting article on a survey that examined students web research skills on Easybib. The survey revealed that “librarians have little confidence in student skill levels when it comes to both properly paraphrasing and identifying credible Web sources in research when compared to students’ evaluations of themselves” (Papallo, 2015, para.1). Its interesting to note that the students believed they are capable users of the word wide web. Yes they are certainly digital natives, having been born into a world of technology, but have they ever been shown how to correctly use and evaluate the information they are exposed to?

Every student must learn that what they read in their news feeds, or on the internet, is not necessarily factual. They must be taught sound information literacy skills to filter through the incorrect, or out-dated information. I have found that Information literacy models are a fantastic way to overcome this issue.

Take a look at the article here;


Papallo, J. (2015). Survey Examines Students’ Web Research Skills. Education World. Retrieved from:

Book Preservation and Paper Pete

During my study visit I was lucky enough to view an old book from the 1550’s on insects. This got me thinking about the importance of books and book preservation. Then last night whilst flicking through the TV channels I came across a Paper Pete episode on Adventure Time. The episode depicts Paper Pete and his gang of blank pages defending the entirety of the library and its books from a Moldo horde who wish to eat and destroy library books. It was fantastic to see that a main stream cartoon is teaching our kids about the importance of books and book preservation. I have located the episode below, it would certainly be a great  episode to show primary school or early high school students.

Blind Date Books

During my time at Corrimal High School I learnt about a great way to inspire students to read. It is a fantastic concept that has been adopted by the TL known as the Blind Date Book Experience. This experience gives students the opportunity to borrow a book that is a complete mystery to them. They do not know the book’s genre, or even what it is about, but once borrowed, the student unwraps the book and experiences something that they may not have selected to read off the shelf themselves. The concept of the Blind Date Book has already had great success in the library. It promotes a love of reading and has seen a circulation rise in student’s book borrowing. This is certainly one concept that I will be incorporating into my own school library when the time comes. It was so wonderful to see how the books left the shelves after my updated versions of the blind date books were put on display. Its certainly an easy way to lift book borrowing numbers!

Here is what my Blind Date Books looked like on the shelf


ETL507 Practical Experience

Corrimal High Schoolchs

My ETL507 Prac was undertaken at Corrimal High School. I have gained so much from my practical experience at Corrimal High School and possess a greater understanding of the diverse range of responsibilities a TL must manage every day in order to provide a relevant, inviting and equitable service to the entire school community. I have seen firsthand how a teacher librarian should support the core business of the school, how to improve student learning outcomes and how to promote reading. I have learnt how to better incorporate the use of ICT by seeing what works and what doesn’t work. I have also learnt how to assist in the development of student’s information literacy skills. Running the library for half a day on my own and teaching classes on my own, and as a team, has built my confidence. I got such a thrill when I put my first ever loan through Oasis and when I found the perfect resource that matched a student’s requirements. I can’t believe how much I enjoyed every task, big or small. I now believe that I am capable of achieving the duties required of a teacher librarian’s role. This confidence has come from a fuller understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a TL and by putting into practice the last year and half’s teachings from my master’s degree.

Placement Activities:

My role during my placement at Corrimal High school was to support the TL and LSO in any jobs that were delegated to me. The first day I observed the overall running of the library and then I was given the opportunity to run the library as I would do if the library was my very own. For half a day, whilst the TL was assisting with an immunisation program I even ran the library and two classes on my own. This was an experience I will never forget and one that has confirmed that I want to be a teacher librarian.

Some activities that I was involved in are as follows;

  • Learnt how to navigate Oasis i.e. borrowing, reserving, and discarding
  • Learnt how to process a book, from barcoding and SCIS subject headings right through to book covering
  • Learnt how to operate the two library terminals
  • Learnt what to do with overdue or lost books
  • Discussed loan periods and book amounts per student
  • Discussed stocktake and when it is undertaken
  • Resourcing for the curriculum – was asked to find books about different topics to assist teachers from numerous faculties
  • Liaised with staff and students who had library enquires or book requests
  • Viewed, discussed and helped to amend the library budget that has been allocated for the 2014 school year
  • Created blind date books
  • Culled shelves in order to keep the collection up-to-date
  • Discarded the books in the library management system that I selected to be discarded
  • Assisted teaching a year 8 motivation lesson
  • Taught a special education lesson on the 1000 paper cranes novel
  • Assisted with a special education year seven literacy program lesson on nouns
  • Organised a special Education year nine English class’s work on deserts, reefs and marine life.
  • Taught a year 9 science lesson on radiation using the library computers
  • Taught a year 8 motivation lesson – incorporating ICT technology into the lesson
  • Taught a year seven English class that were preparing for a three minute speech on an endangered animal
  • Discussed with year 8 the importance of authentic websites – here I incorporated ICT and utilised hoax websites throughout lesson
  • Ran roll call
  • Ran the library for half a day all on my own (the TL attend the sports carnival on school grounds)
  • Monitored recess and lunchtime student activity
  • Attended assembly
  • Rearranged shelves
  • Created new library signage for shelves
  • Discussed collection development and how it should support the curriculum across different platforms.
  • Discussed where to find appropriate educational resources
  • Promoted the library by writing a newsletter article.
  • Printed out overdue loans and wrote notices for students, being careful not to give students a note if their circumstances at home meant that they would be reprimanded.

ETL507 Overall Study Visit Reflection

Over the four days of the study visit I have learnt that many of the above libraries share a common theme, they all aim to preserve their collection/history for future use. Whilst some of the libraries like AFTRS and TAFE believe it is important to acquire the latest and most up-to-date resources others like the State Library and Art Gallery library see the importance of preserving historical resources. In this digital age it was also interesting to note that many of the libraries still viewed books as an essential part of their library collection, even though many books in a variety of libraries were being discarded in favour of the digitised version. I loved seeing firsthand how the specialist Libraries fought to fiercely protect the items in their collection that supported their libraries uniqueness/niche in the library market. It was also no surprise to see that the Dewey Decimal Classification System was predominantly used throughout all of the libraries. However it is interesting to note that many libraries still classified to the needs of their own individual collections.

The study visit has made me more aware of the history of particular collections and the passion of those who maintain them. It has opened my eyes to what is similar and contrastingly different in each information institution and has highlighted the practices of libraries in terms of their information access. It has also opened my eyes to a variety of library jobs and library’s that I never knew existed in Sydney. Whilst I have not changed my mind and still wish to be a teacher librarian just knowing that other job opportunities can come out of finishing my degree is promising. I am sure some students left the study visit feeling low and wondering if they will even have a job at the end of this degree, especially as so many librarians talked of job losses and budget cuts. However I left feeling inspired in the hope that these historical institutions and the role of the librarian will live on for many years to come.

ETL507 Study Visit: Sydney 2014

Day Four: Sydney Institute of TAFE

Sydney Institute of TAFE Library


I learned that the Sydney Institute of TAFE is the only TAFE library in NSW. It is a government funded library whose current funding arrangements will be changing as of January 2015. Whilst the librarian did not expand on the funding changes she did state that the library does have a strategic plan and will continue to adhere to it next year. In these tough economic times it can only be assumed that there will be funding cuts. Considering that the library does not have the funding of its sister service, the university library, it should be noted that the TAFE library still goes above and beyond to support its students in all aspects of their study. So whilst financial resources in the TAFE library may be shrinking the quality of their service is not.

The Sydney Institute of TAFE Library’s strengths are that it aims to make itself invaluable to users, it runs information literacy and copyright basic workshops and uses ProviderWatch to ensure the library is involved in what is happening at an institute level. The Sydney Institute of TAFE Library’s weakness would be a loss of government funding which will ultimately result in a loss of staff and the strict accountability of purchases. This study visit gave a very detailed analysis of the Sydney Institute of TAFE’s facilities, student support focus and specialist services. During the visit it was evident that the library’s main aim is to support their students. There one-on-one student support services, their English reading groups and their lunch time drop in sessions are a few ways the library does this. After a tour of the premises I realised just how blessed the TAFE was to have such a large amount of space. All areas were certainly put to good use. There were quiet areas, beanbag rest areas, jigsaw puzzles, chess, digital gaming spaces and more.