Monday 27 February 2012

Swap Days, Parents and Students

This is Week 5 of our 2012 academic year and our Year 7 students are settling well and finding their place in the school. This week we have two Swap Days for them and their parents. Students are taken on excursion whilst a parent/guardian takes the student's place in class and spends the day experiencing the life of a first year high school student.

The task of locating rooms, swapping from subject to subject, having the correct books for lessons and even managing to unlock the student's locker provides quite a challenge. Many parents participate in these days and classes usually end up being about half/half  - students and parents.

What a great opportunity this provides for parents to gain an insight into their child's life and to get to know the teachers. Staff also appreciate the opportunity to meet the parents and gain insight into their new charges. Parental feedback from these days is overwhelmingly positive with some expressing surprise at how much schools have changed, how much is fitted into a day, along with a few laughs about unexpected experiences.

Some parents commented after my session on cyber safety and digital citizenship, that they would check their Facebook privacy settings on returning home. One hopes students take on the same message.

Does your school have any similar programs?

Thursday 23 February 2012

Organising by Genre - The Process

This term we've been working diligently to reorganise our fiction collection into popular genres. My previous post Finding Fiction Fast covers our decision making. The process needs careful consideration before embarking on this labour intensive task. Here's an outline of how we have approached the task and some recommendations for implementation.

  • Choose one genre.
  • Remove from shelves alphabetically to trolleys or alternate shelf space.
  • Do a quick weed of the genre.
  • Scan barcodes to globally alter necessary data in your catalogue. Our Destiny catalogue facilitated the global addition of Categories (in this case used for genres.)
  • Generate new labels and attach to books. Our labels now have the new genre before the Fiction indicator, so Harry Potter in Fantasy is FAN F ROW and The Recruit in Action and Adventure is ACT F MUC. This allows our students to use the wonderful shelf browse feature built into Destiny.
    Visual shelf browse ACT F MUC
    Each genre also has a visual label

  • Reshelve - this may involve moving the rest of your fiction back to create space. We found this to be the most labour intensive part of the whole exercise, and it often required moving books back progressively as we addressed each new genre.
  • Relabel the shelves with signage that indicates what the genre covers and where authors are located. We did this with signs on the end of shelves, authors' names along the shelves and an alphabet indicator at the beginning of each shelf. We also added colour coding within our shelf strips to clearly indicate where one genre ends and another begins. Orange shelves contain Other Worlds, green is Action and Adventure, black is Horror and so on.
  • Provide signage above your OPAC terminals to indicate what the new call numbers mean along with colour coding if you decide to take this path.
  • Offer lots of help to your customers as they search for books using the newly relocated materials.Seek their opinion and feedback, some of our students are delighted others less so. We're still working on ways to improve their experience, but at this stage we are confident our newly reorganised shelves are attractive and provide easier access to popular materials whilst exposing other authors in similar genres who  were previously neglected.

Sunday 12 February 2012

Finding fiction fast!

The National Yearof Reading launch is this week. To celebrate reading and make our fiction more user friendly we are rearranging it into popular genres. We already have an extensive Graphic novel collection which is housed separately and which has proved to be very popular both for casual in house reading and borrowing. It is brightly labelled and easy to find and browse so we decided to extend this idea to the rest of the fiction collection.

We started this process towards the end of last year and after much discussion and definition decided on a range of genres to suit our student population of Year 7 -12 boys.

My colleague Tabatha Paterson researched various definitions of genres and we took advice from June Wall and Dianne Mackenzie both of whom had reorganised their fiction collections.

Our initial focus is on these areas.

  • Other Worlds
  • Fantasy
  • Action and adventure
  • Crime and Mystery
  • Horror
  • Short Stories and 
  • Humour
This leaves a general section which then encompasses 
a. Historical fiction Story with fictional characters and events in a historical setting. Some facts may be true, but story is usually fictionalised.
b. Realism A story which, although untrue, could actually happen. Some events, people, and places may even be real.
c. Classics
d. Literary A story that delves into the human condition in some way. It is character driven and emphasises elegant language.

My next post will cover the logistics of the process and a further explanation of each of the genres.

Happy reading to all!
What are you doing to promote reading this year?

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