We are two days away from Christmas and excitement is building at my house. My kids can’t wait for the ‘big’ day and thankfully have been in school all this week, which means they have been entertained and otherwise occupied. That gave me this week to prepare: shop, bake, wrap, and yes, even do a bit of work. Although my fall term work is now finished, with grading done and final marks submitted, I am looking ahead to the upcoming winter term and trying to be prepared for the challenges, surprises, and (hopefully) successes that will no doubt be part of the new term. On that note, here are a few of the things I am particularly looking forward to in 2012:
- Going to Dallas in January for the ALISE 2012 conference where I will be presenting with Jennifer Branch on the school library special interest group panel.
- Going to Toronto in February for the Ontario Library Association’s Superconference, where Jennifer Branch and I are presenting a talk on a research study we did about professional development for teacher-librarians. While we are in Toronto we are particularly excited about meeting some of our TLDL students face-to-face!
- Going to San Jose in May for the SJSU SLIS Faculty Institute where I will get to re-connect with other instructors who teach in that program.
- Teaching a brand new course called Introduction to Contemporary Literacies for the Teacher-Librarianship by Distance Learning program at the University of Alberta. This is a course I have designed and will teach for the first time starting in January. I am excited to work with a great group of students (2 sections worth!) as we explore issues related to reading, literacies, transliteracy, and literacy leadership. We are reading 3 great books (Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf; Free Voluntary Reading by Stephen Krashen, and The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller), parts of 2 other books on new literacies edited by Michele Knobel and Colin Lankshear, as well as many blog posts, articles, and online resources. We will be working in groups to create virtual presentations on topics related to literacy leadership in schools, exploring the ways children and teenagers experience literature in multiple formats, and finally articulating our personal beliefs about literacy in a final project modeled after NPR’s This I Believe project. I think it will be a great course!
- Guiding a small group of students through the final course in the graduate program as they write, revise, and finalize capping papers on a topic of their choosing. From the proposals I have read, there will be a wide variety of topics covered by this group’s papers. This will be the first time I have taught the capping course and I am looking forward to once again working with many students I have taught in the past and seeing them to the end of their programs!
- Teaching a Web 2.0 course for the University of British Columbia’s teacher-librarianship diploma program. I have taught this course in the past, but have (once again) tweaked the course to hopefully make it more more accessible to this year’s students. It is always interesting to teach a Web 2.0 course and see how students who begin the course with great trepidation begin to see the power of technology in schools and libraries.
- Having the opportunity to teach (for the second time) a youth services oriented research methods course for San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science. I taught the course for the first time this past fall and will now be able to make some adjustments to the course to make it even better for this new group of students. I will be incorporating more small group discussions and trying to scaffold the assignments in a clearer way for students in this upcoming term.
- My research partner, Jennifer Branch, and I have a number of exciting ideas for new and ongoing research projects that we hope to start (and finish) in 2012. We are particularly excited about a grant we received to do a pilot project about how preservice teachers experience reading in digital formats and use ebook readers. We are hoping to get that research underway in the spring.
Of course, I am also looking forward to spending time with my family, watching my daughter’s art skills improve with her next set of art classes, seeing my son play soccer and tennis each week, the impending arrival of a new nephew, and exploring more of Montreal. One of my goals for the upcoming year is to try and find a better work/life balance and learn to shut off my computer to focus more time and energy on my family. I hope to continue running (I am almost finished the Couch to 5K learn to run program…I can almost run for 30 minutes straight. We’ll see how far backwards I slip over the next few ‘holiday’ days!) and walking the dog. Maybe I’ll even find some time to read a book for fun!
2012 is shaping up to be a busy, interesting, and, no doubt, challenging year. I look forward to seeing what the future holds, but in the meantime, I am very much looking forward to two weeks of rest, relaxation, good food, family, and Christmas cheer! Happy Holidays!
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