Information and Critical Literacy: Aberdeenshire – a joint development event for Network Librarians and Literacy Co-ordinators

I was up in Aberdeen speaking at the Aberdeenshire Library and Information Services (ALIS) Joint development event for Network Librarians and Literacy Co-ordinators last week. It was a great day with librarians and teachers (primary and secondary), literacy co-ordinators working in partnership together seated at mixed tables (5 or 6 people at each table) to look at, discuss and work on Information and Critical Literacy material and activities, Curriculum for Excellence Experiences and Outcomes. 

The first session was by Kathryn Russell, Literacy Development Officer ‘Literacy across learning: working in partnership’. Kathryn tasked the groups / tables with the following:

Literacy across Learning: working in partnership

Literacy across Learning: working in partnership

  1. Please give an example of successful partnership working between teacher(s) and librarian(s). What factors were key to success?
  2. Barrier / constraint to effective partnership: Suggested solution
  3. Looking to the future  … how would you like to see the working relationships between teachers and librarians evelove?

There was much lively discussion with ‘what worked’ going in a box in the shape of a book and ‘what didn’t work’ going in a small wasterpaper bin.  Sue Cromar, Information Literacy Librarian, ALIS who organised the event and is writing a guide to partnership working collected all the information. The guide should be available in August / September this year.

Next up was Alison Bruce, Information Services Librarian, ALIS  – online resources for pupils and teachers. Alison demonstrated Credo Reference using a Science Experience and Outcome relating to the lungs. The retrieved resources demonstrated had pictures and texts plus source citation. The resources could also be shown as a Concept Map (Mind Map, Spider Diagram) with items linked to the references. The map could be simplified or expanded and the main topic could be changed. It was very impressive.

After tea / coffee break I did a presentation and workshop on Integrating Information and Critical Literacy across the curriculum . The workshop centered on each group / table unpacking a Curriculum for Excellence Experience and Outcome.

Librarians, teachers and Literacy Officer unpacking a CfE Experience and Outcome

Librarians, teachers and Literacy Officer unpacking a CfE Experience and Outcome

  Participants in mixed groups:

  • choose a Curriculum for Excellence Learning Experience and Outcome – Science or Health and Well Being
  • unpack it using CfE template  created by Edinburgh Science QIO and used by Holy Rood High School, Edinburgh (link to  case study and template)  – unpacking is effectively a mapping exercise which allows the opportunities within the learning outcome to be explored.
  • link to Literacy across learning experiences and outcomes  specifically ‘information and critical literacy’ activities
  • identify relevant ‘information and critical literacy’ resources.

The workshop went well and it was interesting to hear the discussions and see librarians and teachers working in partnership to unpack their chosen experience and outcome. One school librarian was keen to replicate the exercise in her school as part of an in-service day.

After lunch there was a carousel exercise were groups (different groups from the morning) started at one table to hear about information literacy activities created and or used by Aberdeenshire schools:

Joint Geography Library Webquest

Joint Geography Library Webquest

Table 1: Evaluating online resources – using Learning and Teaching Scotland’s online Information Literacy material

Table 2: Note-making and mind-mappingRISK (Research and Investigation Skills) developed at Meldrum Academy by the Netwwork Librarian and teaching staff. A CD of the programme and material was included in the event pack of information given to everyone.

 Table 3: Webquests – joint working between Geography Principle Teacher and school librarian  

Table 4: Online resources – more in depth look at Credo Reference
Read it! Write it! Reference it!

Read it! Write it! Reference it!

Table 5: Plagiarism, referencing and bibliographies – A guide to referencing for S4-S6 pupils Read it!  Write it!  Reference it! written  by a school librarian who previously worked in Colleges. Copies of the guide was included in the event pack of information given to everyone.
Also included in the event pack of information given to everyone was a copy of :
  • Aberdeenshire Library and Information Service Draft Information Literacy Strategy
  • Libraries Supporting Learning from 0 – 18  Information Guide for Parents and Teachers

The day was a great success and Sue Cromar recorded aspects of it for the Libraries R 4 Learning Project: Information Literacy Multimedia clips .


Information Literacy in Primary 1

A couple of weeks ago I spent the day in a Junior (Primary) 1 class as part of the work I’m doing for Learning and Teaching Scotland CfE Literacy Team – Real and Relevant – Information and Critical Literacy Skills for the 21st Century Learner’ (Early and First Level). The day was amazing with lots of information literacy activities based around some of the CfE learning outcomes and experiences. For example:

Finding and using information: Early Level

I listen or watch for useful or interesting information and I use this to make choices to learn new things. LIT 0.04a 

The children aged 5 years old listened to a chapter (chapter 4 I think) from a book about an owl finding out about night and darkness.

The book - The owl who was affraid of the dark

The book - The owl who was affraid of the dark

They had to listened for a specific piece of information which they then had to remember. Questions were asked to ensure that they had heard and remembered it. Later on in the day they were each given a worksheet and had to draw a picture to represent what the chapter was all about. The teacher then went round each of them and asked them to complete a sentence with information they had heard. Some repeated the information exactly others put it into their own words. Whatever the child said the teacher transcribed it onto their worksheet.

Other examples of activities included:

  • selecting books in groups to find information about a particular night animal that the group had chosen i.e. a fox, badger, bat. Night animals and birds

With the help of the teacher reading the text the children decided on the 4 most important facts about the animal. Later each group told the rest of the class what they had found.

  • art of the week where they had to look at a picture of a piece of art Rodin’s Thinker and say what they thought it was about. It was amazing to see then looking at it, thinking about it and then giving their thoughts.

I could go on but will end there. My thanks to Mrs Lisa Bonar and her class at St Margaret’s School in Edinburgh for allowing me into their world. Discussions regrading the sort of things that would be useful to teachers regarding their own information literacy was also covered. It has certainly helped my thinking for the work ahead of me and I look forward to using this knowledge along with other experiences of Primary 2 and 3 to come in the new year.

This is my last blog of the year so Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.


Information Literacy Case Studies and Curriculum for Excellence Literacy and English experiences and outcomes

The project has been working with Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS):

  • North Lanarkshire Council, Education Resource Service
  • City of Edinburgh Council, Children and Families Department, Information and Learning Resources,
  • North Ayrshire Education Resources Service 

    to  identify exemplars of good practice / case studies within the cross curricular area of information literacy for dissemination through the LTS (Learning and Teaching Scotland) website which offers an important mechanism to keep education authority and school staff informed and supported.

    Thanks to the above parties, LTS Curriculum for Excellence Literacy and English Team and the school librarians involved the case studies are now live and can be viewed on the LTS Information Literacy Website under sharing practice  – two more case studies are still to be finalised by LTS. Hopefully more case studies will be added in the future. 

    The addition of these sharing practice case studies / exemplars of good practice linked to the Curriculum for Excellence four capacities (to enable each child or young person to be a successful learner, a confident individual, a responsible citizen and an effective contributor) will add value to the LTS resources:

    • facilitating access to practitioners’ good practices and classroom resources within this important cross curricular area
    • demonstrating how specific information literacy competencies can be applied in practice
    • identifying exemplars linked to different levels within the curriculum, subjects and resources.

    This is an important development with the inclusion of information literacy as part of the Curriculum for Excellence Literacy and English experiences and outcomes specifically

    • finding and using information in the listening and talking, and reading sections
    • understanding, analysing and evaluating in listening and talking, and reading sections “to encourage progression in understanding of texts, developing not only literal understanding but also the higher order skills”
    • organising and using information in the writing section

    For more details see Curriculum for Excellence: Literacy and English experiences and outcomes also the accompanying  – principles and practice paper / document.