Education Essays - Environment Rainforest Australia

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Environment Rainforest Australia

Assignment 1: Selecting and acquiring resources for a curriculum unit.

Part A

The unit of work chosen for the purpose of this assignment is a New South Wales stage 3 Human Society and Its Environment unit called ‘Global Environments: Rainforests’. The unit provides opportunities for students to investigate a rainforest environment in Australia. The unit also focuses on comparing environmental patterns in Australia with those in other places of the world. It is expected that this unit would be approximately 10 weeks in duration.

The unit will be an integrated unit linking with the key learning areas English, Science and Technology, and Creative and Practical Arts. The unit will also incorporate resource-based learning. Therefore, this unit requires a substantial range of resources in order to assist in developing the students understanding of this topic.

The school in which this stage 3 Human Society and Its Environment unit will be taught is a Catholic systemic school called Mary Immaculate Primary School. Mary Immaculate Primary School, which was established in 1985, is situated in the southwest of Sydney between the suburbs Fairfield and Liverpool. It is a K-6, three streamed (3 classes per grade), coeducational school with a current population of 615 students.

Students taught at this school are predominately from affluent families and come to school from a variety of cultural backgrounds. School records indicate that 93% of the school is recognised as LBOTE (Language background other then English).

Despite there being a high percentage of students coming from language backgrounds other than English, students at this school have a moderate to high level understanding of the English language, therefore not causing a high or profound impact on the teaching program. However, varying student abilities, skills, and learning styles still need to be acknowledged and taken into account.

The student group of Mary Immaculate Primary School who will be undertaking this unit are the year 5 students. There are three year 5 classes in the school making that a total of 90 students who will be involved in this unit. The students in year 5 are in mixed ability classes. Therefore, it is important to note that students in each class will have varying skills and abilities, and varying learning styles.

The teachers who will be undertaking this unit are the classroom teachers of each of the year 5 classes. The role of the year 5 classroom teacher is one of facilitator of learning. The classroom teacher will guide the students through a range of individual and group activities to develop their understanding of the topic.

The teacher librarian’s primary role in this unit is to assist teachers with selecting and acquiring resources for the unit. The teacher librarian will work collaboratively with the classroom teachers to identify the information and resource needs of the unit. Working collaboratively with the classroom teachers will also help the teacher librarian identify the information needs of the teachers and the students.

Relevant resources currently available through the school library collection to resource the unit are very limited. When assessing the collection to see what resources are available it was surprising to find that there was only 7 non-fiction books on the topic of Rainforests in the whole library collection, of which were more suited for the advanced reader.

It was noted that other formats such as video’s, DVDs, CD-Rom’s, and websites were not available in the collection, therefore not allowing to accommodate for students with varying learning styles (i.e. especially those who are visual learners). There are also a limited number of fiction books to support this unit, and as the unit is integrated with English outcomes, this will be an area that will need to be resourced as well.

Part B

School libraries have a special commitment to educational needs of the students and curriculum support for teachers (Gorman and Kennedy,1992,p293). Because of this it is very important for the teacher librarian to identify the resource or information needs of the unit.

Evans (1995,p133) states that curriculum support dominates school library collection development; it emphasises providing materials directly tied to teaching requirements, and uses instructor input in the selection process. Therefore in order to identify the resource or information needs of the unit the teacher librarian liased with the class teachers involved in teaching this unit to discuss the learning outcomes for the unit (with reference to the relevant syllabus document/s), comparing these with the current resources in the collection and identifying any gaps in the collection.

The syllabus was referred to as it suggests many resources specific to the unit and also links the unit with other key learning areas, assisting in possible integration ideas and other places to look for resources.

The unit on ‘Global Environments: Rainforests’ is predominately a Stage 3 Human Society and Its Environment unit, but it is also linked to the key learning areas English, Science and technology, and Creative and Practical Arts. Therefore, this unit requires a range of resources to accommodate this. Non-fiction and fiction resources, as well as visual and electronic resources, will need to be selected.

Gorman and Kennedy (1992,p293) state that children have a range of educational needs and abilities; and all of these needs and abilities must receive attention if the library is to serve the developmental function in the educational process. Therefore in order to have a well resourced library collection that meets the needs of the user it is very important for the teacher librarian to identify the varying learning styles, range of abilities and any special needs that students may have.

The way in which the teacher librarian will find out the above information will be to liase with the classroom teachers involved in teaching this unit. In doing so the teacher librarian can discuss with the teachers what levels, abilities and learning styles that their students have. As a result the teacher librarian will also be able to find out whether there is any special learning needs.

Through the discussions it is found that each of the year 5 classes have students of varying abilities, skills, and learning styles, with only a ‘handful’ of students that are at the lower and upper ends of the spectrum. Therefore it is identified that in order to accommodate this, resources/information selected will need to come in varying formats such as print, audiovisual, and web based.

Through these discussions the teacher librarian will be also able to assess what the individual teaching styles of each of the year 5 teachers are. All of the year 5 teachers are young (all are in their twenties) and have been exposed to using technology. Therefore, they are comfortable with the prospect that some of the new resources could include such things as websites and CD-Roms.

To identify the resource gap for this unit the teacher librarian reviewed the current resources held within the library collection, detailing the general topics and quality of the items. This was accomplished through a subject search on the schools OPAC for relevant resources for the unit, and then looking at each items in detail. The teacher librarian was then able to assess whether these items met the needs of the unit and the students as indicated through discussions with the classroom teachers.

Through this process the teacher librarian was able to identify that resources currently available through the school library collection to resource the unit are very limited and will obviously need to be supplemented to meet the needs of the unit. As previously mentioned in part A it was identified that there was only 7 non-fiction books on the topic of Rainforests in the whole library collection, of which were more suited for the advanced reader.

It was noted that other formats such as video’s, DVDs, CD-Rom’s, and websites were not available in the collection, therefore not allowing to accommodate for students with varying learning styles (i.e. especially those who are visual learners). There are also a limited number of fiction books to support this unit, and as the unit is integrated with English outcomes, this will be an area that will need to be resourced as well.

Selection within the library is usually the responsibility of professional librarians, however, Kennedy (2006,p42) suggests that others may be invited to provide input. Gorman and Kennedy (1992,p293) state that teaching staff provide substantial input in terms of both selecting and evaluating materials. It is believed that information resources are most effectively identified and used when teachers are involved in their selection (ASLA and ALIA,2001,p27).

Therefore, in order to select resources for this unit the teacher librarian will work collaboratively with the classroom teachers involved in teaching this unit. Teachers will provide valuable help and incite into the needs of the unit and needs of their students, and also provide feedback on possible resources.

There are several strategies in which the teacher librarian can involve the teacher in the selection process. These strategies include routing journals to teachers; attending faculty, departmental, or grade-level meetings to elicit input and discuss future purchases; routing bibliographies to teachers; and forming an advisory committee (Hughes-Hassell and Mancall,2005,p48).

Selection aids are useful ‘tools’ that help the teacher librarian discover what items or resources are available. Evans (1995,p138) states that they are timesaving tools essential to the efficient function of the library. The aids provide, to some degree, an overview of the output of the publishers and media producers (Evans,1995,p138). For the purpose of this assignment the teacher librarian used several selection aids, of which are outlined below.

Bibliographies

According to Evans (1995,p138) everyone involved in collection management recognises the importance of bibliographies in building a library collection. Bibliographies help the selector by providing them with general lists of recent publications in a field or area or subject listings prepared for a specific purpose.

The bibliographies used by the teacher librarian for the purpose of this assignment included the Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS) OPAC and EdNA (Education Network Australia). These were ideal because they provided access to resources that were educational based.

Reviewing Journals and Websites

Dillon and Freeman (2006,p15) state that reviewing journals and websites are often regarded as the most valuable source of authoritative information on available resources. Reviews are considered to be extremely important in the selection process because they are often prepared by librarians or by specialists for librarians. Evans (1995,p142) states that reviews of this type are particularly very useful because the reviewers prepare them with library needs in mind.

For the purpose of the assignment the teacher librarian used reviews from sources such as SCAN (NSW DET), Magpies, Resource Reviews (NSW DET), CMIS Resource Bank (WA DET), and Classroom Resource Reviews (QLD DEA). These were all very useful because they provided incite into ‘tried and tested’ resources and helped in deciding whether a resource was worth getting or not.

Publishers websites, flyers and catalogues

Publishers websites, flyers and catalogues can provide useful selection data because they help make the selector aware of the resources that are available by particular publishers. Although these were found to be very useful it has been suggested by Evans (1995,p141) to use these aids cautiously because their main purpose is sell merchandise; though few publishers would lie about an item, advertising copy will present the item in a favourable light. With this in mind resources found through this avenue were cross checked using reviews.

Online Bookshops

Online bookshops are very useful in the selection process. Although you can not physically examine the resource through this avenue you are still provided with immediate access to information on potentially useful resources. Examples of sites visited included Dymocks, Borders, and Angus and Robertson.

When selecting items it is important to come up with some form of selection criteria. This will prevent (1) buying items ad hoc and (2) buying items that are not appropriate or suitable for the collection. For the purpose of this assignment the selection criteria proposed by Hughes-Hassall and Mancall (2005,p46-47 in Dillon and Freeman,2006,p20-21) was used.

This Learner-Centred approach (Hughes-Hassell and Mancall, 2005,p6-8) was preferred as its focus is on the resources being of best benefit for the students, and its division into primary and secondary considerations helped to place the selection into context and assist in being very specific in the items being acquired. Criteria used for primary considerations

included: appropriateness; scope; accuracy; treatment; arrangement and organization; authority and comparison with other works (Hughes-Hassell and Mancall,2005,p46-47). The criteria taken into account for secondary considerations included: physical quality; aesthetic quality; literary merit; and reputations of author, illustrator, or producer (Hughes-Hassell and Mancall,2005, p46-47).

The basis in which resources are chosen to be in a particular format are primarily dependant upon: the unit content; teaching styles; students skills and abilities; student learning styles; and, the level of technology equipment available. The majority of resources selected for the purpose of this assignment are print material. This is mainly due to their portability, cost effectiveness and the fact they are able to be used in isolation (rather then requiring additional peripherals).

In order to accommodate the more visual learners resources such as dvds/videos, CD-Roms, and websites were also chosen. These sorts of resources are also preferred because they are useful for sharing with the whole class. However, before choosing electronic resources such as CD-Roms and websites the teacher librarian needs to check such things as network system requirements and compatibility.

Selecting the most appropriate supplier or suppliers to obtain/provide the resources you have selected is an important decision. Freeman (2007) suggests that turnaround time, accessibility, reliability, costs, the lengths they are prepared to go to get those resources for you, their willingness to provide progress reports and to rectify mistakes are some of the criteria we need to consider when selecting suppliers.

Therefore for the purpose of this assignment the teacher librarian predominately used Macarthur Education at Narellan as the supplier for the majority of the resources. Having used them on previous occasions they have proven to be extremely reliable and prompt with their service. Macarthur Education offers a 20% discount off the recommended retail price and are able to source the vast majority of the resources required.

If they do not have something in stock they will go to great lengths to try and source it for us. The supplier is very knowledge about the books they sell. The supplier is a teacher so they also have a great knowledge about the school curriculum. The supplier also gives you progress reports when some resources take a while to come through and they also allow for you to view products first hand before actually purchasing.

For more specialised resources such as CD-Roms and Dvds/Videos, suppliers such as ‘Marcom’ and ‘Classroom Video’ were used. Although these companies did not give a discount as Macarthur Education did, they were proven to be prompt and reliable in their service.

Part C

1) Title: Dr Blythe’s rainforest education web site!

Format: Website

URL: http://www.rainforesteducation.com

Publisher: Blythe; Australia. 2003

Comment: This site was located in a search through EdNA and a review was found on Resource Reviews (NSW DET). The Teacher Librarian and classroom teacher also evaluated the site and agreed that this site supports the Stage 3 unit ‘Global environment: Rainforests. It provides useful and age specific information on this topic and includes lots of images, photographs and sounds of the rainforest. This site has an early readers section which would benefit NESB students studying this unit. Therefore it is considered to be a very useful resource.

2) Title: Rainforests at risk.

Format: Text (Non-fiction).

Author/s: Green, Jen

ISBN: 1844582477

Publisher: Chrysalis Children’s Books; London. 2005.

Description: 32p. : col. ill., map. Hardback.

Cost: $34.95 (-20% discount)

Supplier: Macarthur Education.

Comment: This book was located in a search of the SCIS OPAC and was further investigated through the Heinemann and Dymocks websites where more detailed information on the content of the book and author were found. This book is good for introducing the ecological issues of the rainforest, including major themes as global warming and species extinction. It also highlights things what they can do to help save our rainforests.

3) Title: Creatures of the rainforest: two artists explore Djabugay country.

Format: Text (Information Picture Book).

Author/s: Brim, Warren and Eglitis, Anna

ISBN: 1875641998

Publisher: Magabala; Broome, WA. 2005.

Description: 60p. : col. ill.

Cost: $26.95 (-20% discount)

Supplier: Macarthur Education.

Comment: This book was located in a search on Classroom Resource Reviews (QLD DEA). In this review the book received an extremely positive evaluation. It was given the rating of ‘extremely recommended’. Being an information picture book this resource will be very useful for helping visual learners. This book will be a useful resource in supporting this integrated unit; the artwork presented in the book can be used to link with the Creative Arts link of this unit and it can be used to support the English link when discussing text types.

4) Title: Fading forests: the destruction of our rainforests.

Format: Text (Non-fiction).

Author/s: Greely, August.

ISBN: 0823964868

Publisher: Rosen: New York. 2003.

Description: 24p. : col. ill., map.

Cost: $24.95 (-20% discount)

Supplier: Macarthur Education.

Comment: This book was located in a search of the SCIS OPAC and was further investigated through the Dymocks website where more detailed information on the content of the book and author were found. This book helps examine the ecology, importance, and systemic destruction of the world’s rainforest.

5) Title: Rainforests

Format: DVD

Author/s: Hardie, Robert and Morecroft, Richard.

Publisher: Classroom Video; Avalon, NSW. 1994.

Description: 1 DVD (21 min) : sd., col. ; ½ in. + 1 leaflet.

Cost: $77.00

Supplier: Classroom Video.

Comment: This book was located in a search of the Classroom Video website and was further investigated through the ‘Libraries Australia’ website where more detailed information on the content of the DVD and author were found. Although this DVD may appear to be relatively old, being published in 1994, it was chosen because it gives an excellent introduction to rainforests, providing information on their nature and structure and the role of light, water, soils, fauna, and vegetation in a rainforest.

The library currently does not have any DVDs or video’s so the addition of this resource will fill this void.

6) Title: Zoom rainforest – All about rainforests.

Format: Website

URL: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/rainforest/

Author: Col, Jeananda.

Publisher: Enchanted Learning Company; USA. 2000.

Comment: This site was located in a search through EdNA and SCIS OPAC, and a review was found on Resource Reviews (NSW DET). The Teacher Librarian and classroom teacher also evaluated the site and agreed that this site supports the Stage 3 unit ‘Global environment: Rainforests. This site was seen to be a comprehensive, well presented web unit for both students and teachers. The text is appropriate for primary aged students and the colourful graphics are motivational and eye catching. Topics on this site include: What is a rainforest?; Strata of the rainforest; Animals of the rainforest; Where are rainforests?; and people living in the rainforest. This website provides an ideal introduction to the topic of ‘Rainforests’.

7) Title: Rainforest people.

Format: Text (Non-fiction).

Author/s: Parker, Edward.

ISBN: 0750235047

Publisher: Hodder Children’s; London. 2002.

Description: Hardcover, 48p, col. ill., map.

Cost: $22.95(-20% discount)

Supplier: Macarthur Education.

Comment: This book was located in a search on Classroom Resource Reviews (QLD DEA). In this review the book received an extremely positive evaluation. It was given the rating of ‘extremely recommended’. This text focuses on the human inhabitants of the rainforest. It takes a thorough and well-informed look at the location and types of rainforests; the diversity of the rainforest people; and how European settlement has had an impact on rainforest inhabitants, prevalent environmental issues, conservation and the future of the rainforest. The book is ‘user friendly’ and well formatted and the information flows logically. This would be a good addition to the collection.

8) Title: Australian Rainforests.

Format: Electronic Resource (CD-ROM)

ISBN: 1876990112

Publisher: Marcom Projects; Eight Mile Plains, Qld. 2005.

Description: 1 CD-ROM: sd., col.

Cost: $49.95

Supplier: Marcom Projects.

Comment: This CD-ROM was located in a search of the Marcom Projects website. This site was chosen because this company specialises in educational electronic resources. This CD-ROM was considered ideal because it includes vivid plant and animal photos that can be printed, and video segments, accompanied by informative narration to bring the learning experience alive. This CD-ROM offers clearly presented, scientific facts and information that can be printed, with narratives to assist students with reading difficulties.

9) Title: Amazon Fever

Format: Text (Fiction)

Author/s: Zoehfeld, Kathleen Weidner

ISBN: 0307264076

Publisher: Random House; New York. 2006.

Description: 44p. : col. ill.

Cost: $8.95 (-20% discount)

Supplier: Macarthur Education.

Comment: This book was located in a search of the SCIS OPAC and was further investigated through the Random House and Dymocks websites where more detailed information about the book and author were found. This book is ideal for the less independent reader and/or the more visual learners. This humorous story will provide a good introduction on the topic of rainforests. It will also be a good resource to use in any English linked activities.

10) Title: The vanishing rainforest.

Format: Text (Fiction)

Author/s: Platt, Richard.

ISBN: 0711221707

Publisher: Frances Lincoln; London. 2004.

Description: 29p. : col. ill.

Cost: $27.95 (-20% discount)

Supplier: Macarthur Education.

Comment: This book was located in a search of the SCIS OPAC and was further investigated on the Dymocks website where more detailed information on the book and author were found. This book presents a beautifully illustrated story of a Brazilian rainforest tribe that is threatened by development, and what it must do to save itself and its home. This fictional story is a good resource to introduce to children the controversial subject of how and why rainforests are vanishing.

Bibliography

  • Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) (2001) Learning for the future: Developing information services in schools. 2nd Edition. Curriculum Corporation; Carlton South, Vic.
  • Board of Studies, NSW (1998) Human Society and Its Environment K-6: Units of work. Board of Studies NSW; Sydney.
  • Board of Studies, NSW (1998) Human Society and Its Environment K-6 Syllabus. Board of Studies NSW; Sydney.
  • Classroom Video Pty Ltd (2006) ‘Classroom Video – Education with Vision’. Viewed: 18/3/2007. <http://www.classroomvideo.com.au/index/index.html?section=home >
  • Curriculum Corporation (2007) ‘SCIS -Schools Catalogue Information Service’. Viewed: 18/3/2007. < http://www.curriculum.edu.au/scis/ >
  • Education Network Australia – EdNA (2006) ‘Education Network Australia’. Viewed 18/3/2007. < http://www.edna.edu.au/edna/go >
  • Evans, G.E. (1995) Developing library and information centre collections. 3rd Edition. Libraries Unlimited, Inc; Englewood, CO.
  • Freeman, A. (2007) ETL503 Collection Management. Viewed 6/3/2007. Accessed via: http://forums.csu.edu.au/perl/forums.pl?forum_id=ETL503_200740_x_x_forum&task=frameset
  • Freeman, A. and Dillon, K. (2006) ETL503 Collection Management: Study Guide. Learning Materials Centre, Charles Sturt University; Albury-Bathurst-Wagga Wagga.
  • Gorman, G.E. and Kennedy, J. (1992) Collection Development for Australian Libraries. 2nd Edition. Centre for Information Studies; Wagga Wagga, NSW.
  • Hughes-Hassell, S. and Mancall, J.C. (2005) in Freeman, A. and Dillon, K. (2006) ETL503 Collection Management: Study Guide. Learning Materials Centre, Charles Sturt University; Albury-Bathurst-Wagga Wagga.
  • Kennedy, J. (2006) Collection Management: A concise introduction. Revised edition. Centre for Information Studies; Wagga Wagga, NSW.
  • Magpies Magazine Pty Ltd (2007) The Source. Viewed: 18/3/2007. <http://www.magpies.net.au/>
  • Marcom Projects Pty Ltd (2006) ‘2007 Catalogue’. Viewed 2/4/2007. <http://www.marcom.com.au/>
  • NSW Department of Education and Training (2006) ‘ Resource Reviews’. Viewed: 18/3/2007. < http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/resourcereviews/ >
  • The State of Queensland (Department of Education, Training and the Arts) (2006) ‘Classroom Resource Reviews’. Viewed: 18/3/2007. <http://education.qld.gov.au/information/service/libraries/resource/eval/index.html>
  • Western Australia Department of Education and Training (2007) ‘CMIS Resource Bank’. Viewed: 18/3/2007. <http://www.det.wa.edu.au/education/cmis/eval/netopac/index.htm>

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