Friday, October 27, 2017

Creating Red Dot Excitement at Dulwich College Singapore

As everyone is aware, last year we had a hiatus in the Readers' Cup Competition, but many school still purchased the Red Dot books and arranged activities around this.

Here is a contribution from Sarah Mounsey about how they promoted the books and did an internal competition.  As they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat, so we welcome contributions from our member schools on practical and logistical details of how they worked with their Red Dot Books last year, or how they plan to do it this year. All can be used as inspiration and adapted for your personal library / situation.


Red Dot timeline / event 2016/7 - Dulwich College Singapore

By Sarah Mounsey

The students from the book club ECA's started reading the books as soon as they arrived from September/October. So did the reading ambassadors (Year 6) and Library Assistants (Year 5).  Most of these students read all or most of the books in their age category.

In December Jane Hayes and I organised a wine, cheese, chocolate and books afternoon in the library to entice staff to read at least one read dot book over the Christmas break.

I went to each year group's meeting and tried to get them excited about the books, telling them all about each book and encouraging them all to choose one to do as a class reader.

January: We launched the books in a whole school assembly and the reading ambassadors did a short book talk about each book.

The students had a house meeting and in their year groups and had to form teams of between 8 and 10. In their team they had to ensure that each book would be read by at least one person. All students were asked to choose one book they would like to read and they had to put their name in a list in the library to read this book. 

Many students read more than one, in fact I would say 70% of students did.

Most books we had only 8 copies of so we spent a lot of time delivering books to classes as soon as someone had returned a book. We used parent volunteers and students library assistants to support with this because I only have one library assistant.

Almost every child read a red dot book, there were a few who slipped through the gaps. This year it will be easier because for younger readers I will ensure every class listens to Burt Munro and  for older readers parts of Stormy Seas.

At the end of April we had our huge house event. Each year group (year 3-6) had an afternoon event which went over two lessons. I have attached the instructions for this (they're at the bottom of the blog).  This was such a fun, high energy event and worth all of the hard work.

The house spirit in our school is huge so regardless of whether students ended up in the final, they were delighted to be cheering on their team and also could participate on whiteboards from the audience. 

The Kahoot round was the most popular and I may change it this year to use Kahoot for the first round also.

It has really resulted in the students being excited by the red dots books earlier this year also.  I have not decided exactly how I will choose my teams for Readers Cup, but I know it will be a challenge because the excitement over red dot books is now huge.


First round – In houses in classrooms

Staffing / space needed

One classroom per grade participating with two staff members per room; 7 judges running between classes and marking long form answers

Round 1: By the end of this round there will be a winning team for each house who will represent their house on the stage in lesson 6.

Students all to have a reading book with them for DEAR (drop everything and read) to be done whilst judges are marking. IT MUST NOT BE A RED DOT BOOK! :)

The students all chose teams last term and I will share them with you on Monday. Some of them have team names, some do not.  If they don’t have a team name ask them to come up with a quick name at the start of the lesson.  Also there may be some students who are absent and there may be the odd student who was not allocated to a team.  Please place them in any team where the numbers are lower. There should be 6- 8 students in each team. 

I will deliver all question sheets to the 4 classrooms for the start of lesson 5.

  • 4 questions per book, 32 questions altogether.
  • All completed on paper, team converse to record the answers. Please do one book at a time, not all at once.
  • Teams to fill in their house and team name at the top before starting.
  • As soon as they have finished each sheet, send to the judges to mark (we will ‘run’ between the classrooms or you can also bring them to the library). Judges/markers I will have answer sheets for you and results tables to fill in with the scores.
  • If there is a draw within a house. Extra long answer questions done.
  • As soon as there is a clear winner for your house we will advise you to start moving the students to the theatre.  It would be ideal if this is done during lesson 5 so that there is more time for the finals on the stage.  
Can students all bring whiteboards and pens if they wish to take part from the audience and also bring their books for DEAR.
Please sit all of your house together in the theatre.
If your house is the first there start DEAR.  

Second round - In the theatre

Staffing / space needed

Auditorium with one person per house on stage. Five staff members in the audience. A photographer, 3 judges and someone in charge overall.   

Audience to have whiteboards to take part and keep score. Children also to bring a book to read (NOT a red dot book) because we will do DEAR while judges are conferring.

Sarah M to be running this in the theatre.  If you are only teaching lesson 5, please stay until the end of lesson 5 in the theatre with your house to help supervise the students.  Feel free to bring a book and DEAR with the students.

The winning book trailers and/or covers will be shown on the screen whilst the individual markers finish marking and bring score sheets to the theatre. 

The winning team from each house is announced and the children will come on to the stage to compete.

The teams will need to nominate a different person to ‘lead’ each round, with a total of 4 rounds, plus a possible tie breaker. 

Staff on the stage to be there to support each team and ensure they are being gracious to each other. :)

Staff in the audience on crowd control

Staff judging to be sitting at tables at the back of the front tier (like in the spelling bee).

Extra information for staff on stage.
I will be explaining this to the students as we go so it will all be obvious and you do not need to worry too much about it.

  • Round 2. Team Chat. There will be 1 question per book. As a group write the answer on a whiteboard and then show it to the judges. 30 seconds per question. (8 questions short answer).
  • Round 3. Kahoot round- fastest finger first. (if kahoot doesn’t work, buzzers or bells as a backup) 
  • Round 4. Written round: 8 questions. 5 mins. Children work as a team to answer all 8 questions in the time given. While this is happening DEAR OR if book trailers and posters have not all been shown, show the rest at this point.  (Short answer)
  • Round 5 What's in the box (fast and furious). Nominate 2 people  to answer on the microphone at the front of the stage.
  • Tie Breaker.  If it is a tie at this stage. Repeat question from the box- sudden death. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Learning journey from SMU Libraries to SOTA Library

Reach out to your neighbor – and literally we did. This was a mutual objective shared by Singapore Management University (SMU) Libraries and School of the Arts (SOTA) Library as we bonded over a learning journey in the afternoon of Friday 25 August 2017.

A university with a key focus on business and law – and a pre-tertiary specialized arts school – what do we have in common? How different are we? More importantly, what challenges do the libraries in these 2 institutions face? Read on to find out more!

In part due to physical proximity, SMU Libraries thought it a great idea to visit SOTA Library as part of their Learning Circle activities to share and learn good practices. The Learning Circle is a series of continuous professional development for staff of SMU. These could be in the form of faculty talk, conference sharing, learning journey, training, development, and the like. These activities aim to support the SMU librarians in helping them to keep abreast of the latest library and information industry trends. These trends are constantly evolving in today’s increasingly digital age.

About 25 visitors from the SMU Libraries team visited SOTA Library. They were from both the Li Ka Shing Library and Kwa Geok Choo Law Library. The visit started with an introduction by Ms Adeline Neo (Senior Manager, SOTA Library) on the library layout and its range of facilities, before bringing the visitors on a tour to the various venues in the library. She also shared on new initiatives to optimize space usage and improve ease of retrieval of library items for users, such as building of new shelves to house the teachers’ resource collection. This collection had been housed in a room that had, over time, been used more for meetings and other activities.

The visitors had a good time exploring the facilities in the numerous discussion rooms, which are also equipped to be used as classrooms. We learnt that SMU Libraries has many open spaces for individual use, as well as for research and collaborative pedagogy. The range of facilities include 24/7 Learning Commons, Investment Studio, Learning Labs, Project Rooms – all of which are designed to be conducive for learning.

One of the highlights of the library tour was when our visitors tried on the node school chairs in the newly furbished Learning Centre – where they enjoyed manoeuvring these flexible and mobile chairs, which are designed to enable quicker transition from one teaching mode to the next, as compared to the conventional school tables and chairs.

As we came to the Cool Stuff Zone, which is the library’s main display area and often doubled up as a venue for talks and programmes, Adeline pointed out on the specially designed book display shelves showcasing a selection of Singapore Art Museum (SAM) publications. Earlier in 2017, SAM and SOTA had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to work together so as to provide greater access to quality resources on Southeast Asian contemporary visual art. Initiated by the Visual Arts faculty in SOTA, SAM would extend copies of its publication to SOTA Library. SOTA Library would include these into its collection to support teaching and research of Southeast Asian contemporary art, develop student knowledge of the visual arts sector, as well as generate greater awareness of and participation in SAM programmes.

Our SMU guests then sat down for a quick break of refreshing fruit platters at the Teacher’s Resource Centre. After which, I conducted a presentation on SOTA's background, curriculum and programmes. At this point, our guests let on that they used to have the impression that SOTA is a vocational school for secondary school students. They were glad to quash their misconception and learn that it is the only national pre-tertiary specialised arts school with a six-year integrated arts and academic curriculum, which leads to the International Baccalaureate Diploma or Career-related Programme for youths aged 13 to 18 years old.

I further spoke about the ongoing partnership between SOTA Library and the various faculties to identify, select and source for relevant materials that support informational, research, curriculum and reading needs of the SOTA community. Beyond print, SOTA Library is looking towards the direction of leveraging more on electronic resources. Database trials for Infobase’s Science Online, Bloom’s Literature and Classroom Video On Demand are recent potential additions to SOTA’s range of subscribed online resources.

Following that, I briefly explained SOTA’s pedagogy and teaching philosophy - one that celebrates experimentation, expression and discovery as a school of the future - and how it nurtures the students into tomorrow’s artists and leaders. The visitors were impressed to learn that a SOTA alumnus, Ms Cheri Wee, was among the five students who had been awarded the 2017 President’s Scholarship, making her the first SOTA alumnus to receive this highly prestigious award.

The presentation concluded with recent events organized by SOTA Library for its users, such as National Library Board librarians showcasing their resources as part of professional development for teaching staff on 6 July 2017, Chinese writer’s sharing session for students by library committee on 4 August 2017, amongst others.

The presentation sparked off interest and a lively dialogue ensued. Together with Adeline, I led a discussion with our SMU guests on the sharing of best practices in support of teaching and learning needs. One of the many interesting points raised was the feasibility of libraries leveraging more on electronic resources to support information literacy and research needs of its users.

While SMU and SOTA differ in several aspects such as the age group of students, type of courses offered and so on, we found that the libraries of the 2 institutions share the same commitment to provide a user-centric learning space and support the information needs of our users. Both libraries agreed that there are certainly common areas that we could possibly explore further together that are mutually beneficial. The visit ended with a group photograph at the spiral staircase near the library entrance as a backdrop, as we bade goodbye to each other.

SOTA Library had received compliments on the visit and our SMU guests thought that it was planned well, such that they had an enjoyable learning experience. The goodwill was reciprocal, and SMU Libraries team had expressed their interest to host the SOTA Library team in the future.

Article By: Foo Soo Chin (Manager, SOTA Library)