Saturday, 10 March 2018

Four Things I'm Excited about in 2018: #1 Library Llamas

#1 Library Llamas
#2 Patron of Reading
#3 Reading Buddies
#4 Book Week

I've been meaning to write about some of the exciting things I have planned for this year.  These are the projects, schemes, clubs and events that are a joy to organise and something I eagerly look forward to being a part of.  We all need a few of these in our working lives, and this year I have at least four that make me smile and put a spring in my step.  I'm going to share these over the next few days, and the first one I'm going to talk about is our Book Club and their Youtube channel.

At last year's SLANZA conference, Australian keynote speaker Adele Walsh introduced me to the world of Booktube, specifically polandbananasbooks.  It was a revelation - I never knew that world existed.  At the time, I wondered "can we do something similar with our kids?" but it wasn't until lamenting the unloved folder of our written book reviews that I decided to give it a try.  So this year, I have launched our booktubing Year 6 book club.  It's a big club, around 25, and that makes group decision-making a bit time consuming.  However, I believe that book clubs are a great place to encourage student agency and empowerment, two popular goals in the wider education community.

I set up a blog to help communicate with the club members (I shared the link with their parents via the Seesaw app).  As some of our members don't have parents signed up to Seesaw I won't be able to rely on it as my main form of communication, but it does help me keep all relevant information in one place.  In my first post, I shared the work of some younger booktubers for inspiration.

Our first decision was the name of the club - the Library Llamas!  This was decided on Tuesday, and apparently we also needed a song and a dance - who knew?!  That book club meeting has to have been the noisiest one in the history of all book club meetings - it was loud!  And the tune got stuck in my head, watch it at your own risk:

Some of our students chose not to be in the song and dance.  Some will be doing other, less performance-based videos, others are going to work behind the scenes and help plan the videos.

Coming up next week we will be looking at how to organise the production of more videos - book reviews, interviews, scenes from books etc.  I think we'll have to break into smaller groups, but we can do brainstorming sessions for ideas as a whole.  I already have an interview set up in April, with Dawn McMillan, our new Patron of Reading (read more about that tomorrow!).

I'm really excited about this project because it has so much potential and I'm not sure where it's going to take me.  The enthusiasm of the kids is infectious, even if I have to tell them that thinking about "merch" is a bit premature, and hitting 1,000,000 subscribers is a bit too big of a target!

My ultimate goal is to connect with other students within our school, our country and internationally, and share our love of books.  It would be great if we could have some book conversations with other students through the comments sections in our videos.

Watch this space and I'll document our journey.  And if you could subscribe to our channel, that would make our Library Llamas very happy :)

Oh, and on a side note, I've learned some very interesting information about llamas.  Did you know that they are considerably bigger than alpacas and have longer faces and banana-shaped ears?  (I didn't want to accidentally put a photo of an alpaca on our channel so I needed to research the difference!).

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