Monday, September 29, 2008

Yet another blog


I've started a new blog at: to discuss copyright and blogging. I'm in grad school for my library science degree and this is one of our assignments. I've chosen to focus on copyright and writing online, specifically on blogging and posting poetry written by other writers. Since I've long enjoyed Friday Poetry posts I want to explore the best practices in the blogging community for posting poetry. Please feel welcome to visit my new blog and and your comments about blogging and copyright. What do you think about posting the full text of poems written by others, published elsewhere or not? What would you do if you discovered someone reposted your work without your knowledge or permission?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Time to Reflect

tire swing

Jeff Utecht has a great post up at U Tech Tips about reflection during work hours. As teachers and librarians we seldom find time during work hours to actually sit and think about what we are doing and what we want to be doing. Intentional reflection is a huge part of learning and we expect our students to do it; but do we give ourselves permission and scheduled time to do it at work? For me reflection means time to sit and stare out the window thinking, and then time to read and write. I find myself trying to squeeze in reflection time at home in the wee hours or late at night when my children are asleep. If they aren't sleeping on schedule, or if I have grad school work, a social engagement or presidential debates to watch, I'm not writing.

I am really fortunate to be in a school where administrators value reflection and have actually told me on more than one occasion that they expect me to spend time reading journals, attending professional development sessions, planning and reflecting on our programs. I am expected to state professional development and educational goals every year and I am held accountable to meeting them. Even so, it's hard to find the time to do it on a daily basis. This year the library is so busy with multiple classes scheduled in an out all day that I rarely have time to sit and think or read about what other librarians are thinking. My blog reading for the kidlit blogs has dropped off the chart. I keep hoping that as soon as we get out of September I'll get a handle on the school year and we'll be back on track. I have a feeling that's not going to happen unless I make it.

How do you find time for reflection during your work day? Or how could you?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Review: Grandmama's Pride

by Becky Birtha, illustrated by Colin Bootman. Albert Whitman& Co. 2005. This is a picture book that eloquently tells the story of a six year old girl and her family dealing with segregation in the 1950s American south. They live up north but take the bus down to visit Grandmama's. Sarah Marie can't quite understand why they can't eat at lunch counters, sit in the bus station waiting room that has benches, or ride in the front of the bus. Her family is strong and proud and loving, however, so those mysteries don't overly concern her. She finds her Grandmama to be nurturing and powerful, even though she is a bit peculiar. She will not ride the bus and leads the girls in walking with her downtown to buy new dresses. She will not let them drink from the water fountains, but insists, "Wait till we get home. Grandmama's going to fix you ice-cold, lemon-mint tea from fresh-squeezed lemons, with spearmint out of my garden."

As Sarah Marie begins to learn to read she discovers the signs she has seen hanging all over town say things like, "WHITE ONLY", "Colored Women", and "Colored Waiting Room". Her little sister still can't read the signs. Sarah steps right into the strategy of the older women in the family by explaining to little sister, "You don't want to sit on those public benches. You don't know who's been sitting there." instead of reading the shameful signs to her.

Back up north after the vacation she begins to read the paper and learns about the bus boycott ending in victory and the Civil Rights movement bringing other changes. She reads words she can't understand but it begins to come together in her mind when she realizes why her Grandmama refused to ride the bus or drink from segregated water fountains. Next summer when they return south the laws have changed and Grandmama leads the family in celebrating their growing rights.

There is an author's note in the back of the book explaining the historic background of her fictional story that is based on true events. The illustrations by Colin Bootman are perfectly balanced between to beauty of the characters and the ominous evil of the discrimination they fought. Grandmama's Pride is a good picture book for older readers learning about a difficult struggle in our history told through the eyes of those that lived through monumental changes. Highly recommended.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

September 21 Haiku

Last day of summer

worked all summer
to remove this volunteer;
hibiscus in bloom

Saturday, September 20, 2008

21st Century Library Skills

21st Century Library Skills
These are the new, basic ALA standards created in Wordle — by pgoerner Images of Wordles are licensed Creative Commons License.

ALA site - explanation of the new standards

Common Beliefs

The learning standards begin by defining nine foundational common beliefs:

  • Reading is a window to the world.
  • Inquiry provides a framework for learning.
  • Ethical behavior in the use of information must be taught.
  • Technology skills are crucial for future employment needs.
  • Equitable access is a key component for education.
  • The definition of information literacy has become more complex as resources and technologies have changed.
  • The continuing expansion of information demands that all individuals acquire the thinking skills that will enable them to learn on their own.
  • Learning has a social context.
  • School libraries are essential to the development of learning skills.

The Standards

The Standards describe how learners use skills, resources, and tools to

  1. inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge;
  2. draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge;
  3. share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society;
  4. pursue personal and aesthetic growth.

School Library Monthly - article skills March, 2008

Information Wants to be Free - blog on library skills

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cybils 2008 is beginning!

Oct. 1 is the opening day to nominate books from 2008 for this year's Cybils awards. The Cybils was started in 2006 by Anne Boles Levy and Kelly Harold as a way for bloggers to celebrate and promote their picks of the best books of the year. Anyone can nominate a book in each category. I am thrilled to be chosen as one of the first round panelists for the newly designed "Easy Reader" category. Check out this post, this one, and this one for more on that. Then keep reading at the Cybils blog all this week to hear about all the other fantastic, fascinating categories and their committees. And get ready to nominate your favorite kid's books of the year!

Monday, September 15, 2008

September 15 Haiku

Sept. 14 006

"red sky! red sky!"
children's chanting circle dance
as street lights come on

Monday, September 08, 2008

Review: Life is a Verb

37 Days to Wake up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally by Patti Digh (pronounced "dye"). Skirt, 2008. Advance Review Copy. This book came out just last week. It's a collection of inspiring essays from Patti's blog 37 days. In 2003 her stepfather was diagnosed with lung cancer and he died just 37 days later. Patti was close to him in those last 37 days and his life and death caused her to look more closely at her own life. She began asking herself what were the most important things to be done if one has only 37 days to live. Her questioning overflowed in her blog in a series of heart-felt essays about the real stuff of living that, in the end, make life most meaningful, joyful and powerful.

The book is divided into section based on the six principals of Patti's focus, or "practices for intentional living":
  1. Intensity: Say Yes
  2. Inclusion: Be Generous
  3. Integrity: Speak Up
  4. Intimacy: Love More
  5. Intuition: Trust Yourself
  6. Intention: Slow Down
In each chapter she starts with a story from her life or the life of someone close to her. The examples are touching, funny, direct and flavorful. Her writing flows with warmth and joy. At the end of each chapter there are two challenges or activities. One can be done right away (it's an action) and one is to be done over time (movement). The prompt is to take up a challenge over the next 37 days and to write about or otherwise express how it effects your life.

As I was reading through the book I found many areas of challenge that I would like to follow up. I decided to just chose one thing to do for the next 37 days, with the hope that I can keep my life simplified and challenged at the same time. September is a hard time to take up additional challenges, what with all of us back in school and our schedules so hectic. I've decided to commit to spending at least 10 minutes a day with my sons doing nothing but listening and watching them. As part of my 365 photo project I'll probably be photographing them. As busy as we are, it's the little times together that often get cut so I think this focus will be an island of connection for all of us.

All the art in the book was created for her by readers of her blog. The collages are thoughtful interpretations of the themes of each chapter and they are quite beautiful. I think it's remarkable that so many talented people chimed in and that she was able to publish all of them as part of her book. In addition, in the past month she's been publishing essays written by her readers telling how they are inspired to invest in their lives with the "37 days" challenges.

To read some of Patti's essays, go to her web page here, scroll down, and click on the links in the sidebars: "Favorite Essays" and "Patti's Recent Articles".

Patti is doing book tours this fall, reading from Life is a Verb. The full schedule is here. If she is in your area I encourage you to attend and let her know you are in the audience. She loves to give out little gifts to her readers. This book is highly recommended for anyone who wants more out of life.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Creativity Test

Right Brain vs Left Brain Creativity Test
About this test | Disclaimer

Thank you for taking the Creativity Test. The results show your brain dominance as being:

Left Brain Right Brain
39% 61%

You are more right-brained than left-brained. The right side of your brain controls the left side of your body. In addition to being known as right-brained, you are also known as a creative thinker who uses feeling and intuition to gather information. You retain this information through the use of images and patterns. You are able to visualize the "whole" picture first, and then work backwards to put the pieces together to create the "whole" picture. Your thought process can appear quite illogical and meandering. The problem-solving techniques that you use involve free association, which is often very innovative and creative. The routes taken to arrive at your conclusions are completely opposite to what a left-brained person would be accustomed. You probably find it easy to express yourself using art, dance, or music. Some occupations usually held by a right-brained person are forest ranger, athlete, beautician, actor/actress, craftsman, and artist.

I found this at Adventures in Daily Living. It sounds like me alright. I always wanted to be a forest ranger. What about you?