Saturday, December 31, 2011

Inspiration for 2012

I've noticed that many of my online friends are posting inspirational quotes on this, the last day of 2011.

With that example in front of me, I've selected some guiding thoughts and reminders for 2012:

"There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story." -Linda Hogan

The Poetry of the Earth is Never Dead

"The poetry of the earth is never dead." -John Keats

The Fair Adventure of Tomorrow

"The day shall not be up so soon as I, To try the fair adventure of tomorrow." -William Shakespeare

"Just like the butterfly, I too will awaken in my own time." -Deborah Chaskin

“The journey between who you once were, and who you are now becoming, is where the dance of life really takes place.”- Barbara De Angelis


When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."
-Mary Oliver

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Learning More Deeply

"measuring up" by woodleywonderworks

In a recent posting, Buffy Hamilton took advantage of winter break to reflect on her professional practice:
"My colleague Kristin Fontichiaro inspired me earlier this year to hone in on helping teachers and students go beyond surface level knowledge and the 'shininess' of students merely producing something with a web 2.0 tool and to look at how digitally created content reflects rigor in terms of content and composition."
I would strongly recommend that you visit The Unquiet Librarian and read Midyear Reflections: Challenges of Supporting Student Digital Nonfiction Composition in its entirety. Buffy's self-assessment is tough but fair, displaying the type of rigor, that can be defined as "the quality of being extremely thorough, exhaustive, or accurate" rather than "severity or strictness; excessive sternness."

If our educational goal is to have students acquire knowledge, rather than merely complete tasks, we must provide the scaffolding, exemplary models, and formative assessments that Buffy is striving to infuse into her students' learning experiences.

"It might be easier to define rigor by noting what it is not: Rigor is not a synonym for ‘harder,’ and it does not mean moving first-grade curriculum into kindergarten, or algebra into the seventh grade. … Rigor means teaching and learning things more thoroughly – more deeply." -Nancy Flanagan

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Five and Ten

As I write a longer, more reflective piece about 2011, I'm pausing to note my five most read blog postings and ten most viewed photos of the past year.

I hope some of them have entertained or engaged you.

From Journeys:

May 16, 2011 Cat Among the Pigeons
A response to Seth Godin's posting, The future of the library: "Change is not only an option, change is an imperative. Don't just get your feathers ruffled: inquire, assess, learn, adapt. Evolve."

June 21, 2011 ISTE Update - Two Days to Departure
Getting ready for ISTE 2100, in Philadelphia: "I've added an exciting event to my ISTE planner: TEDxPhiladelphiaED. This (naturally) creates a conflict in my schedule, but a group of us will be leaving EduBloggerCon a bit early so that we can attend both events."

July 28, 2011 Never Underestimate...
Buffy Hamilton takes on Amazon: "Referring to the both the experience and the responses she's received, Buffy wrote this Facebook message, 'All I can say is the Amazon has truly underestimated the potential of the K12 market.' Someone in the corporate realm had better be listening."

October 16, 2011 AASL 2011 Learning Commons
Our spot to "Share, Connect, Grow" at the American Association of School Librarians conference: "The Learning Commons is the perfect venue for self-directed professional development. It's free and open to everyone at the conference. Consider the possibilities; join in the fun!"

January 22, 2011 The Power of the Product: An EduCon Conversation
Gwyneth Jones and I facilitate the creation of a crowd-sourced slideshow: "A conversation is only as 'Creative, Meaningful and Daring' as its participants. Come join us, and see what we can build together!"

From Flickr:

Looking into the Past 6/21/11
Dad took this photo of his new bride 65 years ago tomorrow, in front of the Queensbury Hotel. My parents were on the way to Montreal for their honeymoon.

Hometown Graffiti 3/20/11
Brigham Young basketball sensation [now signed as an NBA rookie with the Sacramento Kings] Jimmer Fredette has been "immortalized" on a brick wall in Glens Falls, NY, where residents take pride in the success of a local boy.

Digital Divide poster 8/07/11

The Frog Prince poster 4/27/11

Shoes of ISTE 11: Buffy Hamilton Edition 6/28/11
Librarian wardrobe essential: wedge heels with flowers - in silver, of course!

Anywhere's a Better Place to Be 8/14/11
School version.

Sunset, Dorado 3/03/11
We are in Paradise!

Good Morning, Buffy! 11/26/11
It was nice to open my morning newspaper and see a friend looking back at me.

Luscious 2/05/11

36/365 While the weather outside is frightful - sleet, ice and snow in a crazy melange - it's nice to contemplate a sweeter variety of frozen matter. This vegetable- and fruit-flavored gelato tempts shoppers in Philadelphia.

Fish Story 1/19/11
A Redeye Bass starts to show its true colors on my husband's drawing board.

To all my friends, old and new, face-to-face and virtual (but still "real")...thank you for visiting my blog. Whatever you celebrate, have a wonderful holiday!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


My first Tweet:

"blogging, browsing my Google Reader, trying to figure out twitter!"
04:50 PM September 29, 2007

From such a modest beginning, my network has expanded and so have my horizons. I value the connections and the conversations.
Just being part of such a diverse group makes me feel like a winner!

If you would like to vote in the 2011 Edublog Awards, please visit the official site.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Portion of Thyself

"Box with Gift" by Robo Android

It's that time of year when many people are searching for that perfect gift for someone special. Why not take the opportunity to do more than exchange "stuff;" why not exchange - and create - memories?

Here are some suggestions that will help you tap into the power of storytelling:

Charms and Jewelry
Among my mother's bits of jewelry was a charm bracelet, which my daughter now wears with an extender, as a necklace. Each tiny gold object represents a person, place or event. I enjoyed sharing the history of this heirloom with her as we remembered a dearly loved relative.

There are a number of popular charm bracelet options available, so if you haven't inherited such a piece, you can begin creating one now.

Lockets and Ornaments
Personalizing objects with images is a lovely way to remember special occasions and share family portraits with future generations. Either purchase a frame and insert your own photo, or visit a site like Zazzle to design and order customized items.

Audio Recordings, Books and Albums
Why not interview a grandparent, or just capture random musings about your childhood and days gone by? You can purchase picture books that will "record a story" in your own voice; fotobabble, where users create "talking photos," provides a free alternative.

There are dozens of sites where it is possible to write a book or collect photographs for private publication. It might be fun to include family members in the creation process rather than just present them with a finished product. Photos can also be share in a physical album, on a CD or archived in a website or wiki. Please remember to label and tag as much as you can!

When the urge to declutter hits (maybe a New Year's resolution?), select and share both objects and their stories with others. My family has had fun reminiscing about clothing, toys, household items, and, of course, books and photos. I treasure my mother's WAC dog tags and her apron.....the tiny bib overalls that both my children wore as babies... some of my father's WWII aviation instruments and one of the soft and snowy handkerchiefs he always carried with him. Sometimes the plainest, most ordinary things trigger the dearest memories.

The Gift of Time
American essayist and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said that “The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.” Although presents add to holiday merriment, making a conscious effort to spend time with those you love is the greatest gift of all.

Share your stories, help others create their own stories.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” -Kahlil Gibran