Wednesday, October 27, 2010

TL Cafe: Eyes to See

On Monday evening, I'll be the guest presenter for a TL Virtual Cafe webinar. A link to the Elluminate room will go live shortly before the session begins.

If you can join us, please do. I'd love to "see" you there!

Eyes to See: Using Digital Images in the Classroom
November 1st - 8pm EST
Guest: Diane Cordell
Host: Gwyneth Jones

According to the Visual Teaching Alliance, approximately 65% of the population are visual learners; the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text; visual aids in the classroom can improve learning by up to 400%.

With the advent of inexpensive, simple to operate digital cameras, teachers and librarians have the opportunity to involve students in activities that are engaging and enriching. "Eyes to See" will explore various ways to enhance curriculum through the use of digital images.

Monday, October 25, 2010

SLJ Leadership Summit 2010: The Future of Reading

Last week, I attended my first SLJ Leadership Summit. Here are some of my impressions, thoughts, and, of course, photos.

The location
: Although I've passed through Chicago many times, this was my first real visit to the city. Without much time to sight see, I did manage to walk around a bit, exploring the stores on the Magnificent Mile and snapping pictures of the amazing skyline.

The people
: re-connecting with my Tribe was, as always, a joy. But, on a broader scale, it was wonderful to be at a conference where everyone had a similar focus and a common vision regarding the profession of librarianship and the importance of both books and technology in libraries. This wasn't a print vs. eBooks crowd: speakers and attendees engaged in a rich dialog regarding the necessity of many tools to enhance and enrich the library experience of the students - and teachers - that we serve. It truly was a summit for Leaders.

The presentations
: Keynote speaker Stephen Abram set the tone by considering "The Future of Reading in 2020." Although he envisions changes, it's more of an evolution than a revolution, with librarians not just participating but leading. Abram concludes by assuring us that "It gets better. Librarians can help."

Student Voice was represented at the Summit by students from University Laboratory High School, accompanied by their librarian, Frances Harris. These articulate young people shared some insights about their life as readers. All of them had been read to by their parents, as children; their favorite genres are sci fi/fantasy; finding the time for recreational reading is a problem, due to packed schedules; all prefer print books, though they might consider eBooks for college texts (price is a definite issue).

Members of the Carnegie Council for Advancing Adolescent Literacy shared data pertinent to this topic, then discussed their recommendations for adding value to eReaders for classrooms and libraries. This list is still in draft form, and contains important points that need to be considered by both educators and developers: for example, the Council wants devices to have multiple capabilities that can be enabled or hidden by the librarian/teacher depending on student needs. In response to audience feedback, Council members agreed to incorporate strong language regarding the key role of librarians as leaders in the adoption of new reading technologies.

Author Patrick Carman talked a little about his personal relationship with books, then demonstrated how he enhances his stories with interactive features that turn the reader into a co-creator of the narrative. Trackers, for example, is "told through a collage of videos, text, and websites." It is not merely a book that you read; it is a world that you experience.

Caldecott-winning illustrator Paul Zelinsky walked us through the evolution of his newest picture book, Dust Devil. Although Zelinsky would appear, on the surface, to take a more traditional approach to books and reading - and was passionate in expressing a preference for print - his presentation included both electronic and "steampunk style" tools.

There was much more to hear, discuss, and ponder at the SLJ Leadership Summit. Many of the sessions were taped, and School Library Journal will be sharing archives on the conference site, as they become available.

Thanks to the corporate sponsors, and School Library Journal, for offering this opportunity to convene, connect, and construct.

My photos of the conference are here. The SLJ Summit 1o group can be found here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sometimes Good Things Happen to Good People

"Library Dream Team: Tammy Beasley, Buffy Hamilton, Roxanne Johnson, Dr. Bob Eddy" by theunquietlibrarian

Congratulations to a dear friend, and tireless worker for all that is positive in school libraries,

Buffy Hamilton

who has just been designated "Georgia Library Media Specialist of the Year for 2010"

In August, Buffy (aka The Unquiet Librarian) and her fellow librarian, Roxanne Johnson, received recognition as one of two “exemplary” high school library programs for the state of Georgia.

On October 12, Buffy was named to the National School Boards Association's list of "20 to Watch" for education technology leadership.

Today, the Georgia Library Library Media Association honored Buffy Hamilton for excellence in her profession.

Well done, Buffy, and well-deserved!

"Friendship" by dmcordell

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Listen and Learn

"Do not pass by my epitaph, traveler.
 But having stopped, listen and learn, then go your way." -Roman Tombstone

I have always been fascinated by old graveyards, those rambling, untidy cities of the dead. Love and longing, loss and sweet remembrance all find expression there.

Our American children celebrate Halloween, All Hallow's Eve, by wearing costumes and harvesting bags of treats from friendly neighbors. This harmless fun stems from the ancient Celtic belief that
"the border between this world and the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honoured and invited home while harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm." -Wikipedia
The Catholic Church has recast this pagan tradition as two Autumn feast days, All Saints' Day (All Hallow's Day), November 1, and All Souls' Day, November 2, both intended to honor the Christian dead.

There are many stories to be told in cemeteries, and the cross-curricular possibilities are endless.

I've gathered a collection of links and resources in a cemeteries wiki that is available for use by any interested educator.

Suggestions range from mapping grave sites to analyzing tombstones; composing epitaphs to writing dramatic "tours;" preserving history to researching ancestors.

The Poets' Corner memorial plaque for T.S. Eliot reads, "The communication of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living."

Listen and learn.

Related posts:
The Brisbins of Saratoga County

"Requiescant in Pace 11/01/09" by dmcordell
"Alonzo P. Stinson" by dmcordell