Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Teacher and School Librarian Collaboration: Search Strategies for Grade 9 (2 of 2)

Research Packets: MLA and APA Citation Guides
Understanding the teacher's unit plan or lesson plan helps me identify areas for information literacy skills integration. When I read the unit plan of my co-teacher, I had a clearer understanding of her learning objectives, target work study and research skills (for this instance IB calls it ATL - approaches to learning), the coverage of the concepts and skills to be learned, as well as the context of students. As I wrote in a previous blog post, our grade 9 students are gearing up for the Personal Project. The English unit plan tackles on skills in finding topics for PP, thus, the need to know basic search strategies (Boolean), note taking, bibliography and citations.

Using the unit plan, I wrote down the specific skills I can facilitate. I then met with the English teacher to establish connections and clarify scope of topics I would cover during the 30 minute library session. I made a lot of discoveries: tips and tricks to search sources in Google; worksheets that are appropriate for the students; additional sources for citation guides. I recalled past Information Literacy skills activities I had and there I found basic concepts on search strategies that helped me improve my plan. I reviewed the search functionality of our database subscriptions.

Wolfram Alpha Computes Knowledge for You
 Apparently, the English teacher and I were looking for ways to break apart a cognitive activity and repack it in a way that is easier to grasp and use. We both know that we are teaching thinking skills -- critical and creative thinking. And so, I sent her samples of worksheets I found online as well as suggestions in helping students understand their own process when conducting research at its initial stage. I shared with her search engines I found that show numeric data (Wolfram Alpha, well, it's not a search engine, really) and semantic map (InstaGrok). I suggested that students create a visual map of the task. Mapping one's thoughts help in visualizing thinking and seeing the process at work. I like visual maps and mind maps because both are techniques to metacognition.

In research, and in teaching Information Literacy, it is important for students to know where they are in the process, how they plan to meet goals and answer their research questions, and find ways to overcome road blocks. More importantly, they need to be assured that they have companions in their research.

On the day of the session, the grade 9s, eager beavers they are, were able to use the search strategies taught to them. They used the library OPAC, Googled for internet sources and, because they have bibliographic note cards, located information with in sources. It was a productive session, in general. After a week or so, students come to the library to complete the note taking task that the English teacher gave them. As a summative, they made a visual map or a mind map of their initial journey in researching for topics for their PP.

My new favorite search engine is InstaGrok!

I still have to get back to the English teacher as well as the PP Coordinator, because, I am interested to see how the students arrived at choosing a topic. So, yeah... more about research and IL posts in the future!

Learning From Peers: Observing Classes this Academic Year

Class observations are a regular practice in the Academy. In my six years of stay here, I have visited classrooms of my co-teachers and colleagues and have seen them teach in action. Here is a blog post from 2014 where I write about insights I gained from a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) class I observed back then. 

This academic year, I have been to three classrooms and have been invited by the Business Management (BM) teacher in a class presentation of case studies. I have seen a variety of instructional strategies that my co-teachers employ as well as responses from their students.

I enjoyed listening to students' discussion during an English class. How the teacher gave them confidence to tackle and talk about issues that affected themselves and the world in general. Ursula Le Guin has good stories and essays to bring this out from students, but it is the English teacher's trust on her students that amazed me. The material was chosen well; the instructions to read the material was given ahead of time, with pointers on literary elements for students to pay particular attention to; and students were taught how to take notes at the beginning of the term. So, at Harkness Table, the discussion was very rich. Hope for this country floats!

In Economics, students work in groups accessing and selecting sources for their commentary. This is a senior class and I was glad to see the independence of the students at work. What impressed me more was the way a group helped a classmate who appeared to be lagging behind with the required work for the period. It was like a study group where students learn from each other. All the while, the Econ teacher supervised by observing class dynamics, lending consultations when student asked for it, and managing the time with the objectives in mind.

In the BM class, the seniors presented their case studies. There were revisions to be made, especially in the investigation of the case studies. Nonetheless, students came prepared with their presentations, dressed like young professionals ready for the world.

Looking back at these experiences, I realize how teachers in the high school and senior high school levels assume the role of coaches, counselors and mentors. It is in the design of teaching and learning experiences that makes a lot of difference. They appear to be having a ball but, really, the role is not an easy one to play. Knowing their students and where to bring them to is another factor for meaningful instruction and teaching practice. Being adept at teaching one's subject matter is one thing, but understanding the context and the learning conditions of learners is another.

Lastly, I realized how important feedback can be for students starting out in the IB Program. When I sat in the class of the Design teacher, she had all her reflection question ready for the students to think through. Her class, bright eyed and ready wrote on their worksheets. The writing activity helped students assess their progress in a month long project that prepared them for more challenging tasks in the coming year. Their reflections were helpful in facilitating feedback where the teacher assumed the role of a mentor guiding them through the entire process. Indeed, the students came out of the class with choices and possibilities to mull over on future academic endeavors.

Such observations and insights provide me with information I can use to improve the design of the library's programs and services. My co-teachers are designing learning environments with the students at the forefront of their instructional design. This approach has a lot to tell me about the behavior and attitude of teachers and students towards the use of information and media. Definitely, like our students learning from each other, teachers are also learning from peers.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Book Spine Poetry Festival: The Best of 2017

Announcing the best Book Spine Poems of 2017!

Monday, May 15, 2017

#milclicks of the Week: Think Before You Click

This is a photo of our library bulletin board for nearly two academic school years.

We decided to have it up way before my involvement with the national round table discussion on Media and Information Literacy. At the time me and my staff were thinking of what to display on our bulletin board, I was already concerned with the online behavior of kids, mine and my students, in social media. With the national elections closing in last May 2016, we didn't bother changing it at all.

While there are more ways to create an impact in the promotion, campaign and teaching of Media and Information Literacy, information service through announcements, infographics, fliers and brochures aid in awareness building. A variation of this bulletin board can be done through a checklist or graphic organizer. The material changes from a public service announcement to a teaching aid that prompts reflection and evaluation of content that is available in social media.

It may simply look like this:



If you think the bulletin board display and the worksheet is useful, drop a comment. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Call for Papers: The Rizal Library International Conference 2017

Fifty years ago, when the Rizal Library first opened, students were required to remain completely silent inside the premises, research was done by searching typewritten 3x5 cards and print indexes, and there were no computers on campus.

Fifty years later, the Rizal Library allows students to hold group discussions in designated areas, research can be done using print and electronic resources, and assignments can be written and printed on PCs and Macs.

The Rizal Library—along with other libraries in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the rest of the world—has changed with the times during the past five decades but its mission remains the same: to
facilitate learning.

This year, the Rizal Library International Conference, with “Click!” as its theme, aims to cultivate discourses on librarians' roles in expanding their network within the larger community, through culture and society, and in the field of communication and technology.

CALL FOR PAPERS

On its 50th anniversary, the Rizal Library invites librarians, professors, and enthusiasts to submit papers that explore the enrichment of library management and experience in Southeast Asia and
the rest of the world.

Suggested topics include:

Community: institutional collaborations, library partnerships,
librarian empowerment and capacity building, knowledge development

Culture and History: Southeast Asian studies and libraries, evolution
of cultures in literary texts, reading customs and practices

Communication and Technology: social media, source preservation,
accessibility, big data, data mining

Proposals should include the following:

Author/s
Title
Topic (choose from those enumerated above)
Paper abstract (maximum of 250 words)
Curriculum vitae with photo (indicate achievements and/or publications
within the last 5 years)

Please email proposals to rl.internationalconference@gmail.com  by 15 May 2017.

Please see the call for papers below and/or the website: http://rizal.library.ateneo.edu/7rlic/public/.

Important dates

15 May 2017 - Submission of paper proposals
15 June 2017 - Notification of accepted proposals
1 September 2017 - Submission of full paper
30 September 2017 - Deadline for early bird registration
16-18 November 2017 - Conference proper

For more information you may contact the following

Engracia S. Santos
Conference Chair
Ateneo de Manila University
 +[632] 4266001 ext. 5559/5564
 esantos@ateneo.edu

Rosalyn Santos
Conference Co-Chair
Ateneo de Manila University
 +[632] 4266001 ext. 5559/5564
 rsantos1@ateneo.edu

Kareen Banal
Head, Promotions Committee
Ateneo de Manila University
 +[632] 4266001 ext. 5554
 kbanal@ateneo.edu

Saturday, May 13, 2017

#ReadingWithoutWalls (2 of 2)

Last week at school, I sent the Dean of Student Services and our Guidance Counselors an email requesting for their support in our Summer Reading Program.
One of my favorite authors, Richard Peck, once said that we (readers) can find ourselves in the pages of a book. Reading, like writing, may appear to be a solitary experience but, it is actually a shared encounter between the reader, the text and those who created the book. I believe that the book is a safe place where, apart from discovering ourselves in it, we as readers can open up to different worldviews of others. In many instances, it leads us to spaces where we can think, ask questions and seek the truth.

I wish to share this belief, which has become an advocacy, first to our students and hopefully to anyone willing to open a book and discover that it is one of the safest place to be one's self and encounter adventures, challenges and risks in life. Thus, our theme for this summer's reading program is #readingwithoutwalls. 
Comfort Zone by Gene Luen Yang and a display of books promoting inclusivity, diversity and empathy
We are recommending books about inclusivity, diversity and empathy. We can also work together in identifying books that meet the academic and developmental needs of our Griffins. Kindly help us spread the word.
After setting up a spread of books for recommendation and putting up our library bulletin board campaigning for #readingwithoutwalls, the email was the next step in the process. By next week, I will be making an announcement during the school Assembly on the Summer Reading Program for 2017.

Reading Programs are best implemented with the help of the community. Remember, it takes a village to raise a child.

The 2017 Alcala Prize Winner

Here is the official press release of the PBBY on the winners of the 2017 Alcala Prize.
 
Art Student Bags 2017 PBBY-Alcala Prize

This year’s PBBY-Alcala Grand Prize winner is art student Sophia Lorraine Demanawa, from the Ateneo De Manila University. Demanawa is studying Information Design and is an active member of Blue Indie Komiks (BLINK). She earned the judges’ unanimous vote for her “fresh” portrayal of Genaro Gojo Cruz’s  Dalawa Kami ni Lola. Gojo Cruz’s story bagged the 2017 PBBY-Salanga Prize. Aside from illustrating, Demanawa also enjoys making comics, designing gig posters, and writing poetry.

Four other illustrators were chosen as Honorable Mention: Arade Louise Villena, Mary Grace Theresa Dulawan, Christian Oliver Cruz, and Irene Rose Buenaventura.

The winners will be awarded at the National Children’s Book Day (NCBD) celebration on July 18, 2017 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

For inquiries about the contest and the NCBD celebration, contact the PBBY Secretariat at telephone number 352 6765 loc 204 or e-mail pbby@adarna.com.ph.
 Below are the entries of Ms. Demanawa that wowed the judges of this year's Alcala Prize.

What an intimate portrayal of a relationship between lola and apo!

The contrast of colors, orange and blue, sucks you in the moment of rest and motion.

Warm, endearing, sentimental. Pinoy na Pinoy!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Book News: 2nd Printing and New Bookmarks

My Daddy, My One and Only has been reprinted! I learned about this good news from my publisher via Facebook (where else do you get "breaking news" these days but in social media, right?). I have one copy of the first print and, yes, I am getting myself a copy of the second reprint!



And since Jomike Tejido and I finished another book, here's a look at our promotional bookmark. Super thanks to Mennie Ruth Viray for the design and layout.



Sunday, May 7, 2017

#ReadingWithoutWalls (1 of 2)

Free comic: Comfor Zone by Gene Luen Yang
I follow YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) over at Twitter and it was there where I found Comfort Zone, a short comic by Gene Luen Yang.

The story seems autobiographical. A young Gene Luen Yang, considered an oddity by his peers finally found a place and space to stand out at computer camp. There he meets a friend and the approval of his peers. When a new kid comes along, they pick on him and his annoying habits. What comes around goes around? Bullying is a vicious cycle. Who ever said revenge is sweet? The young Gene Luen Yang doesn't think so as he felt remorse for an unkind act that haunted him for years.

Now, as the National Ambassador of YA Literature and Teen Tech Week 2017 in the US, Gene Luen Yang spends his time and acclaimed success as graphic comic creator helping teachers and librarians of young people grow in compassion and empathy. Indeed, none us is too old or too young to turn in a new leaf, to start a dream or set forth a new goal.

The social media campaign, #ReadingWithoutWalls is the punch at Comfort Zone's ending. YALSA and Mr. Yang invites and encourages everyone to:
* Read a book with a character who doesn't look or live like you.
* Read a book about a topic you don't know much about.
* Read a book in a format you don't normally read for fun.
Visit the Children's Book Council for more freebies: posters, PDFs of fliers and brochures. The reading program and campaign began last year during Teen Read week, but like what I said earlier, it is never too late to do a good deed, to dream a new dream or to set a new goal. Better late than never!

Go to the YALSA website too. It is also a good source to find out more about Gene Luen Yang and the #ReadingWithoutWalls social media campaign.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Teacher and School Librarian Collaboration: Search Strategies for Grade 9 (1 of 2)

Print sources, primary and secondary
Early in April, our grade 9 English teacher requested for a library session on search strategies and information sources. The timing couldn't have been any better since this batch of grade 9 students are preparing for the Personal Project that will start early in the first term of academic year 2017-2018.

The Personal Project is an interest based project that students in 10th grade are expected to finish to cap off their learning in the Middle Years Program. The project may take the form of a website about ADHD or cancer awareness, a livelihood program of Macrame products, a self designed fitness program, a compilation of songs composed and sung, a prototype of a drip system for a hydroponic garden, a self-help book on surviving high school life, a notebook made from recycled paper to be sold as fund raiser for a favorite charity. The list is endless and the only limitation is the student's creativity and imagination. Parameters are set, of course, and this is where the IB guides come in.

That is another story. Back to the library lesson.

Since the context has been laid down, I intended to extend the lesson beyond the Personal Project by introducing the basics, at the same time, open windows of possibilities.

What students get from the library session must be something they can use in other tasks and can be translated into skills that will further help them fashion sophisticated ways and processes of thinking. For example, learning about Boolean search strategies can lead to critical and creative thinking especially in the use of words. From simple key words, students can scale up to use synonyms for their search terms, and eventually develop a built-in, internal thesaurus. As a librarian, I may be giving them a session on searching online databases and search engines, but with constant use -- and consistency -- students, in time, can grow a vocabulary that they can use according to a subject matter; a vocabulary they can use to search for answers and derive meaning from a variety of media and technology.

Search Tips ala-Google
A basic knowledge of the most popular search engine in town, Google, can lead to an exploration of other search engines that present data in numbers, graphics and semantic web. Search engines crawl for websites, images, videos, PDFs, slides and databases based on key words used. Knowing different search engines and what information it can give back is another strategy that can grow into skills in selection and location on the appropriate use of technology.

What would make this possible is the regular team teaching effort and initiative between teacher and the school librarian. If this is impossible, at least, an intervention of the school librarian to remind teachers on the use of strategies in searching for information online or in print environments need to happen. The intervention can be done through announcements, meetings, in-service training, information campaigns in physical and virtual spaces of the library that are accessible to the members of the learning community. That is why, a matrix or a manual of research skills is essential. More on this in another post.

So where did I begin?

I asked for a copy of the English teacher's unit plan. And boy, did I learn lots along the way as well!~

Friday, May 5, 2017

My Blog is a #milclicks Space!


Starting this month, I will be posting in the blog, at least once a week, #milclicks tips, lessons and reflections gleaned from the Media and Information Literacy MOOC that I am currently enrolled in. The MOOC is a non-degree course, but a self directed learning program. If you are interested in learning more about MIL alongside a group of people, click the MOOC link and you are on your way to making it!

I have only begun the first unit and already, I have encountered new terms, concepts and ideas. One concept that struck me is "cultural pluralism". It is a huge philosophical concept and one that I keep at the back of my head. Basically, it is defined as the dynamic between a minority interacting in a bigger society. One cultural group, though small can co-exist with a larger, more dominant culture.

Libraries, being community hubs, extending services and programs to different members of the community are ideal spaces for the practice and promotion of cultural pluralism. How do we know our libraries are doing so? A few examples come to mind.

The Human Library of the De La Salle Library Systems is an example. For several years now, the Human Library brings together people from different cultural, political and social groups to talk about their experiences and life stories. It breaks down walls and create bridges of understanding and tolerance. Teresita Ang See and Etta Rosales have been guest speakers of the Human Library.

Cultural pluralism can also manifest in a library's collection. By including titles representing indigenous groups, LGBT communities and religious groups, readers can afford to accommodate a safer space in their minds and hearts the basic nature of such groups of people. This is, I think, a leveling up of bibliotherapy services. Not only can we seek self knowledge through books and reading, but we also gain an understanding of the bigger world and its peoples.

We can stock our shelves, virtual and physical ones, titles that are diverse and multicultural, promoting peace and tolerance. We can create programs that encourage kindness and empathy. There have been social campaigns on this, however, it is not called cultural pluralism. Check #weneeddiversebooks and #ReadingWithoutWalls. The later is an initiative of the Young Adult Librarians Association where in Gene Luen Yang, the US National Ambassador for YA Literature, created a comics for the campaign.

Starting with the library's collection and a knowledge of the community it serves, librarians can create programs and services that are inclusive and culturally pluralistic.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Singing Librarian: Bridges & Never Been To Me

This is my third year to take part in the school's annual showcase. It's not a perfect performance, but I do it because it is good for my soul.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Year After My Stroke of Luck


Finding inner peace can be a struggle.
When I was a still a school librarian in Xavier School, a classroom teacher became one of my assistants. She came from a long leave of absence after a minor stroke that rendered her insecure and fearful. While she tried her best to work alongside the healthier staff of the library, her moods and temperament swung from left to right. She couldn’t keep up with the entire demands and energy of the preschool community thus, the work assigned to her were few and light. Hoping this would give her the time and the pace to recoup, gather up her strength and go back to full time teaching for the next school year, she wallowed in self pity. It affected her work output and productivity. She became a burden to many on days when she was down.

It had not been easy for all of us, most especially for me as I was the librarian-in-charge of that library located in the early childhood education unit of the school. One day, she told me of her desire to go back to classroom teaching because, she utterly felt useless in the library. She believed she was meant to teach. Her health has stabilised somewhat according to her doctor. To go back in the classroom would renew her self confidence and vigor.

Who was I to prevent her? The next school year, she was moved back to the Grade School department to the relief of the staff and the teachers who endured her for one academic year.

I remember her now because today is the first year anniversary of my Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). How easy it had been for me to dispense faith and belief to someone who survived a stroke. Indeed, putting one’s self in the shoes of another is very different from experiencing a life changing event. The emotional and psychological recovery takes time. I remember her now with the realization of how fragile our bodies are, more so, our feelings and state of mind.

Now I know how it is to be insecure and afraid. To lie in bed, begging for sleep to come but worry hovers and keeps me awake for hours; to cling and to seek friends who would patiently listen to my complaints. The irrepressible Zarah Gagatiga is no more but a vulnerable woman afraid to die at any moment. There are days when, after a productive day at work, fear would gnaw at my insides and it would leave me exhausted until either of my kids or my husband assures and pacifies me.Telling me and reminding me of my worth. That I am loved. That I am not alone. I doubted myself a lot since the stroke. My prayer to God had been a litany of endurance and survival. Nahihiya na nga na ako sa Dios because, there are instances when I have become blind to the graces, the mercy and the blessings that came my way since the TIA.
With the Fambam, Easter 2017
Yet, God’s love is stronger than my fears. Walang hangan ang kanyang pasensya. Walang katapusan ang kanyang pagmamahal.

Everyday, He continues to give me the grace to see the kindness in people and to bask in the glory and the goodness of His creation.

Despite myself, I pray for humility and a forgiving heart.

I wish I had been kinder to that former colleague of mine. No one knows if I will see her again. But, I resolve to live life one day at a time; to be simply grateful for every breath and for every waking moment; to be kind and to do goodness for as long as I live.

The Extended Essay as Process and Research as a Journey


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Salamat, PASLI!

Hangang ngayon, punongpuno pa rin ang puso ko sa pasasalamat sa mga officers ng PASLI (Philippine Association of School Librarians), sa iginawad nilang recognition para sa aking mga gawa, nagawa at gawain bilang isang school librarian, teacher librarian at advocate ng mga aklat at pagbabasa. Hindi ko kase inakalang makakakuha ako ng ganoong recognition mula sa mga kaibigan sa pinili (at pinilit) kong propesyon. Isang sorpresa! Wala akong nasabi sa video chat kundi, salamat at salamat!

Taos puso rin ang pasasalamat ko kina Darrel Marco at Ann Grace Bansig na naging saksi at tumangap ng plaque noong araw na iyon, April 19, 2017 sa N Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City. Bukod sa nanay ko na isang librarian rin, silang dalawa ang susunod na angkop na tumangap ng recognition para sa akin. Bakit nga ba ako wala noong araw na iyon ng PASLI conference? Unang araw pa naman ng conference yun. Well, my dear readers, palipasin muna natin ang ilang araw at ikukuwento ko sa inyo ang dahilan. Pramis!

So, now I wish to formally deliver my response and, yes my acceptance speech. Nakukulangan kase ako sa ginawa kong FB post. I think, PASLI deserves more than a post on FB as a way to thank them.

My dear PASLI friends and colleagues,

How I wish I was there to personally accept the plaque and to humbly receive the recognition that the organization have accorded me. I do not think of the PASLI standards nor its values when doing my work and advocacy. Gusto ko lamang gumawa ng tama at ng mabuti dahil hindi ako perfect na tao. To quote John Steinbeck, "now that you know that you are not perfect, you can be good." At dahil ang pagiging school librarian ang isa sa mga alam kong paraan kung paano maging mabuti, I pursued being one with all my heart and soul to the point of being unorthodox and downright, ah, different.

I believe that when we pursue our passions, life rewards us a hundredfold.

The love of family.

The support of true and good friends.

You, PASLI and the more than 100 participants of the 2017 Annual Conference, make my work and advocacy possible! Rewards na kayong lahat sa buhay ko.

I have had many failures as a school librarian. And I suppose, for as long as I live, I will not stop making mistakes. In a way, this makes me happy because it affirms two things: I am alive and I am still in the process of becoming.

Feeling ko, maraming deserve ang ganitong recognition. Kaya naman, magsisikap pa akong kilalanin at tulungan ang mga taong nagsisikap na maging mabuting school librarian sa abot ng aking makakaya. Alam kong hindi ako nag-iisa at panahon lang ang naghihintay para dumami tayong lahat na mga mabubuting school librarian. Sabi ni Salve Dimzon sa FB, "how to be you po?" And reply ko sa kanya ay isang kanta ni Barney, the Purple Dinosaur:

I'm the one and only me
I'm special you see
You're the one and only you
You're special too!

Lahat tayo ay may likas na galing, talino at, siyempre ganda! I hope we can be an inspiration to each other!

Muli, salamat PASLI! Hindi rito natatapos ang aking paglilingkod!

Hangang sa susunod na pagkikita!

With  much love and with a grateful heart,

Zarah G :-)

PS - please continue to pray for my health and well-being! I shall keep you all in my prayers!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

From CPE to CPD for Filipino Librarians 2017

Before I write about the updates regarding the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for Filipino Librarians, here are blog articles and some content on the topic which I posted in the blog dating as far back as 2007.

Dr. Corazon Nera, who was the chair of the Board for Librarians in 2007 presented updates on the resurgence of the CPE and the Professional Standards for Librarians during the PLAI Southern Tagalog Region Librarians' Council. If my memory serves me right, this was the time when the BFL finished working on a set of guidelines for the practice of librarianship and revisiting the CPE of several years back. Apparently, with the organization of regional councils of librarians, standards and CPE programs for Filipino librarians would have a platform of implementation. Two years after, the CPE Program for Librarians Articles 1-3 date of posting April 26, 2009  was presented by Mrs. Elizabeth Peralejo who was then a member of the Board for Librarians, during the PATLS seminar.

The BFL was indeed hard at work, and still is, to fully interpret and implement Republic Act 9264. However, there is much talk about challenges in fulfilling and meeting CPE requirements. In 2010, I wrote about complains and worries of librarians on the "earning" of CPE units. I gave my two cents as an ending to the post.

The concerns on meeting units and points, asking for permission and seeking for supervisors, looking for funds to finance one's CPD activities are all real!

Ms. Angelic Bautista, who was a school librarian back in 2011 asked me about professional activities for school librarians. I asked a friend, Darrel Marco, who was a school librarian in De La Salle Zobel gave his response. He enumerated different ways in which school librarians can update their knowledge and upgrade their skills. I gave additional tips and lent insights too. 

Three years ago, the BFL conducted consultation meetings with leaders and practitioners in the profession. Here is a document on the consultation on new guidelines on the CPD for librarians. 

If I started blogging about the CPE of Filipino Librarians, (which is now called CPD see how it changed from education to development), back in 2007 that would be ten years to its evolution into a law,

More of that on my next post.  


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Pathfinder: Media and Information Literacy

Media and Information Literacy is a trending topic these days. With the rise of fake news and alternative facts, MIL is not only a trend but a relevant set of skills needed by all to survive in this time and age. If humanity is not careful, it might drive itself crazy into destruction earlier than the projected course of human history. MIL is probably humanity's key to survival.

Inspired by the round table discussion with stakeholders on MIL policy and standardization in the country today, I wrote my MIL takeaways in the blog. Because I am still inspired, here is a Pathfinder (which I intend to further develop - see, inspiration is a very dangerous thing) on MIL for oldies (like me) and newbies.

For a good start on Information Literacy, read this -  UNESCO Information Literacy For my personal experiences on IL, I have compiled them in one blog post.  The links there are more than 10 years old, but I hope it could lend you a sense of history and background information.

This is what I found as relevant on  Media Literacy  The site has a video explaining what it is as well as 21st century literacies like digital literacy and visual literacy.

For freebies and downloadables on MIL, UNESCO and our DepEd have PDFs for your perusal.  

UNESCO Media and Information Literacy as Composite Concept

Five Laws of Media and Information Literacy

DepEd Media and Information Literacy Curriculum Guide

Recognizing that MIL education is for all, UNESCO has a document mapping MIL policies across the globe: World Media Education Policy

And, if you're waist deep in MIL and its implementation in your learning community through the school library programs and services, share it with others via UNESCO's social media campaign #milclicks. Visit the website too. It has a MIL MOOC!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

New Book: The Day Max Flew Away

Finally, I got the dummy of The Day Max Flew Away. The illustrations are by Jomike Tejido and the Filipino translation is by Palanca Hall of Famer, Eugene Evasco. 

Here's the front and back covers.



Book Review: Across the Nightingale Floor

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
Riverhead Books, 2002
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Across the Nightingale Floor, Tales of the Otori Book 1 by Lian Hearn is one of the few series I am excited to follow through this year. It has everything I longed to read about in a series, yet it is neither young adult nor adult books. The librarian in me is having a difficult time placing this series in its appropriate category that in the end, I shall simply recommend this to anyone interested to expand their imagination about feudal Japan.

For one, I am fascinated by Japan like the author, who spent years researching and writing the book through a grant. I have always found Japan as an enigma and book 1 of the series, Across the Nightingale Floor, Tales of the Otori has fed my appetite to know more about Japanese culture and geography. I know there are many ways to know a country and its people. Having traveled to Kyoto a few years back has been a life affirming experience. What I cannot live out, vicariously, I find fulfillment in reading books. Fiction, though a work of imagination, is capable of opening windows to another world and the world views of other peoples.

Here now are three reasons why I am swooning over Across the Nightingale Floor:

1. It has intriguing and interesting characters, heroes, villains and anti-heroes too. Takeo is tested by fate and his journey towards knowing himself and making his own decisions to fully establish his identity is still a work in progress. How much of obedience and loyalty can truly affect one person's becoming? Lord Shigeru, his adopted father dies in the end, but the respect he has earned over the years made him a legend. A classic story arc. Now I await for Takeo's turn. Will he become the tragic hero of the stories or lead a life that is marred by deceit and murder? Apart from Takeo, I also have predictions to Kaede's role in the series. Will she break the mould or continue to abide by the rules of men?

2. The setting, its place and time, and the political intrigue of feudal Japan are stuff I am so interested about. There are also poetry and art, social classes, heirarchy and the constricted rules and stringent expectations on women. These are all flavored and embedded in the lives and loves of the characters that my emotional investment in them is already waist deep!<br /><br />

3. It captures the tragic beauty of Japanese stories (what I know from reading manga, anime and watching animation by Ghibli Studio). How can such contradictions exist side by side? Joy and pain. Passion and romance. Living and dying.

What does not sink well with me is the existence of the Hidden. I have questions about their legitimacy. They are a people who worship the "secret god." As a Catholic, I recall the century when missionaries came to Japan to introduce God. I wonder what is written in the Japanese history books. Something to find out!

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Book Review: Issued to the Bride One Airman

Issued to the Bride One Airman (Brides of Chance Creek Book 2)Issued to the Bride One Airman by Cora Seton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This is my second ARC of the series and while I am glad to be back on familiar grounds, meeting familiar characters and favorites from other series by Cora Seton, Issued to the Bride: One Airman had been a very predictable read. It did not bring new discoveries or surprises for me. Yet, it seems to emphasize the message that, while our service and uniformed men serve and protect the country from wars that threaten national security and the world's, it is the conflict at home where they are needed the most.

I think this is the strongest point of the series yet. The rest, it was plateau for me.

I have started to doubt the Reed women, capable as they are, because they appear dumb and stupid. If not for life threatening events, they seem to have difficulty rising above challenges small and large. They have talents and skills, yet, they need men to boost their confidence. This is perhaps due to the absence of their father for decades. How I wish the General would come home and redeem himself. Apologize and make up for lost time. After all, Two Willows stands on generous and wonder filled land.

And so, I am now beginning to think how the General's men measure up in the series. I want stronger female leads, but for this installment, Connor outshines Sadie. Connor did all the hard work. I am uncomfortable with the ending of Grant getting killed by Sadie and Jo. I hope this could be dealt with in a more humane closure, not just for Jo, but for Sadie too. I am happy that Connor's parents took the road towards reconciliation but questions linger. Will Hunter be Jo's equal? Or will I see how they complement and not just complete each other? What is the escalating problem that Cab Johnson and the rest of the residents of Two Willows face in the future books in the series?

I sure would like to know.



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Book Review: Breath by Tim Winton

BreathBreath by Tim Winton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Breath is my first book by Tim Winton. It was a recommended read by a dear colleague who teaches Literature for grades 9 & 10. She was seeking feedback on the book's worthiness as an instructional material that would cover a variety of topics, concepts and issues discussed across subject areas in the classroom and experienced by young adult readers in real life. Definitely, Breath is not fiction for teenagers, but the coming of age story of Brucie Picklet is one journey that many young adult readers can relate to, if not, find it dangerously fascinating.

As a librarian servicing young adults, I believe that good literature serves to mirror life and to show its many changing colors thereby, allowing the reader to find himself or herself in the pages of a book. A reassuring statement that implies one is never truly alone in experiencing the joys and pains of growing up. Good books provide the reader a space to imagine about life beyond his or her horizon and to wonder about possibilities that may or may not happen in a lifetime. Tim Winton's Breath has achieved both purposes of literature and, despite my initial shock at the stark narrative of Brucie Picklet, I enjoyed reading the book.

Breath is both jarring and tender. Very much like the novel's setting. Winton writes with honesty about the Australia he knows and the landscape that is both wild and beautiful. Set in the hippie days of the late 60s and onwards, Brucie Picklet narrates the boredom he experiences growing up in Sawyer, a perfunctory small town in Western Australia. How he carved a life that is complex, dangerous and yet exciting in his teenage years is made possible with a little help from his friend, Looney. On their 15th summer, both boys discovered three things: surfing, Sando and his wife Eva. What happened next was a series of adventures that rendered Brucie scarred for life and Looney, lost and wandering until a violent death in Mexico decades after leaving Sawyer. Youth is wasted in the young, yes. And this is what wounded people say, however, in Brucie's middle age, the struggle to achieve balance continues. His effort to rectify past mistakes comes with a stoic acceptance of finding whatever is precious that is left in his life: a career that saves lives and comforts people; his daughters who visit him regularly; his love for surfing and with it, the grace that he could still dance on water after all these years.

Is this a book suitable for young adults? It is because the book tells you this: you are going to make big awful mistakes in your life but, if you cannot face it with courage and humility, you will either turn up really ****ed up or dead somewhere in a place far from home. Now, when you do accept the failures you get from your own making, pick up the pieces because you also have the power to put things to straights. Then, you come out a bit wiser and kinder, and more grateful for the simple things in life that can bring you immense happiness.

Breath is a good fiction novel meant for adults that can show young people how complex, yet beautiful life can be lived out.





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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Update on Book Project: Ino the Invincible

When I was still a librarian in Xavier School, I was inspired to write about boys and basketball. There was a group of grade 7 boys who were always in the library, hanging out, reading and borrowing the newest titles that the Grade School Learning Resource Center offered. They were a smart and frisky bunch. As their grade level librarian, I get invited to their games, activities and programs. These boys inspired me to write a short story about friendship, sportsmanship and growing up.

Here is the book cover of Ino the Invincible

Lampara House is once again publishing this story, Ino the Invincible. This is a book project in collaboration with visual artist, Jonathan Ranola. While making the studies of the book's illustrations, Jonathan told me he has a cousin who went to Xavier School who happened to be a former student. Small world!

Boys and Basketball

Ino the Invincible is for my boy, Nico, Xaverian and now an ISKO, and for the GS batch of 2003 who were so open to learning new things! The book is also my homage to Inigo of Loyola. We hope to have this book launched in September of this year in time for the Manila International Book Fair.

What is your description of the perfect student? Is it someone like Ino?

Workshop: Crafting A Good Information Literacy Manual


Friday, March 31, 2017

A Step Backward Before the Leap: From IL to MIL

Before pursuing a new endeavor or learning something new, I first ask myself where am I and what do I know about this new thing I wish to explore and learn. I then look at what I can do and what I am not capable of doing. I actually do a SWOT analysis. Then, I fill the gaps. 

I found out that this strategy is more applicable only in my work and in my professional life. The personal aspect is, ah, complicated. 

So, when UNESCO launched the document on Media and Information Literacy a few years back, I took it slow. No need to rush. Don't join the bandwagon, I told myself. I know better now the value of taking things slow. Fast does not always mean best and what proves to be a quick fix fizzle soon enough. 

What I did was to look back at what I have written about Information Literacy, the projects I have done in the past and compare them to what I am actually doing today. And it had been timely! Because, around a year or two ago, Joseph Marmol Yap approached me for materials on Information Literacy. I first sent him these blog links:


Some of these writings ended up in the Media and Information Literacy (MIL) working paper for policy making and development.

Since IL has evolved to MIL, I started curating for articles and best practices write ups. Here are two links I have in my MIL Pathfinder:


With the tremendous changes of technology, MIL content and programs are growing in leaps and bounds!

Media and Information Literacy in the Philippines & #milclicks

Since December of 2016, I have been engaged in discussions to contribute a little bit of what I know and of what I practice in the school library on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) with the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) through Mr. Joseph Marmol Yap, being the lead librarian in the steering committee. AIJC has done a great job of drafting a position paper on Media and Information Literacy.

Yesterday, the draft was presented to a group of professionals representing agencies and institutions in the private and government sector that has a stake on the development and monitoring of Media and Information Literacy (MIL) directions and programs. The process has been very consultative and the draft, as far as I can see and say, is well crafted. Hopefully, this position paper gets the traction necessary for lead agencies and supporting institutions to operationalize MIL in the country.

It is still too early for me to reveal the documents we read and perused, but, rest assured that we will share these developments in our sector and allied professionals. What I can share with you are my "takeaways" from the round table discussion.

Takeaway #1 - I am glad to see an initiative to develop policies and frameworks of MIL with recommended strategies of implementation on a national level. In 2002, when MIL was still IL, librarians have started learning what it is all about. It was an isolated venture. What I learned of IL over the years is that, it is effective when it is anchored in a concept, a subject area and/or a context that is real and authentic to the experience of learners.

Takeaway #2 - The consultation meetings and round table discussions were composed of representatives from key institutions and agencies in the government and private sectors. The implementation of MIL is a concerted effort and each agency and institution has a role to play. This effort is a long time coming but now is the better time to put come together to redeem and salvage this country.

Takeaway #3 - When IL was still a new concept I was trying to wrap my head around it, I asked myself two questions: How can IL be implemented in the school library? What are the roles of libraries and librarians in the growth and development of IL? I see IL then as a way of thinking. It is made up of skills yes, and very cognitive at that. But such skills are best applied in daily life and in endeavors that prompt real and authentic learning.

Takeaway #4 - It's funny because, I still ask myself the same questions now that UNESCO merged media literacy with information literacy. It only goes to show that learning never ends.

Takeaway #5 - There is such a thing as #milclicks. This is a social media campaign of UNESCO for MIL awareness and development. Go check this out for yourself, because I sure will!

PLUS: The National Archives welcomes visitors!

These are but my initial thoughts, afterthoughts and reflections. There will be more to write about MIL in future posts. For now, I leave you with thie very popular African proverb. It takes a village to raise a child. The library is part of that village!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

BSE Library Science Batch 94 Reunion 2017: Librarians Just Wanna Have Fun!

What I have resolved to do since my reappearance last year in my college batch's annual reunion was to join them every chance I get. We climbed a mountain in Pampanga that April 2016, a few weeks before my Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). This year, thanks to God, I was able to spend a weekend with them in Cabongaoan, Burgos, Pangasinan.

It was a long drive. We never ran out of stories. We talked like we have seen each other just a day ago. Since we are all librarians, we talked about issues and controversies in the profession at large and lent advice to each other on our professional and personal endeavors in life. We missed the rest of the batch, seven of those weren't able to go. We wondered how they are and hoped they could join the reunion in the coming years.

In Burgos, Pangasinan, at the town proper, we went to market for our food the whole weekend. The adventure has truly begun! Buying fruits and vegetables we don't usually see in our urban marketplaces and groceries was delightful. There were cashews, lato, duhat, and even pako. Tagalog veggies and fruits in season abound. Baguio veggies were on sale too. Fish and seafood looked so fresh, like these were caught from the sea at dawn. And yes, it was! The fish meat was white, sweet and juicy! The veggies were crunchy and the fruits were refreshing

From there, we journeyed an hour more to Brgy. Cabongaoan. It is a remote place! We were off the grid the whole weekend!

We stayed in Roven's Place, a beach resort that is far from fancy. But, we liked it there very much. It is an idyllic place where we pumped water from artesian wells for our bathroom needs, where we grilled fish and cooked food using charcoal and where the sunset is as beautiful as our unspoken dreams. The beach is amazing, by the way.

Our stay there that weekend is a wonderful memory that I will tell my grandchildren.

Friendship is a delicate thing and only time can truly reveal friends who can walk with you through the road of life. Friendship is indeed a grace!

Here is my letter to my future grandchildren:

My dear grandchild/grandchildren,

*Give your friend a helping hand, especially when she happens to be the group's designated driver and is tasked to bring you all safely home. 

*Appreciate the best cooks in the group. They can either feed you well or poison you with so much big sister sermon.  

*Help out. Pump water. Clean up. Wash the dishes. You may all be friends, but good friendships are rooted in trust, fairness and honesty.

*Listen. Listen to each other. Listen to yourself.


*Thank God. Because, despite yourself, He gave you this beautiful world to share with friends.

          Love,

          Lola Gay


We parted ways with new resolutions: eat healthier, stay strong in faith and love, do our best to make this place a better place one day at a time. Whoever thought we would come this far? We were young and scrappy in the early 90s in PNU. The years have made us gentler, wiser, more forgiving of ourselves. 



I look at my friends and I am in awe at the beautiful people we have all become. Our lives are never perfect. For some reason, we smile. We stand strong. God is truly good!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Information Literacy Strategies: Identifying Sources of Information

I felt compelled to review important Information Literacy skills lessons for our year 10 students. My session with the class on Sources of Information, Citations and Referencing had its ups and downs. It left me asking more questions about my role in general and ways I can specifically bridge gaps in research instruction and guidance. These are stuff that one brain couldn't answer in one sitting. But, working with a team can lead to solutions.

Nonetheless, I sent out some suggestions to my co-teachers on how we all can help students think appropriately of the sources they can use in academic work (and hopefully, in real life functions).

Here's a suggestion that may help strengthen students' skills in identifying sources of information for research and investigation tasks. Instead of saying or instructing students to "use a variety of sources" or "use appropriate sources" try phrasing it this way:

- look for an article in an academic journal that tells you...
- find an article in a magazine or a periodical that identifies/differentiates/presents/explains...
- a first hand account of one's experiences during Martial Law by conducting an interview, reading a journal/memoir/diary entries
- a website from a Pathfinder/Libguides/Online Directories of organizations, agencies, institutions
- a chapter or chapters on skepticism in a Philo book/ebook...
- a model, realia, map, infographic that shows part-whole relationship or systems and structures
- a case study or an experiment in a scientific journal/article

This way, we are implicitly teaching students that primary and secondary sources have their specific use depending on the tasks and questions given to them. Some students may figure this out easily, but there are students who will depend on Google and the most popular result it sends back. This technique may also help students who are new at research and inquiry tasks.

Another way of setting directions is to refer students to use online databases and search engines that are less commercial and are validated by experts in the field for their content and reliability. For example:

- look for a variety of appropriate resources using: 
          the BA Library's OPAC
          Google Scholar
          Jstor
          EBSCOHost
          WorldBook Online
          The Day
As of writing, one of my co-teachers tried the first suggestion for his class in World History last week. I still have to gather feedback. So, this kind of work never really ends.
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