Monday, February 20, 2017

Open for Learning: On PAASCU Visits and Accreditation

The PAASCU Team who was invited at Manresa School
 Last February 6-7, 2017, I was part of the PAASCU accrediting team that was invited by Manresa School to evaluate their self-survey and analysis in the aims of improving their school's academic pursuits and students services. I was there to look into the school's report on their Instructional Media Center, find out the extent of implementation of the previous PAASCU team's recommendations, and discover new things about school librarianship in general as well as specific best features of the school library being accredited.

The Manresa School Library in the grade school unit has an impressive space and physical design of its reading areas and storytelling rooms. The library staff are very welcoming and their commitment to providing the best school library services to students and faculty is evident in their reading campaigns and promotions. The school, in general, has a vibrant student body and a teaching force that is young and eager to learn.

While many see the visit as an ascension of gods and goddesses, we, the accrediting team emphasize in every interview the role we play in the whole exercise. We are colleagues excited to be engaged in the validation of best practices, We are partners in conversations with educators, just like us, who strive to be better at this craft we call teaching. After every PAASCU visit, I always have "take-aways". Here is a link where I write about Insights from a PAASCU Visit in De La Salle Zobel.

This time, I left Manresa School with these questions in my mind: How can school librarians support the reading development of students transitioning from K-3 to middle grades? How can school librarians firm up his and her role in the teaching and learning processes of a school community?

These two questions are not unique from my PAASCU experience in Manresa School. Somewhere, sometime, an answer to these questions can be found. For now, I am keeping tab of these thoughts.

Is your school library "open for learning"?
I have written about my experiences in previous PAASCU accreditations. Working in a big school previously, PAASCU visits are big events, indeed! How everyone in the community prepares for it!  Death by PAASCU is a humorous take on the PAASCU preparations. PAASCU work is not a one year deal. The recommendations to work on are starting points for conversations, reflections and the identification of courses of actions that should not be seen as a way to please PAASCU. But a plan to inform one's self and the school community that it is fulfilling its mission and goals.

I now think of the relevance of PAASCU visits. For one, it is service. We get very little but the joy of learning from one another. Back in 2009, I have received the Fr. James Meany Award for my involvement as accreditor since 2003. I have been called to participate in the evaluation of PAASCU forms and systems. In 2008, the PAASCU office called for a Consultation and Revision of the GS Resurvey Form. We have been using the revised form since then.

In the field of education, a system of assessment and evaluation among peers is a healthy exercise towards a learning community's path to growth and development.

We never stop learning. It is a lifelong process. PAASCU always teaches me that and reminds me that I need to hold my truth lightly in my hands because, wisdom and knowledge do not spring from one source alone.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Fruits of IAFOR ACAH & LibrAsia 2015

IAFOR Results: A book I am a part of
Two weeks ago, I received news on the acceptance of a paper I am writing with Darrel Marco and MJ Tumamac. This good news came from the organizers of the International Academic Forum (IAFOR) in Kobe, Japan. We are thrilled, of course, but presenting in person in Kobe is giving us a lot of challenge to face. As of writing, we are still trying to figure out ways and means to participate in the IAFOR 2017.

Being in the middle of this challenge made me weigh in the advantages and disadvantages of presenting in the IAFOR ACAH this year. I am pretty much an optimist so I tend to look at the advantages weighing heavily more than the disadvantages. If there is one thing that prevents us from going, it is the cost of airfare and registration to the conference.

For now, I can only look at the happy memories I had in Nagoya, Osaka and Kyoto.

It is in the IAFOR in 2015 where I met wonderful people in the company of amazing friends in the LIS profession. Colleagues in the field of international librarianship were all praises on the paper presentations of Team Filipino Librarians. We participated in a Haiku workshop by a Haiku Master. We saw the sights, not as tourist but as travelers, and met old friends and made new ones too. It was my first foray into comparative librarianship thus, meeting and establishing linkages with Dr. Patrick Lo of Tsukuba University and his colleagues.

From the IAFOR ACAH and LibrAsia 2015 forum, we've kept in touch for a research project on different school library practices in the Asia-Pacific region. The product of the research is a book that Dr. Lo hopes to see published this quarter of 2017. If all goes to plan, he will be presenting this research and book in the International Association of School Libraries Annual Conference in Longbeach, California in August 2017.

Sometimes, we look at the money we give out for professional development activities and look for the exact or equal pay back. Food. Conference kits. Number of participants in attendance. All elements that quantify and measure success or learning give us a sense of security or stability. But learning is lifelong and the rewards often take a long time to be felt and to be seen.

Author Interview: Edgar Calabia Samar on Janus Silang the Theater Play

National Children's Book Awards 2016

Congratulations to Edgar Calabia Samar on his success as author of the series, Janus Silang (Adarna House, 2014). He generously shares his thoughts on the series' amazing climb to readership success.

1. Inakala mo bang magiging matagumpay ng ganito kalaki ang Janus Silang? Print, theatre at broadcast media na ang naabot nito. Saan pa patutungo si Janus? Halimbawa, school tour?


Naku, siyempre po, ang nasa isip ko lámang noong isinusulat ko ang Janus Silang ay ang libro, na sana ay mabása ito nang marami. Wala talaga sa isip ko noon na magiging komiks, o dula, o ngayon nga ay teleserye ito. Ang tanging measure ko noon ng success nito ay kapag binasa ito ng mga kaibigan ko mula sa San Pablo, na hindi naman karaniwang nagbabasa ng mga nobela, at kapag nagustuhan nila nang hindi ako binobola lang. Sa palagay ko ay nagtagumpay naman ako roon. Sa ngayon nga, sila pa ang unang-unang nangungulit sa akin kung kailan na lalabas ang Books 3. So ibig pong sabihin, ang extension nito bilang ibang anyo ay malaking-malaking bonus na. Siyempre po, malaking bagay rin na bukod sa popular na pagtanggap ay mayroon din itong critical recognition nang pinarangalan ng National Book Award ang dalawang nobela bilang Best Novel, at gayundin ng National Children's Book Award bilang Best Read for Kids.

2. Bilang manunulat Ng nobela, paano ka naging bahagi sa pagsasadula ng Janus Silang?

Tumatayo po akong consultant nila sa mga pagkakataong may gusto silang gawin na hindi explicit na nasa libro (tulad halimbawa ng pagbibigay ng pangalan sa ibang players ng TALA, tulad ni Lemuel sa play na wala sa nobela). Pero sa kabuuan ang aking pinakamalaking papel sa dula ay bilang fan. Lubos ang pagtitiwala ko sa direktor (si CY) at sa playwright (si Guelan) at siyempre sa pangangasiwa ng artistic director ng Tanghalang Ateneo na si Glenn Mas. Kapag pinapanood ko nga ang dula, ako ang ginagawa nilang fan ng Janus Silang. Hanga ako sa mga aktor at proud sa mga ginawa ng buong production team para mapaganda ang produksiyon.

3. Meron na itong book two at kelan naman ang publication at launching ng book three May malaking pressure ba sayo na mahigitan nito ang mga unang aklat sa serye? Paano mo nama-manage ang pressure, kung meron man?

Ang target sa series ay hanggang limang libro. May outline na ako para sa buong series, at hopefully ay lumabas ang Book 3 ngayong taon. Ang pressure sa akin ay mas personal na pressure ko sa sarili na talagang matapos at mabuo ang series nang maayos, sang-ayon sa vision ko rito at hindi sana mabigo ang fans ng series. Very minimal ang external na pressure kasi halos lahat naman ay very supportive sa tinatakbo ng series. Grabe ang kanilang suporta at lubos-lubos ang pasasalamat ko sa kanila.


Mga links na makakatulong sa pag-unawa sa nobela at sa pagtuturo nito sa klasrum:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WRAD 2017: Reading Aloud Tips and Book Activities


A day after  International Book Giving Day, (IBGD 2017), we campaign for World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) 2017. LitWorld has freebies to drum up and celebrate this literacy event. Go register in their website before the big day, February 16, 2017. Download the free picture book. Have if printed out and let your young reader color the pictures and read the story together. Celebrate books and reading in your community!

Here now are posts on reading aloud, tips and suggestions, book making activities and roles that adults play in literacy and reading development of young children.

1. Make reading aloud as a family affair. My mother read aloud to me. So, when I had kids of my own, I read to them too. As they grow, I feed them books and involve them in choosing books they like to read. My kids and I talk about books too.  Even now that they are teenagers, we still get to talk about books they have read, movies and plays they want to watch and music they enjoy listening to.

2. Model the reading habit. Begin at home. Parents play a big role in modeling the reading habit. Click the link for my ten tips in creating a reading environment at home.

3. Books for kids of varying ages are aplenty! Bookstores and libraries have them. Buy or borrow, just have books within their reach and can be accessible for their reading pleasure. Picture books. Illustrated storybooks. Concept books. Even picture dictionaries are available for kids beginning to read. Folk tales also abound the market and selections in libraries. Feeling unsure about reading them folktales? Here are things to consider in choosing folktales for your young reader.

4. No books accessible to your young reader? Create them! Here is a simple activity to start you off and your young reader in making books!

5. If you are a teacher, a school librarian or an adult working with and for children, tell stories to them! Extend the experience and write stories together. Make books! Build Libraries and Reading Corners!

Happy World Read Aloud Day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Update on Book Project: The Day Max Flew Away

Back in May 2016, I blogged about a new book project I have with Jomike Tejido. I posted photos of his studies in the blog.

And now for the big reveal! Our book The Day Max Flew Away will soon be published by Lampara Books. We hope to launch it by September 2017 in time for the Manila International Book Fair.

Here is a photo I grabbed from Jomike's FB page. See the bird flying over "Nico's" head? Yes, this story is so close to home as it is taken from my children's real life story of owning a pet bird. I named the characters after my kids, so, this is a really special project.

Nico is now 19 years old and Zoe turned 16 last month. They still hold a fascination for animals and a love for birds, cats and dogs.


Here is the cover design of our book. Do visit the blog and my FB page for more updates and book giveaways!


Visit Tejido for more information on Jomike's art and his paintings on banig, a woven mat made of pandan leaves.

International Book Giving Day 2017

Today is Valentine's Day! Today is International Book Giving Day (IBGD)!

Give books! Give love!

As far as I can remember, I have posts in the blog dating as far back as 2013 celebrating International Book Giving Day. Here is a looking back post on past activities I had for International Book Giving Day.

For more information on IBDG 2017, visit the website.  What makes this year's IBDG really cool is the participation of the National Book Development Board of the Philippines in the initiative. The NBDB conducted a book and a library contest over at Facebook. Using social media and the #bookgiving. As of writing, there are winners already so head on over to their FB page and see how successful the campaign has been.

Adarna House, a publishing house in the Philippines partnered with different reading groups and organizations to give away books to children in the different areas of Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

For this year's IBGD, I celebrated it four days earlier with friends from the library profession. Last February 10, 2017, Friday, a group of librarians from the south of Manila, headed by officers of the MUNPARLAS Library Association visited the Academy. This is part of their professional development program, but they were joined by librarians from the regions. There were 40 librarians in all! And each went home with a book and a nugget of chocolate.


Other than the sweet and thoughtful gifts, I gave them a brief orientation of the work we do at the Academy: Design Thinking, Conceptual Teaching and Discussion Based Learning, and how the library adopts and supports the teaching and learning framework we have in place as reflected in the services and programs we provide the learning community.

With the help of my library staff and colleagues, our visitors were given a tour of the school. They were impressed at our learning environment, but I feel blessed with their presence too. I realized that where ever librarians are,  we all face the same challenges. In a world that is getting more divisive by the hour, the more we need to appreciate and tolerate the gifts of diversity. We need to see the uniqueness of each one and respect its very nature.



There will always be forces that will divide humanity. But I think, humanity needs librarians all the more to bridge this divide. We can start with book giving.  As a matter of fact, I also received a book from the MUNPARLAS officers as token. Such professional visits and encounters enrich one another.

Not walls. Yes to LIBRARIES!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My 2016 In Retrospect: My Life as A Storyteller

One of the amazing things that happened to me last year was the recognition and appreciation I received from peers in the culture and the arts. Museo Pambata included my work and the advocacy I do on literacy development and reading in the Paglaki Ko Room: Gusto Ko Maging Kuwentista. I owe it to Museo Pambata since they gave me the opportunity to be a storyteller. I started out as a volunteer storyteller in their afternoon storytelling sessions back in the 90s. Padayon!

Here is a bit of history about the building of the Paglaki Ko Room told in blog links:

Letter of Invitation: Paglaki ko, gusto ko maging kuwentista - It was in August 2015 when I got the letter from Museo Pambata. Of course, I was shocked first. Then, elated. The reality that I am old hit me last.

The Ang Paglaki Ko Room in Museo Pambata - The Kuwentista Room is part of the Ang Paglaki Ko Exhibit that showcases the writing, illustrating and telling of stories to children and the young at heart. Visit the room in Museo Pambata! It is an interactive room where kids can actually write, draw, listen and view recorded videos of storytellers. It is so cool!

Kuwentista Room Launching Day - Here's how we celebrated the launching of the Kuwentista Room. All storytellers featured in the exhibit told stories, live!

There was a time when I thought of giving up on telling stories. But, Philip Pullman reminded me that stories and storytelling are the things we need most in the world.
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