Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014 Reading Challenge: Book Review of After the Quake by Haruki Murakami

When I launched the 2014 Reading Challenge last January, Ms. Ledesma, one of our staff in school was one of the more excited readers to join in. She has finished two books so far and here is her review of After the Quake by Haruki Murakami
After The Quake: Stories  
Haruki Murakami 
What's not to love about Murakami? He is such a skilled writer when it when it comes to using a clean writing style to weave elaborate tales. 'After the Quake', Murakami's collection of six short stories about six lives right after the 1995 Kobe earthquake is no exception to his other books. 
He has a way of letting his words work so that they dance in your head and make your heart burn brighter with every page-turn. I would have been happy to have seen each story go on and turn into a full-fledged novel. All, that is, except for 'Honeypie', the last story in the book which ends at just the perfect moment and leaves you satiated.  
If you're looking for a nice weekend read, I recommend grabbing this one. I'm glad a student suggested it for my reading challenge. 

The book was recommended to her by a senior student. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Book List for the 2014 Reading Challenge

As for my 2014 Reading Challenge updateI have not started with Bag of Bones yet for I am still reading Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson. Then there's Attachment by Rainbow Rowell. Ah, so many books so little time to read! 

But, here's my reading list for the remaining months of the year. Thank you to students who recommended these titles. I am bent to read the books in the library's collection.

1. Bag of Bones 
2. Code Name Verity 
3. Allegiant 
4. Divergent Trilogy
5. Tikim 
6. The Elegance of the Hedgehog 
7. The Lazy Intellectual 
8. Kafka on the Shore 
9. When You Reach Me 
10. Born On a Blue Day 
11. Gourmet Rhapsody 
12. Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist 

Will publish my reviews as I finish one book at a time. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

23 Mobile Things # 11 and # 12: Augmented Reality & Games

If you missed my post on Thing # 11, here is the link to the Book Love activity I did using ThingLink. It's my second favorite as Flashissue happens to be the first. Overall, what I am having fun with in 23 Mobile Things is the process of creating stuff using things. Ooops. That sounds vague.

I mean, I enjoy learning about the apps introduced every week and I enjoy it even more that I'm capable of creating content using the apps for personal and professional purposes. I have been using Flashissue as the library's e-newsletter for over a month now and teachers reply back to me on resources I recommend and apps I feature in the newsletter.

Last week, I had a ball exploring ThingLink. I discovered it as a cool tool to feature books I've read and recommend these to library readers. I like these two the best, so far, since I found the apps so easy to use. I learned making the e-newsletter in an hour with all the basic bells and whistles. The same with ThingLink. But, content really matters big time. While these apps allowed me to blend technology, content matters.

Now that Thing 12 has been up since last week, I'm trying to figure out how to use games in the library. One thing I know for sure, this is one Thing in the 23 Mobile Things that I need to put aside for now and go back to during the summer. The apps recommended for Thing 12: Games look easy to learn. No coding needed. But, a certain degree of logic and a knowledge of basic design, plus a clever story is needed to put one end with the other.

My list of to dos for 23 Mobile Things is getting longer. Just saying. Time management is the key here. I have learned in the past that technology use and integration must be well thought out. Never jump into the tech bandwagon immediately. Study. Strategize. Experiment. Assess. Evaluate. And yes, I'll bog to document my learning experiences in 23 Mobile Things.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Annotating Videos Using

Since my participation in 23 Mobile Things PH SG, I've been having fun using apps and websites for my personal and professional work. One of these apps and websites is It was a recommended website during Thing #6: Photos. allows you to annotate videos. You can pause and annotate or go back to scenes and segments for review. All you need is the URL of the video, your Gmail address and you're good to go. Annotating is one skill that allows you to see or visualize thinking. By writing or taking down notes as you watch and listen to a video, you document learning.

Here is a sample annotation I did for a grade 10 class. The film is Blade Runner and Steven Benedict did the analysis. This is for the Philosophy class and the teacher allowed me to show the class how to use the website.

Monday, April 7, 2014

NBDB Booklatan in Malabon and Then Some

A week long Booklatan was held in the last week of March by the National Book Development Board (NBDB) in Malabon National High School. I was there last weekend as an invited speaker on library marketing. The event had several surprises for me.

Surprise number 1: Ken Spillman

Who would have thought Ken Spillman, author and literacy advocate, would be there? He flew to Manila to award a grant of PHP 10,000.00 to a Filipino author as additional funds for him/her to attend the Asian Festival of Chidlren's Content in Singapore this May 2014. That lucky author happened to be Genaro Gojo Cruz. When he learned that NBDB set up a Booklatan, he volunteered to tell stories to the kids there.

When we met, we had a book swap. I gave him copies of my book since the last time we saw each other, he gave me copies of his books. And yes, Ken, I still owe you a neat write up and a book review. Before he left Malabon, he handed to me his book donations to Sambat Trust UK's next school library project. I hope the next time we meet, I'll be able to take Ken to the schools that Sambat Trust UK has adopted.

Surprise number 2: Mayor Lenlen Oreta, the storytelling mayor of Malabon

I saw how Mayor Lenlen Oreta read aloud an Adarna Big Book for kids aged 4-7. Seated on straw mats, they eagerly listened to the mayor read aloud the story of two puppies, siblings who have opposite personalities. Mayor Oreta is a pro. He has questions prepared for pre, during and post reading. I learned later on that he visits schools once a week to do storytelling sessions. Now that's a literacy initiative worth emulating.

Surprise number 3: Malabon Teachers don't know who Augie Rivera and Christine Bellen are.

Two authors born in Malabon and Malabon teachers must know who they are and the contributions these two talented authors have given to Philippine Children's Literature.

Surprise number 4: Audience were all teachers

I expected to speak to Malabon librarians, but I was the only librarian in the room. So I had to adjust my stance to cater teachers' needs and interests. It's a good thing that reading and literacy are two concepts that teachers share with librarians. It was not at all difficult for me to make adjustments. However, the absence of librarians in a workshop meant for them is a cause of alarm. While the local LGU and the DepEd division they're sent out memos, librarians were excluded from attending. I learned about this from one of the participants.

Thinking about this, I feel that advocacy initiatives of librarianship in the political, educational and cultural aspects of Philippine society must be in place. What do I mean by this? I'll reserve a separate post on library advocacy. For now, it is good to talk about the relevance of libraries and the important roles librarians do. Those who are given this opportunity should do more than talk about topics, trends and issues that concern librarians  and the profession. It is essential to emphasize integration and collaboration with allied professionals. Teachers can set up reading and literacy centers. True. Librarians are there to sustain these reading centers and transform them into learning hubs where readers can critically think on their own, make well informed decisions and be useful citizens who can contribute to the growth of the community.

Filipino librarians, our work is cut out for us.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Book Spine Poetry Contest February 2014: Judge's Review

For the February run of our Book Spine Poetry Contest in school, I asked MJ Tumamac, Salanga Prize Winning Author to judge the month's entries. Here is MJ's review.

Ano ang hinahanap ko sa isang tula? Marami at madalas ay nag-iiba. Isa rito ay ang “kalinawan” ng pahayag (bagaman ang laging persepsiyon ng mga tao sa tula ay “hindi dapat ito naiintindihan”), ngunit hindi ibig sabihin nito na kung ano ang gustong sabihin ng tula ay mismong sinasabi na sa tula. 

Gusto ko lamang ipahayag na isang pahayag ang tula at hindi lamang binubuo ng mga “matatalinghagang” o “malalalim” na salita at parirala (ngunit hindi ako nanlalahat dahil may mga paraan ng pagtula na binabali ang mga “kumbensiyon”). At huwag ninyo akong isisipi na ikinakahon ko ang kakanyahan ng tula.

Kaya, nagustuhan ko ang tula sa ibaba. Maaari na sigurong alisin ang pangatlong linya dahil maaari na itong lumabas sa pang-apat na linya. May ganoon ding katangian ang huling dalawang linya. Ngunit nagustuhan ko ang matalinong paggamit ng mga pamagat at ang “kalinawan” ng pahayag.

The next 100 years
When everything changed
Split in two
A conflict of vision
The end of nature

Ganito din ang makikita sa iba pang nagustuhan kong tula pero malaki siyempre ang impluwensiya na hindi sila ang nag-ayos ng bawat linya dahil mga pamagat ito ng mga aklat.

A world undone
Embracing defeat
Going, going

The language of passion
All we know of love
In the shadow of the rising sun

Naaliw naman ako sa tulang ito, kahit na nawiwirduhan ako sa pangalawang linya dahil kabaligtaran ang ginagawa nito sa sinasabi nito.

Dear bully
Without further adieu
Run fast
Someday this pain will be useful to you

At ang pinakanagustuhan kong tula ay ito dahil na rin sa mga pag-isa-isa ng mga bagay-bagay na nagkakaroon ng maraming kahulugan dahil sa piniling paksain.

In defense of women
It's not easy being mean
Cycle and hatred
Blood and rage
Ice cream and sadness
Maiden of pain
A woman's life

MJ Tumamac, aka Xi Zuq, is a poet and writer for children from General Santos City. Visit him at

Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Love: An Interactive Book Talk on Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I made an interactive book talk feature on a recently read novel, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I used the app ThingLink. View my page here.

Thank you, 23 Mobile Things PH SG! You make me look so good.

I think I'll be doing lots of interactive book talks like this. I've called it BOOK LOVE.

Quick Book Reviews: Senioritis and Going Off to College

Has senioritis set in among your students bound for college this fall? Maybe it's a good time to pull in your advisory group together and talk about this life changing event. Seniors in your group can share in their college application journey or the decision process they went through on what to do after high school. Take this as an opportunity for learning engagement.

The school calendar tells us that there is enough time for our seniors to study for exams and to complete requirements. In between days, encourage your senior advisees to talk about their anxieties, fears and excitement about college or the gap year some would take after graduation. An old chapter of their lives is about to close and they will begin a new one. Share success stories of your freshman year. Failure and mistakes committed during freshman year may prove to be a turning point towards becoming a better person so, this has worth in storytelling sessions with your advisees. But of course, you must select the good stories where they can mirror themselves in the experience.

Not inclined to share personal stories at all? OK. Lead them to the library for these books:

Another Sort of Learning is a collection of very philosophical essays by James V. Schall. Students headed out of high school to embrace serious academic work in university may find the readings in this book meaningful to their adjustment in college life. Countdown to College: 21 To Do Lists for High School is straight to the point and organizes information in graphic representations. It has tips and "step by step strategies" for high school students from grade 9 - 12 thus, emphasizing the idea that college life or life after high school does not begin in the first month of senior year in high school. Lastly, College Essays That Made a Difference can help sophomores and juniors approach their college essay applications with a clearer mind. Good to prepare for this kind of writing early on. Included in the book are essays of seniors who made it in their college or university of choice.

You may wish to read one or two of the books yourself. I have flipped through essays in College Essays That Made a Difference. I am affirmed of my choice to stay in this profession.

Book Spine Poetry Contest February 2014