Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Website Evaluation Criteria

School librarians evaluate curriculum based and developmentally appropriate books, magazines, newspapers, AV materials and learning resources for their students. Online resources are not spared from such scrutiny since this format is a favorite among today's youngsters. Apart from TV and mobile phones, Filipino children are also captive audiences of the WWW.

I find it disappointing though, how many of them perceive Internet technology as something for pure pleasure. In my years as Reference and IT Librarian, I seldom meet a student whose answer to the question, "What is the Internet for?", is "for learning and school work". Yeah, consider me kill joy (KJ), but really, there's more to these electronic resources than games and entertainment. Now this is one reason why school librarians must pursue Information Literacy classes or Library instruction periods in their libraries. Likewise, teachers must effectively model the use of technology to their students.

It is important that children understand the facets of the technology of their generation. What they learn in basic education, they carry on for LIFE. Who else must campaign for the responsible and ethical use of the WWW but school librarians. Teachers and parents are our natural allies. So to start with, here are websites on selection/evaluation criteria for teachers, librarians and parents who guide children in the proper use of the WWW. It is my pleasure to share my finds with you.

ALA Great Websites for kids gives a very brief but substantial set of criteria. Tips on how to maximize the WWW in the classroom are also included.

Kid's Selection Criteria identifies four simple criterion that children can use. Emphasizing on the evaluation of both content and design for better projects and reports help the student appreciate the value of assessing a website independently.

Kathy Schrock's website is teeming with resources for online teaching. She has different web evaluation worksheets for students across grade levels. I'm using the elementary level and this has proven to be an easy exercise for my grade 6 and 7 boys.

In this age of IT, it is not enough that we provide our students with learning materials. Teaching them the skill to intelligently use the technology and resources available is just as necessary. Let me know of your experiences too. Then we can learn from each other!

Happy surfing!

KUTING Workshop : Writing for Children

Kwentista ng mga Tsikiting (KUTING), the premier organization of Filipino writers for children, in cooperation with Phoenix Educational Systems Inc., will be conducting a workshop on


5th flr. Robinson’s Galleria Corporate Center, Ortigas, Pasig City on October 22, 2005 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Workshop topics and speakers are the following

Why write for kids? Why not?!
Dr. Luis Gatmaitan MD
Palanca Hall of Fame Winner and TOYM Awardee

Writing for Kids : Labor and Love
Carla Pacis
Palanca Winner and Manila Critics’ National Book Awardee

Rhyme and Reason : Writing Poetry for Kids
Heidi Eusebio-Abad
Published Writer and Professor of Creative Writing & Children’s Literature
University of the Philippines, Diliman

Workshop fee costs Php 1,000.00 inclusive of snacks, lunch and workshop kit. A 15% discount will be given to early registrations on or before October 15, 2005.

For reservations and inquiries contact 09164340167/09209602884/723-0481 loc 424

Or email /

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Image is EVERYTHING (3 of 3)

Going back to the Camden Librarians' move to go sexy for a cause, I think these gals aren't really selling thier products, which are books and the information they have in their libraries. They are selling an idea - that librarians are 'exciting' and 'stimulating' professionals.

Exciting in a sense, that, librarians can offer something new. New ideas. New trends. Innovations. Stimulating in a sense, that, librarians have the skill to inspire and motivate their clients to learn, relearn and unlearn. Discovering new things and continously learning are two things that can actually occur in the library through the librarian who works there. And that makes the librarian a "sexy" thang

Sex, then, in this context is all about life and living it up to the fullest. To always associate it with carnal desires and physical contact is downright limiting. It is the passions in our lives that move us to do great things even in the simplest of ways.

The question remains though. How do you sell your profession? How do you sell your products? As a school librarian, have you thought about marketing strategies to increase your 'earnings' for the library and improve your image? More on this marketing stuff in next week's posts.

Let me end this 3-part post with my reply to the Filipino Librarian -

Image tells a lot about a person. Living up to the "image" is another thing. One has to "walk his/her talk" or else, it's all image and no substance. That is sad...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Graphic Novels

Because we're going to have graphic novels in our library, we're going to have these as promotional posters and bookmarks to give away! (Well, I hope my boss agrees.)

bats lrc

Coolness! Here is another one!


Why graphic novels? Why not?

Michael Lavin of Lockwood Memorial Library enumerates seven good reasons. The first four are good enough reasons to convince a literacy advocate(like yours truly).

Assist Poor Readers. Comics and graphic novels are excellent tools for use with children and young adults with poor reading skills.

Connect with Visual Learners. As educators become increasingly aware of the importance of different learning styles, it is clear that comic books can be a powerful tool for reaching visual learners.

Develop Strong Language Arts Skills. Several studies have shown that students who read comic books regularly have better vocabularies and are more likely to read above grade-level.

Encourage Unmotivated and "Dormant" Readers. Teachers often use non-book materials to encourage reading. Comic books are an ideal medium to spark interest, equate reading with enjoyment, and develop the reading habit.

And then there is visual litearcy to consider. Graphic novels help young learners understand visual representations in a highly graphic environment.

See for yourself the wide array of graphic novel genres to choose from. There are plenty of foreign and US made graphic novels in the market, but very few Filipiniana material. So far, I've recommended SIGLO : Freedom to my boss and our acquisitions librarian. We're still on the look out for Pinoy produced grahic novels...the kind that media induced kids will READ.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Image is EVERYTHING (2 of 3)

I was at that part of my session where I was encouraging my co-teachers to learn the software that the school has institutionalized. It took me two days to learn it. I was emphasizing on the importance of time as one investment in e-learning. That's when I heard the comment.

It was meant as a joke. However, it made me look at it's meaning beyond the lines. It seems that teachers with full teaching load will not find it easy to squeeze in their time to learn the software. On the other hand, librarians, have the luxury of time to learn the software because they have nothing "heavy" to do. No kids to supervise. No regular lesson plans to make. No quiz tests to check and grade. Librarians just arrange books, conduct book fairs, tell stories, surf the WWW. Librarians lead easy lives and "stress" free work. That is the image most teachers have of librarians. My poor co-teacher could not see this new emerging role of school librarians as collaborators for teaching and instruction.

Most people are stuck with that image of school librarians. Even school principals and school directors percieve librarians in the traditional light. Middle level coordinators find it strange how librarians can enrich their curriculum. It is an alien idea for subject coordinators to find a school librarian who can recommend learning resources for their teachers, more so, a school librarian who has a general grasp of the subscribed curriculum and its pedagogical practices.

The sad thing is, most of us still hold that traditional image. Nothing wrong with holding on to tradition, but librarianship is as dynamic as education. If we keep to ourselves and do the library practices we are accustomed to then we'll never grow; we'll never improve. We stale. We die.

I have a lot of images of school librarians in particular, but there is one that is recently my favorite. This came upon our school library's move to acquire graphic novels.

batgirl lrc

Batgirl is Barbara Gordon. Barbara is a librarian by profession. She was inspired by Batman, the caped crusader, to be the Batgirl of Gotham. When the Joker crippled her to a life confined in a wheel chair, Barbara's spirit was still standing on two firm legs. She took on another image.

She became Oracle, an information specialist and broker for all the superheroes of Gotham. With her skills in technology and the management of information, superheroes depend on her for valueable knowledge. Along with these superheroes, Oracle, librarian and information broker, saves Gotham from crime and the villains that terrorize its citizens.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Image is EVERYTHING (1 of 3)

I'm not supposed to post this yet. I have scheduled a selection criteria for school librarians to use when picking websites for basic education learners for posting today. But, two situations prompted me to step away from my schedule of postings and come up with something more "controversial". Yes, again a controversial issue but not as dramatic as the dog metaphor/simile of Cristobal.

So you think librarians lead boring lives? Think again. Our profession is teeming with exciting and intriguing issues all the time. Must be hidden behind stacks and stack of shelves, so to speak. Anyhoo, I credit Von, for always stirring things up in the profession. I admire his courage for turning over stones and encouraging people to go see what lies under the rock. My blogging life would be a tad bit monotonous without his scholarly, humorous, and sometimes naughty take on Philippine librarianship today.

If you go to his blog, he's featured three links about librarians baring enough skin to tease the imagination and arouse interest. Now I clap my hands for these librarians who did a Calendar Girls gimmick to change their image. It must be a PR technique that will be accepted and appreciated in their culture. If these librarians think it is one way to make clients stop and take notice and if it's proven effective, congratulations. It isn't porn, people. While others are beginning to abhor the idea (I've read the links and some are offended), I do not. I say, they're creative.

As for the image issue, the Camden librarians' gimmick, simply tells me that they're a passionate lot. Can you bare for your profession? Can you be that intimate to your job - taking off your clothes, your sense of security? Are you brave enough to show your other side? That you as a librarian is as normal as any human being. That it is about time to break the mold and do something different. That going left when everybody goes right is OK.

That's fine by me...but really, I can think of other ways to show how passionate I am to my profession. I can jazz up my image and still keep my clothes on. Can I shed them for a worthy cause for librarianship? I'm a school librarian. My clients are children. They may have a different impression of the image I wish to to convey to them. Thank you (then again...).

And as far as image goes, it's about time librarians gather up in arms and do some age old image busting.

The second situation that prompted me to write about image was a co-teacher's side comment from yesterday's E-Learning session that I conducted with them. I am a tech savy librarian and this co-teacher quipped, "Why not? She spends her day sitting in front of the PC!"

Image is indeed everything!


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

International Literacy Week in Photos

A picture paints a thousand words. Here are photos from our celebartion of International Literacy Week. We had a pajama party in the library that we dubbed as "Evening With Readers and Storytellers". It's been four years since and we first had the activity and we just never tire of doing it every year.

Sally Labanda visited Xavier School for a parenting talk and the Scholastic Book Fair this year is a definite SUCCESS! Congrats to 4B St. Peter who won this year's Book Contest. They won a book hanger filled with books in each pocket! Way to go 4B!

Here I am telling Anansi Gets Into Trouble using the Storykniffing technique

Marni Lapus-Mendoza tells a story with Geronimo Stilton. The kids just loved her!

Ladies of Power. Flora Alfonso GS Reading/LA Dept. Coordinator; Sally Labanda (PBBY Sectoral Rep for Educators) and Estrelle Nabua, GS Asst. Principal

Gr. 6 Reading Teacher Cecily Tiu as a grandmother, telling a story about Ms. Pridget's Prize.

Storytellers - Stotyteachers!nyt wd 083

Pajama Party at the GS LRC! The boys were ready to hear lots of stories before bedtime.

Schalistic Book Fair 2005. Would you believe we earned 1.2 million Php this year!?
Picture 097

Now this is a worthy buy...hmmm...Interesting!
Picture 074

Nursery boy, Paolo Abadam picks his book from the book fair.
Picture 064

Kudos to the men and women of the Reading and LA Departments, the GS LRC and Scholastic Inc. for yet another successful ILW! Photos are courtesy of Oyet Concepcion, GS LRC Librarian.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Online Newspapers & Magazines for Kids

My Information Literacy Skills lesson for the 2nd quarter is all about Reference Sources and Periodicals. With the proliferation of online references and periodicals in the WWW, it is inevitable to discuss these resources in class. Years of teaching Information Literacy has taught me to strike the balance between print and digital formats. They must co-exist in the library as well as the tools that basic education learners can use. It is important that students see the importance of using these resources, each has a different feature and provides specific information to an information question or problem.

As I was preparing for my class a few days ago, I stumbled upon these "child-friendly" online newspapers and magazines. They are specifically constructed and maintained for kids. What's more, some of these sites welcome contributions for kids from stories to poems, photos to artworks, news and feature articles. Now I'm all the more motivated to share these with teachers. I've picked five from the many directories available online.

Two leading newspapers in the US (and in the world) came up with a kids' version of their dailies. The New York Times Learning Network (NKT-LN) and Time for Kids (TFK) features local and world news that bridges these to possible classroom activities. NYT-LN specifically has something for students, teachers and parents to learn and enjoy while TFK sticks with kids and classroom activities and homework helpers.

The Weekly Reader Online leans on the language and communication arts. It also has news from everywhere but it's literary features stand out. An interactive blog of Read and Write Magazine allows readers to continue the story, an activity that teachers can engage their students to do. Weekly Reader online is also a commercial arm of current print magazines in the US today.

The Bear Essential News for Kids is another site that fosters reading and writing skills. It also has interesting articles on the environment and nature. If you're kids are looking for educational games, lead them to Cyberkids. It has tons of interactive games for kids and kids at heart.

You may be wondering what guidelines I employ in selecting these websites for children. I'll save that for next post!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ten Reasons to Invest in Children's Literature

I owe this to my participants last Saturday at the Phoenix Eductaional Systems sponsored workshop on Creative Use of School Libraries. Now I'm redeemed.

1. Children's literature affords delight and a sense of wonder.
2. It extends the imaginative power of childhood.
3. It develop's the child's appreciation of beauty.
4. It contributes to the growth of a more compassionate human being.
5. It opens to the wonderland of words and ways of using them.
6. It offers a vast storehouse of information.
7. It contributes to art appreciation.
8. It has the potential for raising the self-concept of a child who has a poor picture of himself.
9. It forms a foundation for more difficult adolescent novels, poems and drama.
10. It gives a heroic image to childhood.

Thanks to LDR. I learned all these stuff about kid's lit in her graduate class at UP Diliman. I'm passing it on, Ma'am LDR, in the hope that "our" tribe may increase.

Monday, September 12, 2005

International Literacy Week

We kicked off the celebartion of International Literacy Week with an appearance of Clifford, the Big Red Dog, in this morning's asembly to highlight the Scholastic Book Fair. Together with the Reading and Language Arts Department, the GS LRC will run a week long literacy program and activities in the different grade levels. The event will culminate on Friday, 16 September with a pajama party dubbed as "Evening with Readers and Storytellers".


Collaborators all.Me, Maricel of Scholastic, Flora Alfonso (Reading/LA Coordinator), Mrs. Ditas Dairo (School Principal) and Meinard of Scholastic. My boss, Chit Olivares missed the launching as she is at home with a flu. Get well soon, Chit!


Storytelling for Parents.The Eearly Education Department's timing couldn't have been better. They organized a storytelling orientation for parent volunteers who will tell stories on Thursday, 15 September, 2005. I hope I gave them realistic and useful tips (kaba! kaba!)


Friday, September 9, 2005

Author Visit Program

I'm posting the full text of the article I wrote for our school website about Ms. Mae Astrid Tobias' visit to Xavier School. Let's support our Pinoy Children's Literature writers! Let's campaign for readership of books written for Pinoy children by our very own Pinoy writers!

Behind every written story, either retold or adapted, is a writer. For the longest time, they have been weaving words to make a tapestry of stories for readers to enjoy. Often, we get curios as to who they are. We wonder what kind of lives they lead and how awesomely they can conjure images and convey complex emotions through the characters and stories they create. While biographies and feature articles can feed the curiosity to know the writer behind the book, real life interaction with one living writer is a rarity.

If such is the case, then grade school Xaverians are a lucky lot. The doors of Xavier Grade School are always welcome to visiting Filipino writers (and illustrators) to meet and talk to grade school students. Last August 26, 2005, Hoofprint staff members had an enriching session with visiting writer, Ms. Mae Astrid Tobias. The GS LRC and the GS Student Activities Program collaborated to make this Author Visit program possible.

astrid 005

Ms. Tobias is currently connected with the University of the Philippines Information Office. She is a contributor to the Junior Inquirer, director and writer for Kids News Network (KNN), Manila Bureau and the President of Kwentista ng mga Tsikiting (KUTING), the premier organization of writers of Philippine Children’s Literature.

This was Ms. Tobias’ first time to visit Xavier School and she was very impressed with the school environment as well as the Xaverians she met that afternoon. She described members of the Hoofprint staff as active, engaging and full of questions. Her talk was brief, but substantial.

She focused on the importance of research in any given writing assignment or endeavor. As examples, she presented her books, namely, Guardians of Tradition: An Informational Book on the Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan Awardees and My Forest Friends. She spent a great deal of information gathering to complete and finish both books. She further explained that either writing fiction or non-fiction, having a good grasp of the subject matter one is writing about spells a lot of difference. The content of any writing piece should be whole and credible.

Ms. Tobias believes that research is a productive way of learning. Writing the researched information is a means to communicate it. Research is not merely a part of the writing process, but also a responsibility that writers, young and old, must take to heart. This brought her to emphasize on the importance of knowing the variety of resources that writers can use. A good knowledge of these resources and references helps the writer save time when writing. To access and locate it intelligently is another skill to master. She adds that aside from books, newspapers and Internet websites, personal interviews are also sources of inofrmation for writing.

The rest of the period was given to question and answer time. The boys enjoyed this part of the session with Ms. Tobias. When asked to give her “parting” words for Hoofprint staffers, she advised them to continue learning and to never get tired of reading. It is in reading all sorts of materials that fuels her to write, even the ones she dislikes and is not too keen to know about.

Through the GS LRC’s Author Visit Program, students are provided with the opportunity to discover how books and stories come to be; how writers shape their stories and understand the disciplined art of writing. In a way, the experience led students to appreciate reading and writing, two skills that they must master to survive and excel in an era where information, facts, the truths and the values we hold true are concealed and distorted by media and technology.

Ms. Tobias supports many advocacies, one of these is children in mass media. She won 2nd place for her story "Bayong ng Kuting" in the 2003 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, Filipino Division of the Children's Story Category. She is currently finishing her MA in Comparative Literature at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Her email address is

Monday, September 5, 2005

Call for Entries for the 2006 PBBY-SALANGA PRIZE

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is now accepting entries for the 2005 PBBY-Salanga Prize. The contest is co-sponsored by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and The National Library. The winner will be given P25,000.00, a gold medal, and an opportunity to be published. Prizes will be awarded in an appropriate ceremony to be held during the celebration of National Children's Book Day on July 18, 2006.

Contest Rules:

1. The contest is open to all Filipino citizens except those who are related to any PBBY member up to the third degree of consanguinity.
2. Stories should be intended for children aged 6 to 12 years old. The plot and the sequence must be capable of sustaining an illustrated book of 28 to 32 pages.
3. Entries may be in Filipino or English.
4. Entries must be in hard copy, double-spaced, on short bond paper. Maximum length is five (5) pages.
5. A contestant may send in more than one (1) entry.
6. Each entry must be signed by a pen name only. Five (5) copies of each entry should be placed in an envelope, on the face of which only the pen name of the contestant should appear.
7. Together with each entry, contestants must submit a second envelope, on the face of which the pen name shall appear. This must contain the contestant's full name, address, contact numbers, a short literary background, and a notarized certification from the author, vouching for the originality of the entry and for the freedom of the organizers from any liability arising from the infringement of copyright in case of publication, and affirming that the entry or any variant thereof has a) never been published nor b) won any other contest i.e. that it has never won 1st, 2nd, 3rd, honorable mention in any other contest or otherwise been awarded a medal, a citation, or included in a publicized list of meritorious entries to a literary contest.
8. All entries must be sent through snail mail to the PBBY Secretariat, c/o Adarna House, Inc., Room 102, JGS Building, 30 Scout Tuazon St., Quezon City.
9. All entries must be received by the PBBY Secretariat no later than 5:00 p.m., October 28, 2005.
10. Winners will be announced no later than November 25, 2005. Non-winning entries may be claimed at the PBBY Secretariat until December 16, 2005.

The winning story will be the basis for the 2005 PBBY-Alcala Prize. For more details, interested parties may contact the Philippine Board on Books for Young People, at Room 102, JGS Building, 30 Scout Tuazon St., Quezon City, Telefax 372-3548 or email

Friday, September 2, 2005

Librarian's Diet

The Manila Book Fair looked better and more improved this year. There are enough spaces for guests, visitors and bibliophiles to sit around when the feet gets too tired from walking. The fair offered the usual program of activities for the librarian's eclectic palate. What strikes me as unusual this year are the activities for children to enjoy. In the past, quizzes and contests abound for students to do and join in. This year, however, "fun" activities other than storytelling are scheduled.

Thanks to Ang INK. They prepared creative and enjoyable activities for kids visiting the fair. Aside from their Haribon exhibit, they had an engaging art activities with kids yesterday. Robert Alejandro facilitated the mini-art workshop. If going around from stall to stall looking for books and resources for possible acquisition is tiring you out, go view their excellent illustrations. It's awesome! Kudos to our Pinoy illustrators for kids!

Aside from these, there is also a play area for kids where parents can leave them as they shop and window shop around. Beside it is the balloon sculpture booth. Don't hesitate bringing your kids along, either your student or your own. They've lots of things to do in the fair and you, the adult can enjoy as well.

That day I went to the fair, two librarians' group sponsored a forum. I can tell that both fora were successful and were well attended. The topics they cooked up for their client, members and intended audience were well thought of. The speakers they invited were excellent professionals. It is also good to see students present in the both forum.

I sat in the PATLS forum but attended ASLP's lecture forum from start to finish. Dir. Lou David was quite surprised to see me there. There is always something new to learn from her. I guess I miss being her student. Then again, I will always be her student and she will always be my teacher. Her lecture was impeccably clear and easy to grasp. No pretense and direct to the point. There are risks in investing on technology and innovations carry a high price, but librarians must make a choice. It's the responsibility of making the choice and taking the risks that matter. Librarians must indeed have leadership skills to make things happen for their library.

On a lighter note, Dir. David made mention of being congenially happy. Now this is a characteristic that every librarian must try to achieve or develop. I know that our profession is a "challenged" profession and being happy takes a healthy state of mind and body, nevertheless it can be done. Start with your diet.

You read me right. Diet. Eat happiness inducing food - tomatoes, cheese, chocolates, grapes, apples, to name a few. These food release chemicals in your hormones that stimulate a warm, secure and happy feeling. If you know other food that make librarians happy, leave a comment or tag!
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