Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Building a Nation of Readers*

More and more literacy campaigns are sprouting in the metro and nearby suburbs. A good sign of hope, that is. While our politicians rumble and ramble, teachers, artists, reading advocates, socio-civic volunteers, NGO's and the religous continue to carry the mission of enlightening young people - their minds, hearts and souls.

BASA & Fr. Ted Gonzales SJ

I was surprised to learn that Fr. Ted Gonzales, our ME Spiritual Director, is founder of a volunteer-outreach project fostering reading advocacy. Bayan Akayin sa Abot Tanaw (BASA), dreams of developing minds that are alive for nation building. And what better way to do that but to put up a library and expose children to books and reading.

Aklatang Pambata

Barangay Paltok is fast becoming a popular destination for volunteers who believe that a community of readers must have a working and visible community library. Troy Lacsamana, the brainchild behind Aklatang Pambata is continously nurturing the young people of Barangay Paltok towards that goal.

Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation (SAS)

After a successful four day teacher conference in Xavier School, the Programang Kaakbay of SAS & Petron Foundation is well on its way to becoming an annual event for public school teachers in basic education. This year's conference, 154 public school teachers listened to plenary speakers and participated in workshop sessions that firmed up their teaching of reading skills. Founded by Lizzie Zobel and Margarita Delgado, SAS continues to partner with foundations, institutions, organizations donors and corporate sponsors who share the same vision and mission of *building a nation of readers. For photos of the recent confeence (October 27-30, 2006) go here.

These are but some of the many literacy initiatives in the country today. It can not be denied that the presence and accesibility of reading centers and libraries is crucial for children to read and love books. Hope floats after all. If only our government leaders would invest on education and literacy development.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Reflections of a Teaching Librarian

I have just finished completing all requirements for my graduate school courses - EDR 210 - Trends in Teacing Reading & EDR 211 - Reading in the Content Areas. Now some may wonder, why a school librarian studying Reading Education. My short essay provides reason enough. So I hope.

Reflecting the Links in Learning

The experience of teaching street kids and public school children is not something new to me. I have had opportunities in the past to facilitate learning structures with such a group. It was a long time ago that it seemed so strange and surreal to have done it again. I am surprised at myself to have survived and endured the whole thing.

To prepare for the demo teaching in Learning Links, I had to catch up with my group mates who were practitioners of the Four Pronged Approach. There were videos and group discussions of course, but in teaching, the real stuff matters more. The actual “doing and making” counts a lot compared to viewed and simulated environments. Much as I tried, I was a newbie. And so, I let my two group mates run the show and lent support as much as I can. For a graduate student who juggles work, motherhood, wifehood and all the extras on the side, my two group mates, Daisy Cunanan and Joyce Dumlao were a blessing. I learned as much from them as I did with the kids in Learning Links.

At this point in my scholarly life, learning from my peers is, to me, more important than actually acquiring skills to better my teaching craft. I have already reached a certain level of facilitating library skills. Though the room for improvement is always the biggest in the house, I did not strictly require myself to immerse in the Four Pronged Approach. This does not mean that my interest and motivation is little. It just so happens that my application of it is very different from the regular classroom teacher.

Sure, I have many uses of the Four Pronged Approach and the other theoretical trends taken up in class but from a different context. By being able to understand such theories, concepts and philosophies, I could speak with literacy teachers in the language that they are comfortable in. I am not merely a librarian who would recommend learning resources. I am a librarian who could help them teach better with the use of both theories and learning resources. Better yet, I could select and acquire resources that are relevant to the curriculum and to the instructional needs of teachers.

I am thankful that Joyce provided balance to the force. She is my contemporary in the classroom of life. On the other hand Daisy, is what I was ten years ago – assertive; strikes while the iron is hot. I still am assertive, but I have learned to choose which hot iron to strike. As for the kids in Learning Links, they may be scruffy and rough at the edges, but they are no different from my own or from the privilege boys I teach in Xavier Grade School. All children, no matter who they are or where they come from must be taught; be taken cared for; be looked after. Children deserve to be respected.

Monday, October 23, 2006

PBBY @ Powerbooks

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is inviting all parents, teachers, librarians, and reading advocates to participate in two workshops at Powerbooks Live, Greenbelt this coming November.

Hooked on Books: 25 Ways to Promote Literacy at Home and In School
Facilitator: Neni Sta Romana Cruz (children's book reviewer and former teacher, PBBY Board member)
Nov. 18, 2006, Powerbooks Live, 1-5 pm, Workshop fee: P500

This workshop will assist parents and teachers in making children enjoy reading and writing. Topics for discussion are what's current in children's books, choosing books for young readers and the many ways to lure children to read. An optional session is addressed to those interested in learning how to write book reviews for publication.

The Role of the Librarian in Developing a Library for Children Facilitator: Zarah Gagatiga (librarian, storyteller and reading advocate, PBBY Board member)
November 25, 2006, Powerbooks Live, 1-5pm, Workshop Fee: P500

This seminar identifies the important roles that librarians play in the development of of children's libraries. It explores current literature enunciating the rationale for developing print, AV, and online resources that are developmentally relevant and age appropriae. It discusses techniques and strategies to an improved children's library program and services. Opportunities for linkages and resource sharing for librarians are included as well.

An early bird rate of PhP400 per workshop will be offered to all those who will register on or before October 27, 2006. For inquiries, email pbby@adarna.com.ph, or call 372-35-48 loc 110 and look for Vanessa.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Plagiarized Posts

Von is not the only one perplexed these days. I am too. I just discovered from his post today that he is not the only victim of the cut-and-paste habit. Tsk.Tsk.Tsk.

Arnold Zafra's comment on Von's post says it all. Two of my original written articles, part of the paper I wrote as lecture for PATLS' lecture forum on Information Literacy, made it to this blog without attribution nor citation. Read my post here and compare. If that is not plagiarism, tell me what is.

The blog was constructed by LIS (Library & Inofrmation Science) students of UST, which makes the situation very disturbing, to me at least. I hold UST's LIS Department with great esteem given the very good teachers that the department has. I also know a lot of excellent librarians who are graduates of UST. And now, this.

Surely, there is a reasonable explanation.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Code of Ethics for Registered Filipino Librarians

I am posting the Code of Ethics to always remind myself of the oath I have taken as a Filipino Librarian, lest I forget.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


The moment I got Von's invite for SlideShare, I tried it immediately. See what I uploaded and embeded here in SLIA.

SlideShare is still in Beta version, meaning, it's in a testing period. I expect more improvements in the future.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Internet for Teaching Reading in the Content Areas

Here is a copy of my report in EDR 211 - Reading in the Content Areas. I have distributed CD's of my report to my classmates in grad school, but I feel it necessary to upload in SLIA.


The Internet for Teaching : Issues & Concerns

IRA Position Paper on Technology Integration

NETS Standards for Teachers

Web Enhanced Teaching

Web Enhanced Teaching

Now we go to the exciting part! Since the Internet has a lot to offer, this part of the report narrows three functions of the Internet that is useful to teaching and instruction. Activities, projects and strategies for its use in the content areas are provided.

A. Information Source

The Internet is a source of information. How to access and locate information from the Internet can be taught to children. Apart from the Internet lessons they get from Computer Education class, teachers can strengthen the skill by teaching search strategies.

Bernie Poole lends four easy search strategies.

1. Use quotes to narrow your search
2. Use simple math (+ and -) to narrow your search
3. Use Quick Keys to construct your search string (Control-c & Control-v)
4. Use Control-f to quickly find what you're looking for on a Web page (Control-f)

The ever dependable semantic webbing can also be called upon to narrow search words before using Google or Yahoo.

Locating and accessing information is one thing. Evaluating information is another. Children should be empowered to determine if the information they need has value to their assignment, report or project. Kathy Schrock has developed evaluation rubrics for websites that children in the primary and intermediate levels can use (Attachment 4).

As information source, the Internet is abundant with online newspapers and references. Here are recommended websites:

Online Newspapers & References for Kids

The New York Times for Kids

Weekly Reader Online

Time for Kids

Online Encyclopedia

Online Dictionary & Almanac

Given the wealth of resources available for teachers, it is necessary that they teach students to become critical readers of online materials. Here are web evaluation rubrics to empower the learning child in using the Internet as resource tool.

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

Kids’ Selection Criteria
It identifies four simple criteria 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 Web Evaluation Rubrics

B. E-Learning Tool
Aside from its strength as an information source, the Internet is a viable tool for electronic learning. Below are examples of e-learning activities.


Web Quest Blog

WebQuest for Science (Integrating Lang. Arts and Civics)

More WebQuest for Grade 3, 4 and 5

Online & Distance Learning
Xavier School ELF
Using Moodle, online activities, homeworks, assignments and quizzes are designed and uploaded in the e-learning software.

Educational Games & Drills

Language Arts

Grammar Gorillas
Online Stories
Literacy activities
Worksheets on Phonics
Worksheets on Reading
Math Drills & Games

Basic Operations
Drills for Word Problems, Fractions, etc.
Timed drills and activities

Make your own drills and games

C. Communication Tool

Content can be created in the Internet. It can be communicated using email technology, e-groups and blogs. Conferences and email exchange projects are engaging activities for students.

Telecolaboartion - The Storylady Project Full Paper

The Storylady Project – Articles

Web Publishing – Blogs as Teaching Tools

Indeed, the Internet has a lot to offer the teacher of today. There are factors and issues that must be considered when using this technology in instruction. In the creative and innovative hands of the teacher, he has the power to engage students in learning via this medium but only when he has a clear understanding of what responsibility lies in its power.

Promoting a Safe & Legal Digital World. BSA
Kids’ Safety in the Internet

Survey Shows Widespread Enthusiasm for High Technology

International Society for Technology in Education

NETS Technology Standards for Teachers

Website Evaluation Criteria
Elementary Level (K-4))
Middle School Level (Gr. 5-8)

Bernie Poole’s Search Strategies

Verma, Mahesh. Online Teaching Tools & Methods. Murari Lal & Sons, New Delhi. 2006

NETS Standards for Teachers

Another useful document to aid teachers with the use of technology is the International Society for Technology in Education standards. Known as the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for Teachers, it enumerates six areas with specific indicators to guide teachers in the application of technology in education.

Teachers demonstrate a sound understanding of technology operations and concepts.

Teachers plan and design effective learning environments and experiences supported by technology.

Teachers implement curriculum plans that include methods and strategies for applying technology to maximize student learning.

Teachers apply technology to facilitate a variety of effective assessment and evaluation strategies.

Teachers use technology to enhance their productivity and professional practice.

Teachers understand the social, ethical, legal, and human issues surrounding the use of technology in PK-12 schools and apply those principles in practice.

IRA Position Paper on Technology Integration

Since Internet use for teaching does not exist in a vacuum, it is necessary to establish moorings given the factors that influence its application. Here is the position statement of the International Reading Association on the facility of technology (the Internet, included) for instruction.

We (IRA) believe that children have the right to:

* Teachers who are skilled in the effective use of ICT for teaching and learning;
* A literacy curriculum that integrates the new literacies of ICT into instructional programs;
* Instruction that develops the critical literacies essential to effective information use
* Assessment practices in literacy that include reading and writing with technology tools;
* Opportunities to learn safe and responsible use of information and communication technologies;
* Equal access to ICT

Internet for Teaching : Issues & Concerns

There are factors that a teacher must consider before taking the plunge on Internet use for teaching and instruction. These are; technology competencies – his own and his students’; the available technology – hardware, software, online resources and infrastructure; the school’s policy for Internet and technology use; curriculum and pedagogy.

a. Technology Competencies
Whatever inspired you to use the Internet for teaching you must start with an assessment of your own competencies on using this technology. It would help if you could also evaluate related technology skills apart from surfing, browsing, book marking and using of key words in search engines. Self evaluation will allow you to level off; to see strong and weak areas. It’s not possible to know everything, but a cognition of what you will be dealing with comes in handy at difficult times.

Attached with this paper is a checklist of technology skills (Attachment 1). Let’s go over it and do some ticking. Once you’re done, you can gauge the extent of Internet activities you can do in the classroom.

The very nature of the Internet is appealing to children, but, it is important that their computer and Internet literacy are assessed as well. It is not pedagogically sound to assume that “they already know”. A similar checklist may help. Coordinate with your school’s computer teacher to find out. Ask him or her if she has a profile of your students’ skills in computing and surfing. Consult the Reading teacher to know the level of reading skills of your students. Meet with your Guidance counselor for their developmental profile and socio-economic background.

Included in this report is a list of indicators to understand the maturity and vulnerability levels of children. Together with it, is a set of tips on how to engage children to use the Internet effectively. (Attachment 2)

b. Available Technology
After identifying yours and your students’ skills, level of understanding, profile, etc., move on to the tools. Check for available hardware and software; network requirements, computer labs and structures that will support your teaching. This also means that, you must know who the IT people are and the extent of their work in the school. They help in trouble shooting and upgrading.
c. School’s Policy on Internet Use
The school’s stand on Internet use may be reflected on an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). This is decided upon by academic administrators or the school board in the light of effective Internet utility for the whole school community. There are many ways of making this tangible. Some are simple. Others are seriously stated.

Samples of AUPs are attachments to this report. (Attachment 3)

d. Curriculum & Pedagogy
Instructional technology is dependent on curriculum and pedagogy. A teacher’s use of the Internet for instruction should be based on the course’s or subject’s learning goals and objectives. The instructional materials that teachers make and use help achieve a learning objective. Furthermore, it assists students to understand knowledge, skills and attitudes of a given discipline. It is therefore very important that teachers use instructional technology, in this case, the Internet, appropriately.

Internet for Teaching : Introduction

The year was 1969. The US Department of Defense launched a hush-hush project that entailed the acquisition of confidential information through the use of interconnected networks. As a military tool for intelligence and defense, this interconnection of networks was developed by the National Science Foundation. After three decades, it has evolved into a phenomenal gadget and means of communication that affects the lifestyles of people from all over the globe. Dubbed as the Internet, its presence is strongly felt in all the fields of scholarly discipline, entertainment and pop culture.

Today, the Internet continues to grow rapidly. People from all walks of life and from different socio-cultural and economic backgrounds are mesmerized by the many advantages it can provide and offer. Children are not excluded to be captivated with this medium and technology. In fact, they are the more frequent users of the Internet than adults.

In many a survey conducted in the US and Australia, children are at a high percentage when it comes to exposure and access to the Internet. Since parents, teachers and caregivers know that the content of the Internet is not all treasure, efforts by schools and parent organizations to guide children in the intelligent and responsible use of the Internet has been the upswing trend in the past three years. Parents recognize the high risk of Internet use among children (commonsense media, 2006). Thus, prompting them to acquire filtering software and establishing rules at home. Teachers face a great challenge in modeling the utility of this technology. Furthermore, they are at a good position to facilitate instruction using the Internet effectively and ethically in their subject or content area.

Initiatives on technology integration and web enhanced teaching are plentiful. Schools are investing on hardware, software and training to help students become better learners. While traditional learning tools are trusted upon to deliver instruction, more and more teachers are experimenting, learning and assessing the use of Internet for teaching.

This report explores the issues and concerns surrounding the use of the Internet for teaching. Standards and position papers on the use of technology in general are identified as seedbed where teachers can root their practice of teaching using the Internet. Strategies, techniques, projects and activities using the Internet are included to show examples on the many ways that web enhanced teaching can be done in the classroom. Lastly, it provides resources for teachers to further their understanding, skill and competence in teaching using the Internet.

Blograrian in the Manila Bulletin

It was Hermie Salazar who first told me of the feature article. I immediately asked for the Saturday Manila Bulletin issue from the library and there was the article indeed. I have totaly forgotten about it. With work, grad school, consultancy & training workshops in line until December, financial and domestic concerns pilling up on top of another, I no longer expected the article to appear in a national daily.

But it's an advantage to have friends in the profession. Several days after, Von Totanes spread the word in Filipino Librarian egroup. The replies were heartwarming. I would not have done and gone this far without my friends, teachers and mentors. I only hope that whatever good they did to me, I can simply pass it on.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Children's Art Exhibit of Hope

From Ms. Nina Lim-Yuson of the Museo Pambata

*All Together in Dignity (ATD) Fourth World Philippines*, an international non-government organization, invites you to view an Art Exhibit of Hope to commemorate October 17, the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty.

The one-week exhibit is entitled *Listen to Us and We'll Change the World Together! Children's Art Exhibit of Hope*. It will be held at the Museo Pambata from October 14 – 22, 2006. The exhibit features life-sized fabric silhouettes created by children living in poverty from Manila, Bangkok, and various European countries. The art works expresses the hopes and dreams of these children for a better world. Program of activities on October 14 and 15 includes storytelling, children's activities, and art workshops by well know artist, Mr. Robert Alejandro.

Children are encouraged to visit the exhibit and be part of the various activities. They can create their own miniature silhouette and write their message of hope.

To participate in the various activities, contact the ATD office at telephone number 563.9312 or Museo Pambata's office at telephone number 523.1797.
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