Sunday, December 30, 2012

SLIA: First Monthly Post 2012

The blog in review of 2012: first post per month and the first sentence of the post. I posted a video in January, a poster in July and a photo in December so, no first sentences.

January - Libraries and Transliteracy

February - Break the Stereotype

Two posts from librarian friends made it to the blog last month in response to the Challenge of the Year: Break the StereotypePeachy Limpin and Ann Rosette Crelencia shared a piece of their mind on the topic.

March - World Read Aloud Day 2012

I read aloud to my kids when they were younger.

April - Libraries and Librarians Making an Impact

This is a carry over from my interview in the Mania Bulletin last 24 March 2012.

May - Tandem Telling: Juan Tamad and the Rice Pot

The Regional Conference on School Librarianship: Directions for the Future of School Libraries in Bacolod was, indeed, a memorable conference. 

June- Bibliotherapy @ the SAS Gurong Kaakbay Conference

It's Day 3 of the SAS Gurong Kaakbay Pilipinas Conference at the Science Education Complex, ADMU.

July - NCBD 2012 Poster

August - Call for Entries: Salanga Prize 2013

The 29th NCBD and the 2md Best Reads NCBA have been recently concluded. 

September - My Life as a Librarian

Finally. I am now able to answer the set of questions sent by Mr. Egipto of St. Louis University.

October - Librarians Role in Children's Library Services

I just came home from the National Library of the Philippines. 

November - Jose Aruego and Albert Gamos Tributes

Last September, the UP College of Education Reading Department, otherwise known as REGALE, conducted the annual MILES, Manhit Institute of Language Education Seminar series, in honor of Jose Aruego and Albert Gamos, two dearly departed Filipino illustrators for children. The tribute is in part of the Weavers of Magic forum of MILES.

December - Christmas Reading Table

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Book Reviews in Review 2012

I promised to do more book reviews in 2012 for this blog. Apart from reviews, I'm including book recommendations in the list. As a year-ender the links list would, more or less, show how I fared.

The Best of Chico, Delamar and Gino Top Ten - Book 2

Graphic Novels Review

Teen Read Week


Filipino Friday

Serendipity Market

The Best of Chico and Delamar Top Ten - Book 1

Books to Movies Adaptation

It looks like I need to do more book reviews for 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Book Review: Unholy Night

It is December 28 today, the feast of the Holy Innocents. For Catholics like myself, we remember this day as the death of babies and children in Bethlehem at the time Jesus Christ was born. The order for execution came from Herod, the old and ailing king of Jerusalem, who hoped to terminate the "king" who will supplant him and his dynasty from ruling Jerusalem. In catechism, I learned that an angel saved Joseph, Mary and Jesus from the slaughter by helping them flee from Bethlehem to Egypt. This is the biblical version. Modern day fiction has another.

In Seth Gahame-Smith's Unholy Night, the Holy Family was aided by Balthazar, a cunning thief who escaped his own execution, to leave Bethlehem. Together with Melchyor and Gaspar, the trio defended the Holy Family from Herod's men and out to the desert. Balthazar, Melchyor and Gaspar are names associated with the three wise men who gave gold, frankincense and myrrh as gifts to the baby Jesus. In Grahame-Smith's fiction, the three men are wise indeed, but not in a scholarly manner to which the Bible described them to be. They are thieves and criminals out to save their own skin from Herod's fatal punishment. This the conceit to which the book was built upon. Blasphemous? I say it's a work of genius.

What worked

I've often asked who were the Wise men, the Magi. At the feast of the Epiphany, our parish priest would make us all believe that they were scholars from the East who understood the meaning of the messiah's coming. In my own imagination, I see the wise men as sages, astronomers, philosophers who knew something else was going and average people have no knowledge of this. They remain mysterious, if not, mystical men of history. Grahame-Smith filled in this gap and defined the Wise men as great sinners who found redemption not from guilt, but from acts of justice, remorse, forgiveness and love.

I like it that Joseph and Mary were depicted as real people subjected to weakness but strong in faith. This is the strength which assaulted Balthazar internally. Grahame-Smith provides his hero a rich back story to bring out this internal struggle. Using the child Jesus as a metaphor of hope and blind belief, Balthazar came to forgive himself in the end. As for Melchyor and Gaspar, their redemption came, thirty three years after.

Pontius Pilate and the Roman Army were given a moment to shine as well. Pilate is yet another enigmatic character I hope some fictionist would unravel. Herod was characterized as the ultimate monster king. His evil deeds are enough to set the backdrop of a world in constant chaos. Thus, Jesus' coming to this world, quiet and with no fanfare, remain a puzzle I of the Catholic faith so continuously try to solve.

Grahame-Smith's violence and gruesome narrative did not offend me, in fact, I found it entertaining. Perhaps I was still angry at something or someone to have enjoyed it. It was therapy reading the book. There are some events in life like death and injustice that need to be experienced to see truth and peace. Like the journey to the desert and into Egypt, such an experience is not an easy one to take. This is where we need, not just guts and toughness, but a lot of courage. A lot of faith.

What did not work

The inclusion of magic seemed off, like the warlock from the west. The angels appearing in a dream were fine by me. The warlock came out of nowhere. Grahame-Smith tried to cross genre, but I found this piece misplaced in the novel. It would have worked for me, if Herod was assisted by one of his own priests to glamor up himself and do a trickery on Pilate's army.

Over all, it was a good read. I like Grahame-Smith's bending of history. Here in Unholy Night, he new enough of religion and faith to respect Joseph, Mary and Jesus. I think I am ready to read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Bibliographic data:
Grahame-Smith, Seth. Unholy Night. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2012.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Crafts at Christmas: Origami Star Wreath

The holidays can be stressful.

What with all the rush to buy gifts for him and her and the seemingly endless slew of Christmas parties at the start of December, I needed something to distress me from it all. So, in between the busyness, I managed to do some crafts. Using the Origami pack I got from the PBBY Christmas party, I whipped up a star wreath for Christmas. The pattern for the star was taken from Zoe's old origami book. Bibliography to follow as I'm blogging off site at the moment.

First, I cut out a circle from an old paper plate. This functions as the base for the star wreath. Using used ribbons, red and green, from gifts received the past year, I tied the red one around the paper plate. The green one, I used to tie a bow. To keep the red ribbon in place, I glued the edges.Then, I glued on the origami stars around the paper plate.

Now here's a step by step how-to for the origami star.

Step 1- Origami paper: make a triangular crease.
Step 2 - Using the crease as guide, fold the left and right side to the center.  Paper looks like a cone.
Step 3 - Fold the top left and right sides to the center . Again, using the crease made  in step 1 as guide. It looks like a kite now.
Step 4 - Fold the kite in its center. Now it's a triangle. Make three of these.
Step 5  - Glue the two triangles together.
Step 6 - Glue the third triangle on top of the two triangles  to form a star.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Greeting 2012

Here's wishing all readers of my blog child like qualities: wonder, play, imagination, endless hope, boundless dreams and good memories to comfort and see you through challenging days ahead! Have a safe and healthy 2013, every one!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Book Review: The Best of Chico, Delamar, and Gino's The Morning Rush Top Ten

I did not expect that The Morning Rush Top Ten Book 2 would be released before the start of 2013. It was only last January 2012 when Book 1 was published and now, Rushers and non-Rushers are reading the book!

What worked

It has more categories, therefore, more entries. More fun to read! It embodies pop culture that's very Pinoy. As a librarian, I see the book's relevance as a corner stone for the Filipino of this era. While social media is pop culture's sounding board, changing so rapidly every minute, the printed copy preserves this current pop culture for future generations to look back and for older ones to look back to. Book 2 may speak of the now, this age and time, but The Morning Rush is making history by compiling what matters to this generation of Filipinos, who they are and what they're about.

I like the cartoons and the free stickers. As for the entries, these are well selected. It's witty and smart; funny and touching; and are a few good ones that gives you that smack leaving you perplexed or affected long after you've read the book from cover to cover. Take for example these entries: While some good things never last, most don't even start (Twak, p. 77); The hardest part of letting go is realizing that the other person already has (JRhyan, p. 87). OUCH.

There are plenty of Top Ten entries I recalled having listened to like the Beki Problems and Q&A in the Ms. BaranGay Contest. It made my morning commute exciting. What with the heavy traffic and the crowd between 6.30 AM till 7AM! On air, The Morning Rush Top Ten is still my choice of entertainment since the trio offers not just the laughs but insights too. C, D and G engage in intelligent conversation and they are never rude to their listeners and fans. With two books in a row, it sealed their fate as the top DJs in Philippine FM radio.

What did not work

I just wish there were more informative top ten entries like the rare Filipino words we don't get to hear any more. But, of course, this would suggest that a Book 3 is a big possibility!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Official Press Release: 2013 Salanga Prize Winners

Here's an update and official press release from PBBY on the 2013 Salanga Prize
Teacher Wins 2013 PBBY-Salanga Prize

            The Philippine Board on Books for Young People declared Michael Jude C. Tumamac as the Grand Prize winner of the 2013 PBBY-Salanga Prize. Tumamac’s winning story, “Ngumiti si Andoy,” is a story inspired by the life of  Andres Bonifacio. Michael is a teacher and a proud member of Kuwentista ng mga Tskiting (KUTING) and Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA).

Honorable mention  went to  Mark Anthony Angeles for his story, “Si Andoy, Batang Tondo,” and April Jade Biglaen for her story, “Ang Supremo at ang Kuweba.

Tumamac shall receive Twenty-Five Thousand Pesos and a medal. Prizes will be awarded during the celebration of National Children’s Book Day in July 2013. 

For inquiries about the contest, contact the PBBY Secretariat at telephone number 352-6765 loc. 203 or e-mail

Movie Review: The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey

Of course. I did not miss Peter Jackson's The Hobbit. I watched it with my family last weekend and weeks before, I reread The Hobbit to refresh my mind. Now I feel I need to read The Silmarillon to complete the Tolkien experience. It looks daunting, but I will try. So here goes my review.

 What worked

I am impressed at the way the script was written. There were events and elements of conflict bigger than the dwarves' quest inserted in the original storyline. Take for example the inclusion of the scene of the White Council. It was not in the book, but, putting it in the movie gave me a bigger picture of the One Ring saga.

The heirs of Durin were bent at taking back Erebor. In the background, a familiar evil is on the rise. Bilbo's founding of the ring was merely a beginning to the end of Middle-earth's Third Age. I appreciate this effort of Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens because, it bridged The Hobbit to LOTR besides, it justified Gandalf's constant disappearances from the compamy. Now I see the connection between Bilbo and Frodo beyond the family relationship. What the older Baggins began, the younger one ended. It is going full circle, achieving closure and completing a story. This is a recurring cycle in the books which the movies deftly and appropriately handled. Tolkien knew his history and his myth. Jackson and Boyens took these tradition to movie making and respected the grand material of Tolkien.

Perhaps, to some movie goers, using this format appeared boring and tried. But I take Tolkien's The Hobbit and LOTR as stories brimming with life lessons and not mere entertainment. Jackson interpreted these life lessons through his art, which is movie making.

I particularly liked the conversation between Gandalf and Galadriel when the council meeting was over. Cheesy, as some movie goers and reviewers called it. To me, it amplified one of the many themes of the book. We fight evil by doing small deeds one day at a time. This is more difficult to do, really. How can you choose to be good or to do good every day in a world that is swimming in an ocean of corruption and selfishness? Before battling others, one battles with the self. And this happened to Bilbo during his attempted escape from the dwarves leading him to Gollum's lair. Indeed, the yearning to go in an adventure is an opportunity. But why leave a comfort zone? I've often asked myself of Bilbo's motivation of going on a quest. When Bilbo told Thorin that his purpose is to help them bring back their home, he's become the unlikely hero so charmingly portrayed by Martin Freeman. He is perfect for the role. Unlike Elijah Wood's insecure but determined Frodo, Martin Freeman's Bilbo is smart and witty. He fumbles too but his empathy oozes out and this makes his rendition such an endearing character.

As for Thorin Oakenshield, darn it, I didn't expect a dwarf to look fierce and sexy at the same time. Richard Armitage's portrayal of the exiled prince is a fantastic mix of loss, bitterness and pride. Not the perfect, unblemished hero but a leader who rises to the occasion when all hope is deemed as lost.

What did not work

I really have nothing else to say negative of The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey. The production value is several notches higher than LOTR. It's just too bad that I have to wait for 2013 till the second installment, The Desolation of Smaug. I'm excited to hear Benedict Cumberbatch's voice for the fiery dragon of Erebor.

At least, the wait for the DVD or VCD of The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey is only three or four months long.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Salanga Prize Winner 2013

L-R MJ Tumamac, Anthony Mariano, Zarah Gagatiga and Cindy Bajema 
News from the PBBY Secretary General on the Salanga Prize 2013 --

Grand Prize Winner is Michael Jude C. Tumamac
Honorable Mention goes to Mark Anthony Angeles and April Jade I. Biglaen

I have no news yet on their winning stories, but it's definitely about Andres Bonifacio. Will post updates in the coming months.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

PBBY Christmas Party 2012

PBBY peeps and friends @ Nina Yuson's residence

Loving this origami set I got from the exchange gift!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pompom Bookmarks and Book Covers

The green monochrome pompom is Zoe's. Mine is the multicolored pompom bookmark.

  Always on the look out for library and reading promotion ideas, I stumbled upon a DIY pompom bookmark in Pinterest. Following the link ans instructions, I tried it at home. Success!

It's very easy to make the pompom bookmark. It only takes ten minutes. Trimming off the edges need careful snips to achieve a fluffy round pompom. I'll come up with ten pompom bookmarks. When school opens in January 2013, the bookmarks will be our tokens for early book returners and borrowers. Let's see if the teens like the give-aways.

Another new thing we're doing at the library is the use of book stands that show off the covers of books when displayed. The spine only shows the book title. For media induced clients, just reading the title won't work. Book covers are visual stimuli.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Reading Aloud and Storytelling

When I got the invite to judge in the Inquirer Read Along Contest, I knew I had to break a personal belief and a promise. And once more, I was confronted with an issue many teachers and Filipino storytellers grapple with -- reading aloud and storytelling.

I will not discuss what it is and what it is not. Rather, I'll post links of videos on reading aloud and storytelling as well as videos of Mr. Jay Menes' read aloud session. Now here's a link to Just Stories an online place where storytellers gather just to tell stories. No fanfare. Stories are the stars of the show and the teller is the willing medium who keeps them alive.

My read aloud video of Lizard's Song, by George Shannon and illustrations by Jose Aruego and Arianne Dewey.

Story Knifing Sampler

Jay Menes reading aloud to preschoolers during Read Aloud Day 2011. He read aloud an Adarna book classic, When Color Comes to Town

Since storytelling is an art form and reading aloud is reeking of educative values, as well as literacy development merits, the two can be combined. The result is a hybrid technique known as book-based storytelling. Is this right? Is this wrong? Is there a proper way of delivery? There really are no answers to the questions. Art is subjective but an artist need to constantly practice his or her craft to grow and continuously develop. One needs to be a reflective artist too to see areas of improvement in choice of stories, in technique and purpose. Why tell stories? Why reading aloud? What stories to tell for Filipino children to enjoy and learn from? What cultural legacies can surface in the process of telling or reading aloud?

Sometimes, contests hamper this growth and development as it focus on the 1st, the 2nd and the 3rd prize winners and not at stories shared and the audience who listened to the stories read or told.

I did enjoy my time at the Inquirer Read Along last month and I send them my congratulations for a meaningful and well thought out advocacy and CRS activity. But, I'm hoping to see and hear news of more storytelling and read aloud festivals instead of contests.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Reading Alerts!

I like pulling out titles from the shelves and gathering them up in a list. This is one way to promote the library's collection, bridge information gaps and enrich concepts taken up in class. Here's a reading list I recommended to a Humanities and Filipino classes in school. I used the teachers' unit plans (lesson plans) as basis for selection.

I then emailed the list to teachers so they can post it in their classroom. As a follow through, I set up a special reading table for the books recommended in the list.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sights & Sounds of Christmas: Reason for Un-SCROOGE-ing

Zoe's first "commercial" Christmas card
The Magis Deo Christmas cards may be bought at the Magis Deo Office in CEFAM, Ateneo Campus Loyola Heights, Quezon City. For inquiries call 09215149257.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Online Readings: Safety in the Cloud, Lit & Lab Lessons

A sample of an integrated lesson plan in Science and Literature

A host of social media safety tips websites for kids and teens Social Media Safety for Kids and Teens

Teachers need differentiated lessons too, er, in supervision that is!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sights and Sounds of Christmas: At the Ayala Triangle

The spectacle of lights at the Ayala Triangle is a brief wonderment of lights dancing along Christmas songs.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Movie Review: Rise of the Guardians

What do Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and the Easter Bunny have in common? They're all guardians. Guardians of children from all over the world. It's a conceit too big to make it believable. The magical visuals and metaphors used in the story helped me suspend my disbelief.

What worked

Thanks to high tech CGI animation, the film's ambition to make magic worked wonders. What appeared real to me: the golden strands of the Sandman weaving dreams on top of sleeping heads of children; Jack Frost producing ice and icicles on everything he touches and breathes on; the Boogeyman's sinister shadow that casts doubt and fear; the black mares with gleaming eyes depicted as nightmares that snuff out dreams of gold. DreamWorks did its homework so, as far as animation is concerned, they got the prize in the bag.

 I've nothing much to say about the script as I find the sub-plots cluttered and a few bits misplaced. For example, the elves and the yetis. They're all adorable but too much of them were used as comic relief. Perhaps, this was an attempt to lighten a story that's too philosophical for kids in the preschool age?

The movie is really meant for adults, like me, who've had their share of lemons thrown at them by life. Childhood is magical and wonderful. Growing up breaks the magic and wonderment. Children are trusting and honest. Grown ups operate on deceit to get what they want and are more fearful of their evil, if not, imperfect selves showing out for others to see. Such contradictions were made palpable through the use of childhood folk lore and images that we're familiar with - Jack Frost, Santa, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, the Sandman. Each represent a virtue or an aspect of childhood: play, wonder, memories, hope and dreams. Stuff that children believe in. Stuff that adults find once again in the children they care for and love.

What did not work

Apart from the cluttered script, the movie left me with a big lacuna on the Man on the Moon. I'd be looking up on William Joyce's novel from which the movie was based on. And this is actually a good thing, thinking about it.

Rise of the Guardians is a feel good movie. I'm glad I'm a parent and that I work with children and teens. If not, I'd have chucked the movie out the window as an attempt to water down Gaiman's conceit in American Gods.

Photo sources:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Librarian as Nun

Sis Zyra, Sis Zarah, Sis Lucy, Mother Superior Soledad, Sis May and Sis Jang

Once in a while I get involved in group performances. On Sunday, our marriage encounter community, MAGIS DEO, will be celebrating its annual Family Day with the theme, Igniting the MAGIS. Part of the celebration is for each sector to present a musical number. For our sector, we're doing Sister Act 1 and judging by our costumes, we do look the part, eh?

Alfred, Ambeth and Andres Bonifacio

30 November is a national holiday being the commemoration of  Andres Bonifacio's 149th birth date. A bio pic, Supremo, produced by Alfred Vargas will be shown on 30 November at SM Fairview cinemas. The same movie is included in the line-up of indie films in this year's Cinemanila at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Festival date begins on 5 December and ends on 11 December, 2012.

Here's the trailer of the movie.

Producer, Alfred Vargas, also plays Andres Bonifacio. He's a very good looking Andres Bonifacio, if you ask me. In the book cover of Prof. Ambeth Ocampo's Looking Back 5: Rizal's Teeth Bonifacio's Bones, the Great Plebeian looks more like Apeng Daldal than a handsome revolutionario. I grew up knowing and recognizing this artist's rendition of Bonifacio that littered many history textbooks I used in school.

Who is the artist of this Bonifacio illustration? Another iconic image I am curious about that's related to Bonifacio is the cedula ripping one where Katipuneros wear red pants and white shirt. The red pants is a dead giveaway in battle. Why use the ominous color? More questions surface as I read Prof. Ocampo's article on Bonifacio. He was home schooled and read voraciously. Where did he get his books? Gifts from friends? Donations? Is Bonifacio a book thief? Now that would make a good story in speculative fiction genre, ano? The librarian in me wonders. The writer in me is tempted to begin this story out and see how it develops.

Books bought from the NBDB initiated book exhibit at SM Megatrade Hall

In 2013, the nation celebrates Bonifacio's 150th birth year. PBBY's Salanga Prize will be given to a story on Andres Bonifacio come July as we celebrate the 30th National Children's Book Day. Let's prepare early for this historic event.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Q & A on Supplementary Materials in the Classroom

With permission from the interviewer, I'm posting the set of questions she sent and my answers.

1. Why is it important for a teacher to use supplementary materials in the classroom?

Information and knowledge are not confined in textbooks. Supplementary materials (to me, it would mean teaching tools, instructional materials, AV teaching aids, etc.) offer a wide range of ideas, concepts, perspectives and ways of creating and communicating information and knowledge. Using supplementary materials challenges teachers and students to go beyond the prescribed curriculum. So, it's like putting into practice the learned concepts, skills and values in real life.

There are many sources of information and knowledge and these come in various formats. I think teachers need to continuously learn how to use these formats and media in teaching, as well as, identify effectively information and knowledge they can use in instruction.

You may look for this longitudinal study online, What Reading Does for the Mind by Anne E. Cunningham and Keith Stanovich, that discuss the effects of providing a variety of instructional materials (print, non-print, AV, online resources, social games, etc.) to students. One of the results is that, by exposing students to different learning and instructional resources would lead to the development of strong verbal and linguistic skills. Language is a cognitive process, so thinking skills are strengthened when teachers use many tools for teaching alongside sound pedagogy.

I use this research often in my talks among librarians to encourage them in building a collection that adheres to different learning styles and providing library services and programs to teachers that would challenge their pedagogical beliefs, assuming that, teachers still subscribe to old and routine methods.

2. What guidelines/criteria should a teacher follow in choosing which ones to use?

a. Knowledge of student/learner - Teachers must know who their students are. And they need help to be able to know them - parents, guidance counselor, school leaders. It takes a village to raise a child, so goes the African proverb.

b. Curriculum and context of the learning community - This will help the teacher, and those helping him/her teach well, get in touch with internal resources and external ones.

c. Pedagogy - There are specific instructional aids and teaching tools that match a particular teaching approach, technique, method and strategy.

3.  What are the today's limitations to your choices of supplementary materials available today in your subject area?

As a school librarian, budgetary constraint is a limitation. To remedy this problem, I source out from outer libraries in the academe, public, corporate and government agencies. Interlibrary loan and library consortia are ways to fill the resource gap as well. There are many online resources, but students need models and guides to use them responsibly and effectively. I still feel that, we need more print materials in the mother tongue and local knowledge. For example, our school is in Binan, Laguna. I am building a Filipiniana collection, but I feel I need to start developing a collection that has info and knowledge on Binan as a city and Laguna as a province. Our school may be an IB World School, but global education and international mindedness begin with an understanding of local history and local knowledge.  The issues and problems that affect the world are the same in the local and national levels.

This would mean, I need to develop a strategy to start a library collection that touches on these concerns. By collection I mean physical, virtual and intellectual kinds.

4.  What are your particular favorites among supplementary materials you have used?

Print format - I like recommending to teachers good fiction that has the theme of their unit of study. I also suggest creative non-fiction to ease big concepts in the content areas. Literature mirrors life :-)

Online formats - EBSCO and Project Muse are current favorites

I'm using Prezi for my presentations in class. I think I'll be a Mac user forever because the apps and ease of use that it offers is just right for a busy person like me.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Online Readings: Curiosity and Teaching with Technology

Did you ask a good question today? This idea may be the only sure way to educational reform, so "they" say. Read Curiosity Here There Everywhere

Connect. Create. Explore. Steps to global education begin with connectedness Global Connections.

Sound pedagogy, admin support and a strong IT backbone remain the awesome threesome in successfully integrating tech in instruction. Be a 21st century teacher by being a 21st century learner

Happy reading! Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Story of Our Libs

Nothing thrills me more than to hear news of younger librarians carrying on the storytelling torch for others to follow the path, or better yet, pave new roads for more librarians to conduct regular storytelling sessions in their learning communities. Ann Grace Bansig and Darrel Manuel Marco, school librarians of De La Salle Santiago Zobel, will be conducting a storytelling workshop on December 8, 2012 at the Quezon City Public Library.

Details in this poster below:

Quality Books Exhibit

I got an invitation from the National Book Development Board via email --

DepEd and  NBDB Set Quality Books Exhibit--open to everyone, no entrance nor registration fees.

In celebration of Philippine Book Development Month, the Department of Education and the National Book Development Board are holding a first-ever exhibition of Highly Recommended Supplementary Materials on Nov 27-28 at 10am -5pm at the Mega Trade Hall 1. SM Megamall. The exhibiton will feature about 1600 awardwinning book titles and other books endorsed by the NBDB. About 20 publishers are participating.

These were gathered from the National Book Award winners and finalists, National Children's Book Awards, Gintong Aklat Award winners and finalists, Madrigal-Gonzalez First Book Award winners, Carlos Palanca Memorial Award winners, MAN Asia Literary Prize Filipino winners and finalists, NBDB Quality Seal Textbooks, and Highly Recommended Books selected by the Metrobank Foundation Network of Outstanding Teachers and Educators (NOTED). Copies of the list of quality books which will be updated yearly will be available.

The event is meant to help teachers and administrators from both public and private schools in selecting Philippine titles for supplementary reading and library collections. There will also be lectures on Textbook Development in the Mother Tongue, Translating Textbooks, Teaching with a Local Cultural Perspective, and Choosing Supplementary Materials and other related topics. National Artist Virgilio Almario leads the roster of speakers. DepEd will be represented by Sec. Armin Luistro and Usec Francis Varela.
All are welcome to attend. The exhibit and the workshops are free of charge.
For more info, call the NBDB at 920-9853, 929-3677, 929-3887 or visit 

I got the invite from the chair of the NBDB herself so I feel compelled to go. I'll think I shall enjoy myself.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Early Christmas Gift to Self

Monkey and Turtle by Bernadette Solina Wolf

And, for an early celebration of the 30th National Children's Book Day (July 2013).

Reading Choices

Browsing the books on display
My kids are now of the age when they can choose books and reading materials on their own. When we're at the mall, we drop by a bookstore to browse and buy books with in the allotted budget. When I bring them books I borrowed from the library, they choose the ones they like according to book cover (yes the adage Don't judge the book by its cover does not apply), title, genre and author. It will take time for their selection criteria to change and grow.

I am patient. What I can do for them now is to provide them with the reading materials and a literacy rich environment. This is not easy but, it is included in the word, parenting.

Their school had a book fair recently. What an opportune time to exercise this choice of reading, and yes, buying. So, after both kids asked of their book budget they set off to the rows and rows of books displayed by National Bookstore.

At the book fair, they met classmates and friends who were there for the book party. I also met my kids' high school librarian, Mr. Marlon Salinas, who invited me last week for a talk and mini-workshop on Creative Writing with grades 9 and 10. More on that next post.

With HS Librarian, Mr. Marlon Salinas

Nico picked up Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, while Zoe bought two activity books on puzzles. Last night, Nico told me, "Ma, the book is better than the movie."

Of course. It has always been that way.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Start Up Bibliotherapy Collection

I visited the Adamson University Library last month and, lo and behold, discovered their Bibliotherapy Collection. This shelf has books on self help, Psychology and Philosophy. There are fiction books as well that carry themes of personal success and struggles.

Reading the poster attached on the shelf, I suppose the collection is a spring board for readers to explore more books. This way, readers are invited to engage in ideas and information that will lead them to a deeper understanding of life and, as the poster puts it, to cultivate a culture of research.

I pulled out one book. Coelho's By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept is a favorite. The piece of paper that's inserted in the book happens to be a feedback and response form. The reader fills this out and submits this to the librarian. For doing this, the reader has a chance on winning a prize.

 Browsing the book I came upon the page where a line goes "To fall in love is risky..." Written beside it, in blue ink is the word: SOBRA. In English, the word means, too much.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Citing of Sources and In-Text Citations

Information Literacy Session: Citing Sources and In-Text Citations
Grade 11 TOK (Theory of Knowledge)

15 November - TOK Class A
16 November - TOK Class B
*Both 1st periods

What idea do I want the 11s to bring with them after the session:
Avoid plagiarism by citing your sources and citing in-text

What IL skill do I want the 11s to apply across subject areas: Engagement and extraction of relevant information from sources (read, listen, view, take notes, reflect, summarize)

Procedure (for Teacher Librarian to do):
1. Present IL topics: Citations and In-Text Citation
2. For students: Generate as many questions as you can about the topic. Focus on what you want to know about the topics.
3. Show Cite is Right video -
4. Game: Plagiarism Quiz -
5. Go back to the questions generated by students at the start of class and check if these questions were answered by the activity they just finished doing (video and game).
6. Put on parking lot unanswered questions.
7. Short lecture on in-text citation: Ten Things to Remember when Citing In-Text (from MLA Handbook)
8. Show samples of in-text citations.
9. Distribute handout on in-text citation.
10. Go back to parking lot and check for questions that were answered through the short lecture

Instructional Materials:
MacBook / LCD / post its / Parking Lot photo / In-Text Citation Handout

Cite is Right Video -
Plagiarism Quiz -

The Modern Language Association. MLA handbook for writers of research papers. New York: MLA, 2009.

Prepared by  Zarah C. Gagatiga / Teacher Librarian 8 November 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Library Display: The Reading Table

My reading and library promotion strategies are in a roll!

Apart from sending recommended reads to the school community, I set up a table by the circulation counter. This table has selected readings from the Teacher Resource collection. Book covers have a special appeal. Then again, never judge the book by its cover thus, the annotated list of suggested good readings for the term.

Another book display I worked on last term was the graphic novels table. The low table in the reading area where couches  for easy reading are stationed has graphic novels splayed over it. Twice a month, the graphic novels are replaced by newer ones or those up on the shelf. Students read them at the library. And yes, they borrow the graphic novels too.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Take Time to Read

Teachers will always say they have no time to read. Some alibi, right?

I'd rather take the excuse, so many books, so little time to read because it means that the interest to read is present in the person saying so. We are in a day and age when reading, like library use, needs promotion.

Promote reading by creating interactive library bulletin boards and displays. Use Twitter and FB to post quick reading responses on books read. Regularly send out short but substantial emails to the faculty of new titles and recommended reads. Below are five titles from our library's Teacher Resources.

1. Why the Universe is the Way it Is? by Hugh Ross - examines the complexities of the universe and ties them with the Scriptures. More philosophy than physics, it would lead readers to reflect on the purpose of humanity.

2.The Excellent 11: Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire and Educate Chidlren by Ron Clark - is intended to inspire teachers, parents and allied professionals who work with children. Eleven stories that speak of the essential 11s are featured in the book.

3. Positive Discipline: A Teacher's A-Z Guide - The title says it all :-)

4. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman - Our brains are capable to do both kids of thinking as identified by Kahneman, but when to use fast thinking and slow thinking is the highlight of the book.

5. A New Culture of Learning by Douglas Thomas - a book on educational technology for today's teacher on instructing and facilitating learning to the net generation.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ebook Collection Development for School Libraries

Before jumping on the ebook bandwagon, think things over and draft a strategy for developing an ebook collection for your school library. I am sharing what I've whipped up for starting out an ebook collection in the library.

Why an ebook collection?
1. Experiment on a new business model in acquiring digital content for the library that adheres to a required budget allocation.
2. Offer new services to a market that is young, fickle, media induced and tech savvy.
3. Expand the library’s collection, thereby, addressing the clamor on information access for all and at all times (as possible).

What to consider?
1. License agreement containing terms and agreement, restrictions and scope of access.
2. Business model may be by lease or perpetual access.
3. Fees/budget may vary according to choice of business models: one book/one user, subscription, multi-user, simultaneous unlimited use, print on demand, pay per use.
4. Purchase by consortia. Plus: increase buying power. Minus: libraries have different needs
5. Evaluate vendors and analyze cost, especially among and between vendors

Ebook vendors / Third party solution:

FolletShelf  -
OverDrive -
Project Muse -

* FolletShelf and EBSCO can provide demos. With the changing landscape in epublishing and new business models that publishers implement, it is good to request for demos as needed. Schedules of demo are indicated in the websites.

* Project Muse orders on ebooks can be made but, license agreement must be checked and referred to for further study and evaluation.

* Tech requirements for ebook access via ereaders ℅ Tech Dept. and Finance (purchase and insurance matters).

* Ereaders (Kindle/iPad) can be used as storage devices for ebooks. Allot one ereader for a collection: References, General Collection, Fiction and Teachers Resources

* Explore other means of developing a digital collection: file server where pdfs can be saved, organized and retrieved / Google Docs as database for pdfs / collection of web resources.

* Draft a set of rules and guidelines for ereaders use / ebook selection and purchase must be reflected in the collection development program and policy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

IFLA 2013: Call for Posters on Intergenerational Literacy

79th IFLA General Conference and Council: Future libraries: Infinite Possibilities
Singapore, August 17-23, 2013


Programme: Intergenerational Literacies: textotechno

The IFLA Literacy and Reading and Information Literacy Sections are seeking proposals for  a joint programme to be held at the IFLA Conference in Singapore in August 2013.

The challenge of new information and learning landscape can lead to all sorts of information gaps. One of them is a gap between texto and techno generations which can cause intergenerational isolation and separation. The program will showcase innovative and effective library programmes that intend to bridge this gap.
Proposals are requested for as many as ten tabletop presentations which will be given simultaneously. After an opening plenary keynote address, audience members will rotate to three different fifteen-minute presentations of their choice.  Presenters will therefore be asked to repeat their presentation three times for three different sets of people. 

Proposals chosen for presentation will be specific about how libraries and/or associations have tackled issues related to texto and techno literacies in their particular setting, thus developing intergenerational literacies, dialogue, digital inclusion and social cohesion. They should be grounded in theory, research, and/or practical applications.  Because these projects will be presented in an informal, small group setting, speakers should plan some visual accompaniment such as a poster that can be set up on the table.  Presenters may also want to bring brochures or flyers to hand out.  People submitting successful proposals will be asked to write a brief paper summarizing their library programme or project  for publication in the IFLA Proceedings.  All chosen presenters will be listed in the official Conference programme.

Proposals in English are required, and should provide the following information:
    Name and institution of speaker(s)
    Brief biographical information
    Proposal title
    Brief (300 to 500 word) description of project and presentation format
    Language of presentation

Proposals should be sent to Elena Corradini (Secretary of the Literacy and Reading Section) at  HYPERLINK "" by November 30, 2012. Please indicate "IFLA Proposal WLIC 2013" on the subject line. Finalists will be notified by December 15, 2012, and will be expected to submit final versions of their papers in one of the official IFLA languages by May 15, 2013.

For more information, please contact Leikny Haga Indergaard (Chair of Literacy and Reading Section) at:  HYPERLINK ""   

Please note that it is the speakers’ responsibility to find funding for their participation.

Book Discussion for Librarians

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trese 5 Book Tour

Trese 5 is part of the Trese series by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo published by Visprint.

Photo source:

Teachers' Library Packet

At the start of the academic year, I was given a short session by my Head of School to present to teachers the basic and fundamental services the library can offer them. I whipped up a Teacher's Packet that sets the basic information on information access, available database, ways to work collaboratively with the librarian and recommended reads.

At the start of the second term, I'm scheduled to join in the departmental meetings of teachers with their academic coordinators to revisit use of library resources, and in a way, audit existing instructional materials and information that can be used for teaching and instruction.

This goes to show that the development of library programs and the evaluation of library services is a communal effort. The librarian needs to reach out and touch base with library users to improve its collection and systems of operation. Below is the library packet I've prepared for teachers.

The Beacon Academy Library
Teachers’ Packet
AY 2012-13

And so it is written, in the MYP Subject Guides --
Librarians have an overall view of the curriculum and, in particular, of students’ IL needs and LL skills (philosophy/belief system) development. It is important to involve librarians in:

* unit planning
* resourcing units
* planning for, and mapping, ATL skills
* promoting academic honesty (including such skills as referencing)

The Beacon Academy library staff aims to work with you, collaboratively, this academic year in the teaching and learning process. The library’s physical, virtual and intellectual doors, and windows, are open wide for your access to a variety of learning resources and ideas.

Access to the library collection

Library hours: 7:50 AM to 4PM
BA Library Web OPAC :

Online Subscriptions:
The Day -
Username: *****
Pword: *****

Project Muse -
*Access provided via Beacon Academy ISP

World Book Online

What’s new this year?  4 KINDLES! We’re starting an ebook collection :-)
Kindle 1 - Fiction
Kindle 2 - Philo, Religion, Social Sciences, Languages
Kindle 3 - Math, Sciences, Tech
Kindle 4 - Literature and History

DVD/CD/VCD  Collection - Open shelf / Instructional and Institutional

Teacher and Teacher Librarian Collaboration
* Request for resources (print, digital, resource person, interlibrary loan, access to other libraries)
* Building of a reading list for your unit or subject content (bibliographic info arranged in MLA style)
* One-on-one consultation with the TL re: resources on units of study (student and teacher)
* Small group research @the library (guided and/or independent)
* Class orientation and ATL integrated sessions / Library link lessons

Recommended Reads for PD (Professional Development)

1. Enhancing professional practice / by Danielson, Charlotte.   Alexandria, Va. : Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, c2007 TR 371.102 DAN

2. Revisiting professional learning communities at work / by DuFour, Richard,   Bloomington : Solution Tree, c2008 TR 371.207 DUF

3. Stirring the Head, Heart and Soul / by Erickson, H. Lynn   California : Corwin Press, 2008 TR 375.000979 ERI

4. Positive discipline   New York : Three Rivers Press, c2001 TR 371.50973 POS

5. The Excellent 11 / by Clark, Ron,   New York : Hyperion, c2004 TR 371.102 CLA


A learning community reads. A reading community learns

The Beacon Academy Library seeks to involve the learning community in its bi-monthly Recommended Reads service.

Aug and Sept - Hello! Goodbye! Hello! is about beginnings, change and adaptation. 

Oct and Nov - The Book of My Life challenges us to look at the books/reading materials
that made an impact at how we see ourselves, others and the world.

Dec and Jan - Family, Fiesta and Festivities prompts us to think of books that speak of family
        cultures, celebrations and holidays. You may want to consider books and reading
        materials that discuss Family Literacy.

Feb and Mar - Anything goes. Really. Feel free to recommend any book or reading material :-)
April and May - Taking it easy. It’s summer time, and yes, the reading is easy.



Monday, November 5, 2012

The Drawings of Kora

This one is for Kora Dandan Albano who is selling her art works for a very, very good cause. Got wind of this info from her Facebook account so when I learned she was selling I immediately reserved one of her Ampalaya artworks. This is an original drawing from the best seller Alamat ng Ampalaya by Augie Rivera, published by Adarna House. Ampalaya is such a character, but, Kora's red hot sili (pepper) is a scene stealer. I have always wondered what that pepper knows that the reader does not.

Interested to buy Kora's art works? Go to her FB page, Kora Dandan Albano, and check out the photo section.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Picture Book Month 2012

It is November and the calendar is full of literary and literacy events. There will be a Read Lit District affair in Manila come mid-November and it promises a host of popular literary celebrities from here and abroad. Thanks to the National Book Development Board's (NBDB) untiring efforts of bringing readers, writers and lovers of words together, Manila is fast the becoming the new literary events place of this generation. Let's just hope that the sparkle and glimmer of celeb writers who will visit our shores will reach the regions. Perhaps technology can do that. With social media and the Internet, what is not possible these days?

Speaking of which, a US based literary and literacy event is taking place this whole month of November as well. And, thanks to Facebook, I am reminded to blog about it!

It's Picture Book Month!

Dianne De Las Casas, one of the founders of Picture Book Month has consistently been posting updates over at FB. Visit the website for details. There's a theme to talk about and discuss every week for as long as it concerns picture books! Also, there's a long list of authors and illustrators who speak and advocate the creation and readership of picture books.

Why are picture books important?

Dear me. I learned to read through picture books. My kids learned to read through picture books. And I bet, there are lucky kids out there who are learning how to read through picture books. By saying this, we look at reading not just a way to comprehend the written word but a skill set to derive meaning out of pictures, images and visual metaphors. Picture books are a trampoline for young readers so that they'll be able to tackle difficult materials and media in the future.

We're preparing kids for reading and for LIFE. Let's add picture books and the reading of it in their daily diet!

Jose Aruego & Albert Gamos Tributes

Last September, the UP College of Education Reading Department, otherwise known as REGALE, conducted the annual MILES, Manhit Institute of Language Education Seminar series, in honor of Jose Aruego and Albert Gamos, two dearly departed Filipino illustrators for children. The tribute is in part of the Weavers of Magic forum of MILES.

 PBBYers, Karina Bolasco, Ani Almario and yours truly gave tribute to Albert Gamos and Jose Aruego respectively. Dr. Lina Diaz de Rivera spoke well of Jose Aruego too, given that she personally knows him and has studied and taught about his works.

Russell Molina, Jomike Tejido and Robert Magnuson gave a talk on their craft and body works to the delight of participants and smitten fans.

Aruego and Gamos, both known for their unique and exceptional skills as well as wholesome personalities, paved the way for Filipino children's illustrators. There are many talented ones to continue on what they've started out. Here's hoping that they remain humble and sincere as their illustrious lolos.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rizal and Bonifacio

The Rizal journal is available at the Ayala Museum. Bought it last year being Rizal's 150th birthday. The Bonifacio planner is a recent acquisition from UP Press. 2013 is Bonifacio's 150th year.

I find their life stories very romantic.

Books & Readings on Bullying and Agression

Russell Molina asked me what my thoughts are on bullying and how it can be prevented. I remember I gave him a lengthy reply. Now, I can only recall saying this to him: The family, being the smallest unit of society, can be the best place to start an anti-bullying campaign. Here's a collected set of books and online resources on bullying and how we can all do our part to make this world a peaceful and empathic place to live in.

a. Bullying and Violence: Youth with aggression by Kenneth McIntosh - presents a case on bullying and shows two sides of the bullying episode: the bully and the bullied; includes therapy and programs to handle bullying in the family, at home and in the community at large.

b. Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture f Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons - While many reported cases of bullying in school involves boys, a form of aggression happens among girls as well. Simmons has a comprehensive discussion on the nature of aggression among children, especially, girls and presents the subtle signs that care takers of children, parents, teachers, counselors, and the like must look out for.

c. Cliques, Crushes and True Friends: Developing Healthy Relationship by Ashley Rae Harris - this resource is more of a companion to the issue in question.    It identifies personality types from the follower, the cling on, the loner, etc. It may help teachers identify such kids and though, there is a possible stereotyping as an effect, the author provides readers with tips to handle, relate and deal with such people cautioning them to treat people with compassion and empathy.

And now, online stuff to check -

How Not to Raise a Bully: The Roots of Empathy - takes off from bullying cases in US schools. There's much to relearn and to reflect on the topic.

Evidenced Based Anti-Bullying Programs - evidenced based anti-bullying programs from Pre-K to college level

Bullies Be Gone- the first social space and place of a child is the family. Bullying may happen in the home as well.

And while we're at the topic, perhaps we can also take a few minutes to read on another reality - that adults can bully and be bullied as well.

Staffroom Bullying  - identifies the human need for power as a motivation to bully

Stop Bullying Now - a paper that discuss cases where acts of bullying by teachers to students happened. Includes implications on how school leadership can design policies on anti-bullying

Movie Review: Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles

Titktik: The Aswang Chronicles
GMA Films and Agosto Dos
Directed by Erik Matti

I saw the full trailer of GMA Films' Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles a month back when my family and I watched an APO Hiking music inspired movie. All four of us were impressed of the powerful visuals of Tiktik that we have the movie scheduled for a Halloween viewing. We did as planned and we were not disappointed.

For one, it's the kind of movie that did not make us think. I mean this in a good way.  For me and hubby, it was a perfect leisurely watch since we both work in places were thinking is the name of the game. For Nico and Zoe, exams had just ended, so goodbye thinking cap.

It was hard not to enjoy the movie. We  marveled at the visual texture the movie evoked since it made the setting, time and place characters too. There were scenes that grossed out our youngest (Zoe) but the campy tandem of Ramon Bautista and Joey Marquez made her forget the gory scenes. By itself, it is a good movie with a decent script since we shared our aswang stories to our kids' undivided attention and interest before retiring for home. I can't endorse it as an aswang movie for all families, but it will definitely rekindle old horror tales from long ago. The conversations that come after watching a movie is precious. This sharing of after thoughts rarely happens (in families) anymore.

Two days after watching Tiktik, my daughter asked me this, "Ma, talaga bang may aswang?" (Are aswangs real?)

I replied, "If you can think about it, what makes you say it is not real? The thing is, an aswang can be a metaphor or a symbol of evil. It can be the evil inside of you or in your environment. And like Makoy and Nestor in the movie, you just don't surrender to evil easily. You have to fight it to overcome it. Sometimes, it takes a while to fight it out with our aswangs and the aswangs that dwell around us."

She has not asked me since then. Happy Halloween!

Photo source:
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