Sunday, January 31, 2016

LAUGHrary: The Justin Bieber Question

BEFORE: These are the two questions I asked to seniors working on their Extended Essays


AFTER: Two weeks after, it was converted to a Justin Bieber question.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

PAASCU Accreditation Visit: Another Way of Learning

Teacher and artist, Rolly Delos Santos
My recent PAASCU Accreditation visit to De La Salle Santiago Zobel (DLSZ) was a learning experience, as all accreditation visits are, at least for me. For newbies to the PAASCU visit, this would seem like an inspection done by experts. For the seasoned ones, the PAASCU experience is an exercise where both parties, the school seeking accreditation and the accreditors, learn from. It is, in one way, a means toward professional development. Looking at the bigger picture, the accreditation process can be likened to a conversation and colloquim of educators seeking ways to learn continuously in an ever changing world.

This PAASCU experience made me think of the future of school libraries and how technology is changing its purpose as fast as drifting sand. How are LIS professionals, the young and especially the seasoned ones coping? This is a question that can't be answered in one sitting. This would require a connect the dots process and tons of research, on the field and in libraries.

I share with you now what I took with me after this PAASCU visit.

For one, reading through the report is an analytical task. One way to develop critical thinking is to look at criteria and read reports that justify, qualify and explain the evaluation rating assigned per criterion. Going through exhibits and conducting interviews are additional tasks that further lead to this kind of thought process. As I tend to think globally on most times, depending on my emotions to make decisions and feeling my gut to take on an action the analysis work of accreditation provides the needed balance in thought and thinking. The brain has the left and the right sides. Learning how to tap into both hemisphere takes time to develop and practice.

Visiting different libraries through PAASCU work gives me a sense of how things are in Philippine school libraries. This is a big data I often file somewhere in my mind. I pull some of it out when the need arises. Like, when I give talks and conduct workshops. I see many kinds of school libraries. I talk to many school librarians. The experience is both amazing and overwhelming. I come face to face with problems of many school librarians. The challenges are huge. I tell myself to hang on because, really, there is no better time to be a school librarian in the Philippines but today. A lot of things are happening. Giving up is not an option.

Jay Diola, Librarian of DLSZ
Meeting friends and making new ones are experiences I enjoy during a PAASCU visit. In DLSZ, I met librarian friends and colleagues. I met Tito Rolly Delos Santos, finally. I first learned of him ten or eleven years ago during the first iBlog. He attended the iBlog conference as a newbie. We both were green horns in the conference among younger bloggers who have taken into blogging like fish to water. Thank God for the blogosphere and social media, we are able to keep in touch. I asked him for how long he has been with DLSZ. With a proud smile, he said he has been teaching in DLSZ for three decades already. That is a lifetime! It was nice of him to bring me to the grade school library to meet another good friend of mine. We did not miss the collage of St. John La Salle in the high school library though. This work of art is his masterpiece!

I have also picked up some marketing ideas along the way. Asking permission from librarian friends there, I will adapt and modify these strategies.

Since DLSZ is subscribed to Overdrive, their shelves have bookmakers on books that have ebook versions and audio book counterparts in Overdrive. The DLSZ library also has a Learning Commons. While some may think that this is merely a space or a room for interactivity, there is a philosophy and a pedagogy behind its presence and practice. I think this is another trend that needs thinking through before implementing and adapting it in school libraries. Will I put one in our school library? Study the possibility.

Book Menu of the Day
 What I find cute and easy to do is the Book Menu. This reading promo/display can actually be a bibliotherapy book promotion. What the DLSZ librarians did was to set up the Chicken Book for the Soul series like a menu from a restaurant or cafe. Imagine serving books as food for the soul? Sounds exciting, right? I can get to talk about books I have read that have bibliotherapy value to readers. I will be definitely be blogging about these reading promos and how I adopt and adapt them in my work place. Watch out for it!

Apart from these reflections and experiences, I had a closer look at Blended Learning, UbD and the outreach programs of DLSZ. Big ideas that need to be eaten like an elephant.

Teacher on Center Stage: Victor "Teacher Vic" Villanueva

This month, the blog features Mr. Victor, "Teacher Vic" Villanueva, teacher and reading specialist. He conducts reading assessment and implements reading intervention programs for K-12 learners. Teacher Vic teaches at Builders School in Quezon City. In this blog post, he tells us a bit about his job as a reading specialist and provides parents with tips on how they can help their kids become better readers.

What does it take to be a reading specialist? 

The person who aspires to be a reading specialist must have a real desire to help someone to read better than how he is reading at the moment through mindful teaching. This person needs to have a solid understanding of how the reading process actually happen in normally achieving individuals so he can tell when it is not working for a particular person. This understanding should be fused with teaching skills that will enable this person build the literacy competence of the one who struggles with reading.

 If not a reading specialist, what are you today? 

I would have been a high school history teacher. When I started dreaming of becoming a teacher, I was also falling in love with story of humankind. I was in high school at the time. I knew then that I wanted to teach.

Your top 5 tips to parents so they can help their kids become better readers 

    •    Parents should first have to believe that their children can become better at reading or in anything that is worth being good in.

    •    Parents should be convinced that reading is worth being proficient in.

    •    They have to think that reading is an ability that depends on desire and habit.

    •    They need to have a basic understanding of how a child develop the love for reading and the skill to do it.

    •    They need to put their money where their mouths are. If parents believe in the value of reading, they need to be ready to spend for it.

For inquiries on reading assessment and intervention programs, Teacher Vic can be reached through these contact numbers: 293-5431 (Builders School) and 09178527491 (mobile number).

Friday, January 29, 2016

Live Blogging: Day 2 of Follett Workshop 2016 PM Session

We are winding down to the last fifteen minutes of the Follett Destiny Workshop. The afternoon session was filled with more product presentations that help and support school librarians with the technical work of the job. What I find interesting are Lightbox and the collection analysis and collection maps in Titlewave. Tim Ramsey shows the efficacy of the system in analyzing and mapping of collection. He is very accommodating, open for questions and assistance when needed, as needed. As a former librarian, he sure knows the language of librarians. I think this is the strength of Follett in the present time. Their people are library trained.

As I close my day and think of home, I have a list of to do's before writing that report and proposal for acquiring Follet Destiny. These are as follows:

a. Do a study of school libraries that are using Follet Destiny. Or visit these schools.
b. Consult with our Finance people for library budget in the academic year 2016 - 2017.
c. Consultation with our Tech people in school for technical support locally.
d. Conversation with my staff on the issue of migration to a new LMS.
e. Request for a beta version from Jenna Emerson, Follet Destiny representative.
f. Review the library's annual plan of activities and programs.

Doesn't look very long, but the work is big. It's time to roll up my sleeves.

Live Blogging: Day 2 of Follett Workshop 2016 AM Session

Suji DeHart is a cheer leader for the school library.
Day 2 of Follett Workshop continues!

We listened to an inspirational talk this morning by Suji DeHart on library best practices using Follett Destiny, teacher and librarian collaboration, and use of web based app for library instruction. Suji is a school librarian from International School Kuala Lumpur (ISKL). She uses googlesites for a directory of web sites, collected and curated based on the school's curricular offering. Suji mentioned that she is in every faculty meeting and parents coffee, meaning, school librarians need to be PR managers of the school library. That's putting in a lot of visibility factor for the library.

In Suji's case, it's a lot of hard work. But it works!

After her session, we had a library visit to ISM's Media Center where we saw the genrefication of the fiction collection. ISKL started rearranging the fiction collection by genre and Suji discussed this in her presentation earlier. This is an interesting trend but, knowing me, I do not jump right away in the band wagon. I need to know more and reflect on this trend vis-a-vis our school community's context and culture. I believe that the success of a school library always depend on the unique ecosystem to which it belongs to. So, I will give this some time to think over. But, I will definitely go back to ISM to see how they turn the library into a bookstore type learning space.

Genrefication of Fiction Books: Is the shift worth it? What are the payoffs?
The Follett Destiny peeps are back showing how features of the LMS can work for our advantage. The Visual Search is pretty cool as well as the online support system set up for Follett Destiny users. Tim Ramsey is on the floor now speaking about the many uses of Follett Learning and Follet Shelf. He did say that when an ebook is bought through Follet Shelf, it is the buyers' property. No more perpetual access and limited access. What now of digital rights management?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Live Blogging: Follett Workshop 2016 PM Session

This afternoon, Larry Gilbert is showing participants the rest of the modules of Follet Destiny. We have explored the ebook collection that can be accessed through Brytewave, an app that can be easily downloaded from iTunes and Google Play. I love the Catalog interface where cataloging is done as easy as copying records from other databases. Everything is up there including RDA. It is only a matter of bandwidth and internet connection that would make or break the easy functionality of this module. So, this would mean two things: 1) secure a strong internet connection; and 2) set up an efficient system of work routines so that, more reader engagement can be spent with patrons of the library. I. LIKE. THIS.

Follett Community is where school librarians can get support from Follett people and colleagues.

Acquisition of books and ebooks can be done through Titlewave. Now this is not new to me since I bought our start up collection from Titlewave. I got the books cataloged already, barcoded and covered in acetate. Titlewave also sent the catalog cards and the soft copies that were easily converted into our current database because it was in MARC file. Easy as pie. The downside: shipmnet fees and customs duties. At the time, books were taxed. We ended up paying a big amount. Now I have to verify the lifting of book duties before resuming buying in bulk from Titlewave again.

We are winding down to Reports and, just like the rest of the modules, it has everything: patrons profile, over dues and fines, collection analysis, inventory and library statistics. From what I learned, the entire library system costs 3,000.00 USD.

So, I have a library budget that needs to be reviewed as well as a time line of work and projects to finish. I will see where I can put this transition or migration of databases and LMS in place against the bigger scheme of things.

Live Blogging: Follett Workshop 2016

The Back Office where the librarian has control of the LMS.
I am at the International School Manila (ISM) today attending the Follett Workshop for school librarians. Day 1 is a whole day discussion and product demo on Follet Destiny, a school library management system. Day 2 is going beyond Follett Destiny and into the school library.

As I write this, Larry Gilbert, Destiny Doctor, is demonstrating the efficacy of the Back Office - the admin control of Follet Destiny. The demo is pretty thorough and Larry Gilbert knows the system like the back of his hand. I find the interface helpful, efficient and easy to navigate. I have no doubts on the software and since I started at The Beacon Academy, I have my eyes set on Follett Destiny as the system of choice. In real life, however, there are factors to consider before making the decision of acquiring and using a library management system. I opted to go the other way in library automation. While our current library management system is working, issues on upgrades, centralization and connectivity, e-book availability and management have surfaced.

Because of change and continuing professional development, I open myself once more to the possibility of acquiescing Follet Destiny. As I listen to Larry, my notebook has a long list of questions and notes to put together. These would come in handy when I write my report and proposal.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

UP FLIPP: New Professionals Series

Because I was invited as one of the reactors to the seminar and conference.

Also, I support future LIS professionals whatever college, university or school they hail from. I have always asked myself when will I ever teach LIS in the college level. It looks like it is going to be a long time coming. It won't happen in the near future though, I feel it in my bones that teaching in the university is a path I can take. A possibility, if things go my way as planned.

What excites me about this seminar and conference is the discourse that will follow after the resource speakers' input. I am eager to hear new voices in the profession. I know I can learn from the younger set of LIS professionals as well as from students studying LIS. Since I blog, do expect a live blog entry. And yes, I will be using social media too.

Such conversations need to cut across groups and communities using media and technology. Who knows what conversations will transpire online line even after the seminar and conference folded up?

Guide Posts and Cornerstones in Research

Reflecting on process and product
As I have written in a previous blog post, we resumed research and EE work the week we got back at school in January. During an EE session with the juniors, I asked them two questions to prompt them to look back at where they are in their EE journey and to push them to look ahead, deadlines and all. After two weeks, I am getting final drafts of the seniors' EEs.

I am swamped.

Not complaining.

Just saying.

What I like about this experience is that, as a high school librarian, I get a first hand experience at seeing research being done by students. I also get to work closely with EE Supervisors as they guide and mentor their students in the process of writing the EE. Now, these are two interesting research topics I can work on in the future.

But, it has to wait a while.

Here are some random reflections, questions and thoughts I have been tossing in my head as I push the idea of an action research or a paper on high school research and collaborative teaching back in my head. For now, I wish to entertain these questions and thoughts before jumping into that research paper.

1. Research and writing are both process oriented tasks that involve a lot of cognitive functions. How can complex tasks such as these can be scaled down or divided in chunks so that, the high school student working on college level work can be guided or taught appropriately?

2. Where in the curriculum can a teacher teach writing and research? Apart from process, the word skills comes to mind when I meet writing and research almost everyday of my working life. So, content is essential as the meat or the substance by which the skills are applied.

3. Research is formative as well. Not only is it a test of intellectual endurance, it is also a test of character. Patience. Perseverance. Commitment to finish a task. How are we preparing our teens for the emotional stamina needed to do research?

4. Writing is listening. To one's self. To one's readers. We may teach writing as a form of communication, but, have we considered teaching writing as conversation and discourse?

5. As the school librarian, I am compelled to model research and writing. And reading! Yes, I need to read the curricular content. I need to know what sources to provide both student and teacher working on such tasks. Designing an environment to support research and thinking is a primary expectation, but going beyond and developing knowledge management systems in the school is another challenge.

Oh boy. Oh boy. Oh my.

Where will these thoughts lead me? Or am I misled by my thoughts?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Looking Back at IBGD Activities

Because it is International Book Giving Day (IBGD) on February 14, I look back at the books I gave away and who got them.

In 2013, I gave away Filipiniana and some picture books . The picture books were given to grade one students of Loma Elementary School. At the time, I was part of the team of volunteers who came every afternoon for tutorial sessions. The kids were suprised to be given books! To this day, many Filipino children still have limited access to books and libraries. This is the reason why I believe in the goals and activities of International Book Giving Day. One reader can share the gift of reading and literacy to others. Sometimes, it is the little acts of kindness that makes a difference in the life of another. As for the Filipiniana books I gave away, they ended up in the school's faculty lounge and in the hands of co-teachers.

In 2014, I gave away my books! I gave a copy of Tales From the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories to my co-teacher, Mr. Joseph De Santo, who has a daughter growing up in an inter-racial family. My colleagues' son, Sam, got a copy of My Daddy, My One and Only!

Sadly, in 2015, all I was able to do was post the e-poster of IBGD. I think I was busy with something else that year. A trip to Japan! So, this year, I am going to participate again. What books will I give away? Who will get them?

For more information, visit the IBGD website. There you can download free posters, bookmarks and book plates that are all artistically designed. These book stuff are lovely. And it is free! IBGD stays true to its simple goal of book giving. If you are going to participate in the book giving, please use #bookgivingday when you post photos and news about it in your social media accounts.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Singing Librarian and the Singing Guidance Counselor

Here is a video of our performance last Saturday, January 9, 2016 at the Variety Show of the Back to Beacon Fair.

With me is Ms. Mayen Lopez, our guidance counselor. We sang Points of View by Joey Albert.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Back At Work in the School Library

I am back at work since Monday. The first two days were spent going back to the to do list and gearing up for the next five months ahead. So far, I have been productive. The usual routines were easy to do and my staff was up to speed to clear out the circulation counter. We set up new book displays and informed the school community of books to read at the start of the year.

What is on our current display table are books that inspire, encourage one to make a resolution and keep it through the year, and move one to reflect on things past and present. I put in some poetry books as well as collections of short stories for students and teachers to read in between their busy week. It is grading week this week, so, teachers particularly are stressed.

Yesterday, I had a session with the seniors for their Extended Essay work. They are now nearing the end of their research journey. Majority of them are down to the revision process. Our reading passports from last Christmas break are trickling in and I am excited to read feedback from students.

This morning, we kicked off our Book Fair for A Cause initiative where book sellers, Scholastic, Adarna House and Lampara Books will be selling their books. Proceeds of the fair will benefit the classroom library project of the library for Loma Elementary School.

On the admin side of things, I might attend a professional development workshop this month. This one is a workshop that I am pretty excited to attend since it will focus on international school librarianship. There is also the PCNC accreditation I am looking forward to doing soon with a team of staff here in school. It is a lot of work, similar to PAASCU but, I find such tasks intellectually stimulating.

I think I am off to a good start at work. Happy new year! Happy new you!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Links to The Janus Project 2015: Year End Reflections

The writing assignment I committed to doing is finally complete! I posted my reflections in my other blog, The Coffee Goddess, since the themes of the reflections were all very personal. Besides, the blog has been dormant for a year or more. Posting my reflections there is a way to revive the blog. So, for personal stuff I make public, it all goes to the TCG blog.

I am cross posting the links here in School Librarian In Action, because this blog has a following.

Where I wrote about accomplishments and highlights of 2015.

Where I wrote about failures and mistakes made in 2015.

Where I wrote about growing old as a game changer .

Where I wrote about the three things I spent my energies on.

Where I wrote about things lost and found.

If you are inspired by any of the entries, don't stop yourself from writing one. The assignment involved a lot of thinking, a lot of time. The result is clarity of thought and an amplification of the values that we hold dear.

It was worth doing.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Movie Review: #WalangForever

I met Jericho Rosales in 2012 at a storytelling session for the Inquirer


Director: Dan Villegas
Producers: Quantum Films, MJM Productions, Tuko Films, Buchi Boy Films

Our film of choice this Metro Manila Film Festival season is #WalangForever. It is too bad we didn't catch Honor They Father, but, who knows. I am hopeful to see the movie before the season officially ends. Now, for my review.

#WalangForever is a story of love lost and found. Mia, played by Jennylyn Mercado, and Ethan, portrayed by Jericho Rosales, are former lovers once engaged. Personal problems, priorities in life and career put their relationship to the test. It was one test they both failed. Thus, the experience made them bitter, jaded and scorned. Mia, a successful screenwriter coasts through life penning the greatest love of her life into her movies while Ethan, manages a thriving business, until a life changing event made him decide to leave the country and live with his mother abroad. Thanks to friends, a timely barkada reunion put them back together again.

Love is lovelier the second time around? Not really.

What worked

When Mia and Ethan were back in each others' arms, it was not the sweet moment of love's second chance. After all, a painful break up would elicit more complications. With Ethan's diminishing health, Mia made the choice to love again. Despite the past and the pain of loss, Mia went after her man and took the risk of being hurt all over again.

For what? And why? Well, to love. Forever.

This is where the conceit of forever comes in. It is in fact the questions, may forever ba? Ano nga ba ang forever? which the movie presented at the beginning by showing people and couples defining what forever is, is the whole point of the movie. It is a philosophical challenge, actually, but, with humor and comedic touches by Dan Villegas' direction, this idea of infinity and the struggle to establish the constants in our lives make the journey of finding a forever lighthearted at the same time, life affirming. In the end, the movie audience is made to find his or her own forever and its relative, if not elusive, definition. #WalangForever does not only make you laugh or cry, it makes you think of the what is and the now.

I find the script and storytelling smart and sensitive. I particularly loved the quiet, awkward moments and the hidden contexts between characters like Ethan and Aldus, Tita Betchay and Tonipet, Ethan's mom and her foreigner husband. The ensemble cast of supporting actors are a delight to watch. They are given enough back story to represent who they are in the lives of Mia and Ethan and the relevant roles they push the plot forward toward a happy ever after. Their roles, though small for some, like Sasha, Ethan's kinakapatid, emphasize the yearning or desire of this constant, this idea of forever. Despite Ethan's death, everyone remains hopeful. Life goes on. Love endures. The ending where Mia's latest film about her life and Ethan's is lived out for all to see and witness. Such is the story of love, where one's immense pain is a source of great joy.

Using film to amplify this concept and to tell a story in this medium is reflective of the passion and dedication that Villegas and the rest of the production team have on their craft. They make movies yes, but they also love. They love their art. They love their craft. They love to share a good story.

Hurrah to Jennylyn Mercado and Jericho Rosales. Their chemistry is amazing. Jennylyn Mercado's star quality never dims. Her light shines in the movie from start to finish. Jericho Rosales is still Mr. Pogi and though the lines on his forehead reveal that he is not as young as he used to be, he remains the dramatic actor I loved watching in Pangako Sayo (yes, I used to watch teleseryes).

What didn't work

Sid Lucero. That cameo. It is so small for his acting chops. Can someone please give him a lead role in a romcom?!

Rating: 3.5 / 5
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