Friday, June 30, 2017

NCBD 2017 and Voice of the Teachers

On Sunday, June 25, 2017, I was a guest in the radio show Voice of the Teachers. It goes on air at 1PM-2PM every Sunday at DWDD Katropa Radio 1134 kHz. It is hosted by an intrepid team of teachers and trainers namely, Sir Robert Peter "Bobby" Sagun Ancheta, Teacher Fe Mutallano Lustañas, Sir Jet Ramos and Teacher Herman Briñas. 

I was one of the four guests that afternoon. Each of us talked about our advocacy and field of expertise. Teacher Julia shared the findings on her research about factors that contribute to the migration of Filipino teachers for greener pastures. Sir Mike and Miss Abigail are professional trainors, teachers of teachers and allied professionals. It was an enjoyable and insightful afternoon!

With hosts and guests of Voice of the Teachers Radio Show

When it was my turn to talk about the Annual National Children's Book Day (NCBD) and the granting of the Salanga and Alcala Prizes, everyone in the room was all ears. It was their first time to know about the NCBD and the writing and illustrating prizes that the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) confer to the winners. When I told them about past awardees, honorable winners and the books that bear the Salanga and Alcala medals, their faces lit up in delightful familiarity. The titles I mentioned were Alamat ng Ampalaya, Chenelyn! Chenelyn! Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Lola! and Bruhaha! Bruhihi. 

The hosts, most especially, knew these stories and I was surprised as well when each host gave a summary of the book they are familiar with. They recalled these stories with fondness, like it was a part of their childhood years, a bygone age of  innocence and wonder. Such is the magic of stories and the enchantment that readers of all ages find in Children's Literature! 

Thank you to the hosts of Voice of the Teachers! Thank you to Teacher Marose Lagunsad for endorsing PBBY to the show as guest. It is always my pleasure to share and speak of our advocacy and literacy campaigns. 

On July 18, 2017, the awarding ceremonies of the Salanga and Alcala Prizes to this year's winners will be held at the CCP. On July 22, 2017, the second Children's Book Summit will take place in GT Toyota Asian Center in UP Diliman. Two sibling activities are also up on schedule that day. The Illustrators' Fair and the Storytelling Festival are two events for kids age 5 to 12 years old. These events are free and are being made possible through the collaborative efforts of the PBBY and the National Book Development Board (NBDB).

Happy National Children's Book Day! Laging bago ang mundo ng libro!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Priming Activity: The Hero and the Trusted Sidekick

Priming Activities help participants prepare themselves for a workshop or a learning encounter. For the facilitator, activities that prime the participants into the workshop help him or her establish a context that would make the experience more meaningful for them. On a personal note, I always put the participants above the topics for discussion. My goal is to meet them where they are at and that is a tall order for myself in a one-day workshop. But that is why I love designing and conducting workshop. I set high expectations upon myself so that I can learn from the experience too.

For the Hero and the Sidekick workshop, here are the priming activities for the participants.

A. Complete the following sentences:

I am attending the workshop because ____________________________________.

I want to know how __________________________________________________.

I want to understand __________________________________________________.

Your answers to Priming Activity A is your entrance pass to the workshop. Write your answers on a small sheet of paper with your name on it. I will collect the sheets of paper with your name and answers on it at the start of the workshop.

B. Read the blog article School Librarian: Every Educators Trusted Sidekick by Dianne McKenzie.

Go to this link: If this doesn't work, copy-paste the title of the article on Google's search box.

Write down what struck you while reading the article. If you have questions about the article, write them down too. Your answers will come in handy during the BUZZ GROUP sessions.

C. What to bring on July 4:

- an open mind and a positive attitude
- a schedule of work flow for the day
- a brief job description of your work as school librarian
- existing program on Media and/or Information Literacy, if your library has one 
- existing library instruction program, if your library has one
- for teachers: a sample lesson plan on any subject
- for school leaders: principals and academic coordinators bring a sample 3-5 year development plan that includes the library's growth and development along side the school's 

For questions, send me an email via If you are done with activity B, you may share it with me by sending your answers using my email address. Have fun everyone! See you on July 4!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Author of the Month: Darrel Manuel Marco

Telling stories! Reading aloud! Doing what he loves!
The blog's Author of the Month is Darrel Marco. He is a librarian, storyteller, reading advocate and an adventure-seeker. He goes around the country to tell stories and spread the love of reading. He also has presented papers about libraries and children's literature in Finland and Japan. A lover of life, long adventures and literacy!

The three books in the Bulilit Books series are his first books to be published by the Nutrition Council of the Philippines Publishing Corporation (NCPPC). I am proud to have worked with him on this project. I wouldn't be surprised if one day, we get to see more books from Darrel!

1. Describe the experience of writing your first books

I have been told a million times that it is hard to write children's books. 'Children's stories are more challenging because you have to think of the appropriate language!' 'You always have to consider the contexts of your readers, especially if they're children, it's hard to write stories with sensitive topics.' Thru writing Bulilit Books, my first-ever books soon to be published and read by many, it is true. Writing children's books, or any book, or writing in general are never a walk in the park.

When I was invited to become one of the writers for Bulilit Books, I immediately threw in my blue chip and shouted "I'M IN!" without considering the odds. After all, I have big trust in my writing team, who mostly have experience in writing children's stories (both have won writing awards). Joining a writing team proved to have advantages -- two heads are better than one (!!!) -- and that much of brilliant grey matters give birth to a lot of ideas. Now this is where collaboration, teamwork, and compromise come into play. I appreciate the open communication between our team -- from the storyboards, to the illustrator's studies, revisions back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth, and I learned to love Google docs, where we got to collaborate and share ideas.

Darrel in his element: sun, sand and sea!
My favorite part in the whole process got to be the Kid Test. I am not new to the world of children's literature as I have been a librarian and storyteller for a time now, but during this part of the writing process, I took a step back and used my writer's point-of-view. It was a big realization for me that the kids are very critical of what they hear and what they read. They are also very particular with details up to the smallest dot and a misplaced pot. Kids can really tell and they tell it to you bluntly, point-blank without batting an eyelash, nary a smile. Alongside these comments from the kids are the feedback and reviews from the many focus group discussions we have conducted with the teachers and other stakeholders. Indeed, it was a walk in the park. THE. JURASSIC. PARK. But all of those deemed to be very helpful in all our revisions and notes for future projects. After all, it is when we make mistakes that we truly learn [thru feedback, mentoring and constructive criticism, of course.]

As a storyteller, I am used to telling stories from books made by different writers. This time I believe as a writer, it is my stories that will tell who I am.

2. Where do you draw inspiration in writing stories?

It is always the innocent look in a kid's eyes whenever they hear me tell stories that continues to inspire me to tell and eventually write my own stories. Stories are magic. It's the ooohs and aaaahs, the laughter and sadness, the excitement in a kid's eyes that tell me -- Yeah! Push! Go Go Go Para sa Bayan! It is also our vision to inspire more Filipinos, children and adults alike, to read and love reading, and eventually, to write their own stories. Each of us has a story to tell, and these stories can conjure magic. Magic that can teach us compassion, empathy, and love (always!)

 Bulilit Books 2017
3. What are you most excited about the Bulilit Books?

How our kid partners from the Kid Test will react when we show them the before and after of the books. Plus the fact that it will be read and told in Hiligaynon and Cebuano! How exciting!

4. Five books that inspired you to become a writer

I'll make this short:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - I was Bod, lost and did not know where to belong until I found a family.
The Percy Jackson series! by Rick Riordan - I would love to write a Filipino version of this
Oh The Places You'll Go! (or everything) by Dr. Seuss - play with words! The Filipino language has a lot!
Love you forever by Robert Munsch - heartwarming and heart-wrenching
Sandosenang Sapatos / Papel de Liha - books where Filipino traits are being highlighted

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pilgrim's Pit Stop: Examen Prayer Apps

I started writing for the Magis Deo Newsletter nine or eight years ago. I took a hiatus for more than two years, I think. But, I am back now. Thanks to a divine intervention, I was inspired once more to write on a regular basis. Thanks to Magis Deo for allowing me a space to write once more in the Newsletter.

Last June, Pilgrim's Pit Stop debuted with an article on the anniversary of my Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) last April 2016. For the July issue, being the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola on July 31, I write about the Examen Prayer and three mobile apps that assist and help direct anyone who is willing to do the Examen.

I was first introduced to the Examen by Fr. Jean Desautels SJ. I signed up for the 19th Annotation where he was the spiritual director. I was in my third year of employment at Xavier School at the time and having attended the yearly Ignatian Retreats provided by the school, I felt I needed to deepen my prayer and enhance my prayer life with more meaning and verve. There was also the Consortium required for all newbies. I attended this in the middle of the school year and oh my, how it rocked my soul! I didn't remember praying for God to disturb me, but He did at a time when I seemed to be demanding so much from my relationships and from life, in general. Yet, happiness had been an elusive dream. The Consortium was my spiritual baptism of fire. Looking back, it was there where my spiritual journey began. I will share about this sometime soon on another platform or issue of the Newsletter.

Now, for the apps. These mobile apps on the Examen Prayer are produced and created by the Loyola Press, and The Prodigal Father. These three apps are: the 3 Minute Retreat; Jesuit Prayer; and the EXAMEN Prayer App. All three follow the five steps of the Examen and all can be downloaded for free in mobile phones, laptops and PC, and tablets and iPads. An internet connection is needed to download the apps, of course, as well as Google Play for Android and iCloud or iTunes for iPhone users.

The Examen Prayer App is made by The Prodigal Father, Fr. Michael Denk. It has an introductory video where Fr. Denk instructs users of the app through the Examen. Of the three apps, it has a space for journaling which can be shared to one's spiritual director, confessor, spouse or a trusted friend via email. It includes a social media channel for sharing on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, the choice to put up one's prayer petitions out there is a personal choice. The app is password protected. Users of the app can set the alarm as a reminder to do the Examen twice in a day.

What I like about this app is the space for journaling because I can go back to it to review my prayer journey, my prayer petitions and resolutions, and the grace received for each day.

The Jesuit Prayer is an online ministry of the Jesuit Midwest and Jesuit West in cooperation with the Spiritual Outreach through Leadership, LCC. The app presents the scriptural reading and Gospel for the day, then lead users of the app to Ignatian Reflection and Ignatian Prayer. There is a separate space for the Examen, prayer cards and a link to the Pope's Prayer.

The 3 Minute Retreat is the creation of Loyola Press. It lives up to its name. It is short, sweet and simple. Yet, it follows the five steps in the Examen. Of the three, this app is something I recommend for people starting out in the Examen. The Examen is a prayer technique that is not easy to do, but when done regularly and if the person is willing, then, he or she can start small and build up towards longer prayer time.

If you think these apps on the Examen can help you, why not try it out. There is nothing wrong with the traditional way of praying the Examen either. I think the beautiful thing about Ignatian Prayer is that we are able to meet God where ever we are in our life cycles and life journeys.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Annual Lampara Books Seminar 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

Illustrator of the Month: Tinsley Garanchon

The blog's Illustrator of the Month is Tinsley Garanchon. She is the illustrator of our upcoming books, the Bulilit Books, published by the Nutrition Council of the Philippines Publishing Corporation (NCPPC). 

1. How did you approach the illustrations for the Bulilit Books?
Since these are revised versions, the challenge was to create a modern approach yet retain something familiar to all the readers, local touches such as landscapes and interiors. Also, keeping the art in continuity. Timeless in a way.

2. What medium are you most comfortable using when illustrating books for kids?
Digital. If given an opportunity for art’s sake, I'd like to try traditional sometime.

3. As an Inkie, how does the organization help you grow as artist and as a person?
The profession of an illustrator leads you towards a solitary lifestyle but there are times, it's also helpful to have a set of like minds who share the same dreams and goals that can help and support you.

The organization’s direction is to keep this presence known that there is a group gearing towards the progress of children's book illustrators in the local and international scene.

4. Five art works that inspired you to illustrate for kids.

Nila Aye
An illustrator, hailing from the UK. Nila is the epitome of  retro.  Her bright, graphic illustrations which appear in various magazine and publications gives a nod to colorful, retro works.


Lorelay Bove
Found her works by chance online. Not only she works in the animation industry, she also worked with book illustrations where I was drawn into her works. Bright, colorful, flat and retro.
She also has an interesting background story. Lorelay comes from Spain, her dream was to work in Disney Animation and guess what, she did! Her personal story also inspired me to believe.

Neysa Bove
Her works have some similarities with her sister, Lorelay. But what draws the line to distinguish hers is the focal point of her works is the character in the artwork which has a feminine and more whimsical approach to it.

Found an illustration of Dric’s in an art book which featured illustrators from South Korea, China and Japan. What had me look up to his work was his choice of colors and before, I wasn’t as adventurous in exploring various palettes from vivid hues or pastel tones. Unlike now, I would try to try different color combinations and  see how would it set a tone for an illustration.

Mary Blair
As a child, I had childrens’ books from Disney. When I got older I was able to learn more about this one illustrator that stood out as an influence. Mary Blair did a lot of visual development during the earlier years of Disney films, she also designed the look of an amusement ride in Disneyland which we know as Small World aside from taking in other illustration jobs in publishing and advertising.

Websites of Artists and Sources of Images:

Nila Aye -
Lorelay Bove -
Neysa Bove -
Dric -
Mary Blair -

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Convo on Phonetics and the Whole Language Approach 1 of 2

A friend who is based in the US sent me a private message three years ago asking for my opinion on phonetics and the Whole Language Approach. After three years, I am making the "big reveal" in the blog. Let's call my friend, Mommy LPM. She asked the question so she can teach her then 3 year old daughter the basics of reading.
Mommy LPM: Zars, I need your opinion about phonetics and whole reading approaches. One is an old school approach while the other is a constructivist approach. Which one is better? I'm teaching my 3 year old how to read and I'm confused which one to use. Btw, where do teaching sight words fall under?

ZarahG: You can start with whole language for your daughter. The advantage with whole language is that, you are building on experience and context if reading wholistically. This way when she reaches an age where she shows signs of decoding readiness, she can do basals or word attack skills. Good luck and have fun! One of the greatest joys of parenthood is to see and hear a child read aloud!

Mommy LPM: Thanks. We're still in the process. Clueless where to begin because I was never a Pre-K teacher.

ZG: Read signs and logos when you shop around town. Sing songs and chant nursery rhymes. Keep talking to her at home on routines and stuff you do together. Read aloud picture books with her. If there's tv and iPad at home, engage her in conversation. She's acquiring language at this point and her brain is like a sponge! So soak her up on language experience activities. Involve the senses, too: play dough, water games, plant in the garden. Do some process activities with her: zipping up her coat, up and down, lacing her sneakers, shower time is a learning experience too.

Mommy LPM: I see. So my husband and I were actually doing some of the things you've mentioned like the STOP sign. I actually posted names of things around the house such as CLOCK, TABLE etc. I let her play and she likes it so much. Still she can't read on her own yet. Am I rushing her?

ZG: Emergent reader pa lang siya. Relax. Show her the wonder of the world with words

Part 2 will be about Whole Language teaching and resources for parents and teachers in the K-3 levels.

Max Flew Away Bookmark

Bookmark of our new book, The Day Max Flew Away (Lampara House, 2017) made especially by Mennie Ruth Viray
Thanks to Jomike Tejido for the amazing paintings on banig (native mat) as canvas.
So excited for this book!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dear Nanay: How It Came To Be

An article about my creative process in writing Dear Nanay (Gagatiga and Flores, Lampara House, 2013). This article will appear in MirrorsWindowsDoors this month since the website features the Philippines, Philippine diaspora and the Overseas Filipino Worker in Philippine Children's Literature.

Dear Nanay: How It Came To Be
By Zarah C. Gagatiga, on her experience, reflections and creative process writing an OFW story for children.

I was born in Manila in 1974. Two years after the declaration of Martial Law. I grew up an only child until I was twelve years old. Our household was small but my aunts and uncles on both sides of the family lived next door so cousins flitted in and out of the family compound. Nanay* Leony, my maternal grandmother, ran a sari-sari* store that sold everything from safety pins to San Miguel Pale Pilsen. There were also Tagalog comics for rent. I read them after school as part of my recreatory reading list. We had a garden abloom with flowers all year round because Nanay Leony knew what to plant during the dry and the rainy seasons. Her vegetable garden produced root crops, tubers, herbs and spices, and greens that often ended up in a dish on our dinner table. Trees grew in the backyard: coconut, mango, banana, palm, santol,* tamarind, camias* star apple, atis,* to mention a few. 

Everyone knew everybody in the neighbourhood. I played with my cousins and the neighbourhood kids. I walked with them to school. We heard mass on Sundays. On lazy summer days, my cousins and I would take naps in the afternoon. We would wake up to late noon snacks of ginataan,* turon,*porridge, kamote* fries or biko* , especially cooked by our favourite aunts. There were stories and songs to share until it was time to watch Voltes V and Mazinger Z. We were heartbroken when these TV shows were cancelled. We were too young to understand what it meant.

When the rains came, we bathed. When big storms brought in the flood, we waited until the water receded. The nearby creek would swell and this gave us a  reason to launch our homemade paper boats. Water leaked in easily in the paper boats, so we would either swim or catch fish next. We got lucky on some days to bring home Gourami and tilapia. No one dared bring home tadpoles since none of us wished to bear the brunt of our grandmother's wrath. Fishes were alright. Frogs, not so.

I could say I had a happy childhood. My world was safe and secure from the violence and horrors of Martial Law. My parents and the adults in my family tried their best to keep life simple yet abundant with laughter, songs, stories and playtime. They surrounded us with the basics, enough space to move about and the freedom to express oneself, though, controlled at times. But unexpected events in life, big or small, can throw anyone off balance.

Liza Flores' study for Dear Nanay
The Philippine economy collapsed at the onset of the 80s and this prompted my grandfather to work in Saudi Arabia after an early retirement from the Philippine Navy. A year after, my father, who was at the time an esteemed public school teacher, followed suit. My grandfather and my father became Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).

I wasn't spared from the effects and repercussions of Martial Law at all. At nine years old, I accepted my mother's explanation of the situation. Papa will bring home dollars. Savings for a better future. Never mind the long years apart. Sacrifice today for a better tomorrow. Nanay Leony who was pragmatic and practical, a survivor of World War II, took it all in her stride. But I got a sense of their longing and loneliness. There were nights when my mother cried herself to sleep and Nanay Leony kept singing sad Bicolano songs. It was a confusing time. The Sanrio toys, dolls and cool gadgets from Saudi Arabia did little to justify the empty chairs at the dinner table, especially on birthdays and during Christmas. After two years working abroad, my father decided to go come back home for good. This filled me with joy, but it took me a while to reconnect with my father.

It is this experience of growing up with an OFW parent that is the backdrop of Dear Nanay (Lampara House, 2013). But it was my trip to Singapore in 2002 that was the lynchpin for the poem that became a narrative in verse and eventually, a picture book for children.

My attendance at the 2nd Storytelling Congress in Singapore that year allowed me to meet and interact with Filipinos working away from home and their families. There were professionals working in the IT industry and the Library and Information Science sector. I met teachers and professors, domestic helpers and labourers. I was even mistaken for a household help by the immigration staff when my host from the National Book Development Board of Singapore bade me a tearful farewell at the airport. The immigration staff asked if she was my boss and I, her domestic helper. I said no, she is my friend. The immigration staff gave me a warm knowing smile. I told her the truth, of course, but I knew she had a different context to my answer.

Liza Flores' narrative layering included Nanay's job not mentioned in the original poem.
In the airplane, the economy class was filled with Filipino men and women all noisy and eager to get home. They all carried bags and boxes of pasalubongs*. Many spoke in Tagalog but there were a few chattering in Bisaya and Ilocano. While many of the passengers slept and some quietly talked to each other, I wrote a poem in my notebook about a child missing her OFW mother. A week in Singapore had made me homesick. I missed my husband and two kids terribly and wished they could have joined me on the trip. It was that moment I recalled my own childhood growing up during the last stretch of the Martial Law years. I remembered my father and grandfather, my mother and Nanay Leony and what they had all sacrificed. I was in awe of the courage of the Filipino overseas worker, but saddened by the reality that one of the many reasons why they leave home is  due to the economic and cultural problems caused by twenty years of dictatorship.

Dear Nanay is illustrated by the amazing Liza Flores. Using paper cutouts as her medium, she added visual layers to the story by depicting spreads that show gaps and distance, longing and loneliness, through empty rooms, calendars and time pieces. I did not reveal nor mention Nanay's profession in the narrative verse, but I particularly liked Liza's take on her as a chef. Not all OFWs are domestic helpers. Nonetheless, our book shows the reality children face in light of a parent leaving home to work abroad.

One of my favorite illustrations in the book.
I still grapple with the question of what is more important for a parent to do: to provide for his or her children’s needs by working abroad or to stay with the family and endure the economic and political hardships, as well as the social injustices of living in a developing country like the Philippines. I console myself with the thought that, despite this reality, there are still opportunities for Filipino writers and illustrators to tell stories and that there are people in the Philippine book industry brave enough to create and publish stories for children depicting the plight of the Overseas Filipino Worker.
atis - sweet sop, custard apple 
biko - rice cake 
camias - tree cucumber
ginataan - food cooked with coconut milk, like porridge or sweetened stew of tropical fruits, sticky rice and gluten
kamote - sweet potato
nanay - mother
pasalubong - homecoming treat
santol - wild mangosteen
sari-sari store - convenience store
turon - banana fritter

Friday, June 16, 2017

#milclicks of the Week: MIL MOOC Unit 1 - What is Media Literacy

 Here are my notes and take away from Unit 1 of the MIL MOOC I am currently enrolled in. Unit 1 is on Media Literacy.

* Me thinks: MIL are skills necessary to understand media and information so we can construct and reconstruct meaning and message; communicate it in the context we know and in the medium we are confident in using. In the process, MIL requires us to be responsible creators and consumers of information because, as a tool, media's breadth is far reaching.

My notes:
- Media are vehicles through which something is transmitted. That something can be information in text or visual representation.

- Media are agents that transmit our shared values, knowledge and information about society and our own ability to act on that knowledge as citizens. There it is. A collective and communal interaction.

- Media is the FOURTH ESTATE. An institution responsible for the maintenance of good governance. Purpose of the FOURTH ESTATE = watchdog of democratic government. When this is corrupted and hold bias, citizens use alternative media which are blogs and social media to critique mainstream media. This alternative media comprised of blogs and social media is called the FIFTH ESTATE. But even social media is used to spread fake news and alternative facts.

Take away: If Media is an institution of democracy the same is true about LIBRARIES.

My engagement in this unit prompted me to look at Media Literacy from other sources. 
What is Media Literacy?  This video is made by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility of the Philippines. Presents ethical practices of media practitioners and why media plays an important role in democracy and nation building.

Media Literacy and 5 Key Questions in Understanding Media Messages I liked the 5 Key Questions. It can be used to evaluate media messages, values and information transmitted through media.

Creating Critical Thinkers Through Media Literacy A TED Talk by Andrea Quijada, executive director of the Media Literacy Project.

More links on Media Literacy and Media Education -  #milclicks Online Reading List

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Hero and The Trusted Sidekick: Teachers and School Librarians Working Together

As a school librarian working in an IB school, I have attended a good number of workshops and conferences on school librarianship. And always, I taken away loads of learning and insights that improved my personal life and professional practice. One of my favorite take aways is the concept of teacher librarians and classroom teachers working together to improve students aptitude and uplift their attitude towards life.

Though I have known and recognized the relevance of this partnership between teacher librarian and classroom teacher years before working in an IB school, it is only now that I am working in the Beacon Academy that I actualize it.  This experience is something I wish to share with my colleagues.

So, when Evelyn Nabus, President of the Association of Librarians in Laguna Province (ALLP) invited me to do a workshop for the ALLP on Media and Information Literacy, I said yes.

Inspired by Dianne McKenzie's article on the role of the librarian as a Trusty Sidekick,  I thought of ways to merge this with the topic given to me by ALLP.  This is the result:

The Hero and the Trusted Sidekick:
Teachers and School Librarians Working Together for the
Conduct of a Media and Information Literacy Program for K-12 Learners

Several researches show that when teacher and school librarian collaborate and work together, students learn better and learning becomes more authentic and meaningful. Test scores increase and students gain confidence in doing school work and accomplishing tasks that are challenging and complex. The goal of this training workshop is for teachers and school librarians to revisit their unique roles in the teaching and learning process so that they can establish a partnership that inspire collaboration in the planning and implementation of a Media and Information Literacy Program.

Specifically, the objectives of the training workshop are:

  1. To identify techniques and strategies that lead to collaborative work between teacher and school librarian;
  2. To review current Media and Information Literacy (MIL) standards and programs;
  3. To determine areas of collaborative work when planning and implementing a MIL program;
  4. To draft a MIL matrix of skills that can be used as guide in developing the library collection and resources; in providing readers and reference services; and in conducting user education programs.

The training workshop is for teachers who are teaching MIL in the senior high school as well as teachers in K-10 who are interested in MIL. Librarians servicing K-12 learners will benefit from the training workshop since activities are designed for the improvement and honing of critical and creative thinking skills as applied to library work and program management.

Note on the title of the training workshop: the training workshop’s jump off point is the role and relationship of the hero and his/her sidekick in popular culture. This metaphor will be used to amplify the value of the sidekick to the hero’s journey.

Teachers have always been referred to as modern day heroes. In myth and in literature, heroes thrive and survive through the aid of a trusted sidekick who gives encouragement, cheers them on, picks them up when they fall, sometimes, carries the ring of power for them or casts a spell to open a locked door. This is the symbolic role of the school librarian to teachers. It is a role we haven’t fully talked about or explored, but, it exists like an elephant in the room. It’s about time we see the elephant for what it is and eat it, piece by piece.

Prepared by: Zarah C. Gagatiga 5.17.2017

Because Love Can Save the World

The dedication was included pre-Wonder Woman viewing. Kudos to Eugene Evasco for the Filipino translation!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

#KwentoRP612 2017: The Earth Diggers

And when all of their work in the killing field has been done, the earth diggers cleaned their tools.

Atoy drew water from the artesian well. Luis, his older brother, started rinsing their spades and buckets. Instantly, the clear basin of water changed color. Blood mixed with the color of earth. Atoy could still remember the first time he and his brother took on this job. He couldn't bear the sight and the stench of dead bodies that littered the killing field. He puked his guts out. He couldn't eat for days. The images of severed heads, limbs, disemboweled body organs and rotting flesh haunted him in his sleep.

He watched how his brother cleaned their tools while whistling a happy tune. Where does he draw this happiness? He wondered. He can still manage to chirp like a bird when there is nothing but death and destruction all around.

"Put the tools in the shed." Luis ordered. "We will take the same route going home."

He did as he was told. As they walked the path towards home, they turned right to a clearing where the old school house still stands. No one goes to school anymore. Like Atoy and Luis, the children and young people of the village had to find work to stay alive for their families and for their own skins. They were lucky to be born flat footed. They were spared of work in the battle fields where many of their friends have already died.

Here in this old school house, Luis could play the old guitar he found in a cabinet in the principal's office. Here in this old school house, Atoy could retreat to the reading room to read. It helps him remember a time when dreams are free and his desire to make them come true is a possibility. Some days, he would simply smell the books and the scattered paper all around.

He picked an old storybook. On its cover is an illustration of a smiling monkey carrying half a banana tree on its back. Behind it is a turtle with an even bigger smile on its face. He knows the story very well. He started to read anyway. Then he discovered a few missing pages.

Someone else has been here.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

From the Archives: #KwentoRP612 2016

I don't know what to write for this year's #KwentoRP612. 

I don't even know if I can participate this year, because, my plate is already pretty full. In fact, there are days when I don't know what task or work to prioritize. I feel spent and spread out thinly sometimes. 

But I believe in #KwentoRP612. I have great faith in the Filipino artist. I think artists and creatives need to continue to use the power of social media to influence and inspire others. 

For now, here's a rundown of the flash fiction and poetry I wrote for last year's #KwentoRP612.

The Little Sparrow - inspired by a real life event when Zoe and Papadoms found a bird that fell from its nest. I love birds and I see them as a good metaphor for freedom.

Papa Mia - Bullying and social adaptation hinders a child's growth and freedom to express one's self. Play can be a means to bounce back from challenges and helps children deal with difficult emotions. Play, either structured or free, eases many burdens. Play sets us free! It is also one of the ten basic rights of a child.

Midnight Monologue - is a poem about leave taking and how one's independence can be a personal responsibility.

Untitled - on exclusivity and how it enslaves and limits people.

Tay, Inom Tayo! - a father and son share a few beers to settle on a decision to leave the country for better opportunity abroad.

Not bad. 

Let's see what I can harvest this year.

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