Wednesday, September 27, 2017

NCTED 2017: Teaching Tech and Thinking Skills (2 of 2)

Here is part 2 of the post on the NCTED 2017 experience I had two weeks ago. Part 1 can be read through this link. For this blog post, I am sharing what the teacher participants in my workshop, Media in the Time of Social Media, came up with during discussions and group activities. There were many ideas that came up so I took the chance of writing them all down. We called it, Teacher's Idea Box.

I did ask permission from them for this blog post. Thank you, teachers!

Teacher's Idea Box

1. Create a Media Log. Digital natives write diary entries about their digital lives.

2. Know your tech tool for thinking, teaching and learning.

3. Reading corners never go out of style.  Design an attractive reading corner where digital natives can read books.

4. Involve parents in the teaching and learning experience. Open avenues where parents can give valuable feedback of their child's progress when at home or with the family.

5. Encourage students to use social media by posting reflections, highlights and questions they had during class.

6. Make use of hashtags that are relevant to the learning experiences and activities in the classroom.

7. Provide students with constant feedback on their use of technology, specially on their communication skills and how they relate to others in an online environment.

8. Schedule a time and space where students can play around with tech tools, integrated them with subject related activities and allow them to explore and curate content online.
Do you have something to add or share? Feel free to post a comment!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Schoology is Learning With Rex Digital

I discovered Schoology when I was preparing for my workshop for the National Conference on Technology in Education. I used the e-learning platform in many ways namely: as workbook where participants can write their reflections and submit their output; as database of online sources for the workshop (this was my favorite feature of the platform because it's like curating -- which I think it is!); and as my visual aid. I didn't prepare a PPT presentation anymore. YAY!

Schoology is easy to use. The interface and its menu are navigable by digital migrants like me. Though I didn't get to use the assessment and grading feature of Schoology, this only goes to show how complete the e-learning platform is. While it does look like a very flexible virtual learning space for teachers and students, school who are deciding to acquire the platform need to look at the prerequisites of technology integration in teaching and learning. To name a few, these are tech support, by Rex Digital and in-school IT staff; curriculum and pedagogy that allows for a fluid application of the e-learning platform; and continuous teacher training program.


Get in touch with Ms. Enoy Ferriol: and/ or Mobile No - 09178760806

Monday, September 25, 2017

Teacher on Center Stage: Teacher Mary Rose Lagunsad

Because it's Teacher's Month, the blog is featuring another teacher who goes beyond the call of duty. Teacher Mary Rose "Marose" Lagunsad is a grade school teacher in Bitik Elementary School in Valenzuela City. If she is not in the classroom, she trains colleagues and peers to become better teachers. She supports many literacy groups one of them is the Pinoy Reading Buddies. Read on and get to know Teacher Marose and her advocacy.

If I were not a teacher...

If I were not a teacher, I would be a journalist who writes about peace education, reading intervention and literacy advocacy, environmental concerns and relationships. 

What do you love most about teaching?
Over the years, I feel extremely fulfilled and grateful whenever my pupils’ potentials unfold before my eyes. Seeing how they journey toward their dreams year after year gives me that assurance that I made the right choice of vocation after all. What seemed to be impossible for a child at the beginning of the year becomes “I’m possible” come the last two quarters. If I could be there to guide them as they sparkle on their own and at their own pace would mean I am on the right track in my mission. 

Describe to the blog's readers the Picture Walk strategy in teaching and learning how to read.
Mam Rowena Jimenez, our Founder, Executive Director of Pinoy Reading Buddies (PRB), is  one of our beloved mentors has this to say about the PRB Picture Walk Component: "Picture Reading" or picture talk (instead of book talk) is being used naturally by emergent readers. As a component of the Pinoy Reading Buddies Program, the PRB Picture Walk is meant for older, struggling readers. 

It is more deliberate than the natural inclination to talk about the pictures. One main difference is we get our kids to pause and summarize what the story is about from the beginning -- to get them very familiar with the narrative structure: "What happened first? Then what came next? Then what happened?” and so on... until they retell verbally the whole story they conjured up simply by looking at the pictures. 

Young emergent readers simply talk about each picture --they may skip some--and they don’t worry about creating a complete story. Of course, it may be used by other teachers. We're just hoping that they see it the way we do --and use it the way we do - as part of the 4-component program called the PRB Reading Buddies program. 

Tell us something more about Pinoy Reading Buddies.
Pinoy Reading Buddies is student driven literacy intervention where learners collaborate to improve their thinking and decoding skills. It is a Non-Stock, Non-Profit Organization, founded by Rowena Jimenez, a Filipino teacher based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA and a group of other Filipino immigrants and Americans whose mission is to help build a nation of engaged Filipino readers. 

PRB has partner schools in a number of cities, municipalities and provinces all over the country. These partner schools practice the PRB Method through the aid of teacher volunteers who have been trained on the Four Components of the program. These training workshops as well as boxes of donated gently used storybooks from PRB book drives in the US are provided free. 

For more information, please like the Pinoy Reading Buddies official facebook fan page and visit the PRB website at

Thursday, September 21, 2017

NCTED 2017: Teaching Tech and Thinking Skills (1 of 2)

Congratulations to Woohoo Learning Lab for successfully staging the first National Conference on Technology in Education (NCTTED) last week amidst two typhoons. I missed day but made it to days 2 and 3 of the conference. I missed the research presentations and the panel on technology in education but, thanks to Schoology and the NCTED website and Facebook page, catching up on missed sessions was possible.

Being at the conference was a reunion of sorts with friends in the teaching and book industry and former colleagues from Xavier School. I met new friends too, teachers who registered in my session on Media in the Time of Social Media. Indeed, the experience was fun, nostalgic and life affirming.

So here now is my list of "take away" from the NCTED.

1. Using technology in education is equal to sound pedagogy.

2. Teachers are lifelong learners and must be given the support to grow in their context and environment.

3. Quoting Fr. Johnny Go, "A culture of what ifs is grown by a leadership of why not?"

4. Important terms: Assessment of learning. Review and selection. Evaluation. Curation. Collaboration. Empathy. Innovation. Critical Thinking. Creativity.

5. There exist a gap between the boomers, the gen Xers and the millennials. Of course. But, if possible, bridging programs or initiatives that fill in gaps need to be set up by the government and non-government organizations.

6. Question: Advances in technology cost a lot. What happens to the have-nots if they could not keep up or are not given access and opportunities to learn and use technology?

7. Content is king. Context is QUEEN (Insert: Ms. Universe wave).

8. Formative assessment is crucial to learning achievement and progress. Where technology plays a role in formative learning is applied in differentiation or differentiated instruction.

9. The effective use of technology in education involves a lot of time spent on discussions with peers, colleagues, school leaders and students - even parents. Talk. Talk. Talk. My take: LISTEN. Listen. Listen.

10. Learning in the age of the digital  natives require teachers to take on different roles: a sage on the stage; a guide on the side; an architect of learning environments. In the best interest of your students, when are you a sage, a guide and/or an architect of learning?

These are all for now. Part 2 to follow as I share the Teacher's Idea Box which participants in my workshop came up with.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Teaching Resources and Reader's Guide: See You In the Cosmos

See You in the Cosmos
Jack Cheng
Dial, 2017

In case you missed it, I wrote my review of See You in the Cosmos in the blog early this month. Two book bloggers also posted their responses and reactions to the book.  Teacher Cris' review has an "audio recording" using a Golden iPod and Philippine Board on Books for Young People President, Tarie Sabido's review includes a line up of cool activities for teachers and librarians. Needless to say, there are so many things to enjoy in this book besides, Alex's engaging thoughts about life, love and rocket science.

Here now are my recommended resources and guide for the avid reader, the teacher who will pick up the book for the class's reading list and the librarian who will discuss the book during the monthly book club.

It's not Rocket Science. But it is!

Build reading context about rockets and space shuttles. Alex's adventure begins the day he dreamed of launching a rocket into space. By joining an adult community of space and rocket science enthusiasts, Alex learned important lessons in building rockets, making mistakes and taking second chances. In The Chemistry of Rockets   a video explaining how rockets work, middle grade readers of the book can take a closer look at rocket science. has DIY activities on making rockets that are applicable for entries to Science Fairs. NASA has a timeline  of successful and disastrous space shuttle programs in the 20th century. Launching rockets into space isn't as cool as it seems to be when we see them on TV and in the movies.

Discussion question: What fueled Alex to launch a rocket into space?

Literary Link: Make a character chart or road map about Alex. 

Use a mind map or graphic organizer to map Alex's character before he launched the rocket, during the course of his journey and at the end of the road trip he had with seemingly nice adults. Infographic apps like and My Poplet can also be used. Below are guide questions in making the map, graphic organizer or infographic.

Who was the Alex you met at the start of novel?

What ups and downs did he experience along the way? 

Who are the people Alex met that changed the way he looks the world? 

What events in his journey confused him and inspired him to demand and seek the truth from his elders and from life in general? 

How did he deal with his mother's condition? 

Describe Alex at the end of the novel? How different is this Alex from the start of the novel?

Extending Understanding of the Text

Ask yourself:

What trips or journeys have you experienced that changed the way you view life or affirmed that life is worth living for?

How did the journey changed your views and beliefs?

Does the change in view or of belief in life move you to do something? If yes, what is your course of action? If not, why?

Carl Sagan and Modern Day Explorations

Carl Sagan, the scientist and not Alex's dog, is a real life character that made a big influence in Alex's fascination in space, astronomy and rockets. Figuratively, Carl Sagan is the representation of Alex's philosophical nature and his penchant for documenting the journey towards understanding the truth. A philosopher and scientist, Carl Sagan inspired others to be curious, courageous, humble, open and to take risks.  These are characteristics we find in explorers and thinkers. These are the same qualities I find in Alex at every turn of the plot until the final chapters of the novel.

If anything, Jack Cheng, reminded me to continue pursuing dreams, silly or not, and to be like Alex or Carl Sagan who could wonder at the vastness of space and be in awe at the smallness of humanity against the backdrop of the greatness of the universe.

Just how relevant is Carl Sagan to modern science? The Smithsonian writes about him in 2014 and the legacy he left behind.  Even the title of the book has the word, Cosmos, a homage to Carl Sagan and his enlightening documentary show on TV back in the 70s and in the 80s.

Just how relevant is Carl Sagan to humanity?  Listen to his narration about humanity and space in the Pale Blue Dot, a recording made at NASA while the Golden Voyager beams itself from millions of light years away from where it was launched.

Discussion question: What modern day explorations are moving and shaking science and technology to new directions for humanity's progress and salvation?

Writing Activities:
1. Keep a journal where you record daily musings that may look or sound mundane. But, on closer inspection, these musings can grow into insights that reflect existential thoughts and ideas that span space and time. It may be a topic for a future essay in academic or personal purposes.

2. Blog about daily explorations with the self and the world around you. You will never know what you will discover just around the bend or in the recesses of your mind.

3. Take photos that interest you. It may be an object, an event a person you like. These may be jump off points for stories waiting to be told.

These are all for now. Until next book review, resources and guide.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

STARS in a Teachers' Workshop

As a writer of children's stories, I am always thrilled to know when teachers use my books for classroom teaching and in workshops with peers and colleagues. Teacher Marose Lagunsad sent me these photos late in August showing me how she rallied a group of teachers to read my early reading series, Start Right Reading Series Kindergarten Level, using it as a spring board for Picture Walk.

Picture Walk is a reading comprehension strategy that builds decoding skills, comprehension and literature appreciation among readers. When teachers are engaged in doing an activity that they can use in the classroom, it is likely that they will try it out in their classrooms too. Thank you, Teacher Marose for the support!

One of the books in the series, Zoo Bee Doo, tells the story of a girl who got lost in the zoo.

The Start Right Reading Series Kindergarten Level is a learning package for Kindergarten learners. It has 12 books, a teaching manual and parents' guide for classroom and home school instruction.

The Start Right Reading Series (Gagatiga and Solina-Wolf, Lampara Books 2014) is available at the booth of Lampara Books currently on sale at the 38th Manila International Book Fair, SMX Convention Center, Pasay City.

Friday, September 15, 2017

#milclicks: Illusions, Perceptions and Jinkee Pacquio

Photo taken on August 25, 2017 along Alabang, SLEX
Here is a MIL activity in my workshop during the National Conference on Technology in Education (NCTED) last September 13, 2017.

Using the 5 Critical Questions in Understanding Media Messages by Media Audit, participants analyze the media message of the billboard ad and synthesize their findings into a commentary. The five critical questions are:

1. Who created this message?
2. What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
3. How might different people understand this message differently?
4. Why is this message being sent?
5. What point of view is represented in, or omitted from, this message?

Group Activity 1 - What is wrong with this photo?

Photo: Jinkee Pacquio as Belo commercial billboard model

Inquiry Question: Why was a billboard used to relay the media message?

Use the 5 critical questions to understand the message of the billboard, its purpose, form and function. Write a one page commentary and post it on your Facebook Timeline.

Use #milclicks after your commentary.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

New Lampara Books in the 2017 Manila International Book Fair

I will be present during the book signing from September 13-14, 2017 and the formal launching of our book, The Day Max Flew Away (Gagatiga and Tejido) on September 17, 2017. See you! Say hi and don't be a stranger

National Conference on Technology in Education: INNOVATED 2017

I am deeply humbled to be in this roster of passionate educators. I will be running a workshop on Media in Social Media that will cover Media and Information Literacy Skills and Web 2.0 Technology in teaching and instruction.

Join over 300 educators in shaping the future of education. The National Conference on Technology in Education: INNOVATED. September 12-14, 2017, SMX Convention Center Manila. 

Zooming in on the Relearn Literacy Session on Media and Information Literacy, you will find three topics on MIL: search strategies, understanding media, social media and smart strategies in navigating Web 2.0, and teaching Media and Information Literacy.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Teacher On Center Stage: Fe Matullano Lustanas

Teacher Fe at the Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipinong Guro Awards Night
The blog's featured Teacher for the Month of September is Fe Matullano Lustanas. Teacher Fe is the recipient of the Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipinong Guro in 2012 for her initiative in educating street children and out of school youths in Paranaque City through Journey of Hope and Education Under the Bridge in La Huerta. In April 2013, she set up the Kabayani Community Training Center, a parents' education program in San Dionisio Paranaque City.

Why am I teacher?
After high school graduation I obeyed my mother Nanay Conos to go to Manila from Iloilo to become a teacher. It was a simple request of my mother which I fulfilled when I graduated college in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education.

If not a teacher, I would be...

A medical technologist. I love science. I love taking care of people. But, since it is my mother's wish that I become a teacher, I switched to taking a degree in education in college. I consider myself a teacher community volunteer who advocates education especially for children in the mission area.

Teacher Fe in action: Journey of Hope and Education Under the Bridge
Right now, I am a public school teacher teaching grade one in the morning and kindergarten in the afternoon. I'm also an Alternative Learning System Instructional Manager for older children and out of school youths in our community.  I have been doing this since January 2010. After 2 years I was not absorbed by our local board, but it was the start of our mission. My husband and I have been involved in this mission since 2012. Luckily it is sustainable and it has been going strong! We are now on our eighth year of missionary work a teachers for children and out of school youths. 

Success Stories Worth Sharing 
Through Education Under the Bridge, we have weekly activities every Saturday afternoon which caters to 2 - 4 years old children in formal school and out of school youths living in the coastal areas of Paranaque, Las Pinas and nearby areas. Our curriculum is based on the K-12 program of the Department of Education.

With Education Under the Bridge (EUB), we continuously help 12 out of school youths before and they are now in formal school. For 7 years now, Monica Tan, a mute and deaf child has not attended school but, religiously she attends our EUB program.

Teacher Fe, as she is fondly called by friends and colleagues, appears in the radio program Voice of the Teacher which airs every Saturday at 1PM over at DWDD 1134 Khz.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Bulletin Board Displays: Digital Citizenship and A Growth Mindset (1 of 2)

This term, our library bulletin board's themes are digital citizenship and growth mindset. The former is part of the library's campaign on #milclicks and the later is the library's advocacy on life skills development. Needless to say, we have books and resources on information literacy, media literacy as well as programs integrating research skills in the content or subject areas. Over the years, activities that promote the readership of fiction and non-fiction books that cover the development of life skills have been set-up. Drumming up the growth mindset this year is our continued commitment to support lifelong learning.

Since a Media and Information Literacy (MIL) program is already in place and the teaching of research skills is being strengthened in content area teaching, I thought of touching on the responsible behavior expected of digital citizens via our library display and bulletin board. Academic integrity and plagiarism are two ideas being emphasized to students by observing correct citation and referencing practices. This is all well and good. But the use of online resources and social media requires courtesy and respect not only evidenced by proper citations and attributions. It is important that netizens behave as people of values, with morals and ethics.

First, netizens need to know basic security measures. Use of passwords and usernames is private and personal. As much as one needs the respect of using his or her own access keys to social media accounts, so does the next person. Second, asking permission when sharing posts and content of another in social media is an act of courtesy. Not everything online or in social media is for free. This means ownership. In this age of fake news and alternative facts, sources of information are often questioned. So, think before you click. Ask permission before you share that meme, photo or image or a news item from a friend's timeline on Facebook. Lastly, netizens need to remember that the things they do online and the posts they make on social media, including the comments, the likes and the messages they circulate from one network to another can be traced. This is called digital footprints.

These digital prints can actually tell so much about who you are and what you are like.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Book Review: See You In the Cosmos

Reading See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng was a trip down memory lane. It made me remember with fondness the books I read as a teenager. It has the innocence and tenderness of ...And Now, Miguel; the bravery of Dicey's Song; the honesty of A Gathering Blue; the spunk of Sheila the Great; and the persevering spirit of Leigh Botts in Dear Mr. Henshaw as characterized by Alex Petroski. 

What a fun and endearing character this boy is! A voice that is alive, interesting and constantly in wonderment. You don't forget books with strong narrative voices.

See You in the Cosmos belongs to that group of books. 

Books I hold dear to this day. Books that made me laugh and cry and believe in love. Books that gave me hope. See You in the Cosmos is all of these things and more. It showed me that the truth is a beautiful and complicated thing and that no matter how hard we try escaping it, it comes up right around the corner whether we like it or not. 

Why read this debut novel by Jack Cheng? 

Because it matters to understand that people of different ages search for the truth and how they seek it makes all the difference.

Here is the link to where you can buy the book:

Rating: 4 Bookmarks
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