Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Bulletin Board Displays: Digital Citizenship and A Growth Mindset

We are pushing through mid-term now and everyone is as busy as a bee. The first set of advisory letters have all been sent out two weeks ago and we had our Parent Teacher Conference last Saturday. We are in full swing. Academic Year 2017-2018, the honeymoon is over.

The excitement and positive energy that came at the beginning of the year is slowly waning for some. There are peaks and valleys in academic progress of students and everyone is tired, or stressed, or confused. Let's get real and not deny ourselves this very human reaction to the rigors of teaching and learning in an IB School.

And I take it that these dips in the process of learning happens to all school or learning community.

What to do?

Call on grit and perseverance.

It is a matter of mindset.

One that recognizes failures and mistakes as opportunities for growth.

And then, rise up.

However, some are a bit slower than the rest. That is where team work and compassion come in. No one should be left behind in teaching and learning for we are all accountable for each other. And the library is pitching in.

Our library's bulletin board at the start of the year took on the theme of a growth mindset. See the photo above.

Inspired by the researches and works of Carol Dweck (Growth Mindset) and Angela Duckworth (Grit), a growth mindset is a proactive way to rise above the difficulties of life in general and face the challenges of every day. Remember the old saying, it's all in the mind, or what you conceive in the mind you achieve in real life? That is putting it simply but the core of a growth mindset is strength of character that is built overtime. A growth mindset is found in the formative teaching and learning experiences designed by teachers for the students. It is also about giving students feedback. Coaching. Mentoring. Allowing them to make mistakes and giving them ample time to reflect.

As we cross the threshold of the dip, we will soon replace the bulletin board's quotes with new ones that are more applicable for the needs of the community. And yes, we will be putting out and displaying books to accompany the theme. There goes your bibliotherapy services!

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Lighthouse Diary Entry 5: Library Research and High School Students

A library session on evaluation of sources and note taking.
I have been reflecting on the visits of our grade 10 students to the library.
 
Nearly half of them have been to the library in the past three weeks. They borrowed books for their Personal Project (PP) as encouraged, and in some cases, required by their PP Supervisors. This is happy news for me and my staff, of course, since we see our books leaving the library and into the hands of readers. Besides, this is the first time this has happened - to have half the cohort of grade 10s use the library! Seriously. 
 
This experience is beyond statistics and book circulation matters. 

Having students borrow from the library is an opportunity for me to teach them  skills in locating resources and sourcing information with in sources. What we talked about during the library orientation comes into play. This is a different learning experience from the library sessions I conduct in the subject areas. I somehow find this more authentic as students get down to business, using the OPAC, applying search terms derived from their statements of inquiry, locating books through the call no, reading the introduction, scanning the table of contents and the index. Doesn't sound like big thinking skills but fundamental to research skills development. 
 
It is also a joy to see a few students make their own decisions having found several titles -which is better, more appropriate, nearer to the topic or statement of inquiry. And so far, we have not turned away any of the grade 10s because we have books and resources to provide and recommend! 

I am hoping these skills can further build up and be strengthened across the content areas. Library use and the application of basic and fundamental research skills are ways to establish connections in the varied disciplines. Furthermore, I think that the skills applied in the processing of printed content translate better when used in the digital environment.

What made these visits possible by our high school students are two things: support from the Academic Leadership Team who designed a learning environment allowing them to go to the library, and PP supervisors who know how to do research the brick and mortar style. A school may have a well stocked library, tech gadgets here and there (this always impress us!), innovative programs and competent library staff, but if structures are not set up for classroom-library connection, the library will simply remain a warehouse. If teachers and  the faculty themselves do not value collaborative teaching and learning, the librarian and library staff will remain an unused human resource.
 
 It is like cooking bibingka or baking bread using a double heated oven.  You want a well cooked, delicious bread or bibiningka? There needs to be heat on top of the batter and below it.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Teacher Techie of the Month: Winona Yapit-Diola

The blog's Teacher Techie of the month is none other than, Winona "Teacher Winnie" Yapit-Diola. 

Teacher Winnie joined De La Salle Zobel School in 1994 and handled diverse Science classes in Junior Prep, Grades 1 to 6 levels. She was recognized as DLSZ’s Outstanding Instructional Leader in 2014. Ms Winnie is an Apple Distinguished Educator, Class of 2015, a Distinguished Lasallian Leader Awardee, Certified Apple Teacher, Apple Accredited Professional Learning (PL) Consultant and Trainer, Certified Google Educator Level 1 and was named one of the winners of the 2016 Search for Outstanding Teachers by the Metrobank Foundation.

If I were not a teacher, I would be either a factory worker or a nurse

How did you bridge or overcome the challenges of learning new technology for classroom instruction? 
In the implementation of Next Generation Blended Learning Program in De La Salle Zobel School, I was among the senior teachers who accepted the challenge to become innovators of the program and to teach with iPad as a tool for learning. I was quite hesitant at first but as the saying goes “If you can’t beat them, join them”. I joined the bandwagon of teachers who are willing to give it a try and implement the use of mobile devices inside the classroom. I attended tedious training on how to use a mobile device (iPad), deepened my understanding of the blended learning pedagogy, and prepared modules that combine both face to face activities and electronic/online learning. And together, we prepared rules on the proper use of mobile devices in class and explored mobile applications that can be useful to my students. For me, it is a two-way learning process as I guide my students learn the content, creativity, cooperation, and collaboration in my subject area. I also learn from them different apps, tricks and tips on the use of mobile devices. Then, I started to see myself as a facilitator of learning who allows students to learn in unconventional ways as they accomplish tasks that are previously inconceivable.

Some teachers fall for the idea of putting technology inside the classroom and making them available for use without having a clear pedagogy and specific ideas on how to incorporate them to improve student learning. So they end up facing challenges/ difficulties on when to use or how to manage the use of technology in class. Teachers should put in mind the importance of providing activities that are driven by pedagogy and not by the mere presence of technology.

Teacher Winnie with family meeting  DepEd Secretary Briones and President Duterte after being awarded the as Metrobank's Most Outstanding Teacher of 2016.
What is the recipe for a successful integration of technology in education/instruction?
The recipe for a successful integration of technology in education lies on the ability of the teachers to innovate and to foster creativity. A teacher who understands the pedagogy that responds to the learning styles of students and learning modalities that would help students simulate real world environment as they use different available technology.
As facilitators of learning, teachers should ask themselves this question- “How do I use technology to develop the skills needed by 21st century learners so they become successful adults?” And if the needed skills of digital learners are addressed and student learning is improved with the use of technology, then we can say that the technology integration is successful.

What would help teachers’ transition from traditional tech use to digital tech use?
Transforming from traditional use of technology to digital technology use does not happen overnight. The greatest challenge to us, teachers, is to learn to use technology to teach effectively and to inspire student learning and creativity- to get out of the comfort zone to see the unknown of having a transformative blend of instruction while using available technologies.
Teachers must be willing to unlearn, learn, and relearn different pedagogy, skills needed by digital learners, teaching modalities, and effective F2F teaching strategies for effective classroom instruction. They should not focus on how to use technology in the classroom. Rather, they need to put more emphasis in providing student-centered activities to amplify students’ potential to become lifelong learners who are reflective, competent, creative, critical thinkers and problem- solvers. 
Teachers should combine innovative strategies and various technology tools to promote the 4Cs of 21st Century Learning- Collaboration to produce outputs whether offline or online, Communication with peers and/or experts through diverse environment, Critical thinking to solve problems, and Creativity in building new knowledge as they connect learning to real world situations and involves practical work. When teachers and students focus more on achieving their goals and skills to master, the use of technology comes in handy.

Teacher Winnie is online. Go find her and make a connection!

Ms. Winnie Diola’s Online Portfolio- https://sites.google.com/dlszobel.edu.ph/diolawy/home
Twitter: diolawy
Facebook: winniediola

Here are Teacher Winnie's upcoming workshops.

October 18-19, 2017 - Seminar- Workshop: De la Salle Zobel Santiago School’s SparkEd 2017: Transforming Education Through Technology and Next Generation Blended Learning

December 7-8, 201 -Department of Education’s 1st ICT Summit

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Library Promotions: Book List and Recommended Reads

One promotional strategy, and the easiest to do (at least to me), for new books to get noticed is to send a list with short reviews of selected titles through the school's mailing list. Sharing with you this email I sent to teachers and staff.

Good day everyone!

Attached is the list of new acquisitions. Choice picks from this harvest:

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan - satire meets chic lit; something for the coming term break if you want a light and fun read.

Silence by Shusaka Endo - if you feel like reading something moving and thought provoking; for those familiar with the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius; for those who are fascinated with Japan's culture, history and geography; for those who are baffled by silence.

This Explains Everything, edited by John Brockman - a compilation of essays on varied subjects and disciplines, from Evolutionary Genetics, Language and Natural Selection, The Universe Growing Like A Baby, Commitment, Simplicity, Fitness Landscapes, Feynman's Lifeguard, Equations and Their Continuity, Sex at Your Fingertips -- almost everything, really! The writing is TOKish, and (kinda) metacognitive.

Strategies for Application by David Wilson - tips and techniques for applying one's self in the classroom and in life, in general. 

How To Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms by Carol Ann Tomlinson - Differentiated Instruction 101; it has the basic principles of differentiating instruction; makes for a good companion to R. Jackson's Never Work Harder Than Your Students.

That's it, pansit. Hope to see you at the library! For queries, shoot us an email: 

library@beaconacademy.ph (Flynn - who will provide you with basic sourcing and reference services) 

librarian@beaconacademy.ph (Zarah - who can be your sounding board for instructional or pedagogical matters and teaching partner in research skills instruction)

Check our OPAC for queries on specific titles of books - tbalibrary.org 
I apply a different strategy when promoting books to students. Watch out for the next post on library promotions!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Oh Joy! Feedback From A Reader!

Imagine my surprise to find this message from Elaine Aliga Ricafort. She sent this through Messenger. In a time when social media is tainted with fake news and smeared by propaganda, using it wisely and responsibly can garner good results.



Hi, Zarah! 🙂 Sorry, you do not know me. But you happened to comment after me on Cris Tanjutco's status, and I was wondering why your name was so familiar. Then I realized I just read your book "My Daddy! My One and Only!" with my 6-year-old son yesterday. 🙂 

So I just wanted to tell you that it's a great book. And it perfectly describes my son's relationship with his dad, who is also an architect. 😛 So thank you! And I'll be on the lookout for more of your books. 🙂


My Daddy My One and Only (Gagatiga and Tejido, 2013) is published by Lampara Books.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The 2017 Picture Book Month Celebration Is On!

Last weekend, I made an announcement of the 2017 Picture Book Month Champions.

I could not help but remember Dianne De Las Casas, founder of Picture Book Month. I have written about her passing in the blog two months ago, more or less. But here is another piece I put together for a supposed feature on people who have inspired me.

Working on Picture Book Month this year is not the same without her.

Dianne De Las Casas is one of the many inspiring people who made a great difference in my life. Dianne believed in me and gave me the courage to write. She trusted me to be her co-author in writing a collection of Filipino Folk Tales. We worked together on the book for two years and Tales From the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories (ABC CLIO) was published in 2011. It is my first book published in the US. The book won the World Storytelling Resource Award given by the National Storytelling Network, Tennessee USA in 2015.

It was a big break and if not for Dianne's confidence in me, it wouldn't be possible. She showed me how to be brave. How writing can set the self free of all possible fears. In 2011, she started an international campaign, Picture Book Month. It is aimed at celebrating books, literacy and reading.

Every year since 2011, 30 Picture Book Champions share their essay on the importance of picture books. I am one of the champions in 2013 and this fueled my passion to continue telling stories and creating picture books. Last year, she made me the administrator of Picture Book Month (picturebookmonth.com).


More than a mentor, Dianne is also my "big sister" as she helped me restore my own confidence and belief in myself as a woman. I dedicated my picture book, Big Sister (Lampara Books), to her. Like her, I hope to inspire others too.

Dianne died last August 21, 2017 in a house fire. She was 47 years old.
Dianne De Las Casas and John Couret, authors of Captain Deadeye and the Bully Shark (Write Hook Media, LLC 2016)


Sunday, October 8, 2017

When Parents Grow Up With Their Children

When Domeng and I had our Marriage Encounter Weekend in 2006, Nico was 9 years old and Zoe was 5. In the span of eleven years, Nico and Zoe have grown up being kind, smart and talented young adults. Nico is pursuing an academic career as a Music Pedagogist while Zoe is a Grade 10 student contemplating on taking a college course in Design or Fine Arts. They are our pride and joy. It is my fervent prayer  that they find their true passions and when they do, use it to make this world a better place.

While this brief profile of our kids looks good, it is but a small fraction of a bigger picture. One that has the real and unmasked portrait of the struggles they faced in the past and some challenges they still grapple with. I am sure that life will show them many more. When tough times come a calling, I hope that they take it with a prayer in their hearts that God is always by their side.

Of the many things I learned from being a parent to Nico and Zoe, it is that vulnerability is a grace. When I was a young mother, my motto was, when the going gets tough the tough gets going. Months and years after the Marriage Encounter Weekend and Family Encounter Weekends (we attended as a family candidate in 2007 and as auxi family in 2009) this changed to when the going gets tough, it is God who gets it going. I learned to seek help, to ask, even beg for assistance and support from others. First of all, I started  being open to Domeng about their needs, my mothering issues and what keeps me awake at night. From my husband, I realized the value of building one’s strength of character, my own and my children’s too.

I also learned that my children are their own persons. I came to respect their decisions, learning styles, moods and temperament. Listening to them is the most enjoyable. Letting them go is the more difficult thing to do. It is not wise to control or impose on them but when I do, as I am not perfect, I face them with an honest apology. I am forgiven so easily. It is there where love rests.

The apples did not fall far from the tree, of course. So many times I see myself in them and I see Domeng too. Often, I am happy to discover these characteristics manifest in real life applications. Sometimes, not so. Nonetheless, this mirroring only makes parenting more meaningful as I resolve to be a better version of myself for their sake and my own too.

Our children are growing up in this new stage of their lives. They need more space and time to fully appreciate and find wisdom in adulting. I remain their mother, of course, but I too grow with them as a person. How my role has shifted from caretaker, to teacher to counselor and now, mentor and life coach! Indeed, our children are God’s gift to us and to the world.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Teen Read Week is October 8 - 14, 2017


Visit the Teen Read Week blog for more resources and linkages in staging events and programming activities for the young adult reader.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Lighthouse Diary Entry 4: My Life As A Teacher Librarian

At this juncture in the first term of the school year, I find myself a busier bee. On top of managing a staff and the library's programs, I am also a homeroom adviser. I have six students under my care and mentorship. I am learning a lot from them. How? Well, that would be for another post.

For this post, let me share with you my work list.

Working with teachers, I am a:

1. Sounding board for instructional and pedagogical matters;
2. Brainstorming partner on the use of media and technology;
3. Consultant for resources of all kinds, formats and genre;
4. Teaching partner for research skills instruction;
5. Resource person for community based activities concerning literacy development;

Working with students, I am a:

1. Companion in their research journey;
2. Writing coach;
3. Teacher of skills - critical thinking, information and media literacy;
4. Guide in the digital landscape;
5.  Designer of learning environments and spaces.

Teacher Librarians never go out of style!
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