Thursday, April 30, 2020

Online Writing Workshop for Kids Q& A

1. Why did we have activities on storytelling and structure of stories?

The activities we had last week will help you frame or organize your writing. There is free writing and there is process writing. We will be doing both writing activities in the weeks to come. Examples of free writing are keeping a diary, writing journal entries and writing prompts. Some free writing activities also integrate art. We will do all of the free writing strategies.

Process writing follows a series of steps. There are four steps namely Pre-writing, writing the first draft, revising and publishing or making our own book. We will also do process writing since we are going to make a book!

Storytelling and knowing the structure of stories help writers writer better. As a writer myself, I am constantly telling stories, looking out for stories and understanding how stories are told and presented.

Writing is a lot of DISCIPLINE. It is fun, but it also demands time, focus and patience.

2. Are your answers in the assignment fine?

Your answers in the assignment are all correct!

3. What kind of books are we going to make?

We are going to write fiction, so we will write story books.

4. Do all.stories always have an epilogue?

Not all stories have an epilogue.

5. When do we stop and start chapters?

Writers make outlines. A short story outline is different from a chapter book outline and an outline for a novel. So chapters depend on the story outline that a writer comes up with. The story structure of beginning middle end can bean outline for a short story.

Chapter books and novels require a complex outline similar to a mountain range. So, depending on the kind of story and book you are writing, its beginning and ending follows with it.

6. Does there have to be a theme?

Yes. All forms of literature has a theme.

7. Can there be a moral (to every story)?

Morals of stories depend on the readers. I mean, a writer should not write to preach a moral.

8. Are the books we make always a story? and 9. What kinds of books are there?

There are 2 kinds - fiction and non-fiction. But there are many genres, fantasy, science fiction, romance.. And each has a way or approach in writing that genre.

10. Is there a number of pages needed?

The number of pages depend on the kind of story you want to write. Most story books have 16-32 pages including the illustrations. We can begin with a minimum of 8-10 pages

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Online Writing Workshop for Kids: Stories In Me and the World Around Me

Early this April, I started an online writing class for children. The learning activities, story prompts and writing projects are all uploaded in Google Classroom, the platform of choice. The students work on the activities in a week and we chat or do a video call every Saturday. My students ask varied questions. Our weekly chat and video conferences have been fun and engaging. 

I am sharing ten questions from our chat and slides of the story writing prompts the do in the workshop. 

1. Why did we have activities on storytelling and structure of stories?
2. Are our answers in the assignment fine?
3. What kind of books are we going to make?
4. Do all.stories always have an epilogue?

5. When do we stop and start chapters?
6. Does there have to be a theme?
7. Can there be a moral (to every story)?
8. Are the books we make always a story?
9. What kinds of books are there?
10. Is there a number of pages needed?

I will post the answers in a few days.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Learning Goes On in the Time of COVID-19

Here are my answers to the questions that Mr. Francis Jim Tuscano sent over. This is in preparation for the podcast about literacy and learning through and during the pandemic. The interview can be listened at when you tune in to Jim's empowerEd Podcast channel. The links are at the end of this blog post so have a look and listen to more podcast of thought leaders in education today. 

What challenges in terms of literacy are we seeing or anticipating at this time of school closure?

Literacy has many kinds, so allow me to identify five kinds of literacy that are relevant to have in the time of COVID-19. These are Family Literacy, Digital Literacy, Financial Literacy, Media and Information Literacy (MIL) and Cultural Literacy. At the core of these kinds of literacy is critical thinking. So I think, the question we can ask ourselves as parents and teachers is, how can we learn and harness critical thinking skills especially in children?

So, for the purpose of discussion, I will focus on Family Literacy, MIL and Digital Literacy as the most challenged literacy skills today.

It is important that families know how they learn, individually and collectively. It is in the family where creative and productive habits of using media and digital technology begin. Conversations and experiences in language grow and develop at home. Parents are the first teachers of the child, so an awareness of how each members of the family learn and grow is the beginning of learning at home.

Today, parents are challenged to provide a learning environment for their kids at home. What routines are in place to help and assist children in learning about themselves and the immediate environment? How are children using technology at home? What models of reading and learning habits do children take after from their parents. I think these are challenging times for parents and they do need support.

How can teachers continue to foster literacy despite school closure?

Teachers need to communicate well with parents. As many schools move to remote and online distance learning, schools must support teachers and parents in the transition. A big expectation is set for teachers to do an efficient job at this. The design of learning and instruction that is age appropriate and creative is of utmost importance. All these changes has to be relayed to parents in clear and meaningful ways.

How can the home help in ensuring that kids continue to love and appreciate reading?

I think it is important to strike a balance the use of digital technology and exposure to media. As a librarian, I do a lot of paring, deconstructing and unpacking of information found online. Metadata is not easy for children to understand and make meaning all in one go. Some symbols, signs and context can be lost especially when children engage in the news and when they receive an influx of information from social media.

So, for parents, I recommend that they take time listening to their children. Be aware of the questions children ask. Entertain their curiosities and wonderment. Tell each other stories. I am big on storytelling and this is an experience where children can acquire language and literacy skills. take advantage of the time spent at home. This is also a good time to learn and develop life skills.   

What have been the most important learnings that you got at this moment? 

I think it is really important for us all to work together. This health crisis can break us apart or it can bring us together. I prefer the later one.
Follow these links to know more about empowerED Podcast Channel, you may visit our channel on Apple Podcasts: or Spotify: Our empowerED Podcast is produced and distributed for FREE to educators globally. 

Monday, April 27, 2020

Kuwentong Musmos Author Interview: Janina Marie Rivera


Janina Marie Rivera is the author of Kaya ni Mina, illustrated by Cy Vendivil and published by Hiyas-OMFLit. This is her first children's book under the Kuwentong Musmos Project of Room to Read in cooperation with Adarna House. Know what led Janina in the Philippine Children's Book industry.

Why are you writing for children?

Honestly, this is a difficult question for me  because most of my writing has been for an older audience-- a young adult audience, and I know that YA is my niche. So when the invitation came to me from Hiyas to write a children's book for RTR,  I was surprised.

My book with Hiyas and RTR, Kaya ni Mina, is my first children's book.

What is your Philippine Children’s Literature origin story? (How did you start writing for kids and getting published)

Even if I feel I'm more of a young adult writer,  I certainly do like children's literature. When I was in college, I was drawn to children's literature--to the point that for my thesis, I decided to analyze a certain Philippine children's anthology of short stories.

Also, if I were to go back to my childhood, I can say that I grew up with tons of children's books around me, so I am aware of the influence a children's book has on personal values and knowledge. (Plus, I really enjoyed the books that had pictures, or that expected me to do things like insert stickers on them.) 

I started writing for kids because of RTR and Hiyas' invitation.

Give three words or phrase to describe your Kuwentong Musmos Workshop experience.

Engaging. Encouraging. Enlivening

What is the book you wish you had written and why?

I still want a crack at my draft about the Aetas. But another book I'd like to write will be one that could help children with questions like "Why do bad things (like getting sick!) happen to good people?"

What advice or tips can you give aspiring children’s book writers?

Be humble. Learn from others. Explore the world as much as you can. Just because you write for kids doesn't mean that you can't go into deep topics or difficult world issues.

Janina Marie Rivera is the author of A Night Bird Sings of Blindness and Fear, published by OMF Literature, and is one of the authors of the devotional,  Dawns, and a poet in the collection, Joyful Light. Recently, she wrote the children's book, Kaya ni Mina, published by Hiyas and Room to Read. Outside of book writing, Janina is an English teacher at Enfuego Christian Academy and the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, an online Christian magazine for young adults. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

Kuwentong Musmos Author Interview: Joshene Bersales

In this interview, Joshene Bersales, author of Sakto Lang (OMF-Hiyas, 2019) tells us how she started out in the children's book industry. Sakto Lang is illustrated by Domz Agsaway. 

Why are you writing for children?

I hope that through my stories, children will see that what they think and feel are real, important, and valid. 

What is your Philippine Children’s Literature origin story? (How did you start writing for kids and getting published)

I started writing stories when I was around eight years old. I’d write on the back of old notebooks and even draw comic strips sometimes. But I only seriously considered writing for children in college, after taking an elective on Writing and Illustrating for Children. My thesis was actually about Augie Rivera’s Batang Historyador Series! Then I joined Adarna House’s Barlaya workshop in 2006, where I wrote the draft of my first book, Bianca’s Big Secret. It took me ten years to revise (life got in the way), but I’m grateful that Adarna still considered my material worth publishing a decade later :) 

Give three words or phrases to describe your Kuwentong Musmos Workshop experience.

New doors
Less is more
Revision is the key

What is the book you wish you had written and why?

The Little Prince! I’ve always loved Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s writing style, how he managed to convey the pilot’s struggle between wanting to stay a child forever and needing to grow up. The fox is one of my favorite book characters of all time :) 

What advice or tips can you give aspiring children’s book writers?

Write something that you’d want to read over and over again, because you’ll spend a lot of time working on it (writing the first draft, revising, editing, proofreading).

Author bio
Joshene Bersales considers the Little Prince her hero and strives to have his childlike wonder wherever she goes. She graduated with a degree in English Literature from the Ateneo de Manila University. She is a writer, book editor, thespian, and sometimes a translator, too. Joshene likes anime and cats.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

BA Library Online: #MaslowBeforeBloom

This week in BA Library Online, I shared the #MaslowBeforeBloom school of thought that has been circulating in social media. 

A month ago, the #MaslowbeforeBloom school of thought broke the internet.The basic and psychological needs of young people must come first so that they can apply the high order thinking skills expected of them in school and at home. This conversation in social media is on-going. Resources online are abundant. Insights and reflections from educators, child psychologists and youth workers vary from personal experiences to professional practice as informed by research. Follow and use the hashtag to find out what the buzz is all about (if you haven't yet) over at Twitter, Facebook, IG and LinkedIn.

One resource about #MaslowbeforeBloom that is of interest is the collection of articles, videos, PDFs and podcasts put together by Youth Development Today (April 2020 Issue).The contents of the April 2020 issue focuses on processes to help parents, teachers and youth workers understand young people and ensure that they are ready to engage in learning in light of the pandemic.

The article on young people's use of technology as tool to develop relationships presents multiple viewpoints weighing on the pros and cons. It includes the kinds of technology young people prefer to use to keep them tethered to family, friends and relatives in this time of physical distancing. On top of the list is the use of Zoom and other video calls and conferencing apps. Then again, the Search Institute's Developmental Relationships Framework is a reminder on the essentials of meaningful connections we can forge with our students.

Click on the links and visit the websites! 

Collage: World Book Day 2020 and KDrama

It’s World Book Day today, so let us celebrate! Post a photo of the book you are reading today and your recommended top 5 Kdrama in the comment section.

Of course, we have this to wrap up today’s photo collage series for World Book Day. Happy World Book Day everyone! Post a photo of the book you are reading right now and your top 5 recommended Kdrama.

Here is another photo collage for World Book Day. Imagine Hyun Bin as the school librarian or university librarian! Celebrate World Book Day! Post a photo of the book you are reading right now and your top 5 recommended Kdrama.

Photo source: VAST and ctto

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

empowerEd Podcast Channel: "Global Voices: Pondering Over Education and the COVID-19 Pandemic,"

I just had an interview with Francis Jim Tuscano for an episode in his podcast channel, empowerED. The theme for this season is "Global Voices: Pondering Over Education and the COVID-19 Pandemic".  It aims to tell the stories of educators around the world at this time of the pandemic- challenges, hopes, and reflections. 

I am honored to be a guest in his podcast channel. This is my first podcast recording with a distinguished educator such as Mr. Tuscano. I first met him through a paper he wrote on integrating information technology and finally, shaking his hand and seeing him face to face last year in the Reading Association of the Philipines DemoFest and Mid-Year Conference in Iloilo. Our paths crossed in a field of discipline that I often traverse outside Library and Information Science. We also share the Xavier School experience since he is a faculty member and I, a former librarian in the Greenhills, San Juan campus. 

Jim Tuscano (second from left) with RAPpers in Iloilo City
Life is indeed strange and beautiful!

For the interview, Mr. Tuscano sent me these guide questions:

What challenges in terms of literacy are we seeing or anticipating at this time of school closure?
How can teachers continue to foster literacy despite school closure?How can the home help in ensuring that kids continue to love and appreciate reading?What have been the most important learnings that you got at this moment? 

I have notes as answers to his questions but the interview didn't turn out the way I thought it would - which is pretty cool. I will post my answers to the questions for the blog, but I do encourage you to visit Mr. Tuscano's podcast channel not just on the day of my interview, but right now. The ideas, insights and sharing of experiences among professionals and practitioners in the field of educational technology in empowerEd are awesome sauce. Also, issues on teaching and pedagogy are discussed. 

Follow these links  To know more about empowerED Podcast Channel, you may visit our channel on Apple Podcasts: or Spotify: Our empowerED Podcast is produced and distributed for FREE to educators globally. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Kuwentong Musmos Author Interview: Maloi Malibiran-Salumbides

Sa mga araw na darating, mga manunulat at mga illsutrador  naman ng OMF-Hiyas ang itatampok dito sa blog. Buena mano si "Ate" Maloi Malibiran-Salumbides. Siya ang sumulat ng kuwwntong
Tinola ni Nanay na ginuuhit naman ni Felix Mago Miguel.

·         Bakit ka nagsusulat para sa mga bata/kabataan?

Noong highschool pa lamang ako, nabasa ko ang quote na ito, “If you want to leave a legacy, write a book, plant a tree and raise a child.”  Tumatak sa akin ang kaisipang iyon at nagsimula akong mangarap na makapagsulat ng libro bilang pamana sa susunod na henerasyon.  Ang unang aklat na naisulat ko ay para sa mga nagtatrabahong gaya ko. Nasundan ito ng marami pang libro para sa mas nakatatanda. Noong ako’y magka-anak na saka ako na-engganyo na subukang magsulat ng kwentong pambata. Mahilig kasing magpakwento ang aking mga anak noong sila’y maliliit pa. Sila ang inspirasyon ko sa pagsusulat para sa mga bata.

·         Paano ka nagsimula sa pagsusulat ng mga kuwentong pambata? Ano ang iyong origin story?

Naanyayahan akong dumalo sa isang workshop sa pagsusulat para sa mga bata ng OMF Literature noong 2012. Mga propesyonal at bahugang manunulat ng kwentong pambata ang naroon. Naisip kong sumulat ng kwento tungkol sa isang barrio kung saan ang mga nakatira ay mga nag-aaway na mga instrumento. Sobrang ingay ng lugar na iyon dahil ang mga instrumento ay di magkasundo. Napalitan ng masayang musika ang ingay sa barrio
nang matuto ang mga matatandang instrumento buhat sa masayang paglalaro ng mga batang instrumento. Ang pamagat ng kauna-unahan kong kwentong pambata ay “Boom, Bang, Clang!”.

·         Magbigay ng tatlong salita upang mailarawan ang karanasan mo bilang isang fellow ng Kuwentong Musmos Workshop?

Nakakanerbiyos. Pagpapala. Nag-uumapaw

·         Anong aklat ang sana ay ikaw ang nagsulat?

“Sandosesang Sapatos” ni Tito Doc Luis Gatmaitan

·         Magbigay ng 5 tips o payo para sa mga gustong magsulat ng kuwentong pambata.

1) Manood at makinig kung paano maglaro at magkwentuhan ang mga bata. Pasukin mo ang kanilang mundo at matuto buhat sa kanila. Maraming maituturo sa atin ang mga bata.

2) Ugaliing magbasa ng mga kwentong pambata na isinulat ng ibang may-akda.

3)May kwento ang bawat bagay. Paganahin ang iyong imahinasyon at magsimulang magsulat ng kahit ano tungkol sa bagay na nasa harap mo.

4) Gumamit ng maiikling pangungusap. Di kailangang isulat o ipaliwanag lahat. Hayaan mong tumakbo ang imahinasyon ng batang magbabasa ng iyong kwento.

5) Maging bukas sa suhestiyon ng iba kung paano mo higit na mapagaganda ang iyong kwentong pambata.

Author's Bio

Si Maloi Malibiran-Salumbides ay isang brodkaster, inspirational speaker at awtor. Nagtapos siya ng BA Mass Communication (major in Broadcasting) sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas at nagtamo ng Master of Arts degree sa Wheaton College sa Amerika. Nakapagsulat na siya ng maraming aklat na naghahatid inspirasyon sa mga nagtatrabaho. Ang Tinola ni Nanay ang pangalawang aklat na kanyang isinulat para sa mga bata.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Kuwentong Musmos Interviews: Illustrators of Team Lampara

Early in April, I rounded up the blog interviews of authors of Team Lampara who participated in the Kuwentong Musmos Workshop in Bohol. This time, the blog interviews of the illustrators of Team Lampara are put together in one post. They too have stories to tell and their advice for aspiring illustrators is meant to inspire and give hope.

Jamie Bauza illustrator of Masaya Maging Ako encourages the aspiring illustrator to keep on practicing. As the saying goes, practice make sperfect!

Pepot Zamora Atienza illustrator of Ang Nanay Kong Drayber learned to trust the creative process to enjoy the art and the making of art.

Lui Buan illustrator of Ang Alaga Kong Lolo advises aspiring artists "to know thy self". An understanding of one's strength and weakness lead to continuous growth personally and professionally.

Luis "Ito" Chua illustrator of Kiko Kitikiti shares the importance of joining organizations like Ang Illustrator ng Kabataan for professional support and networking.

Angela Taguiang illustrator of Ang Batang Papet believes that technical skills alone does not make an artist. Emotions and expressions in a work of art matters a lot.

This coming week, the blog begins featuring yet another team of authors and illustrators from the Kuwentong Musmos Workshops of Room to Read.

Read and learn from the stories of Team OMF-Hiyas, Maloi Salumbides, Joshene Bersales, Janina Rivera, Dr. Luis Gatmaitan and Yna Reyes.

Friday, April 17, 2020

BA Library Online: Updated Pathfinder on COVID-19

BA Library Online
Pathfinder: COVID-19
Updated April 20, 2020

This Pathfinder is prepared for the learning community of The Beacon Academy. The school has established workflows and set up protocols for medical emergencies in light of the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus.

Keywords: COVID-19, epidemic, pandemic, virus, viral infection

BA Library Online Subscriptions

The Day: News to Open Minds -
Username: *****
Password:  *****
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Password :  ****
Science News -
        Username:  *****
        Password:   *****
World Book Online
Username:  ****
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BA  Library Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC)

BA Library: On Shelf

Viruses: agents of change  / by Fettner, Ann Giudici. New York : McGraw-Hill Pub. Co., c1990 616.0194 GIU

The coming plague : newly emerging diseases in a world out of balance : Garrett, Laurie. / by Garrett, Laurie. New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c1994 614.4 GAR

Federal body snatchers and the New Guinea virus : people, parasites, politics : Desowitz, Roberts. / by Desowitz, Robert S. New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2002 616.9 DES

Online Sources

The Department of Labor Philippines issued an advisory for workplace safety in the event of confirmed cases of infection.

Advisory on the 2019 n-CoV and health care information are up in the website of the Department of Health Philippines. Check the feeds of DOH's Health News for updates as the department is closely monitoring the medical history of areas with reported cases of infection.

Pandemics: Resources - curated by Library 2.0 for libraries and librarians as they prepare their workplaces and protect staff and library patrons from the outbreak of the virus; includes information, advisory and medical protocols by government agencies in the US namely, labor, health and public safety.

Science News for Students has put out a series of articles on the 2019 n-CoV.
      What is a coronavirus?
      What is a virus?
Top three publishers of science research journals, Wiley Online, Elsevier and Springer Nature, brought down their pay walls and opened access to relevant studies on the Coronavirus. Click each photo to view the link and web page.

Link to access:
The interactive global map of experts looks impressive. Check the inks to educational products that teachers and HR Offices can use to educate students and the work force.
Springer Nature
Link to access:
For an academic reading of the health issue, go to the list of research and studies. For a more practical perspective on the virus and the state of the world, go to the Our Blog section. Blog articles and postings are written by resident scholars and scientists. The language is accessible; the content is valuable and relevant, and statistics, graphs and images are included to further help readers understand this health issue.
Wiley Online
Link to access:
Includes a list of CDCs (Center for Disease Control) from all over, and a live Twitter coverage on #COVID19 and #SCARSCOV2 by @wileyinresearch and @DrEricDing.
Information service from EBSCOHost

The EBSCO Health teams have aggregated public and proprietary content from government agencies and publishers to create a resource portal that spans our collective knowledge on coronavirus. The site is being updated daily and all of the content is free to all. Our goal is to support health care providers and leaders in their work related to combating the coronavirus, and we will continue to gather and develop tools and resources to help.

We thought this would be useful for you and your institution. We are working with all of the major publishers to aggregate open access to their most relevant journals on coronavirus.
All of these resources are publicly available so feel free to pass them on to other colleagues and groups as well.

COVID-19, Children and Teens 
A free ebook for younger kids to understand the COVID-19 and their emotions towards the pandemic

Voices of Youth is a digital community for young people by young people as sponsored by UNICEF. News articles, advice columns, write ups on issues like education, children’s rights, health and wellness are made available for young readers and the adults who care for them. There are portals for kids and teens to contribute creative work on the website. A page about the Corona virus and ways to cope and survive through this pandemic is a special feature of Voices of Youth.

COVID-19, Data Science and Math

Our World in Data has a comprehensive and updated status and reports on the COVID-19 gathered from research and studies all over the world.

COVID-19 and Mental Health

Teaching Through a Pandemic: A Mindset for this Moment: Stephen Merill presents emotional and psychological scaffolds for teachers teaching through this pandemic 

The Time for a Flux Mindset: April Rinne writes about the flux mindset. Let go. Slow down. Think “we” not “me”

Keeping a diary or a journal has many benefits. It helps clear the mind and sort out feelings especially in times of confusion and worry. It is a way to record moments and milestones that become one’s personal history leading to a better knowledge of one’s self. Furthermore, it is our way of looking at ourselves against a bigger event or phenomenon as it happens until we call it history.
The #ourcoronadiary project is anchored on these concepts and ideals. Visit the website and discover the creative and varied ways to keep a diary or journal in difficult or less challenging times.

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