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. Education.com 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 easel.ly 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:
https://www.fullybookedonline.com/products/see-you-in-the-cosmos?taxon_id=121#

Rating: 4 Bookmarks

Monday, August 28, 2017

Dianne, Go and Sparkle!

Last August 27, 2017, Dianne de Las Casas' family and friends gave her a fitting celebration of life. I am catching up on the event through social media and on YouTube. Her brother, Gary, posted a slide presentation in video format on YouTube. You can view it here.  Speeches by her mom, brother, daughters, relatives and John can be viewed here.

For a week since Dianne's passing, I have posted my memories of her in my Facebook Page. It will take me awhile to shake this sadness away. I lost a mentor, a co-author and a friend. My "big" sister.

So. Here is my little tribute to Dianne. Four selected articles from the blog that celebrate her life and our friendship!

Dinner with Dianne, 2008  - We first met online, in a mailing list of storytellers back in 2003. In 2006, when I learned that she was in town for a workshop, I made it a point to be there. With a friend, we sat in her workshop transfixed, enchanted, amazed. I gathered up my courage to introduce myself right after and to my surprise, she remembered our conversations about Cavite, the Caracol and the gaping hole of Filipino Folklore in mainstream literature in the US. Her parting words for me then, "Do something different! Stir the pot!"

Dianne de Las Casas, Author of the Month, 2011 - I followed her online through Professional Storytellers, a network of international storytellers and her website/blog. I subscribed to the monthly newsletters that she put out and these were very helpful to my work in the school library. Story Connection Express is a great source of information and ideas! And, thanks to Facebook and Google, keeping in touch with Dianne had been easy.

When hurricane Katrina came, I sent her messages and prayers. I sent her a story, The Turtle of Koka, to offer support. It was all I could give her. Little did I know how much that meant to her because, in 2009, she sent me several emails asking me if I were alright after typhoon Ondoy. When I told her of our living arrangements, she sent financial support even though I wasn't asking anything from her. A month after, she surprised me again with a book proposal to ABC CLIO. We worked online on the proposal and in October, ABC CLIO gave us the green light!

Sagada with Dianne, 2011 - Dianne was back in the Philippines in 2010. We were together for almost two weeks! One of our memorable trips was the one where we went up north in Sagada. All the while I wondered what force in the universe had brought us together. We were very different. Back then, I marveled at Dianne because she saw past our differences. She looked at opportunities and the many ways in which a person can thrive in the face of adversity.

Tales From the 7,000 Isles and the World Storytelling Resource Award  - The book won the World Storytelling Resource Award in 2015. Two stories from the collection were taken by Margaret Read McDonald for inclusion in another collection, Storyteller's Sampler Tales from Tellers Around the World (ABC CLIO, 2015).

Dianne believed in collaborative work. As founder of Picture Book Month, she made me the Picture Book Month Administrator. It was an honor to work alongside her and 30 Picture Book Month Champions! Early this August, we have started inviting authors, illustrators, librarians and teachers as 2017 Picture Book Month Champions.

Now that she is sparkling in the heavens, I will always look up to her as my shinning star. She remains an inspiration. Thank you very much, Dianne! I love you. I miss you. I will carry on.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Teaching Resources and Readers' Guide: Traitor to the Throne

One of the books I was excited to read about at the start of 2017 was Alwyn Hamilton's Traitor to the Throne (Viking, 2017). Traitor to the Throne is the second book in the Rebel of the Sands series. I posted my review in the blog back in March 19, 2017.

Here's a link to my review of Rebel of the Sands. I also posted a  resource and guide for teachers.

So, here are the teaching resources and readers' guide for teachers, parents and librarians on Traitor to the Throne. First up, the reviews.

Book Reviews

If you want to know what other readers and fans think about the book, here are links to reviews.

Reviews From a Bookworm
Desert News: Book Review of Traitor to the Throne
Kirkus: Traitor to the Throne

Themes: War, Women and Children

In Traitor to the Throne, children, young people, especially girls, and women, were not spared from participating in the war and in the revolution. Some fell victim to the abuse of men. Some stood up and became warriors. How these young women fought to survive as they made choices in the face of conflict are issues and topics of global scale. Traitor the Throne is a work of fiction, but the realities of war and the involvement of children and women in it are events happening in real life too. We only need to turn to the news, both local and international news agencies, as well as social media to affirm this. Even history has a lot to tell us about war, and the suffering of civilians especially women and children.

Here are online resources to understand the roles of women in light of war and conflict.

 Huffington Post traces the role of women in the military in modern times. The events in the timeline cover a western context but it shows how women have fought alongside men in times of conflict and armed struggle. It would be interesting to look at other defense and security systems other than the military to get a wider perspective of women's role in the war effort. Another vantage point is the role that women played in a country's industry and economy  at war time. History Channel has some compelling videos and narratives about women in World War II as warriors, workers and victims.The write up about Queen Elizabeth's participation in Britain's war efforts is one example.

In the novel, we read about children and young demdjis picking up arms and joining the fight. If not seen in battle, they become prisoners of war and experience all forms of abuse.

Unicef discusses the sad and horrific plight of children and women in places where war never seem to stop. Women and children are defenseless. They become refugees or, like the characters in the novel, end up as prisoners of war.

Many women are involved in peace efforts too. The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom is a branch of the United Nations advocating, campaigning and taking action in peace keeping efforts. Unite for Sight, a global non-government organization with a strong program on health and medical services, has an information packet on war, peace, women and children. It even has a counter argument on the role of women in the military.

TED Talks have these videos on women, children and civilians suffering the most when war is over and how peace building efforst continue long after the ceasation of war.

Discussions and Activities

Create an infographic on war and its effects on the economy, government and civilians. Conduct a poster presentation of these infographics in the classroom and have a gallery walk. It will help readers to note their reactions and the information they gathered from the poster/infographics. From these infographics and the readers' knowledge of facts about war, women and children, discussions can arise. Guide questions can be put together after the discussion to form claims, arguments and counter arguments.

Recommended Readings: Fiction

Adventures of a Child of War / by Flores, Lin Acacio   Manila Philippines : Cacho Publishing House, 2002

Doctor Zhivago / by Pasternak, Boris Leonidovich,   [New York] : Readers Digest, c1990

It was the war of the trenches / by Tardi, Jacques.   Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, c2010

The book thief / by Zusak, Markus.   New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2007

The bookseller of Kabul / by Seierstad, ΓͺAsne,   New York : Back Bay Books/Little, Brown, 2004  

Recommended Readings: Non-Fiction

Worlds at War : the 2,500-year struggle between East and West / by Pagden, Anthony.   New York : Random House, c2008

A World Undone : the story of the Great War, 1914-1918 / by Meyer, G. J.,   New York, N.Y. : Bantam Dell, 2007
 
Human Smoke : the beginnings of World War II, the end of civilization / by Baker, Nicholson.   New York : Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2009, c2008

World War II : the events and their impact on real people / by Grant, R. G.   New York, N.Y. : Dk Pub., 2008

A Time for War : 105 Days in Bataan / by Atienza, General Rigoberto J.   [S.l.] : Eugenia S. vda. de Atienza, 1985 

Peace education : how we come to love and hate war / by Noddings, Nel.   New York : Cambridge University Press, 2012

  

Monday, August 21, 2017

Repost from 2012: World Read Aloud Day: Reading aloud Lizard's Song

George Shannon's Lizard's Song is one of my favorite read aloud pieces. I discovered the book during my preschool years as a librarian. I learned the tune of the song from a little boy, the son of a former colleague, who visited the library. When he saw the book on the table, I remembered him say, "Oh! Lizard's Rock!". He then opened the book, read the story aloud and sang the song as he went along! To see and hear a child read is a beautiful experience. Happy World Read Aloud Day!

Vic Asuncion is Mr. Persona Power

Mr. Vic Asuncion is Persona Power Personified
In July, a few weeks before the 2nd Philippine Children's Book Summit, PBBY President Tarie Sabido and I were guests in the radio-TV-social media show The School of Life TV. Aired over at 8-Trimedia DZRJ 810 AM every Saturday at 10AM - 12NN and hosted by Jon Bernard Ordonez Caasi, Tarie and I presented activities of the National Children's Book Day and the Philippine Children's Book Summit. There we met Mr. Caasi's co-host, Mr. Vic Asuncion.

Mr. Asuncion is known in the Personal Development industry as Mr. Persona Power. He generously lent his time for this interview in the blog.
 

What are soft skills? Are there kinds and categories? If yes, please identify them as applied to real life events or situations.
 
Soft Skills are those skills people use to manage themselves as human beings and their interactions towards others so they can lead a harmonious and comfortable life.

These are the non-technical skills that people never learn from schools and universities, but are more important and much needed to make it in the real world. Sub-skills such as the ability to communicate, human relations, social manners, confidence, decision making, overall image, business etiquette, positive attitude and emotional intelligence make up the whole spectrum.

Kinds: Self-Management Skills and People Management Skills

Categories: Personal; Social; and Business

How can Charisma Power help educators teach young people especially now that there is a Personal Development subject in SHS?
 

Educators can only be credible in teaching CHARISMA POWER concepts to young people if they will first apply the principles themselves and make them a part of their everyday system.

Let's accept the fact that many of our educators sadly have this as a major concern. Most of them don't even know that it is something that they need to work on.

Meantime, given that there is a Personal Development Subject already, I suggest that school management chooses the right and qualified teachers to handle the subject. Teachers who already possess at least a considerable  degree of charm would be a good choice.

DEPED must implement an intensive Educators' Development Program nationwide to guide them to walk their talk and train them to ensure consistency and uniformity in the modules.

A Personal Development Program that is proven and tested to be effective, practical, and impactful should be designed to ensure that students will really learn the essentials needed to achieve personal and professional greatness.



The School of Life TV Classmates: L-R Tarie Sabido, Kat Olan, Jon Bernard Ordonez Caasi, Mr. Vic Asuncion, Teachers Riza Araneta and Marose Lagunsad, and Zarah Gagatiga

As a trainer of professionals and young people, what experience that has been most meaningful for you?

I have been in the Personal Development industry for more than 2 decades and I can say that I have a lot of meaningful experiences that are worth treasuring. In all of them, what is most meaningful is when people would thank me for what I've done for them to become better that led them to have a more successful and  comfortable life. Hearing people tell me this gives me the motivation to continue my work. But as I always tell them, it is not I who made them better. They made themselves better.

Name five people with Charisma Power. What makes them charismatic?

There are a lot of people who have CHARISMA POWER.  The 5 People (popular) who I think have developed the 6 Personal Powers needed to have CHARISMA are:

a) Oprah Winfrey
b) Charo Santos-Concio
c) Matteo Guidicelli
d) Barrack Obama
e) Princess Diana

Mr. Vic Asuncion runs personality development workshops, professional and personal development training, coaching and mentoring sessions, and youth leadership programs too. Visit the Persona Power - Center for Personal and Professional Excellence Facebook Page for details.

Watch out for news on his ebook, Charisma Power, which we will feature in the blog soon!

Before you go, here is information about a FREE TRAINING SESSION from Mr. Vic Asuncion, Mr. Persona Power!

FREE TRAINING FOR YOUTH ORGANIZATIONS / STUDENT COUNCILS / COMMUNITY GROUPS/CLUBS

1. Send us a message and your group's profile to signify your intent to be a Beneficiary of POWER UP JUAN Project (PersonaPower's youth training advocacy).

2. Upon evaluation, your group can GET A FREE Persona Power Training for your officers & members.

Please SHARE to other youth groups, too.

CONNECT W/ US @ 0998-7917425 / 7093310 / thepersonagroup@gmail.com.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Storytelling: Take a Little Walk Bear

Throwback video. During the 3rd Philippine Literary Festival, I conducted a Storytelling Workshop with Darrel Marco and Audrey Anday as co-facilitators. The workshop was sponsored by my publisher, Lampara Books. Thanks to Chris Danger for the video!

I first heard Take a Little Walk Bear from Margaret Read McDonald back in 2002 during the 2nd Storytelling Conference in Singapore. I tell this story to end a storytelling session and to bid participants goodbye.



Want more stories like this? Come join us on August 25, 2017 at the San Beda Library, Alabang. Storytelling Now!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Book Review: Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Pottermore Presents, #1)Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


These short stories are good enough to read for when you miss the whole gang. JK Rowling has created a host of very interesting characters that, in their death or continuing adventures in the Potter books and beyond, you wonder what came before and what happened next. This collection did just that for me.

Remus Lupin and Minerva McGonagall are two of my favorite characters in the Potter books. Knowing their past, or better yet, their origin stories gave me closure in understanding their story arc. JK Rowling is really something else!

I hope more short stories of intriguing characters come up in the future. Sirius and his brother, Regulus. Charlie Weasley. Aberforth Dumbledore. Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody. Olivander, the Wandmaker. Just to mention a few. There are many events in the Wizarding World to know more about as well. The Goblin Wars. The slavery of the elves. Muggle and wizard relations. At the end of it all, readers and fans of the books are at the mercy of JK Rowling, magical weaver of tales!



View all my reviews

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Teacher Techie of the Month: Galvin Radley L. Ngo

Because the first National Conference on Technology in Education (NCTED 2017) is only a month away, the blog features Mr. Galvin Radley Ngo of Wohoo Learning Lab, a program partner of NCTED 2017. 

Get to know Galvin, Wohoo Learning Lab and the first NCTED 2017. Read on!

Where did "IT" all begin - your interest, and passion in teaching and technology?


My first "teaching experience" happened way back in 2004, when I worked as a teacher and assistant coordinator for the Jesuit Communication Foundation's The Garage: Center for Creative and Multimedia Technologies. In The Garage, we conducted workshops for priests, nuns, teachers and NGO workers in various multimedia and technology skills, so that they can use it in their work and advocacies. Looking back, I think that was the earliest contact I've had with being part of the intersections of technology and education. However, what really ignited my interest and passion was the opportunity to work in Xavier School, close to 7 years ago. In Xavier, I was tasked to be part of the NExT (New Experiences with Technology) Team, who took charge of advocating and supporting the school's initiative to explore the potential of using technology in teaching and learning. There, I was struck by how technology, in the hands of passionate teachers, can really make a difference in learning.


What is Woohoo Learning Lab?

Woohoo Learning Lab is an education technology professional learning company. Our advocacy is to help schools and teachers ignite meaningful innovations in learning, through supporting them with resources, opportunities to exchange ideas and best practices (conferences and edcamps), coaching, training and consultancy. Usually conversations about Education Technology are dominated by discussions on types of technologies (Do you use tablets? apps? sites? etc.), and though these are surely exciting things to talk about, what we've noticed is that, sometimes the key ingredient for a successful initiative is not given much attention. From our perspective, this key ingredient is the teacher. Though we love learning about new technologies, we are strong believers that it is still learning design and a teacher's educational philosophy & pedagogical practice that will really help make a difference.

What is your role in the National Conference on Technology in Education (NCTED)?

Woohoo Learning Lab is currently the program partner for the conference. As program partner, we are in charge of designing the overall participant experience through conducting research on best practices, curating topics and inviting facilitators based on school's needs and interests, and ensuring alignment across all sessions to ensure a cohesive learning experience.
What would a teacher or educator get from this conference as they are bombarded with professional development activities already?


The national conference is really a celebration of research and practice-based innovations from all over the nation. Participants will have an opportunity to learn from and with educators from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and from various educational settings: K-12, Inclusive Ed and Higher Ed. It is also an opportunity to learn about other best practices from outside the nation: featuring speakers from the United States and Singapore. Finally, it is an opportunity to collaborate with each other, not just with the facilitators but also among the participants themselves. With many changes and challenges ahead, most specially in education, I think the best way moving forward is to face them together.




What is the future of education?


The future of education will be shaped by educators who are creative-always finding new ways and taking on different perspectives in the way he/she teaches, who are collaborative - humble enough to break down his/her classroom walls to take part in networks of educators, and who care deeply about each learner - taking time to find ways for learning to happen better for each student. 

Wohoo Learning Lab is located in
2/F GEMPC Building, Timog Avenue, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES
Visit their Facbook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/woohoolearninglab/
Website: http://www.woohoo.ph/
LinkedIn: https://ph.linkedin.com/company/woohoo-learning-lab
Go to the link for more information on the NCTED, program, registration and list of resource speakers.

InnovatED: Learn. Unlearn. Relearn.


I will be conducting a three hour workshop on September 13, 2017 during the first National Conference on Technology in Education at the SMX Convention Center, Manila. My session's title is Media in the Time of Social Media: Necessary Skills in Navigating the Multimedia Landscape. 

The World Wide Web, as we know it, is constantly changing. It is no longer a passive  multimedia landscape where people can simply locate and access information. The Web has become a platform for interactivity and participation. A variety of media formats have merged into the Web allowing more opportunities for creativity, opening up of communication channels and collaborative projects.

This session will tackle the dual role of media as tool and message and how it merges into the different Web 2.0 technologies. Participants will be engaged in critical and creative thinking activities that will help them understand the strengths and limitations of blogs, wikis, ePortfolios and social media as instructional and thinking tools, as well as techniques in using different multimedia platforms for teaching and learning. Teachers, school librarians, allied professionals and homeschooling parents will benefit a great deal from the workshop.

For more information on the conference go to InnovatED 2017.

Program can be viewed here and the Registration  to the conference is easy and accessible.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Storytelling Now!

Join me and a host of librarian storytellers tell stories in different ways and techniques on Friday, August 25, 2017 at the Senior High School Library of San Beda Alabang.

The seminar workshop will feature a Storytelling Rigodon; a look at stories and storytelling from creators and tellers of tales; exercises to bring out the inner storyteller in you; and strategic storytelling activities for K-12 students.

Here's the link for the invitation.

Invite: https://www.slideshare.net/ramospnulisaa/storytelling-seminarworkshop-august-25-2017?utm_source=slideshow&utm_medium=ssemail&utm_campaign=post_upload_view_cta

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Book Review: Grass for His Pillow, Tales of the Otori Book 2

Grass for His Pillow (Tales of the Otori, #2)Grass for His Pillow by Lian Hearn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This second book of the series, Grass for His Pillow, Tales of the Otori starts slowly, like breathing in preparation for meditation. Takeo and Kaede's narratives are told in detail against the background of an impending war. There is turmoil and tension happening within Takeo and Kaede as well as the world in which they live in. It ends abruptly though, this careful description of building chaos internally and externally that it left me yearning for more of Hearn's beautiful and tragic narration of love lost and found.

I couldn't help but think that the amazing and most terrible moments of Kaede and Takeo's journey are all packed in book three. Nonetheless, it has all the troupes of romance that I truly love: a prophecy, dalliances, a revelation, a great big war and the folly of youth.

How will Takeo and Kaede redeem themselves in the third book?



View all my reviews

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Lighthouse Diary Entry 3: The TOK Tree

In the Academy, when going to Building B using the right doorway from Building A is a path where, if you are observant you will notice it immediately, a tree stands to the right. It has been very popular among birds and men lately because it has flowered and is bearing fruit. Ang sipag niya mamulaklak! Puwera usog!

TOK Tree. Fruit of Wonder!
It is known on campus as the Palawan Cherry Tree. The flowers are small and pink. The fruit is edible, as small as a cherry tomato, bright red when ripe like an apple and the taste vary from one person to the other. However, unlike the cherry, it does not have a pit. Its seeds come in clusters.

I wonder why it was called a cherry tree, in the first place. The tree's real identity is still up for debate! A topic for research!

Our learning support teacher likens the fruit to a balimbing. The Business Management teachers says it tastes like macopa but with a slightly acidic zing to it. Our new Filipino teacher thought of raspberries upon tasting the fruit. I say it tastes like kalamansi with honey.

Aha. A Theory of Knowledge (TOK) moment!

Because we are not sure of the tree's species and genus, we relied on our memories to identify the fruit's taste, and this gave meaning to our experience of this wonderful tree growing in the school grounds.We can always argue on its taste and we will all end up agreeing to disagree. Indeed, one's opinion and experience is different from the other. Such is the way with knowledge and our perception of the world.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Thank you, Teacher Jaron!

Oh joy! This message came from Teacher Jaron.

Hi Ms. Zarah πŸ™‚ 

I just want to share how my students, Nissi and Lesli Anastacio loved the story (My Daddy! My One and Only!). They asked me if they could borrow it so they can read it at home πŸ™‚ Thank you for this story! I personally loved it too 😊😍 Regards to Nico as well.

I actually told them the origin of the story that you told us at the Lampara Books Seminar. They really love their Daddy Lester who comes home late at night and they want to show their dad the story and to say thank you for being there for them.

I was teaching them a lesson about parents going to work despite of stormy days. Then I remembered the story when they were sharing stories of their parents.

Jaron Adapon Natividad is a preschool teacher in Precious Vessels Christian Academy. 

Thank you, Teacher Jaron for sharing our book to your students. How generous you are for allowing your students to bring home the book with them to show it to their father. Continue to create bridges between young readers and books written especially for them.

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Lighthouse Diary Entry 2: Desires, Passions and the World's Greatest Need


No PPT slides. It was trad. But it worked!
Unlce Iroh, one of my favorite characters in the hit cartoon show, The Avatar, the Last Airbender, quotes in one episode, "Follow your passion and life will reward you!" It sounds so simple yet so true. For when we know what we are truly passionate about and when we pursue it, life gives back a hundred fold. I suppose this is a natural law of the universe for it calls to each and everyone to do good. However, knowing one's passion is another quest in the journey of living a meaningful life. And yes, how one pursues this passion is another story.

Two weeks ago, on a Friday, the weekend before the Academy opened its doors to its Griffins, new and returning, the faculty was fortunate to have Mr. Robert "Bobbit" Suntay for an inspirational talk. Mr. Suntay is one of the members of the Board of Trustees and it is not often that we see him on campus. He would visit, once in a while for BOT purposes and that's it. So, his brief but engaging talk was a welcome surprise to many. Like Uncle Iroh, he talked about one's search for happiness, the heart's truest desire, the journey of finding it and what happens when this inner desire is affirmed and actualized. Happiness is achieved because, this deepest desire meets the world's greatest need.

Aren't we all a part of a bigger something? Don't we all need to belong in some greater scheme? Even the traditional introvert searches for an endeavor that would make him whole.

That Friday, my materials for Library Orientation were all prepared. Our bulletin boards have been set up, usernames and passwords of our online subscriptions have been updated, and brochures and library bookmarks were all sorted out. My assistant, Flynn, and I were ready for the opening of of Academic Year 2017-2018. However, Mr. Suntay's talk left a dent in my heart and in my mind that over the weekend, I reviewed my plans and changed it entirely.

I thought of going for what I am truly passionate about. Books. Reading. Media and Information Literacy. Working with Students. Helping teachers. Bridging gaps. Going the extra mile even when it hurts. These are the things that matter to me. And these were the things I shared with our Griffins last Monday, July 31st, the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The birth date of Harry Potter, the boy who lived.

Four classes on MIL last week! YAY!
It was the first time I got a round of applause from the seniors (probably because there is no Book Quota this year?). The juniors tried their best to behave and to listen given the number of new students in the batch. The year 10s jumped in the task given to them right away. No qualms. They were ready to engage despite themselves. And the year 9s, what a frisky bunch!

During the in-service, HOS (head of school) reminded us of our thrust for this academic year. Back to teaching. I think, with Mr. Suntay's sharing of his life journey, I need to go back to my passions that has kept me all these years working in a school alongside teachers and school leaders and helping students find their own path. Operations and administrative work will always be important. Then again, the head and the hand will not function well if the heart isn't in it.

It was an amazing first week. There will be peaks and valleys but I hold on to my passions because, I am positive, as I have seen it happen before, these will all turn into my life's mission.

So, Life, let's do this!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Max Flew and Got a Review!

Thank you for the review, Dr. Eugene Evasco!



Storytelling Festival: Music and Storytelling

Teachers Cess and Psalm joined forces during the Storytelling Festival last July 22, 2017 at the GT Toyota Asian Center. By using folk songs, musical instruments and chants, they engaged the listeners into a lively session of storytelling!



The story, Ang Pitong Panaginip, is an original by Teacher Psalm.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

NCBD 2017 Aftershocks 2 of 2

The 1st Storytelling Festival
It's been two weeks since the celebration of the National Children's Book Day (NCBD) at the Cultural Center of the Philippines last July 18, 2017 and the 2nd Philippine Children's Book Summit (PCBS) at the GT Toyota Asian Center in UP Diliman last July 22, 2017. I wrote about these two events and NCBD related activities in the blog and you can read all about it in NCBD 2017 Aftershocks 1 of 2.

Friends from the industry who attended the PCBS also wrote about the event. ICYMI, here's a link to an article about Children's Literature in the regions published in Vera Files. The take off point is the panel on Children's Literature in the Regions where Padma Perez, Noel Galan De Leon and MJ "Xi Zuq" Tumamac were the resource speakers. Cebu writer and journalist, Cris Evert Lato-Ruffalo wrote about the PCBS, particularly the session on library development in Cebu Daily News Inquirer. National Book Development Board of the Philippines Chairperson, Neni Sta. Romana Cruz had an article in the Inquirer not only of the PCBS but also about children's literature events and activities in Davao and in San Francisco USA.

I wouldn't be surprised if in the following years, the NCBD will be celebrated in Iloilo, Baguio, Cagayan Valley, Cebu or General Santos City.

Happy students from La Huerta Elementary School
As the first week of August folds into a new one, I keep this wonderful thought that the Storytelling Festival during the PCBS had been a great success as well as the Illustrator's Fair. Kudos to the team of Ms. Anne Rosette Crelencia for conducting a book repair and mending workshop during the PCBS. Many teachers and librarians learned from their session.

To the 30 volunteers of the Storytelling Festival, teachers, librarians and reading advocates, I extend my appreciation to all your hard work! It would not have been a success if not for your selfless participation. You made many children happy! Even parents and teachers enjoyed the Festival too!

We sure did offer our child audience different storytelling techniques and varied stories that even the young at heart came out of the storytelling hall inspired and motivated to tell stories to their children. This, I think, is one way to gauge our impact to the adults who take care of kids and young people. I get news from some of the volunteers that the program and flow of the Storytelling Festival is being replicated in other learning communities in the metro. It only goes to show that our work is not over yet.

We take a long breather from all these, gather our strengths and reflect a bit. We shall look at ways to improve the Festival and definitely, we will see each other again next NCBD!

Teachers, librarians and reading advocates worked together to conduct the 1st Storytelling Festival.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Illustrator of the Month: Sophia Demanawa

The blog's Illustrator of the Month is Ms.
Sophia Demanawa, winner of the 2017 Alcala Prize. Read on and get to know Sophia!

How did you learn about the Alcala prize?

I wasn’t aware it existed until my student org Blue Indie Komiks posted the contest details on the facebook page. Since I sent works of the same story to INK but was unsuccessful in passing, I thought I could improve on the drawings I made so I could join the contest.

What is your creative process for Dalawa Kami ni Lola? 

I wanted to have a sort of sequence in my drawings. The first would show Oyen enjoying a normal afternoon drawing with their lola watching over them. The second would show the turning point in the story when Oyen realizes their lola cannot play ball with them anymore. The third would show Oyen’s growth in taking care of themself in how they finally know how to take care of their lola. I wanted to draw it to look like the sequence of a day, from afternoon, to sunset, to night, so there would be an obvious progression of what’s happening. It was important for me to make this right as well since I’ve always been mainly taken care of by my own lola when I was very young.



Who are your role models in your chosen field and discipline? Why? 

I wasn’t into children’s book until two years ago when I made my own, since I never had a lot of children’s books when I was a child myself, having only two books that I don’t even remember. I finally realized the importance of these books in everyone’s formative years, the way they shaped their perception of the world, most especially the radical children’s books about our history, about LGBT issues, etc.

It was my girlfriend who introduced me to Ang Bonggang Bonggang Batang Beki, Papa’s House, Mama’s House, and were some of my favourites. Ang Bonggang Bonggang Batang Beki because it taught children, especially men, that it was okay to be feminine. And Papa’s House, Mama’s House that taught children about non-nuclear families, which is still the only children’s book in the Philippines about divorce. Both writers and artists of those books are my role models because they all have styles that are distinct.

Who is Sophia Demanawa?

My name is Sophia Demanawa, I love drawing, and only recently in my life, children’s books. I want to illustrate more things in the future, especially for literature that is radical and can help people be more open-minded. I love drawing personal stuff as well as fan-made stuff, no discrimination. I love my family for letting me do what I love and  letting me have a good education. I love my girlfriend for collaborating with me on many future projects and opening my eyes to all kinds of things. me do what I love and  letting me have a good education. I love my girlfriend for collaborating with me on many future projects and opening my eyes to all kinds of things.
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