Saturday, December 15, 2012
The teachers and staff, one and all, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conneticut, are heroes.
What follows is from my son, a pastor of a United Methodist congregation in south Florida. It is from his blog.
I write this with a heavy heart and with more questions than answers. We all are feeling the shock of what has happened in Newtown, CT. We should be. We live in a world where gun violence has become commonplace. Our emotions and sensitivities continue to be deactivated by an ever-increasing violent world. School shootings from Columbine, to Virginia Tech, and now to Newtown affect us in ways that we cannot express – it numbs us. It numbs us to know that in the 21st Century, with all good that is available to us, that someone would walk into a home and shoot his mother before going to her school to massacre innocent children and adults. It is unbelievable.
For us as the congregation of Everglades Community Church we should feel violated. The school is our home. The school is where we as the church of God meet to worship. It is a place designed to enrich the lives and learning of children. It is where hungry children are fed, where teachers pour out their lives to help students grow and mature, and where young people chart the courses of their lives. Yes, I feel violated, that one would bring such evil into a place of good, in the form of a violent massacre.
Where do we find hope? We find hope in the promises of the Kingdom of God that is being ushered in even now as I write this. I am confident that, though the parents of these children are unable to hold them and kiss them goodnight, that they are in the arms of Jesus forever. I am confident that, though the families and spouses of the adults who lost their lives are unable to offer a hug or an “I love you” wink to each other, these adult victims opened their eyes to see the glory of God surrounding them.
I am confident that we need to tell each other how much we love one another, that you need to hug your children tight and that you need to lead them into a life of non-violence. Ensure that the video games and entertainment that they frequent is absent of violent expressions. Teach them about mental illnesses. Spend time with your children as a family, pray with them, teach them to trust God, and reveal to them the joys of knowing Jesus. Ensure they learn to interact with others in loving and healthy ways. Train them in the ways of peace and non-violence.
I don’t understand why things like this happen. What I do know is this: God does not cause or plan violence. I also know this: God comes along side of us and we find him in the midst of our pain – ready to pick us up and carry us through the valley of the shadow of death.
“Tragedies are consequences of human actions, and the only God worth believing in does not cause the tragedies but lovingly comes into the anguish with us.”
from Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L’Engle.
Below is a prayer to pray,
Pastor Matthew M. Williams
A Prayer for Newtown
There are no words. There is nothing that we can say but instead we cry out.
We cry out in shared grief and pain for the loss of so many children. We do not understand, and we cannot imagine why someone would murder, why someone would justify this act of violence. We cannot comprehend.
We come to You in prayer, but our prayer is jumbled. We pray for the families who are grieving. We pray for those who are wounded and recovering. We pray for those adults who put themselves in harm’s way to protect others. We pray for those children that have witnessed this horrific tragedy and will live with this for the rest of their lives.
Our grief is raw. The wound gapes open and we do not know how to stop it. But we call upon You, O Lord, to comfort those who mourn, to bind-up the brokenhearted. It is Hanukkah, it is Advent, many are now preparing for the rest of Hanukkah and Christmas without their loved one. God, we surround them with our prayers, for we know not what else we can do. We surround them with our love, knowing that You are with them, that You hold them close.
Call us together as a community, and as a nation, loving God, to work to end violence, to build a safer community and safer schools for our children. In this time, help us to come together, for we are stronger together than we are alone, and we know Your comfort and love is shared when we are together.
Keep us close, O God. Help us to turn to each other, to seek the help we need, to build up instead of tearing down. Guide us with wisdom in how we teach our children, and work to end this violence. Loving God, help us to know You are always with us, and You are grieving with us now.
In Your name we pray. Amen.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Then Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
And am just beginning Cinder by Marissa Meyer which is listed as Book One in the Lunar Chronicles.
On LM_net the librarian listserv we have had a post of Young Adult must reads touted as similiar to Twilight which was compiled by a member based on posts by other librarians. Here are those recommendations from librarians all over.
Beautiful Creatures series by Cami Garcia
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Saturday, October 20, 2012
I have just begun reading this book. Picked it up for 50 cents at a thrift shop. The copy I purchased was a One Book / One Campus Program selection by Florida State University. This particular edition begins with a Welcome letter to the class of 2015 by the FSU president Eric J. Barron. I wonder how many of the freshmen completed the book and attended the new student convocation on Sunday, August 28, 2001 at theTallahassee-Leon County Civic Center at which Rebecca Skloot was the featured speaker.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
I am about 3/4 of the way through with the new J. K. Rowling book Casual Vacancy. I feel the same way as Emily Layden of the Huffington Post:
"I was not a third of the way through The Casual Vacancy before I began to feel resigned: I would finish because I owed it to J.K. Rowling to do so."
Reviews are all over the internet. Just search and take your pick.
However, I did like this quote from the book in light of the upcoming US election:
5.11 At common law, idiots are subject to a permanent legal incapacity to vote, but persons of unsound mind may vote during lucid intervals>
Local Council Administration,
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
On constructing a sentence
"Sentences are the purest, simplest, most pleasurable part of writing for me. And it's the part that comes the easiest to me. It is frequently the case that I, as I am sitting and writing ... the harbinger of the sentence kind of begins to occur to me in a sort of empty, rhythmic form that has no real meaning yet ... And, you know, instantaneously afterwords, the sense of the sentence fills in that empty vessel and I'm just struggling to kind of keep up with it and get it down. But there are plenty of other times where I am just really working and working and working and working and ... I trample on that initial, beautiful, mystical sentence that emerged ... and I have to try to keep fixing it and tinkering with it. And, you know, I love that aspect of it: the shaping of sentences, the crafting of sentences, that's the fun part of writing for me."
I am currently reading his 2007 book The Yiddish Policemen's Union and am finding myself "over my head". The blurb on the book cover "At once a gripping whodunit, a love story, an homage to 1940s noir, and an exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption,....."
Just did some googling and found this on wikipedia
The Yiddish Policemen's Union is set in an alternative history version of the present day. The premise is that, contrary to real history, the United States voted to implement the 1940 Slattery Report, that recommended the provision of land in Alaska for the temporary refugee settlement of European Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazis during World War II. The novel's divergence point from real history is revealed in the first dozen chapters to be the death of Anthony Dimond, Alaska Territory delegate to the U.S. Congress, in a car accident; Dimond was one of the congressmen responsible for preventing a vote on the report. It imagines a temporary independent Jewish settlement being created on the Alaskan coast. As a result, two million Jews are killed in the Holocaust, instead of the six million in reality.
Maybe now it will make more sense because for the first 82 pages I kept thinking I never knew this. Still struggling with some of the yiddish words....makes all that teaching about context clues come home to roost.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Had to share this! from 2010 by Jennie McKenzie from her blog schoolz and toolz
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Here is a list of recent reads.....
Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughan Young Adult Fiction
Baby I'm Yours by Stephanie Bond A short prequel to a series
The Sweetest Gift by Jillian Hart (A love inspired romance I purchased for my mother)
I have also been spending some time doing genealogy. Took some books back to my former library today and was talking with the new librarian. Mentioned the genealogy and she asked, "What's with it with people who retire and take up genealogy? My mother did the same thing."
Guess we have the time and we are closer to the other end of the family tree than before and want to get it all down while we still can!
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Neighbor on the beach taught me a trick. Put your kindle in a ziplock bag. No sand, no moisture.
Asked her, "What's on your Kindle?" Answer, "Oh, just one of those free mindless beach reads."
I read an assortment
Wrapped in Rain: A Novel of Coming Home by Charles Martin
My Reading Life by Pat Conroy
A Month of Summer (Blue Sky Hills) by Lisa Wingate
The Summer Kitchen (Blue Sky Hill Series) by Lisa Wingate
Experienced Alzheimers, a stroke, two runaway children, a battered girlfriend, an abandoned toddler, a mentally ill brother, child abuse, a paralyzed Judge, more alzheimers, several dysfunctional families, family ties that can't be broken, Clark's Fish Camp in Jacksonville, writing in Paris, economic ruin and more and more and more.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Teachers Write! is an online virtual summer writing camp for teachers and librarians who understand how important it is for people teaching writing to walk the walk. If you’re a teacher or librarian who would love to work on your own writing, we’d love to have you join us.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
"He prayed as he breathed, forming no words and making no specific requests, only holding in his heart, like broken birds in cupped hands, all those people who were in stress or grief."
from A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters---as quoted by Madeleine L'Engle in Two Part Invention
Saturday, May 19, 2012
from Two-Part Invention
by Madeleine L'Engle
These beautiful words I have used many times since I first read them. Tragedies are all around us and we often have no words of our own to share.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Below is the news article from the local paper concerning their decision
The Lee County Board of Education took steps Tuesday to reduce $1.2 million from its budget without eliminating teachers. The action includes not buying textbooks or software, reducing the number of days in employee contracts and not renewing some aide positions.
Lee County Schools Superintendent Dr. Stephen Nowlin said the system of about 1,100 employees would be cutting about 15 or 16 aides and perhaps a nurse.
“We don’t think we will have to eliminate any teaching positions,” Nowlin said.
The superintendent said some special ed aides who don’t have tenure would be replaced with tenured library aides, which means eliminating the library-aide positions.
He said those positions along with a couple of computer-lab positions would save about $450,000.
A letter writing campaign to try to preserve the aide positions was unsuccessful. The aide at my former school has been in the spot for 20 years. Now she will be moved to be a special education aide. All her expertise and experience and skills in the media center not being used.
Below is a copy of the letter I sent. Perhaps parts of it might be useful to some of you if you find yourself in this same position.
I was employed by Lee County Schools from 1994 until my retirement in May 2011 and served as media specialist at Smiths Station Intermediate for most of those years. The Lee County School System was innovative and supportive of our local library programs. Our county wide library program was heads above neighboring systems in Alabama. We were progressive, had district support and a cohesive and collaborative group of media specialists who worked together to provide the very best for the students in Lee County.
It would be a travesty to the library programs of the Lee County Schools and a giant step backwards in providing services to our students for the county to cut the library aide position. It is also a cruel response to the dedication of the current media specialists and aides in the county. Their dedication, hard work, and teamwork have made the programs they provide superior to what can be found in the surrounding counties. It is extremely unlikely that an effective library program can be run without the media aides. Lee County has employed aides in the school libraries I know since 1987.
A media center/library provides many services and learning opportunities to the students and faculty of the school. When staffed with a media specialist who is a certified teacher with a master’s degree in school library media and a paraprofessional library aide the level of service is outstanding. Take a look at the following tasks that the Lee County librarians provide with the assistance of their aides.
· teaches regularly scheduled classes each day
· has open checkout when any student can come check out books or use the computers
· provides research assistance
· provides book selection assistance
· collaborates with teachers assisting with their curriculum needs
· is responsible for collection development and book processing
· serves as a technology overseer and onsite tech repair person
in some schools oversees STI testing, STAR testing, and the computer lab
· administers the Accelerated Reader program
· instructs and documents student instruction in Internet Safety
· prepares monthly usage statistics
· prepares end of year media center and technology reports
· teaches 21 Century skills.
develops a yearly budget for the library based on state funds
· Is responsible for local fund raising
This is not just for one classroom of students but for the entire student body.
Sounds like an overwhelming job, but it is the support and presence of the library aide, there on the front lines too, performing her duties that enable the media specialist to carry out hers. The library aide is the face of the library, the person first seen upon entering and the person manning the circulation desk. They are the line of first defense for help and questions.
In the “Alabama’s School Library Media Handbook for the 21st Century Learner” which was approved by the Alabama State Board of Education on September 11, 2008 there is the following statement--the library media specialist has 40% of their instructional week “reserved for management responsibilities.” Without the presence of a library media aide this state mandate would be impossible to attain.
I ask you to consider carefully the damage that will occur to a presently superior program if these cuts are made.
I realize many systems are letting their media specialist go and using parapros to run their libraries. So far this has not happened here, however, this is still a big deal! Last school year our media center circulated 55,000 items.....running the library single handedly will be a huge huge huge task.
Monday, May 14, 2012
"Our lives are a dance, and our friends and families are our dancing partners, and God is the head of the dance. He calls the tunes, and directs the music, and invites us all to dance. Sometimes He even interrupts our normal dances so that He can dance just with us. Let's all sing it like we were dancing so that God will know that we are ready to dance with Him, whenever He wants."
from Lord of the Dance by Andrew M. Greeley
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Released by Dr. Nancy Everhart (firstname.lastname@example.org)
President, American Association of School Librarians May 19, 2011
Books that are professionally selected to meet school and personal needs.
Equitable access to computers and other forms of technology.
Someone to talk to and someone who listens – the school librarian.
A place to get help when they need it.
A place to assemble with their friends openly.
Learning experiences that are enhanced through teacher/librarian collaboration.
How to evaluate information.
How to create information.
How to share information with others.
How to self-assess their work.
Project-based learning and the critical thinking skills it teaches them.
A place where the school culture is fostered and thrives.
A recommendation for a book that is suited to their interest.
A recommendation on what to read next.
Having stories read to them.
Respect for intellectual property.
A place to practice safe and ethical behaviors.
A librarian who doesn't judge a student because he/she takes out a book they enjoy reading. '
A place to solve problems.
A place to use their imagination.
Special programs and speakers.
Video chats with authors and experts.
Reading contests and prizes.
Instruction in how to use statewide databases.
Resources that align with the curriculum.
Acquiring 21st century skills.
A quiet place to learn.
A safe forum to explore new ideas.
The opportunity to borrow digital cameras, recorders, and laptops.
The ability to experiment with and master new technology.
Materials matched to their learning style.
Accepting learning as a life skill, not just an academic necessity.
The potential for higher standardized test scores.
Citing sources correctly.
Using information ethically.
Creating READ posters.
Creating book trailers.
Preparation for college.
Summer reading lists and programs.
Borrowing materials on interlibrary loan from public and college libraries.
Having resources available for school projects at the public library because the school librarian collaborated with them.
Learning to be a good digital citizen.
Battle of the books.
Time during homeroom, during lunch, during the school day, and after school to work on projects when they have no other access to computers.
A place to visit that is open, friendly, attractive, and a safe haven.
Additional resources for their classrooms.
In-depth exploration of a topic.
A knowledgeable, interested adult with whom to discuss books.
A library website that offers access 24–7 to an online catalog, selected electronic resources, databases, and curriculum-related websites.
Synthesizing information from diverse perspectives.
Writing a thesis statement or a critical question.
Reflecting on the information-seeking process.
Responding to literature.
Using social media websites and tools (i.e., blogs, wikis, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) safely and responsibly.
Assistance and guidance in completing homework assignments
Recommending books to their friends.
Help with history fair, science fair projects.
A place to "shop" for free.
A place to practice decision-making skills.
The library, like the cafeteria and the gym, are places where all students (crossing grade levels and ability levels) mingle with one another.
Opportunities for meaningful student leadership
A program that always differentiates to teach, support, and enrich.
Aconduit for information to increase efficiency in the entire building.
Teachers who have had exposure to instructional support and collaboration.
Access to subscription databases, including time-saving instruction on which databases are appropriate for particular projects;
Technology expertise and instruction on software and web applications for writing, collaboration and presentation.
A connection between the outside world and the classroom.
The ability to construct and defend arguments.
Resources that will broaden their global perspective
A smile of genuine pleasure for coming through the door.
Going beyond academic requirements.
Organizing personal knowledge.
Responding to literature.
Adapting to new situations.
Developing personal productivity.
A place to display their work both physically and virtually.
A place where the digital divide doesn’t exist.
A place to use their imaginations.
Learning the implications of a digital footprint.
Making recommendations for books that are followed.
Teachers who extend learning experiences beyond the classroom.
How to search efficiently and effectively.
Respect for copyright and intellectual property.
Helping other students.
A place to study without grades.
Taken from: Standards for the 21st Century Learner by the American Association of School Librarians, suggestions from members of the American Association of School Librarians, and students in the school libraries of the United States.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Read a poem,
recite a poem,
listen to a poem,
listen to someone else read a poem,
watch someone else read a poem,
write a poem,
put a poem in your pocket,
put a poem on the bulletin board at your local market,
mail poems to your friends,
begin your club meeting with a poem,
read a hymn like a poem,
put your poem to music,
subscribe to a Poem-a-Day,
search for poetry on youtube.
Can you think of more ways to share poetry this month?
Write them in the comments section of this post.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
"Civilization leaves those who more or less keep its rules at the mercy of those who do not."
This one was probably copied down in 1991 when I started the book. That was 21 years ago. How much more true do you think it is today in 2012?
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Thursday, April 5, 2012
This is also from Andrew Greeley's Patience of a Saint
"Husband and wife are sacraments of God for one another, the best hint each will ever have in this world of what God is like."
note from self "at least that's how it's suppose to be."
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
The journal ends with these my words: "This book contains sentences, paragraphs, and phrases that over the last 20 years I collected as I read. Words that spoke to me because of their beauty or their truth.
I am not the same person as I was at the beginning of this volume. Outward appearance and experiences both have changed me--but the words speak to the core of who I am and where I am and perhaps where I am going." June 26, 2011
"The Lord God, to tell you the absolute truth, is a comedian."
from Patience of a Saint
by Andrew Greeley
Sunday, April 1, 2012
So what now is the purpose of Bookladyspeaks? I can write reviews and opinions of books I am reading. But lots and lots of people do a better job at that than I would do. Rethink, redesign etc, etc.
Am currently reading No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club Diary of a 60th Year by Virginia Ironside. Wanted to share some words from it.
Having trouble with the idea in bold print! So although I've not entirely reached Virginia's place yet, I really no longer have much insight into "Happenings in School Libraries". So if you see a different slant beginning to appear in Bookladyspeaks you'll know why.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
We met the girls' cousins and other grandmother at the theater. So two retired grandma teachers.. 8, 6, 5, and 3 year old girls, and a 4 year old boy entered the Secret World of Arrietty.
I remember reading The Borrowers as a child, but don't have any memory of it circulating much during my 16 year tenure in the elementary library. Perhaps the movie connection will give it another boost. I promised the oldest grand I would purchase it for her and we would read it together. We've been trying to work on Anne of Green Gables, but that's been a stretch.
I think maybe the language of books from the past is much more complex than popular fiction. We even discussed this yesterday in church as we were studying the book of Galatians. I wonder if people had to puzzle out what was being told them by the Apostle Paul as we did or were they just smarter.
Have just finished reading The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon and was glad I read it on the Kindle. Nice to have the dictionary right there at hand. You know the tendency to learn a new term and then it show up in other things you are reading? I am a blog follower of Arlo and Janis by Jimmy Johnson as many of you know....last week there was a discussion of the term cats-paw. It was very present in one of the chapters in The Scottish Prisoner. I often have wondered if those sort of discovered terms are always present in our readings but we just begin to notice them when we learn the new word.
I always thrilled me when a library student would speak out during a lesson saying, "that's one of our spelling words!" Nice to see them making connections. That's when learning is real.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Got confused in a recent book and was at 7% (whatever page that is!) Tried to back up to see if there was some front notes I didn't see. Then wanted to resume where I left off but the wireless wouldn't connect soooo I had to page through till I got there.
Just a gripe for today.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Debbie Reese, PhD
Tribally enrolled: Nambe Pueblo
Website: American Indians in Children's Literature@ http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.net/
Now: Studying for MLIS at San Jose State University
Then: Assistant Professor in American Indian Studies, University of Illinois
Monday, January 9, 2012
Offered at a 25 % discount this month on http://www.lulu.com/
Use coupon code LULUBOOK305 at checkout and receive 25% off your order. The maximum savings with this promotion is $50. You can only use the code once per account, and you can't use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer ends on January 31, 2012 at 11:59 PM PST
Sunday, January 1, 2012
My readings for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany has been Jan Richardson's book shown above.
The publisher's blurb states
"Jan's original artwork, reflections, poetry, and prayers accompany the reader from the first days of Advent through the Feast of the Epiphany, beckoning us to encounter the God who dwells in darkness as well as in daylight."
Today, New Year's Day, 2012, especially spoke to me. Here is the reading.
Wise Women Also Came
Wise women also came.
The fire burned
in their wombs
long before they saw
the flaming star
in the sky.
They walked in shadows,
trusting the path
under the light of the moon.
Wise women also came,
seeking no directions,
from any king.
by their own authority,
their own desire,
their own longing.
The came in quiet,
spreading no rumor,
sparking no fears
to innocents' slaughter,
to their sister Rachel's
Wise women also came,
and they brought
water for labor's washing,
fire for warm illumination,
a blanket for swaddling.
Wise women also came,
at least three of them,
holding Mary in the labor,
crying out with her
in the birth pangs,
breathing ancient blessing
into her ear.
Wise women also came,
and they went,
as wise women always do,
home a different way.
In this and every season
may we see them,
the wise ones
who come bearing
your gifts to us.
They cloak themselves in garb
that rarely draws attention,
but they are there
at the edge of the shadows,
in the margins of our days,
on the threshold of our awareness,
offering what we most need.
Give us eyes to see them now,
before they have left
to go home some other way,
before we glimpse
their departing shadows
edged in gold
and smell their spiced perfume
lingering behind them
in the air.