Sunday, March 16, 2014

Conviction to Lead

In the last five years my new, best reading topic is leadership or business.  I am often blessed reading how God uses His story to bring certain characters into the spotlight to serve.  These characters may have undergone several struggles or hardships in their lives, but time and time again are forced to lead from a heart of conviction.

In the book The Conviction to Lead  by Albert Mohler, twenty-five principles of leadership are shared from a Biblical perspective.  Many of these principles may have been shared in other business books, but within this book all passages are presented with Biblical evidence.

The 25 principles include:

  • Purpose
  • Belief leads to Action
  • Convictional Intelligence
  • Leadership is Narrative
  • Leaders understand all world views
  • Leaders have Passion to lead
  • Leaders are Thinkers
  • Leaders are Teachers
  • Leadership is all about Character
  • Leaders are Credible
  • Leaders are Communicators
  • Leaders are Readers (LOVE this one)
  • Leaders understand that Power is not an end to Itself
  • Leaders are Managers
  • Leaders are Speakers
  • Leaders serve and act as Stewards
  • Leaders can make Decisions
  • Leaders have Moral Virtues
  • Leaders know how to use Media to deliver a Message
  • Leaders know how to Write
  • Leaders understand the Digital World and use it for Discipleship
  • Leaders know how to use Time wisely
  • Leaders know how to Endure
  • Leaders know they will Die and need to be replaced with others of conviction
  • Leaders have a Legacy. 
Do you know leaders who personify these traits?  Whether teacher, parent, student or school principal,  God can use all of us if we stay true to our convictions.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Reading Differences or Gifts!

Words are a gift no matter how we read them.

This wonderful video shares the beauty of words and stories from the mind of a Dyslexic.  Experiencing Dyslexia in my family I have advocated for many years on behalf of my children to help them assimilate the written world within their day to day existence. What may appear so easy for one child, may be so horribly difficult for another!  Yet the majority of teachers do not teach students in multi-sensory ways, to be able to recognize the cadency in a sentence.  Sequential learning is something that needs to be integrated on a daily basis both with sounds and with words.  It is very hard to do in a brick and mortar classroom.

These wonderful role models share their confidence despite having experienced so many obstacles in their path towards learning.  Having read Malcolm Gladwell's book David and Goliath, it was so encouraging to hear how the role of being straitjacketed or treated as an underdog is actually an advantage to overcoming such disadvantages, and learning compensatory skills to think "outside of the box" may actually be a gift.

Many home-schoolers are Dyslexic.   Many have struggled to stay within the constraints of a brick and mortar classroom.  With the use of technologies such as reading aids, speech recognition software, multi sensory tools, audiobooks available in e format, changeable fonts, and focus on verbal skills to bring out confidence,  students CAN overcome great feats.  Dyslexia is not the challenge it was in the past.  Having raised a Dyslexic student who also struggled with anxiety as a result of being misunderstood, I have a huge heart for all students who struggle in this area.   

Some ideas to foster in your child.

Go the long road to work out a system which works for your students, encourage, read to them, engage literacy and role model reading on a daily basis.   Find their gifts, and help them appreciate the written word regardless of how they learn.  Listening to stories is just as wonderful as reading them!  The power of the spoken word is so ENCOURAGING.

You are blessed to be the parent of a Dyslexic child!  I am blessed to see my son read and write essays albeit slowly, with precision and a "wordsmith's" creativity in his grade 12 year!

Thanks to Ted Talks for sharing this video.  It is well worth an hour of your time.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I think therefore I blog

Thankful for my network
Thankful for my network (Photo credit: krossbow)

Three years ago when I began my adventure on Twitter, I was amazed at how I could find such value added professional development at my fingertips.  Having blogged for a few years as a teacher librarian for a distance learning school,  I realized that having VOICE was something that resonated deeply within me, and many of my colleagues and students.  I had taught my students  about academic authority, sharing ones passion and reflecting accuracy and currency (all those lovely teacher librarianship question's).  But now the crunch was up!  Could I role model that myself? Could I learn all these weird and wonderful hashtags, how would I engage in virtual chats, and could I make friends with strangers? 
Three years later I am loving the ENGAGEMENT!  Discovering curation and sharing on Scoopit, Twitter, and other social networks like Ning,  has widened my knowledge base, helped me research pertinent scholarly articles, archive for my patrons, and also help me make friends.  One of these friends and fellow teacher librarian from England Elizabeth Hutchinson   collaborated via blog and virtual classroom with our campus and distance learning grade 6/7 students, on Chocolate Lily and Kate Greenaway children's' books.  We hoped our students would imbibe cultural sensitivities and global awareness as they studied the language similarities and differences between England and Canada.  We laughed at our accents, shared our silly phrases, and reached out to connect on a heart level around picture books.
On our Ning (a private social network within our distance learning school) we teach digital citizenship skills, such as media sharing, blogging, discuss issues such as cyber bullying, collaborate in online book clubs and participate in events such as our Innovator's Challenge.  We trust and value our relationship within this private and safe community.  
So what I hope to share from this conversation is how we can have virtual relationships using social media.  I was in a library advocacy workshop recently,  and I heard the presenter share that social media is not a place for advocacy.  I would strongly disagree!  Enjoying ten years as a virtual teacher librarian... this is my world and most of my students' world.
I do believe that we are called to reach out, love, respect and accept one another regardless of our background.  As Gust Mees @KnolInfos my Twitter friend shared  we thought it would be pertinent to create a multilingual social media dictionary for other educators to share their thoughts on the positive and community forming bases for social media.  We can do that in 30 words or in 3 characters.  The choice of words we use can either build up or bring down.  It would be cognizant of different languages, ethnic and religious backgrounds.  Thankfully on Twitter I have seen mostly positive encouragement!  I have also seen poetry in reduction.  As a wordsmith in hiding I LOVE it! We welcome your thoughts!  Thanks Gust Mees@KnolInfos for starting a blog to collaborate on such thoughts!
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Monday, November 18, 2013

Social Media and Parental Presence

facebook (Photo credit: sitmonkeysupreme)

This past week I  watched a very sad indictment of the "Sextortion of Amanda Todd" being aired on CBC The Fifth Estate, to commemorate the anniversary of Amanda's death.  I was horrified to hear how twelve and thirteen year old teens are sharing lewd images of themselves on group blogging and webcam sites.  I was even more than horrified to see how online predators could take advantage of such students,  and blackmail them into sharing more revealing images.  This tragedy exemplifies some insidious dangers inherent with image sharing sites,  such as SnapChat and Instagram, and with private chat rooms.   Media literacy is not the topic on display, and images provoke more than just fear, or isolation, they can provoke students to suicide.

This brought to mind many ways as parents we need to be involved in our students' "online time"?

You will often hear students saying that the time they spend alone on their computers is private and they have the "rights" to not share their online behaviour.  Not only are cases of cyber bullying on the increase,  many are not being reported for fear of reprisal.  Often the RCMP cannot respond to complaints in time,  due to the nature of time sensitive issues regarding the Internet.

So what can we as parents/teachers do in this situation?

  • Help our students gain awareness of maintaining appropriate digital citizenship, about creating a digital footprint, empowering them with rules and behaviour for fostering online friends.
  • Consider and decide how your family may choose to monitor online and offline conversations.  Teens are often awake late into the night when lights go out. 
  • Encourage loving relationship with your developing teen,  that includes lots of openness to discuss all kinds of  topics.
  • Discuss and encourage safe digital citizenship such as those found in moderated sites like our school Ning.
  • Discuss and apply safe strategies around online activities in group Skype/webcam/google hangout chats if there are no moderators. 
  • Discuss why there are age restrictions set by social media sites.  As a parent you know your child's emotional maturity and ability to communicate responsibly.  You may choose to wait until your student is 13 or older before establishing a social network profile.
  • Pray for your students to imbibe wisdom in relationship, and in sharing personal information and healthy self esteem.
My prayer is that as a community we can be accountable for all of our students, and that together we can partner with you as parents to help keep our students safe.

For information on sites which can help you deal with bullying and preventative education go here.  To watch a great powerpoint with good discussion topics go here
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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Digibraians Unite!

Gone are the days when librarians enjoyed the tight lipped, over controlled persona,  where students and parents feared your presence and eagle eye!

In the quiet dungeon of such library tombs the sound of the date stamp as it thundered onto your book was quite frightening!  Worse than that, losing a book was a life sentence!

Welcome to the age of the "Digibrarian" where literacy is not limited to taking out a hard cover book and returning it on said due date.  Instead the role of teacher librarian, media specialist, or as we now call it "Digibrarian",  has taken the bull by the horns and entered the twenty first century leading the literacy highway.

Digital literacy may encompass many skills which require superb multi-tasking, from : financial literacy; reading literacy; physical literacy; ed tech literacy; art and music literacy; project based learning and inquiry learning.  The list goes on…. and the "Digibrarian" rises to the fore with new and wonderful #makerspaces!  To see all the #libraryawesomeness check out this  infographic!

In our learning commons Digibrarians  may be found:
  •  creating techie tools/bibliographies for patrons, 
  • sharing the joy of  e books, audio books, 
  • creating presentations on digital citizenship,  and social media, 
  • creating havens like Ning to encourage students to learn about social media and digital citizenship
  • helping students refine the research process using tools that fit their learning style  
  • creating a myriad of techie and literacy events to highlight and promote the learning commons.  
  • reading and role modelling literacy  
  • supporting a nurturing and welcoming space for all students 
  • shipping materials to patrons all over the province and beyond
  • writing and editing resources for patrons in the form of kits and supplements.
  • Correlating curriculum.
  • blogging and creating websites 
  • teaching how to use academic databases and Google
  • curating on different media outlets and sharing to social media
  • leading  

 To help Google; curators of the Internet otherwise known as Digibrarians are here to save the Day!

Digibrarian Hero!
Please add all the extra missions you do as a "Digibrarian"?  I am sure I have left out a ton!

Josh Garrels - Pilot Me (from "The Sea In Between")

My new best inspiration of the week.  I absolutely love this song.  Morning worship wake up and shine! Thanks Kevin Gourley for sharing on our music polling competition on the Ning. Thanks Josh Garrels and Pilot Me.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Increasing literacy with your E or Audio books!

Never has literacy been so immediate and gratifying!  Never has an iPad, Sony, Nexus e reader or even your laptop seemed so inviting!!  Oh wonders to have the blessings of e reading/listening at your fingertips.  So the purpose of this post (as you may have realized) is to encourage you to try out some of our audio books;)  Now you might say well isn't that a bit like cheating?  Horrors!!  Reading and/or listening critically to the content, and then making connections with the heart, is the reason we enjoy books.

If you have not enjoyed the advantages of audio books, here are a few reasons why you need to partake...

  • Audiobooks can take students to the next reading level, introducing advanced vocabulary, whilst modelling higher level reading.  Statistics have shown that students who listen to more advanced literature will have an improved vocabulary as a result, and will recognize the words on the page faster if they have heard it before.
  • They may introduce new genres, and help Dyslexic students understand the nuance of humour.
  • They may help students understand in-congruencies in dialects/language like works on Shakespeare.
  • Provide a space for multi-age students and family to bond together over the joy of reading classics like Charlotte's Web, or Oliver Twist.
  • Audiobooks provide a bridge not only for struggling readers, but also for gifted readers. 
  • Audiobooks are a wonderful tool for listening pleasure in the car, on the way to a soccer game, or on a family holiday.
So please check out some of these amazing audio books on our e library with HCS E learning commons. We will even loan you an e reader.  If you don't know how to access e books in our e library please contact me and I will lead you to the best pickings!  Blessings on your reading/listening journey!

Here are a few of my favourites taken from our e library,  (images derived from HCS Overdrive library):

    Click here to view Audiobook details for Stuart Little by E.B. White
    Click here to view Audiobook details for Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. MilneClick here to view Audiobook details for How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  • Click here to view Audiobook details for The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
  • Click here to view Audiobook details for The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks