April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to focus on the protection and care of our most vulnerable and trusting resources – our children.  Child Abuse Prevention Month has been observed each April since its first presidential proclamation in 1983. Since that time, individuals and organizations have joined during April to raise the public’s awareness of child abuse and its prevention.

Over 264,000 Texas children are reported as abused or neglected and nearly 67,000 confirmed victims in 2010, according to Child Protective Services, a division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. April is child abuse prevention month in Texas and in the nation. 

Twitter: It’s Not Just “What’s For Breakfast?” Anymore

Twitter has changed my life. Seriously. – Part in a series

And I’m not the only one.


Teaching professionals have found ways to use Twitter to share resources and lend quick support to peers with similar interests. For educators who use this tool to build a network of people whose Twitter messages connect to their work, Twitter becomes a constant source of new ideas to explore.

Twitter as a backchannel (def?) has ***transformed the interactions among the participants of a conference, including those who weren’t in attendance. It adds a second layer of discussion and brings a wider audience into what would have been a private exchange. In addition, a Twitter backchannel gives the event an afterlife on the Web.

Sept. 15 is Power Up at Your Library Day

 Dorcas Hand, Editor of TASL Talks http://tasltalks.blogspot.com/2016/08/september-15-power-up-day-from-tla.html


Remember all the way back to April when TLA Conference was here in Houston? IdeasPowered as a PR program was unveiled there by outgoing TLA president Susan Mann and the TLA PR and Marketing Committee – check out the video from the event.  It was powerful at conference – the idea wall was amazing! And really, “Ideas Powered – It’s What We Do” is exactly the right slogan for Texas school librarians along with our colleagues in other kinds of libraries.

Sparky: When ‘Gifted’ Isn’t a Gift – GeekDad

Sparky: When ‘Gifted’ Isn’t a Gift – GeekDad.

I really appreciate this post. For some time now, I’ve been preaching the message that we need to stop using the term “gifted” when referring to people with unusually high ability and/or potential.


  1. Thinking differently doesn’t make anyone superior to anyone else.
  2. Kids are not meant to be status symbols for their parents or for their teachers.
  3. What about the 90-something percent of people that we don’t christen “gifted”? What should we call them? The Not-Gifted? Not OK.
  4. High ability people have their own set of problems. It’s not all breezing through school and finding everything “easy.”
  5. We have enough problems appreciating individual differences in this country. Do we really want to build yet another fence?

Rant over (for now).

Enter semi facetious solution. 

We change the term “gifted and talented” to “cognitively deviant.” It’s descriptive, has a nice acronym (CD), and does not sound like a status symbol. So far, I’m having trouble getting people to join my cause, but I’m not giving up hope! Will you join my cause? #CDforthewin #stopwordabuse

Word Work Wednesday

As educators, we know and understand the importance of vocabulary instruction, but we don’t always have the time to make our vocabulary activities engaging and meaningful. Sometimes it may be because of time constraints, other times, it may be that we are just having a hard time coming up with new activities. So, for today’s Word Work Wednesday, I will share an activity to add to your collection in order to help eliminate at least one of the obstacles. I hope you enjoy!

Disagreeing with Shakespeare

What’s the alternative to gift?

Rotten Banana


“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet….” Maybe, but none would smell it if you called it a rotten banana instead of a rose. I’m just suggesting that the Bard may not have hit the nail on the head on this one.

Let me explain. We persistently use the term “gifted” to mean, as our State Plan for the Education of Gifted and Talented says it:

How do we intervene with our kids?

As testing season approaches, classrooms across the state are hunkering down and making last ditch efforts to prepare students for the state assessments. The question boils down to this: are these last-ditch efforts really working? The reason the question is asked is because if the strategies and instructional approaches used during this crunch are so successful, why are we not using them throughout the school year? Don’t our students deserve this same intensity throughout the year? Although well-meaning, these “interventions” may not help our students as much as we hope. True enough, there may be pertinent information that soaks into their minds, but to have our students become truly successful, not only on state assessments but any other reading and writing assessment, boils down to these key factors:
• phonological awareness;
• phonics;
• fluency;
• vocabulary; and
• comprehension
In order for our students to succeed, they must be fluid in these areas of reading. So, the question now becomes, how well do we understand these key reading components? By understanding these skills, we are better able to successfully prepare our students for all of the reading assessments they will encounter.

Guest Blogger: Cynthia Alaniz Librarian in Cute Shoes

 Librarian in Cute Shoes  Follow Cynthia’s blog at http://librarianincuteshoes.blogspot.com/

The thoughts of an elem. librarian who loves children’s literature, technology, writing, —and throughout it all must wear cute shoes!

#TXLA16: A Wonderful Whirlwind   Monday, April 25, 2016 I attended the Texas Library Association’s 2016 Annual Conference, and though I’ve been home for two days, it is still fresh on my mind.  The time was incredibly enriching and filled with so many incredible moments. I took some pictures, but I couldn’t capture everything. You never can. What makes this conference so amazing? Well-planned and painstakingly organized, the blueprint for this conference is laid out early, with attention to every detail! And the people! All of the dedicated and determined librarians who plan and execute it all make it great for attendees as well as speakers. I had a tiny part to play in it, mostly through the work of two programs (along with some volunteer work for the Bluebonnet Luncheon): Donalyn Miller and I shared many title recommendations in “Book Chat Live” — including picture books, graphic novels, early readers, middle grade, nonfiction. We hope we helped librarians spend money on books! We had more books than time! Isn’t this always the case? Most certainly, working with Donalyn was a wonderful experience! I also moderated a panel of authors in a session appropriately named “Notably Newbery”. This session will get its own blog post here tomorrow! I hope you will come back to read it! I couldn’t possible attend everything I wanted to, but through the beauty of Twitter, and conversations in hallways and ballrooms, I was able to learn from sessions I could not attend. One session I found particularly wonderful was the Poetry Roundup! There is always a great lineup of poets at this event! And listening to these poets read from their work is truly a wonderful experience! Attending this session always give me great ideas to share poetry with my school. Dr. Sylvia Vardell is the moderator and poet planner extraordinaire! I attend Poetry Roundup every year! Newbery winner Kwame Alexander, author of The Crossover, shares a poem for the Poetry Improv with Janet Wong to his left. This is my first blog post about #txla16. Some conferences just can’t be written about only once! Especially ones held in Texas!! I hope you will visit again tomorrow to read more!

A Customizable Approach to Restorative Justice School Discipline: Replacing Ineffective, Punitive, Consequences With Human-Centered Educational Practices

“A Customizable Approach to Restorative Justice
School Discipline: Replacing Ineffective, Punitive, Consequences With Human-Centered Educational Practices”

Presented by: Page Nichols and Pender Makin

Traditional school discipline tends to be one-size-fits all, punitive in nature, and largely ineffective in changing student behavior. In fact, disciplinary practices that cause students to be removed from school for any length of time actually exacerbate most of the underlying causes of maladaptive behavior, contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline, and sever the already fragile connections to school, teachers, and peers that need to be strengthened in our most at risk students.

Learning Disabilities and/or Dyslexia– the Future and a Child’s Potential

The term “disability” is sometimes a hard word to hear for a parent at an ARD meeting at school.  The feeling of a significant loss for the potential of a child’s future can overtake a parent at such a time.  It is important to share stories such as the one below that illustrates that the future is not always bleak.  There is always hope if the focus is on the child’ strengths as well as areas of need.