Balance…or lack thereof

Monday's Musings

Balance

Driving the long trek into work one morning, I looked to my left and admired the lovely moon and slowly pinking skies.  I looked to my right and was taken with the glorious sunlight shining through the trees.  It occurred to me that this was a magical moment, the perfect balance as night concedes to morning and the day unfolds.  This juxtaposition of moon and sun together makes for a bit of dissonance that intrigues and provokes thought.

It led me to think of the frisson of excitement or heightened awareness one feels the moment one encounters something that is seemingly contradictory like the moon and sun in the same frame.   As I pondered and wondered, my thoughts inevitably turn to education and reading.  I realize this feeling of being slightly off-kilter or unbalanced a bit is what I love reading good steampunk–the juxtaposition of old and new,  skewed or altered history, familiar figures in wrong settings.  As a reader, the seeming disconnects intrigue me and hijack me on the journey through the story till resolution and I can re-enter the ‘real’ world.  I suspect those of you who have taken a similar journey will concur.

For those who want to know more:  Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.

Wikipedia “Definition of steampunk. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 6 October 2012

Terry Roper

Terry Roper

Terry Roper, Library Consultant for Region 10 ESC. has been an educator/librarian in the North Texas area for 22 years. She has worked on elementary and high school campuses as well as central administration. Ms. Roper has experience dealing with English language learners of all levels and works closely with the Region 10 Literacy Team. Terry loves dealing with literacy and information dissemination and talking about book stuff!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Mondays Musings

Random thoughts by Terry Roper   @r10library

Do you ever find yourself reading a phrase and being compelled to read that phrase aloud just to hear it in your ears and roll it around your tongue?  I find some words and phrases to be absolutely delicious and make a list of such words or phrases when I am in need of a literary pick-me-up.

My phrase du jour is willing suspension of disbelief.  According to my friend Wikipedia, suspension of disbelief is a term coined in 1817 by the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who suggested that if a writer could infuse a “human interest and a semblance of truth” into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgement concerning the implausibility of the narrative. (Suspension of disbelief}  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suspension_of_disbelief

This phrase gives me pause–the action required is to stop or suspend your native skepticism, prior knowledge, or anything else that would stop you from buying into the scenario presented to you.  It seems like a contract the reader or viewer must enter into with the author or creator of the work in question.  The author must create a compelling enough scenario and we [the reader] must be willing to take that journey with the author or creator.  We have all seem movies that we did not enjoy as we could not buy into the basic premise or read books that we did not connect with because the plot or characters did not seem believable.

I think this willing suspension of disbelief comes more easily to children and maybe to dreamers.  As adults, we need to stay open to possibilities we initially tend to discount.  If we step out to meet the author and still can’t get there, we can give ourselves permission to stop viewing or reading but I think we adults need to make sure we have opened our minds to at least admit the possibility that the improbable can seem plausible, given the right treatment.

Don’t Stop Believing……Stop Disbelieving…..

Join me next Monday for a random, possibly provocative musing.

Terry Roper

Terry Roper

Terry Roper, Library Consultant for Region 10 ESC. has been an educator/librarian in the North Texas area for 22 years. She has worked on elementary and high school campuses as well as central administration. Ms. Roper has experience dealing with English language learners of all levels and works closely with the Region 10 Literacy Team. Terry loves dealing with literacy and information dissemination and talking about book stuff!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Reflecting on the connection between music and memory

Random Musings and Reflections by Terry Roper

Today, while driving to work, I dropped the last disc of my audio book, [yes, still using physical CDs checked out from public library :)] and facing a long, tortuously slow drive, I twisted around and upside down [while at the red light, mind you] seeking the lost disc.  I pulled up a disc from the depths of my under seat region and discovered an old Linda Ronstadt CD left over from an earlier life so, naturally I plugged it in and really enjoyed listening to old tunes from my go-to “heartbreak” album.  The songs were great but the experience was oddly disconcerting as I kept feeling twinges of memory ingrained into this music that came back to me as I was listening.

This led me to reflect on the connection between music and memory, how you can listen to a song that imprinted on you at some distinct point in your life and remember distinct impressions from that time.   As an educator, I started thinking about my own elementary school experience and music class.  I still remember Miss J, very prim and proper carting autoharps and flutophones and triangles with nary a misstep.  I have visceral memories of strumming the autoharp that I will carry forever.

Think of the power of this connection!  As educators, we can capitalize on helping students associate learning with music in helpful ways.

Music matters, people.  Play some today in your classroom!   flutophone

Terry Roper

Terry Roper

Terry Roper, Library Consultant for Region 10 ESC. has been an educator/librarian in the North Texas area for 22 years. She has worked on elementary and high school campuses as well as central administration. Ms. Roper has experience dealing with English language learners of all levels and works closely with the Region 10 Literacy Team. Terry loves dealing with literacy and information dissemination and talking about book stuff!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Do You Read Banned Books?

Celebrating the Freedom to Read: Sept. 27- Oct. 3, 2015

Banned Books Week

by Terry Roper, R10 Library Consultant

Have you ever read a great book that touched you personally and were then shocked to find out it had been challenged in some communities?  Books have been challenged for many decades and for various reasons.  You might be surprised to find how many of your favorite books are on the current list.  THis year the theme is Yound Adult fiction.  Click here to view a list of Frequently Challenged or Banned Young Adult Fiction 2014-2015

I don’t like every book I pick up and understand that as a professional educator, I need to be aware of content, age-appropriateness, and interest levels of readers and make recommendations based on these and other factors. Not every book is for every person but I will argue that it is the right and responsibility of the individual reader to make that decision.  A parent may step in and make decisions for their children based on their family values, etc. but a parent may not make this decision for any other  reader.

School libraries have challenged materials policies to protect readers from indiscriminate censorship.  Typically, when a book is challenged; as in a parent marches up to the circulation desk and demands that a book be taken out of the library due to language, images, or other content this parent deems inappropriate, the procedure is to hand this parent a form that will confirm the parent has read the work in question in it’s entirety, ask for specifics on perceived objectionable text, images, or other content and then the issue will move to a larger committee, usually comprised of school administrator, teachers, librarian, parents, and students.  If the committee as a whole, having read the material, decides the book is indeed not appropriate for their community, then I can understand the group concensus and why the book should be removed.  The key difference is that it is not one parent making a snap judgement based on a portion of a text but it the decision of an informed committee that knows their community.

There are a great number of resources to help promote banned books including the following.

  • http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/
  • http://www.ala.org/bbooks/
  • http://www.ftrf.org/?page=BBW
  • http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/censorship/bannedbooksthatshapedamerica

Consider reading or re-reading a banned book and rejoice in the fact you have the right to read what you choose.  You might read from the Bible [yes, on the banned books list], Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird or Maurice Sendaks classic Where the Wild Things Are .

If you are looking for me, I will be with the BANNED-reading a book I select for myself! READ ON, America

 

Terry Roper

Terry Roper

Terry Roper, Library Consultant for Region 10 ESC. has been an educator/librarian in the North Texas area for 22 years. She has worked on elementary and high school campuses as well as central administration. Ms. Roper has experience dealing with English language learners of all levels and works closely with the Region 10 Literacy Team. Terry loves dealing with literacy and information dissemination and talking about book stuff!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Make Reading Clubs Work for Teachers

Five Clever Ideas to Spark Independent Reading by Kids

http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/07/22/five-clever-ideas-to-spark-independent-reading-by-kids/  

This post by  Katrina Schwartz in KQED News discusses an excellent suggestion by one educator determined to get more teachers engaged in book clubs.  First, she tied book club participation to continuing education credit to offer incentive to busy educators.

The twist here is that the reading list does not contain books on pedagogy, curriculum, or instructional strategies, or leadership [not that there is anything wrong with these options], rather, the reading list contains titles that students are reading.  Teachers Choices ranged among genre and theme to encourage a wide range of reading experiences that would mirror student reading experiences.  What power there is when teachers are actually reading, discussing, and thinking about the books their students are reading, discussing and thinking about.   Think about how much authenticity and relevance a classroom teacher will have when they can join in discussions, respond to student queries, and make suggestions for further reading that matters to kids!

Even better is the integration of technology in the teacher book clubs where a wide variety of tech tools were shared and modeled to increase student engagement with the text.  You can give a teacher a list of books and a list of apps but when you read and share the book with others and then use specific apps to share the specific titles, you have buy-in, both with teachers and students.

The 5 strategies listed in the article are well-worth a read for classroom teachers and librarians alike.

Terry Roper

Terry Roper

Terry Roper, Library Consultant for Region 10 ESC. has been an educator/librarian in the North Texas area for 22 years. She has worked on elementary and high school campuses as well as central administration. Ms. Roper has experience dealing with English language learners of all levels and works closely with the Region 10 Literacy Team. Terry loves dealing with literacy and information dissemination and talking about book stuff!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Summer FUN is Reading FUN!

As our children enter the first days of summer vacation, those lovely halcyon days of summer, the last thing on their minds is homework!  They do not want to hear about tests, AR, vocabulary, comprehension questions, or book reports.  And yet, there is much in the news about the summer reading slump and the academic ground kids lose over the summer when their minds are not engaged in regular school work, required reading, etc.

We know they need to stay active and engaged over the weeks with no formal instruction so the trick is for parents and caregivers to allow plenty of opportunities for kids to engage in reading.  The undisputed key is to allow self-selection; which simply means let your child pick what and how they want to read.  Reading is reading regardless of format so it can be the good old hard copy book, it might be an e-book, or other online reading, or it might be listening to an audio book.

There are some great [and free!] reading resources available to readers of all ages.  Be sure to check out all the resources at your local public library.  You might find a wealth of activities including summer reading programs, storytelling, poetry slams, and other events.  There are many reasons every reader including the youngest growing readers should have their own public library card.  Free ebooks, audiobooks, and, of course hard copy books, DVDs, and CDs are waiting for you!  Don’t forget to check out the free databases your public library offers—great information, images, videos, interactive games, and more for all readers, many languages, available 24/7 with a public library card account.

Not sure of what the best book options are or how to guide your young readers?  Check out these book lists from the Texas Library Association, http://txla.org/reading-lists :

 2x2logo 2×2 List                                   http://txla.org/groups/2×2-current Suggested for:Age 2 through Grade 2
 TBA Texas Bluebonnet Award           http://txla.org/TBA Suggested for:Grades 3-6
 VLUU L200  / Samsung L200 Tejas Star    Recommended  bilingual books   http://txla.org/tejas-star Suggested for:Ages 5-12
 VLUU L200  / Samsung L200 Lone Star Reading List   http://txla.org/groups/lone-star Suggested for:Grades 6-8
 tayshas Tayshas Reading List   http://txla.org/groups/tayshas Suggested for:High School
 maverick Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List http://txla.org/groups/Maverick Suggested for:Grades 6-12
 sync SYNC   FREE audio books:  Pairs young adult titles with classic stories; released throughout summer   http://www.audiobooksync.com/ Grades 6-Adult

 

Remember,  reading looks different for every reader, the trick is to offer plenty of choice and to encourage kiddos to read what THEY choose to read with no strings attached!

 

Terry Roper

Terry Roper

Terry Roper, Library Consultant for Region 10 ESC. has been an educator/librarian in the North Texas area for 22 years. She has worked on elementary and high school campuses as well as central administration. Ms. Roper has experience dealing with English language learners of all levels and works closely with the Region 10 Literacy Team. Terry loves dealing with literacy and information dissemination and talking about book stuff!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

It’s back! FREE Audio books

SYNC is a program that gives away two complete audiobook downloads — a current Young Adult title paired thematically with a Classic or Required Summer Reading title — each week to listeners ages 13+ while SYNC is in session each summer.

Click here to check out the list of titles.  Sign up for email or text alerts for the 2015 season that starts May 7th.!

http://www.audiobooksync.com/

Terry Roper

Terry Roper

Terry Roper, Library Consultant for Region 10 ESC. has been an educator/librarian in the North Texas area for 22 years. She has worked on elementary and high school campuses as well as central administration. Ms. Roper has experience dealing with English language learners of all levels and works closely with the Region 10 Literacy Team. Terry loves dealing with literacy and information dissemination and talking about book stuff!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read September 21−27, 2014

What do Captain Underpants, Harry Potter, The Giver, and Eric Carle’s Draw Me a Star have in common?  You guessed it!  They all appear in the Tbbookop 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009 list.

These books are in good company, at least in my opinion.  Apparently there is something in each of these books that is  not acceptable to some segment of our society.  Okay, I get that not every book is for every reader but I also staunchly defend my right to read these books and make this decision for myself.

What a crazy world we live in when we [as a society] applaud, encourage, and laud reading with one hand, and then we abruptly tailor our message with the other hand exhorting readers with messages to “Yes, read, but only read these books…”

In my rebellious youth, I vowed to purposefully read all the banned books just because they were banned!  After all, the “MAN” was deliberately trying to keep me from learning something about myself, my world, and my place in the world.  Now, as a hopefully wiser reader, I read a book because I am curious, because it interest me, because it meets an information need and other reasons, not just because it made ‘the list’.

According to the American Library Association, Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”

Join me and the world of readers as we celebrate our freedom to choose the books we want to read and not allow a mysterious few to decide what is acceptable and what is not; for September 21-27, 2014 and for life!
banned

 

Terry Roper

Terry Roper

Terry Roper, Library Consultant for Region 10 ESC. has been an educator/librarian in the North Texas area for 22 years. She has worked on elementary and high school campuses as well as central administration. Ms. Roper has experience dealing with English language learners of all levels and works closely with the Region 10 Literacy Team. Terry loves dealing with literacy and information dissemination and talking about book stuff!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

The times they are a’changing…..

Just read a post on LM_Net this morning that gave me pause.  The post referenced an article in New York magazine that dealt with the waning popularity of single-function devices, namely Kindles and Nooks  The article, Here’s What the Future of Reading Looks Like    by  states,  “Last year, for the first time, publishers made more money from digital book sales than sales from brick-and-mortar bookstores, according to a new survey by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group. ”  This comes as no surprise to the w publishing world and guess I shouldn’t be surprised either, seeing how Generations X, Y, and Z seem to be connected to their phone 24/7, using it for time piece, news source, camera, etc.

I do not think this impacts the traditional print book but can see the issues for e-readers that can only read a book, versus a device albeit smaller with built-in distractions,    Personally, I have a Nook that is gathering dust on the shelf next to the print books I regularly check out from my public library.  I have downloaded books on my phone but am more likely to use my phone to listen to an audio book that read a book on it.  Feeling like I am caught between two worlds but hanging on to the traditional book [always!] and trying to keep up with digital trends.  Is it just me?  

Discuss amongst yourselves….. 

http://listserv.syr.edu/scripts/wa.exe?A2=LM_NET;30633b59.1406

Terry Roper

Terry Roper

Terry Roper, Library Consultant for Region 10 ESC. has been an educator/librarian in the North Texas area for 22 years. She has worked on elementary and high school campuses as well as central administration. Ms. Roper has experience dealing with English language learners of all levels and works closely with the Region 10 Literacy Team. Terry loves dealing with literacy and information dissemination and talking about book stuff!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter

The Power of the #

Anyone not in Vegas, please raise your hand.  Yes, I too, am feeling a bit left behind as I know throngs of like-minded professionals are congregating, communicating, and cogitating in Las Vegas,  even as I type.  The next best thing for those of us not in Vegas  [and even for those who are attending]  is following the ALA conference on Twitter using  #alaac14.      I can get a feel for the mood, the meetings, and most importantly the great content and activities that are part of ALA Annual Conference.

Don’t forget to follow ISTE at #ISTE2014 to follow great stuff from Atlanta during ISTE 2014 Conference June 28-July 1.

Print

#alaac14

Terry Roper

Terry Roper

Terry Roper, Library Consultant for Region 10 ESC. has been an educator/librarian in the North Texas area for 22 years. She has worked on elementary and high school campuses as well as central administration. Ms. Roper has experience dealing with English language learners of all levels and works closely with the Region 10 Literacy Team. Terry loves dealing with literacy and information dissemination and talking about book stuff!

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
Twitter