Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day of High School!

First day.... 2012-13....High School...
One girl said to another and to me in the hallway--today, on the first day back to school, "Summer just felt like a very long weekend."  Isn't it crazy how time flies when you look back? She seemed to be content with her summer but happy to be back in school.

The students  realize the importance of their education. They are listening to what's being said about the value of education. I work in the library. Lots of students consider this "home away from home." It is a comfort zone, a learning zone, a social zone, and a retreat for others.

Early in the morning, a new freshman shivered as she sat in my office! She shared, "This is a big scary place." I just bet she left the building laughing with joy by the end of the day!

And of course, some of the Seniors had to welcome everyone one back this morning, visually. They had a look of fatigue throughout the day as they tossed toilet paper on the campus grounds the night before!!! Is this the "ghost of senior traditions of the past?"  I hope these seniors put as much energy into their studies this year to prepare them for the next step!

Have a fine year, students across the world! Make positive memories! Be good! And learn along the way! It is a wise investment!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Very good parenting

Very good parenting
Originally uploaded by Carol VanHook
We had a great family time with my mom on her birthday--a day early as family was in town! It is always fun to celebrate birthdays with family. The memories warm the heart. On her real birthday, she had a big surprise! Right at dinner time, Mom got a knock at the door. The family across the street marched in singing Happy Birthday to their "pretend" Grandma...and gave her homemade cards, hugs, and a warm gift of homemade oatmeal bread. With their mom and oldest daughter out of state, the father and five children prepared and delivered this present. It is so nice that there are people in this world that are kind, caring, and respectful of one another. Great to see neighborly love being shared!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Perspective on Culture over Time


See how my perspective on culture  has changed throughout my life, or has it really changed?

1950's world culture...when technology meant having a clear channel radio station...When listening to a podcast meant sitting on your bed, on a Saturday evening, looking out the window and listening to "Peter Pan" on the radio...coming to you from many, many miles away over Clear Channel Radio. What an invention to marvel--the radio!

1960s world culture...It was probably a Scouting Badge. Brownie Scouts was the greatest. We made pen pal friendships from across the ocean. How fun to gather up  pictures of self, compose a letter, and send this introductory piece to your new friend across the sea, who of course, knew English. This sounds like today's resume or portfolio work! Once prepared, the thin packet of writing and goodies had to be handled with care by the post office and stamped "airmail" for speedy delivery! Waiting was horrendous, as it took days and weeks to hear back from your pen pal. At Christmas, another round of letters were exchanged! Usually, a special treat was included that represented your country or family talents! This exchange of culture lead to a fascination with stamp collecting. What a great way to learn about culture by gathering stamps from other countries. The queens and kings were boring; the nature stamps were the best! And of course, this lead to a discussion on the coins and currency from these countries.

Culture of the 70s...Food! Food! Food! Maybe a friend or family would travel across the world or to a China Town in a major city and bring back a mother-of-pearl  or plastic set of chopsticks. Everyone should learn the proper way of eating with chopsticks!  My interests in this culture lead  me to reading stories of world travel with my own children. We took a magic carpet around the world through the pages of a book. This was often done at bedtime, so as dreams could continue our stories. How many nursery rhymes, jumprope songs, and children's songs of a global nature have been handed down in your family?

Culture 80s style...Cooking as a hobby calls for a study on traditional recipes! In my circle of friendship, we experimented German style sauerbraten, French crepes, Chinese eggrolls, and Japanese tempura...and the list goes on. In those days , the calories didn't seem to count! It seems like the best way to celebrate culture though was to take a cruise! Let's go! The ship sails in less than an hour--for ports unknown. Maybe Alaska, Porta Rico, Venezuela, Europe, and more!

In the 90s...Ah, the birth of WWW. Now we can begin to access global encyclopedias and learn more about culture. Maps are starting to appear that equal the quality in books and on the globe! Bookmark that one! Books of URL's and lessons will take give you great ideas on traveling right on the computer. A brand new search engine, Google, might be handy to keyword search  a country! Just think? Those early URL's from the late 90's are probably non-existent today!

And before we know it...a new millennium has arrived. Oh, and all our clocks are continuing to tick. And the computers still work! By now, those computers dated 2000 are probably antiquated! It is fun to learn about countries from our books, research more on the WWW, connect what we are learning with literature, and then write or illustrate cultural thoughts! EPals are popping up everywhere and virtual global quests are at our fingertips!

The best way to learn though is a face to face visit by a cultural friend. With the turn of the century, there are more exchange students coming to America to share their stories. Many governments ask their teens to share good cheer, spirit, and knowledge about their countries in the American schools. We welcome them with open arms, handshakes, and our American culture!

As this new decade marches on...the world is giant but yet it is small. Travel is more accessible and affordable. Take a look at global culture and learning brought to our American schools by an International Focus on Teen Culture in this Iowa high school... Culture
Thanks American Councils for International Education
in helping to make this event a reality!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

International Focus on Teen Culture

We are the World!Today's students, SEPHS moderators of Q/A session, guest student blogger, teacher librarianOk! Everyone focus!Our mission?Focused on global connectionsInternational Focus on Teen Culture
A Taste of the NationsExchange studentsHappy Exchange StudentsSwitzerladn, Thailand, Germany, China and ArmeniaA Taste of the Nations!Pretzels - a German treat
Bangladesh vegetable soup!Chinese DumplingsThailand SatayA Taste of the NationArmenian, Italian, and Brazilian desertsLots happening: tweets, bloggers, active listening!
Tweeting allowed!Germany exchange studentWelcome students from Baxter High SchoolGreat students from China, Bangladesh, Armenia, and Iowa!Italy?International Focus on Teen Culture

A wonderful day of sharing with an international audience in a high school library!

May 3, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Paper Tweets - charged and powerful

Here's my presentation on ethical participation in research and project development given today at the Iowa Association of School Librarians' Conference today in Des Moines, Gourmet Guide to Ethics.

During the presentation, I asked for the audience to reflect on ethics, either by tweeting or by using these paper tweets. Here are a few paper tweets:

Copyright can empower our students! Teach them how it benefits them instead of hinders them!

Creative Commons: Good point to allow students to modify your pictures! Love the idea to have students paint your pictures!

Civic assignment: Allow students to pull pictures to describe the Bill of Rights!

It is our responsibility to keep reminding students to cite where they get their pictures and sounds.

Noodle Tools - great scaffolding of ethical use, learning.

(April 16, 2012)