11 Random Facts about me:
1. I am an amateur musician – I love to sing, play piano and recorder. I love making music with my family – my dad and mom and kids.
2. I am a theatre groupie. Local theatre is one of my answers to living locally. My husband and I get date night and some local people get to work in an area they love. Win-win.
3. I run to eat.
4. I love reading. I am part of a book club which helps me read outside my usual fare of YA dystopian/fantasy.
5. I need things to make sense and constantly re-evaluate my life goals against my ideals.
6. I frequently do not meet my own expectations.
7. I can feel hopeless about the world.
8. I believe in peace and justice as the only way to make things right – socially, environmentally, personally…
9. I believe in the power of stories – historical, current, futurist – to make change and make the world a better place.
10. I like children. Mine are the best of course.
11. I want to have close relationships with a small circle of friends. I think that’s harder than it used to be.
11 bloggers to tag (not going to get 11, I’ve moved to Twitter mostly…)
1. Back at Kelli http://sporadicsquiggles.wordpress.com
2. Vicki is my go-to-girl http://coolcatteacher.com
3. Joyce V http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/
4. Alec Couros http://educationaltechnology.ca/couros/
That’s about it.
Questions for these bloggers:
1- What is one thing you do that you would not change for anyone?
2- How often do you check your email?
3- Where do you find inspiration?
4- What is your comfort food of choice?
5- What is your guilty pleasure?
6- How do you relieve stress/let off steam?
7- How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
8- Where is your happy place?
9- Rule follower or breaker?
10-If you could be one age again, what would it be?
11-How did you start blogging?
1. I would not lie.
2. Too often.
3. Twitter and Pinterest for tech and books and education. Church and my church friends for life.
4. Chocolate – dark and European.
5. Chocolate – again.
6. I play piano and talk to friends and family. I read.
7. 8.5 – try for 9.
8. Follower but see Number 1.
9. The one I am. No regrets.
11. To figure out what it meant to be online and an educator. It was part of my Masters work, now I’m trying to see if it is still something I need but I don’t seem to completely quit.
I’ve started a new job and it has ups and downs in the adjustment from one role to another. I’m moving from the job of teacher librarian to the job of technology consultant. Some days I’m really excited and others I’m exceedingly nervous. Some days I’m confident and others I’m completely overwhelmed. Today I had two interactions which really made me delighted to be taking on my new role. I was strolling the hallways of our central office building and had brief conversations with two people ‘above’ me in the hierarchy. One has a closer supervisory capacity of my job and the other has a more arms-length role. Both of them were warm and supportive. It felt so good to be affirmed as a person regardless of my capacity and output. I am relieved to know and to see the humanity of the ‘powers that be’ within my organization. It made me say, “I have a fantastic work place and can’t wait to get started”.
It’s going to be a good year.
Sarah’s Key would be a distressing read if the author had chosen to tell it in the first person and completely immersed us in the historical time period of the Second World War. It is still a difficult story within a dreadful time period of history, however, de Rosnay’s use of flashback and third person limited point of view, allow the reader some valuable distance from the tragic events of Paris 1942. I appreciated this distance while I experienced the events surrounding Vel’ d’Hiv.
The story of Vel’ d’Hiv is not one which is well-known, at that is de Rosnay’s contention within the novel. I haven’t researched how well or often it has been told. It is the story of the rounding up and subsequent dispersion and extermination of the Jewish community of Paris. It was an appalling event and hearing it told hurts the empathetic reader. Within the story the fictional character of Julia Jarmond is determined to learn about Vel’ d’Hiv and it’s impact on her family and the family home. She comes across resistance within the French community to acknowledge the event and the complicity of the French authorities and populous. I can relate to this experience of reluctance to face our societal culpability. I remember clearly standing at the Manitoba Legislature during a First Nation’s demonstration in the Fall of 1990. It was the first time I faced the fact that as a white person in Canada, I was a part of the treacherous events which disenfranchised and marginalized First Nations people within Canada. I remember listening to the drums and wondering how it could be made right and how I could ever feel as if I deserved to be in Canada at all. It is an important act to recognize and admit collective societal guilt. Books, such as, Sarah’s Key help us to acknowledge the terrible within ourselves. I am both Sarah and Edouard; both victim and perpetrator.
Sarah’s Key shines a light on issues and events which are difficult and painful allowing us to appreciate the human and the heroic within people. I enjoyed Julia’s tenacity and her daughter, Zoe’s forthrightness. de Rosnay’s characters are complete and real. I felt as if I knew them as people and might meet them on the street. I know only a few ‘real’ French people but they feel old European to me. de Rosnay understands family politics and her portrayal of the family meltdown was altogether believable.
Again this is a book which was read for an adult book club but would be appropriate for a 9-12 school library. It would be of interest for teachers of World War II history, as well as for themes of family, divorce, conflict, guilt, responsibility, and racism.
Nightline Review compared with Cutting for Stone
I purchased a new camera this year. I have been playing around with it and mostly using it as a point and shoot but it is a DSLR and I want to know more and use it more effectively. Although I am very impressed at what it can do without my knowing very much at all.
So I took a book out at the library, appropriately enough for a teacher librarian. It is called, “Digital SLR from Click to Print” by Will Cheung. I am using it as a text book and setting myself some reading and practising goals.
Today I was playing with what is meant by and what can be done with aperture and focal length. I went to a park to take pictures. I found that in most modes on my camera, I can’t even see what the focal length is on the display. I can see it in the little numbers through the view finder. I can play with the focal length when I am in manual focus. Focal length is other wise decided by the auto focus feature, so it seems. Depth of field is most apparent when the subject is a bit further away from the background. If you are taking a picture of a leaf on the ground. The leaf is too close to the ground for any difference between the focus on the leaf and focus on the ground. In addition, when the subject is too far away, there doesn’t seem to be huge differences in what the focal length can do to adjust the clarity of the background compared to the subject.
When I played with the ISO, I found that the lower number led to less time of exposure. This may be self-evident to experts but it was news to me. I took a picture of a leaf with ISO 800 and it was washed out but at ISO 100 it was perfect. The sunlight was fairly strong at times today, I’m sure this would make a difference too. I have much to learn but this was lesson number one.
Leaf taken with ISO 100, f 5.6 1/125
Leaf taken with ISO 100, f 5.6 1/125
Ken Allan at Middle Earth has set the theme for this month’s Green Pen Society blogging. He asked for reflections on, “What gets you flying”? I am not a natural writer. I have experienced failure in writing on numerous occasions. I brought poems in grade ten to my English teacher. He gave a muted, less than enthusiastic response to my writing. I was discouraged. I regularly received grades of a “B” or less in university at twice the effort of my husband-to-be’s A papers. My comments were routinely something like, “A well-researched paper”. My mother often mentioned having difficulty making sense of my writing. I recall comments such as, “What are you talking about here?” Still, I became a blogger. Why? I was and am exploring the fun and features of the world wide web. I want to understand how it works, and what it can be used for. I write to save my ideas, play with avatar makers, learn to post pictures and videos. I enjoy hearing from people around the world and batting ideas around with them. I feel connected to some of my online colleagues and participate because of my relationship with them. I am inspired by my colleagues.
Having a blog was my Master’s project but I didnt’ quit when my Master’s was complete. I have floundered a little as the project was completed and I wasn’t sure how to continue and yet didn’t want to completely shut things down. I have not been sure of the purpose of my blog and not having a purpose made it difficult to post. My posts became less frequent and still are. I am beginning to see a place for myself in book reviews from a teacher librarian’s perspective. My reviews steer away from lengthy descriptions of plot and character and towards the possible connections and uses for the classroom. I am inspired by my work.
Mostly the reviews are for me. I want to remember authors and titles for future endeavours. I love hearing from authors. They pop up from time to time and comment on my reviews. Knowing they might be reading my reviews is a daunting idea. I want to give honest opinion but I may well hurt someone’s feelings. I don’t like that idea at all. I am hoping my awareness of author as audience will not make me censor myself too stringently. I have a great respect for authors, people who write well and make vibrant and believeable worlds into which I may walk. I am inspired by great books.