#BIT15Reads: your Top 12 books and conference update

Tonight we announce:

  • your Top 12 books
  • our event at BIT15 and what it will look like

I’m joined by Jim Pedrech and Tim King as we discuss these things and more.

Watch us here:

#BIT15Reads: Connections text-to-text

This week Martha and Stepan made a connection to each other because they’re reading the same book and then made this beautiful connection to another text via Chapter 3 of Daniel Levitin’s book The Organized Mind

Stepan Radiohead connection

Do you ever have a piece of music come to mind when you’re reading?  As an English teacher and as a teacher-librarian, I often help my students engage with those voices in their heads that are making connections….and to trust that those voices are helping them read better and to reflect on their meaning.  If we redefine text to mean anything that has been expressed for communication, then the world opens up to possibility for connecting our reading to other texts.

Vikram Chandra’s book Geek Sublime reminded me of my lifelong goal to smoke a hooka because his book’s organization logic is completely tangential.  Luckily my brain works in the same way so I really enjoyed going down the rabbit hole with Chandra.  His own work in writing science fiction reminded him of his daily job in computers as a programmer which reminded him of how difficult it was to learn Sanskrit which reminded him of the marginalized voices of ancient Sanskrit female poets and how these voices are being lost to time as the parchment they are written on is disintegrating.  My favourite thing about reading popular non-fiction is that I often need to just pause and let those connections be made in my own mind.

I made another connection for #BIT15Reads as I had my quarterly meeting with the Ontario School Library Association Council and told them how thrilled I was that so many people had engaged with our online book club.  To date we have 66 members in the Goodreads club and many more following our hashtag.  The OSLA Council then asked me to make the connection to a very cool event called Treasure Mountain Canada  and I plan to talk about the evolution of #BIT15Reads.

Speaking of connections #BIT15Reads will continue to:

If you want to try something else in a different media type or at a different time, go for it!  Please invite me!  I’m just having fun and enjoying this new community so much.  It’s for all of us so make it suit you best.

#BIT15Reads: Google hangout and making your reading visible

Today at 7:30 pm ET I’ll be hosting our second Google Hangout On Air so please join us if you’re able at:

https://plus.google.com/events/cjq0v12mnjjivqrogee67tsebbo

or watch the live videostream here:

A few years ago now I worked with a team at my school in a Professional Learning Practice action research project where we learned how to help our students make their learning visible, by reflecting on our own teaching practice and making our professional learning visible.  That experience truly informed my career and I’ve found that being authentic and vulnerable in front of an audience, online or face-to-face, is a humbling and rewarding experience.  Ultimately it is sharing that leads to deeper personal connections and I aim to do this as much as possible.

In our book club #BIT15Reads, I invite you to share your reading as much as possible to join us as a community.  This week I found an upgrade to my favourite aggregator Zite….which has transformed into Flipboard.  I’m trying it out.  It might not be right for you…maybe you prefer Instagram or Tumblr but if you can, and you do, please share it to the hashtag #BIT15Reads as you’re making your way through a book.  It might be when a quote or graphic resonates with you, or it might be when you question or disagree with something written.

Jennifer Casa-Todd is reading Will Richardson’s book and she tweeted early into her book with a snapshot of the book (maybe an e-version?) of a quick quote she approved of.

Jennifer approval

Stepan Pruchnicky is reading Daniel Levitin’s book and took snapshots of his notes and his book highlighted  with tweets about his wondering.

Stepan wonder (1)Stepan Wonder 1

Stepan later turned his early thoughts into a blog post: http://140pluslearning.tumblr.com/post/128715359806/shhhhh-for-learnings-sake

So how we can make our reading visible to each other is one of the things I hope we can talk about in today’s Google Hangout.  Hope to see you there.

Revisiting Treasure Mountain 2014

I need to start off this blog post by once again speaking to the imbalance I experience in blogging itself.  Try as I might, I sometimes take years to process an experience or a reading and I find it really challenging to write regularly.  Today is no exception and I’d like to revisit an experience I had in May 2014 called Treasure Mountain Canada.  Treasure Mountain is a research retreat of school libraries and I’ve attended 2 of them…one in Connecticut in November 2013, and one in Victoria, BC where I presented my M.Ed. capping paper on Transliteracy.

Today we are trying to recreate the experience for the participants at the annual Ontario Library Association conference in Toronto.  To give you some background, there is no better place to start than with Anita Brooks-Kirkland’s blog of the Treasure Mountain experience last May.  The audience at Treasure Mountain is small but extremely diverse … there are major stakeholders in school libraries present.

In the week leading up to today, the revisiting of Treasure Mountain, I have really enjoyed going over my own thought process from January 2014 to May 2014, and I’m glad I was so visible in my thinking about it.  One of my favourite elements to revisit was a Google Hangout experiment where, as part of the capping paper requirements, I needed to present my ideas to a public audience.  I knew Treasure Mountain was coming up in May but wanted to make the experience as authentic as possible.  So….in true transliteracy fashion, I arranged via social media to make a Google Hangout to present my 20 slides and ask my authentic audience of educators some seriously deep questions about implementing transliteracy.  I considered editing this down to something manageable, but at the risk of appearing self-indulgent, here is the whole messy experience.  For at least 3 of the participants, it was their first Google hangout.

Joining me in this video are Kimberley Flood, Kevin Greenshields, Robin Feick, Kathy Inglis, Tim King, Peter McAsh, Daniel Beylerian and Heather Leatham.

As most of you are well aware from your own experiences, I learn a lot each time I present new material, and this time was no different.  Looking back at that experience, I realize now that sometimes I need a big push to try these things.  Reflecting on that idea alone, isn’t that what I ask the staff and students at my school to do every day?  One of my drama students a few years ago said, as she was fearfully preparing to take the stage, “I just need to put my big girl pants on and do it.”  Everytime I feel fearful of risk-taking, or worn out by being a change agent, I say to myself, “Just put your big girl pants on and do it.”  There are times during this presentation where I’m just giddy with happiness of the sharing and comraderie I experienced as I struggled through it.  Treasure Mountain itself, is just like that….a bunch of experienced and knowledgeable people coming together to share and loving the sharing.  I always feel energized and motivated by experiences like this.  This is the reason I’m addicted to supporting my own professional development.