Thursday, October 22, 2009

How did it get to be October?

I probably have too many blogs going!  This one has been being neglected but I always like to know if I actually have an audience.  Just gearing up here for the Jerry Johns event.  We have 400 people registered.  Kudos to organizers Bev deMonye and Carrie Froese and all who have helped.  Special thanks to my former administrative assistant, Pat Dymond, who due the unusual circumstances, ended up doing much of the work on registration (not part of her paid duties).  Thanks to the patience of our attendees as well.  For instance, we just aren't equipped to do Visa.  Unlike many conference organizers all our time is voluntary and our money goes back into community and global projects.

Speaking of global projects... This photo is a favorite of mine.  BCLCIRA executive member, Donna McCormick organized  donating a great many books that were sent to Africa by another volunteer organization, Afritech Aid Society.  Bonnie Sutherland, the founder, sent me this picture of kids enjoying books at a Kenyan orphanage.  Wouldn't you just love to be there reading with them?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jerry Johns fall conference

Long ago I went to a International Reading Association conference in Anaheim. I ended up meeting Jerry Johns through Faye Brownlie and remember a magical mystery tour searching for a party given by P. David Pearson because I told Jerry what a hero he was of mine. We didn't find the party but it was fun trying. (Years later I did go to one of those parties and I actually met P. David for the first time in China but those are other stories. )
When I returned home I received a note from Jerry saying how nice it was to meet me.
That kind of sums up Jerry Johns, always thoughtful and fun as well. Jerry has come to Vancouver on several occasions and proven always popular. He is an excellent presenter but again always shows that interest in people and his care of what is best for students.
BCLCIRA and LOMCIRA are honoured to have him as our our speaker at our fall conference on the October PSA day. I know that he will inspire as well as give practical suggestions on Linking Assessments and Interventions: Pathways to Fluency and Comprehension
That link will enable you to download a registration form. Please note the special group rate which is a really great saving as it includes lunch, coffee etc.
Picture is from the Canadian reception as Jerry has a chat with Jenny Clay. Jerry is a former president as was Jenny's mom, Marie.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Annual Convention

Blogs have a way of making me feel guilty but then of course, I am never sure who actually reads them. This one I haven't added to for quite some time.
We had a small yet enthusiastic group at the discussion of the work of Donald Leu and all thoroughly enjoyed the school tour and good conversation and wine. Thanks to our gracious hosts at Dickens!
I have just returned from the International Reading Association Annual Convention in Minneapolis (a city I loved and blogged about in the late literacy blog). It was a great if smaller conference with so many excellent sessions. LOMCIRA achieved Honour Council Status and for the first time BCLCIRA achieved the Award of Excellence. It's always amazing what small groups of volunteers can achieve!
A member of the BCLCIRA executive, Shirley Choo received the Maryann Manning Outstanding Service Award at the Annual Awards Dinner. At the Canadian reception, Carol Hyrniuk- Adamov received the Canadian Special Service Award. Garth Brooks (not the singer) received an award from the Leaders Special Interest Group. Congratulations to all our Canadian "winners".
A special guest at the Canadian reception was Jenny Clay, daughter of Marie Clay, who was at the conference for the launch of a book that is a tribute to her famous mom. The picture shows conferees signing up for the Canadian Special Interest Group at the reception.
Next year the conference will be at one of my favorite cities, Chicago. If you wish to put in a proposal they are due June 1. Just go to the IRA website for more details (link on the side)

Saturday, March 28, 2009


My poor neglected blog but I am here with an invitation.
The LOMCIRA Annual General Meeting

“Rethinking Reading Comprehension, Writing, and Learning in an Online World”

Dr Donald Leu (board member, IRA; co-director, New Literacies Research Lab, U of Connecticut) spoke recently at the BCLCIRA meeting in Vancouver in February, looking at what are the new literacies required in the 21st century (see my previous blog on this). If you missed this event and/or would like to learn more then please attend the upcoming LOMCIRA AGM to be held in the library of the new “green” Charles Dickens Elementary School, 1010 E 17th Avenue, Vancouver, near Fraser and Kingsway, on Thursday, April 23, 2009. We will visit some of his recommended websites and engage in a discussion of his work.

The event runs from 4 to 6 pm, includes a tour of the school, a glass of wine and snacks, and we suggest you may want to dine out on nearby Main Street.

If you are not a member of LOMCIRA, visit the LOMCIRA website for more info. The cost of this event for non-members is $5, payable at the door. Register with me (you can just add a comment here if you like) until April 17.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Phyllis and the Celebrate Literacy Award

I need a picture. I can't believe I didn't retrieve my camera to take a picture of Phyllis Simon at our recent event. Phyllis was the recipient of our Celebrate Literacy Award. I won't bore you with my whole speech but I can't imagine Vancouver (and now North Vancouver and South Surrey) without Kidsbooks. Just the sheer luxury of a browse in Kidsbooks is something that many of us enjoy.
One of the reasons I think I crave books so much because as a child I never could get enough. I lived in a small town without a public library. The nearest bookstore was about 12 miles away. Two of my favorite memories was going to that bookstore and then spending a couple of hours at the nearby public library (and I don't even think I could borrow books from that library). That bookstore only sold hard cover books which I only received at Christmas or birthdays. Thank goodness we lived close to the states and I could find cheaper books there. Children in Vancouver are indeed fortunate. They have Phyllis and so do we!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Donald Leu-the fabulous event

I think everyone (and I only wish there had been a few more people but those of us there were so fortunate) who attended the BCLCIRA event with Donald Leu were "blown away". We were fascinated and mesmerized by the ideas and information presented. I think for many of us the possibilities of the web for our students and ourselves were really were opened up. He was able to make the complex simple and accessible. And as one of my friends said, there was the man himself... When he talked about the work that he and his colleagues at the University of Connecticut are doing, it was always we never I. It was obvious that he loves teaching and has such an appreciation of the world. He shared with us how his teaching had been grade four/five level in elementary school and he was somewhat intimidated with the thought of teaching in a grade seven class last year but then how much he enjoyed the students. And always, we are impressed by university professors who do go back into the "trenches" and deeply respect the work of teachers. My friend who doesn't see herself as a real computer type was so impressed she ended up at school the other night until 9:00 exploring some of the sites he had mentioned.
I picked up a neat book of essays entitled This I Believe which I have recently used in a couple of workshops and meetings. I love this essay by Bill Gates which you just must read. And the essay does talk about computers but much more.
I think Don Leu is someone who tap dances to work. (That was to force you to hit the last link so you can put that metaphor in context)
Never fear, you may have missed his talk but just go to the New Literacies website and check out some of their current projects and look at the section of opportunities for educators where you can actually see his video presentations of working with elementary students on critical ltieracy skills. Absolutely fascinating and so relevant to what we want to do.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Don't forget to register for Don Leu etc.

As said before, trying to keep two blogs going is a real challenge so that it has taken me awhile to get back to this one!
My latest great idea is one stolen from NCTE, let's make October 20, a Provincial (or even National) Day of Writing. NCTE is doing this in the states which I learned when I went to their recent conference in San Antonio (note picture). After years of attending IRA conferences, it's kind of fun going to NCTE. Those of you going to Phoenix will have the opportunity to hear Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea who was wonderful! There were many great sessions and a real emphasis on how to interact with technology so that I will be very interested in hearing Don Leu in February! Reminder, early bird registration saves you $20 so please register before Christmas to take advantage! For a registration form just go to BCLCIRA's website.
My week took me out to Chilliwack where I gave a session to the Valley Council on Thinking About Reading Strategies k-9. When I was told my range of audience I must admit I was a bit dumbfounded but a challenge is always good, and my audience literally did range from a kindergarten teacher to several high school teachers. Anyway we had a good discussion and great food. Thanks to the Valley Council for organizing this event.
Donna McCormick is hard at work trying to organize us for a project on Cultural Sensitivity and I thought I would share you an ongoing project from the Vancouver School Board, Marbles,a searchable bibliography of library- and/or classroom-ready, fully reviewed books by Canadian authors that promote Multicultural and Anti-racism understandings.