Monday, April 25, 2011

The New York Public Library: Desk Reference

We continue to publish a bathroom newsletter. Here are some blurbs I have submitted:

Ever wanted to learn how to compost, build a fire in your fireplace, or understand what should be on a baby-sitter's checklist? Find this information, plus countless other things in The New York Public Library's Desk Reference. Also contains lists of great books, tables of winners/losers of major sporting events, animal highlights of the most popular national wildlife refuges, historical tidbits, and more.

Amazon lists the 4th edition for just $25.00. Sound like a great deal, although it is almost ten years old now.


Did you know that the Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge is noted for such wildlife as the white-faced ibis, blue- and black-crowned night heron, snowy egret, Franklin and California gulls? For a list of wildlife refuges see The New York Public Library's Desk Reference (see their travel section), or see the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Google Celebrates Earth Day with Art

For Earth Day Google has created a beautiful picture for its logo. Passing the cursor/mouse over the picture makes it so that different animals in the picture move; panda bears move, penguins dive into water, fish swim upstream and are eaten by bears, a bird flies across the sky. It looks great and fun.

For a better description of Earth Day and the Google doodle, as well as explanations of the allusions to other websites and videos referenced in the doodle, read the Guardian's article.

Take a look and celebrate Earth Day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Let me Google that for you.

I recently asked a friend how he found a particular piece of information, mostly because I am interested in how others find their information--a question of information behavior and information practice. He sent me a link to show exactly how he had googled the information.

Let me Google that for you is a site that allows you to conduct a Google search and share the link to that search with a friend, neighbor, colleague, etc. They even give you the option of sharing the link as a TinyURL. Here's an example of a search on "information literacy." This is the link they gave me:

Incidentally, I had mentioned that Malad, ID had the largest per capita population of Welsh descendants outside of Wales itself. Wikipedia confirmed this piece of trivia. I found this out a couple of years ago when a friend of mine participated in their Welsh festival, which happens to begin this year on June 30th.

"Sam, Malad Rodeo." Photo by Sherry Robbins. Used with permission.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Team Teaching or Coteaching At the Elbows of Another

Recently, I found a book in our collection titled At the Elbows of Another: Learning to Teach by Coteaching by Wolff-Michael Roth and Kenneth Tobin.  Published almost a decade ago, it is not the most current of teaching titles, but I like to look back at the teaching literature and seem to find great ideas among both past and present books.  After all good teaching is good teaching.  Trends come and go, but there are some techniques that have withstood the test of time better than others.

Anyway, this book offers ideas that do not seem revolutionary (perhaps this explains in part why I am the first one to have checked out this book from my library), rather they seem like ideas that make sense, like I have hear it before.  I like this.  In fact, I tend to learn a lot by repetition, and I also learn a lot when I do something.  I wish I remembered the quote, but someone once said that if you read something, you will comprehend it, if you hear it then

This book confirms that when people teach, they learn a lot more about teaching and about the content. Reading theory about teaching and about teachers' experiences can be helpful, but until someone teaches in a live setting, he/she does not learn to teach as quickly. Consider some of the following excerpts from the book:
We use the term ‘new teacher’ in preference to ‘student teacher’ or ‘prospective teacher’ because these latter terms are inconsistent with coteaching, which is premised on the ideas that we learn to teach by teaching (as distinct from observing, studying, or reflecting on teaching) and that learning to teach is a continuous ‘becoming-in- the-classroom’ (xi-xii).

“Teachers rarely are provided with opportunities to work at each other’s elbows despite the fact that in many domains it is very common that learning arises in praxis as part of getting the day’s job done. Pilots, graduate students in science, banking employees, and others learn much of what they know by coparticipating on the job with colleagues who have different experiences and competencies. Furthermore, it has been suggested that ‘the lack of opportunity for teachers to reflect, interact with each other, share, learn, develop on the job makes it unlikely that significant changes will occur’. Yet teachers learn tremendously when they coteach, that is, when they work together with another teacher, at each other’s elbows” (9).

"Learning to teach is an ongoing process for any teacher. However, for new teachers, beginning teachers and those seeking professional renewal there may be occasions when the process is formalized. On such occasions we advocate that coteaching be regarded as an essential component of the process planned for learning to teach. We acknowledge the importance of reading research and theory, discussing implications for practice, teaching classes as the ‘only’ teacher, and reflecting on those practices with a variety of colleagues. In addition we advocate coteaching and associated conversations about practice with the coteacher(s) and students. Because the insider perspective on what is appropriate and possible is so often at odds with the perspectives of outsiders, it is important to include coteaching and conversations with other insiders as essentials in the process of learning to teach” (44).

This is a great book. Take a look at it. The authors seem to be teaching in the sciences, so this book may be particularly useful to those teaching science classes in the Kindergarten through 12th grades. Anyone wanting to learn how to teach in an urban school system might benefit from studying this book as well, considering that three of the chapters talk about this:
3. Becoming a Teacher at City High School
4. Historical Contexts of Coteaching in an Urban School
5. Learning to Teach Science in an Urban School

The rest of the book seems to deal more with the exploration of coteaching and colearning as they relate to research, practice, and evaluation.

Roth, Wolff-Michael and Kenneth Tobin. At the Elbow of Another: Learning to Teach by Coteaching. New York: Peter Lang, 2002.

Ridge near Boulder Chain Lakes Creek not far from Frog Lake, White Clouds, Idaho.

Stargazer lily

Stargazer lily
Stargazer lily,
originally uploaded by Teak's Pics.
Beautiful Lily that I wanted to insert with my last post, but I don't see how to do that now. They have updated Flickr, which is probably good, because it keeps photographer's intellectual property intact.

Thank you Teak's Pics.

Learning About Holidays, Customs, and Symbols

I found a fun book in our reference collection today titled Holiday Symbols & Customs.  Our Library has the 3rd edition.  Here's a sample entry:

Easter Lily: The flower commonly referred to as the Easter lily was brought to the United States in the 1880s from Bermuda.  Although it was not originally associated with Easter, it was so named because it flowered around this time of year.  Lilies in general were a symbol of purity in medieval iconography, and the Bible mentions them frequently as representative of beauty, perfection, and goodness.
Americans were quick to attribute symbolic value to the fact that this particular plant produced its impressive white flowers at a time that more or less coincided with the celebration of the resurrection of Christ.  And because it grows from a bulb that is 'buried' and the 'reborn,' it serves as a perfect emblem of the death and rebirth of the Savior.  With their trumpet-shaped blooms suggesting the angel Gabriel's horn, lilies herald both the coming of spring and the celebration of the greatest Christian feast.  They can be seen decorating homes and churches throughout the Easter season.  (168-69).

This source also includes information about customs and symbols associated with holidays across the world, including Bastile Day, Carnival, Chinese New Year, Feast of the Dead, Fourth of July, Ganesh Chaturthi, Gion Matsuri, Hola Maholla, Indra Jatra, Janmashtami, Miss America Pageant, Naadam, Pitra Paksa Festival, Plough Monday, Saturnalia, Tanabata, Teej, Ute Bear Dance, Vesak, Waso, Yaqui Easter Ceremony, and many, many more.

Holiday Symbols & Customs.  3rd Ed.  Edited by Sue Ellen Thompson.  Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 2003.  Call number: GT3930.T48 2003.