Plagiarism: Take it seriously!

By | Copyright, General, Information Literacy, Research Skills | No Comments

Recently, a few poets accused Ailey O’Toole of selecting parts of their poetry and using it in her poetry to express herself. Incidentally, she was also nominated for the Pushcart Prize for her poem Gun Metal (which was plagiarized). The Guardian has all the details about the case. This incident made several publishers pull down O’Toole’s Works from their sites.  Although she has been very apologetic about the accidental plagiarism, I noticed that her credibility has been affected and her future works will be always be looked at with doubt and skepticism.

Reflecting on the past I have noticed, how quickly I have merely ‘copied and pasted’. I have rationalized saying, “this is exactly what I want to say” so why to reword it, simply ‘copy and paste’ and this will save my time and effort. Well, if that is the intent of saving time and effort, then what I have also learned is to take an extra minute or two to put it in “Quotes” and cite the author’s name. What about you? Are you guilty of plagiarizing too?

Examples of plagiarism are many, here are a few International examples, NDTV has compiled a few Indian cases and a story about 3 Academic Thefts by professors in Rajasthan.

iPleaders Blog Post on Plagiarism law gives us a glimpse of India’s views on plagiarism. This makes me wonder and reflect on our Indian Education System. In the local schools, I  have observed that students photocopy school notes and college notes, memorize them and then finally regurgitate the content in their exams, to get scores or marks that will make him/her eligible to one of the best colleges in India. Are we preparing our students for a ‘copy and paste’ world or do we want them to think, reflect and create?

I wonder how will this individual function in the real world? How will he/she respond ethically in the information world, where he/she has not learned to paraphrase and use his/her thinking faculties to express ideas or create something unique?

Here are simple six steps by Write Check to avoid plagiarism. BibMe recommends other ways. Some important ones I have learned are to:

  1. Use multiple sources of information to get a perspective and in-depth knowledge on the topic.
  2. Acknowledge one’s ideas, beliefs and thoughts that are gathered after much reading.
  3. Paraphrasing correctly and not merely replacing parts of a sentence with synonyms but also the syntax of the sentences.
  4. When quoting other peoples work, it’s important to give credit.
  5. Using a proper citing format according to the discipline.

Using a plagiarism checker can be very helpful when writing, it helps prevent accidental plagiarism.  Invest in one; it’s worth it!

Guided Reading Program- Raz Plus

By | Digital Resources, General, Internation Schools, Literacy, Reading and Writing, Reading Program, Writing Program | No Comments

Recently, I read in the local newspaper in Mumbai, that the latest key education trends to watch out for in 2019 are:

  1. The growth of integrated learning solutions: that is integrating technology with teaching content
  2. Adoption of formative assessment solutions: we know that the assessment of rote learning is not going to help our present generation of students
  3. Learning through regional languages: using bilingual mode of teaching and learning
  4. Increased demand for professional development for all educators: having a growth mindset and learning the craft of teaching and learning with new and updated teaching-learning strategies the and pedagogy.

Recently, I learned that many International schools are looking at adopting reading and writing programs and are moving away from the textbook. Some are adopting a dual program – text book + a reading program. This in my perspective, is a great opportunity for teachers to build on their craft of teaching English.

Learning A-Z is a great resource, well known in the International circuit and is used in over 140 countries, thus validating and supporting accreditation in schools. The research and awards received by the program, shows that the content is vetted both qualitatively and quantitatively  leveraging good reading and writing practices, thus moving away from ROTE LEARNING to develop DEEP LITERACY SKILLS  for critical thinking.

In my opinion, Learning A-Z  supports all of the above. It teaches teachers how to teach reading and writing involving skills and  strategies of the 21st century like analyzing character, analyzing plots, analyzing settings, understanding author’s purpose of entertainment, information, and persuasion, cause & effect, identifying points of view, making inferences and drawing conferences, problem solution, understanding different genres, sequence of events and more. All resources books are available in a blended format – both print and digital.

This program offers students direct and explicit instruction on key comprehension skills with the Comprehension Skill Packs. Each lesson plan follows the teaching, practice, and apply an instructional approach to support students as they build meaning from texts.  It includes guided reading books (leveled), worksheets, professional development lesson plans, visual devices, graphic organizers and all the necessary documents for teaching – thus saving lots of google search time.

A blended program that offers the students an opportunity to read at their reading level, complete a quiz on their device. The results of the quiz can help teachers identify areas of teaching and support student learning.

The Writing A-Z  delivers online writing lessons, resources, and tools to meet the needs of every student, at every learning level for Elementary and Middle School Years.

  • Lessons and resources to teach writing
  • Interactive online writing tools for students
  • Online reporting to track progress and growth

You can get your free trial here for 14 days and also download their samples and check them out. I am sure this program will benefit your students and enhance your teaching practice.

Genrefication – What and Why?

By | Collection Development, General | No Comments

This term genrefication was created in the Urban Dictionary in 2008 and is defined as an exercise of classifying books, magazines, films into specific genres or categories. Genrefication of the collection started with an intent to help users locate the resources speedily. This genrefication first started in bookstores and music stores, the owners classified music according to the genre, for example, all the romantic songs were categorized under Romance,  rock music was categorized as – Hard Metal, Rock and Roll and others. The same genrefication process found its’ way in bookstores, all mysteries were clubbed together, while mythology and religious texts were classified in one area and so were self-help books, making it easier for every reader. This helped customers locate what they were looking for efficiently and speedily.

Looking at the successes with bookstores and music stores, librarians decided to break a few conventions of the traditional Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)  rules to accommodate and popularize the libraries. Schools and college libraries now started categorising fiction and nonfiction books to meet the needs of the school.

In my school, in the Elementary Section, we separated the picture books, series of fiction, comic or graphic novels, mysteries, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction from the formal DDC that we had followed in the past. In the Secondary Section of our school, we classified the fiction into various genres ranging it from realistic fiction, sports fiction, historical fiction, mystery, supernatural, science fiction, fantasy, biographies, adult Indian Fiction. We divided our collection into a few genres and not all. We continued to also maintain the Dewey Decimal Classification for the nonfiction books.

Genres Examples – CC

By doing this we noticed that students were able to get to the titles quickly, they had more time to browse the blurbs of the stories and were able to quickly identify the books in the series.

Yes, it was a big task, rearranging the books, it was a big project that we librarians had undertaken and took a couple of months. But it helped students access the books that are purchased for their learning. Teachers too found it easier to locate the resources for teaching and supporting student learning. Susanne has very well defined and discussed the pros and cons on her website.

According to my experience, I noticed:

  1. Children were becoming more independent and could locate similar-books of their interests
  2. Children were comfortably recommending and taking ownership of the library as their space
  3. Circulation of books increased
  4. Students could easily identify genres and eager to try new genres
  5. The library looked different and better
  6. Book talks became more natural and fun to share with children.
  7. A friendly and comfortable environment for students to access books

Should you want to genrefy your collection and want to discuss, you are welcome to email me.

Peek a Book Reflections – 2018

By | General | No Comments

Peekabook a literary festival held in Mumbai this year! What an inspiring celebration! Being held at the Royal Opera House was such a great idea – Kudos to Peek a Book and Lubaina Bandukwala who curated this event with her team.

It’s hard to attend all literary events held in India, however, being a Mumbaikar, I had to attend it – couldn’t give it a miss. The day started with a celebration of the Children’s Choice Award, followed by music performances and lots of engagement opportunities with the creative tribe who shared their craft through stories, theatre, art and storytelling. I wish I could replicate myself and go to all the sessions that ranged from Touch art – a blindfold art session by Siddhant Shah, story sessions by Natasha Sharma, Lavanya Karthik, Neha Singh, Prashant Pinge, Tara Sharma, Little Fingers tales by Priyanka Babbar and Lal Pari who introduced her little fairy , storytelling workshop by Zarine Menon and Usha Venkataraman, folk performance by Dhanendra Kawade, solving mysteries with Gynelle Alvesa and Sharon Fernandes. Truly a celebration of great work by all the artists and writers!

The literary festival could not be complete without the opportunity for the attendees to inspire our world of ideas, thoughts and connect with stories so that we can all anchor and belong to a tribe.

Story Kits, Story Boards and Little Travel Diaries

Sangeeta from Kahani Tree displayed a varied collection of picture books and novels for all readers, Story Merchants had a colourful Story Boards titled -Forestland,

Author and Story Teller

Storyville City life story mat, and Forestland Puzzle (Ideal for Early Childhood and Elementary School Libraries) and then there were Life Skills Orientation Kits and Little Travel Diaries, picture book travel guides for children with a travel diary a child can take along on his travels by adding pictures, notes and trivia. There were others but these were my favourite.

Reading Aloud 3 -Visualization

By | General, Readaloud, Reading and Writing, Visualization | No Comments

How to connect with children so that their learning is deep and impactful?  Developing love for reading is the essential ingredient for success. Especially in this age and time, you can teach yourself any skill or any new knowledge. As educators, we know that reading aloud is critical but what and how do we read-aloud?

Using visualization as a reading strategy is essential. According to Reading Rockets: Good readers construct mental images as they read a text.

What is Visualization: It is a reading comprehension strategy. It allows the reader to imagine and have a picture in their mind. Visualisation helps the reader understand what the character in the story is doing, thinking or feeling and it helps you visualize the detailed description of the setting.

How do you ask children to visualise?  You prompt them with these cues: Visualization Cues you can use are: I see …… on the page… It makes me think that…; I imagine ….. I know this because …; I wonder…, I visualise…. because I see …… (You can create an anchor chart with these prompts)

Visualization helps transform students from passive to active readers, improving their reading comprehension while connecting their mental images with their prior knowledge making learning deep.

Why is visualisation important? Visualisation helps students and adults become:

  • Analytical readers and thinkers
  • Better communicators
  • Scriptwriters
  • Prepares them for the media business
  • Marketing business
  • Strategic Analysis business opportunities

Visualisation techniques have helped many successful people achieve their dreams because they have been able to practise their goals, achievements and outcomes through systematic visualisation and confidence.

Building imagery can be visual, it appeals to the sense of sight and plays the most significant role in the description in literature.

Auditory visualisation and imagery describe specific sounds that are happening within the story and can connect with one’s own experiences.

Olfactory imagery: Can describes a particular scent and lead to impactful learning especially when the reader connects the text with their personal experiences. Visualisation leads to better writers.

Some titles you can use to practice and visualize with your students are:

A Walk with Thambi by Lavanya Karthik

Mala’s Silver Anklets by Annie Besant

Rooster Raga by Natasha Sharma

Raz Plus: has over 5,000 eBooks and printed books to help you teach all forms of reading strategies that build successful readers.

The Queen Ant’s Birthday by Alleysey Sweeney

Owen and the Tortoise by Katie Knight

Pond Life by Susan Hartley

Imagine the Beach by Racheal Rice

Fishing in the Rain by David Cockcroft

And more…

Habit of Giving Credit – Citation

By | Fair Use, General, Information Literacy, Librarian's Role | No Comments

Giving credit to others contribution is important. And why is it important? Many businesses tycoons of successful projects know that success comes when it is built on other people’s ideas or ones own with others help. These leaders give credit to all those who have been a part of the endeavour.  Giving credit where credit is due is a very rewarding habit to form. Its rewards are inestimable –  Loretta Young, an American Actress.

Acknowledging and giving credit is one of the key aspects of any project or research. We all need to know, learn and practice giving credit when we create our presentations and work. As librarians, we are constantly reminding our students to cite their sources. When we give credit to the resources we use for teaching, we are not only modelling it for our students but also valuing other peoples work. This only establishes our credibility and reinforces what Google Scholar’s Mantra states: Standing on the shoulders of giants.

Learning and giving credit to all our images, using copyright free images or sharing ideas from others in our own creative way is a part of the Creative Commons and understanding the licenses are a part of being Information Coaches/Librarians. The IBO office recently released – An Ideal Libraries/Librarians putting a huge emphasis on the ethical use of information, protecting the environment and being respectful of all races, religions, and sects. Using any form of citation, be it MLA, Chicago or APA style, it is important to teach students to recognize others work. And, not copy and paste – which is outright plagiarism. Students need to paraphrase, add their own perspective and cite their sources of information. This practice will help all become critical thinkers and ethical users of information, and one must know that simply copying and pasting information out from the internet is not learning. Let’s model, practice and support the ethical use of information.

360 Degree Videos to Curate

By | Digital Resources, General, Media Literacy, Media Literacy & Information Literacy, Virtual Reality | No Comments

There is a tsunami of information available in the world. As librarians, our key role is finding and matching the right information with the right reader or inquirer. This is becoming increasingly important and an added asset to the education system today. Teachers are using differentiated instructions to help students learn, communicate, create through collaboration and critical thinking. We as librarians are partnering with teachers to help students become successful. Therefore, our role as curators of information, supporters of information – seekers. (Teachers & Students) This compels us to learn about new content that will serve the needs of our clients.

Librarians are curators, we curate lists of titles for teachers, students, and parents. We are constantly reading and learning about new books, eBooks, eZines, articles and videos to help teachers deliver their lessons effectively and help students learn and enjoy the gift of reading literature.

Presently, librarians curate list of titles embedded with youtube videos and teaching materials to help students.  Recently, librarians are including 360-degree videos. According to Wikipedia, “360-degree videos also known as immersive videos or spherical videosare video recordings where a view in every direction is recorded at the same time, shot using an omnidirectional camera or a collection of cameras. During playback on normal flat display, the viewer has control of the viewing direction like a panorama. It can also be played on displays or projectors”.

Here are some examples for you to check out Ancient Egypt Temple, National Geographic 360 degree Videos, virtual 360 degrees tours from Nasa, Explore India 

Add these to your list when you curate resources for your teachers or students or simply evoke a discussion with your students about Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, show them one of the above resources and ask them how they could use these tools in education, how could they use them in the world, what are the benefits and drawbacks of this kind of resource? How are these videos made? Could you make one? These will make your class interesting, and engaging, nudging students to think and wonder.

Other resources for you:

5-Minute Film Festival: Teaching With 360-Degree Videos: Check out these immersive 360-degree videos you can use in your classroom—no special equipment needed.

Other 360 Degree Channels on Youtube

A blog post on the benefits of 360 virtual reality videos in education

And, how to find the best educational videos

Jarul Book Awards – Empower your students – VOTE!

By | Children's Book Award, Indian Literature, Readaloud | No Comments

Jarul Book Awards Empower your Students – VOTE!

Jarul Book Awards is a celebration of Indian Literature. Jarul Book Award is a pride of India designed to honor the best in Children’s Indian Literature. A Children’s Choice Award, empowering children to read, voice their choice and select the best one based on criteria that students will need to consider.

Empower your students, give them a voice for their choice. To participate click here. Nominated Titles are:

                  

Titles for review were:

  1. Dharmarajan, Geeta, and Srivi. Run Ranga! Run! Katha, 2014.Print.

  2. Kākoḍakāra Mīnā, and Charutha Reghunath. One’s Own, Yet Different. Katha, 2017.Print.

  3. Mehta, Avanti, and Manjari Chakravarti. I Planted a Seed… Tulika Publishers, 2017.Print.

  4. Menon, Saraswathi, and Proiti Roy. Unhappy Moon. Tulika Publishers, 2016.Print.

  5. Mukundan Eṃ, et al. The Glass Tree. Katha, 2011.Print.

  6. Nainy, Mamta, and Wadia, Niloufer. Sadiq Wants to Stich. Karadi Tales Co.Pvt Ltd., 2018.Print.

  7. Sabnani, Nina. Stitching Stories: the Art of Embroidery in Gujarat. Tulika Publishers, 2011.Print.

  8. Shridhar, Shrujana Niranjani. Aamu’s Kawandi. Katha, 2015.Print.

  9. Sorensen, Nalini and Soni, Prashant. Papa’s Marathon. Karadi Tales Co.Pvt Ltd., 2018.Print.

  10. Subramanian, Daya. Something’s Moving. Karadi Tales Co.Pvt Ltd., 2018.Print.

Evaluating Information – Caarp or Cars

By | General, Information Literacy, Librarian's Role, Research Skills | No Comments

There is a plethora of information online – so how do we navigate the flood of information and recognize information that is authentic, real and something we can trust. All IB librarians are pretty familiar with the acronym – CAARP or CRAAP.

To recognize information as worthwhile and with credibility – it is important to teach our students how to question their sources. My favorite criteria is the CAARP  from the California State University And, you can apply it to almost anything, a book, a website, a blog post or even a media product. To test the authenticity of the information you can also use the CARS checklist from McGraw Hill. As librarians, we must teach these to our students starting from Grade 4 all the way up to the high school students. No one is too young or too old to learn these acronyms to guide us when evaluating any source of information.

When you come across a video on Whatsapp or through social media channel, using any one of these acronyms of evaluating will help identify the authenticity and value of the information and will help you from getting carried away with fake news and other morphed videos and images. If you don’t see the creator of the video – IGNORE IT… It’s not worth passing it on.

I often tell my high school students, that if they come across some information on a website and it is only found on that particular website, and that particular information sounds unique, unbelievable or even rare, then, more often than not I would ignore it. To get an all-round perspective on a particular topic it is important that you find other credible sources that would compare, comment or even discuss it from different angles. Always when in doubt, look for other sources to compare, get perspective and viewpoints on the topic, never trust only one website, or one source for a particular topic.

Compare, contrast, think, analyze and use your own understanding to arrive at your opinion and views. This will help students and researchers to develop a grasp on a topic and get a 360 degree perspective on the topic.

Reading Aloud Stories Beyond Folklore 2

By | Book Talk, General, Librarian's Role, School Libraries | No Comments

Read aloud stories beyond folklore: there are plenty of stories beyond folklore being published in India. It is time to look at the originality and the creativity of these stories. I love the uniqueness of the recent stories that are being published, they have a profound purpose and goes beyond the folklore.  In today’s post, we will look at picture book stories about Urban India. These picture books can be used to talk about India: Where we are in place and time OR Who we are? OR Comparing city or village life or urban and rural life.

Fakruddin’s Fridge by Meenu Thomas and Tanvi Bhat is about little Fakruddin worrying about everything and asking endless questions. One day, when his fridge stops working, Fakru is frantic! How will he survive a hot summer without cold water? Ammi says: “Think of a way out yourself,”  A light-hearted story with cheerful watercolor illustrations which bring alive the ambiance of Fakru’s neighborhood in Bhopal city.

For Ju, old is gold. Her mother brings her hand-me-downs from the homes in which she works and Ju welcomes them like new friends. Ju graciously receives well-used textbooks and the treasures sometimes hidden among their pages: pressed flowers, poems, even a dead butterfly. One day Ju finds a sealed envelope in the maths book. It has a stamp but no address. Ju’s Story is part of ‘Different Tales,’ a project by Anveshi Research Centre  Paul Zacharia, sensitively shares this moving story, with Asma Menon’s strong, painterly illustrations suggesting a sense of empowerment. Slums are a part of every city life and cannot be ignored.

Princess Easy Pleasy by Natasha Sharma and Priya Kuriyan

Princess Easy Pleasy is all but easy to please. She drives the royal packer up the wall with her quirks that are as seasonal as her royal vacations. Where does it all stop? This rollicking picture book written by Natasha Sharma and illustrated by Priya Kuriyan guarantees many laughs and gives you a glimpse of another aspect of an urban lifestyle.

Papa’s Marathon by Nalini Sorensen and paired with Prashant Soni’s illustrations is a lighthearted story is about fitness goals that go awry and the unflagging faith of family. A cheerful story, about Gia’s Papa who has signed up for the marathon. And he buys clothes and fancy gadgets to match his new hobby. A story about Gia and her grandmother who become his biggest cheerleader. Another glimpse into some of the urban lifestyle’s in India.

Enjoy these stories and should you have others to share, please add them to the list. Most of these stories books can be found with Peacock Feathers.