Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

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Winter Tonic with a Theme of Love

This year's Winter Tonic was perhaps the BEST ever. Certainly well attended, the event at once entertained us, moved us, nourished us, and informed us, all in good spirit and spirited participation. Thanks to all kinds of people who made this a success, including the VTLA Winter Tonic organizing committee who always do such a great job, the VTLA Exec who saw the need to invite and welcome new TLs, the newbies who came and we know will be back, the presenters who "wow'ed" us, and the out-of-district TLs who always join us too.

Our Superintendent warmed to the invitation to say a few words on one or more aspect of this year's theme of Love, Libraries, and Chocolate. Using a booktalk approach, a strategy we are very familiar with and were delighted to see, Chris shared three authors' perspectives on love.

  • From Robertson Davies (in When We Were Young, ed. Stuart McLean), on the subject of a young boy's realization of love and life while gazing at peonies -- for a review of McLean's collection, see page 66 of Adult Canadian Books for Strong Teenage Readers, by Margaret McKey et al, published with 10th edition of Resource Links. Davies' use of this moment in other writings would suggest it is for the child a moment poignant and exquisite, as well as autobiographical.
  • From Shantaram: A Novel by Gregory David Roberts, the largely autobiographical story of Lindsay, later renamed Shantaram, or "man of peace," who escapes an Australian jail to become a slumdweller and petty operator out of the Mumbai slums. Writes Lindsday in the opening lines, “It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realised, somehow, through the screaming of my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it’s all you’ve got, that freedom is an universe of possibility. And the choice you make between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.” No copies of this 900+ page read are available from our schools!
  • Finally, from Buckminster Fuller, in his 1970s free verse book Intuition: Fuller coins the term synergy, seeks to explain life's complexities as well: Writes Fuller, “Love is omni-inclusive, progressively exquisite, understanding and tender and compassionately attuned to other than self.” Suggests Kelly, as are schools.
Mary, looking for all the world the proudest mom, was with us all for the early evening. The young performers astounded the crowd, taking us instantly from thoughts of love to high culture. Amazing, they were.

I went to see the Adult Reads this year, where Jennifer from Hager Books "booktalked" 25 books in 45 minutes. I will attach her recommended list to the tlspecial wiki (linked to this blog in left-hand sidebar) ... this was unquestionably a dizzying repertoire of reading possibilities and one of the very best we've seen do this.


I dropped in on David Brear's Web 2.0 lab session where 40 people were jammed in. Suzanne from Maple Ridge, who was extremely happy she had come in for the event, noted that the hand-out alone was worth the trip! I found the lab just as jammed when I came to find a seat for Ciara and Gwen doing databases. Fantastic amounts of work went into making databases more accessible for inquiry and curriculum-related projects.


I am hoping that people who attended Tiffany's session -- she talked about her new book, to be published in the Spring -- will add reviews of her session as comments in this blog. Also, Linda's puppets were very busy. Your reviews are important. Please use the comment feature to add to the description here.

Sales of books and puppets seemed brisk. Thanks to our friend Helen for the fantastic meal and Valentine desserts, along with the serving princesses Nancy and Sylvia whose very presence at an event makes everything more fun. Thanks to Cecil for putting up with all of us.

Allison thanked me for bringing in Dr Jason Ohler for next Friday's Technology Day. She'd heard such great things from her husband who had seen him in October and she was so pleased she'd be able to see him too.

So here's the reminder: Have you registered for Technology Day yet? We are still looking for 70 more to register. AND I need more people (10 to date are committed) to the online conference which I am sure will be something like the Summer Institute, an event you won't want to have missed.

Coquitlam's Pro D Day:

Three of us took the New Databases / Technology Integration workshop on the road and travelled out to Port Coquitlam to Coquitlam's Technology Day event. In addition to doing a workshop for 20 or more TLs, we knew we could hear their keynote speaker Marco Torres, an educator whose work with new visual and other technologies, whose message to become more involved with the verbs than the nouns, whose focus on the process, has inspired young learners in his San Fernando school and community. We attended Alan November's session as well. I also ran into Tom Grant ... and guess what? He blogs every Friday!

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Be sure to READ the GiggleIT information (Feb 10 posting) below!

What funny Canadian stories do we need to share?

1 comment:

Scott Woodworth said...

It was so nice to meet many of you at the tonic! What a great community! I look forward to the next gathering.
Many thanks,
Scott Woodworth