Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Friday, May 29, 2009

it is all about me!

Hey there tout la gang,

I have not posted for a week now. I have lots to say but haven't managed to type it up here. I think all you bloggers know the syndrome.

There is a website called cardsofchange. Here is what it is all about:

Our mission is to collect as many business cards and stories of positive change of people who have recently been laid off and connect them with new opportunities from potential employers, business partners and people who make the effort to look on the bright side of life.

I am not quite ready to upload my card because things have not quite gelled into something I could call "change" yet. Unless rolling up my loose change for grocery money counts :P

I am kidding of course. The cupboard is far from bare. So no big changes yet but I have been gardening and that is new for me.

In case you have been missing my blah blah blah, I am podcast #6 in the AlphaPlus Tech Podcasts series. I hope that you have been following this series. There are some great interviews and thanks to Alpha (and most especially Maria Moriarty) for documenting some craaaazy wisdom.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

wonderful world

Well it has been a busy week running around trying to move ideas and things. In these stalled times, it can be hard to keep hope alive. When I feel as though the technocrats are crushing all the fun and talent out of everything, I watch this video to remind myself that the default setting for most people is to wish, bring, share and embody love.

On November 16, 2006, MadV posted a video on YouTube called One World. In the video, MadV was holding a hand up to the camera, on which was written 'One World'. This text accompanied the video:
"This is an invitation, to make a stand, to make a statement, to make a difference. Join in. Be part of something. Post your response now."

This is a compilation of the responses:

What a nice place it can be...

Friday, May 15, 2009

the beauty that you are

faster than a speeding rainbow,
more powerful than the wind, the rain and the sunset,
and able to leap a slough of despond (or the *Slough of Despond) in a single bound.

I'll be your mirror
Reflect what you are, in case you don't know
I'll be the wind, the rain and the sunset
The light on your door to show that you're home

When you think the night has seen your mind
That inside you're twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands
'Cause I see you

I find it hard to believe you don't know
The beauty that you are
But if you don't let me be your eyes
A hand in your darkness, so you won't be afraid

When you think the night has seen your mind
That inside you're twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands
'Cause I see you

I'll be your mirror

Thursday, May 14, 2009

lonesome no more

Here's my super literacy hero, courageous walking wizard...


Henrietta is a Twitter friend.

faster than a speeding book cart,
more powerful than Imperial Leather,
and able to leap a proscenium arch in a single bound.

and she is definitely not scared of the dark...

a groove that is NEVER out of fashion

The Strange Avenger is ready to join the Community of Heroes in the Literacies blog! (I assume I got the strange label because I was minimalist and chose no weapon).

Nancy :)

faster than a speeding technocrat,
more powerful than a Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment,
and able to leap the corridors of power in a single bound.

I wake up every morning
I hear your feet on the stairs
You're in the next apartment
I hear you singing over there--

This groove is out of fashion
These beats are 20 years old
I saw you lend a hand to
The ones out standing in the cold--

Strange Overtones
In the music you are playing
I'll harmonize
It is strong and you are tough
But a heart is not enough-

Put on your socks and mittens
It's getting colder tonight
A snowball in my kitchen
I watched it melt before my eyes--

Your song still needs a chorus
I know you'll figure it out
The rising of the verses
A change of key will let you out--

Strange overtones
Though they're slightly out of fashion
I'll harmonize
I see the music in your face
That your words cannot explain

Strange Overtones
In the music you are playing
We're not alone
It is strong and you are tough
But a heart is not enough--

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

the literacy avengers

faster than a speeding social capitalist,
more powerful than a knowledge manager,
and able to leap the zone of proximal development in a single bound.

Let everyone see your inner superhero at the Hero Factory.

You build your heroine/hero and the Factory folk name her/him. I think it is pretty apropos that the café hero is called the Thoughtful Philanthropist.

Send us your comic book cover or a link to it so we can see the Literacy Avengers Community of Practice.

Monday, May 11, 2009

family math resources

I just got this message from Kate Nonesuch:

Family Math Groups: An Exploration of Content and Style has just been made available at NALD (The National Adult Literacy Database).

It reports on a project in which I worked with parents to develop a manual of math activities for parents and kids to do together.

This new report outlines the project and discusses the effects of the group: parents had fun, grew more interested and less frustrated with math, and learned specific strategies to help their kids with math, which often resulted in improved communication and smoother relationships with their kids. The report finishes with recommendations for facilitating family math groups.

It be downloaded free of charge at http://www.nald.ca/library/research/fammatgro/fammatgro.pdf

The manual, called Family Math Fun!, is full of family math activities, ready to use in early literacy programs, day care centres, primary grades and Adult Basic Education/Literacy programs. Patterns, recipes, and hand-outs all included (109 pages). http://www.nald.ca/library/learning/familymath/familymath.pdf

For more information: Kate [dot] Nonesuch [at] viu [dot] ca

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

frankly, my tweet

Not sure what Dave would think about this, but if you are still feeling twittery and need a little more help on hump day -- check out Frankenstory. It is kinda like those collaborative story games where one person starts a story and then passes it to the next person who adds the next bit. The group continues to pass the story from person to person, each one reading only the last entry and adding something new.

In the Frankenstory version you only get 40 words (that is the Twitter part). You write the first part of a story. You send it on to your friend but they can only see the last few words you wrote. They write the next part in 40 words, send it back to you and you are done.

rethinking twitter

I really enjoy Twitter. So does the Alpha blogger. Plus it is great for learning. But ever since I found out that it is radioactive I have been having second thoughts...

Happy Hump Day.

Monday, May 4, 2009

announcement: RIP augusto boal

Augusto Boal passsed away in Rio de Janeiro early Saturday morning.

Born in 1931 in the Rio suburb of Penha, Boal graduated in chemical engineering and was the founder of Theater of the Oppressed.

Arrested and exiled during the military dictatorship in 1971, Boal returned to Brazil after 15 years at the invitation of then Secretary of Education of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Darcy Ribeiro.

Here is what Chris over at Comeuppance had to say:

Augusto was one of the titans of modern theatre and his work has spawned hundreds, if not thousands of theatre companies and projects around the world using Theatre of the Oppressed to effect social change. He has made many trips to Canada and the US to do trainings for actors, educators and activists of all kinds. In 1986 he co-founded the Centre for Theatre of the Oppressed in Rio. He was one of the most influential teachers i have ever had and i credit my training and practice of Theatre of the Oppressed with having taught me more about facilitation and teaching than any other single practice/theory.

announcement: endangered languages program

Sacred Earth Network - Endangered Languages Program
by Jane Simpson
[passed on from the Foundation for Endangered Languages]

Media release:

Sacred Earth Network, a non-profit organization located in Petersham, Massachusetts, is continuing its Endangered Languages Program after its successful launch in 2008. Endangered Languages Program aims to support preservation and revival of those indigenous languages which are threatened with extinction and which are vital to indigenous cultures of Siberia and North/Central America. One of the components of the Program is financial assistance to projects working towards these goals. In 2008 we offered assistance to eight grassroots language preservation projects in Russia and the US.

With the deadline approaching soon - May 15th 2009, we would like to spread the word out to underfunded grassroots initiatives about financial assistance that we are offering to projects that work towards preservation of indigenous languages particularly in North America.

We are very much hoping for your assistance in dissemination of this information among interested organizations and individuals. If you would like to post this information on your website or newsletter you are encouraged to do this. If you would like to point out further contacts the coordinator would be very grateful as well.

Please address inquiries about the Endangered Languages Program to the Program's Coordinator, Mariyam Medovaya, at mariyamsacredearth AT gmail.com

film shorts as text

From Bill Boyd @ the Literacy Advisor:

The short film is an ideal medium for developing the “traditional” literacies of reading, writing, talking and listening, a “short” film being a complete text lasting anything up to 30 minutes, but for our purposes ideally no more than ten or fifteen minutes, which means it can be shown two or three times in the course of a lesson if necessary. This is preferable to using an extract from a feature film as it doesn’t require an understanding of the whole work from which it has been taken, and there is a huge range of texts available, from animation to live action, fiction to documentary.

With a minimal understanding of the language of film, teachers can use short films to introduce and reinforce concepts related to reading and writing printed texts, such as narrative viewpoint, plot, characters and setting, as well as developing a greater understanding of the medium of film itself, the medium with which most of us engage most frequently. It is important to emphasise the similarities between printed and moving image texts, as well as the differences, since ultimately they are both about telling stories, and why we tell stories is arguably the reason for studying any kind of texts at all!

At the National Film Board site you can watch full-length NFB documentaries, animations and dramas online - beta.nfb.ca/

Friday, May 1, 2009

story circles

Happy May Day Everybody! International Solidarity!

May 16th is the 2nd International Day for Sharing Life Stories.
This day is an opportunity to celebrate and promote life stories, as a way to encourage critical thinking, cultural democratization and social transformation. The International Day is organized by The Museum of the Person International Network (Brazil, Portugal, USA and Canada) and the Center for Digital Storytelling (USA, Canada, Denmark, Czech Republic, Ireland and Portugal)

The chosen theme for this years' Day is Journey for Justice – Migration and Refugees. The Human Rights Commission of U.N. estimates that there are currently 21 million refugees in the world. According to the International Organization for Migration, there are 200 million international immigrants all over the world. We want to hear the stories of people who have experienced migration in order to develop dialogue about this important matter in our societies and promote social change.

Besides that, we could not leave aside the importance of any other person’s life stories. So, whatever your work with life stories is, join us! The idea of this website is to show these stories and to promote a space for listening and exchanging experiences. Post your stories, listen to other stories, and celebrate this day with us!
Find out more and add your activity for this year at ausculti.org.

Here is a video from an international story circle that happened last month.
Queen Rania of Jordan was announced as the Honorary Chair of the Global Campaign for Education's Big Read in Johannesburg. She met Basetsane Khumalo, Gcina Mhlope and Simphiwe Dana before reading her story to children from Soweto and Alex.

Find out more and add your stories at www.campaignforeducation.org/bigread