Thursday, October 22, 2015

On college and what matters most

Listening to Govs seniors these days , I am hearing much about the common application and college applications in general. In conversing with you all about your choices and why, I like to ask students about what really matters most for college. The general response entails quite a bit about desirable locations, great sports teams, the reputation of the programs, and of course, how your parents weigh in on the matter. Last week, I read an article in the New York Times by Frank Bruni that revolved around this very subject. While going to a reputable college is a wonderful accomplishment in and of itself, can one school give you things like fulfillment and happiness whereas another can not? 
Check out Bruni's article here and let us know what you (really) think about higher education and what matters most.
How to Measure a College's Value
Surprisingly (or perhaps not so surprisingly) a name brand college doesn't amount to much of a differential in terms of overall satisfaction from any other college. The reality unfurled is this  - it is up to the individual to push him/herself. 
As Bruni writes, “What college gives you hinges almost entirely on what you give it.” So keep that in mind, young Jedis and know that there is always room to grow.
And if you're still contemplating the virtues of one school or another check out these library books to set your course straight:
The truth about getting in : a top college advisor tells you everything you need to know / bCohen, Katherine.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Believe it or not?

Do you sometimes receive "news" via email, facebook or twitter that you just can't quite believe? Sometimes I worry if young people (or older people!) are getting the story straight. You know when you play telephone and the story just keeps getting more and more convoluted as it makes its way round the circle? It seems more and more that the information we receive on the internet is trickling down to us in a similar fashion. So, what's my point? My point is that we don't know what or who to believe anymore. Are you familiar with the  Pig Rescues Goat video? 

I admit that I thought it was sweet and authentic when I first watched it. Fortunately, I did not embarrass myself by perpetuating the myth and forwarding it on to family and friends, but still, I bought it! I do love heroic (and talking, but that's another story) animals and perhaps the video is just slightly unbelievable, as we all know how socially intelligent pigs are, but where has our innate sense of telling fact from fiction heading? Down the drain, I say, or in the bottom of that man made feeding pond where the whole video was staged with multiple animal trainers and videographers on hand! There is so much raw and unfiltered information on the ether, how can we teach our students to navigate and search for truth in 2015? 

To begin with, make your librarians happy and check out the following sites to fact-check what you read:

Last week on the N.Y. Times Learning blog they covered this very topic.
Below you will find the article from the link:

Yours in truth,
A Pesky Librarian

Tools and Strategies: How to Tell Fake News From Real News
Worst Twerk Fail EVER — Girl Catches Fire
Mexican Red Rump Tarantula Missing in Brooklyn
Post a Facebook Copyright Status to Protect Your Information
These stories all went viral on social media, but if you click the links, you’ll see all of them turned out to be hoaxes. And yet, sometimes something that sounds fake — like this story about West Point cadets who “weaponized” a pillow fight — isn’t.
How can you tell? Before you hit “share,” what questions should you ask?
First, suggests Chad Lorenz in a piece for Slate that explores the need for news literacy curriculums, consider the places from which you routinely get information:
Today a tour through your social media news feed might take you to Mental FlossDadavizColossalCracked,Dangerous MindsUproxx. How is a reader to know what from this assortment of blogs and webzines can be trusted? What about a site like Inquisitr? (Approach with caution.) What about Before It’s News? (Trick question: That one is definitely not to be trusted.) While it might seem easy to distinguish real news from fake news, many people, including experienced journalists,get suckered more often than you would think. Students, as heavy users of social media, where fake news and hoaxes proliferate, should think about their own responsibility to share reliable information and not perpetuate misinformation.
Once you’ve done that, you might next consult the Newseum’s popular Believe It Or Not? lesson plan that walks teachers and students through basic news literacy. Students learn to ask these six “consumer questions” when vetting a story:
  • Who made this?
  • How was this made?
  • Why was this made?
  • When was this made?
  • What is this missing?
  • Where do I go from here?
Another method for questioning sources of information is the mnemonic the students at Intermediate School 303 in Coney Island use: IMVAIN.
  • Independent sources are preferable to self-interested sources.
  • Multiple sources are preferable to a report based on a single source.
  • Sources who Verify or provide verifiable information are preferable to those who merely assert.
  • Authoritative and/or Informed sources are preferable to sources who are uninformed or lack authoritative background.
  • Named sources are better than anonymous ones.
Watch a video and learn more about how they use this technique, from the Center for News Literacy, here, then try it yourself with this checklist.
Finally, here are some guidelines specifically about breaking news from NPR’s On The Media:


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Still Growing Up

I'm a big fan of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Ever since they put out Same Love, I listen closely to what they produce and say in their music. Their recent single 
Growing Up has me emotional and grateful for another beautiful piece they have co-created. Growing Up is a letter to Macklemore's daughter Sloane, that he wrote a month before she was born. It's a reflective and emotional ode to parenthood, childhood and the path in between.

I've been thinking a lot about the culture of Govs and the boarding school community in general, and how easy it is to get caught up in the ups and downs of our shared experiences (like what we all went through last week). And although we may go through them together, independently, or on very separate terms, in the end, we come together as a community - somehow. So, if you are harboring some pain or ill feeling towards elders, authorities, parents or peers, listen to this song and know that we are all groping our way through the dark spots of life. The truth is, we're ALL still growing up and have miles to go before we sleep.

Here are a few of my favorite parts:

They say boys don't cry
But your dad has shed a lot of tears
They say I should be a strong man
But baby, I'm still filled with fear
Sometimes I don't know who I am
Sometimes I question why I'm here

Get back to community that raised you up
Read Langston Hughes, I suggest A Raisin in the Sun
Listen to Sam Cooke, a change gon' come
You put the work in, don't worry about the praise, my love
Don't try to change the world, find something that you love
And do it every day
Do that for the rest of your life
And eventually, the world will change

I'm still growing up

I recommend that you read The Alchemist
Listen to your teachers, but cheat in calculus
Tell the truth, regardless of the consequence

Don't wake your mom up,do yoga, learn 'bout karma
Find God, but leave the dogma
The quickest way to happiness is learning to be selfless
Ask more questions, talk about yourself less
Study David Bowie, James Baldwin and 2Pac
Watch the sun set with best friends from a rooftop
Wear a helmet, don't be stupid,jaywalk, but look before you do it
If it snows, go outside, build a jump, get some help
Get a sled, thrash the hill with your friends, 'til it melts
Go to festivals, camp, fall in love and dance
You're only young once, my loved one, this is your chance
Take risks, 'cause life moves so fast
You're only young once, my loved one, this is your chance

Times are changing, I know, but who am I
If I'm the person you become
If I'm still growing up.

And if music is not the anecdote for you, perhaps a book that Macklemore suggested can offer a similar remedy. You can find the following in our stacks!

The Langston Hughes readerby Langston Hughes. [810.81 HUG] 

The alchemistby Coelho, Paulo.  [FIC COE] 

Another countryby BaldwinJames. [FIC BAL] 
Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust : off the record with the Beatles, Bowie, Elton & so much moreby Scott, Ken; Owsinski, Bobby. [620.209 SCO] 

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Awe Some!

This week in the library we have been polling students, faculty and staff about the "little things that make life awesome." You gave us some fantastic answers!

Here are some of my favorites:

  • CHOCOLATE (obviously!)

  • Throwing something from far away and it lands in the trash (So true - feels more like a slam dunk than a slam dunk!)

  • Jade & Aya  (no explanation needed)

  • Iced coffee on a Monday morning (start the week off with a bang, but PLEASE do not take into the library!)

  • Sleep-ins (even the thought of a sleep-in is dreamy)
  • The Library (Fist bump!)

  • Life on Mars (because hey, if things don't work out as planned in Byfield, we will have options)

  • Always having someone who cares (perhaps the biggest smallest thing)

Don't just be awesome yourself, but make someone else on campus feel awesome. It's Thursday, Hurricane Joaquin is going to hammer us with wind and rain for a few days and there is no kale salad in the dining hall, so take this as your call to awesomeness!

Better yet, awe someone with a new book. See what's red hot here!
New Books at Pesky