There are so many stories during the week that tend to fall through the cracks, we decided it would be fun to gather four or five of the best each week and get them up on the blog.
March 2 is Dr. Seuss’ birthday! I know a lot of schools may have celebrated today, but you can celebrate all month with your elementary, middle, or high school students. Scholastic has pulled together extension activities for pre-K-2 classrooms that include mystery words, skill-building displays, character guessing games, story maps, and a picture dictionary. Middle and high school students might be interested in discussing some of the alternate works Theodor Seuss Geisel created, such as his World War II political cartoons, which are available online from the University of California, San Diego. (CAC)
Women in military combat roles is a new development, right? Actually, it isn’t. I came across a Library of Congress collection of documents this week that I think would be perfect for the classroom, particularly for a generation of kids familiar with Disney’s Mulan and who have witnessed the historic U.S. decision to lift the military ban on women in combat. The library has created a collection of primary documents focused on female soldiers who served in the Civil War, including specific questions that you can use to lead classroom discussions. The first post focuses on a general history of women who served, while the second post focuses on the experiences of particular individuals. (CAC)
What makes a tweet poetic? Inspired by the response to the first-ever Twitter fiction festival, the New York Public Library has launched a 10-day Twitter poetry festival. To enter the National Poetry Context on Twitter, which will run from March 1 to 10, tweeters must submit one entry consisting of three “poetic Tweets” in English directed to @NYPL, the library’s Twitter handle. Contest rules also specify that at least one of the three tweets must be about libraries, books, reading, or New York City. A panel of poets and librarians will review the submissions, and winners will be republished across social-media channels and in a NYPL Poetry eBook. Library Journal spoke with a representative of NYPL and has more details here.
Teachers and students participating or following along with the contest might puzzle over the following:
What makes a tweet a poem? Twitter users are familiar with the aphoristic, the absurd, and the accidental poems endemic to the medium; it will
be interesting to see whether and how submissions manage to capture that spirit.
The Twitter Fiction Festival was rife with genre-bending experiments. It seems the challenge this time will be finding a form of poetry that’s a natural fit for the format. Let’s hope, for the judges’ sake, that bad haikus are kept to a minimum.
Are Patience and Fortitude acceptable topics for poems? Will the judges deem such works
relevant to libraries and/or New York City?
As noted in the Official Rules: “Entries will not be returned.” Think carefully before you tweet. (ADW)
Makers plus libraries makes Cory Doctorow happy. Taking up one of our favorite topics here at BookMarks, author and journalist Cory Doctorow recently wrote about libraries and makerspaces in conjunction with Freedom to Read Week, an annual Canadian event celebrating intellectual freedom. Doctorow argues that a shared talent for information literacy can bring makers and librarians together for a common purpose. Doctorow would like to see the definition of information literacy expanded to encompass deeper understanding of how we access information; this would include learning more about the physical apparatus allowing the flow of information. Makers’ physical building skills and knowledge-sharing abilities may thus complement the digital literacy and search skills of librarians.
Doctorow loves traditional public libraries and credits them with encouraging his youthful curiosity. To proponents of bookless libraries, he ripostes, “Damn right libraries shouldn’t be book-lined Internet cafes.” Doctorow has a huge following—including teenage fans of his young-adult novels—and his article may prove influential with a new-to-makerspaces audience of teachers, students, and school librarians. (ADW)
A version of this news article first appeared in the BookMarks blog.