Category Archives: Periodicals

Beyond Five-Paragraphs

Firstly, I’m a teacher-librarian not an English teacher. I don’t pretend to be an expert in either craft.  I’m commenting to support the thesis in Kimberly Hill Campbell’s article of Education Leadership ‘Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay’. Years of research indicate the model isn’t a wonderful writing aide. So why are we still fighting it’s implementation in 2014?  Our school has mostly moved away from it in favour of other writing devices. As a librarian the outcome and eventual writing or production exercise does influence your course of action.


“The five-paragraph essay format often puts students’ thinking in a box.  Ther’s a better way.”(Hill Campbell)

Many of colleagues have embraced a comprehensive inquiry model or PBL which starts with students generating big questions  not simply completing a  topic outline that fits 5 paragraphs or three boxes.  It’s valuable to emphasize organizational skills but in 2014 its finding personal meaning and filtering content within issues that is vital. Writing becomes a form of affirmation. Their writing is driven first by research and then by a deeper level of thinking.  Hill Campbell says, “developing an authoritative voice’. She claims the organization actually comes after the purpose of writing is generated- after the inquiry.  She discusses the virtues of not establishing predetermined formula of size or shape but let the student’s position statement and evidence dictate the organization and writing needs. I like her assessment.  Check her article out.




Hill Campbell, Kimberly. “BEYOND The Five-Paragraph ESSAY.” Educational Leadership 71.7 (2014): 60-65. Canadian Reference Centre. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.< >



Filed under Book Reviews, Periodicals, Personal Learning Network, Professional Development, Teacher Professional

SI mag exploits swimsuits and villagers…?

It is SPorts Illustrated magazine swimsuit edition season. The magazine that launches model’s careers and often finds itself in hot water because of stereotyping is in the pot again. Should primitive villagers be in shots with supermodels, half-naked or not? What has a NY fashion model have to do with hunting in the desert anyway? Nothing? What is your thought? Exploitation? Or just silly fun? Read more at Huffingtonpost>

The second controversial shot, featuring Emily DiDonato in an African desert, also include a tribal-looking, half-naked man carrying a spear:

These shots tap into the West’s past obsession/fetishization with so-called savages, jungle comics and the like. Again: In a visit to seven continents, this image is what Sports Illustrated is using to represent the continent of Africa.

David Leonard, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies at Washington State University, told Yahoo! Shine he understands why some might find the pictures offensive.

“These photos depict people of color as exotic backdrops,” Leonard said. “Beyond functioning as props, as scenery to authenticate their third world adventures, people of color are imagined as servants, as the loyal helpers, as existing for white western pleasure, amusement, and enjoyment.”(Huffingtonpost)

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Filed under Global Informed, Media Literacy, MultiMedia, Periodicals, Reading, School Library

History RockRoll – George Harrison on HBO

A brilliant biopic worth watching! Ill be an epic cultural resource. Quite remarkable considering his mate, Paul, just performed in Vancouver for the first time since 60s.

GEORGE HARRISON: LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD focuses the imaginative and inspired eye of one of cinema’s most preeminent filmmakers on one of the world’s most influential men. The film takes viewers on the musical and spiritual voyage that was George Harrison’s life, much of it told in his own words. The result is deeply moving and touches each viewer in unique and individual ways.

Academy Award®-winning director Martin Scorsese traces Harrison’s life from his musical beginnings in Liverpool through his life as a musician, a seeker, a philanthropist and a filmmaker, weaving together interviews with Harrison and his closest friends, performances, home movies and photographs. Much of the material in the film has never been seen or heard before. The result is a rare glimpse into the mind and soul of one of the most talented artists of his generation and a profoundly intimate and affecting work of cinema.

The film includes interviews with Eric Clapton, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, George Martin, Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Tom Petty, Phil Spector, Ringo Starr and Jackie Stewart. They speak honestly and frankly about George’s many talents and contradictions.

Sent from iCloud
Al Smith

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MEMORY, forget everything you thought you knew-NewScientist

The current issue of New Scientist is just being circulated ( thx our sweetheart colleague- Dini ) watch for this amazing article- even you humanities types! Also the Library provides teachers with access to the digital archives of this terrific British journal. Megabytes of good stuff!

**  to login from anywhere grab the user ID from > I://staffshare/library/passwords/facultyDB.docx  , email me or TXT me 250-878-0578



(Image: van Wanten Etcetera/Souverein. Page detail: Anne Frank Fonds/Anne Frank House via Getty Images)

“…We are all collections of memories. They dictate how we think, act and make decisions, and even define our identity.
Yet memory, with its many virtues and flaws, has puzzled for centuries. How are memories made and stored in the brain? Why do we remember some events but not others? What do other animals remember? And how can we improve the flawed instrument handed to us by evolution?
In these articles we answer these questions and many more, starting with a revolutionary new understanding of memory’s purpose…” (Robson, 32 )

Robson, David, and Emma Young. “Memory.” New Scientist 6 Oct. 2012: 32. New Scientist. Web. 16 Oct. 2012.

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Anatomy of a Periodical

PASSWORDS: access>>


Anatomy of a Periodical

    1. Any reading material-  in technical use-  periodic means “at regular or predictable intervals, such as, magazines, newspapers literary journals, newsletters etc.  Not exclusive to print material, periodicals could now include blogs or digital e-publications.
    1. – general interest or hobby specialty can vary in amount of ads and amount of written story content
    2. – some hobby magazines are like self-help or how-to publications.  ie. model airplane
    1. -more and more quality reading material is available in digital format either for free ( with advertising ) or by a pay wall model
  4. DESIGN TIPS and PARTS of a MAGAZINE: sticky notes
  • Find example of strong TYPE
  • Find an example of sans-serif font
  • Find an example of pull-quote
  • Find example of strong IMAGE
  • Find example of strong 3 GRID layout
  • Find example of SIDEBAR
  • Find example of 2 fancy FOLIO
  • Find example of DROPSHADOW text of image
  • Find and example of 2 page spread

    1. TASK:  –Consumer Reports –  What is the best sedan car under $10,000? Answer Below….  OR –Vancouver Sun – Who recently died in a Kelowna motel room?  Answer Below…
  3. PROJECT: plan, create and build a mockup magazine.


1. Your cover should be a key selling point.

OK, so internal communications don’t actually get sold, but your cover should demonstrate what the magazine has to offer. Arresting and relevant imagery with great headlines and clear navigation can grab the reader’s attention and make sure your publication gets read. When you think you’ve finished the job, always take a step back, look at the cover and ask yourself if you would pick it up.

2. Create a natural pace and rhythm.

It’s a good idea to break the reader in with a few shorter stories up front. A simple news section can bridge the gap between your cover and major features and help the reader familiarise themselves with the magazine’s format and tone of voice. Presenting a weighty feature too early can be daunting and off-putting.

3. Stay on the grid.

The grid is the architecture of your magazine, the framework that keeps every page element in its place. It keeps columns consistent and anchors photographs, panels and boxes so they don’t float around. If you want something that offers more than just three basic columns, go for a much higher number such as 12. It might seem like structural madness at first, but, once you get used to it, you’ll see that it can divide down nicely into two, three, four and six.

4. Get the hierarchy right.

When dealing with spreads that have multiple stories or when grouping stories on a theme, take the time to look at the overall hierarchy. Make sure a lead item is given prominence. It’s easy to get this wrong and a lesser story can end up looking like the most attractive element. Use larger headlines, prime positioning and strong imagery to achieve a sense of importance.

5. The art of type.

For centuries, typesetters and letter-writers have concerned themselves with the size, shape and forms of characters. They mulled on the leading, kerning and tracking of each word on the page to ensure that all was legible and print-ready. In a way, the computer age has meant that this has become a lost skill. Whether headlines are the centrepiece of a spread or top smaller news items, take the time to concentrate on the letter spacing. Avoiding legibility issues, character clashes and unsightly gaps will make things easier on the reader’s eye and help with overall accessibility.

6. Don’t be afraid of white space.

When it comes to internal publications, which can be copy-heavy, just thinking about leaving blank space on the page can ring client alarm bells. Equally, stuffing as much as you can onto each and every page may leave the reader overwhelmed. Experiment with white space in your new multi-column layout. Or on larger features, try starting your article just above the halfway point of the page. You’ll be surprised how much a little bit of white space helps to soften the reader’s eye into the layout.

7. Be sensible with your colours.

Employee publications often have their colour palettes dictated by the branding of the parent company, but that doesn’t mean you should saturate every page with the same vivid purple as the company’s logo. Think about colour from the reader’s point of view. Avoid assaulting their senses. Instead, use your colour scheme to create warm, friendly and appealing environments, both for your readers and your content. A spread that’s so bright and lurid that it actually hurts the eyes simply won’t get read.

8. Avoid the grey mountains.

Any reader faced with two pages of solid text will see something of a mountain to climb. Look for ways to give them a few footholds by breaking up the text with interesting box-outs, panels or tables. The more you can break the information down into manageable pieces, the more likely it is to get read. Crossheads and pull-quotes will not only break up the grey, but can make the article more appealing and help the mountain seem worth scaling.

9. Every picture tells a story.

But I’ll have to give you the abridged version. Best practice for photography and illustration and getting the most from your budget warrants a top ten list of its own. To be brief: use images that help convey the content and attract the reader. Imagery should always be relevant and of good enough quality to at least look professional. If you think a photograph looks bad, consider not using it. Your editor wouldn’t include a bad article just because they had it on file, would they?

10. Achieve a healthy balance.

So you’ve got all your pages designed and laid out according to your flatplan. Now take a look at the whole magazine. Does it flow properly? As you go through, do you get a sense of rhythm and pace? Does the article on page 5 sit too heavily alongside the lighter piece on page 4? Have you achieved variation, or does every page and image box look the same? Does one page feel crammed and claustrophobic while another seems empty and spread out? If anything feels like that to you, it will to your readers too. Take the time to address these issues and your end product will benefit.


Typography is the art of arranging type and type design. The arrangement of type involves the selection of typefaces, point size, line length, line spacing, and the adjustment of spaces between groups of letters (tracking) and between pairs of letters (kerning). Typography comes from the Greek words typos, which means “mark, figure” and grapho, which means “I write.” It is basically the discipline of shaping written information; thus it can be applied to anything which has to do with text, including web design. Authors write the text, designers and typographers manage the typography, and users read through it.


Filed under Helpful Material, LIBGuides, Periodicals

A Day in the Life -learning commons resources, services and joy

KSS Today was another crazy and productive day at KSS Library. Even when our bookings are at half capacity today, we were smoking busy engaging students, supporting student inquiry and many other assorted tasks frequently observed in our school library. The new hip title of learning commons certainly applies. Although this activity doesn’t come without trials and the need for balancing parton interests, we find ways to deliver value added service. What do we mean?

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Value added means to us that simply finding a book or web service that has the appropriate educational content is only part of the goal. We strive to help integrate these resources into meaningful personalized learning. We coach our students ( and teachers ) through discussions to read the content and probe personal inquiry. What are your tasks? Goals? What information or skill is needed? Sometimes it is simply providing materials and a place to construct a huge display board. Other times it requires deeper questioning into the concepts. This style of service takes time and personal attention. Thankfully our Library is staffed and supported by admin and faculty at a level that provides the opportunity to try- often we succeed. Sometimes our learning commons is an access point to start research or reading. Other times it requires acts of discipline to rain in teaming social noise of the teens in order to provide a common quieter place of reflection. As a rule, we fail in creating a very quiet place but our attempts to serve 1800 teens and the larger school community does produce noise. Thankfully the sound of learning is often the result. KSS students engage in some pretty amazing ways and we are witness to some fascinating activity. The teachers and students of KSS deserve value added service from their teacher-librarians but it takes a village to make it all work in a crowded commons area. The sage on the stage is seldom found here.

Here is just a small but interesting highlights.

  • administrator needs help with integrating video into their powerpoint
  • retired teacher visits to get a document converted and prepped for a print shop gift
  • volleyball director visits to get photos assembled for an BC Championships banquet
  • student needs to solve audio setup for a presentation in the gym
  • Socials class needs instruction on how to build an 1885 newspaper
  • student needs to learn how to collect, scan and assemble digital documents for his Science class
  • Psych students want help in finding current content on disorders not in the DSM IV
  • student needs assistance to digitize diplomas for his Transitions 12 presentation
  • teacher needs to solve how to acquire and install new software on his new laptop
  • student athlete travelling to Vancouver needs to get a video for her Monday morning exam

You can see from the list why we are very busy hub of the school. I’ll elaborate on the last item because it showcases the value of investing in current technologies like ebooks and iPads. A senior needs to watch a movie of 12 Angry Men to augment her novel study exam on Monday. The library’s DVD copies are out on loan. The catch? She is travelling tomorrow morning by bus to a BC Girls Volleyball Championship. So why a movie you ask? She wants to watch the film on the bus and take notes, etc. Motivated? Yes. Student athlete? Yes. What is a teacher-librarian to do? Call Rogers and rent the movie? Nope. No store in town has one. Enter iPad and iTunes. Buy and download Makovetsky’s 2007 and just in case, rent Sidney Lumet’s 1957 with Henry Fonda. Add the ebook play from iTunes-U and the novel from Amazon. Sync a Library iPad and voila… a travelling library for our just too tall, too adorable middle blocker Amanda. You make us proud to serve you honey! Go Owls!

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Filed under Databases, Education, Helpful Material, Inquiry Resources, MultiMedia, Periodicals, Privacy and Safety, School Library

SUN-Global Voices Dec 6 edition

Classroom activities for the Global Voices column Van Sun on Mon Dec 6, 2010.
Topic: Haiti –Election and Education

KSS link>

Vancouver Sun/Province:

Breaking news – Vancouver Sun



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Filed under Education, Global Informed, Inquiry Resources, Library Update, Periodicals

READING: Moods magazine- now available

Many of my friends might welcome this periodical and website. I’m working on online access.

Moods magazine is a national consumer publication, which provides educational information to every one both at home and at work. Celebrity success stories, healthy living, balancing life and good nutrition are just some of the regular topics covered. Moods emphasizes preventative measures through easy-to-read information, while also diminishing the stigma attached to mental illness.

see our mag circulating at KSS. Also on my school Facebook Page. Article: The She Got Depressed- adolescent athlete.

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Periodical issue now available- Walrus

Now released- The Walrus-Tom Thomson
In the summer of 1914, the aspiring painter paddled to a tiny island on Georgian Bay and discovered the Canada of our imagination

“What Tom Thomson Saw” by Ross King | The Walrus | November 2010.

Bung Inlet

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KSS Library profile published in professional journal

Current edition of CLA/CASL’s SLIC School Libraries in Canada now posted. Library profile- difficult but ultimately fun and even practical.

My partner, Sharon Bede, and I really found the exercise valuable but also daunting. Singing my school’s praises does make me feel weird but I also wanted to reflect, review and summarize the complexity of a school program on behalf of all the hardworking and often burdened professional TL’s. We often fret and obsess with our work but we also strive to honour the virtues of education in a free and progressive nation. Our teaching colleagues should be proud of the traditional high standards of TL’s
-Al Smith

Never confuse the special devices that connect us, with the precious moments that keep us together.

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