on learning from travel…

What I’ve learned from traveling in no particular order….

1. People everywhere are mostly great hearted!

2. The more I travel, the less I shop and the more it’s become about FOOD!!! Literally brought home not a single souvenir other then pictures (a LOT of them being pictures of FOOD!!!). Hahaha!

2. American men need to work on our peeing skills because public men’s rooms in almost every other country I’ve been to are so much less gross than men’s rooms in the U.S. What is up with that?!?!? Let’s all aim, gentlemen!

3. Travel with a bag of prunes in your rolly bag because … fiber!

4. The world is small, but the world is also vast.

5. I love things on rails. For sure there is a small part of me that supports rail in Honolulu because of my childhood love of trains, but I think it’s more that I’ve continually seen how much good, good public transit systems add to the life of cities I’ve visited–Rome, London, Budapest, New York, Paris, Portland…


6. Broadband in most of Europe makes broadband in the U.S. feel sad…

7. No matter how long I’m on the road, if it’s longer than a week, the day before I get home, all I want is to be in my own bed…

8. Unplugging or rethinking my 24-hr news addiction is imperative for my mental health. Stepping away from the toxicity of the US news market has made me a much happier being. I need to know the big picture. The minute-by-minute, blow-by-blow accounts of every tweet and utterance is unhealthy for a person like myself…

9. When taking long flights, the “dad jean” is the cut of choice.

10. Overhead rain shower heads look luxe on TV, but I don’t like them. The water drips down your face making it really hard to shave.

11. It’s really hard to shower in Europe without getting anything less than 7 gallons of water on the bathroom floor.

Yeah, I’m gonna need a little more glass, here… 

11. I’m lucky to live the life I get to live!
Continue reading “on learning from travel…”

so, this happened…

So, this happened yesterday…

Child: Can you tell me what she [teacher] means about hanging indents and double-spacing?

Me: Sure. See, when you get your works cited list from…

Child looks away and begins having extended chat with the young woman who is far, far more attractive than I… Extended chat continues to extend…

Child: Hey, you’re not helping me…

Me: What do you mean? [Sips hot coffee]

Child: You were helping me with my works cited then you just left to get coffee in the back.

Me: Well, you were chatting with ______ so I figured I had time ‘cuz I needed my coffee and my world doesn’t revolve around you, you know…? Are you ready now?

Kid laughs…


I got hugged by Kindergarten kids after borrowing time on Monday and I got ignored by a high school kid mid-sentence on Friday…

I love my job because it’s more than a job. It’s an adventure!

on teaching teachers about fake news… [edited]

I had an opportunity to teach my teachers about fake news.

“I’m not a librarian. What should I be teaching my kids about fake news?”

Let me tell you. It. Is. Hard.

My plan was to do about 15 minutes of background information about fake news, a 30-minute activity where teachers tried to analyze web content, then 15 minutes of discussion.

The 15 minutes of background went so-so. We got through just 1 of the 5 parts of the activity I had planned. The discussion that took place between the teachers ended up saving the day and truly helped me understand how to better approach teaching students about source evaluation in a fake news world.

Click here to view slideshow

Click here to go to our faculty meeting breakout session Fake News Libguide

Thoughts for future consideration:

  • The x-axis is almost always going to be the basic starting point for “point of view” or “bias.”
  • The labels “factual” and “sensational” didn’t work for some of the working groups so they changed the labels used. The process of developing the labels is a HUGE part of of the source evaluation process. This is where a lot of critical thinking and analysis are happening so don’t short circuit the process!
    • Perhaps “independently verified” and “unsupported assertion/claim” might work better on the y-axis?
  • In some contexts (science studies come to mind) other axes might be necessary.
  • Placement on the the axes is not so much about a binary process of, “use it if it is above the line, but not if it is below the line…” as much as helping students understand, “This article is from the owner of the Deepwater Horizon. I can use the information in my research and in my project, but I will need to put that information into an appropriate context and the context is…”
  • It is hard to impossible to make decisions about the “quality” of the information in a piece on a topic if you only look at one or two sources. In an world where information has been democratized, we need to engage with more sources to have any hope of being able to triangulate the information we find into “knowledge.”




One great point of discussion that came up in our discussion was, “Why can’t we just find unbiased sources to direct kids to?” and/or where do we find “good quality, unbiased sources?”

One teacher pointed out that our sources have always been biased–that the history textbooks of (some of) our youth were widely accepted, but presented a definite orientation/bias.

In an information universe that has been highly democratized by disruptive technologies, we are now able to see video, hear the voices, and read the lives of countless groups of people that in an earlier time had no meaningful voice.

The disruptive technologies that make that possible, however, also mean that the tasks of vetting, evaluating, and contextualizing information have shifted from writers, publishers, editors, and librarians to the end users of information. It’s a new world!


Sometimes it really does feel like building “knowledge” from our information is a real burden. It. Is. Hard.

When we really think about it, though, what can feel like a “burden” is, in many very meaningful ways, the ultimate “privilege.”

Edited 1/20/2017:

My  teachers are AMAZING! On Wednesday afternoon we had breakout meetings during our scheduled faculty meeting time. On Thursday, I got to hang out with a class as they did a modified version of the activity. How cool is that?!?!? I work in such a cool place!!!

I love the fact that this teacher, Lyssa, challenged students to develop their own method to make their thinking and analysis of the article visible. In my mind, a foundational part of becoming information/media literate is knowing what axes you need to have in your head as you read, and what labels you place on each of those axes.

I would love to see science, math, social studies, arts, etc. teachers coaching their students through the, “What axes do we need for this research?” and “What labels do we need for this axis?” process.





on color in media…

Try as I might, my mind lies.

When I see black and white photos I think, “ancient history” and when I see color photos I think, “current events.” My intellectual side lies to other human beings and I say words indicating that I have a clear understanding of history, but my mind actually files black and white images into the “long ago” file so WWII images end up in the same heap as “Ancient Rome” in my brain. I know that’s not how it’s supposed to work, but that’s what happens.

Artist Marina Amaral has colorized black and white historical photos and the effect on the mind is rather jarring in the best possible way.

Lewis Thornton Powell was an American citizen who attempted to assassinate U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward on April 14, 1865. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Click here to go see Marina Amaral’s amazing work!

Now, I know that there are principles of physics that allow me to sit in a heavy airplane that flies, but in my mind it’s really magic… But that’s probably an issue to tackle on another day…

when the reasoning underpinning a piece is truly bullsh*t…

The LA Times recently published two letters to the editor in response to a piece that was, apparently, about the Internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. I did not read the original piece, but I didn’t need to.

Note the reasoning. I am betting that you will see variations on it when someone inevitably proposes a registry for Muslim-Americans…

Steve Hawe argues in his letter:

  1. Japanese-Americans were “helped” or “kept safe” by being put behind barbed wire.
  2. There are so many of them that it was necessary for efficiency’s sake.
  3. “Staying out of the way and not causing complications”  was the “job” assigned to Japanese-Americans.

Dick Venn argues that:

4. Japanese-Americans were actually fortunate because America was super nice and awesome to its own CITIZENS and did not slaughter Japanese-Americans like the Japanese slaughtered Filipinos in their captured lands. [I’m totally serious that is his reasoning… Totally ignoring the fact that MOST OF THEM WERE AMERICAN CITIZENS. I guess he assumes that if your eyes are slanty you just cannot possibly be a real American, but he didn’t explicitly say so, so that’s just an inference on my part.]

You can read the full letters via the LA Times



on how to use social media…

Dear People of the Interwebs,

This would appear to be a really wonderful way to use social media. Please refrain, however, from using your social media feeds as substitutes for accessing well curated content from a variety of journalistically respectable sources from across the political spectrum! More on that later, but for now just revel in the niceness of using social media like this and the goodness of using social media to not be mean to other human beings on the planet…

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You gotta watch this video…

If the video is weirdly sized, try it here