Arte y pico

Hooray! The fine folks over at A Year of Reading have named On The Learn as one of their 5 picks for the Arte y pico award! A Year of Reading provides me with daily doses of wonderful resources and reviews, lovely poetry Fridays, general encouragement and support via comments, and a rich community in which to discuss books, students, teaching and the concerns of educators. If you're a teacher, a parent, or an individual generally interested in the well-being and literacy of young people, you do yourself a disservice to not be counted among the readership of A Year of Reading. Thanks, Franki and Mary Lee!

So here's the story, from the Arte y Pico site:
"What is the meaning of the expression: Arte y Pico? Basically, ironically, it translates into a wonderful phrase in Mexico, “lo maximo.” LOL! It will never find its counterpart in English, but if it HAD to, it would be something like, Wow. The Best Art. Over the top."

Now, it's time for me to pay it forward and follow the guidelines of the award:

1) Select 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award, based on creativity, design, interesting material, and contribution to the blogger community. The blogs can be in any language.

2) Post a link to each blog so that others can visit.

3) Each award-winner has to show the award and link to the blogger that awarded it.

4) The award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show a link to Arte y Pico

Since it is quite evident that my intentions for this blog are not centered on one area, but rather reflect an at times deliberate, at times happenstance compilation of things that mean something to me and my life--as an educator, as a college graduate coming into a new identity, as a global citizen, as a person who considers herself interested in style and the achievement of it--my 5 picks will accordingly reflect a range of my interests (I hope!). I'm going to leave A Year of Reading out of the 5, but know that, had I been recognized by anyone else, they would absolutely be at the top of the list.

1. I have to admit it--I entered the blog.o.sphere with the assumption that teacher blogs would be all about instruction, materials, students, etc., and that it would be difficult to find connection with the people behind even the most wonderfully rich resources. O, how wrong I was. For starters, teacher blog is the wrong paradigm from which to approach the matter. A more appropriate perspective: people who are teachers who also happen to blog. Upon closer examination, I have found that behind the posts are people with life stories, with interests and families, with dogs that sometimes get bad haircuts (or haircuts that are considered so by owner, even if no one else can tell).

One person who demonstrated to me, early in my blog.o.sphere existence, that my notions were false was the woman behind the blog: S.S. Caldwell. S.S.'s reviews of Y.A. titles are special because they never fail to provide the reader with a sense of her knack for gauging the merits of a book on various levels. They're special because they allow a peek into what S.S. considers important and what issues she believes young people can and should be confronted with.

2. A curious and endearing mix of designer style in all of its incarnations, Kingdom of Style delivers no-nonsense posts for everyone from the occasional dabbler to the fashion devotee. No need to have viewed every collection to hit the runway (but all the better if you have)--Queen Michelle and Queen Marie will provide provocation of style sense for one and all. They are absolutely equal opportunity style hunters--beauty and sound design are pointed out with equal eloquence and passion, whether the subject is a wrought-iron bed frame or a designer shoe collection that is so decidedly un-teacher-shoe-ish.

3. My Many Colored Crayons approaches life in the classroom through a narrative lens that inspires and invigorates. The author's sense of purpose is reflected in each and every post. I always feel a sense of confirmation of my own dedication to this profession when I read this blog. And the crayon metaphor? Perfect.

4. Akin to my thoughts on A Year of Reading, if you're not reading Two Writing Teachers regularly, you truly are missing out. The teachers who co-author this blog are so clearly dedicated to being reflective practitioners. They think year-round about what it means to provide students with writing instruction that responds to their needs, and they fortify me to continue on this journey, too.

5. In a departure from the formal rules of the award, I want to name Tom Engelhardt's news blog, TomDispatch, as my number 5. I know I've talked up the merits of Engelhardt's approach to journalism before, but it's unbelievably more important now than ever for folks to be searching out independent, reliable news sources, and this blog should be counted chiefly among them. I mention often (if not here, than in the non-blog world of my existence) my belief in the responsibility of teachers to help students mitigate their place as global citizens. In order to do this work, to guide our students in answering tough questions, we, as educators, must understand our own position in the global society. We must be able to think critically about the issues facing our country now, and those that will arise as our young people mature. Being informed is step one towards understanding the possibilities for the future. Should TomDispatch be the only alternative media source one reads? Of course not. But should it be counted alongside other independent news sources as a source that inform one's ability to navigate global concerns? Absolutely.

OK there it is, my 5.

Now, I really must embark upon the rereading of Lessons That Change Writers. . .

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