Sunday, June 30, 2013

Reading Hans C. Andersen Literature Prize winners

Every two years IBBY presents the Hans Christian Andersen Award to a living author whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children's literature.

The Hans Christian Andersen Award is the highest international recognition given to an author of children's books. Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark is the Patron of the Andersen Awards.

The last winner was Maria Teresa Andruetto from Argentina (2012).

The nominations are made by the National Sections of IBBY and the recipients are selected by a distinguished international jury of children's literature specialists. Next winner will be announced next March, 24, 2014.

Between the nominnees, there is a Portuguese author, António Torrado, well know by his books for teens.

But there is another 'Hans Christian Andersen Award'. The Hans Christian Andersen Literature Prize

"The purpose is to celebrate Andersen's influence on writers throughout the world by selecting award winners, whose writings can be linked to Andersen's name and authorship through genre similarities or storyteller-artistic qualities."

The prize was established by Hans Christian Andersen's Literature Committee.

In 2010, the prize was given to the British author J.K. Rowling who has created the world famous Harry Potter fairytales and she got in that occasion a plakette with her name put up in Hans Christian Andersen Museum’s Hall of Fame at Odense.

In 2012, the winner was the famous Chilean writer Isabel Allende. The jury decided to celebrate her distinctive brand of “magical realism,” as well as her ability to “bewitch” her readers.

This time, the  British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie, author of  "Midnight's Children," has been awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Literary Prize for 2014 some weeks ago.

The award ceremony will take place on August 17, 2014 along with Hans Christian Andersen Festivals in Odense.

The foundation says the purpose of the award to Sir Salman Rushdie' is "an incomparable author who through a blend of global realism love of the narrative art of the fairytale depicts the signifiance of journeys and cultural meetings for our time" 

Given since 2010 and backdated to include the 2007 award given to Paulo Coelho that inspired the HCAL's formation.

Rowling and Rushdie have both received honors from the Queen of England - an OBE and Knighthood respectively - while Rushdie and Allende have both been admitted to the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.


The book | e-book:

Encouraging reading in school will improve literacy skills for all students. A key part of this commitment is promoting the importance of reading for pleasure. 

Teachers and school librarians must support children to enjoy reading, and enable them to read a wide range of good quality literature.

Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children is a teeming fable of postcolonial India, told in magical-realist fashion by a telepathic hero born at the stroke of midnight on the day the country became independent.

The novel is at once a fascinating family saga and an astonishing evocation of a vast land and its people–a brilliant incarnation of the universal human comedy. 

Rushdie is an Indian British novelist and essayist who write fiction set on India and subcontinent. His works are considered as a combination of East and West. 

The film:

Movies in classroom

The performance or display of a movie by teachers in a course of face-to-face teaching activities in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction like learning environment can be one of the most interesting educational resources for k-12 and junior high school. 

It's a rich interactive approach of exploring Literature for children and youth. Students enjoy it a lot.

Movies based on children and youth Literature books are an attractive and enjoyable digital resource to motivate students reading in the school. 

Some thoughts:

Reading a book/e-book and after, in a comparative process of learning, display the movie in the classroom, or using tablets for every student, even go to the movies with students are interesting points of vue that educators can't throw way.

Midnight’s Children was adapted in collaboration with the book’s author Salman Rushdie. The film follows the narrative of Rushdie’s book which charts the birth of a newly divided Indian subcontinent through the eyes of a young boy named Saleem Sinai, who is born at the stroke of midnight on Indian independence.

Reading about different cultures and comparing youth traditional principles and values is a wonderful civic learning. Tolerance and respect.

Curricula: Languages; Geography, History, Arts, Civics.

Level: middle and secondary education.

Tools and social media: tablets, ipads, smartphones; Facebook, Twitter, Google + (school accounts).


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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Schools : Antoni Gaudi : Arts Education... again!

Antoni Placid Gaudí i Cornet
 15 de March 1878, Barcelona, Espña,
credits:  Pau Audouard/ Wikipedia

Today the world of arts celebrates the 161st birthday of Catalan architect Antoni GaudiGaudi was born on June 25, 1852, in Reus, a small town south of Barcelona, and he died in a street accident in 1926.

Google Doodle:

Google Doodle Antoni Gaudi's 161st Birthday

Today Google celebrates the 161st birthday of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi with a colorful, stylized Doodle, snippets of six of Gaudi’s iconic modernist buildings or mosaics spell out.

Some notes about Gaudi:

Under the influence of neo-Gothic art and Oriental techniques, Gaudí became part of the Modernista movement which was reaching its peak in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The intellectual context towards the end of the 19th century in Catalonia was marked by Modernism, a movement that extended from around 1880 to the First World War, parallel to currents such as Naturalism, Arts and Crafts, and Art Nouveau. It was motivated by return to traditions as an expression of national identity, as well as by the introduction of modern techniques and materials. 

Modernism differed from the other movements by becoming important for popular cultural identity. You do remember The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky, another modern artist, a great composer, pianist and conductor.

Antoni Gaudi

"Those who look for the laws of Nature as a support for their new works collaborate with the creator."

Antoni Gaudi

Gaudí's work was influenced by his passions in life: architecture, nature, and religion. 
Known as "God's architect", Gaudí's work represents the genius of the architect, expressing particular spatial qualities and plasticity in the undulating lines and harmonies of colours and materials in architectural surfaces and sculpted features.

Casa Batlló
Antoni Gaudi

This is the reason of seven of his designs, in and around Barcelona, have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Those works build in or near Barcelona testify to Gaudí’s exceptional creative contribution to the development of architecture and building technology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

"These monuments represent an eclectic, as well as a very personal, style which was given free reign in the design of gardens, sculpture and all decorative arts, as well as architecture."

The seven buildings are: Parque Güell; Palacio Güell; Casa Mila; Casa Vicens; Gaudí’s work on the Nativity facade and Crypt of La Sagrada Familia; Casa Batlló; Crypt on Colonia Güell.

La Sagrada Familia
Antoni Gaudi

Gaudi never managed to finish his masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia church, as he was struck and killed by a tram in Barcelona in 1926. The church is one of the largest in the world, and remains one of the most visited sights in Barcelona to this day.


All my readers know how I'm a defender of Arts Education in school curricula. You know my thoughts about the importance of Arts in School Education, no matter the art fields: Music, Dance, Literature, Painting, Architecture, other. All Arts are essential to a complete and better education of young people.

And I love Google doodles! They can be included in every school curriculum as I already wrote. I write a lot about Google doodles, my usual readers know it. Doodles combine creativity, digital culture and motivation to include into school lessons. You must think about it.

Asymmetrical layouts, visionary facades, curved lines, pristine forms and colorful ceramic tiles on top, with this dream the sixteen year-old Antoni Gaudí left his hometown Reus in 1868. Once he got there the Catalan port city never let him go. From study to death – his entire life and work took place in Barcelona. 

Antoni Gaudi
The complete work of Antoni Gaudi

Here, a good motivation to one or two lessons about Arts, Modernism, and Architecture. 

Level: All levels including Vocational Education.

Curricula: Arts; cross-curricula (Literature, Arts, Music).

Of course each teacher must prepare and adapt the activities to the level they are teaching.

Resources for teachers & students of Arts:

Exhibition Gaudí, an architecture of anticipation

If you are lucky and you are teaching in Brussels or near Brussels, don't loose the possibility to prepare a school visit with your students next September at the exhibition about Gaudí's innovative art held in Brussels. 

The exhibition Gaudí, an architecture of anticipation is open to the public in the Catalunya Europa space in the offices of the Catalan Government Delegation in Brussels and will be on show until the end of this year. 

The exhibition presents the art and the creative genius of the Catalan architect and has a space reserved for the Sagrada Família, with a model and an information panel with pictures and texts. 

Antonio Gaudi
 Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1984

There is an interesting digital resource that you can include into your lessons. A documentary Antonio Gaudi by Hiroshi Teshigahara. His camera takes us over, under, around, and into buildings and a park designed by Antoni Gaudí.

Some thoughts:

Of course, new technologies, videos, films and social media in the classroom are important tools to tackle the world's toughest problems creating bridges and establish a truly intercultural world, where diversity can be celebrated, a world where different cultures not only coexist but value each other for their contributions and potential. Your students will be prepared to be entire citizens.

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”

Edgar Degas


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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Super Moon in Sciences Education

Photo: "Supermoon" Chris Spindley 
Colwyn Bay, Wales, May 2012

Tonight, June 22, the sky is set to be illuminated by what will appear to be a much bigger and brighter Moon.

The so-called "supermoon" occurs when the Moon reaches its closest point to Earth, known as a perigee full moon.

Credits video: NASA ScienceCasts

Remember full moon on March 19, 2011? It was an amazing moment for all skywatchers.
The effect is to make the Moon seem 30% bigger and 14% brighter than when it is furthest from the planet.
"It doesn't matter where you are, the full moon you're seeing will be the biggest for 2013," Michelle Thaller, the assistant director of science at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said. "… That 12 percent size different can mean as much as a 30 percent change in the brightness, so this will be a particularly bright supermoon."
Skywatchers who miss the phenomenon this weekend because of cloudy skies will have to wait until August 2014 for the next one.
But let us watch another scientist who explains the phenomen so clearly:

Credits video: CBS News
Another space expert Heather Couper said "supermoons" were the result of coincidence.
"The Moon goes round in an oval orbit so it can come very close to us, and if that coincides with a full moon, then it can look absolutely enormous," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
She explained that when the Moon was high in the sky, it looked normal. Listen her here

Super Moon 2013
For many, the moon appears about as full in the June 22 evening sky as it does on the evening of June 23 for others. 
This full moon is not only the closest and largest full moon of the year. It also presents the moon's closest encounter with Earth for all of 2013.
So you have here some fantastic digital educational resources, the videos,  to share in Sciences curriculum next lesson and explain to your students this awesome phenomenon.
If you are lucky enough, you already organized a skywatecher outdoor lesson with your students and you will be observing live.
Hope I get lucky too!
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Parent App: a book for all Educators !

Time to time I like to present you some books that can help us as teachers or care givers, even as parents to raise the new generations.

I did it on Ah! Les JeunesJoy Sorman & François Bégaudeau (French, 2010), Generation Internet, John Palfrey (English, 2009) Le BavardageFlorence Ehnuel (French, 2012) and other.

Today, I would like to present The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age by Dr. Lynn Schofield, a researcher at the University of Denver, in the field of the 'dramatic' changes (I really prefer to talk about the changes) in digital and mobile media era in Education

Photo: Alamy | The Guardian

Raising children in a "dotcom world" (I like this definition), points us how young people and their parents and teachers (why not?) are navigating a decade where digital and mobile media are changing our relationships and our societies. 

Digital and mobile media offer new opportunities for connection as well as new causes for concern. 

How should parents, teachers, caregivers, and other concerned adults respond to the new dilemmas that these media bring into our lives? 

Based on more than 10 years of research with young people and those who care about them, this book draws and expands upon how teens and pre-teens are using digital media to tell stories about themselves and connect with peers. She also examines how parents are attempting to make sense of media-generated challenges - everything from eyebrow-raising content to cyber-harassment on social networking sites.

"Ninety-five percent of American kids have Internet access by age 11; the average number of texts a teenager sends each month is well over 3,000. More families report that technology makes life with children more challenging, not less, as parents today struggle with questions previous generations never faced: Is my thirteen-year-old responsible enough for a Facebook page? What will happen if I give my nine year-old a cell phone? " 

Not only the American kids. All kids in developed countries have Internet access or use a cell phone or have a page on Facebook.

More than that, young students use the Internet in the classroom and use their smartphones or tablets to study at school or at home.

“Technology,” Clark points out, “is enabling people to live very individualistic lives within the family.”

Clark also asked students to conduct and record Skype interviews with their parents. In these, students quizzed their parents about their intentions and policies related to digital and mobile media. The resulting discussions helped Clark think critically about her arguments. Read more here

Some thoughts:

As a tech speacialist in Education researching in the field of ICT & Curricula and Safety, of course, I am connected all the time.  

I spend my day on the Internet reading articles, writing as blogger or as an academic (sicentific articles) but that is my job.  

I do wonder about how that is affecting my family, so I do explain to them that I am not playing video games (as they do when they are on their 'phone'), I am working.  And working is what allows us to have resources to do all the fun things they like to do.  

My two cents in the conversation today is that technology will change completely by the time young people have cell phones and friends to text with. 

All I can do is to teach my students restraint, self control, politeness and other character qualities I deem important while watching my own behavior and choices with technology and social media to include them in school curricula.

Using a wonderful mix of narrative and analysis, Clark invites parents and teachers    to understand what is unfolding so that they don’t feel so trapped.

The Parent App is more than an advice manual. Technology changes too rapidly for that. Rather, Clark puts parenting in context, exploring the meaning of media challenges and the consequences of our responses for our lives as family members, scholars and as members of society.


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