Wednesday, September 13, 2006

That's a lot of candles...

This Friday (September 15), Frontier College will be celebrating 107 years of volunteer literacy work. Info on their Toronto event HERE.

Happy Roald Dahl Day!

That's right. I learnt, courtesy of Read Alert, that today is Roald Dahl Day (in the UK)! And here I was thinking I'd have difficulty finding a good title for this post.

In a nutshell, if Roald Dahl was still alive, today would have been his 90th birthday. For more quick info on the Charlie and Chocolate Factory author, you can go here or here.

In celebration of this special day his b-day site, among other amusements, invites you to take the Roald Dahl Challenge. It invites you to do the following:

1. Wear something yellow – it was Roald's favourite colour!
2. Wear one or more items of clothing backwards.
3. Drop "gobblefunk"* into your conversations
(the unique language created by Roald and most commonly used by
the BFG).
4. Swap a Roald Dahl book with a friend.
5. Talk backwards.
6. Tell a silly joke – Roald loved swapping these with his kids.
7. Play an "unexpected" prank.
8. Give someone a treat – Roald was a great believer in treats, whether it was a bar of chocolate or a lovely surprise.
9. Write your own revolting rhyme.
10. Make up an Oompa Loompa dance and get all your friends to join in!

If you manage to complete the above, there is a certificate you can download to commemorate this monumental achievement.

Read Alert also had a few other amusements to share:

1. How Charlie and the Chocolate Factory should have ended.
2. How the Lord of the Rings should have ended.

In other news, Big A little a has a post listing a few new blogs of interest. Emily Reads caught my eye - she reviews books in Haiku! And The Brookshelf is worth a look too. Gotta love anyone who posts about Mo Willems (football references notwithstanding).

Finally, Gotta Book also has a fun oddaptation of Curious George here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Frontier College in Ottawa

Short note here to let you know that Frontier College in Ottawa will be starting its fall recruitment shortly. Our annual Organizational Team (OT) Retreat will be held this Saturday and more information will be forthcoming shortly afterwards regarding new volunteer info-sessions, interviews, training sessions and start dates. If you have questions in the meantime, let us know at ottawa(at)frontiercollege(dot)ca!

Last week I also had the chance to meet John Barron, the new Frontier College Community Coordinator for Ottawa/Kingston at the TD Investors Meeting at the Marriott on Kent Street in Ottawa where Frontier College had a table to accept donations. John, Matthew (one of our former Rideau Reading Circle volunteers) and myself collected a number of books, as well as some financial donations for Frontier College, both here and elsewhere in Canada.

More Ottawa info coming soon!

Literacy Updates

Okay, have a couple items of note to report.

As some blogs have noticed, last Friday was International Literacy Day. While I was derelict in my blogging duties, Frontier College marked the occasion with a renewed call for a National Literacy Action Plan.

Also, you may remember a few weeks ago I posted that Students for Literacy at Memorial had been selected as a finalist for the Canada Post Literacy Awards. The final were announced August 30. While they didn't win, we would still like to congratulate them again on making it that far. Also, take a moment to look through the winners for some tutoring motivation!

In other Frontier College related news, I also wanted to link to two stories here and here from this summer about the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario's Summer Literacy Camps for Aboriginal Children. These camps were done in partnership with Frontier College who, among other things, provided the camp counsellors. We've posted previously on the LG Camps and his other literacy initiatives here.

Thursday, September 28 is Raise a Reader Day - so mark your calendar. For information on activities in Ottawa please visit here. In short, the Raise-a-Reader campaign aims to increase awareness and raise money for children's literacy programs in Ottawa. The Ottawa Citizen and Children's Hospital organize it along with CanWest.

Finally, this year two Canadadian journalists tied to both be awarded the Peter Gzowski Literacy Award of Merit. The award program was founded in 1993 in honour of the late veteran broadcaster and writer Peter Gzowski who was a passionate champion for literacy and is open to all Canadian journalists working in any medium. To read the winning pieces please click HERE.

Two amusing distractions

Both of these were fun (courtesy of A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cosy).

If you have a moment, you can find out which Medieval Plague you have (in case it was keeping you up nights). After that, if you still have time to kill you can generate the title for your first blockbuster teen novel.

My best-selling young adult novel is Confessions of a Shopping Spree Hottie.
Take Your Very Own Best-Selling YA Novel today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Name Generator Generator.

Odds and Ends

So I'm planning on doing about three more posts today - this quick one summarizing some of the stuff that caught my eyes on the kidslit blogs, one on literacy issues and then a final one on Frontier College in Ottawa Updates. Reason for my radio silence over the last few days can be attributed to my being in Toronto for this and spending some of my (spare) time doing non-blog related Frontier stuff (more on that later).

But moving right along:

First off, a thanks to Jen Robinson for tagging us for Blog Day (August 30)! For more info on the annual event you can check out their official site HERE and the Technorati page on it HERE.

Over at Chicken Spaghetti there is a post and a link to further information on one of my favorite Children's Lit Topics: Pirates!

I include the above graphic in parial homage to my mother who knits kiddie sweaters for local craft-fairs around Ottawa. When Pirates of the Caribbean hit it big a few years back, she dutifully started knitting children's sweaters with the above - naturally in various different colours. Reviews were mixed. Many found them adorable. However, some felt it was inappropriate for her to be encouraging kids to join biker gangs :)

Chicken Spaghetti also had one of the best Poetry Friday posts I've seen to date. I mean, just last week I was like, totally wondering, what Britney's take was on William Blake.

But back for a moment to the realm of children's literature. Mother Reader has been compiling a list of the top children's books of 2006 to date. Jen Robinson has also added her pics here.

Finally, in older news, some stuff I had bookmarked to blog about last week but never got around to:

Create-a-word contest over at Mental Floss. In an odd tie-in to above commentary, one submission from a Marika, that caught my eye:

K-fed-ified: having your upcoming album be denigrated before anyone even hears it. Usually due to whom you’ve decided to marry for money.

My other favorite was a "plutonic relationship". This is a romantic relationship which has recently been downsized to "just friends."

I learnt from Critical Mass that I undercharged when I use to tutor in high school.

And in more serious news, Bart over at Bartograhy had a good post on intellectual freedom issues which linked to a group called AS IF that I was previously unaware of.

We're number one! - But not for long...

Hey, new OECD study out that ranks Canada as the top OECD country for university and college grads. But we come last for enrollment growth for the last decade. Story below from today's National Post.

PUBLICATION: National Post
DATE: 2006.09.12
BYLINE: Sarah Schmidt

Canadians best educated, but slipping: Enrolment declining

'You can see some countries are catching up and overtaking Canada ... you have to be careful' -- analyst Karine Tremblay talking about post-secondary schooling

OTTAWA - Canada's young people rank as the best educated in an international study of 30 countries, but the country's stagnant post-secondary education enrolment rate means they will soon be bumped out of top spot.

Fifty-three per cent of Canadians aged 25 to 34 have either a college diploma or a university degree, well above the 31% average for member countries of the Organization for Economic Co - operation and Development ( OECD ). But Canada comes last in enrolment growth in the past decade, according to the OECD 's newly released 2006 edition of Education at a Glance.

Total enrolment is up by 4% since 1995, but 2% of that growth is attributable to a change in the population and only 1% to an increase in the enrolment rate, the report states. This is in sharp contrast to gains made in other OECD countries, where there has been an overall average increase in enrolment of 49%, all attributable to a hike in the enrolment rate rather than demographic shifts.

The trend should be a wake-up call for Canada, OECD analyst Karine Tremblay said yesterday.

"As the rest of the OECD is improving, this is not the case for Canada," Ms. Tremblay said. "You're starting from a higher position, so it's fair that the rate of growth would be smaller. But other countries are really overtaking Canada."

Korea, in particular, is making great strides in broadening the reach of its education system. Forty-nine per cent of Koreans aged 25 to 34 have a post-secondary education, trailing Canada by only 4%. But in the past decade, enrolment in post-secondary education has increased by 59% even though its school-age population has dropped.

There could be economic consequences unless the pattern is reversed, said Ms. Tremblay, a member of the team that prepared the study.

"Future economic success in the new economy will be based on broad baseline qualifications. You can see some countries are catching up and overtaking Canada. You have a very good situation now, but you have to be careful," Ms. Tremblay said.

Herb O'Heron, senior analyst at the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, has heard the message clearly.

"Many, many other countries are really increasing their enrolment numbers. That really to me is the cause for the greater concern. If we had a comparative and competitive advantage because of our post-secondary system years ago, that's certainly been eroded and many countries have surpassed us at the university level and graduate level," he said.

Mr. O'Heron said governments need to expand university opportunities as a key part of any economic strategy.

The report notes a decrease in the role of public funding in Canada's education systems. In 1995, 81.2% of the money that went to higher levels of education came from public sources. By 2003, the proportion of public money had dropped to 77.4%.

Only Japan, Australia, the United States and Korea contribute a smaller proportion of public dollars to all levels of education.

Canada also has room for improvement in the employment status of its best educated citizens.

Among those aged 25 to 64 with post-secondary education credentials, the unemployment rate was 4.7% in 2004. While this represents an improvement from a decade earlier, when the rate was 6.2%, it still remained above the 2004 OECD average of 3.9%.

The unemployment rate among this educated cohort was also lower in the United States in 2004 (3.3%) and Europe (4.2%).

"It may be a skills mismatch, or it may be connected to the broader economic situation," Ms. Tremblay said.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

100th Library Book Bash - Sept. 15

100th Library Book Bash
Friday, Sept. 15, 2006
on Sparks Street, near Bank
(Rain location entrance: 191 Sparks Street, CBC Ottawa Broadcast Centre)

CBC and the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library invite you to join us and browse through more than 10,000 used books to find your favourites. Meet CBC hosts. Listen to live CBC radio in the making.

Join us from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Proceeds help the Every Child Ready To Read program, one of the many initiatives of the Ottawa Public Library.

Visit the Ottawa Public Library site for full details on their 100th anniversary celebrations.