Stacked in Our Favor

Thoughts about libraries, education, children's literature, writing, art and being connected

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Youth Media Awards

It’s been a week since the award winners were announced and I’m way behind in reporting. So many things have happened this week.

The night before the Youth Media Awards were announced I wasn’t able to sleep. I got up and high tailed it into work. I know the ceremony was t start at 7:45 AM, so I got into work a little earlier to ensure enough time to log on and connect to the live stream. I tried and tried, but the computer indicated that the item could not be found. After playing with it for about 30 minutes it dawned on me that the ceremony was being held in San Diego and wouldn’t be held until mid-day East Coast time!

All day long people were slipping by the library to see if I knew yet. One of my colleagues was completely unable to imagine that I would be able to keep quiet once I knew the results of the awards. She tried to wear down my resolve, but I could not be worn down or tricked. It seemed like the suspence building would enhance the experience of the group.

People started gathering before three and immediately wanted information. The suspense was so strong you could have cut it with a knife. When they arrived I gave them each a string of gold beads (Mardi Gras beads, but they were gold, round and resembled medals), pointed them to the direction of our round, gold confetti and offered refreshments. Round and gold things ruled the day.

When we were all accounted for, at 3:15, I made the announcements. We started with books we had read which won other awards, moved on to the honors and culminated with the Caldecott Medal winner. You can easily see that our list does not correspond, even marginally, with the winners. Some of us had seen two out of the three books. We are all anxious to get ahold of copies of the award winning books to peruse and evaluate.

It will be very interesting to look at them and try to guess which elements in these books made the committee choose them. Reading as many books as we did and not having access to them all simultaneously, it is very interesting to go back and revisit. We did do this with some, but not all of the books. The books we read at the beginning sometimes looked less appealing when revisited and sometimes we appreciated them more. It is a task we are anxious to undertake to further our own skill and perception.

The work of our meeting followed. We had to evaluate our journey:

How had we changed?
What had we learned?
What do we take away with us?
How will this experience change us as educators?

When we were through talking and filling out evaluation forms, I gave out prizes. I had enough prizes for everyone. Most of the prizes I collected at Midwinter in boston last. I threw in a couple of small gift cards to bookstores. Participants were delight to “win” something and it build fun feeling.

Now what is left for me to do is paperwork to fill out and my own self-reflection. The focus group took an enormous amount of time, but yielded correspondingly enormous benefits. Would I do it again? Yes, but there are many things I would tweak so that it would go smoother. That’s another post.  

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