Teachers Tell Stories PechaKucha-Style

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“Storytelling as the root of community is a culture that we librarians cultivate. Creating a space that allows the sharing of stories— as well as a platform for listening to the tales of others—  builds bridges.”

Wednesday evening’s inaugural “Neno Kwa Neno” event at a local café brought together about forty members of the school community for a fun evening under the stars. The atmosphere was relaxed, with dinner and drinks served by friendly staff:  a delightful way to top off a busy day of teaching and professional workshops.

Kiswahili for word for word, the “Neno Kwa Neno” gathering was a cross-campus challenge to “tell a story- any story” using the PechaKucha– style of presentation.

The format is simple: 20 slides, 20 seconds. Presenters have exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds to tell their story as the kiosk of slides flip through in 20 second intervals. Touching on a variety of interesting and surprising topics, seven speakers, mainly teachers, shared their stories.  The curious audience was rapt in attention. High in the sky, through the leaves of the bougainvillea, the moon shone bright.  The Q&A session after each talk allowed audience members to interact with the storytellers.

Storytelling as the root of community is a culture that we librarians cultivate. Creating a space that allows the sharing of stories— as well as a platform for listening to the tales of others—  builds bridges. Events like these highlight the fact that there is more to our colleagues than what we see during the work week.  We teach, yes. And we love it. But we also live interesting lives outside of our careers. We’re goal-setting inspirers, ambulance drivers, Dungeon Masters, recycling activists, career jumpers, surfers, and carnival dancers.

Here’s to nurturing a story-telling culture and to the plans we are formulating to set up another Neno Kwa Neno gathering. Most of all? Here’s to celebrating the lives that we live after work hours.

 

The Art of Eliminating Distractions

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MULTI-TASKING TURNS TO SINGLE-TASKING, INCREASING THE ABILITY TO FOCUS.

Do you find it difficult to focus when you write? That “ding” of an incoming email interrupts your thought process. A Skype message or phone call breaks your concentration just as you’ve found the perfect sentence to wrap up a really juicy paragraph. Your flow is interrupted by that weird sound that Facebook makes when to indicate that someone has commented on a photo or status update. Interrupted by the distraction, you grasp to recover the thought you just had, but it has escaped into oblivion, never to be found again.

Enough of that. One tool that I’ve been using for years to help me concentrate in a clean, distraction-free writing environment is something called OmmWriter. The free download offers a writing tool for PC, Mac, and iPad. Ommwriter is your own private writing room where you can close the door behind you to focus on your writing in peace”. Gone are the icons at the bottom of your screen. Gone is the toolbar at the top of your word document. Gone are the webpages, tabs, and browsers. All you see is a clean, uninterrupted screen, just ready for a new idea or creative thought. Even spell check is turned off so that your ideas aren’t blocked by the obsessive need to edit mid-sentence. When you’re finished, just copy, paste and save your text into a Word document and move into the editing phase.

OmmWriter is a helpful application that helps writers focus. It’s clean and free –  a fresh, calm breeze in a world of technological distractions. Multi-tasking turns to single-tasking, increasing the ability to focus. Find out more about it here.