Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Prendergast Library officials have long known the library’s role as a community resource is about much more than having computers or a lot of books on the library’s shelves. It’s easy to take the library for granted, but that would be a mistake, as is evidenced by three upcoming workshops. The first will be led by Bruce Gleason of Young Tax Service at 7 p.m. Wednesday and is designed to help people develop personal budgets. At 7 p.m. Dec. 18, Renee Shutters will talk about how food choices can affect a child’s behavior, health and ability to learn. In January, a parent education course on attention deficit disorder will be hosted at the library by Ryan Smith and Alicia Johnson. At a time when non-profit budgets are shrinking, thumbs up to the Prendergast Library for finding ways to expand its role as a true community resource.

Thumbs up to a Panama institution celebrating its 30th year of operation. Crouch’s Garage, owned by Warren and Cindy Crouch with an office managed by the Crouch’s daughter, Shelly Johnson, opened in 1983 and has been found on the same corner in Panama, next to the post office, ever since. Every employee is a Panama Central School graduate, and the Crouch family is involved in the Panama Hometown Christmas each November and actively supports the village fire department and school athletic teams. An open house is scheduled throughout the day Tuesday.

Thumbs up to Jenell Krishnan, an English teacher in her fifth year at Cassadaga Valley Central School, for embracing technology in the classroom. Krishnan was recently published in Teaching with Technology, an online, peer-reviewed, scholarly journal. The article was rooted in a unique series of lessons taught in May 2013 with the help of technology coordinator, Phillip Bens, and Elizabeth Poleon, a student teacher from the State University at Fredonia. With the help of Bens and Poleon, Krishnan was able to “Backchannel” with her class during a student performance of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” Backchanneling is an online chat forum where participants can interact with each other in real time. Each student was provided a netbook computer to contribute to the online discussion, with the chat feed projected onto the classroom smartboard where text-based questions were answered and insights highlighted.