Category Archives: Language

What’s A Playground Doing Inside?

The spacious interior of the new Bill and Helen Norrie Library on Poseiden Bay has lots of room to house a literacy playground

I had to wait thirty minutes to take a photo! On Friday I went to the beautiful new Bill and Helen Norrie library to snap a few photos of the literacy playground there.

The colorful literacy playground is in front of sunny windows

I am the recently appointed editor of the regular newsletter for the Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library organization and in the next issue, I want to feature a story about the literacy playground at Winnipeg’s newest library.

Our organization’s logo is on the playground

The funds to pay for the unique playground were provided by our organization thanks in part to a generous donation by Lawrence and Reesa Cohen.

In this literacy playground activity, children can spin four wheels to give them ideas for creating a story to share with a friend or family member

What is a literacy playground you might ask? It is a small colorful wooden structure that provides children with activities that foster discussion and learning. Parents who are using the playground with their children receive ideas for things they can do to help develop their child’s literacy skills.

Of course, the literacy playground is in the children’s section of the library where it is surrounded by all kinds of books for kids displayed in a variety of ways.

Kids move these frogs and make them dance as they enjoy a poem about them
Numeracy activities are included as well

You might think a library is a place where children need to keep quiet and sit still. Not anymore! On Friday after I had explained my need for photos to the head librarian she said I was welcome to take some pictures but should wait till there were no children using the playground.

I waited thirty minutes and had a wonderful time watching an endless stream of kids enjoying the activities provided by the playground. Finally, I had to ask a couple of children to move for just a minute so I could snap my pictures.

In this activity, children match weather with appropriate clothing

It was great to see the playground our group had donated to The Bill and Helen Norrie library being put to such good use!

There are literacy playgrounds at many other Winnipeg Public library branches and they are helping kids learn through play and helping families discover that libraries are not only places for reading but also for fun, activity, and human interaction.

The goal is for every library in the city to eventually have a literacy playground. I am proud of the funding Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library has been able to provide to assist in making that goal a reality.

Other posts……….

This Was Crazy Wonderful

A New Writing Challenge

A Waterfall on the Library

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Language, Winnipeg

At Sixes and Sevens

One day when I excited about an upcoming family event I told a friend I was ‘at sixes and sevens’. She didn’t know what I meant. I explained if you were ‘at sixes and sevens’ you were at loose ends, sort of befuddled and confused. Later I found the phrase in the Urban Dictionary. They defined it as a state of disconcertedness or off-kilterness, to be befuttered and betwixt.  I loved the sound of those descriptors!

I hadn’t realized the idiom ‘at sixes and sevens’ wasn’t familiar to everyone.  I picked up the phrase from my Mom. I wondered where it had orginated. 

Chaucer was the first to use the phrase in 1375 in a tragic romantic poem Troilus and Criseyde.  

In his play Richard II, Shakespeare had the Duke of York say, “ All is uneven and everything is left at six and seven.”

Long ago the idiom wasn’t considered polite. Francis Grose lists it in his Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue in 1785. He says it refers to a state of confusion, a room with items scattered about or a piece of business that is unsettled. I liked that. It sounds ever so much nicer to say “My house is all at sixes and sevens” rather than “My house is a mess.”

 A ruling by the Lord Mayor of London in 1485 is cited as another origin of the phrase. The guilds of fur traders and tailors in the city both wanted to be ranked as the sixth most important and oldest guild in the city. To settle the dispute the mayor said the two guilds would trade sixth and seventh spots each year. Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to settle things and the two guilds remained permanently at sixes and sevens with each other.  

 I discovered in 2002 a Norwegian symphonic gothic metal band called Sirena released an album called At Sixes and Sevens. 

The phrase is the title of a romance novel by Rosie Harris about two British sisters in love with the same man.

July of 2013 marked the first performance of Sixes and Sevens a nine- movement cantata. A collaboration between Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon and English composer Mark Anthony Turnage it was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and an Irish orchestra Camerata Ireland.  

At Sixes and Sevens is also the name of a 2011 comedic opera that explores the life and work of musical geniuses Gilbert and Sullivan.

There is also a bar in Brisbane, Australia called Sixes and Sevens that serves great wine from wooden barrels and features excellent sticky ribs and fish and chips. One reviewer calls it ” a delightful eating establishment with gregarious staff and a comfortable ambience.” Just the kind of place to go when you’re feeling at ‘sixes and sevens.’

Other posts……..


What Does Yeet Mean?

Extra Crispy


Leave a comment

Filed under Language