Anyhow we chat and he gives me his e-mail and some more insincere compliments and the next time I see him he’s in Gram’s bed and she’s, like, inside him! Wait till I tell Amber that! I am so sick of hearing about how her grandmother goes to Cabo all the time and paraglides and scubas. Those things are like nothing compared to being swallowed whole. And it kind of makes me want to know what that’s like. What? No, as a matter of fact, if everybody at my school got swallowed whole I wouldn't want to. It’s lame if everybody does it, Mom. How old are you, anyway?
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Monday, June 24, 2013
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Reynolds is a secondary (grades 7 to 12) English teacher who, based on a hunch, decided to challenge his grade 11 students with an assignment that would require them to "craft 50 pages of their own original, creative fiction" otherwise known as the novella assignment.
His reasoning was based on wanting to incorporate more creativity into his teaching and students' work and that this 2 month project would get his students to "learn effective writing strategies and hone their skills far better than they would in the more traditional, widely marketed test-preparation curriculums". He provides the assignment in an appendix. (In fact, roughly 1/3 of the book is appendices that provide support for teaching his creative assignments if you should choose to accept this mission.)
All of his students hand in the 50 pages with
dramatic increases in their writing abilities. Their test scores that spring showed strong gains, and their attitudes toward writing had improved dramatically. It became common for me to overhear students talking in the hallways about what would happen next in their novellas, and it was also common to come to class on a day when their next two pages were due, only to find that many students had instead written six, seven, or eight.Sounds pretty good, right?
He continues on with additional activities showing direct ties to standards.
What comes across is Reynolds' passion and commitment to trying to do more than just teach-to-the-test. He wants to enliven his classes and engage his students and feels that taking a creative approach will do this. He lives in the real world where accountability is to meet state mandated standards. He shows us how he strives to do both.
This is a quick read with ideas worth considering.
Monday, June 17, 2013
Janet Hutchinson is a colleague and kindred spirit when it comes to children's literature. She also works a day and half in the library in the school which her children have or are attending here in Calgary. Her experiences there provide her (and me by extension) the opportunity to see what teachers and kids do with the books we promote.
(PS.** IMHO = in my humble opinion : I didn't know this particular 'txting' short cut. LOL, I'm such a Luddite.)
These are a few of my favourite…….books
The first book is Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. I love the combination graphic(ish) novel and prose. The book tells the story of two youngsters – Ben, whose story is told in words – and Rose, whose story is told in pictures. Both children are involved in quest to find that which is missing in their lives. For Ben, it’s his father, his only surviving parent since his mother was killed in a car accident. For Rose, it’s her mother – she has left her daughter and remarried. Selznick takes these two plot lines and beautifully weaves them together, alternating between the past and the present and between words and pictures culminating in a very satisfying and lovely conclusion.
If the reader has weak reading skills, this is still a story they can consume easily (although the thickness of the book might be daunting. But the last student to take it out shyly admitted that she had had it out several times so far this year, but that she had to take it out “one more time” before school ended.
The second book that has not stayed in the library is the book Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg. Intended as a picture book (or at least presented in that format) the book is a life lesson contained in about 15 pages. Each page presents a spill or a blob or a tear that the author then turns into a great piece of art. The message can be read in several ways: From mistakes come things of beauty; Creativity can come from messes; mistakes are just opportunities reshaped. A torn page? Becomes an alligator’s smile. A blob of paint? Becomes a goofy looking animal. What I loved about this book is that it removes the need for perfection and can be inspirational to anyone who reads it. And although lots of the “little kids” took it out – lots of the “big” kids did too. Proving (at least to me) that good picture book crosses ages, stages and grades.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
So all-in-all not too bad. I wouldn't do this in every workshop but it was a good exercise to put myself out there, a reminder that this is what good teachers do everyday.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Practically Paradise by Diane R. Kelly. Check out this week's list of recommended nonfiction children's literature.