March 2, 2009

I’m a slacker

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:36 pm by looperae

This whole job thing is very time consuming 🙂  Since today is a snow day (yah!) I actually have time to check my blog along with all my emails!  I still have not made it up to Boone to retrieve my ladybugology, but hopefully in the next few weeks (at least thats my plan) I will get it, take some pictures, and post them!

Sorry for the wait…if you were waiting 🙂

Hope everyone is doing well!

January 19, 2009

JOB!

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:59 am by looperae

Sorry, it’s been over a month since I have posted anything!  I still haven’t made it up to Boone to get my ladybugology, but hopefully in the next few weeks I will be able to do so.  I plan on posting all the pictures and documents at once.  Also, I got a JOB!  After three interviews, I finally found a school I absolutely love.  I actually observed last week and start on Tuesday, Jan. 21st.  I am really excited and a little nervous at the same time.  I am teaching kindergarten (wow!) at a title I school.  The principal, faculty, and staff are AWESOME!  I only have 13 students and they are all so precious.  My biggest challenge will be the adjustment to the young ones, but Im ready 🙂

December 15, 2008

Coming Soon…..

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:17 am by looperae

I will have pictures and the Ladybugology documents posted soon.  I have been busy with a job hunt here lately, but still no luck 😦  This crisis with the economy is no bueno!

November 18, 2008

Why Should Kids Read Comics? (additional WPB article) By: Tracy Edmunds

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:34 pm by looperae

I chose this article because I was very anxious to see how the use of comics can be beneficial for students in the classroom.  Edmunds came up with some really good ideas about why comics should be used to teach reading and writing.  First and foremost, comics should be used because students enjoy them.  As we all know, when students are motivated to do something from an increased heighten of interest, they will likely put forth more effort!  Additionally, Edmunds pointed out that the key to helping struggling readers is motivation, and surprisingly, comics are extremely motivating!

Beginning with art and pictures is a great place to start.  Students learn to make meaning from the material that is present on the page.  Students learn that they do not have to be able to read the words on the page to learn what is happening in the story. 

I’m not exactly sure how often I will use comics in my classroom, but I do know I will give them a shot!

Graphic Novels for (Really) Young Readers, By: Allyson A. W. Lyga

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:27 pm by looperae

I have to admit, I was one of those teachers (almost!) who felt as though graphic novels would not appropriately meet the educational needs of students.  Through reading this article and others, I now know that “many essential literacy skills are required in reading a graphic novel, including the ability to understand a sequence of events, interpret characters’ nonverbal gestures, discern the story’s plot, and make inferences” (P.1).  Graphic novels give those who are “incapable of visualizing a story” pictures and artwork to create their own story.  Graphic Novels and WPB’s benefit almost all students!

I loved the idea of involving the art teacher in graphic novel and WPB creations.  Allowing students to create their own graphic novel can be extremely time consuming.  If a teacher has an art teacher who is willing to work with such a project, students will not only have more time to illustrate their Graphic Novel and/or WPB, but also they can gain insight from an expert (the art teacher) about adding depth and movement to their illustrations!

Teaching Reading, By: Colleen Reese

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:19 pm by looperae

I loved this article; short and sweet 🙂  Reese came up with grate ideas to implement wordless picture books in her classroom.  I especially likes the way she worked with them in whole group, partners, and individuals.  This seemed to really transition the students into being successful readers and writers.  I truly believe that her students writing improved as they became increasingly willing to revise their own work.  The idea of having the students make a list of things to remember while writing is brilliant!  By allowing the students to help generate such a list, they know what is expected of them and they know their thoughts and ideas are important.  Lastly, allowing the students to “visit” other classes and share their stories can give students such a wonderful feeling about the hard work they put forth to make their WPB come alive!

Wordless Books: No-Risk Tools for Inclusive Middle-Grade Classrooms, By: Judith Cassady

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:36 pm by looperae

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article for the sheer fact that I am not very familiar with using wordless picture books in the classroom, nor would I probably have seen them to be beneficial.  As I have learned, wordless picture books (I’m gonna abbreviate: WPB) allow students to creatively think and interpret pictures/stories in their own words.  Often times students are scared to interpret a story “incorrectly”, but WPB give them a chance to analyze a story that has no “right” answer.  I love the idea of having students work with a WPB to create their own story and then record it in their own voice.  Students would absolutely love that!  Later the story would be typed on the word processor and this would make the student(s) almost feel famous! 

What an accomplishment it must be for a struggling reader to open a book and not have to worry about pronouncing words incorrectly or understanding the story itself.  WPB can be used for ESL students because I know it must be frustrating trying to read books in a different language, “the pictures in the WPB stimulate the students to tell the stories in their own words” (P. 2). 

Cross-age tutoring is another great idea!  I know when I was an “older student” I loved helping the younger ones.  It made me feel special and intelligent.  By allowing older students to create a “Big Book” then allow the younger students to write and inllustrate the text, both benefit tremendously.  Not only is the task entertaining but it makes the students feel successful…after all, isn’t that what education is about?

November 2, 2008

Memoir Readings

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:01 pm by looperae

Family Pictures, By: Sandra Cisneros and Carmen Lomas Garza

Wow, what an amazing little girl, Carmen.  The pictures in this story are amazing, and I love how “real” and practical they are.  The background behind the book makes it more intriguing to read!  This book would be especially imperative to read when/if any teacher has an Hispanic child or two in his/her classroom.  This text can bring out the inner-artist in students, sharing the idea that pictures are “worth 1000 words”.  Not to mention, some students may be able to relate to Carmen either her lifestyle, family, or age.   I know some students are not successful writers; this book allows those students who are hidden artists to get their message across just as effectively through pictures.  I absolutely love how each page provides an English and Spanish translations, how brilliant!  Love this book.

My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother, By: Patricia Polacco

This story is so realistic, its scary!  I definitely know many students who have older siblings can relate to this story in some way or another, I know I can with my sisters.  The book not only was practical, it also included humor, and anticipation on what Richie would do next.  Often times sibling rivalry and competition can have a toll on an individual, especially if the sibling is “the favorite”.  This book allows children to see that in the end, siblings aren’t all that bad.

to dance, By: Siena Cherson Siegel

This was not my favorite, but I did enjoy reading it.  I definitely wouldn’t use this book in the primary grades because of the format, but I did however find the ballerina’s story quite interesting!  The suspense level was high because the ballerina had some much going on in her life.  I really enjoyed the heart-felt moments in the story, such as when her father made one half of her bedroom a ballet studio.  There were also moments that children would be able to easily relate to in this story, such as the divorce between her parents and the ballerina’s uncertainty of what would happen next between her mother and father.

Shortcut, By: Donald Crews

This man is talented.  He was able to really evoke a suspenseful thriller in only a few short pages, mainly by illustration.  At one point, I felt like I was in a movie!  I started to get nervous when the train neared the children, I really thought something bad was going to happen.  Crews did an awesome job retelling this incident that could have been traumatic!

October 31, 2008

Finding Memorable Moments: Images and Identities in Autobiographical Writing

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:11 am by looperae

This article was somewhat different than “A Study of Memoir”, because it was centered around ESL students.  The two fifth-grade dual language teachers went above and beyond to make sure their students were surrounded by literature and memories; they worked to, “create opportunities for their students to engage actively in oral and written language through meaningful and authentic participation that not only builds in prior experiences, but also provide access to challenging curriculum” (P. 137).

I totally agree when the authors talks about how students learn so much through encounters with others.  Children have to learn by doing, not just be seeing and hearing.  When students are able to make personal connections and collaborate with one another to share their experiences and memories, they enjoy learning. 

The author discussed some ideas that I really had never thought about.  She explained, “children need an audience who will care enough to ask thought-provoking questions, questions that can elicit just the right words to capture the storyteller’s intended meaning.  Classrooms need to be filled with the voices of the children’s and teacher’s stories”.  What a genius thought, and so true.  When students feel passionate enough about something that have put tremendous time and effort in, they want to share it with someone who can share their excitement and joy with them.  The first person that should be there to do that………….the teacher.

A Study of Memoir

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:53 am by looperae

I have never heard of a memoir….is that bad?

I enjoyed the opening dialogue of the article with students discussing what they felt a memoir really is.  Honestly, they had a lot better idea than I had!  To begin, these students had an awesome teacher, Amy Arnberg.  Amy incorporated awesome ideas to help get her students excited about completing a memoir project.

As Amy said, she “dove right in” the first day of school.  She was not in a rush to get started teaching based on the standard course of study, she spent weeks and weeks getting her students engaged and excited!  She began by reading pieces of literature and talking with the students.  After immersing her students into memoir literature, she sent them on their way….what an awesome idea.  Instead of boring them with more “memoir talk”, she let them go out and find memoir’s themselves.  Although the students came back with material that have not been memoir, she didn’t stop them.  Amy let them find out for themselves.  I loved how she didn’t tell them the answer, because often times, I think teachers do not allow the students to think and do for themselves.

Amy allowed weeks and weeks just for the students to develop a true definition of a memoir, must teachers would be finished with the project in a few weeks (I know I probably would have).  But the projects turned out so successful because the students were really able to “dig deep” and become voluntarily involved (they weren’t forced to like the activity). 

Lastly, the idea of allowing the students to choose a mentor author, how awesome is that?  These students were given a “guide”, someone to share their hard work with and also someone to help them when they were stuck.   As a fifth grader, I would have loved to have Amy as my teacher!

Amy noted, “I had begun the year enthusiastically, both as a teacher and a writer”.  If only all teachers were like that.

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