Monthly Archives: June 2008

Read to Kids Old Enough to Shave

I always knew that reading aloud to my middle schoolers was just good practice. More than anything about class, they miss story time, but it’s always nice to get confirmation from the outside that what you’re doing is good.

This article by the School Library Journal talks about why older kids should be read to, as well as how to read and some resources at the bottom.

Reading to Kids Old Enough to Shave

Dads and moms like to be read to too. My read alouds were always a hit during back to school day, but it wasn’t anything special I did for the parents, that was just part of our routine, still, when the parents wrote after the read alouds and shared with their children, there were a lot of good tears.

Some local favorites of my kids and parents:Imiloa

“Tongue” by Juliet Kono talks about a different kind of love between mother and child

“The Glove” by Eric Chock is about losing a relationship between a son and his father

“Boss of the Food” and “When I Was Young on an Island” by Lois Ann Yamanaka and Diane Kahanu

“My Name” and any of the other vignettes from House on Mango Street

Language Arts is not the only group that could do read alouds.

Merle Samura has children’s books on math that she uses, like Math Curse, which is hilarious, Grapes of Math and Sir Cumference and the Knights of the Round Table.

Need help finding read alouds for your area? I’d be glad to help. Merle Samura comments on this post about what her students get out of the math stories she reads aloud.

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Graphic Novel Fans: Pendragon, by DJ MacHale

PendragonSummer is a time for short books and graphic novels are the perfect thing to take to the beach. I haven’t read any of the Pendragon books, although they are in the library of my old classroom (1102) so feel free to ask Mr. Petner to borrow them if you like the story.

I liked this story of a reluctant hero who journeys through portals (flumes) into other territories and other times. When Bobby is pressed into service by his uncle, he demands to be returned to his own world, one that is not inhabited by snarling quigs and demented leaders who want nothing more than chaos and war to reign so that they might gain control over people and wealth. However, Bobby will be one of the travelers, one of a handful of people in whom the fate of the entire world rests.

I appreciate that Bobby is a reluctant and all-too-human character. I liked the story-within-a-story format as well and think this GN version will make the switches between Bobby’s two worlds easier for the less able reader. The black and white illustrations work well with this story and help to accentuate the overall mood and tone. Some of the original material by author MacHale has been changed in this format. That is aptly explained in an opening letter from the author.

Wikispaces as an online learning tool

What is it: Wikispaces are read/write spaces that are similar to blogs, except that all members of the wikispace are able to read/write and edit each others’ words.

Link: Wikispace on wikispaces – includes how to sign up, get started, as well as examples from other educators.

How it enhances learning in the classroom:

  • It gives students a place to collaborate with their classmates and you, even though they are not in the same class period. That makes them accountable to more than just themselves.
  • Students publish for a real audience so they are more conscientious about how they present their work.
  • It makes their learning transparent to the teacher as a formative assessment tool.
  • Parents can see what’s going on in the classroom (or what is not going on in the classroom).

The good: I’ve been most successful at using wikispaces as a space to put our finished products. It is user-friendly and allows students to put their work up, embed videos, links, etc., and MOST importantly, it allows our parents/ohana to have easy access to what we’re doing. For those that want to jazz it up, they can change the font (limited), change the font color, change the alignment, and add bling items like pics, voicethreads, imovies, etc.

The bad: if more than one student is working on the same page at the same time, wikispace can only save one of them.

The ugly: if you are not an educator and ask for a free educator account, you’re going to have advertising on the right side of your screen. Part of the need for everyone to make money.

You Tube of how wikis can help you collaborate. I wish I could embed, but this blog site doesn’t let us embed the video. Something to work on don’t you think?