Do you find it hard getting back into your work routine after a long weekend? Although I love long weekends, especially Thanksgiving, I just can't seem to get my mind and body going the following Monday. Maybe I'm still feeling the effects of feasting...
Well if you're trying to wake up from your own Turkey Coma, check out these great education resources I came across on twitter. These links may just do the trick!
Transform Students into eBook Authors via @SadlierSchool
ePubBud is an online tool that allows you to publish personal stories and picture books on the web! This resource will get students excited about creating and sharing stories.
Classroom Management Playbook via @WeAreTeachers
Teachers want their students to thrive as learners! WeAreTeachers has put together a classroom management playbook- full of tips and suggestions to help your students have a successful year.
Affect vs. Effect via @Write_To_Learn
Do your students know the difference between affect and effect? Does it (a/e)ffect their writing?
Anticipation Guides: A Comprehension Strategy Used Before Reading via @ReadingRockets
Anticipation guides are used to activate students prior knowledge and build curiosity about a new topic. This article outlines how to use an anticipation guide in your classroom!
On this week of reflecting over what to give thanks for, I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had to attend both NCTE and ALAN (my first ALAN). The energy of teachers from pre-service to longtime veteran rejuvenates my soul and makes me feel like the work I do in the classroom is right and good and just-even though it is so very hard!
I have heard so many stories of teachers who have to struggle and yet they keep going-they may have to pay their entire way to NCTE including transportation, airfare and registration but they do it. Why? To benefit their students. Why do they then drop even more money on books to get autographed and shipping fees to send the books back to their classrooms? Because the looks on their students' faces when they hand them those books is worth it.
Why do we slave and slave and slave some more on our "easy jobs with summers off"? Why do we continue to toil on despite the backlash against our profession? Because we know what Linda Darling-Hammond told us is true: " Those who can, do. Those who can understand, teach. Those who cannot, do a less significant line of work.".
I am also grateful that I have gotten to meet and interview so many truly amazing authors for my blog. They have all been so generous and kind with their time and ideas. Every interview has been inspiring and unique-I have had a huge grin on my face for five days straight!
So I say thank you to all the lovely teachers, librarians, bloggers, editors, publicists, authors, and indie booksellers for celebrating the love and power of words and how they shape our human experience! I can't wait to share all my author vocab videos with you all.
Flashes of insight I've gained through the conferences:
- What we have in common with all disciplines is vocabulary and building background knowledge to get there. -Doug Fisher
- Make a video with the tag "Learn a word in 30 seconds-betcha can't" competition. Fun video competition -Nancy Frey
- The most important skill is learning to learn! This is the heart of our English teaching. We need to learn to evaluate ourselves-Linda Darling-Hammond
- "My grandmother handed me To Kill a Mockingbird and said 'Read this or I'll kill you.'"- Chris Crutcher
- We need to remember children are not coloring books. We don't choose colors or draw lines for them. -Siu-Runyan
What a weekend! I had an amazing time at NCTE and ALAN in Chicago, Illinois. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this past weekend was meeting so many incredible authors. Luckily, my smart phone enabled me to snap pictures and coerce some of the authors into giving me interviews! Until I get around to writing out my NCTE highlights, check out these articles and resources I've recently found on Twitter. Oh, and don't forget to stop by my Facebook page to see some of my pictures from NCTE!
Resources for Teaching and Learning About American Thanksgiving via @rmbyrne
Need a last minute lesson Thanksgiving lesson plan? This post list a number of resources that assist in delivering lessons on the history of this holiday. Check them out!
Fifth Graders Go Global with Holiday Card Exchange via @donnaroman
iEARN partners with one fifth grade classroom in a Holiday Card Exchange with students in Chi Yi City, Taiwan! Communicating through homemade holiday cards and Skype, these two classroom experienced the joys of interacting globally.
Reading Aloud To Promote Reading Love via @huffpost
Don't miss this article! Discover why reading aloud to children is much more that telling a story.
Writing Lessons? Please Stop via @washingtonpost
Is writing instruction killing our children's natural desire to express themselves?
Jon Scieszka is in a word-hilarious! He was funny, kind and gracious enough to grant an interview after a day full of school visits and his library event. I was even lucky enough to give him a ride back to his hotel-WOW! I know, it’s the little moments of bonding with an author that I love best.
Why am I sounding so giddy? Because I’m SO excited to be going to NCTE and ALAN this year to meet (and hopefully interview) all of my favorite authors!
I definitely encourage you to check out all of Jon Scieszca’s books-from my favorite, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, to his compilations of other authors in his Guys Read series. Plus, I now have to read his Spaceheadz series in which three aliens come to earth, disguise themselves as two kids and a hamster, and befriend a middle school boy. When the alien leader, guised as a hamster, explains his world domination plan to Michael, he, of course speaks hamster; therefore, the entire chapter is written in Major Fluffy’s single word of communication: eek.
To add to the hilarity, in each book, Major Fluffy becomes a different animal, so there is at least one chapter written in monosyllabic gibberish in every novel-quite a funny yet poignant take on how we communicate with our words and inflections. Scieszka has even created an App entitled “Fluffy Speaks!” that you can download for FREE and it will translate whatever you say into “hamster.” I need to try saying “Erudite Lexicon” into the translator and see what happens. You could have your students try to translate from hamster back into English…seems like they would find out quickly the reason why we need so much vocabulary!
The NCTE Annual Convention is this week! I'm looking forward to networking with educators, attending sessions, and spending time at Sadlier booth #800. Don't forget to come visit me. To fill the time between now and then, read through some of my favorite education tweets from last week.
Chapter 1 of Reading the Past, Writing The Future via @NCTE
This is the first chapter of Reading the Past, Writing the Future: A Century of American Literacy Education and the National Council of Teachers of English.
The Public Library, Completely Reimagined via @MindShift
Don't be too quick to assume public libraries are on the way out! Librarians are proving that libraries are more than just books.
Is Cursive... Cursed? via @HuffingtonPost
Is typing "in" and penning by hand "out?" This article discusses the decline in the quality of our nation's handwriting in todays youth.
Thanksgiving Literature Activities via @Write_To_Learn
Need ideas for Thanksgiving themed literature activities? Look no further!
In preparation for NCTE, I wanted you to have a real face to put to the name and know my basic background and daily vocabulary routine. Hopefully this video will give you insight into how I structure my vocabulary instruction, vocabulary lesson plans, and vocabulary games. I'm estatic to be attending NCTE 2011 in Chicago. I hope you will come visit me at Sadlier Booth #800!
To get more information about my NCTE plans, click here!
Is anyone else having a hard time believing that we are heading into our second week of November? For months I've been anticipating the NCTE Annual Convention and now I only have to wait 10 days! I'm hoping that somehow the fiddling of the clocks yesterday will make time slow down... Its hard to savor precious moments when life's a whirlwind. Well, take a stop-the-clock moment to read my favorite education links on twitter last week!
November Education Calendar via @TeacherVision
Incorporate holidays, celebrations and historical events into your classroom with this awesome calendar for educators.
Using Social Media to Inspire Concise Writing via @NYT
Inspired by online media, this lesson plan encourages students to write brief fiction and nonfiction stories.
Using Ficition Writing Activites to Develop Creative Thinking in the Classroom via @scilearn
Three ideas for promoting creativity and writing in the classroom!
Save 55% on Vocabulary Workshop Grades 2-5 via @SadlierSchool
For less than $4 you can start building language skills in your classroom with Vocabulary Workshop!
While I love reading novels with great vocabulary, it is rare that fiction inspires me to a new and unusual vocabulary lesson plan...
…but I just finished listening to the novel Wisdom’s Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, a favorite YA author of mine who also wrote the Dairy Queen series. Wisdom’s Kiss, like DJ in the Dairy Queen series, boasts a strong female protagonist, but this time her name is Fortitude.
When I first heard her name aloud, I got excited! Fortitude is one of my sophomore’s first vocabulary words and we spend time talking each year about who has fortitude and who doesn’t—and now a novelist named her protagonist for that virtue! In fact, in the novel everyone from a certain realm in the kingdom is named for a virtue, including the character Wisdom (thus the title-it’s the consequences of her kiss).
The names started me thinking about, of course, Pilgrim’s Progress, the classic tale about Christian (aka the everyman) and his meeting with various virtues and vices…which then lead me to thinking about the concept of allegory and then to the idea of having the students write an allegory with vocabulary words! Ohhh what fun it could be writing such a tale:
It was a raucous night and Adulterate and Vice met up with Inopportune and Raze and had a bit too much fun.
The next day, they were forced by their school headmistress, Miss Infallible, to hang out with Ameliorate and Benevolent. However, the miscreants brought along Beguile, Insidious and Duplicity, so Ameliorate and Benevolent took off. The troublemakers, always up for another adventure, headed to Park Nadir and caused total destruction.
Finally, their parents, including Mr. Vanguard, Ms. Integrity and Mr. Decorum, hired a drill instructor, Panacea, who led the boys off to a place where they could be cured of all that ailed them.
Moral of the story: Sometimes it takes tough love rather than kindness for people to see the error of their ways.
This exercise geared towards vocabulary instruction can be as long studied as a culmination activity for a unit (with a longer, more complex tale) or a short begin-the-period prompt to play with the words of the week (see my example above-sorry for the weak moral). From elementary to high school, I think all students enjoy personification and giving them an unusual writing prompt could lead to some rewarding results!
I created a rubric to go along with the vocabulary lesson plan- please feel free to modify it as you need. If you try out this activity, or have a similar one that you want to share, please post your ideas, feedback or student examples below! I look forward to your thoughts on this activity.