Though I had nothing to do with the assigning of the chapters, I felt very fortunate to be presenting on chapter 8 of the Alvermann text, Increasing Vocabulary and Conceptual Growth. Although the entire textbook is filled with strategies, this chapters’ ideas for teaching vocabulary were especially helpful because it gave me an opportunity to think about how teachers of other subject areas use and teach vocabulary and concepts, and how I can tailor my vocabulary instruction to support and build on skills that students are learning in other subject areas. The most beneficial part of leading the discussion was being able to take what i thought to be the most interesting of the strategies, vocabulary self-collection, and have my classmates to use it to work through a difficult reading. This experience answered the main question that I had about the strategy: does it work best when done in small groups or when done as a whole class? From the in-class experiment and my classmates’ opinions, I have decided that the activity, once a few examples have been completed with the class as a whole, would be most effective when done in small groups. This way, students will have opportunities to develop ideas and questions about words with just a few classmates before they present their ideas to the class for validation.
The Brown Book Shelf :) March 17, 2010
This website shines the light on authors and illustrators of color writing for kids. The bloggers are writers, illustrators, and educators. The site offer book reviews, tips for getting kids interested, and news about children’s and YA book and authors.
Here’s a link: http://thebrownbookshelf.com/
ReaderGirlz! February 17, 2010
http://www.Readergirlz.com is a great YA Lit resource website that focuses on empowering girls through reading. The site has four bloggers, all current YA Lit authors. They review books, interview YA Lit authors, and keep readers in the know about news in the YA Lit community, such as new books coming out and authors visiting cities and schools. They provide opportunities for readers to communicate with authors via chat discussions and email. The site is also a place that the bloggers use to encourage readers to participate in charity work like making monetary donations to Haiti and participating in community service projects that focus on reading and learning. This website is so exciting because it provides an outstanding opportunity for girls to embrace and become powerful in their identities as readers and learners. As a teacher, I find it informative and innovative and a great place to find ideas for involving my students in texts that they are reading. I believe that my students, especially the girls, will be excited about the access that the site provides to authors and appreciate the news updates about their favorite authors’ release dates and tour information.
Discussion Questions for “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963” February 10, 2010
I love this one. I read it for the first time when I was a wee tot (11yrs or so). I hate that I’m missing the discussion, but here are my questions. These are all things that I found myself wondering about as I read through this novel for class. Rip ’em to shreds 🙂
1) What were some assumptions that you had as your began this story? What did you assume about the main protagonist? Considering that the most famous victims of the bombings that occurred during the civil rights struggle were four young girls, were you surprised that the book would focus on two young boys’ transformations?
2) If we are fortunate enough to have brothers and/or sisters, we are unfortunate in that we will sometimes have squabbles and issues of some nature with them. In spite of her brother’s tricks, Joey looked up to and cared deeply for her brothers, especially Byron. How was this important to Kenny and Byron’s redemption in the story?
3) How do you feel about Wilona’s disciplining method in the instance of Byron’s playing with matches? How does it affect your view of her character and your reading of the story? What or who do you think her character is supposed to represent? Do you think that this representation is accurate?
4) The bombings that occurred in many places in the American South were one of the most frightening markers of the struggle for civil rights in America. Did you expect for the bombing to have a more prominent role and/or be featured earlier in the story? As you read through the anxiety that Kenny suffers as he tries to figure out where Joey is after the bombing, how did your understanding of the bombings and the loss of the real “4 Little Girls (this is the title of a documentary about the 16th Street Baptist bombing done by Spike Lee)” change?
5) Why do you think that Kenny assumed his brother’s role as Resident Trouble Maker after Byron began to straighten up his act? Do you think that he wanted to punish his brother and show him what he had taken the family through? Do you think it was a case of middle-child-syndrome and his way of trying to be seen as more important? How does the text answer this question for us?
6) Regardless of the reasoning behind Kenny’s misbehavior, it was important that Kenny perform some misdeeds of his own so that we could see Byron’s love for his brother (i.e. saving him from the Wool Pooh at Collier’s Landing). Does Byron’s transformation shock you? Do you find it believable? Why or why not?