A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Journaling: Joe's first hit

While Writing Workshop started out great with my group of Kindergarten students, journaling was not particularly fun this past Friday.  My main problem when journaling has been my expectations about how I should be helping students who are just developing initial concepts of print.  Why did I lose momentum in Writing Workshop and become frustrated?   Honestly, I didn't stick with Lucy Caulkins' plan for using both pictures and words, like famous authors.  That was a mistake.  I can get back on track by introducing the lesson, writers write with both pictures and words.

Tomorrow, after explicitly making the connection that real authors write with both pictures and words "and you can too," instead of using the example of Courderoy, by Don Freeman, I'll display a page from Noisy Nora, by Rosemary Wells, as I've already been using it as an anchor text to teach rhyme. In the lesson, the teacher shows how some authors put the picture up top and put the words down below.  The Teacher asks, point to the picture, then point to the word.

Next, the teacher shows how Don Crews uses a different approach when writing:  he labels his pictures.  I discovered a link to the Harper Collins website that will allow me to display part of his award winning book on Freight trains on the SmartBoard. http://www.harpercollins.com/browseinside/index.aspx?isbn13=9780688170875

Since we'll be journaling again tomorrow, I'm going to use an example of my own writing (seen above) as another example.  I'll put it up on the SmartBoard.  Tomorrow, I'll introduce the After Workshop Share.

Hopefully, I can get the Writing Workshop back on track.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Generating interest for reluctant readers

by Nancy E. Krulik
illustrated by Richard Walz
Random House
ISBN: 037580000X
Ages 4-6
32 pages

Jar Jar Binks is sooooo clumsy. Sebulba is very angry with Jar Jar, and that's never a good thing! Can Jar Jar learn to take his time and be more careful, or will Sebulba have him done with?
”  (quoted from the website)

My son Joe has about 10 Clone War Series books written by Jude Watson (a pseudonym).  I have found these books to be both well written and entertaining.  A reluctant reader, my son devoured the Clone War Series.  I never knew the Step into Reading series existed.

Joe’s in 7th grade taking Honors English and is now reading the Last of the Jedi series, also written by Jude Watson.  These are longer books with slightly more mature themes.  Joe’s capable of reading more difficult books, but he knows all the characters and their histories, conducts research on the Internet, reads cross-section and other Encyclopedic style books, plays with lego sets, etc.  Joe knows the geography of the main planets.  He’s watched every movie several times. Tonight, he was using his training sword as a light saber.

Over the summer, I encouraged Joe to read Tuckett’s Travels, a Western based on the period of 1845-1849.  This action-packed, highly suspenseful collection of five stories by Gary Paulsen was one of my most enjoyable recent reads.  I finished it in 2 sittings, because I was so curious to see how the main characters would develop.  Joe enjoyed the stories, but he wasn’t hooked like he has been with the Star Wars books.  He needed my support to keep going.  I would love to see Matt Damon play Jason Grimes in a movie, because he is such an interesting character – maybe Joe might enjoy the movie and want to read other books by Gary Paulsen if Tuckett’s Travels were to come to the big screen.  It’s tough to compete with the Cartoon Network and a full library of Star Wars DVD’s.