Friday, February 12, 2010

A Couple o' Valentine Gifts for the World's Most Patient Teachers!!!!

Happy Valentine's Day, My Friends! 

Because of words, women can be romantic with Mr. Darcy, Heathcliff, Edward, or Jacob. And, Guys, you can be in love with ... uh, ManStuff?!?

In the spirit of V-Day, I have a couple of little gifts for you - wish they could insure job security - but, sadly, that is not the case. Sigh. Anyway, here are some ideas you might want to use in your classrooms. Gosh, students might even find them engaging!!! (One can hope!)


I admit I only saw the 4th quarter of the SuperBowl and only a few of the advertisements, but I stumbled onto this one by Google early this morning when I was searching for something else. The minute I saw it, I thought of one of my favorite short stories that REQUIRES the reader to make inferences like no other! "Ordeal by Cheque" by Wuther Crue was first published in Vanity Fair in 1938. If you haven't "read" it, do that right now by following the above link.

The plot does not unfold through sentences or paragraphs but rather through bank checks. Readers have to examine each of the 46 checks written on The Hollywood State Bank between 1902 and 1931 to determine the conflict, characters, climax, and resolution. VERY FUN.

Google's 30 second SuperBowl advertisement uses a similar premise to create a 21st Century love story. Viewers are required to "read between the searches" to fill in story details - the music and sound bites also help the inferencing process! Take a peek and see what you think:

With both of these "text" types, teachers can add a writing element that might require students to summarize the story (a good comprehension strategy, too), create a dialogue among the characters, extend the story, etc. Anyway, I hope you can see the possibilities!

Kelly Gallagher's "Article of the Week" ~

If you have read Kelly's book Readicide: How Schools are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It, you know that he is very concerned about the lack of background/prior knowledge students bring to their reading, writing, inquiry, etc. "They can decode the words, but the words remain meaningless without a foundation of knowledge" (Gallagher, 2010.) 

To remedy that situation, Kelly assigns an "Article of the Week."

By the end of the school year I want them to have read 35 to 40 articles about what is going on in the world. It is not enough to simply teach my students to recognize theme in a given novel; if my students are to become literate, they must broaden their reading experiences into real-world text (2010).
The topics range from President Obama's educational philosophy to "thoughts regarding the disastrous earthquake in Haiti." Kelly's assignment directions require that students do the following:
  1.  Mark your confusion.
  2. Show evidence of a close reading on the page.
  3. Write a one-page reflection in your Writers Notebook.
I wish I could do A LOT more to lighten your day, but please know how much I appreciate and respect all that you do.

Have a great 3-day weekend, Friends.


    Cat said...

    Job security?
    What's that?
    We bring in articles to share with the kids sometimes. I find The Week magazine to be good for the students, most articles are under a page, but you can get a good class discussion started with some of them.

    link2literacy said...

    Hi Cat,

    Thanks for commenting. I always appreciate your thoughts. Our district just announced 500 employees will be laid off and 250 will be teachers. The other 250 will be people like me as well as secretaries, custodial staff, counselors, hall monitors, etc. It has been a sad week in Jordan School District - to put it lightly.

    Hope things are better in your corner of the world! Best wishes, Renae

    Cat said...

    So sorry, your safe though, right?
    I never had a contract, but they have found ways to keep me around. Sadly now the cuts are so deep I'm barely (not even) making it. We laid off up to 6 years in.