Posts Tagged 'early literacy blog'

Ideas for Before/During/After Reading!

I Love to Read“I Love to Read” Image by Carlos Porto

I recently came across a fabulous article by Jim Burke on Reading Rockets titled, “103 Things to Do Before/During/After Reading“. Given that I am about to lead several workshops on reading and digital literacy for parents at the Magrudy’s Education Resource Center, Jim’s article will surely be on my recommended reading list for moms and dads.

Upon clicking the above link, you will notice Jim’s article was originally written in 1998. While that might seem like ions ago to some, rest assured, the recommendations are still 100% relevant. That said, I thought it would be useful to create a supplement to Jim’s article that includes a few ideas on how recent software and web applications can be used to get kids excited and thinking about what they read Before/During/After a book!

Take a look at the ideas below and feel free to add your own in the comments section of this post!

Postcard: Write to a friend, the author, or to a character about this book.”

  • Select one student to be a character in the book you are reading and to write a blog post from that character’s point of view. Other students can then submit questions and ideas to the character via the comments section of the post. To learn how to set up a blog for this project, click here.

Mapmaker: Draw a map of the book’s setting.”

  • Have students create a Google Lit Trip–using Google Earth to document and map the settings within the book at hand. To learn how to use this tool, click here.

Trailer: Movie previews always offer a quick sequence of the best moments that make us want to watch it – storyboard or narrate the scenes for your trailer. Focus on verbs.”

  • Create a movie trailer in the form of a digital story using tools like VoiceThread or iMovie. For tips on how to get started, click here.

Collage: Create an individual or class collage around themes or characters in the book.”

  • Use Wordle to create a digital word collage around key themes, characters or vocabulary in the book.

Draw! Translate chapters into storyboards and cartoons; draw the most important scene in the chapter and explain its importance and action.”

Dear Diary: Keep a diary as if you were a character in the story. Write down events that happen during the story and reflect on how they affected the character and why.”

  • Have students create delightfully illustrated diary entries using the online collaborative storytelling tool Storybird.

Haiku/Limerick: Create one about a character.”

  • Use Twitter to share poems with parents and classmates.

Notes and Quotes: Draw a line down the middle of the page. On one side write down important quotes, on the other comment on and analyze the quotes.”

  • Create a collaborative “wiki-style” notes and quotes page using Google’s collaborative document tools. Feel free to host online book discussions using the live chat functions within the collaborative document applications.

Of course there is nothing wrong with a good ol’ fashion book review assignment, but why not share the reviews with other kids around the world? Check out the Spaghetti Book Club: Book Reviews By Kids For Kids.

Happy Reading!

Anna

Twitter: @bon_education

Website: Bon Education

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On October 8, 2009 Celebrate Literacy and Early Education with Millions Around the World

I recently received an email from Jumpstart about the wonderful literacy event above. See what Kisha has to say below and make sure to open a book with your children and the children of others on October 8th (as well as the rest of the year as well)!

To Reading!

Anna

Hey there,

Just from reading your site, I can tell you know the importance of developing
solid reading skills and improving reading comprehension in classrooms and
schools.

Please join Jumpstart’s Read For The Record on October 8th, 2009 and
celebrate the joy of reading with children. I’d truly appreciate you sharing
this message with your readers, by posting this PSA from Weeds’ star
Mary-Louise Parker on your website.

Read for the Record
www.readfortherecord.org

Link to Mary-Louise Parker Jumpstart PSA:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8agDSSiiDAA

Thanks in advance,
Kisha


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Essential Web Tools for Teachers and Students

After two weeks of merrymaking while on holiday in Greece and Turkey, I am back online and supercharged for the 2009-2010 school year. While the holiday gave me a chance to satisfy my desire to read literature (The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera) and hear chick lit (Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips via iPod) while on long bus rides and overnight trains across the border, I came back with a strong thirst to resume my ritual morning combing of the web for interesting finds in the fields of education, technology, literacy and business.

While I was offline, Mashable posted two fantastic lists of back to school apps for students and teachers. Make sure to take a look at the full lists on Mashable and my highlights below!

Back to School: 15 Essential Web Tools for Students. My favorites on the list include:

  • Evernote–A note-taking and organization tool for the 21st century student (and teacher). This is a great tool for helping students stay organized, remember homework and compile research.
  • Google Docs–Why use pricey Microsoft Office when you can use Google’s free collaborative spreadsheets, better-than-wiki docs and wonderful form/survey tools? If you like to assign group projects, this is a tool your students will most certainly find useful to stay organized and in touch during and after school hours.
  • CiteMe–An automatic tool for creating APA, MLA, etc. citations… Need I say more?!

Back to School: 10 Terrific Web Apps for Teachers. My favorites on the list include:

  • Curriki–Your one-stop-shop for free and open curricula and K-12 online resources and lesson sharing tools. Make sure to check out the new subject focused pages for ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies! The new browse page is very useful too!
  • Shmoop–Resources and study guides for ELA, history and more! Learn how teachers are using Shmoop here and read my past blog about Shmoop here!

May your school year be filled with many awesome educational apps and organization tools!

Anna

P.S. Thanks to Jenny Krueger for sending me the above two Mashable links while I was away on holiday! These are two posts not to be missed!

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Open Education Resources of Note

The advent of the Web brings the ability to disseminate high-quality materials at almost no cost, leveling the playing field…We’re changing the culture of how we think about knowledge and how it should be shared and who are the owners of knowledge. Cathy Casserly, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

This week we put together a list of our favorite Open Education Resources on the Bon Education website.

For those of you that are new to OERs…

Wikipedia defines OERs as “educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone to use and under some licenses to re-mix, improve and redistribute.”

Our OER page contains:

  • A definition and explanation of OERs
  • Links and descriptions of great OERs (by grade level)
  • Stories about how people around the world are using OERs
  • Information on OERs and copyrights
  • Quotes from major education movers and shakers on the impact of OERs and technology in general on education

Take a look! We hope you will enjoy the resources and information presented! Let us know if there are any resources that you think should be added to the list.

Anna

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Beyond Just Language Arts: Science and Math Tools for ALL Educators

Recursive Daisy (by gadl)

Recursive Daisy (by gadl)

While my posts tend to be about literacy and reading technologies, I feel like it is time to mix it up a bit. After all, most literacy teachers I work with often teach reading within science and math themed units of inquiry and many math and science teachers I meet find themselves teaching basic literacy and language skills as well.

So, today’s post is devoted to useful math and science resources for educators of all types! Take a look at the links below and prepare to be dazzled!

  • GLOBE Teacher Resources: “GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) is a worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education program. GLOBE’s … supports students, teachers and scientists to collaborate on inquiry-based investigations of the environment and the Earth system working in close partnership with NASA and NSF Earth System Science Projects.” For a sneak peak at what GLOBE has to offer, click here for a bird migration monitoring activity and here for an activity using GPS!
  • Skoool: Select your country and have at it with the wealth of science and math simulations on Skoool. I am rather fond of the Skoool Sri Lanka Math, Chemistry, Physics and Biology English-language resources. I work with a number of Arabic speaking teachers that are huge fans of the Skoool Yemen Arabic-language science resources. For a taste of Skoool, check out this angle measuring simulation.
  • MSP2 Math and Science Pathways: I recently spoke with the folks at MSP2 and was blown away by the wealth of resources here. Make sure to take a look at the Math Resource Guides and the Science Resource Guides. While on the call I learned about Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears–an online magazine integrating science, literacy, and the polar regions. Woohoo! Anything about the cold sounds wonderful to me (she says from 110 degree plus Dubai)!

If you know of other great resources that integrate math, science and literacy, please share them in the comments section of this post!

Enjoy exploring!

Anna

P.S. Looking for the perfect math and science books for your literacy, math or science classroom? Check out these thematic booklists from TeachingBooks.net. (Hint: Make sure to use the grade and curricula area search toggles at the bottom of the page to refine your selection!)

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Widgets for the Literacy Enthusiasts

Reading Rockets had a number of very interesting reading widgets for parents and literacy enthusiasts! Check them out here.

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Audiobooks on the Go…

My Travel Gear by Jon Rawlinson

Over the last month and a half I’ve been to Dubai, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Amsterdam, San Juan PR, San Germán PR, Charlotte NC, NY NY, Washington DC and Fairfax County VA logging dozens of hours in planes, cars and buses, not to mention several back issues of Wired Magazine, Julie and Julia, bits of Over Promise and Over Deliver, Match Me If You Can (audio) and the beginning of The Pillars of the Earth (audio). If it weren’t for my trusted iPod and large purse (which fits my laptop plus a book), my travels to and from schools to universities to family would have been very LOOOONG!

Luckily Audible and iTunes have a wonderful selection of audiobooks that can be downloaded from just about any country or airport savvy enough to grace its customers with free wifi (I know, if I had an iPhone I wouldn’t always be on a desperate hunt for hotspots! One gadget at a time!). Regardless, if you dine on audiobooks at the rate I do, you are likely to put on a few pound in the credit department!

Fortunately, Lit2Go might be just be the audiobook lovers version of Weight Watchers–Dine on what you want, but in portions that you won’t regret later. Who could pass up a delightfully free and high quality The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn audio/text? Or, a gratis afternoon of Jane Eyre?!

The site states:

Lit2Go is a free online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format. You can:

  • Download the files to your Mp3 player and listen on the go,
  • Listen to the Mp3 files on your computer,
  • View the text on a webpage and read along as you listen,
  • Print out the stories and poems to make your own book.

Happy audiobook searching by author, title, keyword or reading level!

Anna

PS Thanks to Jim Moulton for point out this resources and many others in his Edutopia article, “How to Become More Tech Savvy This Summer“. The photo above was taken by Jon Rawlinson.

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Rap, Hip Hop, Vocabulary, History and More… Word up!

Ever since I met the two founders of Flocabulary (Blake and Alex) in 2007, I’ve been a huge fan of the guys, their company and their mission.

Flocabulary helps teachers use hip hop and rap music to teach their students ELA, social studies. math and science. The Flocabulary site states:

The idea for Flocabulary first came to founder/lyricist Blake Harrison in high school. A good student who still struggled to memorize facts for tests, he wondered why it was so easy to remember lines to his favorite rap songs but so difficult to memorize academic information. Blake realized that if a rapper released an album that defined SAT vocab words, students would have a fun and effective way to study for the SAT…

Curious? Take a look at the video above and make sure to visit Flocabulary’s website after!

Word Up!

Anna

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Childhood Dreams

I just finished listening to “the Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. After seeing the book in airports and bookstores across the Middle East, Europe and the States, I figured that I might as well see what all the press was about, not to mention all of the hype on You Tube.

So, prior to my journey last week to give technology trainings to teachers in a small village in the mountains of the UAE, I downloaded the audio book to pass the car ride along—desert, followed by rocks, followed by jagged mountains amidst 120 degree heat and haze.

In a nutshell, the book left me thinking for hours, reminding myself of life’s pleasures and priorities and the gift and responsibility teachers have of inspiring, challenging and enabling young (and old) minds to achieve their dreams, imagine, think big and do.

For those of you that need a bit of background information, The Last Lecture website summarizes:

On September 18, 2007, computer science professor Randy Pausch stepped in front of an audience of 400 people at Carnegie Mellon University to deliver a last lecture called “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” With slides of his CT scans beaming out to the audience, Randy told his audience about the cancer that is devouring his pancreas and that will claim his life in a matter of months. On the stage that day, Randy was youthful, energetic, handsome, often cheerfully, darkly funny. He seemed invincible. But this was a brief moment, as he himself acknowledged.

Randy’s lecture has become a phenomenon, as has the book he wrote based on the same principles, celebrating the dreams we all strive to make realities. Sadly, Randy lost his battle to pancreatic cancer on July 25th, 2008, but his legacy will continue to inspire us all, for generations to come.

Pausch for the most part tells us the lessons he wished he could teach his kids if he were around to watch them grow into adults. His messages are simple, easy to relate to and grounded in a ton of Disney World metaphors and examples (one of Pausch’s dreams was to become an imagineer—a dream he accomplished), making the book very digestible across a wide variety of audiences. Perhaps it is his simple lessons and prose that make the messages so sticky (see Will your lessons stand the test of time?).

In the addendum of the audio book, there is a live interview with the real Randy Pausch (the audio book of course was read by someone else) in which Pausch is asked, “What inspired the topic of your lecture?” Pausch responds, “A list that I made at the age of eight, ‘My Lifelong Dreams’”.

As you think about topics to teach this summer or next fall, consider having your students write or create a multimedia response to the theme, “My Dreams”. While you’re at it, take a moment to recollect yours.

Happy Dreamin’!

From Dubai,
Anna

P.S. My favorite quote from the book, “Brick walls are there for a reason. And once you get over them – even if someone practically had to throw you over – it can be helpful to others to tell them how you did it”.

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How to make a Classroom Blog on WordPress

Tomorrow I will deliver a professional development session on technology tools for the classroom to Fujairah teachers. One of the topics we will cover is classroom blogging.

Classroom blogs are an excellent tool for motivating students to read, write and share their ideas. To learn more about classroom blogging and to view sample classroom blogs, make sure to review my previous post, “Helpful Resources for Finding and Creating Classroom Blogs“.

To learn how to set up your own classroom blog on WordPress, watch this slideshow:

Happy Classroom Blogging!

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Will your lessons stand the test of time? … How to make your teaching stick!

Made to Stick

What is a pomelo?

(Please pause and think.)

Chip and Dan: Explanation 1: A pomelo is the largest citrus fruit. The rind is very think but soft and easy to peel away. The resulting fruit has a light yellow to coral pink flesh and can vary from juicy to slightly dry and from seductively spicy-sweet to tangy and tart.

Question: If you mixed pomelo juice half and half with orange juice, would it taste good?

Anna: Not sure? How about now?

Chip and Dan: Explanation 2. A pomelo is basically a supersized grapefruit with a very thick and soft rind.

Anna: Now, let’s revisit: If you mixed pomelo juice half and half with orange juice, would it taste good?

This summer while perusing the shelves of Borders, Barnes and Noble and Kinokuniya, make sure to keep an eye out for Made to Stick: Why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck.

Chip and Dan will show you how to teach complex concepts in easy to grasp terms. In a nutshell, you will learn WHAT STICKS!

Anna

P.S. Preview: Sticky ideas are a S.U.C.C.E.S.—Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories.

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Shmoop will make you a better lover…

Love

of literature, history, poetry and life (or so the website claims)…

Shmoop is what I like to call CliffsNotes with panache!

Take a stroll through the literature section of the site and you’ll find countless study guides and resources to help you and your students discover and explore classics like Beowulf, the Pearl and Brave New World.

Click on Shmoops guide to The Great Gatsby and you will find an intro, summary, themes, quotes, plot analysis, study questions, characters, literary devices, trivia and more…

What I love about Shmoop, is its emphasis on the “Why should I care?” of literature. For example, why should a student of the 21st century take time out of his/her busy schedule of family, friends, Facebook, text messaging, sports, music, etc. to give Fitzgerald’s work the time of day? Shmoop writes:

The Great Gatsby is a delightful concoction of MTV Cribs, VH1’s The Fabulous Life Of…, and HBO’s Sopranos. Shake over ice, add a twist of jazz, a spritz of adultery, and the little pink umbrella that completes this long island iced tea and you’ve got yourself a 5 o’clock beverage that, given the 1920’s setting, you wouldn’t be allowed to drink.

The one thing all these shows and Gatsby have in common is the notion of the American Dream. The Dream has seen its ups and downs. But from immigration (certainly not a modern concern, right?) to the Depression (stock market crashing? We wouldn’t know anything about that), the American Dream has always meant the same thing: it’s all about the Benjamins, baby.

Yet Gatsby reminds us that the dollars aren’t always enough…

I’m skippin’ MTV today. Pass the F. Scott Fitzgerald please!

Anna

P.S. Don’t have a copy of The Great Gatsby on hand? Here is a free e-book. Thanks Shmoop!

P.P.S. Thanks zenera for creating the picture above!

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Summer Literacy and Technology Roundup

It’s about 100 degrees in Dubai, which means that summer is right around the corner! As you plan for June, July and August, take a look at these literacy and technology tips and resources from around the web!

For the young ones—As always Reading Rockets has a fabulous list of summer learning ideas and activities. For example:

For tweens—The best way to encourage young teens to read is to provide them with books that peak their interest. Take a look at AdLit’s themed booklist for books that hit the spot!

For young adults—Since Facebook and YouTube are most certainly going to factor into your teen’s summer plans, why not encourage him/her to write and direct a short film to post on his/her social networks? Short Film Central is a nice resource for budding directors and/or young adults that are interested in global film developments.

For adults—Summer is a great time to brush up on your technology skills and to build your digital education portfolio. Take a look at Curriki’s latest blog post for links to free professional development opportunities and resources.

From sunny Dubai,

Anna

Twitter: @Bon_Education

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Using Twitter in and out of the Classroom

At the moment, I am working with Curriki on a number of open education initiatives in the Middle East and abroad. Today a post went live on the Curriki blog that I think many Literacy is Priceless readers will find of interest–a post regarding the use of Twitter in and out of the classroom. To see the original post, click here. I’ve also pasted a copy of the post below.

I would love to hear your thoughts about using Twitter for within the classroom. Feel free to share your comments here or on the Curriki blog!

Anna  (@Bon_Education)

P.S. Thanks to @moriza for inspiring my recent interest in using Twitter in the classroom!

Using Twitter in and out of the Classroom

Recently there has been a surge of interest around the use of Twitter and other social media tools in the classroom. As this article points out, educators are increasingly experimenting with Twitter as a teaching tool in and out of the classroom to share resources, increase communication and prepare their students with skills for the 21st century workplace.

For Curriki members that have heard of Twitter, but don’t quite know what it is… Wikipedia states:

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers).

As you explore ways to effectively use Twitter for educational purposes, take a look at this presentation by Tom Barrett titled, “Twenty-Two Interesting Ways to use Twitter in the Classroom”. For example:

  • Idea #1: Student can use Twitter to gather real world data up-to-date data by posting questions to fellow tweeters about location, historical facts, temperature, etc.
  • Idea #3: Students can use Twitter to summarize their opinions or topics they’ve learned in class.
  • Idea #10: “Word Morph”. Students can use Twitter to ask peers for synonyms and other word-related information.
  • Idea #17: Students can use Twitter to communicate with experts.

As you explore the use of Twitter in your classroom, we welcome you to post your lessons and ideas on Curriki. In addition, feel free to follow our tweets here. Curriki uses Twitter to share information about education technology, to highlight resources contributed by the Curriki community and to connect and solicit feedback and ideas. See you on Twitter!

@Curriki

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WebQuests: Take your students to far off lands with the click of a few buttons

WebQuests are a wonderful way to build your students’ critical background knowledge, reading and technology literacy skills. As stated by Wikipedia, “A WebQuest is a learning activity used by educators. During this activity learners read, analyze, and synthesize information using the World Wide Web”.

To learn more about finding, creating and sharing WebQuests, I highly recommend that you visit WebQuest.org. If you are interested in the research that supports using WebQuests in the classroom, click here.

Using the “Find a WebQuest” feature on WebQuest.org, I found these WebQuests about my favorite topics:

If you find other WebQuests of note, please feel free to share them here!

Happy Questing!

Anna

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