Posts Tagged 'literacy'

Inspiring Guys to Read!

When I was working as a product manager for FreeReading, one of the questions I consistently heard from educators and researchers at literacy conferences and in the classroom is, “Where can I find books that appeal to teenage boys, especially books for striving teenage male readers?” Having just discovered Guys Read a couple of days ago, I wish I could go back and revisit those old conversations and point the people I spoke with to the Guys Read Virtual Vault of Good Books.

As the Guys Read website points out:

Research shows that boys are having trouble reading, and that boys are getting worse at reading. No one is quite sure why. Some of the reasons are biological.  Some of the reasons are sociological. But the good news is that research also shows that boys will read — if they are given reading that interests them… This is the place to come if you’re looking for something to get a guy reading. We’ve collected recommendations from teachers, librarians, booksellers, publishers, parents, and guys themselves.  These are the books that guys have said they like.

Finally! The site we’ve all been asking for!

When you visit Guys Read, make sure to check out:

If I had to give one recommendation to Guys Read, I would request longer book reviews and a section of the site devoted to notes from guys in the field including book reviews and summaries written by male readers so that guys (and gals) would have a better sense of what each recommended read is about.

Regardless, this is a fabulous resource that is a must-bookmark for guys and literacy enthusiasts alike! Thanks to author and Brooklyn resident Jon Scieszka for starting Guys Read. This site is most certainly filling a huge need!

From a former Brooklynite who now lives in Dubai,

Anna

@bon_education

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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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In American a Kid Drops Out of High School Every 9 Seconds…

Imagine if they didn’t.

And so goes the opening statement of the above documentary. I have to wonder what the dropout statistics are for India, Sri Lanka, the UAE…

Visit the homepage of the above documentary and you’ll learn:

This is the compelling question behind award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio’s newest project Ten9Eight, a thought provoking film which tells the inspirational stories of several inner city teens (of differing race, religion and ethnicity) from Harlem to Compton and all points in between, as they compete in an annual business plan competition run by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).

I hope this film makes it out of the States and to other countries that face the challenge of high dropouts, keeping schools relevant and keeping the classroom inspiring! As President Obama recently stated:

I am calling on our nation’s governors and state education chiefs to develop standards and assessments that don’t simply measure whether students can fill in a bubble on a test, but whether they possess 21st century skills like problem-solving & critical thinking, entrepreneurship and creativity.

To see where Ten9Eight is showing this fall, click here.

Just imagine…

Anna

@bon_education

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UAE Educators Speak Out!

Bon Education

Recently I asked Bon Digital Learning Academy graduates and educators across the UAE what their favorite education technology tools and websites are. See what they had to say below:

1) Maram, Grade 9 English teacher, Nad Al Hamr School, Dubai, UAE

  • Reading A-Z: “I like it because it supplies me with a lot of different kinds of leveled books, short stories, vocabulary, grammar, phonics and lesson plans. I let my students read stories related to the themes I teach and I use the worksheets and quizzes supplied on the website.”

2) Kim, Teacher Development Specialist, Shamsa Bint Majid Preparatory and Secondary School, Umm Al Quwain, UAE

  • LearnEnglishKids (British Council): “I can easily find stories from this site for middle school students.  The stories are of different levels and cater to differentiation, which is really important since all our classes are of mixed abilities. These stories are animated and teachers can pause at any point to allow students to interact through questioning.  Moreover, students can read and hear the words being read at the same time. I normally use stories from here as a launching pad to teach new vocabulary items,grammar, LSRW skills and also visual literacy… The story on Eid Al Fitr … has a task where student can write about their favourite day and post their writing online.”

3) Rob, Instructional Leadership Coordinator, Al Deya Middle School, Umm Al Quwain, UAE.

  • “My popular choice is, of course TEDtalks–a primo site with amazing material for teachers to listen to and learn from.  Much of it is far too difficult for our students (but perhaps the translations might help too.) I also like utilizing YouTube for material to take into class.  but we have to be careful, especially here with selection of ‘appropriate’ materials…As Chair of TESOL.org’s Social Responsibility Interest Section, I frequently post websites for my colleagues on our elist.  Two recently posted sites include Amazing Women Rock and ePals Team Earth.

4) Asma, Special Education Consultant, Dubai, UAE

  • The International Reading Association and Read Write Think: “Both sites are loaded with information on how to promote, support and encourage literacy and reading across age groups.  They provide evidence-based practical tools for parents & teachers, lesson plans, and many more resources that are sure to be very helpful at home and in the classroom!”

5) Kevin, Grade 4 Primary Years Teacher/Education Consultant, GEMS World Academy/KDSL

  • MyMaths.co.uk: “Mymaths provides educators and students with online mathematics games, tasks, and homework. I have used the variety of online lessons and games during math workshop to engage my learners and as a source of differentiation where students selected mymaths.co.uk for their learning contracts.”

6) Robin, Ph.D., Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, Zayed University

  • TeacherTube: “This site has a variety of features, from lesson plans to videos of classrooms at work.  I find the videos particularly helpful in letting student teachers see particular strategies in practice before they try them in their practicum classroom. The sight also includes a variety of podcasts.  Teachers can also contribute their own materials to share with educators around the globe.”

What are your favorite education websites? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section of this post! And, thanks to the educators above for sharing their favorite education websites with the Literacy is Priceless/Bon Education community!

Sincerely,

Anna

Founder, Bon Education (home of the Bon Digital Learning Academy)

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Make the world a better place!

What idea do you believe will help the most people?

I recently learned about Google’s 10 to the 100th initiative:

Last fall we launched Project 10^100, a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible. Your response was overwhelming. Thousands of people from more than 170 countries submitted more than 150,000 (or around 10^5.2) ideas, from general investment suggestions to specific implementation proposals. As we reviewed these submissions, we started noticing lots of similar ideas related to certain broad topics, and decided that combining the best aspects of these individual proposals would produce the most innovative approaches to solving some very pressing problems.

The result is the list you see below of 16 “big ideas,” each inspired by numerous individual submissions. Which ones should we make happen? You tell us. Your vote for one of these ideas will help our advisory board choose up to 5 projects to fund, at which point we’ll launch an RFP process to identify the organization(s) that are best suited to implementing them.

As a huge supporter of open education resources, I voted for idea #7 “Make educational content available online for free”. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every child or adult that wished to learn something could find high quality educational materials online or on their mobile to pursue their passions for free?! Furthermore, wouldn’t it be wonderful if those resources were organized in a way such that they were easy to find and immediately useful…

To cast your vote, click here. (Note: Voting ends October 8, 2009.)

To free knowledge!

Anna

P.S. I just posted a poll on the top right side of this blog. I would greatly appreciate your feedback. Thanks for reading Literacy is Priceless.

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Digital Storytelling in a Nutshell

I just published a blog on Curriki that I think Literacy is Priceless readers will find useful. To see the original post, click here. Or, continue reading below. -Anna

If you are looking for a project to build your students’ communication and digital literacy skills, why not have them participate in a digital storytelling project?! As this excellent introduction to digital storytelling by Curriki member Robin Surland points out:

Digital storytelling consists of a series of still images or video images, combined with a narrated soundtrack to tell a story. Many times an additional music track is added to invoke emotions.

Once, you’ve reviewed Robin’s excellent backgrounder, you’ll be ready to take a look at the link Curriki member Anne Leftwich posted here that provides in-depth information on how to create a digital story. Thanks Anne!

Need help visualizing the process before you get started? Here’s “How to make a Digital Story” in a nutshell:

  • Determine what personal experience you wish to present in your story. If you need a bit of help selecting a topic, try filling out this worksheet on the seven basic elements of a digital story by Indiana University.
  • Select images that you wish to display in your story. Beyond your own digital photos, Flickr (creative commons licensed images) and OpenStockPhotography are useful places to find images to accompany your narration. Indiana University has a nice template that will help you storyboard your ideas.
  • Draft a 3-5 minute script to accompany your images.
  • Select music (optional). ccMixer and Open Source Audio are two places where you can find large quantities of open music. Make sure that the track you select allows you to share and remix the original music. For example, click on the cc box featured on the left hand side of this audio. You should be directed to this page that tells you exactly what you can and cannot do with the track.
  • Note: If you find this whole copyright thing confusing (i.e., What images and music from the Internet are you allowed to use legally in your digital story?), the Creative Commons website has lots of great advise. The Wanna Work Together video is particularly helpful.
  • Pull it all together! Create a final storyboard that clearly shows how your images, script and music will all fit together. Indiana University has provided a useful template for this.
  • Select which software you are going to use to create your digital story. Here is a list of possibilies. Voicethread is another nice tool for this. To learn how to use Voicethread, watch this YouTube tutorial.
  • Produce your digital story!
  • Share it with others! (The fun part!)
  • Create a digital storytelling assignment for your students and share your lesson plan with others in the Curriki community here.

For more detailed information on digital storytelling, take a look at the Digital Storytelling Cookbook from the Center for Digital Storytelling. Or, take a moment to watch the YouTube video above (created by Stanford’s Teacher Education Program).

Have fun and feel free to share additional digital storytelling resources in the comments section of this post.

Anna

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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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