Posts Tagged 'reading teacher blog'

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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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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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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Help your students visualize the stories they read with Google Lit Trips!

Help your students understand the stories they read at a whole new level with Google Lit Trips! The site states, “Using Google Earth, students discover where in the world the greatest road trip stories of all time took place… and so much more!”

Imagine teaching Make Way for Ducklings with a tool that enables your students to visually follow the journey of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard as they look for a safe home for their family. Using Google Earth, students can track the Mallard family as the travel from the Public Garden to Beacon Hill to the State House and more! When students click on each location on the Make Way for Ducklings Google Earth file, they can see real pictures and learn factual background information about every place in the story!

This is an incredible tool for helping students visualize and learn about the places they encounter in stories! To get started on your journey with Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and other characters from famous children’s novels:

  • Download Google Earth (click here to download the program for free)
  • Return to Google Lit Trips
  • Click on one of the grade level links at the top of the page
  • Find a Lit Trip that suits your fancy!
  • Enjoy exploring!

Off to the Public Garden with the Mallards!

Anna

PS Thanks Kate Reavey (Peninsula College) for supplying the YouTube video above!

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Developing Young Readers: A Handout for Parents

Aside from developing technology tools for classrooms, universities and other professional education environments, I sometimes meet with parents and teachers to share tips and technology resources that are helpful for fostering child literacy development.

Tomorrow I have the pleasure of working with the parents of Dubai’s very own Knightsbridge Nursery, where I will:

  • Share research on the importance of reading with children during their nursery years
  • Discuss practical tips for developing reading skills and positive reading experiences with young children
  • Present resources on the Internet that parents and nursery teachers can use with young children to develop literacy skills and a love of books

I suspect many other parents are interested in these topics, so I’ve decided to post my presentation handout:

Feel free to print, distribute and share!

Anna

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It’s a Small World

Recently I visited a number of nursery schools, so I have all things Pre-K on my mind! This post is for nursery teachers around the globe!

Guess the country origin of the following nursery rhyme excerpts:

Excerpt 1:

En la casa de Pinocho
todos cuentan hasta ocho:
Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis , siete, ocho.

Excerpt 2:

satu satu aku sayang ibu
dua dua juga sayang bapak
tiga tiga sayang adik kakak
|satu dua tiga sayang semuanya

Excerpt 3:

Tinga layo!
Come me little donkey, come
Tingalay-o
Come me little donkey, come

If you guessed the answers Spain, Indonesia and Jamaica give yourself a big sticker! Interested in learning more nursery rhymes from across the globe? Check out It’s a Small World. The site’s homepage states:

Here you will find preschool rhymes from around the world for something a little different to the usual mother goose kids rhymes! Imagine life without world music or ethnic food – that’s what a child’s reading life would be like without international kid’s books and poems – so spice up their literary diet and enjoy some armchair travelling for babies, toddlers and the young at heart!

It’s a Small World also encourages users to share their own poems, nursery rhymes and country facts and traditions! So, take a rhyme, leave a rhyme and pass a rhyme along! Thanks to Danielle for sharing this wonderful resource on LIP!

Anna

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Speakaboos!

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays is go through my delicious bookmarks and review the education sites that various people have recommended to me. Today I explored a real gem called Speakaboos! The site’s about section explains:

Speakaboos brings classic children’s entertainment into a digital world. Beloved characters and treasured stories are given new life through amazing celebrity performances, beautiful illustrations, and original music. At Speakaboos, children develop literacy skills while learning about technology in a safe and fun environment.

Take a look at these Speakaboo video story favorites, fables, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, folk tales and lullabies. Each animated story is read by celebrities such as Kevin Bacon and Jeff Donovan and contains illustrations by these fabulous artists. In addition, the text of each tale is displayed on the screen as the story is read making this a great site to keep on hand for computer time and/or center time during your K-1 literacy block.

Curious? Check out this video of Jack and the Beanstalk! In addition to the animated story, the site provides accompanying spelling, illustration and word search activities for young readers and a story guide for teachers and parents including comprehension, discussion and extension questions, as well as research activities and notes on this particular adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk.

In addition to providing dozens of stories, take a look at these literacy activities. Pretty soon the site will enable readers to record and share their own tales! Hopefully the site will add more social bookmarking and sharing tools soon as well!

Bravo Speakaboos! What a great site!

Anna

PS Thanks to my husband and mother-in-law (an ESL curricula and teaching specialist) for introducing me to Speakaboos!

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Happy New Year!

Wishing you a very happy holidays and new year from Literacy is Priceless!

Ring in 2009 with these great New Year’s lessons and printables from Teacher Vision! I am particularly fond of the printables that explain how the new year is celebrated in Korea, China, India and more!

Sincerely,

Anna

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Resolution Time: Literacy and Health in the New Year!

Given that the new year is right around the corner, I suspect many of you will be making resolutions to exercise more, eat healthily and sleep a full 8 hours each night (is that even possible on a teacher’s schedule?!).

While I am typically good on points one and two, I don’t remember the last time I slept a full 8 hours between spending time with family, working, exercising, reading, etc. Alas, perhaps in 2009 I will get better at setting aside enough time for sufficient “Zzzzz!” Resolutions aside, most people agree that the habits we establish during our childhood are heard to break. So, why not help our students pick up a few healthy habits in the new year, while developing their literacy skills to boot?!

This week I discovered an excellent health education site titled, “KidsHealth in the Classroom.” The site’s about page states:

KidsHealth is pleased to offer teachers, school nurses, coaches, and guidance counselors a new online resource: KidsHealth in the Classroom. The KidsHealth in the Classroom website offers free health curriculum materials for teachers of all grades and subject areas. Each teacher’s guide includes discussion questions, activities, and reproducible handouts and quizzes – all aligned to national health education standards.

But that’s not all. KidsHealth in the Classroom will also offer tips from teachers, information about common childhood health problems, health-related news, and resources to help you improve the health of your students and your school – and even your own health.

I am a big fan of the Healthy Habits for Life Resource Kit on the site. The kit’s “Get Moving” guide is filled with loads of songs, dance activities and games that not only teach young children healthy habits, but key health vocabulary words as well (for a Spanish version of the guide, click here). For example, if you play the Sesame Super Stretch Game, your children will learn words like wiggle, bend and reach! I also like the Energy Dance game where children learn what foods give them energy (i.e., great vocabulary words like whole grain rice, lowfat yogurt, and broccoli) while dancing at various tempos (this is a great activity to incorporate into your day right after lunch when your kids need to burn off some steam!).

Wishing you and your children a happy healthy new year!

Anna

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Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2008

fish

2009 is quickly approaching, along with the holiday shopping season… So, before hitting the bookstore to stock up on gifts for your family, friends, classroom and perhaps self, take a look at the
New York Times‘ Best Illustrated Children’s Books 2008 slide show.

I absolutely adore the illustrations in Wave (by Suzy Lee) given that I currently reside in the middle of a very hot desert! The watercolors in Pale Male (by Janet Schulman, illustrated by Meilo Alfred) are breathtaking as well!

If you are looking for free readers to send home with your students over the holidays, make sure to check out the printable illustrated reading passages on FreeReading. For example, the illustration above comes from the story Fish (by Lisa Webber, illustrated by Cheryl Johnson)–a FreeReading reader that can be used to practice contractions, author’s purpose and identifying details.

To inspiring illustrations and holiday gift ideas!

Anna

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Mad Libs!

1) Think of a noun: __________

2) Think of an adjective: __________

3) Think of a person’s name: __________

4) Think of a verb: __________

5) Now, fill in the blanks with your answers above…

My favorite book is titled, (noun). I adore this book because the main character (person’s name) is extremely (adjective). For example, in chapter three while preparing Thanksgiving dinner, he/she decides to (verb) while the turkey is cooking….

Does this exercise bring back any memories?!

One of my favorite elementary school pass times during long car trips to visit family members was playing Mad Libs with my sister and parents while driving on 495. So, when I came across Mad Libs Junior on FunBrain Reading, I had to play a few rounds!

Given that the holiday season means that inevitably your students will be spending time at home playing online games in between family gatherings, why not recommend that they play a few rounds of Mad Libs with family and friends? The game is perfect for practicing parts of speech and reading comprehension!

Happy (insert holiday)!

Anna

PS Thanks to the Literacy Web at UConn for pointing out this resource and many others on the page, “Literacy Websites for Students in Grades 5-6.”

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Hats off to Jen Robinson’s Book Page!

There is one person out in the blogosphere that continues to inspire me with her informative posts and beautiful displays of children’s literature and that person is… Jen Robinson! As her blog states in the tag line, Jen Robinson’s Book Page is all about “promoting the love of books by children, and the continued reading of children’s books by adults.”

If you are looking for new titles for your classroom or just want to keep current with the ever expanding world of children’s lit, Jen’s blog is a must read!

For a sample of the types of book reviews Jen writes, check out her recent review of Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris. Jen writes:

Like it’s predecessor, Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris features a brave, clever eleven-year-old heroine, an intriguing, atmospheric setting, interesting historical and archeological tidbits, and a plot that will keep kids turning the pages. Despite the fact that the title character is a girl, I think that this book will absolutely appeal to middle grade boys, too. (Think reanimated mummies walking the night streets of early 20th Century London, should you have any doubts.)…

Moving beyond book reviews… Stay abreast of the latest children’s literacy trends, news and research, by taking a look at Jen’s Children’s Literacy Round-Ups (click here for a sample).

Bravo Jen! Your blog is pure inspiration!

Anna

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Google Books!

Who doesn’t like free books?!

A colleague recently reminded me about Google Books.

Google Books allows users to search for books, browse through books and in cases where the book is out of copyright or the publisher has given permission, readers can see a preview of the book and/or the entire text. (To learn more about other Google Books features, click here.)

Since I had a bit of time this evening before joining my husband for dinner, I decided to play around with the site to see what types of books Google has to offer…

Using Google Books’ advance search function, I found a full copy of If I had a Million Onions (by Sheree Fitch) and The Paper Dragonfly (by Mary Watson). (To see a list of other children’s books Google Books has in “full view,” click here.)

As a lover of books and all things digital, I have to say… Google has done it again! What a great resource! Bravo!

Happy reading!
Anna

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