Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Literary Cafe: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

After seeing this Nerdy Book Club post I knew I wanted to have a book cafe of my own. I asked my 6th grade ELA teachers if they would be interested and they said yes. Their first class novel is Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor. Some of the issues in the book include the Great Depression, school segregation, separate but equal, boycotts, and sharecropping. So I took those issues and tried to think of activities that would help prepare the students to read and understand the novel. The four stations that we agreed on were:
1) Read short articles about boycotts (both in the past and more recent) and create a Tagxedo using important words from the articles. I found articles on Tween Tribune and in our state databases. You can see in the picture below that this student read about Claudette Colvin and created a bus shaped Tagxedo using words from the article.

2) Preview books about segregation and the Civil Rights Movement, find pictures about events and people from the time period and create a photo collage using Students found the site easy to use and were able to explore many images from this time period.

3) Complete a sharecropping math worksheet and writing activity. I found this activity online and used it as a model. Few students were able to earn money at the end of the activity, which illustrated the vicious cycle of sharecropping. The reflection questions on the back helped students put themselves in the sharecroppers' shoes.

4) Watch a Discovery Education United Streaming video featuring interviews of those that grew up in a segregated South and those from sharecropping families. While watching the movie they enjoyed mini cornbread muffins (a food mentioned in the book).

The students were able to create several nice products, both collages and word clouds. Their reflections were thoughtful and reactions to the video were empathetic. I believe this was an excellent way to prepare them for reading the book. I look forward to hearing from the teachers about how the students are able to connect these activities to the novel when they begin reading this week. 

Have you ever had a book/literary cafe? I would love to hear your ideas.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Exploring the Role of Literature in Common Core Standards

These are the presentation slides for the Simple K12 webinar Kristen Hearne and I presented this week. You can view the full archived video and the other videos from the Common Core day of learning by becoming a full member of the Simple K12 community.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Day of Learning: Common Core

Preparing for the Common Core standards has become the main priority in my school and district and probably yours too. I was able to bring home several ideas from the NC conference and we've been sharing what we're doing through the TL Virtual Cafe, district training and conference presentations. Now I can add another webinar to that list.
 Kristen Hearne and I will be presenting a webinar on the Simple K12's Day of Learning this Thursday, October 18th. We are presenting "Exploring the Role of Literature in Common Core Standards". All of the webinars are free. You can see the full list for that day here.
We would love to see you there and hope that you'll check out the full list and help yourself prepare as the standards are implemented in your state.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Infographics Update

We have been steadily working on infographics with my 7th graders. They are amazing me with their creativity and talent. Several students are finished so I wanted to share more of their work. You can see examples on my Flickr photostream here and I've embedded a slideshow of the set below.

This project has been an excellent way to teach citation (and you can see from some of the examples we still have work to do), Creative Commons images, design elements, and research skills. Many students had so many citations that it was on a separate slide. When I printed them on the poster maker I combined the slides, but I didn't include them in the Flickr set.
At the end of this month several students from this class will be presenting to teachers from all over our district about the project. A few teachers have asked me about sharing the details of the project. The classroom teacher and I spoke about it and we wanted to include the students. Many of the students are excited about the project and they are busy planning how they want to lead the session. I will give an update after the presentation. Please enjoy looking at their work and feel free to contact me if I can be of help if you want to give this a try.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sharing and Learning

This month has been a busy one for presentations. We kicked off the month with our TL Virtual Cafe webinar, Your Common Core Secret Weapon. Monique, Kristen and I had a great time with that presentation. We were honored to be invited.
Then days later Monique and I hit the road to attend and present at the North Carolina School Library Media Association conference. The conference theme was the Common Core standards so we were excited to present and also learn from our neighboring librarians. We presented "Keeping Lit @ the Core" together and I presented "Learn to Love Nonfiction". We had a wonderful time, learned so many things we want to try at home, saw old friends and met lots of new ones.
A few highlights for me were:
1. Seeing my friends Jennifer Northrup and April Dawkins, conference organizer extraordinaire.
2. Meeting two of my heroes face to face, Buffy Hamilton and Jennifer LaGarde. And we were color coordinated:)

3. Leaving inspired by ideas shared at the conference like Jennifer L.'s gaming session with her math teacher Ryan Redd, Jennifer N.'s collaboration advice, a lesson on weeding with students from Heather S., showing instructional impact from two USC professors and many more. Conference handouts and presentations are shared online here.
4. Of course, it is always great to spend time with my PLN face to face. My partner in crime, Monique German, and our SC friends Fran Bullington, Cathy Jo Nelson, Heather Loy, Susan Meyer as well as meeting new NC friends Jennifer Abel, Tavia Clark, Deanna Harris, Paige Ysteboe and more that I probably follow on Twitter, but just didn't get to talk to. 

Monique and I presented "Keeping Lit @ the Core". We thought this would be a timely concept because so many teachers and librarians are worried that the emphasis on nonfiction in the standards could be taken to the extreme, leaving recreational reading out in the cold. We shared the fiction/nonfiction breakdowns from the standards, the part of the standards that mention student selected reading, expert opinions on the value of recreational reading and strategies for continuing to market and promote fiction to our students and teachers. Here is my Pinterest board of middle grade books that fit the CC evaluation guidelines and my board on CC resources.

Keeping Lit at the Core from bibliogerman

Immediately following this session I presented "Learn to Love Nonfiction". I thought it was funny that I presented one hour about how much I love fiction and then one hour about how much I love nonfiction. I do enjoy purchasing and promoting nonfiction to my students so this was a fun session for me. I shared strategies for preparing your collection for the Common Core standards, the importance of weeding, ideas for promoting nonfiction, why we should highlight nonfiction and suggested titles to build up your high interest nonfiction collection. I also spent a fair amount of time talking about how and why I ditched Dewey. The rabble rouser in me loves to talk about this and see the audience reaction. It is a mix of horror and intrigue. It never gets old. You can see my on the Dewey Free library here

Learn to love nonfiction from Palmetto Middle School

You can see the list of titles I shared on this Goodreads list. Feel free to download the slides and use as signs in your library. If you find either of these sessions helpful I would love to hear about it.

Thanks to all of the NC librarians for a wonderful conference, hospitality, sharing and networking. I had a great time.