Lightning Bug!!


When I discover sites that will encourage creative thinking that results in writing, I get so excited. Here’s a fabulous site from Australia!

Lightning Bug is a fantastic and fun resource for the writing classroom.

The tag-line of Lightning Bug is, “Your writing partner, helping you write a story from beginning to THE END”.  It delivers.

For every step of the way through the writing process, students have access to excellent guides and resources to aid the process.  Need help finding a story idea? Developing the idea? Finishing the story? It’s all here. Students can even have a look at what kind of writer they might be based on their personalities. (I’m a Private Writer…)

Lightning Bug has a great collection of writing resources.  Students can explore author blogs, search for character names, get some exercises in creativity, get help with grammar and spelling, and even get help for publishing their written work.  The teacher resources are equally helpful for teaching writing. Plus, the interface is appealing and easy to navigate.

Check it out, teachers—for ideas to encourage your self-starters, and motivate those who need your helping hand.


Just Wondering…

Wonder is for everyone. It can happen anywhere and at anytime. So say the creators of Wonderopolis, a website that seeks out the curious in all of us.

Each day, the website poses an intriguing question and explores the question in a multitude of ways. Generously supported by Verizon Foundation, and a content partner of Verizon’s Thinkfinity community. Connecting the learning we do in our schools, our homes, and our communities, Wonderopolis walks the line between formal and informal education.

Today’s question for those who “wonder”….Where are the Canary Islands???  Go see all the things you can discover from this simple question!!

Teachers: What an exciting homework opportunity here for reading and writing….

Using a Short Text to engage readers and writers…

LOVE Alice Walker--her life of addressing problems associated with injustice, inequality and more. I have used her short story, The Flowers, to teach reading and writing comprehension strategies to my preservice teachers. The strategies described below can be used with any short text that offers some complexity.

Activity One:
Thinking Aloud: Thinking aloud–saying what is going on in your mind as you read, is not as easy as it sounds, and preservice teachers benefit from practice, so they will use this strategy often as they model their own thinking for their students. In class, I have them pair up and alternate reading aloud paragraphs of The Flowers, pausing to describe their thinking as they go. With the Think Aloud activity, they generally touch on the seven comprehension strategies we focus on in our Language Arts methods course: Monitoring Comprehension, Activating Schema, Inferring, Visualizing, Determining Importance, Summarizing, and Synthesizing. This text is powerful for a Think Aloud.

Activity Two:
Using a short text to discover Grammar and how the choice of author words impacts meaning in text. I divide students into four groups. Using The Flowers, each group has an “assignment.” The four assignments are:

Group One: ACTION!!
Find those action words and phrases. What words, phrases, sentences help you to know what’s going on?

Group Two: MMMmmm
Find those words, phrases, sentences that make you wonder–that arouse your curiosity.

Group Three: I See/IFeel
Find words, phrases and images that create images in your mind—OR, that evoke emotional reactions.

Group Four: Because I Already Knew…
Find the words, phrases, sentences and images that depended on your prior knowledge or understanding.

In jigsaw-type fashion, the groups then report out to all. A variation would be to assign each member in a group of four a role.

Been away awhile…new look and feel!

Looking forward to blogging again—took summer off to refresh, and wow, the holidays are already upon us.
Lots of new stuff to add–check out the tags and archives for older posts that may yet be of interest or helpful to you.