Brown Girl Dreaming…

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..catching up on some blog entries….

Brown Girl Dreaming, the award-winning novel by Jacqueline Woodson, is so many things to me. As a teacher, I see the countless possibilities for deep discussion, thoughtspots for writing, endless possibilities for visual and emotional expression. As a writer, I am invited into the genre of memoir in powerful ways.

I had recently purchased BGD when I was coincidentally asked to visit an Encountering Cultures class at the college, to share my thoughts on keeping writer’s notebooks. I’ve been writing snippets for several years about my two grandmothers; BGD quenched my thirst to continue my memoir piece on my grandmothers. I shared snippets of my memoir with the Encountering Cultures class and invited them to choose a powerful place in BGD and write. They did; their sharings were amazing. BGD is memoir at its best.

I assigned BGD to my preservice literacy students last semester. They met in book club groups to share the novel. They brought responses to their groups—an open-ended assignment for which I encouraged their imaginations to soar.

While you cannot enjoy their descriptions (so compelling) of their responses, you can view them below. Without question, they were as captivated by this wonderful novel as I.

 

Brown Girl Dreaming Animoto

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#HashtagSummaries

Hashtag summaries

When teaching my preservice teachers methods of making quality use of benign textbooks (when they must use them)..I give them a chapter from a middle school History textbook. Benign because…dense text, voiceless, boring….I ask them to read it as groups and then summarize the chapter with hashtags. No rules other than that. Here is one from last semester—can’t wait to see what this semester group does:

The chapter below focused on the Pilgrims.

Here are their hashtags:

#Mayflower   #pilstruggs  #missingthemotherland   #demWampananagos   #originalThanksgiving  #churnthatbutter  #Jesus4life  #Squantowho?   #workingafarm   #wigwams4ever   #seriouslongwinter     #allinaday #nomoreboattripsplease #Plymouthrockrocks #BFFSquanto #worstcasescenario #thankfulforSquanto #sickonaship #praytheedontkillus #holierthanthou

Results: Well, for starters there is always a whole bunch of laughter and fun. But, they do get it. We ask kids to summarize, summarize, summarize. When it is not so important that they write ample amounts, why not allow some levity and have groups hashtag summarize short texts? They will capture the critical points and their hashtags can launch class discussion.

#Havesomefunasyoulearn

…this is so ME…

…from inkygirl.com a delightful blog for YA lit and writers…this is just…me…so many things to distract us–you could substitute will “so write today” for some other task to which you hope to devote quality time…studying, cleaning!…reading…whatever..for me it is writing and painting…

 

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Getting lost in Pictures of the Day…

“Pictures of the Day” are fascinating finds. They can be used in multitude of ways teachers—to launch writing in many genres, to supplement research, to create word lists, engage in great discussions, and simply to enjoy.
Here are a few of my faves—and while you are there, check out the archives on all of the sites:

Discover the Cosmos with Astronomy Picture of the Day

Earth Science Picture of the Day

Atmospheric Optics Picture of the Day     cool stuff!!

Lens–NYTimes Picture of the Day 

Yahoo and Flikr teamed up to launch this cool site

Aloha!  Hawaii Picture of the Day

Nature Picture of the Day–inspirational–why not try out a Haiku?

Now that I’ve got you going, I bet you can discover many, many more. (Teachers–I have looked these sites over for G ratings—some POD sites are not!)

Enjoy your travels!

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….

50 Shades of Red

In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow….

Hopped over to Sherwin Williams online and whoa! MORE than 50 shades of red!Here are the 50 I chose….imagine the fun kids could have with this–pick any color–give them names.

You’ve all been to the hardware–Lowe’s, Home depot, etc…or to the paint store…where there are racks of all those paint chips with the varying shades? What if the kids assigned vocabulary words to varying shades??

Here’s my list, compliments of Sherwin Williams!

Positive Red…Show Stopper…Heartthrob…Gypsy Red…Real Red…Ablaze…Fireworks…Habenero Chile…Wild Currant…Red Bay…Red Tomato…Rave Red…Bolero…Crabby Apple…Rambling Rose…Fireweed…Canyon Clay…Red Barn…Rustic…Firebrick…Cherries Jubilee…Radish…Valentine Red (Yay!!)…Heartfelt…Pink Flamingo…Coming Up Roses…Stolen Kisses…Coral Bells…Foxy…Cajun Red…Copper Red…Rosy Outlook…Gracious Rose…Appleblossom…Bold Brick…Hopeful…Candy Apple…Cranberry Zing…Red Rose Bouquet…Watermelon Smoothie…American Rose…Red Alert…Red Raisin…Cherry Tart…Raspberry Crush…It’s the Berries…Red Baron…Campfire Blaze…Lady Love…Wild Heather

Happy Valentine’s Day!

More Ted Talk…

Browsing and found former poet laureate, Billy Collins on Ted Talk from December, 2012.

Combining very dry wit with artistic depth, Billy Collins (LOVE HIM!!) shares a project in which several of his poems were turned into delightful animated films in a collaboration with Sundance Channel.

Worth the time!! Enjoy!