Blogs on Literacy

Blogs on LiteracyRSS
Brian SztabnikApril 17, 2014

Clarity. It is what we long for when we travel through a student's essay. Yet our struggling writers make us wander through a cluttered maze of thoughts, leading to dead ends.

We want an awareness of purpose. We want ideas to progress in logical order. We want sentences to be fluid and confident, not stuffed with words desperate to impress. We want so much because good writing is multidimensional. So how to encourage this? Rubrics are uninspiring and often contain too much information for students to digest. The question remains: how do we give students guidelines without glutting their minds with a 50-item checklist?

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Brian SztabnikApril 4, 2014

The Madness of March is coming through! You can feel the frenzy of Cinderella stories and brackets busting. The Big Dance. The Road to the Final Four. Call it what you want, but for three weeks, the nation turns its eye to the NCAA tournament, falling in love with underdogs and holding its breath on each buzzer-beating shot. Hoops hysteria begins on Selection Sunday, the night when millions are glued to ESPN, waiting to see which 68 tickets will be punched to the Big Dance.

As teachers, we should create the same excitement, hope and drama in our classes.

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Marc AndersonApril 1, 2014

This morning I got lucky . . . I read poems. Not even the blistering wind's roar amidst the frigid temperatures of a lingering winter could keep me from imagining "spring hope."

Spring Hope
And now the weeping willow turns to green.
So brilliant red, the robin’s breast,
Just like the sun, now sinking in the West,
And down the lane more signs of spring are seen.
(M. Jones, Poetry Soup)
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Rebecca AlberMarch 31, 2014

The idea of co-constructing knowledge with students can be a scary thing for many of us teachers. The age-old role of teacher as orator, director, sage has been handed down for centuries and most of us grew up as students looking to teachers in this way. It's hard to shake.

Co-constructing knowledge means giving up the myself and them role of teacher and students and fully embracing the wonder and journey of us.

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Monica BurnsMarch 11, 2014

Poetry can take so many forms, and sometimes it's hard to know where to start when planning a unit of study. You might focus on figurative language with third graders, you might want seventh graders to look at rhyme sequence, or you might simply want to introduce classic pieces to high school students.

There are some great tools on the web for teachers gathering resources to use with their students. Here are a few worth checking out.

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Maurice EliasMarch 10, 2014

With National Poetry Month just a few weeks away, you may have already started planning. Exposing our students to the powerful words and images of Maya Angelou's poetry builds their skills in reading, character education, vocabulary, civics, history, and humanity. Deeply exploring the topics and themes found in Angelou's poetry can be inspiring to students, and even life changing.

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Janice DoleMarch 7, 2014

In part one of this series, I shared how I use freely available video in my reading and literacy methods course to help my preservice teachers understand close reading instruction at a level that could not be attained through reading and discussion alone. In part two, I shared my curated collection of videos for general Common Core info, as well as videos to teach the close reading, text complexity and informational texts standards.

Below is my curated collection of videos of exceptional professional websites for reading teachers that feature videos and resources on word generation, explicit instruction, graphic organizers and text difficulty, among other topics.

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Janice DoleMarch 7, 2014

In my previous post, I shared how I use freely available video in my reading and literacy methods course to help my preservice teachers (PTs) understand close reading instruction at a level that could not be attained through reading and discussion alone.

Below is my curated collection of videos for general Common Core info, as well as videos to teach the close reading, text complexity and informational texts standards.

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Janice DoleMarch 7, 2014

For preservice teachers (PTs) to be able to teach well, they need to "get it" -- that aha! moment when they truly understand what good teaching looks like. My PTs often do not witness close reading (identified in the Common Core State Standards as a critical skill) modeled in their practicum. Fortunately, free high-quality video of this skill being taught can be found on the Internet and is among the most effective teaching tools I use.

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Joshua BlockMarch 6, 2014

The wonderful poet Naomi Shihab Nye first introduced me to William Stafford's idea that no one becomes a poet. She says that we are all born poets, and it's just that some of us choose to keep up the habit.

At times, all of us inevitably get stuck viewing ourselves in static and limiting ways. When I tell students that we will be studying poetry there are always some students who mutter, "I can't write poems."

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