Monday, August 30, 2010

Browsing Blogs

Today’s children are growing up in a world where the dominant way of making meaning has shifted from print on the page to image on the screen. Increasingly, young children read and write on screens, and not just on computers but also with mobile technologies, such as cell phones and iPods. Carly Shuler reports that “more than half of the world’s population now owns a cell phone and children under 12 constitute one of the fastest growing segments of mobile technology users in the U.S.” What does this mean for teachers who want to teach children to use the literacies that fill modern childhoods? Are we recognizing the literacy practices that children already know? Are we making space for texting and blogging in our classrooms?
Here's a great classroom blog and a set of individual blogs that allow each student to post and comment on other blogs. It also includes video tips for starting up blogs in your own classroom…
A teacher's blog:

Kids' blogs:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Writing Check-up

Are you immunized against common "writing viruses"?

Check your prose for writing maladies listed on the Huffington Post...

Check the comments section for other symptoms, like MSMR (multiple simultaneous mind reading)...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

All Things Twitter

Twittercure is packed with ideas and resources for using Twitter in educational settings.

"A dose of Twitter for every day of the school year"

Thinking about...

How does the need to write within a 140 character frame shape meanings, forms, and writing decisions?

How many kids tweet? How many read Twitter?

And how might we use tweeting to support young children's literacy learning?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Punctuation Saves Lives

'Let's eat Grandma!' or, 'Let's eat, Grandma!' Punctuation saves lives.

A great Facebook page! Become a fan and collect punctuation and grammar bloopers for your classroom or just for fun.

Digital Poetry Links

Highlights from Linda's great class presentation: Teaching poetry not just as a structure but as a feeling, a way of looking, a connection, a moment captured and shared...

Video Poem A Valentine to Ernest Mann

Straight Lines , a wonderful poem by Georgia Heard...

and children's poems on Poetry Fridays

Monday, February 22, 2010

Imagine a Multimodal Research Paper

Here's a great video that demonstrates children using digital tools to narrate and post their research online so that others can also add comments and extend the learning: Voicethread classroom video

What would you post and what would you say about your research with this tool?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Great Ideas from Teachers

Eyeball Neighbors and Shoulder Neighbors
Here's an elaboration on Hale's "Turn and Talk" that Jenn heard in her classroom:
Have the students turn to their "eyeball neighbor" (the student seated across from them) or their "shoulder neighbor" (the student seated next to them) to either read aloud or discuss.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hot Topics in Literacy Education

The International Reading Association's 2009 survey revealed the following "hot" topics in literacy education:

adolescent literacy
English as a second language/English–language learners
high–stakes assessment
literacy coaches/reading coaches
response to intervention (RTI)
early literacy
struggling/striving readers (grade 4 and above)

Other ideas for hot topics include:
gender and literacy
poverty and literacy
graphic novels
films and media
popular culture

These topics were NOT HOT:
phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary

Less is More: Literacy Learning, Standards, & Engagement

Here's a great quote about the power of deeply engaged learning by Susan Engel in the Op Ed section of the New York Times. Engel argues that instead of a curriculum crushed by "laundry lists" of superficial skills, students would be better served by rigorous focused goals such as immersing learners in purposeful reading and writing:

"In this classroom, children would spend two hours each day hearing stories read aloud, reading aloud themselves, telling stories to one another and reading on their own. After all, the first step to literacy is simply being immersed, through conversation and storytelling, in a reading environment; the second is to read a lot and often. A school day where every child is given ample opportunities to read and discuss books would give teachers more time to help those students who need more instruction in order to become good readers.

Children would also spend an hour a day writing things that have actual meaning to them — stories, newspaper articles, captions for cartoons, letters to one another. People write best when they use writing to think and to communicate, rather than to get a good grade."


Friday, January 22, 2010

txting imprvs splng

Sometimes literacy learning is counter-intuitive. Research at the University of Coventry shows creating abbreviated spellings for texting strengthens students' phonological awareness. Texting offers daily opportunities to engage spelling by requiring writers to identify and retain the essential letters needed for readers to recognize words such as hmwrk and l8tr. Dr. Clare Wood notes,

"If we are seeing a decline in literacy standards among young children, it is in spite of text messaging, not because of it."

Basically, you need to have a deep understanding of a word's essential elements in order to tweak it. So invention produces better spelling knowledge than drill and memorization. Kindergarten and primary teachers who encourage children to "spell it as it sounds" have known this for decades.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Social Media in the Classroom

Three ways schools are using new social technologies (Skype, cell phones, & Twitter) at