Archive for Class Readings

Response to Class Readings For February 24, 2010: Poetry

I was reading about the “I” poems. One of the things that stood out to me in the article written by Linda Kucan was that allowing for students to write from a first person perspective, enables to to deepen their own voices when relating to literary experiences. While reading the book Sierra by Diane Siebert, I thought about how this ideas could be applied. Taking basic facts and putting a different perspective on how they are written, not only is more interesting but creates a new way of looking at things. I thought about that when I read the page about the sequoias. I can see where a deeper form of thinking takes place.

Through out the article the theme of deepening what has been read about and then writing about it is important because it allows for higher order thinking skills to take place. When I read the book by Eve Bunting,  I Am the Mummy Heb Nefert, I was able to get another picture in my mind. This picture was alot more different that is I had just read facts. I felt like I was in the story.

Of course this got me thinking about how I would apply this to my Kindergarteners. I liked the format that was given in the article. I think I would follow it and use it as a way to guide me while writing the poems. I was thinking maybe writing about the seasons, or the weather would be a good way to start a “I” poem unit with my Kindergartenters. It is something they are familiar with. I agree with Kucan when she says, ” I poems can be compelling invitations for student to try out the poet’s way of knowing”. It reminds us that facts can be inspiring if they are used in a different light in the classroom.

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Reading Response for February 17, 2010

There were several important concepts that I learned while doing the readings this week. In Elliott I was reminded that students need to be immersed in poetry so that they develop an ear and start to listen like writers. I believe this should start immediately! I was reading the African Acrostic poems and I thought what a wonderful way to incorporate poetry to daily lessons while incorporating new vocabulary words. Kindergarteners could learn to find different words in order to develop these new skills.  Also the concrete poems are excellent ways for students to comprehend what a poem is about. I found the poems in Technically It’s Not My Fault very amusing. I think because I was able to form a picture in mind of what was being talked about.

Also I learned an important instructional method. In the article by Frye, Trathen, and Sclagal, the point was made to make sure you demonstrate and show students exactly how you want them to create their poems. I believe this concept is especially important for Kindergartners. It will be essential to create as many shared writing experiences as possible so they understand and hear the language being formulated. Also remembering to ask the 5 w questions will guide students thinking.

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Part 2 of Post 3: For February 10, 2010

I had some other thoughts to add about the poetry books, so I thought I would create another post!

Brown Angels: This poetry book goes in the “great poems” catergory that Certo is talking about. I think earlier I wrote about Langston Huges because these two poets are similiar in the fact that they create pictures in your mind about what they are talking about.

all the small peoms and fourteen more: I believe this book is an excellent poetry book to start Kindergarteners out with peotry. The peoms are concrete enough so they can understand what is going on.

This Is Just to Say: It is important for students to understand how to communicate in more than one way. This book provides excellent examples for Kindergarteners to think of different ways to say what is important to them .

Love that Dog: Personally I loved this book. It was a good example of free verse. I was also reminded that poetry does not have to rhyme.

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Post 3: February 10, 2010

I loved how Elliott reminded teachers that poetry does not have to rhyme. I think that is such an important idea. Love That Dog is such a good example about how poetry does not need to rhyme.  When I was reading these two selections I was making connections of how I would incorporate poetry into my Kindergarten classroom. I thought about the writer’s notebook first. I really think the heart map is a wonderful way for young writer’s to get started with their poetry. They can draw it and maybe sound out a few words. Turning it into a list poem makes their writing become a part of their everyday things (Certo, 2004).

            I love Langston Hughes poem the Dreamkeeper:

                                    Bring me all of your dreams

                                    You dreamers,

                                    Bring me all of your heart’s melodies

                                    That I may wrap them

                                    In a blue cloud cloth

                                    Away from the too rough fingers

                                    Of the world.

 We read the poem and talk about how important it is to have dreams and goals. Then students trace their hands and write their own dreams inside their hands. I believe Langston Hughes’ poems are an excellent connection to what Certo refers to as “teaching great poetry.” They are abstract enough to create opportunities for higher order thinking skills, but they are also concrete enough for students to understand what is going on.  Presentation is important so that students are inspired to try their own peoms ( Certo, 2004). Which is why talking about different phrases in the poems and their meaning is important.  Also studying about a poet gives students an understanding about how to appreciate and love poetry (Elliott, 2008). More specifically I like Hughes’ poems because they talk about a time in history that relates to civil rights. Both authors make a point to talk about how poetry can build vocabulary. Mini vocabulary lessons can be built into poetry. Pretty soon students are seeing and hearing new words that help build their vocabulary comprehension.

The benefits of poetry are tremendous! Whether you read Shel Silverstein or Langston Hughes, students start to enter a new realm of literature!

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Response to Reading January 26, 2010

As I was reading this week’s information, a couple of things really became clear. First of all I thought back to when I was teaching first grade. I would try to go through the writer’s workshop cycle that was given to us. I even tried building up lists for the students to use while writing, but it never failed. I would say, “What are you going to write about today?” The students would then respond with, “Uh, I don’t know.”  Then my brilliant idea of writing for the day would go down the drain. This happened a lot. The truth is, I never became comfortable with the process.

While I read the article written by Donald Graves, I was enlightened and recharged with a newer outlook. He said, “Until we begin to help our children connect with themselves, the choices they make will be based on quick decisions.” Which reminds me why the Writer’s notebook is so important, It helps the students become connected to why it is important to write and pretty soon it is just automatic.

I started to take a further look at how the writing process might look in my classroom. I thought about the mini-lessons I might teach to my Kindergarteners. I would definitely have to make the mini-lessons an important part of the process.  I think I would assess the needs of where the students are in the writing process. As I mentioned, I have some that are writing and some that are barely beginning, so I would certainly have to do a lot of modeling. My independent writing time might have to be more guided and less time at first. I think 15 to 20 minutes. I would want to provide a lot of support to my students in beginning.

As I just wrote about the process I am feeling a little apprehensive. In the past I have mostly given the prompts to my students to write about. I think in the business of the day, it was just easier to give a prompt. I became really used to it too. As I refer back to the article by Graves, he reminds me that choice is meaningless unless we show our students how to do it. So I am starting to get the point! I need to just let go and try it! If my students see me writing, then they will follow after me. If I am writing WITH my students, then it brings on a whole different atmosphere. Once again the words of Donald Graves echoed in me, “A teacher who shows what she is trying to learn through writing isn’t afraid to ask children what they are trying to learn through their own writing.”

After being enlightened and feeling like this was something I am going to do in my class, I read the HOT Blogging article by Lisa Zawilnski. A whole new aspect was coming into play for me. Since online communication has become essential to reading comprehension (Zawlinski, 2009), I need to start thinking of ways to incorporate this 21st Century skill into the reading and writing process. I thought I could put to test the idea that Graves so eloquently wrote about and start writing and communicating to parents through a classroom blog. I could include a section where parents and their children start to respond to a prompt together, while I am working in the classroom on the writer’s notebook.

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Post 1 for January 20, 2010

I want to talk about my thoughts on the writer’s notebook and how I am thinking about using it for my classroom. Before we get started with all of that, I need to say this idea is not new to me. I have kept a personal journal since I was six years old. I remember it was a pink journal with a little lock on it. I remember my first entry still to this day. I was playing baseball outside with my friends. I was up to bat, the ball missed the bat and hit my nose. I had a huge bloody nose after that and really do not like to play baseball so much anymore. What I have loved about journal writing is that I have never forgotten details of special times or how I felt on certain days when I was 13, because I have it all recorded. Journals are my personal history. I believe I have 45 volumes from my life time. So, this idea of keeping a writer’s notebook has completely agreed with me! I like recording my thoughts, favorite quotes and ideas on a regular basis in one place. It has been an easy transition for me! I certainly see the benefits of my Kindergarteners writing in their own Writer’s Notebook

Elliott talks about how writer’s notebooks help students “start collecting seeds by reording bits and pieces of their own life”. I believe this is an important ideas because my Kindergartener’s need to be able to start somewhere. I think it will be a great way for them to get introduced to the concept of writing. I like what Fletcher has to say about how it gives students a ” place to react to their world, to make that all-important personal connection. Since some of my Kindergartener’s are barely writing and some of them have just started, having a writer’s notebook will provide them with the opportunity to start exploring. They can start with finding things from the environment to write down and move to sentences and ideas as they develop as writer’s. It seems like a safe place to explore and get to know more about themselves as writer’s. It would be nice for them to form these habits early and become interested in writing at a young age.

I think the only way to launch the notebook is to actually just do it! I will probably do a class writer’s notebook to. This type of shared writing will give them examples of what can be done. Plus we do a lot of shared writing in the first place. It only seems natural for the class to have a notebook too. I can model what goes in the notebook as well as show them mine.

I had not thought about making a dictionary for Kindergarteners. I might include sight words, words of interest to them as well as theme base words we are working on. The actually notebook would just be the notebook itself. So I think I need to look further into the organization of the notebook.

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