The Power Of Technology-Skype!

skype
Photo CC: by Pearson Education

I have heard about Skype before, in fact, I have used it to video chat with my family in Mexico. However, it never crossed my mind that it was also used in the classrooms for authors to skype/chat with students. It is very clear that the new virtual world we are living in has a lot of potential to offer, such as skypping with various authors without having to leave the classroom and with them not having to travel to different states or across the country!

As a future teacher, this is something I will definitely keep in mind to use in my classroom. I am planning on teaching third grade and under. So with so much technology involved, I would have to make sure the students are properly trained on how to use the equipment properly and how to be respectful at all times while skypping with the author.  In the article, The Skyping Renaissancehttp://www.slj.com/2014/11/technology/the-skyping-renaissance/  Messner and author Marty Kelly, mentioned that ‘“A fifth grade class spent the entire 40-minute visit making faces at themselves on their monitor.” This is precisely why it is very important for teachers to acquaint the students with Skype before they visit with an author. I believe it would be very disappointing/embarrassing for both the teacher and author if everything turned into a disaster instead of a learning lesson.

seuss-quotes-1
Photo CC: by Practical Practice Management 

As I read through this article and the connection between authors and students, it reminded me of the book, Dear. Mr. Heshaw by Beverly Clearly I read about a month… In this story, we meet Leigh Botts, who is in fourth grade now. The first time Leigh wrote to Mr. Henshaw, an author of children’s book, he was in second grade. All these time until now he has kept in touch with Mr. Henshaw and through his writing, he tells him all about his life and things going on. Through his writing, Leigh asked for advice from Mr. Henshaw as to how he can become a better writer? However, I believe Leigh has not figure out that he is a great writer as he tells us and Mr. Henshaw all bout his life.

I can see a great advantage through the use of Skype in the classrooms for authors visits. As previously mentioned, it would be a great tool to use in my classroom. I believe that through this method, the children would be more engaged in their reading and eager to meet and talk to various authors! If I had the opportunity to meet an author, I would love to meet Judy Schachner, author of the Skippyjon Jones books. Her books are great, incorporate Spanish words, and most important of all, they include humor!

Skippyjon Jones
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Why Are Read Alouds So Important?

Read alouds are very important, especially for young children as they help expand their vocabulary. As a future teacher, it will be very important to introduce the students to read alouds at the beginning of the year and to keep a daily routine. What can read alouds offer to students? As Franki mentions in her blog, http://readingyear.blogspot.com/2014/09/building-read-aloud-routine-in-3rd-grade.html read alouds “is the time when we come together around a book and enjoy it together. But it is far more than enjoying a book. Our conversations help us build and grow our thinking and give us strategies for understanding longer, more complex books.  I know if the conversation is to grow over the course of the year, I need to choose books carefully for read aloud.” I do believe read alouds bring the students together as they discuss and share what they have been reading. It also introduces the children to various authors and levels of reading. Involving students in their choice of reading is also very important as it gives them the power to choose books according to their taste.

I have had the opportunity to read many books and explore various authors this semester. Some of these books have been great, and others I have not enjoyed too much. Having to choose 10 books is hard since there has been many great books. Here are some of the books I would recommend to other readers… however, let me tell you that there is not theme to them, but they are great books!

Out of all these books, the ones I enjoyed the most are Amelia Bedelia and the Surprise Shower, all the Froggy books, Mr. Burke is Berserk, Number the Stars, Touching Spirit Bear, and of course, Love You Forever which was a book that was given to me by my friend when I was pregnant. I have read this book several times and every time I read it, I enjoy it more and more.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

These two books were great and funny. Definitely do recommend them to children in first through third grade. (Both of these books are I can read book, level 2. Which it is a reading with help and it has engaging stories, longer sentences, and language play for developing readers.) I also do recommend them to adults, it is guaranteed they will laugh because of the silly things the characters do, especially in the Amelia Bedelia book!

amelia
Photo CC: by amazon.com

Amelia Bedelia and the surprise Shower by Peggy Parish, pictures by Barbara Siebel Thomas

All the commotion started when Amelia Bedelia learned that the Rogers were going to have a surprise wedding “shower” for Alma. However, no one ever imagine that the party was going to be ruined by Amelia Bedelia because she ironically misunderstood what the Rogers ordered her to get ready. “Mrs. Rogers came in with a bunch of flowers. “‘Amelia Bedelia, she said, use the large silver bowl for the cut flowers.”‘ Instead of Amelia Bedelia putting the flowers on a silver vase, she and Alcolu, her cousin, cut the flowers into a million pieces and put them into a silver trophy. As the story goes on, many ironic circumstances continue to happen. Eventually, Alma is extremely happy with her shower!

flat stanley
Photo CC: by Harper Collins Publishers

FLAT STANLEY and the Haunted House by Jeff Brown and Lori Haskins Houran Pictures by Macky Pamintuan

This book was not as funny as the Amelia Badelia book, but it was still good. The school was having a halloween party and flat Stanley was super excited to dress up and go through the haunted house. His brother, Arthur, also goes to the halloween party dressed as a monster. All of a sudden, Stanley sees his friend, Martin, who was crying. A bully had taken his big corn candy he had won. Stanley and his brother face the bully. Read the book to find out what is going to happen…

 

 

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

The following books are about halloween. I had chosen them last week being that halloween was coming up. However, I completely forgot about them, until now. They are super cute and I definitely do suggest them. I would suggest these books for a second grader.

its raining bats and frogsIT’S RAINING BATS & FROGS

Written by Rebecca Colby and Illustrated by Steven Henry

This was such a great book with lots of rhyming. Delia, a witch was super excited about flying at the annual halloween parade. Unfortunately, it started raining and now she is trying to solve the problem. However, with each solution that comes to her mind, a new problem also arises. Finally, she gives up, and gets the rain back, after all, a little rain never hurt anyone. This is a great book with lots of colorful illustrations.

Scary, Scary Halloweenscary scary halloween

Written by Eve Bunting and pictures by Jan Bret

And I continue with the halloween books and this one was such a great choice as well. In a way, it is similar to IT’S RAINING BATS AND FRONGS, since both of them have lots of rhyming and lots of colorful illustrations using orange, black, and purple. Halloween is here, and everything looks scary, you must hide and not be seen. A ghost, a skeleton, a vampire, a werewolf, witches, and many more scary creatures come out. All of a sudden she says, ‘”Little ones, stay safe inside! It’s best to stay at home and hide on hallowed halloween.”‘ But who is she talking to? Would you stay inside or dare to go out and see all these scary creatures!

otter loves halloweenOTTER Loves Halloween!

Written by Sam Garton

Otter was super excited about halloween and couldn’t  wait to pick pumpkins, decorate his house, and make scary costumes. He made many costumes for his friends and for himself. Tricker Treaters came to his house, but his costumes were not scary enough, so he decided to make new scary ones. Find out what happens when bedtimes comes…

 

Reading Challenge Check-in…

IMG_2150.JPGWell, my reading challenge has definitely been a challenge for me. Apparently it is easier to say I will be accomplishing many things, than to actually getting it done; all of it! For my reading challenge I decided to read the Froggy series books. I have actually read most of them and have definitely enjoyed them.

Along with the Froggy books, I decided to also read, Reading in the Wild, which is more of a long lecture book, but with lots of information for us future teachers and what we can do in order to help our students love to read and enjoy books. Along with all of these books, I have also added more books in between reading these books.

In regards to my progress, I would rate myself at a 75 to 80% with my challenge. I have continued going to the library and have found many great books which I have enjoyed reading them with my son. He also continues to bring books from his school and we definitely enjoy reading them together. What can I do in order to continue accomplishing my reading challenge? I have asked myself many times. I have found myself many times falling asleep on the first or second page, which that is not good. Since I work the graveyard shifts, it is very hard to stay awake throughout my reading process, but I am trying. One of the tips I learned from Reading in the Wild, was to have several books all over the house and this way whenever I have free time, even five minutes, use this time wisely and get some reading done. I have to say it has worked pretty good. Even last time when I was at the airport waiting for my mom and did not have a book, I ended up reading one of my sons books, Mr. Burke is Berserk. This was a different book, but I ended up enjoying it.

I hope everyone else is also is doing well with their reading challenge…keep up the good work fellow classmates.

Diverse Books Are A Must In The Classroom!

diversity book
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After reading the article, Here I Am, by Brian Pinkney, it is brought to my attention once again that nowadays melting pot is continuing to expand in the classrooms. However, according to Pinkney and Lisa G. Kropp who wrotethe article, Preschool and the Income Gap: Libraries Must Step Up to Serve Children of Color | First Steps,  clearly state that libraries, schools, and the government are not keeping up with diverse books for children.

When children are introduced into the wonderful and magical world of reading at an early age, they will grow up loving to read and actually getting lost in the reading world. However, it is very unfortunate that not all children are exposed to books, especially those of color and low income. As a color author and illustrator, Pinkney writes books hoping to get diverse races interested in his books, not just black kids. This is exactly what happened with his book, Max Found Two Sticks. “There’s still an assumption that picture books with black kids (especially black boys) as their central characters, can only appeal to a limited segment of the population.” says Pinkney. I guess it is very important not to judge a books by its cover. Through this book, Pinkney allows his readers to see beyond the color of skin of a person. He shows how a young boy is able to overcome many obstacles in his life and is able to communicate with the world as he discovers his power through his own unique form of self-expression.

In the second article, Kropp brings to our attention the lack of support from schools, the government and libraries towards those children who fall under the poor category. It is very important for them to search out the non-traditional users and target outreach to groups that aren’t utilizing these services. The article also talks about how many hispanic  children do not get the same “privileges” as white children do. Sometimes it could be because of the language barrier, lack of knowledge and education, or simply because many do not know this and many other services exists to them.

I have personally been through a similar situation. When my family and I moved to the United States back in 1999, none of us knew how to speak English, we did not even know how to say hello. Although I attended class just like the other students, I was secluded from many actives, including reading because I was lacking the language. I clearly remember getting a para to help me with my reading. I started reading books for infants and toddlers which only had a few words and many pictures. I can definitely identify myself with many of these students! As a future teacher, I am planning on including a wider diversity of books for my students.

 

It is Monday! What are you reading?

I went to the library in search for more Froggy books this afternoon, unfortunately, I only found two. So I decided to bring two more books from the same author, Jonathan London. The illustrations London uses in his books are very colorful and appealing to the young readers, as well as to adults. The fun words he uses throughout the books are entertaining as well. Such words are: whoosh, yes, splash, slop, blue, zap, etc. These books are appropriate for first or second graders.

duck and hippo
Photo CC: by Amazon.com

Duck and Hippo In The Rainstorm

This is a book that will definitely teach young children what friendship is and how nice it is to share what you have with your friends, in this case the two odd friends, Duck and Hippo share an umbrella when they go for a walk on a rainy afternoon. During this walk, the two friends experience many adventurous events.

 

 

 

 

froggy plays t-ball
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Froggy Plays T-Ball

Another super cute story about Froggy! This time Froggy starts to play T-Ball and his father is the coach. On the way to the game, his dad reminds him of the steps when he hit the ball; “First, run to first. Second, run to second. Third, run to third. Then run home!  It is obvious that Froggy does not know how to play this game, especially, when he swings and lets go of the bat hitting Max in the head. Towards the end of the game, after hitting the ball far, Froggy does just what his dad told him. However, after third base, instead of running to home base, he started running to his real home. Frogilina yelled, “Not your home, silly! Home plate!”

lets go froggy
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Let’s Go Froggy! 

Froggy wants to go on a bike ride with his father. However, overtime he is about to step outside, he wants to bring a new item with him. The problem is, he does not know where he has left anything. This is when his father tells him that “it should be where he left them last!” Read the book to find out if Froggy will ever get to go on his bike ride…

 

sun dance water dance
Photo CC: by Amazon.com

Sun Dance Water Dance

Summer has finally gotten here and the children can’t wait to go outside and enjoy the many adventures which can be done in the summer. Swimming, walking on the edge of the water, looking at nature, and many other things are fun things the children get to do! The illustrations and beautiful colors in this book are just astonishing. I love the color choice for each page. It helps to describe what is going on and the warm colors also help to welcome the children into reading.

What Am I Currently Reading?

using tech in the classroom
Phot CC: by Constant Contact 

Well, the book that I mostly focused on reading this weekend is not necessarily children’s literature. For my other class, we had to read two long chapters and choose categories to write about. In the book, Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, by Pitler, Hubbell, and Kuhn, chapter five talks about using linguistic form (as language) and nonlinguistic form (as mental images and physical sensations) in the classroom. I talked about using the nonlinguistic form and how to incorporate various applications and programs.

As future teachers it is very important to remember and to keep in mind that every students is different and thus will learn differently; which includes learning styles. Personally, I have always been a visual learner, I have to see information in order to remember better, than just hearing about it. Visual learners are able to retain information better when they have the opportunity to see visual examples such as picture or diagrams, videos, written examples and directions, among other things. This chapter talks about nonlinguistic representations, and about the many “representations which enhance students’ ability to use mental images to represent and elaborate on knowledge, such as nonlinguistic representations” (mental images and physical sensations) (Pitler, Hubbell, and Kuhn p.p. 105). Lets keep in mind that nonlinguistic representation also includes kinesthetic and many type of learners as well.

Thinking about it, this nonlinguistic form definitely relates to children and reading. When children are beginning to learn to read, having illustrations in the books actually helps them to better understand what is going on and many times it helps to guide them with their reading as well. I actually remember when my son was beginning to read and he would rely on the pictures in order to continue his reading when he was not sure how to pronounce a word. I believe it is very important to expose children to the various ways of learning.

After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right…?

What Did I Recently Finish Reading?

Mr. Burke is Bersek
Photo CC: by Harpercollins Publishers

Yesterday I drove two hours to get my mother from the airport. Unfortunately, I forgot all my reading materials at the house. I got to the airport 3o minutes early, and I knew I had to do something to kill time, Facebook was not an option. I was definitely regretting that I forgot all my books at home when I have so much reading to do! After waiting and waiting more than 30 minutes, I learned the flight was delayed two hours! Good thing I had made the choice to read one of the books my son had in his reading portfolio.

Mr. Burke Is Berserk, by Dan Gutman was an interesting book, I have to say that even today I am not sure if I ended up liking it or not. One fact is that it did make me laugh several times since its genre is hilarious, and silly words were used as well. As I read through the book, I kept wondering if my son, who is seven years and in second grade, was actually understanding the words when he was reading this book. (Because the characters all of a sudden started talking like people from the South used to in the 1950s during the Gold rush). An example is, ‘”well, Ah’ll be dogged,” Mr. Burke said. “Mah great-great-grandpappy lived over yonder back in ’48. He told me there was a heap a gold left in the ground after the big gold rush ended. And Ah reckon it was right here!”‘ (p.p 61). Personally, this type of language would definitely completely confuse me, and I believe it could get some young readers/children confuse as well. However, I do have to say the illustrations through out the book also help the reader to better understand what is going on. (Illustrations are black and white only). I believe this book would be more appropriate for a fourth or fifth grader because of its language and form of expression. Also, the fact that there are several pages which talk about zombies eating the kids brains, Mr. Burke, the groundskeeper, killing kids with a chainsaw, using the word stupid, I hate math, and many other graphic words (for lack of a better word), make this book more appropriate for an older mature reader.

Everything started to change at Ella Mentry School when Mayor Hubble decided to fire the art and music teacher and to make budged and services cuts in the school in order to stop “spending” so much money. He comes up with many silly solutions which definitely make the reader giggle. One day, when Mayor Hubble decided to get rid of the swings, slides, balls, and to cut the monkey bars at the school to rent them, everything changed. All of a sudden, Mr. Burke, the school groundskeeper who had also been fired by the mayor, started digging underneath where the monkey bars used to be, and to everyones surprise, he found Gold! Also, the weirdest thing in the history of the world happened, Mr. Burke also found “Gilver,” which was a mixture of gold and silver. When these events happened, the book takes a different turn and many new events continue happening.

Check this book out to find out what happened. Will the kids be able to get their play ground back? Their school materials? And most important of all, will the music and art program come back to the school?

It is Monday! What are you reading?

reading in the wildDonalyn Miller has said many things that totally make sense, both as a reader and as a future teacher. I have continued reading the book, Reading in the Wild, and the author has brought up many great points about how to get students to enjoy reading. The book starts by introducing the five key points every wild reader should do/follow…

Chapter 1- Dedicate time to read

Every student needs to spend quality time reading inside and outside school. As teachers we need to set time apart for the students to spend reading. It is also very important treat all students the same, including those who need the extra help.

Chapter 2- Self-select reading material

Isn’t wonderful when we as readers get the opportunity to choose our own reading material according to our interests? When students get this opportunity, they are more encouraged to continue with their reading, as they have the freedom to make choices.

Chapter 3- Share books and reading with other readers

Share a community of readers. Those people who like to read, also enjoy sharing their reading material with other people. This is a great opportunity to share, discuss, and find  reading material. A great example of this, is using WordPress, Feedley, Twitter, and Goodreads among other sites to share good books with other people.

Chapter 4- Have reading plans

It is important for readers to learn how to choose a book  and to know why they want to read it. Setting goals for yourself and having a plan to read beyond your current book will pursue the person to continue reading more and more books the minute they get done with one. But how does this happen? A good strategy is continuing with the same author, same series, recommended books, or simply books that catch your interest!

Chapter 5- Share preferences for genres, authors, and topics

Having the freedom to choose your own reading material is more exciting that being told what you have to read! However, this chapter talks about how to challenge students to expand their reading horizons. It is also very important for students to try something new in their reading, such as a change in author, and fiction or nonfiction books.

It is extremely important for every child to get a “taste” of reading in order to become a lifelong reader and to succeed in the outside world! I believe that if students are introduced to the wonderful world of reading at an early age, they will begin to learn to love and enjoy the world of reading.