Thursday, May 20, 2010

Downing's Visit Shows the Importance of Web 2.0 in the Classroom

Author, Erin Downing visited The Reading Workshop blog last week.  She commented on a book talk about Prom Crashers by Hadley.  This was an extremely important event for all of the students, and especially for Hadley.  

Students have worked throughout the year, with technology being integrated into everything they do in language arts.  I have continually stressed the importance of high quality work, and we have had many discussions about how work published on the Internet can be viewed by anyone.  This was never more evident than when Downing took the time to watch the book talk, and then comment.

It's ironic how so many little events led up to this memorable one.  Several years ago, computers became a tool used daily in Reading Workshop.  We started with word processing, built a class wiki, used Study Island online learning, and eventually started student blogs.  This year, after I watched a session on Book Talks by David Hayward from ITSCO, I started having students use a Flip Video Camera to film their book talks. 

Although there are many benefits to using Web 2.0 tools for learning, none can top having the author of a book take the time to comment on a student's work.  It shows the power of blogging and how an online presence can contribute to students' education and motivate them to the highest level of success. With the use of technology in the classroom, an author can visit online and have a positive impact on students that read her book.

Thank you Mrs. Downing for making the effort to interact with The Reading Workshop, and for recognizing the work of Hadley.   A few minutes of your time helped make a memory that will last a lifetime. 

The Schwa Was Here Book Talk

The Schwa was Here, written by Neal Shusterman is a story of friendship with a twist of invisible.  This book talk is presented by Hadley.   To see all of The Reading Workshop book talk videos, you can visit The Reading Workshop Book Talk Wiki page.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Does Integrity Matter to a Sixth Grader?

Integrity--Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.

The Mad River Theater performed at Laurelville on Wednesday.   They did a play written by Bob Lucas about Lewis Latimer, an African American Inventor who lived in the late 1800's.  The play recapped Latimer's life, his struggles and his successes.

The performance ended with the song, Honesty, Integrity, and Pride.  These character traits were representative of Latimer's life.  This prods the question, does integrity matter to a sixth grader?  Should it?  

Thinking back to the read aloud of Freak the Mighty, and having watched the film, The Mighty, I was thinking about Kevin's view of integrity.  How does it compare to yours?  In a few words, does your integrity guide how you live?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What's Your Story?

In Reading Workshop we are continuing the read aloud of The Revealers by Doug Wilhelm.  In this story about life in  middle school, three students, Russell, Catalina, and Elliot are drawn together due to being targets for bullies at Parkland Middle School.

As the aggression heightens, Catalina decides to share her story.  She reveals that she was forced to move to the USA from the Philippines when her parents divorce.  She comes to America with her father based on the chance for a better education.

This brings up the question for Reading Workshop students, what is your story?  If you were new to the school, and wrote a story for peers, what would it say?