Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Myth: Why is There High Tide?

There once was an inland village that was very plentiful. The people were very happy, and never went without food. One year, the village endured a long drought that caused many of the people in the village to starve. Many would die if they went without food for much longer. One little girl began to pray to the moon for her family. For that whole month, whenever she saw the moon in the sky, she prayed for food. On the night of the full moon, the tides rose and pushed through the land all the way to the village. It flooded their fields until the ground was soaked. It did this every night for the next month. The city became prosperous again, and the little girl's family was saved. Now whenever the moon is in the sky, the tides rise.

The Worth of Historical Fiction in the Classroom

My biggest takeaway from Historical Fiction for Children by Leland B. Jacobs is how priceless the use of historical fiction can be in the classroom.

The Historical Benefit

Historical fiction provides a medium through which the reader can live in another time. They are able to feel the spirit of the time and are able to have perspective and make judgments on the past.

The Appeal

As long as he story is not too picturesque, to the point where history is being distorted, the high appeal of historical fiction can actually make kids want to learn about history. It has a romantic appeal of what was and cannot be again, no matter how irrational. Look at all the crazy people who want to go back to the 1950s where there is less medicine, segregation/ high levels of racism and little to no rights for women. However, the novelty interests them. For these reasons historical fiction is invaluable in the classroom.

Using Fever 1793 in a Classroom

I couldn't remember reading much historical fictional as a kids so I actually had to look up a list on Goodreads to see if I had read ANY children's historical fiction. When I saw this title I was flooded with memories.
I found this book in my classroom in 5th or 6th grade and decided I wanted to read it. Not for an assignment just for casual reading. For most people, including myself, it is difficult to stick with a book that doesn't interest you. So as a kid if I wasn't sucked into the world of the book, I won't read it, but for some reason, I could not stop reading this book. The Goodreads summary reads:
"It's late summer 1793, and the streets of Philadelphia are abuzz with mosquitoes and rumors of fever. Down near the docks, many have taken ill, and the fatalities are mounting. Now they include Polly, the serving girl at the Cook Coffeehouse. But fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook doesn't get a moment to mourn the passing of her childhood playmate. New customers have overrun her family's coffee shop, located far from the mosquito-infested river, and Mattie's concerns of fever are all but overshadowed by dreams of growing her family's small business into a thriving enterprise. But when the fever begins to strike closer to home, Mattie's struggle to build a new life must give way to a new fight-the fight to stay alive."

How this book drew me in, I'm not sure, but it definitely left a mark on me. Though I read it so many years ago, I still remember that this is the book that taught me that if you bite your cheek, it can stop you from crying; a habit I still do today.

Implementation in the Classroom (Late Elementary Level)

I would use this in the classroom as an invitation into this time period in the classroom. While the country was just starting a people not much older than those in the classroom were faced with these monstrous challenges. I would emphasize different parts of the American culture during this time by using example from the book. I can show pictures of Philadelphia at the time when the Yellow Fever struck. I would also us this novel to invite students to write about inferred character descriptions. I would love to use this novel to teach characterization.

The Legend of Hua Mulan

My favorite piece of traditional literature (as a child and now) hands down is The Legend of Hua Mulan; The Disney version of course, the real version is actually quite depressing.
The summary according to IMDB is:
"To save her father from death in the army, a young maiden secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China's greatest heroines in the process."
While I learned about this legend through the Disney movie, and not the literature itself, it definitely helped to develop my creativity. Prior to learning about Mulan, I knew nothing of the rest of the world. Mulan was the force that drove me to want to learn about other cultures because it was my first experience with a culture that could be so drastically different from my own(even if it is not all accurate). Seeing the world as something totally different than the one I knew also sparked my curiosity for fantasy. Knowing that something so different is a possibility encouraged me to think outside of the box and in turn to become a more creative person.

My Most Memorable Fable

Growing up, fables didn't really have much interest for me. I mean, they still kinda don't. Their basic purpose is to teach a life lesson, which isn't exactly fun. While I don't have a favorite fable, I do have one that is the most memorable; The Tortoise and The Hare. This fable tells the story of two animals that obviously have a huge difference in speed, but decide to race anyway. The hare believes that the tortoise could never beat him, so he stops after darting off in the beginning of the race. Because the tortoise is slow and constant, he ends up winning the race, creating the moral, "Slow and steady wins the race." I'm unsure why this fable is most memorable to me. It could be because it is so widely known and repeated or it could be because I'm not the most athletically inclined person, and its nice to see someone who matches my athletic potential win.

Using Children's Books As Models: McElveen & Dierking Response

My greatest take away from this article is reflected by the title; children's books should be used as models. The daily mini-lesson often requires precise demonstration, and simply modeling that skill to your students, and expecting them to emulate it is not realistic. We need "a bridge to link the model to students' ability to write independently and confidently"and children's books are that gateway. In addition, using children's picture books is a great way to evoke students' interests. Children's books come in various topics and drawing them into an example that they a interested in makes the learning process much easier and occur almost naturally.

Where the Wild Things Are: Classroom Activity

As a child, I would take out about 15 picture books every time I went to the library. I must've been like 6 or 7 so my poor mother had to carry them all. However, the only book I can really remember enjoying is, Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
This is why I chose this book for my picture book activity.
For the activity, I would first read the books (obviously).
Afterwards we would discuss the book and some of it's lessons, like not judging  book by its cover, and the fact that its okay to be silly sometimes. For our primary focus, we will talk about some of the adjectives and characteristics used to describe the monsters in this picture book
For this activity, I would have students use descriptive terms to write about their own monsters
Though it is not it's original purpose, I found a handout that would work perfectly for my activity.

This handout will be where the student
 can draw the top part of their monster