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

Applying Poetry To The Classroom: Linaberger Response

Many teachers have a fear o bringing poetry into the classroom due to their own misconceptions and prior experiences with it. Some simply read the poetry, which is not enough, since students become confused by the complexity. However, teaching children to write their own poetry is not as daunting a task as it seems. 

Linaberger's Implementation

In Linaberger, the class reads the poetry and discussing it. Then, they go on to write their own. These poems can them be shared with the class and analyzed. 
In the author's own experience, they first give the students a prompt to simply write a poem. This gives them an idea of what their students perceive poetry as. The next time, she gives them a prompt to describe, if they had a third eye, what it would see. Finally, she uses the process previously described and the students effectively mimic parts of he poem. This method is so simple, but seems to have such a large impact in teaching students to both read and rite poetry.

My Implementation

I definitely would love to implement this method into my own classroom, however, there are some activities I would add.

Fill in the Blank: 

I would obviously not implement the type of fill in the blank discussed as ineffective in this article. I would use a different type of fill in the blank and I would use it primarily as a visual demonstration tool. This would show a certain number of blank spaces simply to demonstrate the number of syllables in a poem or the rhyme scheme of a poem.

Acting Out Poetry: 

I think it would be fun and effective for students to read poems to their classmates with emotion and punctuation. It not only practices their fluency when reading, but also demonstrates the fundamental of what poetry is; emotion.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Poetry Analysis

The three poems I chose to discuss were:

  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. I found one of Silverstein's books as a kids and loved it so much that I looked for more. I chose to write about this poem because he is one of my favorite poets.
  • A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes. This is arguably Langston Hughes' most well know work. He is most famous for his use of Jazz rhythms in his works.
  • A Poison Tree by William Blake. I was actually most attracted to this poem by it's title.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. 

"There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends."

The style of this poem is a limerick. This is set up in a abcccb, daeeea, eeea format which is very unique. This style puts emphasis on the center of the poem.The voice of this poem is hopeful. It starts with a bright, and fresh place that is full of life. This is contrasted with the second stanza which describes the place that the reader currently resides; a place that is dead, dark, and mysterious. The poem is closed with hope. Silverstein explains that the idealistic place from the first paragraph can be reached.

A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

"What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up 
like a raisin in the sun? 
Or fester like a sore-- 
And then run? 
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over-- 
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags 
like a heavy load. 

Or does it explode?"
This style of this poem, as discussed earlier, is similar to jazz. It's rhyme scheme is abcdcefeghh. The rhyming usually skips a line. This format shows the reader when Hughes has finished a thought and is going onto the next.
The voice of the poem seems to be coming from someone who is in a position in which their own hopes and dreams are stifled. They are wondering what will happen to all their dreams, and trying to find hope in a situation that they are not completely happy with. This poem is the poster child for personification. In this work, dreams dry up, fester, run, stink, sag, explode, etc, In addition, the poem is filled with similes.

A Poison Tree by William Blake

"I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I waterd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.
And into my garden stole.
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see,
My foe outstretchd beneath the tree."

The style of this poem is a limerick which is written in a very basic aabbcc rhyme scheme.
This poem teaches the reader how harmful and poisonous hatred can be to those around you. The tone of this poem is bitter and almost proud. The reader sees how much emotion goes into this poison tree and all the resentment the subject holds for their foe.

Poetry: Study Abroad Limerick

I decided to write my poem on a topic that has frequently been on my mind; studying abroad. I figured studying abroad would be considered an educational topic. I'll be leaving for Chile in February, and I have mixed emotions about it; nervousness, fear, longing, joy, and excitement. All of these emotions are expressed in some form in the following limerick about what it may be like on the day I leave.

The floor skids under my feet,
An unusual rhythm to which my heart beats.
A long embrace substitutes a wave;
My feet will not falter, I decide to be brave.
A smile forms under my skin,
A new adventure, soon to begin.
I find my way, surrender my slip,
And fall through my seat to a long awaited trip.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Narrative Essay: Writing Process 4

Once I was done with all my personal revisions, I exchanged papers with Heather for peer revision. When I got it back I found that there were a few errors I had missed.

1. Remove unnecessary dialogue
For example, there was a point in the story where I have a character say something, but that I trail off into explaining something else.

2. Add world/situational details
There were terms that I had not previously defined that were part of this world(since I did the fantasy genre). It was important to elaborate and give the reader more background knowledge.

3. Correct small punctual or grammatical errors
When you read over something a certain amount of times you tend to miss the small errors.

I corrected these three main errors, read through it again, and I was finished.

Narrative Essay: Writing Process 3

Finally, I could start writing. 
I wrote with as much detail as possible using the information I discussed in the last blog post. I tried to use as much vivid description as possible. I try to build up my rising action, and use as much detail as possible.

Next, I started my personal revisions. I read through about 10 times and looked for grammar errors, spelling errors, awkward sentences, and areas that needed more detail. I tried to refine the characters and setting using the five senses in order to make the image more vivid. I tried to remove some unnecessary details and add details where they were needed.