Thursday, October 23, 2014

Young Adult Literature Database

Way back in 2006, I announced a wiki that was going to catalog Young Adult Literature with helpful information for teachers, modeled after an assignment in my Adolescent Literature class at Colorado State University.

Which is cool and all (at least, I thought so), but it wasn't ideal, because you couldn't search for books, and no one else really listed any, so maybe it was a silly idea, or maybe the wiki was clunky, or maybe putting in all that information on a book you read was too time consuming (and it is, for sure - partially why I got a C on the assignment).

However, if you could search it, there would be some major benefits.  You could find books on specific topics or with specific themes, and have a reliable plot synopsis from another teacher, along with range of appeal, the lexile, and thought questions that a class might address.

So, now you can.  And you can also add or update the records of books you've read.  And it's easier than a wiki.  And you don't have to fill out every field.  Do what you can and someone else can come along and finish it off.

But, if this is a silly idea, there's also a link to the LibraryThing tagmash, which is where I go to find books on a particular topic for book clubs and literature circles.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How to Use Your Summer for Lesson Planning

The National Writing Project is putting on a Connected Learning MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) this summer.

I first learned about Connected Learning through an #engchat on Twitter led by Seecantrill.  So far, as I understand it, Connected Learning uses digital tools to break down classroom walls - learning takes place in the classroom, but continues outside the classroom, thanks, in part, to social media and other tools that can be used to share ideas.  I don't know if that's completely right.  In fact, just now looking up what NWP calls it, it's much more than that: "Connected Learning is a model of learning that holds out the possibility of reimagining the experience of education in the information age.  It draws on the power of today's technology to fuse young people's interests, friendships, and academic achievement through experiences laced with hands-on production, shared purpose, and open networks."  Here's their infographic that explains it so much better than I do.  [UPDATE: I forgot to mention my one concern with this - around 25% of my students don't have cell phones/text/data plans or computer access outside of school.  So all of their out-of-classroom learning needs to take place face to face?]

So week one was to make a "How To . . ."  This was a good "get to know you" activity - some made "makes" that were "How to be so-and-so."  Others taught a skill they knew something about.  Here's mine (better late than never):

This week is learning through the use of memes.  I believe mine is academic, and should appeal to the students I had last year:

It appeals to my interests, but I don't think I can ask my students to make a meme on the sentence of the week and call it connected learning.

Look out for more memes here and whatever makes I'm assigned in coming weeks.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

QR Code Scavenger Hunt

I first got the idea for this from a conference session presented by Myron Dueck in December.  His example was with history content knowledge.  I adapted it for content knowledge on The Crucible.

We read the first three acts of The Crucible before winter break and were coming back in January to read the fourth act (in Oregon, the semester ends at the end of January).  I wanted a review of the plot before we tackled the final act.

So I created 18 multiple choice questions on the major plot points of the first three acts and grouped them in pairs as nine Google forms that wouldn't let them go on to the second question until they answered the first correctly.

Then I set it all up as a scavenger hunt using QR Codes to link to the Google forms.  Students who had smart phones and a data plan formed groups with those who didn't.  Then groups used their phones to scan the codes and answer the review questions.

Answer both questions correctly, and you'd get your next clue.

Most of the codes were posted in the school building, but my personal favorite was the one I posted across school grounds by the football stadium.

The students loved walking all the way over there.