Cat's Corner

Thursday, February 02, 2006

An idea for teaching with Night John

Night John deals with relationships, adventure and historical fiction. A few suggestions/ideas for teaching using this novel would be Language Arts, Social Studies and Georgraphy.
If looking at the characters in the story - ask a question for example, where did the three main characters get their strength to go on in day to day life?

If we concentrate on the time in which this story was written as a class, students could look into similar novels. To name a few Underground Railway and Underground to Canada. These novels deal with groups of people searching for freedom.

Geography would be interesting, student could map out directions give through the songs sang. The songs guided the slaves to freedom. They used stars, waterways, mountian and other landformations. They were not allowed to read or write, however, in Night John, he was teaching the people to read and write.

This novel could be used in many lessons even for cultural studies.
I really enjoyed this book

Connecting Children's Stories to Children's Literature: Meeting Diversity Needs

I found this article interesting. I am a firm believer that each child brings with them their own experiences and each have a gift to offer to the classroom, just as a teacher or parent does.

The idea of oral storytelling ahs been a way of sharing ones culture since Hurodist told of events happening in towns as he journey through them 100s of years ago.

The article goes onto state as children tell their stories, teachers gain insight of the childs prior knowledge. As educators we need to help the students grow and experince diverse cultural backgrounds represented by the class. Students will learn more from other classmates sharing thier stories about family and home life. A connection will form because each can relate to the previous story with one of their own.

"By offering students positive,diverse experiences that open their minds to new and different worlds, educators are allowing children the opportunity to expand their own minds within the realm of the classroom and the world at large." (48)

As teachers we need to allow the students to use oral language it helps in developing literacy as well as define themselves.

The Case of The Three Robbers

In this article, I found it interesting to read on how students were making a connection to what was being taught to their own lives. A students prior knowledge can play a role on their learning journey which takes place inside and outside of the classroom. One of the most important things that we as teachers need to keep in mind is that they are making connections within their world.

The teacher in the article was a great resource provider forthe students and aided in helping them understand and explore the connections of what students are studying to their real life.

As a new teacher, and I experienced a few teachable moments, which are awesome when they happen. If I could suggest one thing allow the students to share and discuss their feelings, we can all learn from our own students in the future. Remember to be open and take the opportunity when it appears in your lesson, ignore the clock if possible.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Literature Bibliography Book #4

Number the Stars
By Lois Lowry

Another great novel by Lowry, it deals with a historical look at a time where the Jewish people were being sought out be the Nazis in the the 1940s. It is about one Jewish family who try to protect their daughter by having her move in with family friends-who are not Jewish. This puts this family in danger as well. The adventure takes part in Denmark with the hope of a safe journey to Sweden.

This novel would be good for grades 3/4, however I would focus on grade 4 Social Studies, dealing with world events WWII. Can use geography mapping out routes prewar and postwar. A cultural study can be done by using the reference of the star of David in the novel.

Literature Bibliography Book #3

Charlotte's Web

By E.B. White

Here is a classic novel. It deals with friendship. Where a pig called Wilbur and his friend a spider named Charlotte, speak to each other and care for one anothers well being.
The adventures along with Wilbur's fate - would be dinner - are exciting to young readers.
This novel would be a great read aloud for the younger grades and I believe a novel study and a literature circle would work for grades 4-6.
If we look at the IRP's for grade 4 Comprehend and Respond (critical Analysis) -show empathy for characters by projecting thier feelings into the events portrayed in print, audio, and visual works.

Literature Bibliography Book #2

"The Geedy Triangle"
Marilyn Burns (1995)

Where to begin with this book, it is a great one to read aloud before starting a Geometry lesson. Triangles are sometimes happy with themselves and other times, they are not. The Greedy Triangle is about a triangle who asks a shapeshifter to change him/her to many different shapes from a quadrilateral and later a pentagon. Every shape that has more angles and sides then his/her three. This triangle realizes that more sides and angles are not always the best or even better than a triangle.

This book is a great way to introduce or build on students prior knowledge of geometric shapes. Great for math lessons. Students could even do an geometry walk around the school yard to spot the many shapes and angles. If it was use for Language Arts the student could write their own adventure for the triangle to go on. I would use this particular book for grades 2-3

Multicultural Book

"Ghost Train"
Paul Yee (1996)
I chose the book "Ghost Train for my multicultural book review because of its setting in Canada more importantly it has historical value dealing with British Columbia.
The characters are of Chinese culture. There are two main characters Choon-yi and her father (Ba). Ba goes to North America to make a life for his family, he works on the rai lway and Choon-yi stays in China selling her paintings at the market until she gets a letter and money from her father to join him. Choon-yi arrives in British Columbia and learns of her fathers death while working on the railway.
He comes to her in a dream sequence with many requests that Chooni-yi fullfills. The adventure takes her back to China in the end.
This story would be suitable for grades 3 -5. I would use this book in Social Studies lessons on Canada or British Columbia or with lessons on the Chinese cultures experiences in a new country. I would also intergrae it with Fine Art and have the students paint their own version of the steam engine using water colours to give the pictures a haunting appearance

Literature Bibliography Book #1

"Northern Lights-The Soccer Trails"
Michael Arvaarluk

"Northern Lights-The Soccer Trails" is a story about an Inuit family and the community. It deals with the lose of a little girls mother. The little girl misses her mother very much. While watching the community soccer game on the ice, with the Northern lights dancing across the sky she ask her Grandmother what caused the sky to move. Grandmothers reply was that it is the spirits of the Inuit people who had past. They were running across the sky playing soccer....

This book works great for Social Studies and Language Arts. I used it for grades 1-5. I used it for a unit on Canada and for a Fine Arts project. The blending of chalk to make the Northern Lights. One could also go into folk tales and different cultural beliefs or myths

Read Aloud

"Brenda and Edward" by Maryann Kovalski
"Brenda and Edward" is a good book to be read to students around Valentines Day. The book is about 2 dogs who are best friends. One day Edward forgets his lunch for work and Brenda runs after hime, but she gets lost. In a turn of events Brenda ends up living in the country. Edward is lonely and misses his friend until one day . . ..
This story is suitabel for grades 1-3. A link to the curriculum woulb be to describe what it is to be a friend and what it means to have a best friend. This covers Language Arts-Comprehend and Respond. A activity suggestion have students write a few sentences about a friend and to draw a picutre to go with it.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Literature memories

I must admit it has been a long time since I took a trip down memory lane. As I journey though I do remember fondly the Little Red Ridinghood story being told to me.
I have a huge attachment to the story, it was told orally by my father.

The one thing that made it special to me was that he told it in German and many times he would act it out. I always laughed and tried to repeat it in German back to him. I was not that successful. There was a time 10 years ago after he had heart surgery, I sat beside his bed and started reciting the story in my broken German it made him smile.

Today it is our story still and he tells it to me and yes, I still laugh, it never gets old and for a time neither do we.

I also remember our family vacations every summer, be it to Vancouver Island, Okanagan or across Canada, my mother would read to my brothers and myself the Hardy Boys or the Bobbies Twins. My youngest brother would get so upset when mom took a break never mind when dad wanted to stop because that meant we had to wait to hear what happened next. Those were the simpler joys of my life before computers and other technologies moved in.

Reading these last 6 years have been mainly for course work not pleasure. My favourite author is John Grisham I have all his novels. I have been trying to read over the summer breaks but not too successful. "The Last Juror" has been on the go since 2004 I guess there is always next summer.

Friday, January 13, 2006

This is a test I am going to get this one way or another.
I will not let a computer beat me :)