Remembering Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou visits YCP! 2/4/13Poet and author Maya Angelou died Wednesday, May 28, in her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Angelou is considered one of the finest poets of her generation. In addition, she authored several books chronicling her youth and adolescence, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Find related web resources and lesson plans on Angelou on the ReadWriteThink calendar entry for her birthday. For excerpts from an interview with Angelou, consider sharing ‘Fresh Air’ Remembers Poet And Memoirist Maya Angelou with students.

A simple way to remember Angelou in your classroom this week is to ask students to explore some resources about the author and then use one of ReadWriteThink’s interactives or mobile apps to write about her:

 

[Photo: Maya Angelou visits YCP! 2/4/13 by York College ISLGP, on Flickr]

The Evolution of Digital Texts: Bits Flashback for June 20

Gunter Somerfeld, Transmedia Development & The New World ModelJust published last week, Troy Hicks’ collection on Reading and Writing Transmedia on the National Writing Project’s Digital Is site explores how digital writing is evolving.

The collection of texts “primarily authored by Laura Fleming represents one educator’s vision of what transmedia is, and what it can be, for teachers and students learning to read and write in a digital age.” You’ll find an explanation and history of transmedia as well as example texts and pedagogical reflections.

Also out last week are these posts from Bedford Bits posts:

A Few Extra Links

For regular updates from Bedford Bits, be sure to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Have a great week!

—Traci Gardner

[Photo: Gunter Somerfeld, Transmedia Development & The New World Model by Gulltaggen, on Flickr]

Teaching Spelling Without the Sting: May 31 to June 4 on ReadWriteThink

BeeIt’s the time of year when spelling exotic words that you’d never use in day-to-day communication is all the rage. The final rounds of the Scripps Spelling Bee take place, with daily coverage on ESPN.

As I wrote in an NCTE Inbox blog post a couple of years ago, the problem is that while spelling has apparently become prime time entertainment, spelling bees still aren’t good pedagogy. A 2007 Washington Post article explains that spelling bees provide limited support to students learning about words and the ways that they work. Sue Ann Gleason, the teacher quoted in the article explains the spelling bees “honor the children who already know how to spell, but they do little to support those who need explicit instruction.”

So while the Spelling Bee may get kids and their families interested in spelling for a few days, take a look at the spelling lesson plans and activities on ReadWriteThink for ways to support every student (not just the ones who can spell funny words like weissnichtwo. And check out the calendar entries, lesson plans, and classroom activities below for more classroom-ready ideas. Have a great week!

New Resources

From the Calendar

Connecting with Other Teachers

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

[Photo: Bee by _PaulS_, on Flickr]

April 24 to 30 on ReadWriteThink

Celebrate El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros (Children's Day/Book Day)!April 30 is El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day). Developed under the leadership of author Pat Mora, this celebration focuses on providing children with books in many languages and making reading an integral part of their lives.

El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros is supported by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and REFORMA, an ALA affiliate that provides library and information services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking community.

This week on ReadWriteThink, you can find activities for El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros as well as other lesson plans and resources for timely classroom activities. Have a great week!

New Resources

From the Calendar

Connecting with Other Teachers

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us. Have a great week!

—Traci Gardner

 

April 10 to April 16 on ReadWriteThink

NASA GOES-12 Full Disk view March 30, 2010It’s nearly Earth Day! Energize students about preserving the environment with eco-friendly classroom lessons and interactive games from Thinkfinity.org.

This week on ReadWriteThink, you can find more resources for Earth Day and other poetry activities, lesson plans, and calendar resources to support you. Have a great week!

New Resources

From the Calendar

Connecting with Other Teachers

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.

 
[Photo: NASA GOES-12 Full Disk view March 30, 2010 by NASA Goddard Photo and Video, on Flickr]

April 3 to 9 on ReadWriteThink

French Lilac DetailThe first days of April always make me think of the Prologue to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, and of Whitman’s “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.”

So many April poems, it’s little wonder that April is National Poetry Month. This week, ReadWriteThink has poetry activities, lesson plans, and calendar resources to support you. Have a great week!

New Resources

From the Calendar

Connecting with Other Teachers

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us. Have a great week!

 
[Photo:French Lilac Detail by farlane, on Flickr]

Cake! Bits Flashback for April 3

Chocolate cake sliceThe solution to writer’s block is cake! A round-up of Tips for Fighting Writer’s Block, from the Inside Higher Ed’s University of Venus blog, includes everything from setting rigid deadlines to sitting down for some cake and coffee.

Cake may not be the answer to every problem, but it can’t hurt to give it a try. My suggestion for curing writer’s block? Why not take a break and read one of the new entries posted on Bedford Bits last week?

  • Holly Pappas discusses her techniques to foster a sense of curiosity, inquiry, and wonder in Learning to Ask the Questions.
     
  • A picture might be worth a thousand words. But words paired with pictures? That’s worth even more! Andrea Lunsford discusses Words . . . and Images, and teaching graphic novels.
     
  • What role does the Writing Center play in Writing-About-Writing? Blogger Doug Downs explores how tutors contribute to the pedagogical approach in WAWriting Center.
     
  • What kind of progress students can make in one semester? Barclay Barrios shares another student paper and his comments in More Sample Work: Student Progress.
     
  • High School Bits blogger Jodi Rice asks why people read literature and what reading will look like in the digital age in Storytelling 2.0.
     
  • Where does the military get names for their operations? Reflecting on the Operation Odyssey Dawn, Traci Gardner talks about Naming and the Rhetoric of War.
     
  • Susan Naomi Bernstein reflects on classroom assignments and her own writing in Writing for the Catastrophic Moment.
     

A Few Extra Reminders

We’re still looking for suggestions. Tell me what you want to know about teaching writing or about using digital tools in the composition classroom by leaving a comment. Your response will help shape upcoming posts.
 

[Photo: Chocolate cake slice by alexanderward12, on Flickr]

Write a Poem a Day for National Poetry Month

Magnetic Fridge PoetryApril is National Poetry Month, sponsored by Academy of American Poets and other poetry organizations. ReadWriteThink includes links to poetry lesson plans, websites, and classroom activities on the calendar entry for April 1.

I wondered, however, if we had enough resources on the site to write a different kind of poetry every day. I began with student interactives and then hit the site’s search engine to come up with the list below.

Each day has a link to a different kind of poetry writing, either a specific poetic form, like sonnets or acrostics, or poetry focused on a particular topic, like seasonal haiku or color poems. The materials range in grade levels, but could usually be adapted for any age (even college students).

So here’s the challenge for you and students: I found a different poem for every day of the month. How many different poems can you write?

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1: Acrostic Poems 2: Seasonal Haiku
3: Nonsense Poems 4: Catalog Poems 5: Bio- Poems 6: I-Am Poems 7: Shape Poems 8: Riddle Poems 9: Nursery Rhymes
10: Color Poems 11: Two- Voice Poetry 12: Headline Poems 13: Diamante Poems 14: Rebus Poems 15: Parody Poems 16: One-Sentence Poems
17: Name Poem 18: Magnetic Poetry 19: Letter Poem Creator 20: Bilingual, Spoken-Word Poetry 21: 5Ws Poems 22: Free Verse 23: Alphabet Poems
24: Concrete Poems 25: Found Poems & Parallel Poems 26: Cinquain Poems 27: Limericks 28: Traditional Sonnets 29: Astronomy Poetry 30: Sports Poetry

 

Cross-posted to the NCTE Community ReadWriteThink.org Group and the Reading and Language Arts Group on the Thinkfinity Community.

 

[Photo: Magnetic Fridge Poetry by Minimalist Photography, on Flickr]

March 27 to April 2 on ReadWriteThink

Young Irish Lamb Sitting.Hope March is heading out like a lamb for you. After all the snow and rain of the last weeks, we could all use a nice, pleasant transition into April. As you plan your classes for the last days of the month, ReadWriteThink has lesson plans and related resources to support you.

New Resources

From the Calendar

Connecting with Other Teachers

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us. Have a great week!

—Traci Gardner

 
[Photo: Young Irish Lamb Sitting. by moonjazz, on Flickr]

March 20–26 on ReadWriteThink

Spring is finally here. National Poetry Month is just weeks away. No matter what grade level you teach, ReadWriteThink has lesson plans and related resources to support you.

New Resources

From the Calendar

Connecting with Other Teachers

If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us. Have a great week!