Space Contributions: Internet Workshop

With permission, I was able to create an internet workshop connected to a topic of my choice that connects to a unit of study in my classroom. With 6th grade, the past two years I’ve done a unit on biographies and autobiographies. I wanted to explore another area to connect across the curriculum and I happened upon the book Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin on http://www.wegivebooks.com. This connects the 6th grade science essential standards dealing with contributions to space exploration and I saw the perfect opportunity to connect biographies! Frye, Trathen, and Koppenhaver (2010) weren’t kidding when they stated that:

…locating child-friendly Web sites that students can easily read, navigate, and comprehend, and that provide accurate information can be more time-consuming than teachers sometimes anticipate. (p. 47)

Although it was time consuming, it will definitely be worth using in the future with my students. I didn’t create a bookmarking website, but I will create a blog to use with the class that will have these sites listed (just as it is below). I would hopefully be able to publish the finished product of arguments on which is the biggest contribution to space exploration and the written biographies. By publishing the hard work of students, teachers “increase the authenticity of student learning” and also help students realize that their work is being exposed to a “wider audience response beyond the local classroom community” (Frye, Trathen, & Koppenhaver, 2010, p. 50).

Reference:

Frye, E. M., Trathen, W., & Koppenhaver, D. A. (2010). Internet workshop and blog publishing: Meeting student (and teacher) learning needs to achieve best practice in the twenty-first-century social studies classroom. The Social Studies, 101(2), 46-53.

Prior to this workshop, I would familiarize my students with navigating a websites and their content. With this workshop, I would explore a few of the websites in the classroom using an active board to assure the students understood how to navigate before allowing them time alone with their partner in the computer lab. This internet workshop would also take place over several days to allow students time to explore, write, edit, and share.

Internet Workshop: Space Contributions

Essential Standards:

Science:

6.E.1 Understand the earth/moon/sun system, and the properties, structures and predictable motions of celestial bodies in the Universe.

Objective:  6.E.1.3 Summarize space exploration and the understandings gained from them.

ELA Common Core:

RL 6.9. Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.

RI 6.1. Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RI 6.2. Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

RI 6.7. Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.

RI 6.8. Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.

W 6.1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
a. Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.
b. Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons.
d. Establish and maintain a formal style.
e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the argument presented.

As a class we will read: Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin http://www.wegivebooks.org/books/look-to-the-stars

Before exploring sites, think about the book and write down your answers in your english journal.

What are some contributes that have been made to space exploration?

Why do you think these are important?

Students, explore these sites below taking notes as you read.

Space Shuttles:

http://www.kidsastronomy.com/space_shuttle.htm

http://library.thinkquest.org/J0112188/space_shuttles.htm

http://library.thinkquest.org/J0112388/space_shuttles.htm

http://library.thinkquest.org/04oct/00450/spaceshuttle.htm

Video on Space Shuttle History:

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/science/space-sci/exploration/space-shuttle-sci/

Telescopes:

http://www.kidsastronomy.com/telescopes.htm

http://library.thinkquest.org/J0112540/spacetek/telescope.html

http://library.thinkquest.org/J0112188/hubble_space_telescope.htm

http://library.thinkquest.org/J002741/Earth_Based_Telescopes.htm

http://library.thinkquest.org/J0112188/refracting_and_reflecting_telescopes.htm

http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/space-exploration/hubble.html

You will explore these sites and answer the following questions in complete sentences in your english journals:

  • Why is a space shuttle different from an airplane?
  • What are the main parts of a space shuttle?
  • What do space shuttles do?
  • What are three famous space shuttles in U.S. History?
  • What is the most important part of a space shuttle?
  • What are the main types of telescopes?
  • How do they work?
  • What do telescopes do? (What are they used for?)
  • What is the most important part of a telescope? 

Now that you have explored the sites, in your words:

With a partner create a paper using the above resources and information:

  • Which is the biggest contribution to space exploration: space shuttles or telescopes?

Provide clear details and support your opinions using the information provided from the websites. Be ready to justify your response through a class debate.

Space Explorations and Contributions Figures/Astronaut Biographies:

Choose an astronaut and create a biographical writing. It can be written from their point of view (similar to Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin), as a story, a journal entry, an interview or a poem. Be creative! Include their contribution(s) in your writing. Explore the sites listed below and also refer back to Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin for people who contributed to space exploration. (Think about our discussion in class.) Think about:

Who you would like to write about/from their point of view? What was their contribution to space? What did they do? Why were they important?

Explore these sites that contain Biographies:

http://library.thinkquest.org/03oct/00181/people.html

http://library.thinkquest.org/13421/astronaut.htm

http://www.nasa.gov/astronauts/

http://gardenofpraise.com/ibdgalil.htm

http://gardenofpraise.com/ibdnewt.htm

http://library.thinkquest.org/J0110163/alan_shepherd.htm

These biographies will be shared with the class and on our class blog.

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Come on Baby, Light My Fire (A New Era: e-Reading)

The definition of kindle means to start a fire, but to me it’s much more than starting a fire, my Kindle has ignited a new passion. I absolutely love my Kindle; I love how compact and lightweight it is, the ability to possess hundreds of books at my fingertips, and the convenience of a dictionary all in one device. Although there are many versions of digital readers, they each offer varying features and tools for the user (Larson, 2010).  As our society develops and becomes more technology advanced, so should our classrooms. Incorporating these new literacies such as e-Books and e-Reading into our weekly classroom routines is a step in the right direction. These new literacies, however, challenge our current definition of text which is “written messages and symbols in the forms of books, magazines, and newspapers” (Larson, 2009, p. 255). Texts today are more than “written words and images” (Larson, 2010) and include anything from written words to videos, speech, and images.

Larson (2009, 2010) states that:

…today’s readers are immersed in multimodal experiences and, consequently, have a keen awareness of the possibility of combining modes and media to receive and communicate messages. (p. 255, p. 15)

Most of our students have access to these multimodal experiences outside of school and are almost jaded to the traditional texts offered in school. As teachers we have to close this gap and start incorporating e-reading into our classroom routines. Not only are e-books “cooler” because students have the opportunity to interact with them on the computer or digital device, they offer many benefits to enhance the reading experience. These tools “invite the readers to physically interact with the text”  by allowing students to highlight, make notes or comments with the text, and even look words up in the dictionary (Larson, 2009). Students with special needs can also benefit from these tools, such as increasing the text size or text-to-speech (Larson, 2010).  These tools are fantastic for readers who are past the stage of decoding and are able to use them without losing much of the story. Younger readers do not have the capacity to comprehend the text as well as create notes and interact with the text digitally.

Wolf (2009) states:

For my greatest concern is that the young brain will never have the time (in milliseconds or in hours or in years) to learn to go deeper into the text after the first decoding, but rather will be pulled by the medium to ever more distracting information, sidebars, and now, perhaps, videos (in the new vooks).

Deep reading is something that needs to be taught to our students and with new media, we have to revamp our teaching or deep reading. I don’t think we should take away e-reading from our younger readers, but introduce and expose them to it in increments. These younger readers can be introduced gradually to all the tools e-reading has to offer and help them gain a better understanding of how to use the tools to assist their reading (and so would older readers). Highlighting a character’s name (Larson, 2009) is one way to start introducing tools to younger students as well as using the text-to-speech. One study conducted with two second graders reading on e-readers found that using the digital reading devices allowed the students “to engage with and greater control of the text than when reading printed text” (Larson, 2010, p. 17). The students were able to create notes as they were reading to specific portions of the text. When students read printed text, the majority of the time they have to put their notes on notebook paper and are unable to write in the school texts. Although notes are a great way to interact with text, being able to write directly on/next to a portion of text makes it easier to refer back and understand. The second grade students in the study did not use proper writing but focused on quick annotations “resulting in extensive use of invented spelling” (Larson, 2010, p. 17). In another study conducted by Larson (2009) fifth graders reading texts on a computer were found doing the same thing when note taking. I personally do not see a problem with using quick annotations when note taking because I feel adults do it all the time. Many times it’s easier to jot down a thought using abbreviations just to make sure the whole thought makes it, that is the point of note taking. Through their note taking, both the second graders and fifth graders showed involvement with the text (Larson, 2009, 2010). Other tools were taken advantage of by the students to help them understand the text, such as using the dictionary to read multisyllabic words because according to one of the second graders “the dictionary chunks the words for you so you can read them” (Larson, 2010, p. 20). These tools definitely need to be introduced to the students so they are aware of the possibilities on interacting and engaging with text when reading, “in addition to being perceived as fun and motivating” (Larson, 2009).

Personally, I prefer reading on my Kindle than a computer screen because the Kindle screen is more like reading a book. The screen isn’t lit from behind and it is easier on my eyes to stare at the Kindle screen for hours when compared to a computer screen. I love having the dictionary at my fingertips! Being able to just click on a work and without leaving the text, the definition shows at the top. For my classroom it is more feasible to use the computer lab than a non-existent class set of e-readers. I would love to have access to individual e-readers for my students for many reasons including the privacy of the digital reader. Many of my 6th graders are low readers, reading on a 2nd or 3rd grade level. These digital readers take away the fear of other students seeing that they are reading a “baby book” or book lower than the grade they are currently in. I support e-reading in the classroom because our students need to be exposed to new literacies in the school setting. Allowing students to explore the uses of e-reading on a computer helps guide them and develop a stronger understanding of how the tools available can enhance their reading.

Exploring some of the websites available for students exhibited some pros and cons. While looking at Toon Books I thought about my students and how they would love this website! I looked at Mo and Jo: Fighting Together Forever and Little Mouse. These books were interactive where the students could click on individual “speech bubbles” or have the entire page read aloud. This is a great feature, but while reading the level one book I felt the text was read rather quickly making it hard for a beginning reader to follow along. However, I do think students would enjoy the books. On We Give Books site I couldn’t believe the amount of books that were available and for such a great cause! I appreciated that you could make the book full screen and zoom in on text that might be difficult to read otherwise. Although this site did not have the text-to-speech feature, it would still be a wonderful tool for the classroom or even individual students. The Inanimate Alice site was very interesting and I can see where students would be intrigued. The moving background and text made it a little difficult to read, but I think my students would enjoy how parts of the story are interactive. The music/background noise was eerie and the story was different, but my students are attracted to the different. Overall, with my 6th graders I think I would use the We Give Books the most to enhance lessons. Honestly, anything we can use to get our students “hooked” on reading and light their fire is worth it.

“When a story takes you on a journey, hold on tight. You never know where it’s headed.” ~@Disney (Twitter)

 

References:

Haspiel, D. & Lynch, J. (2008). Mo and Jo: Fighting together forever. Retrieved from www.toon-books.com

Larson, L. C. (2010). Digital readers: The next chapter in e-book reading and response. Reading Teacher, 64(1), 15-22.

Larson, L. C. (2009). e-Reading and e-responding: New tools for the next generation of readers. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(3), 255-258.

Pearson Foundation. (2012). We give books. Retrieved from www.wegivebooks.org

Pullinger, K. & Joseph, C. (2011). Inanimate Alice. Retrieved from www.inanimatealice.com

Smith, J. (2009). Little mouse gets ready. Retrieved from www.toon-books.com

Wolf, M. (2009, October 14). Does the brain like e-books? Beyond decoding words. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/14/does-the-brain-like-e-books/#maryanne

 

 

Response to Deep Reading and Internet Inquiry

Why would novels be the only text that would engage deep reading? There are a multitude of texts out there that require you to think and connect as you read. Newspapers, journals, and scholarly articles, for example, are all types of texts that require deep thinking. In order to read deeply the mind needs to be free of processing the text and open to comprehending it. It’s difficult to understand something if it is full of words and phrases that the reader has no idea of the meaning. Once reader is able to read without struggling to find the meaning of a word, their mind is free to connect, question, and comprehend. These things lead to deep thinking, deeper understanding, and deep reading. I don’t think it’s a habit that you lose, per se, but one that may become a little “rusty.” Like riding a bike, if you don’t do it for a while you’re a little wobbly at first, but you never forget the motions. As a reader, I feel I’m more involved in deep reading towards the middle of a book or article, than I am at the beginning. I become aware of the topic and am able to relate more to it and have something to build upon. With a book, I’ve been introduced to the characters, so towards the middle I have more time to think about and question their actions than focusing on who’s who. I think you’re always improving your deep reading skill the more you read. Depending on what you’re reading, the deep reading experience differs. Different skills are used to read a novel than an online scholarly article, but deep reading still applies to both.

As teachers it is our responsibility to help our students navigate the internet and to provide websites that enhance their learning not hinder it. The National Geographic for Kids Creature Feature site is an excellent site for students to utilize when exploring animals. It offers text and interactive visuals such as sound and video of the creature. The information provided for the creature is organized and “chunked” so it’s not so overwhelming for students. The site is easy to navigate and provides an abundance of information. http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/animals/creaturefeature/

I was unaware of the National Geographic Young Explorer issues available online! What a fantastic classroom resource. Even though it is geared toward younger readers, I think my struggling readers in 6th grade would benefit. I like how the pace is slower and the words are highlighted as they’re read. This is a wonderful example of great texts available in the digital format and something students could navigate easily. There are so many great resources available for classroom use, but there are also many websites available that are problematic for students. I don’t think we need to be so overbearing that students aren’t able to explore, but as we’ve discussed before we need to guide these students to the understanding of what is a credible site and what is truly crap (pardon my French.)  http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngyoungexplorer/moreissues.html

I happened upon the site from National Geographic Kids Creature Feature for the Mountain Gorilla when exploring websites to use for an internet workshop. What a great site to help deepen a student’s understanding of Ivan and what his natural habitat would be. It is almost as if the site was made to go along with The One and Only Ivan. The pictures enhance the book, especially the one of the gorilla’s “knuckle walking,” making me want to try it even more. 🙂

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/animals/creaturefeature/mountain-gorilla/

As mention earlier, what a great resource We Give Books is for the classroom! After reading the first book for the initial assignment, I signed up immediately. How could you not? For such a great site, it’s definitely worth it. I also shared it on my social sites inviting other teachers, and book lovers, to check it out if they haven’t already. The opportunities are endless; Parents can use it to read to their children, grandparents, teachers, classrooms, siblings, and even students themselves. My nephews live in New York, but how neat will it be to be able to read a book “together.”  I’m very excited to use this site in the classroom as well as at home.  http://www.wegivebooks.org

It’s true that with the new standards we are starting to recognize and incorporate the internet into our classrooms, as it should be. The internet is not going away and needs to be embraced by teachers. If anything, it’s going to become more prominent in our daily lives and our students need to be prepared. It’s true that good teaching is good teaching regardless of the medium that is used; however, we need to help prepare our students to be well rounded readers in both printed and non-printed text.

“The One and Only Ivan”

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! I smiled at his jokes, became teary eyed and heartbroken, and then kept my fingers crossed when things just might go right. Applegate captures Ivan’s voice perfectly. I feel I was able to engage in “deep reading” as I read because my mind was free to comprehend, question, and analyze what I was reading. The text is written on a 3rd grade level, but the ideas, thoughts, and feelings are intense and require deep thought and connection. Written from an animal’s perspective, Ivan’s point of view was fascinating. It was different from typical children’s novels because it was from an animal’s point of view, but it was realistic. I became so involved in Ivan’s story, I began to believe.  As Ivan explains his living situation and his life at the Big Top Mall, I began to feel sorry for him. He interacts through the text, asking questions, joking, and giving bits and pieces of information about his life. When he begins to paint and has a plan to get Ruby out of there, I was cheering for him. My fingers were crossed when Julia was looking at the painting, trying to decipher. Even though I knew it was fictional and only written from the perspective of a gorilla, it seemed so real. I could definitely see myself using this as a classroom read aloud. I think my students would really enjoy because of some of the humor, the feeling it evokes, and the fact that it was based on a true story of a gorilla in captivity.

As I was reading, it took a couple of pages to realize the titles. I was so eager to jump in and start reading; I skimmed the headings for each “chapter” and kept reading. After about three headings, I slowed down and took a closer look.  Each heading gives a word or phrase that gives insight to what is happening or what the section is about. It was almost like I was reading Ivan’s personal journal. These headings could be used in the classroom to help with theme or foreshadowing.

So many things come to mind when thinking how I might use this in my classroom and I’m eager to do so. Animal cruelty is a major theme and could be explored using this novel. Journal writing, sentence structure, dialogue, point of view, and mood are all things that could be discussed. The use of simple, even one word sentences are extremely powerful in this novel. I honestly don’t think that this novel needs any introduction because Ivan does the introducing himself. I would just start by saying the title and author and jump right in. Actually, I think I’ll say that I’d like them to meet a good friend of mine.

References:

Applegate, K. (2012). The one and only Ivan. Array New York: Harper.

Websites:

One website I’d definitely use would be www.theoneandonlyivan.com. It’s the website for the actual book and with a simple web design and easy navigation it would be the perfect website to start exploring. After we’ve read a few chapter/sections of the book, I’d reserve a day in the computer lab to explore the website as a class.  Students could find out some background information about the author as well as Ivan. I considered keeping the information that it was based on a real gorilla until after the novel was finished because I was intrigued to learn at the end. I also thought about my students and how they may benefit from knowing Ivan was a real gorilla.

This website from the Endangered Species International has specific information on gorillas including maps and diagrams. It would be a great website to share and show the various visuals that could be included to find information. It is written at a higher reading level, but the information is still relevant. http://www.endangeredspeciesinternational.org/gorillas.html?gclid=CKS6l4LjwrACFWEQNAodKEbyYA

This website from National Geographic Kids is a great semi-interactive site with information on gorillas. It includes video and a sound clip for students.  http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/animals/creaturefeature/mountain-gorilla/

This website from BBC Nature Wildlife has a video of Steve Backshall searching for gorillas titled: A Rare Sight. The video has sound and footage of gorillas that students might enjoy and can give them an idea of what noises Ivan might make.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Eastern_Gorilla#p00mk75w

This website includes links to different zoos that have live webcams of gorillas. Although there isn’t sound, this would be something they could watch to get a glimpse of gorillas in captivity. http://www.animalcameras.com/gorillas/live-gorilla-webcams/

This website, Gorillas World, discusses gorillas in captivity. Students could use this to compare to what they’ve read in the book. http://www.gorillas-world.com/gorillas-in-captivity.html

This article from Animal Planet could allow students to read an opinion about whether zoos are good or bad. http://animals.howstuffworks.com/animal-facts/zoos-good-or-bad.htm

Another, more recent, article from Global Animal with information for students about zoos. http://www.globalanimal.org/2012/04/21/are-zoos-good-or-bad/71442/

Although I wasn’t able to get any results from Scholastic’s Book Wizard for The One and Only Ivan, I can see how this site would be beneficial to use in the classroom. If a student enjoyed a book, but was a reluctant reader, I could use this site in hopes that I would be able to find a book of similar interest to the student. It could also be used for a book study to find many books on a particular subject.

I was able to find these books that I think would be similar to The One and Only Ivan:

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt

Call of the Wild by Jack London

Remarkable by Elizabeth Foley

The Internet: Our “Frenemy”

The internet is a wonderfully useful tool, when used correctly. It can provided information at the click of a mouse; but how do you know if that information is reliable? My experience with students is that they don’t know if a source is credible or not. They usually click on the first link or links that are listed and use that information (or say they can’t find anything). Unfortunately one of the downfalls of the internet is the level in which text is written (Weigel & Gardner, 2009). Students who struggle with reading, or younger students, are more compelled to the visuals than the actual text the webpage is offering. As teachers, we have to understand that just like reading, writing, and math, internet skills need to be taught. Allowing students the opportunity to explore and do online reading is fantastic, but skills on appropriate browsing, credible sites, and “deep reading” need to be addressed. As stated by Wolf and Barzillai (2009), “What we read and how deeply we read shape both the brain and the thinker” (p. 35).

A fallback of early reading online is that students are rewarded for multitasking (Wolf & Barzillai, 2009). The internet offers many visuals, hyperlinks, and other eye catching graphics that “even the most well-intentioned reader may be tempted by the siren calls of Web links” (Weigel & Gardner, 2009, p. 38). I know many of my students think the internet only exists for games and get very frustrated when something they click on doesn’t immediately load. Their attention is quick to change to something else. I’ve attempted a few web quests as well as providing a list of websites to find information on, only to find some students on unrelated sites. I understand the temptation of wanting to click on hyperlinks or visuals, but also realize I have the self-discipline needed to stay. Wolf and Barzillai (2009) say it best:

The digital culture’s reinforcement of rapid attentional shifts and multiple sources of distraction can short-circuit the development of the slower, more cognitively demanding comprehension processes that go into the formation of deep reading and deep thinking. (p. 36)

We have to help students develop these higher-level comprehension skills through guidance and instruction (Wolf & Barzillai, 2009). Many teachers, at least some of the teachers I’ve worked with at the middle school level, feel that the students should already know how to navigate a web page correctly and they shouldn’t have to spend time teaching them. If a student doesn’t know how to read do we ignore it because they’re already supposed to know how? Absolutely not. The same goes for navigating the internet; it’s a part of literacy and needs to be addressed. When I realized my students were unfamiliar with navigating web pages, we had a few “explorer” days where as a class we looked at web pages and discussed them. We looked at Kate DiCamillo’s website to learn more about her before we read Because of Winn Dixie. We discussed the links on her page and how they may be helpful. It was worth it to me to explore these things because although my students probably would have been able to navigate and find her website, they wouldn’t have taken the time to see what all it had to offer. Although I can’t expect my students to exhibit the same deep reading as I do, I can help them develop it with guidance and instruction.

It’s amazing what the brain is capable of doing, seeing as our brains weren’t even wired to read in the first place (Wolf & Barzillai, 2009). If our brains are capable of adapting to, and creating new connections to read, we should be able to adapt and create new connections for online reading. Deep reading requires that a reader be proficient and the mind be free to comprehend what it is reading. Reading is a skill that develops with practice and therefore deep reading is something that takes time. Our students need to be taught to question and connect prior knowledge as they read. For younger students, using digital “reading” games can help start their interaction with online reading. Older students now have many technological tools that have transformed the way they research as well as write (Weigel & Gardner, 2009).  These tools need to be explained and explored in order for students to gain the full benefit. Students can participate in a class walk through of a website and discuss how it may be biased or if it is credible. Teaching students to be aware of websites can help them become “careful, thoughtful consumers of online information” (Wolf & Barzillai, 2009, p. 37). The internet is not going away. Just like our brains have created new connections to reading, we as teachers need to create new connections to online reading and help guide and develop deep online reading skills in our students.

References:

Wolf, M., & Barzillai, M. (2009). The importance of deep reading. Educational Leadership, 66(6), 32-37.

Weigel, M., & Gardner, H. (2009). The best of both literacies. Educational Leadership, 66(6), 38-41.

“Can you be a teacher of literacy if you don’t love to read?”

My question is why would you become a teacher of literacy if you didn’t love to read? It’s impossible to be an effective teacher if you’re teaching something you’re not interested in. Reflecting on past teachers of mine, it is clear which teachers were passionate about the subjects they taught, and which didn’t really feel strongly about it. I think this is especially true of reading. On page 288 of “Can you be a teacher of literacy if you don’t love to read?” Ann Powell-Brown states that “teachers who have a passion for reading are role models and literacy spark plugs for students,” and I couldn’t agree more. If you are excited about a book, or reading, it begins to spread to the students. At my school, we did a literacy block and my group read City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. Most of the students in my group were below grade level readers and unmotivated; however, once we started reading the book and they saw how excited I was to continue reading, my students started coming in eager to continue reading. Like Powell-Brown I was fortunate to come from a literate household. My parents read to us when we were younger, my dad even recording stories on tape for us to “read” with him while he was away on his six month Navy leave. It is obvious that many of the students I teach aren’t as fortunate to have the home literacy I grew up with, but I try to do everything in my power at school to motivate them.
I do think that a teacher can teach a subject, whether it is science or reading, but if the passion for that subject, let alone teaching, is missing, they might as well hire a robot to teach that subject. It would have the same effect. Actually, a teacher who isn’t passionate about reading might harm students’ opinions towards reading. The young mind is impressionable and it is extremely important that we as educators are aware of our actions around our students. In “The Peter Effect” article by Applegate and Applegate, they found that their “data suggest that early negative reading experiences can have long-lasting, harmful effects on children” (561). We have to be willing to step outside of our boxes and as Powell-Brown says, “fake it ‘til you make it” (p. 286). Kimberly Gomez discusses a similar insight in her article, ”Teachers of literacy, love of reading, and the literate self,” about the importance of creating a “new personal literate self” (p. 95) if you’re a not an avid reader but recognize the importance of reading. Gomez explains in response to Powell-Brown that many student teachers decide to become reading teachers, even if they don’t enjoy reading, because they want to find a way to become a reader.
Although I was able to relate to all of the articles, I felt the most connected to the Applegate and Applegate article on The Peter Effect. Partly because I feel I fit the “aesthetic reader” (p. 554) who lives vicariously through the characters in the stories. One of my favorite reasons to read is to get lost in a book, or another word, and I long to be able to share that with all my students. With middle school students, the intrinsic motivation is lost because the extrinsic motivation (mainly social influence) has become over powering. I feel these students may be the hardest to reach when it comes to reading. However, teachers at any level need to have and exhibit a positive attitude toward reading, not only for themselves, but also to be effect teachers in the classroom.

 

References:
Applegate, A., & Applegate, M. (2004). The peter effect: Reading habits and attitudes of pre-service teachers. International Reading Association, 57(6(, 554-563.
Gomez , K. (2005). Teachers of literacy, love of reading, and the literate self, a response to Ann Powell-Brown. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 49(2), 92-96.
Powell-Brown, A. (2003). Can you be a teacher of literacy if you don’t love to read? Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 47(4), 284-288.

Hello world!

I began this blog for a graduate course through Appalachian State University. I’m excited because this will be my first blog experience. I’m looking forward to this course as this will finish up my graduate degree! Check out my about me section and if you have any question, ask away! 🙂

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