Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Online Assignment # 2 -- Silvia Gomes

I have found some very interesting web sites that can really inspire creative curriculum and teaching units.

National Archives for Educators and Students
This website has amazing lessons and web quests that students can use to learn different concepts of history. The most amazing part of this is that it allows access to primary documents which can be written in vernacular that students have had no exposure to. Though the vocabulary can be difficult, students become so engrossed in the subject matter that even older students begin “deciphering” the meaning of these documents and which roles they play in history.

Read, Write, Think

I am sure that this website is recognized by many, if not all However, in case no one has mentioned it or you, the reader, has not heard of this website, this is a must have for any teacher. This is a place that has its roots in literacy, but due to our developing view of education, it is a website that meets most subject areas.

I also love this website as it acts like an enormous toolbox. The makers of this site understand that re-inventing the wheel is silly and a waste of precious teaching time. On this site, it puts teachers in direct contact with useful resources that they can give their own students to aide in learning concepts. It also provides links that will aide teachers in managing their own work loads. This is a great site to help with organization, assessment, and instruction development.

Two literature pieces that I am absolutely promoting to anyone who will listen are these:

Boy Writers by Ralph Fletcher
This book is one that I have been flying through that gives a much needed point of view perspective of the role of boys in the classroom and how to gear a more gender friendly writing program which has been geared to meet the strengths of girls. So often, I see boys struggle with Writing Workshop or in finding a sense of accomplishment in their writing pieces. Fletcher helps to ease the teacher into the mantra: "It is ok if..." In reading this book, It helped me realize that although some teaching practices are sound, there is a population that is being ignored (about 50% of the population to be exact).

Units of Study for Teaching Writing by Lucy Calkins
This was a series of books that was introduced to me by a fellow classmate. I have just begun to dive in, but have become engrossed in what I have read so far. This series breaks down your year into Units of Study (Memoirs, Literary Essays, Fiction, Breathing Life into Essays, etc). One of the books serves as a guide to the Writing Workshop and another one helps the teacher Launch the Writers Workshop in the classroom. Inside, it has a word-for-word script in case a teacher needs some intensive guidance, general lesson outlines for those who like a bit more independance in their teaching, and coaching notes for the points where a teacher may get "stuck." There is also a CD-ROM with resources, materials, bibliography, rubrics, charts, and much more! Lucy Calkins also has a primary grades series aimed for the K-2 writers. I was also informed that the 3-5 series can be easily adapted for middle and high school writers!

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