Sunday, April 20, 2008

Speaking of Earth Day

Recently I received due to my International Reading Association Book Club membership, the book Comprehension Shouldn't Be Silent: From Strategy Instruction to Student Independence by Michelle J. Kelley and Nicki Clausen-Grace. Great book which probably will be a book club at the VSB in the fall! I love their approach to "silent reading" which is renamed R5 (Read, Relax, Reflect, Respond, and Rap, but when I was skimming I discovered that the National Science Teachers Association (NTSA) website offers a annotated lists of Outstanding Science Trade Books organized under the eight science content standards. I googled, and what a great resource!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Summer Reading

Okay! I know it snowed last night but it's summer in Quebec where it's 25 degrees! I may have mentioned the Choice Literacy website before but their latest newsletter has some great suggestions for read-alouds and some great links for ideas on summer reading.

So many good events on this week, but I did go to an interesting event at the Planetarium. The Vancouver International Writers' Festival hosted an evening with three of the authors in the series Extraordinary Canadians. This is a neat series where well known Canadian writers were asked to write biographies of famous Canadians. Charlotte Gray, author of Nellie McClung; Lewis DeSoto, author of Emily Carr, and David Adams Richards, author of Lord Beaverbrook, were fascinating. I think this is a series which belongs in high school libraries, bringing colour and personality to Canadian history!

Last week I enjoyed a great conversation with Faye Brownlie and the English department at Killarney High School on Lit Circles. Faye's book, Grand Conversations is one I recommend to anyone who wants a good guide to making Literature Circles fun, and easy to manage.

This week I have spent several periods looking at how to answer questions better with a grade 3/4 class at Edith Cavell. Aaron Espley, their teacher and I, have been using material from the book, Better Answers.
Third and fourth graders really keep you honest! You have to really break things down to the right level and amount, and then it's amazing what they can do!

The other activity I seem to have done a great deal this week is giving presentations about our new literacy model for elementary schools. I must say my skill with LCD projectors has really increased! We are excited about how we have rethought our model and the opportunity to try this out next year with our year one to four schools.

Busy week ahead! Amongst other things, two coordinator meetings! Our grade four to seven coordinators will be looking at different aspects of Main Idea and our high school teachers will be looking at Writing to Learn and great new books for high school students. I also hope to get to a couple of Earth Day celebrations which many of our schools are staging!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Freedom Writers and other ways to change the world...

It pays to read other blogs such as that of our technological savvy teacher-librarian consultant, Moira, because that is how I just found out that Erin Gruwell will be speaking at River Rock Casino on May 14. As you probably know she is the writer of Freedom Writers which was made into a must-see motion picture as well. I really want to hear her and I am sure many of you will want to as well so just go to King David High School's website for additional information and tickets. I hear she is a fantastic speaker.

I also excited to finally have the opportunity to see Barbara Kingsolver, writer and environmental and social activist. I think one of my favorite books is her book of essays, Hide Tide in Tucson. Anyway she is coming to Vancouver on May 29th, thanks to the Vancouver International Writers' Festival. Just go to their website for ticket information.

In doing some unrelated reading I discovered a couple of websites that can help you and your students make a difference. One website is which uses social networking to link potential lenders with individuals in the developing world who require microloans to start or develop their small businesses. Loans are small-as little as $25 and almost all are repaid in full over time.

Another interesting website is which uses internet petitions, email alerts, and online videos to mobilize huge numbers of people in aid of causes such as peace in the middle east and action on climate change. It was co-founded by a Canadian, Ricken Patel.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Technological Difficulties and Poetry and Oral Language

I am behind in my blogging partly due to technological struggles. During Spring Break I decided to take a break from blogging and then the problems began. Let's see-I had to replace my computer's logic board (thank goodness for extended warranties) and then I have had internet problems at home. Somehow blogging isn't something I seem to be able to do at work, but I am back and feeling in need of poetry-and all those daffodils have been known to inspire...

I think we all can use a poem so here is the poem of the week. This blog can link you to more great sites such as the Academy of Poets where you can access all sorts of poetry or receive a poem in your e-mail everyday. Gladstone will be hosting a poetry cafe in the library on April 24th and 25th. So let's all celebrate April with lots of poetry! There really is no better way to celebrate oral language. Not only is Gladstone hosting poetry, lots of schools and even the district are celebrating our young writers. All of Mackenzie's students participated in a writers' festival before the break. Grandview has a writers' cafe scheduled for the afternoon of April 16th. There is a district young writers' festival taking place this Tuesday at the Roundhouse Community Centre. That's just a sample, and of course you can go listen and be inspired by David Ward at Waverley after school on Thursday.

And speaking of oral language. Jodi Carson and Carol O'Malley have a great workshop planned entitled Beyond the Oral Presentation after school on April 22.