I've just got to share the good stuff I read.

I love to read. I read every chance I get. If I read something really good, I want to share it with my friends and co-workers. I make copies of magazine articles, read aloud to my students, tell others about good books I'm reading, and keep a book with me at all times.

I love teaching and learning new things. I need a place to share some of the lessons and what my students and I learn. Since my teaching situation is different from everyone else's in my school, I would like to tell all of you in the blog-o-sphere about these great lessons.

Feel free to share what you are reading, teaching and learning with us in the comments.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Reading for TESOL and listening to reading

Read eighteen TESOL proposals yesterday. Some were terrible, some were okay, and about 5 were things I hope will be offered next year at TESOL in Philadelphia. I'm glad that the reading went so fast. I have so many things due at the same time. Of course. How else could it be?
We are listening to the Tale of Despereaux in summer school. The reader has a lovely voice and reads the different characters with different voices. Melanie is a girl after my heart. She wants to go home and read the rest of the book. She can't wait to know what happens next. One thing about getting older, I now appreciate reading and savoring how good it is. If I read a book too quickly, some of the enjoyment is lost. That's a good point to discuss with the kids on Monday.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Haiku and other summer school lessons

First, some haiku, maybe the first I've ever written-

Mourning doves cooing
High in the sycamore trees
Two cats slink away

I read an interesting book about how to write haiku and other short poems. It was written for students and told the history of several types of short poems and had suggested assignments for a writer's notebook/journal. We are talking about Japan because we will see an exhibit of Japanese art next week. We talked about haiku and I read four poems to the kids. Melanie was the only one who had any prior knowledge of haiku. The kids illustrated one poem that they liked. The illustrations turned out pretty good. Another day we went outside to take a nature walk and notice possible subjects for poems. We couldn't walk far because of the fence around our patio and the kids were talking so much and being silly, so I asked them to be quiet and listen for one minute. It was amazing how much we could hear when they shut up. Then we went inside and wrote lists of things we saw and heard.

Another day I showed them a website on Japan that I had found. We looked at a section on Japanese houses and did a little interactive 'game' that helped them understand some of the differences in Japanese houses. We clicked on some Japanese schools and found one that was on an island. In the description of the island there was a photo of a whirlpool that was one of the largest in the world and was between the small island and the bigger island near it. Here is the neat thing that happened later that day-a reason that I don't agree with scripted teaching-one group was listening to The Watsons Go to Birmingham and came to the part about the whirlpool. I stopped the CD and we talked about how the boy in the story misunderstood his grandmother. He thought she said 'wool pooh' instead of whirlpool. We connected that to the photo we had seen earlier of the whirlpool in Japan. Serendipity! A spontaneous learning experience that would have been missed if we had strictly followed some script.