Monday, December 8, 2014

Year(s) in Review Part I

We're open to (occasionally demanding of) feedback on our author-educators series at the Bear Pond Books Children's Room. One result of last year's input is a greater emphasis on possible activities to use in the classroom. You'll see in our write up of Jason Chin & Deirdre Gill's presentation on Pictures Books Inspired by Nature that we split the article between a general summary and one focused on learning activities. 

We'll continue to experiment with this emphasis in future blog posts. Retrospectively, we bring you this round up of earlier talks with quick notes on the information they contain related to activities you might create in your own classes, programs, or personal study of different subjects. 

Meg Allison - Why Fairy Tales Still Matter (2014)
  • Building stories from the common elements of Fairy Tales . . . these elements provide the foundation for a lot of the stories around us, not only fairy tales.
  • Exploring the stories behind the doors of Moretown, as inspired by the many doors and doorways that caught Meg's eye as she traveled through the fairy tale locales of Europe

Grace Greene - Picture Books & Early Literacy (2012); Dorothy Canfield Fisher List (2014)
  • Using picture books to learn about how stories are structured - includes using critical analysis of picture books for teaching older students.
  • Resources for using the DCF list in the classroom.

David Martin - Picture Books & Early Literacy (2012), Bad Jokes & Early Learning (2013)
  • Using rhymes, poems, silly songs to help kids play around with words and anticipate what word is coming up.
  • Turning books into games / acting books out in the classroom.
  • Background resources on learning through play

Duncan McDougall, Dan Green, Derek Cote - Boys & Books (2014)
  • Links to many resources for strategies to engage more boys in reading.

Kate Messner & Jo Knowles - Writing Workshop (2014) 
  • Overview of tools Kate uses in her revision process, including different types of timelines and maps.
  • Jo's technique of using storyboards to review the pacing, character appearances, focus, overall storyline of a book. 
  • Writing prompts
  • Writing exercise for generating new topic ideas

Abbie Nelson & Gail Gibbons - Agriculture in the Classroom (2013)
  • An overview of resources from organizations participating in Food Education Every Day, which emphasizes combining cafeteria, classroom and community as students learn about food.
Rebecca & Josh Rupp - Nonfiction with Personality (2013) 
  • Developing a voice for nonfiction (versus voice-less technical writing) in the middle grades 
  • Using writers' notebooks to build a world of ideas, with context for each idea, then cut down ("cut until you can't cut any more") to reach the essence of a story.
  • Handout on writing exercises.

Leda Schubert - Picture Books & Early Literacy (2012)
  • Prompting questions to lead through research of a subject. . .  and then lead from that research to stories.
  • Examples of good use of citations / resources / references in picture books (. . . which led to our later soap box speech in the October 2014 Materials Review about nonfiction books that do not include these elements).

Tanya Lee Stone - Combining Passion & Research (2013)
  • Choosing topics for writing (ie things you care about)
  • Examples of tracking down new information, looking in new places for information as part of research behind a writing project.
  • This earlier post about Tanya discusses taking a critical eye to what a writer can really say for certain about a topic and what is conjecture. 

S.S. Taylor - Writing Workshop (2014)
  • Exercise for imagining characters, situations, and tensions that lead to stories.
  • Experimenting with the opening for a book / story.
J&P Voelkel - Successful Author Classroom Visits (2013)
  • Resources for effectively using author visits as part of lesson plans. 
  • An author visit checklist for a smooth event.

Natalie Kinsey Warnock & Jenny Land - Family and Place (2013)
  • Using historical objects as story prompts - including a handout of sample questions.
  • Classroom-wide projects to learn local stories and history, includes research that goes back to original sources.
  • Introduction to Natalie's Storykeepers curriculum.
  • Bibliography of resources for researching family and place history in Vermont.

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