Monday, August 31, 2009

Literacy Snapshots

As we begin to think about how we think about literacy as teachers, I want us to explore the role literacy plays in our everyday lives. One way to do this is to create a literacy snapshot. Over the course of the next week, I would like you to document your use of literacy, whether it be writing emails to friends, posting to your Facebook, reading a textbook for class or attending an art show. While you are documenting these events, I would also like you to collect artifacts that supplement your documentation about your literacy activities. Artifacts could include magazine clippings, photos, or screen shots. Once you have engaged in several days (think about five or so days) of documentation and artifacts, create a visual representation of your learning about your own literacy practices. You will bring this visual representation to class and we engage in a gallery walk to observe our similarities and differences as literate beings.

This is my visual representation of my own literacy practice last spring. Note the variety of artifacts I chose to include, including the admission that I regularly read I'm okay with it.

To make your documentation process easier, I have created a template for you to use. It is a Google doc, which you can use here. It is my hope that this activity will help you think about beginning your Beliefs and Understandings paper.

Literacy Snapshots are due in class Monday, September 7. Please email me with questions or concerns - or, even better yet, leave a comment!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Greetings and Salutations

Welcome to the blog for the TAL section of E342, Reading and Language Arts Methods!

My name is Nicholas Husbye and I am excited to be along for the ride as we explore the multiple ways to engage students in reading and writing in ways that transcend school. A little about myself: I am a third-year student in the Department of Language Education at Indiana University. I am originally from Michigan, where I earned my degree in elementary education at Michigan State University. After graduating, I team-taught in an urban second grade classroom before moving into a first-grade position in a small school serving a diverse group of kiddos south of Ann Arbor, Michigan. In addition, I have also taught technology to elementary students and have run tutoring programs in a variety of contexts.

Our collective experiences as learners and as teachers will be important as we work together as a group to define our beliefs and understandings about teaching language arts in the classroom. We will use these experiences to connect to our class readings, presentations and activities to better understand ourselves as educators and the charge we possess as such. I will be totally honest with you: there will be questions we tackle over the course of the semester that we will not have the answer to, questions that remain unresolved throughout the course of the semester. Unanswered questions are rampant in teaching but hopefully, as we move through this course, we will come closer to some sort of answer. Please be prepared to think deeply, question often and engage with one another.

There are three core texts we will be using for this class everyone will need to purchase. The book store should have them in stock and you can always feel free to purchase them online.

Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis's Strategies That Work was a book I continually came back to as a teacher. It outlines the strategies most often used by successful readers and then describes lesson plans to teach those skills in a variety of classrooms. It is an easy read - Stephanie and Anne write beautifully and with wonderful clarity, making it an indispensable resource for you as you begin your teaching career.

Phonics is a word that makes me shutter a little, but is an essential instructional strategy for teaching children to read. Patricia Cunningham does an excellent job outlining a variety of lessons and games that will teach children those ever-important phonics skills while helping teachers understand ways to make them fit into their every day routine. Another great resource book. Unfortunately, this is a new edition so I'm unsure there will be used copies.

Crafting Writers is a fairly recent book that will help us have insight about not just the hows of writing workshop, but about the content of those sessions. Hale writes beautifully about how to recognize writing craft as well as how we, as teachers, gather writing craft ourselves. It's a book I wish I had on my bookshelf when I was teaching.

I look forward to meeting you!