Created by Ruth Elliott

Welcome! Join me as I reflect on my learning journey with Web 2.0 tools. I'm sure I will find bandwagons to jump on along the way. Let's enjoy the trip.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Two Children's Books by Canadian authors (with booktalk podcasts)

For a class assignment I was asked to create podcasts with booktalks for two children's books. The books I chose were Melanie Bluelake's Dream by Betty Dorian (author from Saskatchewan, Canada) and A Coyote Solstice Tale by Thomas King (Canadian author).

Melanie Bluelake's Dream

Dorion, Betty. (1995). Melanie Bluelake's Dream. Regina, Saskatchewan: Coteau Books.

Novel, Ages 9 - 12

Awards, Honours, Prizes:
Saskatchewan, Canada Book Awards, 1995 Nominee Children's Literature Canada
Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award, 1998 ; Nominee; Manitoba, Canada
Silver Birch Award, 1997 ; Nominee; Fiction; Ontario, Canada

Melanie is a ten year old Aboriginal girl who moves from a reserve in northern Saskatchewan into the city of Prince Albert. She is unhappy that her mom forced her to leave her Kokum (grandmother) behind on the reserve. Melanie's mom is determined to finish her grade 12 and make a better life for herself and her daughter. The story is told from Melanie's point of view as she learns to adjust from the freedom of life on the reserve where she knew everyone to life in the city. The book presents a matter-of-fact picture of those living in poverty. In the midst of the hardship of life, there are glimpses of joy--when Melanie dresses up for Halloween, when Melanie makes new friends, and when Melanie makes peace with her mom.

The author of this book, Betty Dorion, has taught on reserves and in the city of Prince Albert. I appreciate the realism and understanding of the socio-economic setting that she brought to this story.

Other books by Betty Dorion:

Bay Girl (1998, Coteau Books)
Strike (2000, Coteau Books)
Whose Side Are You On? (2001, Coteau Books)

A Coyote Solstice Tale

King, Thomas. (2009). A Coyote Solstice Tale. (Illustrated by Gary Clement). Toronto: Groundwood Books.

Picture Book, ages 4 - 9

This is a Christmas tale with a twist. Coyote lives in a little house in the woods. He is preparing to welcome his animal friends for supper when a little girl dressed as a reindeer shows up. The animal friends retrace her footprints in the snow to discover that she escaped from the Christmas mayhem at the mall. Coyote jumps shopping cart first into the fun and loads up with presents for all--only to discover that the cashier wants him to pay for the gifts. Coyote discovers that goodwill and peace are free and he doesn't need or want those presents.

The story is told in rhyme and the illustrations are almost like cartoons. This book is one that children will enjoy reading and rereading to catch the details in the story and the pictures. This is an unusual Christmas book as it pokes gentle fun at materialism and extols the joys of simple things--friends, goodwill, and peace.

Thomas King is an author and a professor at Guelph University in Ontario. In the past he created a hilarious show for CBC Radio entitled "The Dead Dog Cafe Comedy Hour".

Other Books for Children by Thomas King:

Coyote Sings to the Moon (2001, WestWind Press)
Coyote's New Suit (2004, Key Porter Books)
A Coyote Columbus Story (2007, Groundwood Books
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Global Issues for Teachers

This morning on Twitter, I read tweets from two teachers. In one tweet, a teacher near Boston, complained about lack of access to the computer and language labs for her class. She wondered what would happen when all teachers began to teach digitally.

Another teacher said that in her area of Nebraska there were no substitute teachers available so that, although she was sick and needed a sub, she was going to drown her illness in Motrin and head into the classroom.

A few weeks ago I spend five days assisting in school reviews for some schools in a nearby city. In both schools, teachers commented on the lack of substitute teachers within their school division. They have been given certain dates when there will be "no subs available". (These are days when many teachers are out of the classroom for Professional Development training.) Teachers were concerned about the last minute nature of illness. Sometimes you just need to stay home.

In one of the schools that I visited, they had recently lost their computer lab when the room was needed as a classroom. Now they have a class set of laptops that travel from room to room. It takes longer to set them up. Particularly for the younger grades, password access is an issue.

Here are two teacher issues that are global. A lack of substitute teachers can impact both a teacher's health and the health within a school. Lack of access to technology will affect how students learn or don't learn to use technology in education.

Are there any other global teacher issues that you see as you learn from your international contacts?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ruth's Random Resource Round-up October 18, 2009

Enjoy these resources that I have collected over the past month.

Cut out the pieces of YouTube videos that you want to use. Tube Chop

Bloom's Taxonomy : A visual that includes technology

Class Discussion Guidelines (Excellent graphic, visual handout that you could discuss with students)

Parent wiki created by Cindy Seibel

Good blog post about how to use class blogs with students

Great Quotes about Learning and Change

Embed the Twitter stream directly into your presentations

Graphic organizers

Listen to Yann Martel (Canadian author of The Life of Pi) talk about writing the poem for the One Drop foundation and read the poem