Tag Archives: literature

The Power of Flexible Seating

FullSizeRender.jpg

Some may have some doubts or concerns when they see a set of ‘bouncy balls’ in a classroom, which is quite understandable.  However, I saw it as a chance to enhance not only the furniture and overall look of the space, but also to further student engagement in all aspects of study during my lessons.

This week, provided my first chance to test this all out.  Along with the colorful, bouncy balls, I also provided area mats, floor pillows, and a small ‘cafe’ table.  Upon entering the library media center, the students’ enthusiasm and excitement were visible instantly.  There was a lot of celebration and questions, and they were all very eager to try out all these new things.  But, there was a catch…

They had to earn it.

I took the opportunity of it being the first days of school to test the waters with all of my classes.  I had them sit on their ‘old,’ regular tables and chairs for the majority of the class.  I explained to them that if their behavior was great during the first half of class, I would allow some free reading time in a seat of their choice.  Most of my classes took the challenge head-on.  They wanted to get to move around and try out new things.  Their maturity and dedication was rewarded, and they were able to choose their seats at the end of class.

As seen in the photo above, the end result was amazing.  It took them a couple minutes to get settled and find balance, but after a quick ‘tutorial’ on how to sit on them without slipping or falling, the students were loving it!  They found the happy medium of light bouncing or rolling while reading their books.  It made my heart smile watching the risk pay off.  Instead of trying to talk, making noise, and interrupting their peers, my students focused their energy into their new seats.

Flexible seating will work.  It just takes some patience.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Girl on the Train

9780735212169_GirlontheTrain_MTI_MM.inddThis past weekend I went to go see The Girl on the Train.  I was particularly excited because I ran a book club at my previous position and we had read this novel for one of our meetings.  As most readers know, it is exciting to see the story you played in your mind come to life on the big screen.

And I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by what a great job they did at adapting the complex plot and characters for
a film format.  They had to take chunks out of the novel’s story line, but the film did not feel lacking.  As most of you might assume, this tends to be the biggest complaint for page-to-screen movies, but in my opinion, it did not apply here.  I went to the movie theater with a friend who had also read the Paula Hawkins piece and she agreed with me; the movie makers did a fine job at creating this film.

What are some film adaptions of books that you’ve watched?  What were your opinions?  I’d love to see them in the comments below!

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Banned Books Week is coming to a close…

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am only a month into my first ever position as an ELEMENTARY educator.  And as most educators know, at least in the literacy realm, this week is Banned Books Week.  I really wanted to make sure I included this “holiday” into at least some of my classes’ curriculum, so I decided to test the waters with my fourth and six graders (about 200 students), and it went wonderfully!  We started off using Mentimeter, which is a wonderful online instant survey tool–I highly recommend it!  I laid out various banned books onto the tables, but did not tell them why they were there and that they were banned.  My Mentimeter question was “What do all of these books have in common?”  Of course, all of them at once gave me and each other puzzled looks because they couldn’t see a connection between a picture book like And Tango Makes Three and a very popular series like Harry Potter.  I encouraged them to discuss with their groups and get creative with their answers.  The end product was interesting to see because they stated things such as “fiction,” “hard cover,” and “illustrations.”

Once we did that I told them their answers were great, but unfortunately none of them was the one answer I was looking for.  And once again, I got puzzled looks across the board.  When I explained to them that the one major commonality of all of these books was that they were banned, the students immediately started calling out questions and groaning.  I loved it!  This meant they were questioning that idea, and were curious to learn more.

We then segued into it being Banned Books Week and the celebration of literacy and the First Amendment.  Some may think that free speech may be too complicated of an issue for children that are only no more than eleven or twelve years old, but it most certainly was not.  Some classes sparked debates about the validity of banning a book, while others wanted to learn the reasoning behind each banning.  It was such a spectacular moment as an educator to witness.  And I truly couldn’t have been more pleased by how the lessons played out!

To wrap up the lesson, I allowed my students to take “mugshots” to celebrate Banned Books Week, and I had more than enough volunteers.  As you can see (below), they got very creative and had a fun time producing their own representation of what banning a book means to them.  It has been a wonderful week, and I plan on spreading the wealth to the third and fifth graders next year!

cti4ffnxeaayphb

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Book Lovers’ Tour of Big Apple

http://www.buzzfeed.com/stmartinspress/the-book-lovers-guide-to-the-big-apple-7rut

So many of us, especially in the tri-state area, have visited New York City.  For tourists and book lovers alike, the New York Public Library is certainly a destination to not miss.  If anything, people love taking pictures with the HUGE lion statues in front of it!

If literary hotspots are your thing during your wanderings of the city or if you just love visiting places of written history, then BuzzFeed’s latest article is perfect for you.  It lists many, many locations that are significant in literature in a number of ways.  Some are simply ‘warehouse-sized’ buildings dedicated to the written word, and others are monuments to famous writers.  No matter what type of place you’re looking for, this long list will certainly suit each spot on the spectrum.

The few I’ve experienced firsthand were absolutely lovely, such as:  the NYPL, The Strand (both store and stands), the Flatiron Building, Central Park Carousel, and Columbia University.  They were all very different from one another, but all had their own unique, interesting value.  I would definitely recommend a visit to each.

As for the other destinations on BuzzFeed’s list, I want to see and experience them all!  And, I invite all of you to do so as well!  Happy travels…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized