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Mind the Map.

https://ed.ted.com/on/7WdV6Sqw

Here is the teaching point/issue:

How do we concurrently 1. teach students how stories work (or how anything works for that matter) 2. use technology to best demonstrate concepts 3. have students practice and grow their own knowledge?

One idea: mind mapping.

There are multiple available apps, etc. for this technique. We had Inspiration in our district, but not sure if we renewed the license or not. No matter.  I know we have other similar apps on our PCs for work. Mind mapping is simply brainstorming, sketching ideas in a hierarchal visual mode, and revisable in real time. For anyone who’s done a cocktail napkin sketch, written a grocery list, or planned an essay, you’ve done a form of mind mapping. It’s finding your way, setting a course, and looking at the big picture.

 

There are some exquisite examples of mind maps.

Cool examples: https://mindmapsunleashed.com/10-really-cool-mind-mapping-examples-you-will-learn-from

https://storymaps.arcgis.com/en/app-list/

http://mashable.com/2013/09/25/mind-mapping-tools/#ncJJyS7Bx8qG

I looked through this file and added MindMap:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByKyQvl3l_F5aVNLZnc1Q3dmQ1E/view?usp=sharing

https://www.visualthesaurus.com/

http://www.mindmapping.com/

Canva:

Mind Map

https://bubbl.us/

http://www.inspiration.com/visual-learning/mind-mapping

How to Mind Map

All mind maps begin with a main concept or idea that the rest of the map revolves around, so choosing that idea or topic is the first step. Begin by creating an image or writing a word that represents that first main idea.

From that main idea, create branches (as many as needed), that each represent a single word that relates to the main topic. It’s helpful to use different colors and images to differentiate the branches and sub-topics.

Then, create sub-branches that stem from the main branches to further expand on ideas and concepts. These sub-branches will also contain words that elaborate on the topic of the branch it stems from. This helps develop and elaborate on the overall theme of the mind map. Including images and sketches can also be helpful in brainstorming and creating the sub-branch topics.

Mind maps can be created on paper but are more easily and fluidly created on a computer with mind mapping software such as Inspiration Software®’s Inspiration® 9.

via GIPHY

https://www.text2mindmap.com: I got a safety message when I tried to go to this site.

 

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Saving Summer: Why do I need this?

Relevancy: how many students passively sit in class, waiting to be entertained? Engagement is key, but as the wise man said, “I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause /you’ll play against you.” In other words: sometimes you’re going to have to enjoy your own company and think/create your own thoughts.

Why Humanities? Why read? Why listen? Why talk?

To be an interesting human.

The other morning scrolling through social media I watched a Buzzfeed talk — and immediately recognized it as a character analysis. “Captain Obvious,” yes, that may be; however, many students watch and critique the media they love, or hate, all the time–they may not know it. The trick is to make school not so “school-y.” Still a work in progress for me.

@BuzzFeedCocoaButter posted this on Facebook. I could not find it on Youtube, so this is a screencasting. My apologies for the quality.

 

CocoaButter does a beautiful job of how this character relates to her personally (“If you could be friends with this character…?”) and how the character relates to the whole of the narrative, including her own parallel narrative in the series.

This article in Edutopia outlines precisely how to teach literary analysis:

Teaching Literary Analysis

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/reaching-literary-analysis-rusul-alrubail

What may be the bridge between this example of literary analysis (with its focus on character) is explaining to students (the teaching part) that CocoaButter didn’t just talk off the top of her head. She went through this process of discussion, gathering evidence, etc. It would be an interesting lesson to see if students can deconstruct her process. But most of all: the topic of Jodie Landon was clearly important to her, and she brought the “So What?” importance to her topic. It’s not enough to summarize and answer questions rotely–students must connect emotionally to their ideas and topics, and then have the tools and platform to share.

“Analyze”

This critical stage is often a learning curve for many students. It’s important that the teacher helps them distinguish between descriptive writing and analytical writing. Descriptive writing answers the “who,” “what,” “where,” and “how” questions. It often tends to summarize the text. Analytical writing, however, answers to the “why” question. When students consider the question, “Why is this point important?”, it pushes them beyond mere description into ideas that are convincing, argumentative, and defend a position.”–https://www.edutopia.org/blog/reaching-literary-analysis-rusul-alrubail

This infographic is going to be a big part of the writing process, too, as well as a path for literary analysis. This is an important step before I bring them to the funnel writing method.

What character has changed how you view the world or connected with you on a visceral level?

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.1
Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences are drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.2
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.3
Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.
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Saving Summer: Book money.

This is a “before” picture while cleaning up my classroom before summer break. This represents about 1/3 of my classroom library. It did get organized, eventually.

I buy books. I buy too many books — well, there are never enough books, but yes, I do wish my district would buy more. The tug-of-war between the decision makers and the stakeholders (teachers and students) never seems to end. And while I scour for on-line freebies, curate as many titles as I can, nothing beats a new book, and especially, the right book, in the hands of a student who says they don’t like to read.

This thread on Twitter got my attention:

This idea that children want their own things shouldn’t be overlooked or dismissed. It seems parents hand them cell phones instead of books. Understandable. I have no issue, nor should anyone, ever say one word about a student having things that make them feel special, included, and just plain good: cell phones, new shoes, the right snapback or glitter pens. This isn’t about how parents spend their money. Or teachers. It’s about how districts view books and book lending. It becomes punitive and constrictive. How many times have I heard “I hate to read!” when it may be more of a function of “I hate worrying about other people’s *!*$!” It is the NEW book, the ownership of a book, that makes a huge difference. No one to boss or manage the time spent reading, or being given “responsibility” of reading in class, bringing the text to and fro, possibly being charged a fine if it’s lost or damaged. (I have had countless copies of Cut by Patricia McCormick go missing.)

Next year I’m looking at spending around $180 on enough copies of Lord of the Flies. I can go to Donor’s Choose and maintain that post, and jump through new bureaucratic hoops my district set up. I can ask GoFundMe for some money, which feels awful since the last GoFundMe I gave to was a young man murdered by police. Yes, he was one of ours.

So, tell me, this community of mine, how do I get new books that children can choose, keep, and read without operating in my own bank account in the negative (yes, I do). Is it possible to change the mindset of the spending at the district level to alter how they distribute funds for books? Am I just asking naive and pointless questions? Probably.

It’s easier just to fill up the Amazon cart with what I want and move on. And I know why I’m always broke. But hey, if that new copy of The Hate U Give I gave to a student before the summer showed her how much I adore her, it’s a small price to pay.

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Saving Summer: Our country, tis of thee….

This September, right from the get-go, around Constitution Day (which falls on a Sunday this year), I shall share a unit on the Declaration of Independence, sparked by this exchange.  And it’s here, too. 

And from this thread, I learned so much.

So folks didn’t know that NPR’s annual reading of the Declaration of Indepence was just that: a reminder of what our nation is founded upon, what were the reasons for the Revolutionary War, and throwing over a tyrannous ruler.

Here is the first draft of potential discussions, lessons, etc.

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Saving Summer: Where the Stories Are

via GIPHY

If you follow the Notice and Note site on Facebook (and why are you still reading this if you’re not?!), you will see many teachers asking for recommendations on a variety of themes, theme topics, units, and niche text recommendations for a variety of grade levels and kids. It’s fantastic.

There are many places to get good stories and texts, and here are just a few:

Open Culture

Book Riot:

CommonLit

Free texts — how awesome is that?

BrainPickings

Excerpts, recommendations, etc.

Project Gutenberg

Thousands of free books and other texts.

Actively Learn

You can control a variety of texts and upload Google Docs and links from the Internet.

NPR-Ed

Podcasts: (make sure age appropriate)

These are a smattering of my favorites:

And if you browse for ‘free short stories’ over a million entries come up:

 

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