Monday, April 27, 2009

NCTE Gallery of Writing accepting submissions



The National Council of Teachers of English, in preparation for their National Day of Writing, October 20, 2009 has opened up their Gallery of Writing and are now accepting submissions.

The organizers invite letters, memoirs, lists, poems, podcasts, essays, short stories, instructions, reports, editorials, video clips, biographical sketches, speeches, invitations, hopes and dreams—writing that matters most to you. We're looking for a high school senior's college essay, a grandmother's letter to a beloved grandchild, a diary entry from a Desert Storm veteran, and a father's poem to a daughter on her wedding day. We want a toddler's first writing about her trip to the zoo and the firefighter's letter to the editor about the upcoming bond vote. Whatever the form and whoever the writer, the pieces you submit here, with their many voices, many visions, many stories, come together in the mosaic that is America writing.

If you still have questions, go to the National Day on Writing resource page.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Obamas Read Aloud for Easter

At the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn, the Obamas read stories to the children, including Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

C-Span has the video here.

Use technology like C-Span and You Tube or TeacherTube to bring more videos into your classroom of historical figures and celebrities reading books aloud. Post links or post the videos directly into your website. Share resources.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Is Poetry Really Worth It?

April is Poetry Month, but as a language arts teacher, I know that amongst language arts teachers, there's a dirty little secret, especially in the secondary... we tend to relegate the poetry unit to the end hoping that we've run out of time. Have I exposed a nerve?
Am I talking about you? Am I bringing up your own schooling demons? Have you analyzed poetry to death only to be told that you're way off base? Are we guilty of doing the same in our own classes? Have we just totally killed poetry for the next generation?
April is the month to go back to your childhood and remember what you liked so much about poetry. No one reads a poem like "There Was an Old Man of West Dumpet" to a child then has that child analyze the motive of the old man. Poetry is to immerse yourself in sound and emotion and imagery and taste the words as they're going in your brain and coming out of your mouth.
There was an old man of West Dumpet,
Who possessed a large nose like a trumpet;
When he blew it aloud,
It astonished the crowd,
And was heard through the whole of
West Dumpet.
--Edward Lear

The blog post below has some easy ways to study and "analyze" poetry again without killing the joy. Check it out and let me know what your favorite poem to use in class is.
How to read a poem

Some of mine are on my school blog