Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wondrous Words

Wondrous Words by cathy.ikeda
Wondrous Words, a photo by cathy.ikeda on Flickr.

I brought some books with me to leave at the Durban Writing Project site and I've been rereading this Katie Wood Ray classic. Even if you don't teach in the elementary, you won't go wrong with this book that balances pedagogy with practicality.

One part talks about selecting books to read aloud, not only to model good reading, but to get the sound of good writing into students' heads (79). For as many pieces that are chosen for students that will appeal to them as readers, we need to fill their diet as writers by including books with stunning, rereadable language.

What pieces do you gravitate towards as read alouds with beautiful language?

After 20 years of teaching, I never get tired of Sandra Cisneros' House on Mango Street. Her imagery still leaves me breathless. I also enjoy the different kind of imagery in Juliet Kono's "love" poem "Tongue" although I admit to not reading the last line because it doesn't server my purpose for sharing it in the first place. I like to read local poems so that students see that their voices are valid and publishable without trying to sound like someone they're not

What's on your read aloud list.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What to do with 5 hours

  by cathy.ikeda
, a photo by cathy.ikeda on Flickr.

I'm at the airport again, faced with another five hour layover. Here's what I learned:

• A one day pass for the lounge is worth it if you have a lot of time. It keeps you away from the chaos of the terminal and you usually get free wi fi, drinks and snacks.

• The Delta sky lounge in Atlanta, concourse E has a shower.

• Hawaii has no exchange site to exchange South African rands. Perhaps it's because there are no direct flights to South Africa.

• After the first two hours and a 1/2 hour nap, things get really slow. Buy a book that you're willing to donate to the plane or hotel room.

• Use the slow time to actually go over the work you brought. Perhaps, like me you will find out that the large article I brought called "Working with Second Language Learners: Answers to Teachers' Top Ten Questions" only has 8 answers. Doh! Not only that, but when I actually read it I had a "duh?!" rather than an "aha" moment. Bummer.

• Spending one hour trying to post a pic on the blog and type with fat fingers and small keys does not make you any more proficient. Practice does not make perfect.

That's a good segue for today's mana'o. "Practice makes permanent"-Rick Wormelli
What that means for us as educators is that we can't give homework that students can't practice independently, otherwise the mistaken thinking of a child who is not ready to master the concepts independently will result in permanent damage that we then need to catch and reteach. If we don't reteach, the teachers that come after us will blame the child's errors on us, and it may actually be true. "practice makes permanent"

Monday, June 20, 2011

South Africa bound

I am not, by nature, a cocktail party person. I am introverted, more comfortable on the sidelines, and I do not, like engaging in small talk. Writing Project leaders, though, by nature are outgoing, friendly people persons. What do Writing Project people schedule for their first activity at a new site director's conference? A cocktail party of course. An introverts strategy at a cocktail party is to stick close to the person you came with, and if you find yourself separated, then find one person you connect with and stick to them.

That's how I met Cheryl Canada Logan, director for the mid Ohio writing project. Something just clicked with us. She was just back from Jamaica, having worked with teachers there. I talked about my interest in culture-based education and we hit it off. Who knew that the encounter at a cocktail party in Arizona would turn into an opportunity to join Cheryl in South Africa two years later, but that's how things seem to happen in life, so I'm just going on blind faith and a belief in the magic of writing project to see me through.

This is probably the only opportunity to sit in front of a computer until I get to the institute, so have a wonderful summer and I will try to represent my Lehua Writing Project site with honor.