Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Spark Notes Twitter Pages

Does your teen use Twitter? Here are some helpful links they may want to follow:

info on Spark Notes

a "word of the day" for SAT prep

a grammar expert

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What is a Charter School?

Charter schools are part of the public school system. They are founded by parents, teachers, or others and they usually have a special focus (the arts, leadership, etc). Although public, charter schools are run independently, free from many procedural requirements of other public schools. They are required to have a system of accountability in place for yearly student progress. As with any placement decision, the unique needs of your child must be kept in mind. For Massachusetts residents, here is a good link for more information: Massachusetts Charter Schools

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Get Creative! Semantic Mapping is...

With my students, I can't stress enough the importance of pre-planning their writing by "mapping." The "simplest" semantic map is a descriptive web - a circle in the middle, categories coming off of it, and organized with details.

These charts, also called "mind maps" benefit people of all ages, including people in corporate think-tanks. It helps you organize your thoughts, whether you are writing a paragraph or a book.

Today I want to share this link with you on the "Top 10" mind maps. Please check this out to see how creative this process can really get: Top 10 Mind Maps from the blog Mind Map Inspiration by Paul Foreman.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Read the Funny Papers!

Reading the comics - what could be a more relaxing way to spend time with your child? But did you know that it is great for their language development too? The comics have all kinds of ways to teach higher level language. It also increases your child's general knowledge. Just picking up a paper today I found:

-a "word retrieval" error based on sounds of our language (gargling/gurgling)
-idioms (ones we really use - not the old-fashioned ones seen in a lot of teacher manuals)
-current general knowledge (about twitter)
-a character with learning struggles (can't memorize something)
-body language (someone who didn't turn around and see who was behind her)
-new words in our language ("green technology")
-double meanings

You get all this when you read the comics - and you get to laugh, too!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Levels of Story-Telling Skills in Children

Many times I am told "My child can't tell a story" or "this student can tell stories."
To get good information on narrative skills, the question is: at what level?
There are specific, sequenced levels to story-telling. They boil down to this:

1. Descriptive
2. Action Sequence
3. Reactive Sequence
4. Abbreviated Episode
5. Complete Episode
5a. Multiple Episodes
6. Complex Episode
7. Embedded Episode
8. Interactive Episode

So the question is not can my child tell a story, it is: at what level, and with what kind of help?

Here is one good resource for teaching narratives using trade picture books: East Meets West: Using Children's Books as a Clinical Intervention for Language and Reading Disabilities

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Storytelling and Child's Play

In the mail today I got a pamphlet for a continuing ed seminar on child's play and language as the basis for literacy. The Roots of Literacy - presented by Carol Westby

Did you ever listen in on a young child's pretend play? It can tell you a lot about language and cognitive development. They are creating narratives, and working out their own concepts and conflicts. And narratives are the basis for literacy. Talking during pretend-play is really an early reading activity.

Come to think of it, as adults we are still trying to figure life out through narratives. That's why we love storytelling, movies and novels. And that's why we have a "story" to our own lives.

It's more than escape.


Well okay I turned out to be not much of a blogger.
But now I've discovered Twitter.
Much less time consuming.
But then again...if I just elaborate a little...I have a blog post.