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Bring a Survivor into Your Classroom Today
Tomorrow is Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day. Using primary sources and video testimony from survivors, Echoes and Reflections teaches about the Holocaust in a way that stimulates engagement and critical thinking among students.
Share testimony with your students.
Lynnette Van Dyke's insight:
Critical thinking about the Holocaust:Download lesson resources, testimony and I-Witness accounts, visual history clips by lesson
The ten multipart lessons in the Teacher's Resource Guide, along with additional supplementary material provided here, can enhance both teachers' and students' experiences with Echoes and Reflections. Explore each lesson below for access to all of the materials you need to implement the lesson and to extend the topic being explored.
Blogger Heather Wolpert-Gawron provides strategies and steps for teaching narrative writing aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
Once I decided that the students would move away from fantasy or personal narrative into a more fact-based fiction, the challenge was to find ways students could prove their informational research. I began teaching guiding them through the following:Producing bibliographies of their resources using APA or MLA format. They use these as a resource to help them with format. And yes, I permit the use of Easybib.Creating follow-up presentations called "What if...." projects. Inspired by a resource from Larry Ferlazzo, these five- to 10-slide Powerpoints or Prezis ask students to take a key moment in the time period in which their historical fiction piece is set or a key invention they studied while writing their science fiction story, and delete it from our own history. Their projects focus on the ripple effect of what if that moment or invention had never existed. They must back up their musings with evidence.Centering small group discussions around inquiry charts that expand on the differences between history vs. historical fiction and science vs. science fiction.Hyperlinking.
RT @mental_floss: 18 Literary Maps of the United States — http://t.co/rTyXd8Zcg9
The first United States transcontinental road trip was completed in 1903, and Americans have been enamored with the open road ever since. The only thing more American than a road trip? A literary route celebrating American authors. The Library of Congress’ Language of the Land exhibit collects bookish state maps that chart the regions and the writers who loved them, either through birth or discovery.
Via Mary Daniels Brown
Teaching reading comprehension to your students is not a one-size-fits-all prospect. Here are three strategies you can walk through with your students and use to accelerate their comprehension.
Here are three strategies you can walk through with your students and use to accelerate their comprehension.
Identify where the difficulty occurs
Identify what the difficulty is
Restate the difficult sentence or passage in their own words
Look back through the text
Look forward in the text for information that might help them to resolve the difficulty
You can get more information on these strategies and others at readingrockets.org, a national literacy initiative for helping young kids learn to read.
Strategies for Before, During, and After Reading PreK–3rd Grade
Students can increase their reading comprehension through a variety of activities. This video segment showcases classrooms in which real teachers implement various comprehension strategies (such as KWL charts, structured notes, graphic organizers, T-charts, and evidence-based summaries) before, during, and after reading.
This video segment also comes with a downloadable study guide that summarizes the concepts presented and offers reflection questions as well as links to additional resources for teaching reading comprehension.
These materials are part of a comprehensive series of videos and downloadable resources on teaching literacy
As a classroom tool, interactive fiction sharpens close reading and writing, and logical and critical thinking. It also reinforces systems and design thinking skills.
Essentially text-based, interactive fiction is a genre of games with roots that predate the internet. The player/reader makes choices that determine the outcome of the narrative. It's like a digital version of Dungeons & Dragons, the paper-based role-playing game set in a medieval fantasy world. It's also similar to choice-based fiction, like the Choose Your Own Adventure book series that began in the late 1970s.
Because player choice changes the narrative arc, interactive fiction can be used to teach empathy, what it's like to be in someone else's shoes. For example, Begscape (built with Twine, which I'll discuss later), puts the reader in the role of a beggar. Another intriguing text-based game is A Dark Room, an addictive resource management game. In 2015, a text adventure adaptation of the film Interstellar was released at the same time as the DVD.A Brief History of Text-Based Gaming
Computer-based interactive fiction began in 1975 with Infocom's Adventure. Next came the Zork and Ultima series. In the mid-1980s, Douglas Adams adapted his bestselling book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as an interactive title. It's still playable online today.
The 1990s introduced the world to text-based MUDs (multi-user dungeons) like Ultima Online. The web enabled multiple players to join together in online virtual worlds. Present day massive multiplayer online (MMO) games like World of Warcraft stem from MUDs.
In 1996, designer Richard Bartle published an influential paper titled Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit MUDs. According to Bartle, there are personality types (Bartle's Player Types), each of which must be considered by a game's designer. In other words, people play games for different reasons -- some to socialize, others to collect objects, and others who compete to win. When designing virtual worlds, all player types should be considered. Similarly, when teachers design lessons, multiple modalities should be addressed.Interactive Fiction Today
The descendents of text-based adventure games include games with threaded conversation trees. The story decisions are often presented as multiple-choice responses, which are coded as conditional loops, or "if-then statements." (Incidentally, interactive fiction is often abbreviated as IF.) The Mission U.S. educational role-playing games rely on the choice-based mechanic.
One of the leaders in choice-based gaming today is Telltale Games. It adapted The Walking Dead (2013), The Wolf Among Us (2013) -- based on the Fables comics -- and Game of Thrones (2014). Each title features animations followed by dialogue choices. The direction of the story arc hinges on player decisions. Telltale Games is currently developing Minecraft: Storymode for Mojang (developer of Minecraft, the popular block-building game).Interactive Fiction as a Teaching Tool
There are several free authoring tools to write interactive fiction. Some have an easier learning curve than others. One example is Inform, a "natural" programming language. Inform games are typically single-player -- the player types after a command prompt. For example, one might read, "The door ahead of you is open." To advance the story, the player might decide to type, "Open door."
In 2014, GlassLab's lead designer Erin Hoffman and I used Inform to create Time Society Chronicles: Independence. The objective was to give students the feeling of living in British-occupied Boston during the American Revolution -- interactive historical fiction. After playing, I asked students how it inspired them to create their own interactive stories. Here, my role was not just to have students play a game, but to contextualize their learning.
Twine is an increasingly popular application for creating stories with multiple endings. It's available as a free download and features a vibrant community, as well as a story database showcasing best practices. Completed stories can be posted anywhere online. Twine is effective as a tool that teaches reading and writing. For more on games made with Twine, check out this recent New York Times Magazine article.
The authoring tool inklewriter works right in a computer's browser and features a simple-to-follow tutorial for new learners. Aspiring writers can share links to stories or export to a Kindle device. Inklewriter won 2013's Best Website for Teaching and Learning award from the American Association of School Librarians. The developer, inkle, had previously published 80 Days, a tablet game based on the classic Jules Verne novel. It was considered the top video game of 2014 from Time magazine. Inkle next adapted Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as interactive fiction. Future Voices is its online anthology of shared stories, used to celebrate exemplary works.
Using interactive fiction in the classroom sharpens close reading and writing, logical thinking, and other critical thinking competencies. It also reinforces systems thinking and design thinking skills -- in which interconnections are mapped and user experiences are considered. The low barrier to entry makes interactive fiction a natural fit for any student-centered classroom
Chrome Apps for Leveled Reading
Via Tom D'Amico (@TDOttawa)
Composition professionals in post-secondary institutions—composition faculty, writing program administrators, and technology staff—share concern and responsibility for helping students learn to write at a college level, using the most effective communication technologies. Disciplinary practice and research suggest that portfolio assessment has become an important part of the learning-to-write process.
In turn, electronic portfolios (e-portfolios) have become a viable institutional tool to facilitate student learning and its assessment. E-portfolios can be “web-sensible”—a thoughtfully arranged collection of multimedia-rich, interlinked, hypertextual documents that students compose, own, maintain, and archive on the Internet or in other formats. Web applications designed to support e-portfolio composition can offer additional opportunities for providing structure, guidance, and feedback to students, and can provide students with opportunities to connect selectively with multiple audiences.
E-portfolios communicate various kinds of information for the purposes of assessment. For example, e-portfolios can:
Identify connections among academic and extra-curricular learning for admission to higher education and vocational opportunitiesDemonstrate applications of knowledge and critical literacies for course or programmatic assessmentProvide evidence of meeting standards for professional certificationDisplay qualifications for employmentShowcase job-related accomplishments beyond schooling, for evaluation or promotionRepresent lifelong learning for participation in public service
However, these purposes do not capture important kinds of student learning in composition courses that should carry over to writing tasks in other courses and contexts, such as students understanding different writing processes or learning styles or students setting their own goals for future learning.
As e-portfolios assume a greater role in institutional assessment, First-Year Composition (FYC) will most likely serve as the course that introduces them to students. Therefore, FYC faculty may have a particular, vested interest in identifying the principles and practices of e-portfolio development that prioritize student learning. Such principles and best practices, based on the theoretical knowledge that classroom evidence substantiates, enable composition faculty to provide students with experiences that help them expand and specialize their writing skills for a variety of cross-disciplinary programs and professional contexts beyond FYC.
Suggested Principles and Best PracticesPrinciple
#1: Learning OutcomesPrinciple
#2: Digital EnvironmentsPrinciple
#3: Virtual IdentitiesPrinciple
#4: Authentic AudiencesPrinciple
#5: Reflection and E-portfolio PedagogyPrinciple
#6: Integration and Curriculum ConnectionsPrinciple
#7: Stakeholders’ ResponsibilitiesPrinciple
# 8: Lifelong Learning