Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Final Reflection

Final Reflection

This class was very enjoyable. I was excited when I first saw the course title because I was an avid reader as a child. Through taking this class, I was able to read books from my past as well as new books I grew to love. The assigned novels were something I was slightly skeptical about in the beginning, but I was pleasantly surprised overall. I really enjoyed reading The Giverand The Misfits. I feel both books would be great to have in the classroom. I would feel more comfortable teaching The Giver, however. I feel as though I have a better idea on how to select books, encourage student's interest in reading, and how to have a little fun with the reading curriculum. I really enjoyed becoming more familiar with various genres, and I think this was helpful. If I could change one thing about this class, I would suggest creating a list of "great books" that could be given to students for various age levels/interests. I feel as though I could do this for my future students, but it would be nice to have other classmate's opinions. Overall, I am very pleased with how this class went. It was nice to have the opportunity to be exposed to children's literature in variety of genres, different teaching methods, and activities.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's Thanksgiving by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Marylin Hafner

It's Thanksgiving by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Marylin Hafner is a book of poems that are all related to Thanksgiving Day. They do not need to be read in order and all tie in nicely with each other. Some of the poems are about family traditions on Thanksgiving, the first Thanksgiving, the month of November, turkey, food, parade, overeating, football, wishbone, and leftovers. I think all of these are great topics. I think the poem about the first Thanksgiving would be a great tool to use in the classroom in addition to other Thanksgiving related materials.
The style of these poems were easy to understand and had a nice flow. I think that readers of all ages would be successful and enjoy this book. The poems range in mood: from upbeat to more serious. This helps students realize that poetry can be a lot of different things.
The illustrations in this book are similar to the ones in the other Jack Prelutsky holiday book I blogged about. They looked as though they could appear in a newspaper comic as well.
I would recommend this book to others, and I think it others would enjoy it as well! It was fun and entertaining. I was pleasantly surprised because my experience with poetry previously was not as enjoyable.

It's Valentines Day by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Yossi Abolafia

It's Valentines Day by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Yossi Abolafia was a fun book that I really enjoyed reading. The theme of the poems in this book revolved around Valentine's Day. There were many separate poems, but they were tied together because of the theme.
The language used in these poems had some rhyming, but it was not overwhelming. The words were basic enough for young readers, but the whole premise could entertain more advanced readers. Some of the topics included focused on the actual holiday, valentines, traditions, candy, relationships, classroom activities, and other fun related topics.
The illustrations looked as though they would fit in nicely in a traditional newspaper comic. The colors were brights and the illustrations were simple. I really enjoyed this element.
I would love to use this book in the future around Valentines Day because it had a lot of great poems. This would be a good holiday to celebrate because it is not religion-based. I think it would also be a way to show students how fun and upbeat poetry can be.

Winter Friends by Mary Quattlebaum and illustrated by Hiroe Nakata

Winter Friends by Mary Quattlebaum and illustrated by Hiroe Nakata is a book that has a variety of poems that revolve around the theme of winter. The poems are about the sights, sounds, activities, and items that are related to wintertime. Some examples are mittens, snow tracks, a whistle, sledding, snow, and the cold.
I really liked the fact that this poem book revolved around a theme. It would be a great tool to use in the classroom during the winter and to help students get ideas for poems. The book does not have to be read all at once or in order, and I think that is great! My favorite element was seeing how the theme was carried throughout. Another part of this book I really liked was the rhyming. I did not find it overwhelming, and it was used creatively. Also, I think children would have an easier time reading this book on their own.
The illustrations are cartoon like and the colors are bright. Most of the illustrations filled the page, and I liked that aspect a lot.
I would recommend this book to others because it has a lot of potential to be great in a classroom setting. Children could read this book alone or with help if necessary. It could be used to inspire writing poetry or give students a clearer understanding of what poetry can do and be like.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech was unlike any other novel I have ever read. The format was completely new to me, and I am not sure how I feel about it. The book was a series of poems/responses from a male student and his teacher. The first half of the book are the student's entries/notes to his teacher. The second half includes the poems that his teacher had used that he formed his thoughts/ideas off of. I really liked this aspect. It made a lot more sense when I was able to see what the boy was responding to and his influences.
One thing I did not like about this book was the lack of story line. It made sense, but I was able to read the book very quickly. It was very one sided, but I was able to guess what his teacher was saying to him and how he chose to respond. I think that was an interesting effect the author had. Although she did not show us in writing, it was clearly implied.
This book was completely new to me, and I am not sure if i like it or hate it yet. There are aspects I find unique and entertaining, but I also feel as though i didn't really benefit much from reading it. Of course, I was able to see this genre and it's interesting characteristics, but I wanted more of a story and I didn't feel as though I got that. I think the boy was smart and I was able to think about what type of boy he was based upon the writings, and I think that was a nice element the author was able to evoke from me as a reader.
Everyone in our class was assigned this book, and I would be interested in hearing their thoughts to see the possible similarities and differences.

Trouble in the Barkers' Class by Tomie DePaola

Trouble in the Barkers' Class by Tomie DePaola was a book I previously had never read. An instructor recommended this book to me, and I realized that I had previously read a couple books by this author before but didn't realize this was the author. In this book, a new student arrives to classroom. All of the students anxiously anticipate the arrival of Carole Anne. However, Carole Anne is not what any of the student's expected. She is mean and bossy! She is not nice to anyone, and they begin to wish she was not in their class. They decide they must do something about it. The ignored her when she cut in line, pretended not to hear her when she called them names, and no one would play with Carole Anne. The teacher realizes what they are doing, and tells the students to think about the week. Over the weekend a student ran into Carole Anne and helped her and asked her why she was being so nasty. She explained to the whole class on Monday that she was behaving so badly towards them because she was afraid that was how they would treat her if she didn't do it first. Well, after that, all the students were able to be friends with one another. Happy ending.
I thought this book was pretty good, but I thought it would have had a deeper plot. There was a lot of text on each page, and I think that would benefit older or more advanced readers. Also, the pictures did not show exactly what was happening, so it makes the reader rely on the text. I think that was a good element. I also like the many characters. There was a lot of dialouge in the book between all of the students.
The illustrations were cartoon like and the characters were dogs and rabbits. The illustrations were created with a variety of colors that complimented each other. I liked how on many pages the illustrator had multiple illustrations. I think this added visual interest.
I would recommend this book to others, but it was not my favorite that I have read recently. The other books I have read by this author were better (in my opinion) because they story was more elaborate and less predictable. Although this book promotes a lesson and could happen in real life, I liked the far fetched plot of the other books I have read.

Miss Nelson Has a Field Day by Harry ALlard and James Marshall

Miss Nelson Has a Field Day by Harry Allard and James Marshall is a book that is a part of the Miss Nelson series. I was familiar with other Miss Nelson books (Miss Nelson Goes Missing), so I was interested to see how this book would compare. I found it was pretty similar to the books I had previously read. In both books, something goes wrong in the class and "Miss Viola Swamp" comes in and whips everything into shape. In this specific book, the school football team is doing very poorly. They do not want to practice, they are rude to their coach, and they are very disrespectful. Well, when the Coach has to take some time off, Miss Viola Swamp comes in and changes everything. The team is forced to practice, listen, and they get a lot better as a team. Coach Swamp completely changed the team. When it was time for the Coach to return, he was so happy to see what had happened. If you are familiar with these books, Miss Nelson (classroom teacher), is Miss Swamp. She has a twin sister who takes her spot in this book so the students and faculty do not know it is her. In the other book, she simply disguised herself. The lesson learned: sometimes tough love is necessary to get the desired results.
The language used in this book is appropriate for beginning readers and readers who may be struggling that are in upper grades. The number of sentences found on the pages range from one to about half a page. This adds variety. I really think this is helpful because it is not all uniform. I also really liked how some of the words were more difficult, but the authors still included words that many students are already familiar with.
The pictures in this book are like cartoons. The colors are bright. The people, however, are fairly simply drawn. In fact, the illustrations are all fairly simple, but they are appropriate for the text. Frequently, there are multiple illustrations on one page, one covering to pages, or one per page. I liked how this added some variety.
I like the Miss Nelson series, and it was a series I grew up reading. I think that children today would also appreciate the books. Therefore, I recommend this book to others.