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The Rookie Teacher



What is Literacy? 1

Posted on July 09, 2012 by Andrew Blake

I am taking the AQ Reading Part 1 over the summer and have decided to blog some of my ideas and the discussion questions being addressed in the course. Our first discussion question was:  Define literacy. Comment on how literacy has changed in the 21st Century and what we as teachers need to consider to be effective literacy instructors due to that change.

Here’s what I think…

I strongly believe that in the traditional sense, literacy can be defined within the realm of reading and writing. However, I believe in the 21st Century we must adopt a more generalized sense of the term, as the mode of literacy changes. I believe in a definition that encompasses the interpretation and creation of communication. We hear of Media Literacy, Critical Literacy, and Technological Literacy. It is the ability to absorb and internalize a message someone is creating (reading) and it is then interpreting that message and creating a response in a variety of forms (writing, oral communication, texting, slogans, etc). In that sense we see Literacy as the ability to infer and interpret images as well as text. In fact Literacy in the broadest sense could be defined as the intake of information, images, signals and then the production of more or new information to be passed on to others.

When we were sitting at my staff meeting yesterday and examining our strategic goal we spent a lot of time discussing a general goal we could apply to JKs to Grade 8s and the connection between image and text as all literacy comes from an image.

clicking away! by eirikso

Clicking away! by eirikso, flickrcc.net

One change in the mode of communication in the 21st Century is the accessibility to a variety of modes of writing.  The Internet and other technology has allowed millions of ideas to be published on a second by second basis with little to supervision or accountability. Even 30 years ago if I had an idea I wanted to write down and show other people I would have to go through the publishing process with countless edits, re-writes and the potential for rejection. In 2012, I can, in less than 10 minutes, share my ideas with the world regardless of validity, quality and restraint. I am by no means criticizing the ability for people to publish their creative, genuine ideas which are truly incredible when you think of all of the things we see on YouTube, Blogs, Facebook on a daily basis. I applaud the accessibility to publish information. However, the concern can exist that we as educators need to teach our students the ability to think critically when looking for information and asking themselves questions like who wrote this, what is their message, which voices are heard or not being heard. We have to teach on the basic level the ability to distinguish fact and opinion in order to ensure our students are able to successfully navigate the massive resources at their digital fingertips. We have to teach children to read for the deeper meaning, which is a daunting task at best.

What is your definition of Literacy?  Comment below, join the discussion on Facebook, or send us a tweet @RookieTeacherCA.

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The Hunger Games – part 1 0

Posted on April 06, 2012 by Lauren

I was recently in a grade 7 class during DEAR where at least 5 copies of The Hunger Games trilogy were being read, a table group was huddled over the People magazine Hunger Games special edition and another student returned from the library complaining that the school never has an available copy to borrow (they have 6 copies of the first book). As an elementary or secondary educator, it is impossible to ignore the tremendous popularity of The Hunger Games trilogy and recently released movie. It seems that we just can’t get enough.

If you have somehow managed to escape The Hunger Games craze then I would encourage you to get your hands on the book for two reasons. #1 – If you work with kids and/or young adults then you will benefit from being knowledgable about their interests. #2 – I can almost guarantee you will enjoy it yourself.

photo from: HungerTimes.com

Scholastic plot summary

Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives.

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death – televised for all of Panem to see.

Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

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Breakfast for the Brain: Quick Tip for Tomorrow 0

Posted on February 13, 2012 by Natasha

“That’s not a word!

Of course it’s a word.
And unless I’m very much mistaken, I think it’s going to prove a
rather useful one.”

If you’ve listened to The Lounge Podcast, then you’re familiar with our segment called “Quick Tip for Tomorrow.”  This segment is dedicated to building a list of quick, simple tasks that you can do in your classroom the next day with little to no prep AND is applicable to most grade levels.

I wanted to share my most recent post from my classroom blog where I touch on Breakfast for the Brain (problem of the day, morning challenge, etc):

Friday, February 10, 2012.

Each morning when students from 5-1 arrive in the class, we take 10/15 minutes to settle in, sing O Canada, listen to morning announcements, and work on a problem of the day, called “Breakfast for the Brain.”

Today, was Musical Friday!

Because I am a musical buff – I was excited to see where this challenge would take the students.

Recently, I saw the Broadway musical, Mary Poppins…and I just knew that this song would be a PERFECT activity for students.  I developed this Breakfast for the Brain activity with the idea of a word study in mind.  Students were required to use their knowledge of letter combinations and sounds to spell out:

S-U-P-E-R-C-A-L-I-F-R-A-G-I-L-I-S-T-I-C-E-X-P-I-A-L-I-D-O-C-I-O-U-S!

photo: N.Dunn

photo: N.Dunn

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