Last week we headed to the Catskills for the most perfect, cozy, blissful weekend escape. My nerdy inner elementary school teacher was as about the relaxation and she was about the setting of Jean Craighead George’s My Side of the Mountain in the real. To give a little context to my unabashed enthusiasm, when I taught grade 5 I devised an entire My side of The Mountain unit plan. It is hands down one of my favourite novel studies to do with a group of upper elementary school students. The story is set in the Catskills, and centers around the theme of survival in the wilderness. So as you know I believe in experiential learning. So naturally when I was teaching in the Northwest I made sure to infuse activities that got my students out in their natural environment to ensure the book really came alive. It really is one of the best books to create interactive, authentic learning experiences around. So while away this past weekend, I snapped a handful of pictures throughout our trip that I can put together in a slide presentation for fellow teachers to use to help their students visualize the setting of My Side of the Mountain. It is now up on my Teachers pay Teachers store. Continue reading “My Side of the Mountain Novel Study”
Another article is up on the Yellin Center Blog! You might remember that last fall I reviewed FableVision Learning‘s Animation-ish program. While during my exploration of Animation-ish, I stumbled across a few other awesome resources that FableVision has created. One of which is an amazing tool for learning how to structure an effective essay called, Essay Express. Crafting an essay requires multiple abilities including, spelling, understanding of grammar and sentence structure, master of written conventions, understanding of semantics etc. It is an area of writing that many students (all the way into their college years) struggle with and takes time to truly master. Often students come into the clinic having some of the key abilities in places but weaknesses in others. Essay Express is an exceptional tool that helps strength a students strengths and fill in any gaps they may have in the writing process in order to teach them how to devise strong written output.
So head over to the blog to read my review, the research that went into creating the program and the amazing aspects of this software that will make it beneficial for both home and school use.
Another Ed Tech review is up on the Yellin Center Blog, this time about a suite of eBook and audiobook resources called TumbleBooks. You can head over to my review to learn about the ages each application is appropriate for, as well as all the teacher and librarian resources that are integrated right into the program.
However, what my review doesn’t elaborate is how vital eBooks and audiobooks are for developing the literacy skills of struggling or reluctant readers. Beyond being below grade level in reading ability, one additional challenge struggling readers have to combat is a lack of background knowledge. Often we glean vital information from texts that help us create connections, encode new ideas and enrich our learning experience across curricular areas. However, without exposure to this content struggling readers are unable to build a wealth of prior knowledge which can often lead to challenges in all academic areas. Therefore, when designing literacy interventions the lack of exposure to new vocabulary, a variety of content and diverse ideas needs to be accounted for. This is where audiobook and eBooks become an invaluable resource. These mediums allow students to access the same rich content as their peers, and build their knowledge base without hinging on their decoding or comprehension skills. I work with a lot of students with reading difficulties, and eBooks and audiobooks are two of my most recommended reading support strategies. Personally, I have witnessed a lot of success using alternative reading materials, but don’t simply take my word for it because research backs this evidence based practice also. So if you are looking to bolster your students interest in reading, as well as their content knowledge check out TumbleBooks because they offer a great variety of resources across grade levels and genres.