Ms. B's reading corner

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Disney Video

In class a couple of weeks ago we watched a video about the different attributes (for lack of a better term) that Disney videos have taken on over the years. This video definitely opened my eyes to say the least. I will admit that I've never thought of Disney as sexist or racist or violent. I just thought of it as good safe entertainment for all ages. Seeing this video has definitely changed my opinion. I will personally probably continue to watch Disney movies in the future, but I will definitely be wary of what I show students because of one particular scene in the video that really stood out. When the children were watching Beauty and the Beast and how it influenced them really shocked me. Because of this we, as teachers, need to be aware of all the resources we bring into our class, whether it be a book or a movie by Disney.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The River

So although we didn't get a chance to discuss all of the books in class, I'm still glad that it was recommended to read this book. I found "The River" to be an excellent book and I am even considering using it in my upcoming practicum for a novel study unit. I also think that this book could definitely be used as a novel study assignment at the same time the students are doing a survival unit in PE. I also think that this book can help make students aware of the dangers that life throws at us. Even though we may not be lost in the wilderness literally, we could be lost in the wilderness figuratively. Perhaps part of a discussion surrounding this reading could be to ask the class how they think they would survive in certain situations--they could be lost in the wilderness, suffered a loss or broken a bone. This book could definitely branch off into many different subjects and life lessons.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Well, here we are in the last week of our semester of classes. Wow, congratulations that we have made it this far! I think that out of all of the readings we had for this class, the one that spoke to me the most was "Using Literacy to create Social Justice Classrooms." What I never realized was how much of an impact certain stories can have on different students. To me, I usually see fiction books as entertainment. Not until this class was I aware of such genres as realistic contemporary fiction. After reading this excerpt in the reading package, I am now acutely aware of the stories that are available resources for teachers when approaching sensitive issues. It must be hard for some teachers, like in this article, to realize the hard lives of some of their students. But the best way is to turn every issue into a teachable opportunity, and having such book resources available sure will help ease some stress that teachers may have when dealing with the "tough stuff."

Friday, January 20, 2006

Here is my recommended bibliography of children's literature titles. I approached it a slightly different way. I know I say this a lot, but after working in a bookstore, you definitely get a feel for what kids these days are reading. So my list reflects just some of the favourite books out there that children these days are choosing to read:

Goin' Someplace Special
Patricia C. McKissack

Ok, I am going to contradict myself a bit here. I just mentioned that these are books that children are reading now, but this was the book that I picked for my multicultural book assignment. This book is set in the Southern United States during the 1950s and time of segregation. 'Tricia Ann, the main character, ventures out on her own to her favourite place. Along the way, she is met with many opposing forces due to the colour of her skin, but ultimately she reaches her Someplace Special, the public library, where all were welcome.

I think that this book would be appropriate for around Grade 4. It seems as if the concept would be too difficult for younger grades to understand and by Grade 4, students in BC are identifying issues or problems throughout history. This book may be a good lead-in when discussing North American History in Social Studies.

Mmm, Cookies!
Robert Munsch

This book is one of my favourites. It stars Christopher, a mischevious little boy who decides that he is going to make fake cookies out of clay to surprise his family into thinking that they are real. But what goes around comes around and one day at school his teacher has a surprise something for Christopher as well!

I think that this book would be appropriate for K-1. I actually read it to my K-1 class last year for my practicum and they LOVED it! It actually helps students with their repetition techniques without them even realizing because some words throughout the book are used more than once and that encourages the children to participate in the reading process on their own by knowing what is coming up.

Giggle, Giggle, Quack
Doreen Cronin

This book is also another favourite and I also chose it for my read-aloud that I will be doing in class. In this book, Farmer Brown leaves his brother, Bob, in charge while he goes on vacation, not realizing the farm animals have special plans for Bob. This book is also suitable for a K-1 class and it can help the students with predicting because there are many instances in the book where the students could guess what animal will be portrayed next and what they will make Bob do. It's so fun and the kids will definitely get a kick out of it...giggle, giggle, quack, giggle, moo, giggle, oink!

Love you forever
Robert Munsch

"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, As long as I'm living, My baby you'll be."
Who doesn't remember this book? This book is still a favourite of so many people, regardless of their age. In a nutshell, it is a book about the love that a parent feels for their child-forever. Even when the child is grown with a child of his own, he still know of his mothers love. I think this book is appropriate for all ages, but school-wise, it would probably be for about grades k-2. However, even though it is a wonderful story, it would be best to check the demographics of the class before reading them a story like this. Some of the students may never have known what's it's like to have a parent's love, so as teachers, we have to be sensitive to that issue. Still, it is such a great book, and one that I will always admire and like!

The Berenstain Bears books
Stan Berenstain

I just chose this one as an example of the berenstain bears books. These books could probably be listed under the "contemporary realistic fiction." These books deal with real issues, such as learning about strangers or such things as manners. These books would be appropriate once again for a k-2 class because that is the age in which these students should be learning about life issues. These books definitely make it easier for a teacher to approach such topics. It follows the BC IRPs because it can allow for student to recount what a story was about and how to relate it to areas in their own life as well.

Harry Potter Series
J.K. Rowling

Ok, I'll be honest, I put this representation of this series in here because I love reading Harry Potter. I think they are a fantastic set of books and they really did get children reading again. I'm sure many of you are familiar with the trials and tribulations of the young wizard during his days at Hogwarts. Although these books are in the 8-12 section of the bookstore, I would suggest that children not start reading them until they are 11 or 12. Especially the last couple of books, which get increasingly darker as Harry deals with more of life's issues. I think that adults should definitely have them on their "to-read" lists for sure. If I was to use Harry Potter in school, I would probably wait until about grade 6 or 7 before I used it. Then I would probably base a novel studies unit around it. All in all, this is a great series and I can't wait for her to finish writing her next book!

Ok, so that is my list. I hope you took away something from it. These books are excellent and I definitely recommend that you try some out in your next(and last!!) practicum! Bye for now

Friday, January 06, 2006

Before we went to the public library yesterday, I was already thinking about what my favourite books were when I was a school-aged child. I was fortunate enough to have read a lot during my childhood and that has continued into my adulthood. When I was younger, I mostly read Nancy Drew, The Babysitter's Club, Sweet Valley Twins and Liz Austen mysteries by Eric Wilson. But the one that I chose yesterday at the library was Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary.

I always remember the Ramona stories and even thinking about them now makes me smile. Ramona was a rather curious child and her curiousity usually got her in trouble. I remember one Ramona book I read she was starting kindergarten and she was learning the Star-spangled Banner and she didn't realize it and she thought she was receiving a "dawnzerly light." The fact that that can still make me laugh just shows how influential children's books can be for a child to read. The fact also, that this book was published in 1968 and is still being read even today by young girls is definitely neat to see.

Even though I chose this as being a book that is familiar to me, there were others that I also enjoyed reading, the one's I described above in the first paragraph. I loved reading, I think I got that gene from my mom because she loves reading too! I still do love reading, and I even work at Coles bookstore at home during the summer and Christmas. Working at Coles definitely expanded my horizons on the types of books available and I even found myself reading books that normally I wouldn't and I enjoyed them all. These days, kids are so lucky with the choices that they have. Not only do they have the choice of reading what I did as a kid, but they have so many more to choose from too. The Harry Potter books, Series of Unfortunate Events, Eragon and Eldest are just some examples of the popular series that children have the choice to read today. It's good that there is a variety out there and even as adults we should pick up a children's book now and again and lose themselves in the fantasy of youth.