Literacy Links – Volume 73 (Last for 2019-2020 year)

book list, Harry Potter, Just for fun, literacy links, poetry, professional resources, summer, writing
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Dear teaching,

From the moment
I wrote on Mrs. Francescutti’s chalkboard during student teaching

and gave fourth graders
word search advice
in an evergreen Lake Forest Park classroom,

I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love with you.

A love so deep I gave you my all–

From my creativity and money

To my loneliness and energy.

As a twenty-something

deeply in love with you,
I never saw the endless standards,
stacks of papers to grade,
or hours of lost sleep.
I only saw students

at the beginnings of their journeys.

And so I learned.

I read books cover to cover
and observed countless classrooms,
growing my pedagogy with
each page,

each visit.

You demanded everything.

I gave you my heart

because you yielded so much more.

I taught through the fatigue and hurt

Not because problem-solving called me
But because YOU called me.
I do everything for YOU.
Because that’s what you do
when someone makes you feel as

alive as you’ve made me feel.

You gave me my be-the-change-you-wish-to-see dream,

and I’ll always love you for it.

But this year’s crisis challenged me to my core.

These past three months I gave you more than I actually have.
I think my heart can take the pounding.
I think my mind can handle the grind.
But I’m so, so tired and so, so worried.

And that is going to have to be OK.

It’s so unlike me, but I’m ready for this year to end.

Let’s savor every moment we have left together —
The good and the hard.
We’ve given each other

All that we have.

And we both know, no matter what the summer and fall bring…

I’ll always be the teacher
Wearing the silly costumes,
Surrounded by books,
With a clipboard, pen, and notebook nearby
Happily reading and writing

Page after page after page.

Love you always,

Ms. Vigna

(my copycat poem of “Dear Basketball” by Kobe Bryant)

Here is the LAST official roundup of literacy links for the 2019-2020 year if you’re looking for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

 

Literacy Links – Volume 62

Harry Potter, literacy links, online learning, poetry, reading

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Online teaching is no joke. This annotated snapshot of my materials sprawl for my recent PD alludes to my discomfort with teaching online. It makes me wonder: what does *students’* discomfort with *learning* online look like? We’re all doing our best in a situation that none of us signed up for, and I remain in awe of teachers around the world. They are my heroes. ❤

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Literacy Links – Volume 60

Harry Potter, literacy links, online learning, professional resources, writing

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Hope everyone reading this and your families are doing ok.

Teaching and learning look very different right now. Although I am personally hoping that the only literacy work that students are doing is reading and keeping a journal, I think we can support that work by doing book talks and offering writing ideas and reminders, like tips for making books at home or capitalizing first word in a sentence (only accessible through LPS Google accounts). Students have a lot of unique experiences and feelings right now, so encourage them to document them as much as possible.

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

Harry Potter Zine

creating, Harry Potter, writing

Hey, Potterheads! At our very last Harry Potter Club session, everyone created a zine page. The only guidelines were: use 8.5×11 printer paper in portrait layout, include a border of some kind, and share what Harry Potter means to you. The materials were inspiring: colored origami paper, washi tape, stamps, stickers, Harry Potter wrapping paper, and graph paper. Here are all of the zine pages that were turned in at the end of the last session (I recommend listening to some Harry Potter film soundtrack music while you watch the slideshow):

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The Important Book – Harry Potter style

Harry Potter, writing

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One of my favorite lessons during the Harry Potter Club was writing a Harry Potter-themed version of The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. This book’s structure is PERFECT for having students write about the main idea of a topic. I love introducing this structure at the beginning of the year, and then returning to it again and again, especially in the content areas, as a way to have students share their knowledge of a topic.

For the lesson, we listened to a read aloud of the book for inspiration. After the read aloud, I asked, “What did you notice?” They named all sorts of things: it was repetitive, it used everyday objects, every section started with “The important thing about X is Y.”, every section ended with “But the important thing about X is Y.”, and more.

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I then told them we were going to do a Harry Potter-themed version. To prime them, we did a shared writing of one section to introduce our book:

The important thing about the wizarding world is that it is magical. It is full of witches and wizards casting spells, both good and bad. There are fantastic beasts like hippogriffs and mandrakes. But the important thing about the wizarding world is that it is magical.

Finally, we listed lots of everyday magical people, places, and things that they could pick for their sections. They also had their Harry Potter-themed alphaboxes for more magical words.

Here are some of their published pieces:

The important thing about wands is that they are magical. You can lift stuff without touching them. You can grant death spells. Wands can be black or brown. But the important thing about a wand is that it is magical.

-Hengist

The important thing about Fluffy is that he’s a three-headed dog. He guards a special place. Fluffy is fluffy like a cotton ball. Fluffy is also fierce. But the most important thing about Fluffy is that he’s a three-headed dog.

-Wilbert

The important thing about James Potter is he was Harry Potter’s father. He was killed by Voldemort. His wife was Lily Potter, and he was a good Quidditch player. But the important thing about James Potter is he was Harry Potter’s father.

-James the Elder

The important thing about a witch or wizard is that they can cast spells. They learn all about the wizarding world. They go to Hogwarts for school. But the important thing about a witch or wizard is that they can cast spells.

-Hermione

What would your important thing about Harry Potter be? Follow the pattern, share your version in the comments, and I’ll add yours to our library! Happy writing, wizards!

Literacy Links – Volume 58

Harry Potter, literacy links, poetry, professional resources, reading

Screen Shot 2020-03-06 at 2.47.47 PMPotterheads getting inspiration from The Important Book to craft stanzas
about Harry Potter people, places, and things.

This year was the third iteration of the Harry Potter Club, and it was my favorite yet. For the first time, I ran it like a workshop, which is my teaching model of choice (Why it took me three years to make this move perplexes me!). Even more amazing than the change in model is how much more I focused on writing activities. Each session introduced a new writing activity, and I’m so pleased to report that students opted to do each with enthusiasm and passion. Each of the writing projects are being bound into books now and will soon be permanent additions to my faux Hogwarts Library. Next year’s goal: Get Potterheads reading Harry Potter books while they’re during Harry Potter Club season.

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

 

Literacy Links – Volume 56

Harry Potter, professional resources, reading, writing

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If I could find a way to make the Harry Potter Club my full-time job, Center would need a new literacy coach. We’ve met three times so far, and this year, I’ve structured it like a workshop. We have a soft start in which wizards have options for activities while everyone arrives and gets settled: reading Harry Potter books, doing a coloring page, working on a puzzle, reading the latest issue of our newsletter, the Daily Prophet, etc. Once everyone is present, I review or preview the classes for the day: the craft in Transfiguration, the materials for Potions, their Divination quiz online, and the reading/writing activity for Library. I usually station myself at Library so that I can do a reading or writing minilesson as wizards rotate through, but sometimes I’ll lead Potions. I’ve loved this structure so much, and students enjoy the independence of prioritizing the order of their station work. These afternoons are magical.

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment:

  • Is THIS my chance to become a published author?! Or YOURS?!
  • A conference at which to present or attend in October. I always love getting my learn on.
  • Audiobook Listening Copy – Sign up for an account and submit an application. Once approved, you can download free audiobooks each month as supplied by publishers. They are DRM-free and yours to keep.
  • Pioneer Valley Zine Fest – I’m fascinated by zines, the ultimate DIY publishing. This event is on my calendar.
  • Mental health break – Kids should name all the things.

Literacy Links – Volume 40

creating, Harry Potter, professional resources, writing

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I have been obsessed with Dr. Rudine Bishop Sims’s quote about books as mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors ever since I first heard it. So true. So powerful. When I saw Grant Snider’s print inspired by the quote, I knew I had to get it. After the reading specialist at my school transformed a long hallway into a magical, Disney-like space, I jumped into transforming some of the new, diverse texts I’d gotten for the book room into my own hallway display. It’s hard to have a favorite metaphor from the display, but I love this last part:

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I overheard some students saying that “Books are music!” I hope they submit it for the display!

Here is this week’s roundup of literacy links for some quick inspiration, tips, and refreshment: