Thursday, August 19, 2010

Storyline Online

One of our 2010 Fellows, Esther Kotke posted this site on our ning, but I finally was able to check it out and had a wonderful experience. The site is and students can have some favorite books read to them by professional actors. I listened to To Be a Drum read by James Earl Jones, but I noticed some other LWP favorites like Thank You, Mr. Falker, Knots on a Counting Rope, and Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge.

While the actors do the reading, the video shows the illustrated pages and subtitles appear on the bottom so that students can follow along in their own books or read together from the screen.

In addition, there are activities and questions for each book. The site is out of funding, so they probably won't add any more books, but they have a nice little collection.

To Be a Drum can still be used in my high school class because it's a nice companion piece to Paul Laurence Dunbar's "Sympathy," and it works as a hook to give them some background knowledge to start their research on slavery in America.

Thanks Esther for sharing this resource. If you find resources that would benefit other teachers, let us know. We'd love to hear from you.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Join the English Companion Ning

If you're a secondary English teacher, this is a cheap way to get professional development advice (FREE) from other professionals (your colleagues).

Go to this ning now and join
There are 19,476 members - mostly English teachers, some student teachers, some professors, some newbies.
There are 177 special interest groups to join: from new teachers, to teaching with technology, teaching 7th grade ELA, poetry, etc.

This discussion that I took a screen shot of is about how you will spend your first day, first week of the school year 2010. There are 336 replies to this question, and one of them is about creating an animoto of the things the students will do in class for the year and playing that as they come in and before the syllabi are handed out.

So did you join yet?