DIY Book Trading Cards

DIY Book Trading Cards
JANUARY 9, 2019 BY KAREN JENSEN, TLT LEAVE A COMMENT
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My family traveled over the holidays and at one point, we saw a TSA agent with a K9 dog. Thing 2 pointed and said, “look, there’s a dog,” which prompted the TS-9 to hand her a trading card made about the dog, whose name was Hilbert. It was a genius marketing strategy to make kids comfortable and satisfy their curiosity while maintaining their distance and prevent them from approaching or petting the working dogs.

tradingcards7 tradingcards8I kept thinking about this K9 trading card and all the fun marketing potential it has. So the other day I tweeted and said, what if we made book trading cards? I liked the idea so much that I then started obsessively figuring out ways to make trading cards and exploring the best tools, as I have a tendency to do. Here’s a look at 5 tools I used, the trading cards I created using them, and then at the end of this post I have a few ideas for ways that we can use the idea of trading cards to promote reading, programs and libraries in school and public libraries.

Instax Mini Trading Cards

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As regular readers know, I am recently obsessed with the Instax Mini camera. I like the wide variety of things you can do with it AND the fact that you get an instant picture. Patience is not a virtue I have and I don’t have a lot of art or tech skills. You can buy a variety of Instax Mini sticker frames, which have a piece that goes on the back of your photo, which helps make this project work. This back sticker makes it so that you can use both sides of the photograph to make quick and easy trading cards. Use a Sharpie marker (I found the Extra Fine tip worked the best) to write on the front and back of your instant photo. You can also use metallic silver Sharpies to write directly on the black back if you don’t have sticker frames. I wrote various facts and gave a rating for my book in the margins of the photo. Here I did an example using the upcoming book Dig by A. S. King.

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The benefit to this method is that it is seriously quick and easy. The drawback, of course, is that you have to have a couple of Instax Mini cameras on hand, which I recommend. (Did I mention I am a huge fan?) Film is not, however, cheap and I haven’t found it for less than around $0.68 a picture. So though it may be quick, easy and kind of low tech, it’s not in-expensive. The Instax Mini is a fun device, with immediate results and most tweens and teens I know are currently really interested in this device. This is a good starting place if you want easy and immediate results.

Sports Card Pro App

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The trading card that you see in the upper right hand card was made using the Sports Card Pro app, which I downloaded for free. It has in app purchases, but the initial app download is free. I made no additional purchases to create my trading card so the entire product was free to me.

Where you see the rocket ship in the left hand corner the Sports Card Pro app gives you a choice of various sports balls to put in that corner. This didn’t really work for me so I saved my picture and opened it in another app, Candy Camera, to add the rocket ship. But if you want a sports theme, you can do it all in this app and pretty quickly. I made the example you see in this picture in about 2 minutes while laying in bed with the TV on in the background and no real experience with the app. I tell you this because I want you to understand how quick and easy it was.

One of the things I liked about this app is how much focus it put on the picture, but that left less room for text. It has rigidly set text boxes and design elements, so it doesn’t allow for a lot of personalization or moving elements around. Some people would like this, but I found it frustrating as I wanted to move certain elements slightly in one direction or another and it just doesn’t give you that freedom of design. You could get around this problem by doing the most basic design in this app, saving your card and then uploading it into another app – like Over or PS Express – to add more design elements, but that’s a lot of additional steps and requires some additional knowledge.

Because this is a mobile device app, you have to be able to print wirelessly to some type of device. Because I knew I wanted a small, trading card size, I used the Print to Size app on my cell phone which allows you better control over sizing as opposed to simply printing from a mobile device to a wireless printer. I printed to both a regular printer and a Selphy photo printer, which I discuss more at the end of this post.

So while this is a good app for designing a sports themed card, it’s not necessarily good for other themes. It was quick and easy, but not very versatile.

Trading Card Creator at ReadThinkWrite

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This is a free online program that has an educational focus, so it has a lot more room for text. You can include facts about the book, main characters, setting, etc. After you go through the generator – which is an easy to fill out step by step form – you download your card as a .pdf and it prints on a piece of letter size paper. Adobe is required to run the program.

When you print out your page it comes with instructions that tell you to cut it out, fold it, and tape it closed. It prints in color, but I accidentally printed mine in black and white. If you choose the “Make Your Own” option it allows you to put in your own category headings. Otherwise, the big section headings are pre-programmed, which can be a great feature for younger or newer users. However, it does not seem to allow you to move the various elements or text boxes around, so format wise there isn’t a lot of versatility here either. This is a quick and easy tool, but if you want more personalization or versatility, this isn’t the best tool for you. It’s a really great starting place and will work really well in most school or library settings.

Freehand Design Tools: Microsoft Publisher, Google Draw and Canva

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I used the format presented in the ReadWriteThink card and a sports trading card I had at home for inspiration to try my final option: Microsoft Publisher, Canva and Google Draw. Each of these programs are publishing programs that allow you the greatest amount of freedom and versatility in how you design and where you place your various trading card elements. You can see the results in the bottom left hand corner of the picture above. Both Canva and Google Draw are basically no or low cost programs that allow you to do freehand design. Microsoft Publisher requires the purchase of a yearly license and it is costly. All three design programs require a certain amount of skill, which most people get just by tinkering around in the programs. I am least well versed in Google Draw and abandoned that medium pretty quickly for something more familiar. I use Publisher and Canva pretty frequently so I was able to produce something I liked pretty quickly and without a lot of difficulty. The final product you see in the picture above was made using Publisher, which I am most comfortable with and, I feel, gives you the most freedom. The Teen and many of the teens I work with, however, are much more familiar with Google Draw and would probably prefer it.

After completing my card design I grouped all my design elements, right clicked on my trading card, saved it as a .jpeg and printed it to size. I was able to print 6 cards per one letter size sheet of card stock paper. Saving it as a .jpeg also allows you to upload it and share it on social media or easily transfer it from one device to another, like from my laptop to my cell phone. There are some real advantages to having a .jpeg file versus a .pdf file.

Printing My Trading Cards

All of the options allow you to save and print your trading card in one fashion or another. If you use a freehand graphics program you can save as a .jpg and print on card stock. You’ll want to use card stock to give it the heft of a trading card. If you have the option, I would print to photo paper to give it that glossy trading card look. Although I liked the look of the curved edges for the trading card design, it requires some additional cutting which was harder to make look nice with my questionable scissor skills. I liked the straight lines because I could use a paper cutter and get nice, straight edges. Your mileage may vary.

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If printing from a handheld device I would recommend using the Print to Size app and printing 2 trading cards side by side on one postcard using the Selphy printer and cutting them apart. This was the method of printing I used in the very first picture of this post. Printing with a Selphy printer or onto photo paper using a traditional printer gives you that glossy trading card resembling finish. If you’re not familiar with the Selphy photo printer, it’s a tool I highly recommend for anyone wanting to print photos from a mobile device. It’s small, portable and has its own built in wi-fi so you can take it with you on outreach events and print immediately from a smart phone or tablet. I reviewed the Selphy printer here if you would like more information.

Things to Include on a Book Trading Card

Title
Author
Setting
A catchphrase or brief descriptive phrase
Fun facts like characters, themes
If you like X, read this statements . . .
A star rating
What to Do with Book Trading Cards?

At it’s most basic, libraries could make book trading cards for our favorite or most recent YA titles and hand them out during book talks or at outreach events. Imagine book talking a book then handing each tween or teen a card with a picture of the book cover and a few basic facts about the book so they could remember to ask for it. Wouldn’t it be great to have teens come into the library after a day of booktalking and just hand staff a book trading card instead of trying to remember details about the book you booktalked that they want and hoping that staff can get enough details to get the right book into their hands?

This would also be a great marketing tool for the library itself or for specific programs. For example, during National Library Week multi-branch systems could make cards for each branch with basic facts about the branch and hand them out to visitors. Libraries could host some type of challenge inviting patrons to visit as many branches as possible during National Library Week and offering an entry into a prize for patrons who get one card from X number of branches.

Beyond using book trading cards as a promotional tool, we could also get tools into the hands of tweens and teens and encourage them to make their own. This activity combines reading/literacy with making, helping us achieve more of our goals. Have a program day where you provide a couple of Instax Mini cameras and some Sharpies and challenge teens to make their own trading cards. Or set up an ongoing station in the corner of your library and make a trading card wall to display teen created book trading cards. Teens could stop in during lunch, study hall or after school and make a quick book trading card and put it on your wall recommending books to their peers.

Learning how to use a good graphics program is a valuable skill for anyone, so don’t be afraid to have some in-depth sessions where you teach teens how to use Publisher, Canva or Google Draw and challenge them to design their own book trading cards. Many schools and libraries have tech training labs and this would be a fun project to teach design basics with some set parameters. I have found that many people want some concrete guidelines and examples to begin learning design with and here we would have a built in template to help guide us.

And don’t forget that if you want an easy to use template, you can have tweens and teens use the ReadWriteThink trading card creator. Print two of each card, one for participants to take home and one to display on an RA wall or book display. Or print 3 – so they can trade!

Some Final Thoughts and Perspectives

Depending on what you need, there are pros and cons to each of the various methods used above. Most school and public libraries are already set up to use something like the ReadWriteThink trading card creator and print. This is probably a really good starting point.

I highly recommend purchasing a smart phone/tablet and Selphy printer for any teen library space that wants to do a lot of photo based making and programming, but it does require some initial financial investment and the ongoing cost of the specific Selphy paper. You would need multiple devices to have a program, though you can connect multiple devices to one Selphy printer. Or you can set up a small maker station using one device and one printer and allow teens to create as they wanted. Not every teen area or school library has the space or the staff, but if you do a small maker station is a good idea.

And in my ideal world, I would write a grant to get 5 to 10 Instax Mini cameras for a teen space or program to do a wide variety of programming things there. You could also just have one and have teens share or set up a maker station using this method as well.

Don’t forget to create a hashtag so you can encourage tweens and teens to share their book trading cards online.

I made a wide variety of trading cards using all 5 methods over a two-day period. I spent all in all about 3 hours making trading cards. Again, I am a pretty proficient user of both Publisher and Canva so I didn’t have to learn the basics. Each method has its pros and cons and really all of them work pretty well. I liked the Sports Card Pro app the least, mainly because I was not making a sports themed trading card and it required some work around to get rid of the sports themes. As you can see, for my examples I used Thing 2’s Operation BB as a theme for my example cards, mainly because I had those photos readily available on my phone. We did, in fact, print out several of the cards we liked best – the one made in Publisher – and handed them out as a promotional tool and people thought they were very cool. I also uploaded it to the Operation BB social media page. These will, in fact, work really well as fun promotional tools. I had a lot of fun making the trading cards and highly recommend it.

So now it’s your turn. Make a trading card for your favorite book or book character and sharing it with us in the comments or on social media using the hasthag #BookTradingCard. I would love to see what everyone is creating (and reading!)

http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2019/01/diy-book-trading-cards/

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Cyber Security – from the Today show

For discussion/projects etc.

Are Facebook and Instagram listening to you? Jeff Rossen investigates tech myths
3 hours agoJeff RossenJoe Enoch
TODAY

You’re looking to buy some new sunglasses when all of a sudden an advertisement for sunglasses pops up in your Instagram or Facebook feed.

It’s one of those eerie coincidences that make you wonder if Facebook or Instagram are listening to you through your phone or laptop.

TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen teamed with cyber security expert Jim Stickley on TODAY Tuesday to see if that’s true, and take a look at three tech myths to find out what’s real, what’s not, and what kind of changes you can make to better protect your privacy.

Get Jeff Rossen’s new book “Rossen to the Rescue” here

Myth No. 1: Facebook and Instagram are listening to you through your phone or computer.

Answer: No. It just looks like a targeted ad because of all the information those apps gather about your habits.

“Facebook and Instagram, they’re able to build a profile on you based on what you do, so every time you click ‘like,’ every time you click on an ad, the apps you install, even the things not directly related to Facebook, still have partnerships oftentime with Facebook,” Stickley said.

Read the rest of the article here:

Use Leveled Books in Student Led Discussions

Passionate educator and popular author Laura Robb shares her ideas for moving teaching into the age of choice and collaboration!

By Laura Robb

It’s time to let go of 19th-century instructional methods that are alive and well in too many middle school classrooms around our country. Take a deep breath and think of the students sitting in classrooms you know about and consider how well the following practices serve them.

Practice: The entire class reads the same book.

Pitfalls: One book serves the group who can read it. Students who can’t read the book aren’t reading, and those who find it easy aren’t progressing because the book is at their independent reading level.

Practice: The teacher leads a recitation and asks questions that usually have one correct answer, then selects students to respond. Immediately, the teacher moves on to the next question.

Pitfalls: Asking students to answer literal questions doesn’t foster critical and analytical thinking. Moreover, students don’t have opportunities to pose and discuss their own questions.

Practice: Students complete worksheets with multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank questions.

Pitfalls: Fill-in-the-blanks and multiple choice questions are artificial checks to gauge literal comprehension; they are not authentic responses to reading. Research shows that when students write authentic responses about books they read, their comprehension rises by 24 percent.

Practice: Students sit in rows.

Pitfalls: A hallmark of 21st-century learning is collaboration. Sitting in rows isolates students and discourages generating ideas and discussing worthwhile texts in small groups.

Updating Teaching Practices

You can avoid the pitfalls associated with these traditional methods by implementing robust practices that differentiate instruction so that all students can improve their reading, writing, critical thinking, and collaboration skills.

It’s beneficial to work with a colleague so you can support one another and observe the changes in action when you visit each other’s classrooms. By differentiating reading instruction and inviting students to discuss diverse texts using student-led conversations, you can heighten their ability to analyze texts and hone their critical thinking skill. Let’s break it down.

Differentiating Reading

We need to shift our practice from students reading the same book to students reading books at their instructional reading level. This practice is quite manageable when you offer books at different reading levels that are connected by genre, theme, or topic, enabling students to talk and think together even though they are reading different books. Rather than “covering” a specific book, reading instruction becomes focused on the ideas you want students to understand.

For example, Ms. Galloway’s eighth grade class was reading Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Out of 27 students, 10 could read and comprehend the book. However, when I asked her what she wanted students to learn from that book, she said, “I want them to understand what it was like for African Americans before civil rights.”

Armed with her idea, Ms. Galloway and I found several books that met the instructional reading levels of her students and addressed her target concepts. Differentiation enabled every student to reflect on life in the South prior to civil rights legislation using a text he or she could read — and every student could contribute to a meaningful, collaborative discussion on the topic. Here’s our list with lexile levels:

And here are some tips for developing units with diverse texts that reach every reader in your class.

Tip 1: Identify the idea(s) you want students to explore as they read.

Tip 2: Ask your school and community librarians to find books related to these ideas on the reading levels of students in your class.

Tip 3: Organize stacks of books on the same reading level. Invite students to browse through the books at their instructional reading level and choose one to read.

Tip 4: Chunk books by having students read three to four chapters, then stop to hold a partner or small group student-led discussion on that section.

Student-Led Literary Conversations

A powerful form of thinking and communicating, student-led conversations can last from five to 15 minutes and bring social interactions to students’ learning. When students are in charge of discussing books they selected and can read, motivation and engagement soar. These conversations develop critical thinking and strong communication skills as students practice framing responses to peers that represent their ideas with clarity.

Have students take turns volunteering to be the group’s leader. The primary job of the leader is to maintain the forward motion of the discussion by using prompts such as:

  • Can you provide text evidence?
  • Does anyone have a different idea?
  • Can you elaborate further on that point?
  • How does that relate to what (another student) said?
  • Can you link that idea to a teacher’s read-aloud?

Open-Ended Ways to Discuss Diverse Books

Students can use literary elements, themes, ideas, and genre structure to discuss different books.

Explore Literary Elements. Have students identify the protagonist and several problems he or she faces; antagonists and how each works against the protagonist; conflicts, themes, and how other characters affect the protagonist.

Focus on Genre. Ask students to discuss genre structure. For example, for realistic fiction they can discuss what makes the characters and plot realistic. For science fiction they can reflect on the warnings about present-day society and/or technology that the author presents.

Think Through Themes. Have students provide examples of unit themes such as obstacles the person or character faces and whether he or she overcomes these. Or ask students to define stereotyping and offer theme statements that are examples of this from their books.

Assessing Discussions

You can observe one to two discussions during a 45-minute class period. Students can also write several key points from a discussion in their readers’ notebooks and/or evaluate the discussions by writing about specific examples raised during the discussion. Encourage self-reflection using these questions: Did I participate? Did I cite evidence? Did I listen carefully? What did I learn about my book? About a different book? About literary elements? About genre? About theme?

It’s helpful to have students compose open-ended, interpretive questions that apply to any text. Interpretive questions have two or more answers. Verb such as why, how, explain, compare, contrast, evaluate can signal an open-ended query. Have students test each question by finding two responses the text supports. Once they’ve identified two different responses, they can compose another question.

By posting questions on a whiteboard, students can choose those that work for their texts or link to a specific area such as theme or genre structure.

You can also ask students to develop queries that lead to self-evaluation and add to them or adjust them throughout the year.

Closing Thoughts

When you incorporate student-led literary conversations, you inspire students to read, talk, and write about texts they choose. Remember, a student-centered approach builds a community of learners who collaborate and support one another. The result? Students improve as readers, writers, communicators, and critical thinkers.

____________

Author, teacher, coach, and speaker Laura Robb has more than 40 years teaching experience in grades 4-8 and now works with school districts to train teachers. You can learn more about student-led conversations in her latest book, Read, Talk, Write: 35 Lessons That Teach Students to Analyze Fiction and Nonfiction. Her 25+ books also include Unlocking Complex Texts and Vocabulary Is Comprehension

 

https://www.middleweb.com/34980/hold-collaborative-chats-about-differentiated-books/

The Emotional Weight of Being Graded, for Better or Worse

 

As most parents know, kids respond emotionally to the grades they receive — and well beyond the jubilation that goes with an A+ or the despair that accompanies a D. When Jessie, an eighth-grader, got an uncharacteristically low score on a Spanish test, she felt not only embarrassed — “because I’d never done that badly before” — but lousy as well: “I didn’t feel as good about myself,” she said.

Not that every 95 percent is cause for celebration, at least for Xavier McCormick, now a college freshman. In high school, when he got top marks with little effort, McCormick felt indifferent to the teacher’s evaluation. “I felt … meh,” he said. “It was just kind of a number at that point.” Ordinarily, McCormick didn’t get too worked up about grades, focusing more on learning than dutifully carrying out every last assignment. “I’m not going to do it just to get the grade,” he said. “I’d rather get two hours more sleep.”

A more typical teenage response to grades, especially bad ones? Fear. “My friends get so caught up in grades,” Jessie said. When they underperform, their first reaction is: “My parents are going to kill me!”

EMOTIONS AND LEARNING

The trouble with these extreme emotional reactions to grades is that students’ knowledge of a subject is tied to their experience of the grade, says Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, associate professor of education, psychology and neuroscience at the University of Southern California. Powerful emotions attached to grades drown children’s inherent interest in any given subject.

“Whether the grade is good or bad, you’re taking the student away from focusing on intrinsic interest and tying their experience to grades,” Immordino-Yang explained. Under such circumstances, genuine interest in learning for its own sake wilts. “Grades can be an impetus to work, and can be really satisfying,” she said. “But when emotions about the grade swamp students’ emotions about a subject, that’s a problem.”

Once considered obstacles to thinking, emotions are now understood to be interdependent with various cognitive processes. A better way to think about emotion’s centrality to learning, Immordino-Yang writes in Emotions, Learning, and the Brain, is this: “We only think about things we care about.” When kids care mainly about grades, they’re devoting more mental resources to the assessment than to the actual subject matter.

Students seem to appreciate the distinction between studying to learn and working for the grade.

For Elizabeth Gilbert, now a graduate of the University of Chicago, writing the best essay mattered more than getting an A+. In her pursuit of excellence, she sometimes turned in assignments after they were due, enhancing her scholarship but diminishing her GPA. She gradually realized that submitting work for the grade became a sensible exit strategy. “To just settle for the grade helped,” she said.

McCormick put it differently. If grades were a pure reflection of learning, he added, students wouldn’t be graded on whether they did their homework. For example, in classes where homework makes up 20 percent of a student’s grades, even achieving 100 percent on every test — and so demonstrating complete understanding of a subject — won’t guarantee an A.

“School is about teaching kids how to follow rules, and having grades as the emphasis is how they do that,” he said.

TEACHERS AND GRADES

Some teachers agree. Starr Sackstein, a veteran teacher in Flushing, New York, and author of Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Gradeless in a Traditional Grades School, realized that she had started to use grades as a tool to control her students: For every day a paper came in past the deadline, for example, she’d deduct five points. She also started to recoil when she noticed students flipping to the back of papers she’d spent hours marking up, just to see their score. Sackstein understood how powerful grades could be to students. A self-described grade-grubber, she decided to change the way she evaluated students to maximize their learning by giving up grades.

Sackstein is part of a movement of teachers who are replacing grades with more nuanced kinds of student assessments. Encouraged by educators like Alfie Kohn and Mark Barnes, who reject grades as blunt and reductive, these teachers educate and evaluate their students using portfolios, one-on-one conferences, peer assessments and other forms of qualitative feedback.

Sackstein started slowly and worked to get student buy-in. She advised her students that they were going to figure out together how to improve their learning and evaluation, and told everyone they could get an A as far as she was concerned. She dropped cumulative assessments entirely — “because we have so much access to information all the time, it’s not a skill we need to test” — and invited students to set their own goals and develop their own standards. Sackstein then used everything the students did in class to measure them against their own goals.

“I do different types of conferences with students. I have oral projects, I set up meetings with kids,” Sackstein explained about the multiplicity of ways she tailors student work. “I’m not determining what they need; they are. I’m just a reader giving feedback,” she said. Students have responded to her methods, because assessments are more personal and she provides abundant opportunities for them to express themselves.

Sackstein often talks to students about how grades affect them, and understands how weighty regular numerical evaluations can be.

“Grades have the ability to make kids feel stupid or smart, and that’s a huge power,” she said. Teachers are human, she added, and will respond emotionally and sometimes arbitrarily to different kids and various types of work. When students define themselves positively or negatively by those judgments, they cede control over their well-being to someone — a teacher — who may not understand them.

“We as teachers and administrators have to be acutely aware of the kids in front of us,” Sackstein said. “Their learning is all that matters.”

By her senior year of high school, Caroline Wohl began to realize that striving to get A’s in every subject, no matter her enthusiasm for the material, was foolish and unnecessary. “I just grew up, and got less caught up in winning,” she said. She tolerated a B in AP physics, and threw herself into the school debate team, where she indulged her authentic interests and embraced the freedom from grades. Wohl missed several classes to compete in national debate tournaments, without regret.

 

 

Source: https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/10/13/the-emotional-weight-of-being-graded-for-better-or-worse/

TAKE YOUR POET TO WORK DAY: ON LOCATION

Leaning Tower of Pisa with Hughes Plath Heaney Frost Barrett Brown for Take Your Poet to Work Day

It’s Take Your Poet to Work Day!

It’s a great day to let Adrienne Rich take a few calls. Bring Rumi with you for some banter at the water cooler. Robert Frost would enjoy leading your staff meeting. And Emily Dickinson would be great at filing. We believe there is poetry in the workplace, and there’s definitely a place for poets at work. We have a great collection of poets for you to color, cut out and glue to a popsicle stick to join you on the job.

But over the past few years as we’ve celebrated Take Your Poet to Work Day, we’ve noticed a trend: many of our favorite poets just don’t want to go to work. Instead, like many of us often dream to do, they find their way to the beach, or to the coffee shop, or to the county fair instead.

So this year, we thought we’d get ahead of our poets and take them to some great destinations from around the world.

Lady Liberty with Adrienne Rich for Take Your Poet to Work Day
Adrienne Rich met Lady Liberty in New York City.
Hollywood with Sara Teasdale Pablo Neruda and Emily Dickinson for Take Your Poet to Work Day
I’d have never guessed that Emily Dickinson would ever say she was ready for her close-up, butPablo Neruda and Sara Teasdale talked her into a trip to Hollywood.
Statue of David with Wisława Szymborska and William Wordsworth for Take Your Poet to Work Day
Wisława Szymborska and William Wordsworth came up with a plan to make Michelangelo’s Statue of David safe for work.
Neptune with Walt Whitman for Take Your Poet to Work Day
Walt Whitman might not be the best tool for fighting sea serpents, but if you’re Neptune, I guess you can make do.
Emily Bronte in Copenhagen with mermaid
Emily Brontë and a mermaid shared a quiet moment in Copenhagen.
Ahkmatova Whitman Heaney Frost Angelou at Eiffel Tower
Anna Akhmatova,Maya Angelou, and  Robert Frost waited in line for Seamus Heaney and Walt Whitman to come down so they could have their turn on the Eiffel Tower.
Easter Island with Eliot Rumi and Angelou for Take Your Poet to Work Day
Maya AngelouT. S. Eliot, and Rumi enjoyed an afternoon of hide-n-seek at Easter Island.
Stonehenge with Rossetti Keats Eliot and Poe for Take Your Poet to Work Day
Eliot had so much fun at Easter Island he invited Edgar Allan Poe to Stonehenge. Poe brought along  John Keats and Christina Rossetti, who just wanted to read books all day.
Wright Longfellow Brown at Sydney Opera House
Judith Wright invited friends Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Elizabeth Barrett Browning over for an evening at the Sydney Opera House.
Big-Ben-Kobayashi-Issa-and-Matsuo-Basho-for-Take-Your-Poet-to-Work-Day
Matsuo Basho and Kobayashi Issa went to London to give Big Ben a hand.
Dickinson Angelou Yates and Poe on Mount Rushmore for Take Your Poet to Work Day
And wouldn’t you know it, Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, Edgar Allan Poe and William Butler Yeats came over to my home state and made an appearance at Mount Rushmore.

So where are you and your poet going today? Whether you’re going to work, to the beach, or on vacation, take along your favorite poet. Tweet a photo to us at @tspoetry with the hashtag#poettowork, and we might feature you.

Take Your Poet to Work Day Coloring Book CoverWe can’t wait to see where you go!

Click to get your free coloring book featuring our full collection of ready-for-work poets and everything else you need to celebrate Take Your Poet to Work Day 

 

Photos used under a Creative Commons license and sourced via Flickr; modified to include embedded poets. Mount Rushmore by CamellaTWU, Statue of Liberty by Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P., Neptune by Wally Gobetz, Statue of David by Darren & Brad, Leaning Tower of Pisa by Neil Howard, Easter Island by Babak Fakhamsadeh, Stonehenge by vgm8383, Big Ben by André Zehetbauer, Hollywood by Neil Kremer, Eiffel Tower by Gilad Rom, Sydney Opera House byMotiqua, Copenhagen by Greenland Travel.

BY

 

I had my students make a “Poet on a Stick” last year–they loved the activity.  I think this year I will have them recite a poem of their choosing from the poet of their choice and/or have them create a play with the poets…still ruminating about the lesson plan…anyway…Enjoy the photos!

What Teaching Driver’s Education Taught Me about Giving Writers Feedback

July 20, 2016

By Patricia A. Dunn

When people are overly self-conscious or frustrated, they don’t learn well. Whether they are new drivers or new writers, rattled people need to calm down. The feedback they receive can make things better or worse. I used to teach driver’s education, which taught me much about how people learn. I’ve been teaching writing for a long time, and I see many parallels. Sometimes new drivers or writers who have the most need of improvement are least able to absorb multiple commands. Here are some suggestions for how to give more useful feedback on written drafts—and what to avoid.

What to Avoid in Giving Feedback

Screaming at brand new drivers to “Check your blind spot!” does little good to those who have never been taught what a blind spot is. Barking at them to “Brake smoothly!” may not help either—they would if they could.  Sometimes developing writers encounter multiple marginal comments from their teachers to “Fix commas!” or “Write in complete sentences!” But these angry-sounding commands may not work. Disheartened writers have no doubt heard all this before, but they may be too confused, frustrated, or disengaged to learn.

Therefore, driving—or writing—instructors should take care not to engage in criticism overload. I’ve seen new drivers, frozen with fear, struggling to coordinate what experienced drivers do without thinking: signal at the right time or brake smoothly without throwing passengers into their seat belts. I’ve learned that yelling Don’ts at them can sometimes make things worse:  “Don’t signal too early!” “Don’t stare in your rearview mirror so long!” Some new drivers are already so stiff and nervous that they’re not thinking clearly. They need to take a breath, gain a bit of confidence, and think about what’s around them—as do writers. It doesn’t work to tell new drivers or new writers how terrible they are and then demand that they stop being so bad.

Two juxtaposed scenes: a driver education teacher and a writing teacher both yelling at terrified learners

Two scenes: a driver education teacher and a writing teacher yelling at terrified learners.

How to Give Better Feedback

Say something positive:  “You stepped on the gas a little more smoothly just now!”  “Your hands are certainly placed firmly on the steering wheel!” This praise, small as it was, would calm their frazzled nerves. They had succeeded at something. Shaky writers, like shaky drivers, need to be handled with similar tact. Like some student drivers, student writers may come to a new challenge overwhelmed, discouraged, perhaps, from repeatedly being told how bad they are. They, too, are afraid. They may have a litany of good (and bad) advice playing in their heads. They face a blank page or screen with the same frozen self-consciousness that blocked the clear thinking of the trembling drivers.

Try an Alert Noticing of Positive Features in Writing

Writing teachers, like driver education instructors, also need to notice what’s going well. However, many instructors do not know how to notice or name what developing writers might be doing right. So focused are some teachers on error, or perhaps on justifying a bad grade, they may not know how to find in a very rough draft some aspects to praise (an active verb, a complex sentence, some vivid details, a lively snippet of dialogue, a helpful transition, the legal use of a semi-colon, etc.) When teachers can name specific things a writer is doing well (as Nancy Mack shows how to do with color coding), that writer is more likely to remember to continue to do those things in the future. What’s more, this confidence boost can provide motivation needed to address the many aspects of the draft that undoubtedly need to be fixed.

Of course it’s true that writers “in the real world” will surely have their writing criticized, sometimes brutally. It’s possible—in fact preferable—for instructors to provide a balance of response to a writer: an alert noticing of effective rhetorical moves as well as a focused analysis of how the piece could be improved. It’s this alert noticing of positive features that many of us who write comments on student writing need to learn how to do better.

Address First Things First—Mostly

New drivers and new writers often need to fix much, but first things first and not all at once. Regardless of the number of big and small things drivers and writers need to improve upon, they can’t fix everything before the next block, or before the next draft. Instructors must learn to prioritize. What needs addressing now? What can wait until next time? With beginning drivers, I’d let them build their skills gradually, both for their own development and my own safety. I’d start them off in empty parking lots, dead-end streets, or cemeteries. As their steering and braking improved, they’d begin looking further ahead than the hood of the car and start to process events unfolding in the coming blocks.

Here’s where my driver/writer analogy breaks down, however. Developing writers should not be made to slog around in the dead-ends of grammar exercises or mind-numbing five-paragraph themes. In addition to developing their skills, these wary writers also need to develop their engagement in writing—to see it as both doable and empowering. They need to write about things they care about, in real-world, authentic writing situations, for reasons more important than a grade.

Use a Strategic, Customized Balance of Praise and Critique

Another caveat is that not all writers—or drivers—need the same proportion of praise and critique. In fact, some overconfident new drivers often require candid commentary on their perceived skills. While their wisely under-confident peers often need gentle encouragement coupled with well-placed, prioritized direction (“Nice signaling—now brake gently here for that right turn coming up”), these Grand Prix wannabees often need clear, immediate, and unfiltered correction: “Stop speeding!” “Don’t pass here!” “Pull over now!”

Likewise, some writers, accustomed to getting As on well-edited but vapid school writing, can handle a less-cushioned response from an alert reader who sees their potential to challenge themselves: “Support your claim here with a more respectable source.” “Consider deleting some unnecessary throat-clearing in your introduction.” “You seem to want to say more about this.”

Feedback on writing, like feedback on driving, should be informed, balanced, and tailored to the individual learner. There should be well-placed, solidifying praise when it is warranted and needed, and insightful, prioritized suggestions for what can be improved. Having teachers who can balance their responses strategically for these learners will make our students’ writing better, and our highways safer.

 

Patricia A. Dunn is a professor of English at Stony Brook University (SUNY), where she teaches current and future teachers of English and writing. She is a former high school English teacher and two-year college instructor who has written several books on the teaching of writing, including Grammar Rants: How a Backstage Tour of Writing Complaints Can Help Students Make Informed, Savvy Choices About Their Writing (2011), with Ken Lindblom. She has contributed several other posts at this blog: the role engagement plays in writing, how bad “grammar” instruction can impede a young writer’s progress, and what learning to play a ukulele taught her about teaching writing.  She has a new book, Disabling Characters: Representations of Disability in Young Adult Literature (2015). She is on Twitter as @PatriciaDunn1.

 

 

 

Source: https://writerswhocare.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/what-teaching-drivers-education-taught-me-about-giving-writers-feedback/

Motivation: The Overlooked Sixth Component of Reading

AUGUST 1, 2014

Trina is an eighth grader trapped in her own prison. She has every excuse in the book and is often referred to as just unmotivated. But I don’t buy that story. Not at all.

To a five-year-old, learning is exciting. While some are academic naturals, others lag. Well-meaning educators intervene, and praise, rewards, and external incentives surface. Thus, we can see the sixth component of reading — motivation. But what of the adolescents who deflect their inability to keep up by throwing a pencil when you aren’t looking, or by bullying others? Enter the “unmotivated” adolescent.

Learners are motivated by three factors: desire to learn, incentives, or fear of failure. As we grow, most of the early curiosity is tested away, and school becomes work. Obstacles increase, desire to learn decreases, and incentives and/or fear of failure move to the forefront. Jack Canfield, self-esteem expert, reports that 80 percent of first graders posses high self-esteem, but by high school graduation, this drops to a staggering five percent.

But certainly you aren’t reading this blog for that bleak truth. So now what?

University of Minnesota instructor Martha Farrell Erickson, PhD, (2003) identifies the “critical ingredients for healthy child and youth development” as the Three C’s. In my opinion, they are critical for educating any child, and most importantly, for reversing the earlier damage done to self-esteem, which can cause blocks in motivation.

Connection

Brain research reveals that if students feel happy and comfortable, they are more apt to retain learning. Connecting with our kiddos helps us to build trust and to educate the entire child. Dr. Ross Greene, psychology professor at Harvard University, wrote in 2007 that all children would perform if each possessed the necessary skills to complete the task. If we can pinpoint and support students with skill deficits, they will succeed. It is our job to know them, and to empower them to know themselves.  Here’s how:

  • Reader Self-Perception Scale: Determine which students need more encouragement and how to approach each one individually.
  • Learning Styles Assessments: Learning your students’ preferences and making them aware will empower them to learn and produce.
  • Multiple Intelligences Assessments: Show your students theirstrengths and then allow them to reflect, gain power, and proceed carefully.
  • Skill Deficit Assessments: The problem usually lies in the fact that we never seem to dig deep enough. Answers are most often not the most obvious. Assess formally and informally to be thorough.
  • Inventories: Getting to know your students’ interests allows you to pair them with good-fit reading material. You could quite possibly find a book that not only matches what a student is capable of managing, but is also on a topic that he or she enjoys!
  • Types of Learner Questionnaire: A U.S. Army study by Dr. Valerie Rice divides learners into four different types, depending on their approach (or non-approach) to learning new material.

Contribution

In the book Bridging Cultures Between Home and School, Elise Trumbull et al. discuss collectivist cultures. Adolescents of families from all over the world grow up with a sense of collectivity, and parents emphasize cooperation and community. Our job is to support each student individually while honoring those who also need to feel like they are contributing.

This is just as much an engagement philosophy as it is one of esteem building. The more you use a variety of discussion strategies, the more engaged your students become.

Competence

Erickson’s third C is the heart of intrinsic motivation. Many of these kiddos have faced so much failure that success seems unattainable. To rebuild, give your students a feeling of mastery, even on little things. Clear routines allow transitioning from activity to activity with confidence until strugglers feel classroom-savvy.

Providing specific and constructive feedback is another way to build competence. Rick Wormeli, educational author and speaker, says that to give our kiddos a true feeling of success, we must observe, honor, and reflect on their work, and help them to set goals to improve on it. For example: “Trina, I noticed that when we read the first few chapters of your novel, you asked questions on your sticky notes. This shows me that you are really wondering about your reading. Have you found answers to any of these questions? As you read the next chapter, let’s make a goal.” Suggest a few ideas if she’s stuck, and let her choose an attainable goal, promising to reconnect in a few days to monitor her success.

And succeed she will. If even one of Trina’s teachers meets her with the attitude of, “I’m going to get to know you, kid. I’m going to give you a chance to be a part of this community and to feel successful,” she will respond. The biggest challenge is changing our mindset so that she can change hers. There are no kids who are “just not motivated.” They do not exist. Each one of them has a story. It’s our job to read it, learn it, and help them to use it as power, not as a prison.

What success stories about building intrinsic motivation in resistant learners can you share?

Source: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/motivation-overlooked-component-of-reading-heather-lambert