Saturday, 26 October 2013

A focus on the "ability" in "disability"

Hi everyone

I had the great pleasure recently of presenting at a conference of Special Educators about the teaching of reading.  Firstly, "hats off" to the teachers who work with students with "special needs" or I like to call it "additional needs" as I think all kids have "special needs".

There are a number of picture books that I just love for looking at individual differences and strengths.  Check out my "Cutlery & Conformity" blog post for ideas that could be used for all students about inclusivity and individual identity. 

The picture books in this post are specifically around disability, but I like to focus on the "ability" not the "dis".  A resource I made for this is "Don't 'diss' my Ability" based on the picture book, "Susan Laughs" by Jeanne Willis. Donna Wakefiled reads the story on youtube here.   Check out my resource by clicking on the cover image below (left).

One of my all time favourite picture books for this is Australian.  It is written and illustrated by Melanie and Maggie Prewett who are descended from the Ngarluma people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia.  They are a mother and daughter team and Melanie is the mother of Jack, the central character in the picture book, "Two Mates". 
 "Two Mates" is the true story of two boys and their special mateship growing up in Broome in far north Western Australia.  They fish for salmon, hunt for barni, dress up as superheroes, ride the quad bike, go fishing and prove that friendship has no boundaries...     I am not going to spoil the ending for you (although I just realised that the teacher notes give it away), but it has a real twist and is an awesome mentor text for writing, even if you didn't use it within the context of "ability" and "disability".  It is one of my all time favourites and I am very thankful to Shelly for introducing it to me last year.

You can purchase the book and find out more about it through the publisher, Magabala books. They even provide free teacher notes. While you are there you might like to check out other great titles written and illustrated by indigenous authors and illustrators.

Other picture books I love using around this topic include:

"Keep Your Ear on the Ball" by Genevieve Petrillo (Free teacher notes here)

"Looking After Louis" by Lesley Ely.  A critical review of "Looking After Louis" questions how disability is represented in the text and the affect it may have on young readers.  This reveiw argues that the illustrations and text contradict each other and may produce a negative representation of disability.  I actually really enjoyed the book for the teamwork, inclusivity and understanding portrayed, but it is always good to critically reflect on issues such as these and to consider other viewpoints.

Desiree Pointer Mace reads "Looking After Louis" on youtube.

"Just Because" by Jacqueline Wilson.  This book is based on the author's two children, Toby and Clemmie. Visit the author's website here to find out more.

"How Katie Got a Voice (and a very cool new nickname)" by Patricia L. Mervine.  You can view a youtube clip of the story here or visit the author's website to find out more, including viewing a video about disability ettiquette.

Check out my pinterest board on Social Emotional and Behaviour or my board on picture books featuring characters with Special Needs for further ideas.

Also check out my friend Tess's blog on Autism - you will find heaps of information here :)

Thanks again to the wonderful Iva from etsy who does all of my custom-made clip art for me.  I just love her work.  You can find Iva on etsy by following this link to her etsy store - nahhan73.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Super Sleuth Blog Stop #24

Well Super Sleuth, you're almost to the end, but you haven't finished yet.  Read on to learn a bit about the Here, Hidden, Head, and Heart reading comprehension strategy.

Here, Hidden, Head, and Heart

The Here, Hidden, Head and Heart (4Hs) strategy is an adaption of Question Answer Relationships - QAR (Taffy Raphael) and Three Level Guides.  The questions support close reading of texts and multiple re-readings. I have found the language of the 4Hs much easier to use than QAR with students, as they don’t struggle so much about the wording or “QAR categories”.  It’s pretty simple - Is the answer “here” (in the text), “hidden” (think and search), “in my head” (my own opinion or prior knowledge) or “in my heart” (how I feel about the issue, topic or text)?  References to other work around this are included in my freebie.

 Details about My Freebie 
My freebie includes 20 pages, with posters, bookmarks and detective magnifying glasses for the 4H strategy that may be used in small group reading activities.  I have also included questions from "Private I. Guana" by Nina Laden that can be used to demonstrate the 4H strategy and a graphic organiser to support close reading of "Tough Cookie" by David Wisniewski.

To access my freebie, you will need to click the case file below.  The file is housed in my Teachers' Pay Teachers (TPT) Store.  It is free during this weekend, but after the hop, it will be a paid item.  I hope you enjoy using it with your students this year and that the tips I've shared are helpful to you in your classroom reading instruction.  

Now that you've learned a little about teaching the 4H strategy, you're ready for my clue.  On your form, you can record this letter next to Ripper Resources...

Red Letter T

I live in Australia and am fairly new to Blogland, but I have lots of information to share.  In the coming weeks, I'll be participating in a Thanksgiving Hop too, so drop back by for more details on that. You can also catch my news, tips, product information, and special events by following my blog on Bloglovin.
To do so, just click on the button below to sign up.  

Follow on Bloglovin

Only four more stops to go.  You're almost to the end, so don't give up yet!  Jump on over to your next stop.  Stacy at Teacher's Take-Out has great things for you.  Just click on the next stop button below to jump to her blog.  Good luck!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Creepy Comparisons with a freebie

We don't really celebrate Halloween in my part of the world, however I really love the picture book, "Creepy Carrots" by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown. I think it would be a fun way to touch on Halloween, without any ghosts, witches or really scary stuff.

Jasper Rabbit loves carrots and he is paranoid that the carrots are out to get him.  This is a great text for close reading, as students can explore the illustrations for evidence to support why Jasper might think the carrots are following him.  It's also a great text for problem-solution (top level structure) - Jasper had a problem - how did he solve it?  In addition to this it is a wonderful text for extending students' vocabulary and teaching alliteration.  You can view the "Creepy Carrots" video here:

You can also visit the author's website and the illustrator's website to learn more about their work.

I created a "Creepy Carrots" vocabulary extension resource to support the text that includes:
Vocabulary matching cards
Vocabulary graphic organiser
Alliteration matching cards
Inferring prompts
Creepy vegie writing activity

I find that students often make text-to-self connections easily, but sometimes need support and scaffolding to make text-to-text connections.  That is why I often plan using companion texts.  A terrific companion text for "Creepy Carrots" is "Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!" by Candace Fleming.  You can view a youtube clip here and there are free teacher notes as well.

In a similar way to "Creepy Carrots", Mr McGeely has a problem with the hungry bunnies eating his vegetables.  Similar to "Creepy Carrots" he designs and builds a protective wall to protect his vegetable patch.  Students can compare and contrast the problems and solutions in both texts.  They may also compare and contrast the twists at the end of each story. 

I have created a freebie  with two venn diagrams to help with this.  Click on the images below to grab the freebie and to check out my "Creepy Carrots" resource.


Candace Fleming has a sequel to "Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!" called "Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, Hide!" and there are free teacher notes on her website.

Rhonda over at Reading Towards the Stars, has a wonderful freebie using past tense verbs - it's a fun game that students will love, so hop on over to Rhonda's blog to learn about this game and pick up your freebie :)  Any of these hyperlinks will take you there :)

I would love to hear from anyone who has used these texts in the classroom and how you used them.  Also, if you can think of any other companion texts that might fit in here, please let me know.

Have a great week!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Cutlery & Conformity - companion texts to explore identity and self-acceptance

Hi there everyone

Today I am going to share three of my favourite picture books with you, that I use together, as companion texts, to explore valuing and accepting individual differences.

The first one is "Spork" - I just love this book trailer by the author Kyo Maclear.  It shows why "Spork" would fit in really well in any unit that looks at diversity, cultural differences, multiculturalism, valuing individual differences etc.

The other two titles are by Amy Krouse Rosenthal - "Spoon" and "Chopsticks".  Click on the link to see a book trailer for "Spoon."
 "Spoon" and "Chopsticks" are terrific as well for exploring idioms.  Here's a link to some spoon idioms. 
You can check out the Cutlery & Conformity critical literacy resource at TPT. 
Click on the spork pic below to pick up the freebie bookmarks I made using Cara's clip art. 
If you click on Aunt Spoon it will take you to the "Cutlery & Conformity" critical literacy resource on TPT. 
And to celebrate my new blog and thank you for visiting, I have made a freebie sampler of the complete 42 page resource!
Click on Uncle Spoon to access the freebie sampler for all my new followers to my new blog...You can follow my blog by email or through the blog lovin' tab on the right.

Cara Taylor from TPT made me some custom graphics that I used to create a critical literacy unit using these three titles.   

The Cutlery & Conformity - Critical Literacy resource I created is 42 pages and includes:

* vocabulary matching activity (memory/concentration)
* philosophical inquiry/accountable talk prompts for reflection on the "big ideas" in the texts
* idioms matching activity (memory/concentration)
* comparing character traits and themes
* graphic organisers 
* persuasive writing

I'd love you to check it out :) 
In the cutlery drawer of life, everything has it's own unique purpose
Have a fabulous weekend!