I found Dr. Kist’s presentation to be extremely engaging, relevant to my teaching, and interesting. His presentation raised a lot of questions and made me reflect on my own teaching practices and beliefs. I have been meaning to try the snow ball activity in the classroom I work in. I found it to be highly engaging and thought provoking activity. In the third grade, I imagine if being an activity I could try after a read aloud, in morning meeting, or any time when I feel the need for a community building exercise. Having our class connect and comment on one another’s thinking through an active exercise was a refreshing and different literacy activity that I can see fitting in to any type of classroom. Both the snowball activity and the sequencing activity reminded me how effective it is to incorporate movement into classroom activities. I also took away how important it is for teachers to use engaging activities that are highly responsive to student interests in our efforts to create a classroom where community and collaboration are valued.
In the beginning of the presentation, Dr. Kist showed us his extraordinary media literacy autobiography including books from his past, TV shows, and images that are all a part of his literacy world. I have been trying to create my own “reading life” movie for a class I am currently in by collecting texts that are important in my life. To be honest, putting the movie together has me feeling very digitally incompetent. Trying to sequence music, picture, and text is tough work! When I sat down to work on it the other day, I was immediately reminded of one of Dr. Kist’s points that just because we may be a part of the generation of “digital natives”, does not necessarily mean we always feel like we are. I can’t help but think about how our generation’s relationship with media is not as simple as we may think. When approaching a classroom community, it is important to realize that every student may not feel comfortable, have the interest, or possess the digital media skills that we believe that many students of this generation boast.
A picture from my own "reading life" digital story (I can't seem to make in any smaller)!
Dr. Kist’s presentation also got me thinking about balance between print based literacy and new literacies in the elementary classroom. In this era, new literacies, such movies, YouTube, music, and images, are more abundant and attainable than ever. In this semester, I have tried to incorporate more multi-media literacy in the classroom I work in. I ended up planning a shared reading of the song Imagine by John Lennon and incorporated images from the Strawberry Fields Park in Central Park while we listened to, sang, and studied the lyrics of the song. I also showed a clip of Author’s Readers Theater at the launch of my reader’s theater activity. However, each time I worked with these new literacy technologies it felt isolated from the rest of the student’s actual curriculum. As I think about the day I have my own elementary classroom, I wonder how I will more seamlessly thread these new literacies throughout the curriculum in a more meaningful way. Also, when and how much do I incorporate new literacies into an elementary classroom? I don’t know if there are any answers, but I feel is important is to strive for a balance and to know your student’s needs and the interests of the community of learners you are in. An important message that stood out to me at the end of the presentation was Dr. Kist’s belief that no matter what age and technology we are in, classroom education should still be all about creating community and collaborating. How true!
Links to share...
Interesting article in the NY times about the Literacy debate:
If you have Microsoft here are the programs you can make a digital story on:
If you are ever planning on doing reader's theater, here is the Author's reader's theater I shared with my students:
These are a couple of links that I have found interesting lately and have thought could be incorporated into the classroom.....(I guess I am on a history kick!)
"The New Hard Times" reader submitted video:
-13 year old interviewing his grandmother about the Great Depression
Holocaust Survivor podcasts: