English 341: It’s Like This

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Author: kbeckmann

SMILE

SMILE

In the beginning, I was not excited to say the least when I found out we had to read a graphic novel. I felt like they didn’t get across the point as well as books without illustrations and that they relied solely on pictures to do the talking. I have never been more wrong. I absolutely LOVED this book, pictures and all. The mixture of pictures and words worked so well with this book and I could not imagine it without both. The author not only made this book easy to read and relatable, but they made us connect to the main character and sympathize with what she was going through. I will definitely recommend this book to my students to be able to help them through middle and high school because it has such a positive message. I liked that no matter what happened and how bad things got, she would keep an upbeat attitude and push through her hardships. I think that is the best part of the book, because it lets the readers know that everything will be okay in the end. I would definitely recommend this book and it relays a great message to young kids, and even older ones.

Crossing Over to Poetry

Crossing Over to Poetry

Part 1:

The book I chose to read for this unit was the Crossover by Kwame Alexander. I chose this book because I have always been very involved in sports and have played then since I was five years old. Sports, especially soccer, have been a huge part of my life and I felt like I could really relate to the main character, Josh when I read this book. I too used my sport as an outlet, and like the main character, I have a sibling who I was always compared too and vice versa while playing the same sports, so I empathized with his struggles.

I absolutely loved this book and how relatable it was to almost everyone in my group. I think I could definitely use it in my future classroom due to the easiness of reading and that it was not hard to understand like sometimes poetry can be. This book used a very simple form of poetry that did not have to be dissected and was not confusing in any way. We clearly understood the emotions the writer wanted to portray and I think he did a great job since poetry can have the tendency to be very confusing, especially at a young age.

I would use this book in a classroom during a poetry unit and let the students know that poetry can be written in any way and about anything they want. In this book, we see poems about family, his sport, friends and girls and they all come together to give the readers a glimpse into the life of Josh. I like that they can see how different poems can actually tell a story and should be about a topic that makes you feel something towards it.

Part 2:

so much depends

upon

a little blue

house

full of my closest

friends

who mean the world to

me.

 

A Book For Wimpy Readers

A Book For Wimpy Readers

Diary of a Wimpy KidOver the past week, I have been reading the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series books 4 and 5. I have heard a lot of good things about this series, but I never knew they would be this funny! My brother used to read these books all the time when we were younger and I could see why – they are very relatable to younger boys and I think they really play to that audience.

Since typically younger boys do not like to read, as it talks about in Book 4 “Dog Days”, I think this series is pure genius. It engages younger readers and it really does not feel like a typical book. Since it is laid out in diary form, it makes it seem a lot more like a short story than a novel. There are also small pictures that are typically very funny on each page, so it keeps the readers engaged.

The characters are another part of the book that works so well. Greg Heffley, the main character is the most relatable person they could’ve chosen to narrate this story. Throughout the books, we see him struggle with a lot of real-life issues that any young boy would go through. In Book 4 we see him dealing with the hardships of what to do over summer, dealing with tough responsibilities such as finding work to pay back a smoothie bill or even overcoming fights with his closest friend, Rowley. Having all of these hassles makes the books funny, meanwhile teaching the readers a lesson on how to overcome them.

They have since turned this book into a movie which is supposed to be just as funny. It is called, “The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary”. I have watched this movie with my younger brother and it was absolutely hilarious. If I were to have these books in my classroom, I would definitely get the movie to go along with it. I think it is such a great idea to have the students read a book and then show a movie after so that they can compare it to something and start to actually picture what the author wanted the characters to look like in real life. I remember when I was younger that I would always try to find out if the book I was reading had a movie as well and of it did, I would watch it and always have a clearer understanding of the book at the end. I know this is very common with larger series such as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games or Twilight.

I think this book would be the perfect asset for a classroom of fourth to fifth graders. I would definitely recommend them because they are very funny and targeted to the audience that does not typically enjoy reading. I would definitely also get the movie and include it in the classroom set in order for my students to be able to fully immerse themselves into the story and have a better idea of what the characters might look like and how they would interact in real life.

Reading in the Wild

Reading in the Wild

After reading the first chapter of Miller’s book “Reading in the Wild”, I learned that it is very important to be organized and track the progress in the students’ reading over time. Holding each student accountable to his/her own reading by using class records or charts is a great way of doing this, as demonstrated in the book. This way, we can see how the student develops over the school year.

I think one of the main themes throughout this chapter was that teachers need to create time for the students to develop a love for literature and for them to be able to read alone. If we can do this, and allow the students to choose their own reading material, they will become more involved in the books and be able to comprehend their readings more fluently.

When the students can actually comprehend what they are reading and delve into the plot and characters of the book they are reading, that is when they can begin to appreciate the true meaning of literature. That is the part that I am most excited for as a teacher. I cannot wait to be able to see my students reading on their own time and finding a love for books when they get the chance to understand them. The only thing I am worried about is that some students won’t develop the same love for reading as other students because I know learning and interests are different for each person.

How Charming…

How Charming…

Prince Charming Post-Wedding

 

We thought he was perfect and so did she

Poor little Cinderella didn’t know, did she?

How foul and disgusting a man could be

Parked on the couch – farting, eating and yelling profanity

We thought it would be sparks and magic all along

Turns out we were so humiliatingly wrong.

 

He didn’t take the time to help clean the house

But he did take a leap over that giant dead mouse…

He smelled like the ocean and not in a good way

Dead oysters and rotting fish were his odor each day

Real charming in deed Cinderella thought

What did I do to deserve this? He used to be hot!

 

Hello…it’s me (Kristen)

Hello…it’s me (Kristen)

helllllooo from the other side,

My name is Kristen Beckmann.

I am a second year student at Chico State (graduating a year early – scary, I know) and I absolutely LOVE it! I am a Liberal Studies major and Special Education minor. I have wanted to be a teacher ever since kindergarten when I would play pretend and force my younger brother and cousins into taking my homemade spelling tests…I know, nerdy.

I love anything having to do with outdoors! Hiking, swimming, sports and everything in between. I have played soccer for nearly 15 years and I have played on two intramural indoor teams here at Chico State. I also enjoy hanging out with friends and family (16 -year-old brother Alex, mom and dad). They are my biggest support system and I am so grateful to have people like them in my life who encourage me every day.

As far as reading goes, I am willing to admit, I have never been a huge reader. I relate well with the statement made in class that I will scroll through Facebook and read all of the funny articles and stories people share, but I have never been one to search for a good book because I always use the excuse that I do not have time. I really am going to try to work on that and start looking for suggestions that will get me reading again because I really enjoyed it in middle and high school!

I am excited for this class though, because we have the ability to conduct research on the books we are going to read before we choose which one we think would be most interesting to us. I think the reason why I did not like reading in high school was that we were forced to read certain books and most of them were shamefully something I would pick up before bedtime to put me to sleep.

To me, a reader is someone who enjoys surrounding themselves with literature and puts in effort to comprehend it and think about different meanings of it. In Williams’ article, it really stuck with me that reading can be anything you want it to be. I think anyone can be a reader as long as they truly enjoy the content they are working with and are willing to spend the time understanding the material.