Make Cycles

Our course is organized by two week “make cycles,” a term I borrow from Connected Learning. We will read, discuss, and make things based on the children’s books we’re reading. You can find the “weekly work” for each cycle in the drop down menu above.

Google+ Community

We will share most of our work in a Google+ Community. We can upload images, respond to each other’s ideas, and share links and artifacts here.

Category: Weekly Updates

Hi everyone,

I hope this email finds you well. I hardly know where to start really. I made a video just to make the reconnecting a bit easier perhaps.

I’ll start by saying I hope everyone is safe and your families are safe. For those of you who live in the area, we know that everything has changed. I am overwhelmed by both the seemingly endless need but also the incredible generosity we are experiencing. So many of my friends have most everything, but they are the same people showing up to volunteer everywhere. Please please feel free to reach out with anything you might need moving forward. I can always connect people to resources.

We are going to just jump back in to the ideas in our class and I hope that will actually be comforting. Your make for graphic novels is due tomorrow night (Nov 26). The next make cycle for our YA novels is now posted in menu above or LINK HERE. We’ll just keep swimming…

Here are some links you might find comforting, interesting, helpful:

  • Link to my dear friend and colleague, Sarah Pape’s, Op-Ed in the New York Times about the Paradise fire. Link HERE
  • Link to another friend’s blog about the fire and our work as teachers. LINK HERE
  • Link to Chico State’s FAQ’s for students regarding the fire and resources. LINK here
  • Link to Facebook group supporting teachers impacted by the fire. Link HERE

Look forward to our continuing work. Take good care


Campus closures and local fires

Campus closures and local fires

Hi everyone,

My heart goes out to everyone who is impacted by the fires raging in Paradise and our surrounding community. My hope is that you and your families who are local are all safe. While my parents have most likely lost their home, I am so grateful that they evacuated safely and that I am surrounded by family. It has been absolutely surreal and scary.

Please know that I am absolutely supportive of any student who may be impacted by the fires. I have extended the deadline for the Make that is due on Sunday  to when we return from Thanksgiving break. If you can, go ahead and complete the assignment as originally scheduled for Nov 11. But if this is a hardship, then try to complete the graphic novel Make by Nov 26.

Additionally, I’ve decided NOT to post any additional assignments next week until we return on Nov 26. If you can, please read your YA novel(Ready Player One, Eleanor & Park, Bone Gap, The Hate U Give, OR We Are Okay) and we’ll work with those after break (you can plan that we’ll write about Miller chapter 4 and do a character analysis from our YA novels when we return). I am also, of course, willing to work on a case by case basis to complete assignments. Your first priority should be your wellness and your families and friends.

Take good care of each other. Thinking all the good thoughts for our community. Please feel free to reach out if you need anything.


This week goes to 11…

This week goes to 11…

Hi everyone,

(Really hoping you get the Spinal Tap reference in the post title..or maybe I’m just too old.)

Just wanted to check in to say that grade updates were just sent. I really enjoyed reading your responses to your graphic novels; it is so cool to see how many of you are seeing the value of these texts now that you’ve looked at resources and are enjoying reading your own graphic novel book choice. You’ll choose a different question for your response on Wednesday and then I hope you’ll try your hand at a comic for this make cycle! We’ll get started with your YA novels as we head into Thanksgiving break and I hope you’ll make some reading plans (Miller’s chapter 4 is great for thinking about this) for break.

For fun, and in the fall spirit, I came across this great set of resources for teaching about Halloween and Day of the Dead: Link HERE
PLEASE VOTE tomorrow! Public education needs you!
Happy Monday
Up Next for Weeks 8 & 9: Free Verse Novels, Picture Book Resource, and Nerdy Book Club

Up Next for Weeks 8 & 9: Free Verse Novels, Picture Book Resource, and Nerdy Book Club

Hi everyone,

Enjoying your makes for your chapter books! And so glad that it looks like most of you really enjoyed your book choice. #Winning!

The next Make Cycle for Free Verse Novels can now be found from the drop down menu and HERE. Notice that there is no Wednesday response this upcoming week, but instead, a longer response for Sunday, Oct 21. You’ll notice that I’m asking you to read a blog from Donalyn Miller’s Nerdy Book Club site this week. I hope that you’ll bookmark the Nerdy Book Club website; I find that site (in addition to Goodreads) to be one of the best ways to hear about new children’s books.

Also, please keep in mind that your picture book resource is due anytime before Oct 26, so you might want to get ahead of that this week. You can find the Picture Book Resource assignment on the Assignments page. Remember that you are assigned a picture book author: link to the author list in the assignment description, in the Make Cycle, and HERE too. Chad already shared his on our G+ community and it looks great if you want an example. Thanks Chad!

Grade update once the Makes are up tonight, most likely on Tuesday (Oct 16). Thank you everyone!

Updates: Weeks 4 & 5

Updates: Weeks 4 & 5

Love reading your ideas about your series books! Your response to Miller is due tonight (Sept 23) and I’m curious to see what you think about her ideas. I think many of you will find Miller pairs nicely with the Katie Ray Wood book we read together last semester in English 333.

This week (week 5) you’ll finish your series books (I’m sure most of you have already since some are so short!) and write about more ideas/themes and then end next Sunday, Sept 30, with your series makes!

Grade update again soon. Love reading your ideas! Thank you all!

Week 3: Fairy Tales and Updates

Week 3: Fairy Tales and Updates

Hi everyone,

Moments ago, you should have received an individual email with a grade update. You’ll get one of these every week or so and certainly at the end of a cycle. Some things to note:

  • I tend to give full credit for all work. So, if you have less than full points it means you either missed part of the prompt (easy to tell if you have 1/2 the points) or it’s really short and does not have enough depth (something like a 7/10 or 8/10). Look at the examples on our website (under Example Student Work page) to get a sense of expectations. Or look around at others on our G+ and notice that people write some long and gloriously thorough posts (thank you!). A couple of points will not hurt your overall grade and I would expect to see your posts get better and better, so no worries.
  • Note that at this moment, 10 points looks like it kills your grade, but it’s because it’s 30/40 total (75%, so a C). Total points for the class when we’re all done is 300. 290/300 is 97%, so an A. Missing a couple of things will be okay, but more than that really starts to effect your grade. And missing a Make assignment is brutal…don’t miss those 15 points every 2 weeks. 😉
  • I really can’t take late work. Every time my classes blog or write posts I have 98 assignments to read…so 98 on Wednesdays and 98 on Sundays…close to 200 posts per week. I love love love reading these, so that’s not the issue, but keeping track of late ones or updates is just no fun. You’ll need to get things in on time. thank you!

Your insights, your comments to peers, and the work you are doing so far is stunning. Truly, our class is rocking it; I’m sure you can tell too from your peer’s responses. Thank you!

Cinderella post is due tomorrow. You should watch Into the Woods this weekend and notice how many scenes come from Grimm! And here’s a funny, updated version of Little Red: The Cat, The Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, The Wolf, and Grandma.

Finally, one pro-tip: if you are getting a ton of G+ notifications, you can change the notification settings by clicking on the dots (see attached image), then Preferences, then Community Notifications.

Weekly Updates: Week 2

Weekly Updates: Week 2

Here are some updates and reminders for week 2:

  • You should now see Make Cycle 1, which focuses on Fairy Tales, available on our site. This page will outline our tasks for the next two weeks. You can always find the current and past Make Cycles under the “Make Cycles (Weekly Work)” page on our website. This is where you’ll find links to readings, prompts, instructions, due dates, etc for two weeks at a time.
  • You have a response due in G+ tomorrow (Sept 5). Looking for your initial thoughts to this Prompt: What makes a story a fairy tale? What are the elements? Why do we continue to read fairy tales? What role do fairy tales serve in our culture? What are your memories of fairy tales? Post in Google+ under heading Week 2: Fairy Tale (Little Red). Should be 1-2 paragraphs.
  • Thank you for sharing your book choices with me. Here is a Link to Book Selections (so you can see the choices you made). NOTE: I also randomly assigned a picture book author to all of you. You will see an author’s name next to your name that also has a link to their website or info about him or her.  You can find the Picture Book Resource Assignment on the assignments page. You can do this assignment anytime before Oct 26. I’ll remind you many times this semester.
  • Make sure you ordered your books!

Thank you for the great responses to the ideas in our G+ community! I look forward to reading together this semester!