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.

Weeks 4 & 5 (Make Cycle 2: Series Book)

Weeks 4 & 5 (Make Cycle 2: Series Book)

Feb 11-24: Weeks 4 & 5 (Make Cycle 2: Series Books)

For the next two weeks, we are working with our series books: Series of Unfortunate Events, King & Kayla, Keena Ford, OR Origami Yoda. We will also start our journey with Donalyn Miller’s Reading in the Wild book.

Our goals will be to 1) think about how to support students so they are capable readers, and 2) think about books written for children and how they support “wild” readers.  We will end our two week Make Cycle 2 with another “make.”

Week 4: Feb 11-17

By Tuesday, Feb 12

You are reading your series book for Make Cycle 2.

  1. Give us a short summary of what the series is about so others in our class can get a sense of the ones they did not choose. Then, 
  2.  Choose TWO of the guiding questions below and write a response (you do not need to answer all these questions; just choose two that you want to write about). I would expect the response to be 3-4 substantial paragraphs.
    • What roles are played by adults (parents, teachers, other adults…)?
    • What identities are offered to kids in your series? Are the characters resourceful? Brave? Kind? Are they curious? Who can a little kid imagine being or behaving like from reading this series?
    • What does this series seem to want its readers to talk about? What challenges do the characters face?
    • What are the underlying theme(s) of the series?
    • What connections did you make when reading this series (connections to your own life and experiences, connections to other texts like books, films, etc., connections to your knowledge of the world). How did making those connections help you better understand the book(s) and what it seems to be saying?

Post in Google+ under Week 4: Series Book Discussion

When responding to a peer this week, try to look for someone who is reading your same series book. Note: this may mean you’ll have to come back to write a response after more people post. 

By Sunday, Feb 17:

Read Donalyn Miller’s Reading in the Wild Introduction, pages 1-4, and chapter 1, which starts on page 5. (Her book is also available as an e-text through our library if your hard copy has not arrived yet.)

Prompt: What do you remember about reading in school? What made you want to read and what turned you off to reading? What are take aways for you from Miller’s intro and first chapter? What did you find interesting or intriguing about her first chapter? I would expect you to write 3-4 substantial paragraphs that include your experiences and your response to Miller.

Post in G+ Week 4: Miller Ch. 1 Discussion. Respond to a peer’s post too as always. 

Week 5: Feb 18-24

By Tuesday, Feb 19

Prompt: By now, you should finish your series book. Choose a couple of these prompts and respond:

  • What did you like or not like about the book?
  • How might you use the book or series in your future classroom? What kinds of activities could you imagine doing with this book as an anchor text?
  • What challenges might there be in using this book?
  • What opportunities for teaching does the book allow for?
  • How might the book inspire your Make this week?

Post in G+ Week 5: Series Book Finish. Respond to a peer’s post too as always. 

By Sunday, Feb 24: Our “Make” for this week. (Post in Google+ Community: Week 5 Series Book Make)

In Make Cycle 1 (Fairytales), I gave you some limited choices for your make: poem, new ending, or art. From here on out, the “makes” are open.

You have a lot of choice in how you decide to share your book. The goal: share your book in a creative way with others so that perhaps they too can get excited about reading the book. Another goal: use the make as a way to think about the ideas/themes/characters in the books we are reading. Try out making something that you might ask your future students to make.

You can create a piece of art, a book trailer or short film, write a song, write fanfiction, create a game, create a lesson plan or class activity…lots of possible ways to share. You can upload an image of your artifact, share a link, share a video, etc. NOTE: I’m going to limit the make in one way by saying no to Word puzzles, like creating a word search or crossword for the words in the book. I’m not sure what the learning outcomes are of those worksheets and they are just too easy of a Make. Try to think of creating something that helps you (and your future students) interact with the ideas in the books we’re reading.

As always, once you create your “make,” you will also write a brief artist’s/writer’s statement explaining what you were attempting to do with this make: how did you approach this artifact? what worked? what did not work out as planned?

The points for the makes are made up of two components:

  1. the make itself 
  2. the discussion of the process 

Here are some great examples from a previous semester, including an original song, a website, an original choreographed dance based on the novel Speak, and a playlist.  Another example below features an original song and dance based on the children’s book One Crazy SummerGary wrote the song, Kelli and Gary recorded the song, and Emily choreographed and performed the dance. They filmed and shared their work on Vimeo. I’ve found that students are pretty amazing when they have choice in their creations.