Weekly Video Update

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)

Sept 11-Sept 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, Weenies, Babymouse, 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 out two week Make Cycle 2 with another “make” and by writing a review of our series book on Goodreads.

Week 4: Sept 11-Sept 15

By Wednesday, Sept 13

You are reading your series book for Make Cycle 2.

By Wednesday, Sept 13:

  1. Give us a short summary of what the series is about. Then,
  2. Choose TWO of the guiding questions below and write a response. 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, 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 Friday, Sept 15:

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.)

By Friday, Sept 15:

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: Sept 18-24

By Wednesday, Sept 20:

Prompt: By now, you should finish your series book. 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 Prep. Respond to a peer’s post too as always. 

By Friday, Sept 22: Post your first review (a review about your series book) in our Goodreads Community. I created a short walkthrough below about how to post a review.


By Sunday, Sept 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 or art. From here on out, the “makes” are completely 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.

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 by three components:

  1. prep for the make prompt, which will usually ask about how you might use the book in your classroom like the prompt above (5pts)
  2. the make itself (10pts)
  3. the discussion of the process (5pts)

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.