Category Archives: Disciplinary Literacies

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

sportsThis week in the United States, Major League Baseball holds their All-Star game. Harness students’ interest in sports and incorporate them into the classroom!

Developing Contemporary Literacies through Sports: A Guide for the English Classroom shares meaningful and productive ways to engage students in reading, writing, and other literacy practices. It’s a collection of lessons and commentaries–from established teachers, teacher educators, scholars, and authors–and its companion website provide numerous resources that support teachers in developing students’ contemporary literacies through sports.

Tune in to this podcast episode to hear about works of sports fiction and nonfiction that explore issues of identity and belonging, courage and equal rights, and changes over time in American history and culture.

We’ve all heard the expression “poetry in motion”. This activity gets children writing poems about grace and movement using photos of athletes.

In “Swish! Pow! Whack! Teaching Onomatopoeia Through Sports Poetry” students explore poetry about sports, looking closely at the use of onomatopoeia. After viewing a segment of a sporting event, students create their own onomatopoeic sports poems.

Through the retelling of the 1941 baseball season, children will see two legendary players as characters in “Batter Up! Telling Sports Stories With Trading Cards” and can create trading cards that highlight these players.

Invite students to look at different online baseball trivia questions to see how they are written. Then, as part of this activity, have children write their own questions and play a trivia game.

How do you incorporate sports into the literacy classroom?

It’s Almost Independence Day! Or is it?

calendar_556_declarationMany people celebrate the Fourth of July as the birthday of the United States, but the actual events on that day involved only a half dozen people. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved and signed by the officers of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Most of the other members signed during a ceremony on August 2.

Is the Fourth of July the day the U.S. declared its independence? Explore all the dates during the summer of 1776 that are associated with the Declaration of Independence:

  • July 2: Declaration of Independence Resolution adopted by the Continental Congress
  • July 4: Declaration of Independence signed by the officers of the Continental Congress
  • July 8: First public reading of the Declaration of Independence
  • August 2: Declaration of Independence signed by 50 of the 56 men who signed the document

Explore texts that include the stories surrounding the Declaration of Independence. Possibilities include reference books, encyclopedias, and specific texts, examples of which appear in the Independence Day Book List.

With your students, consider why there are so many different dates and why we celebrate the nation’s birthday on July 4.

Anne Frank’s Diary

anne-frank-diary-openOn June 12, 1942, Anne Frank received a small red and white diary as a present for her 13th birthday. The diary, which she named Kitty, was her companion for just over two years. Frank’s last entry in the diary was dated August 1, 1944. Her family’s secret hiding place was raided three days later, on August 4. She died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in February or March of 1945.

Explore the ways that eyewitness reports shape our understanding of events we can’t see first-hand. Introduce students to this topic using a lesson (adapted to your grade level), such as Through the Eyes of a Refugee, which examines the first-hand reports of a Syrian refugee, or Evaluating Eyewitness Reports, which examines first-hand accounts of the Great Chicago Fire.

Then have students break into small groups for an end-of-the-year research project. First, provide an outline or list of the main topics you’ve studied during the year. Or, have students use their textbook as a reference. Have each group select an event to research, taking care that topics are not too broad, such as “World War II.” Using primary source documents, have students research the event using eyewitness accounts. A good source of primary documents can be found at the American Slave Narratives website. Finally, have each group present their research to the class, for an end-of-the-year review session.

How else can a diary be used in the classroom?

Teen Tech Week 2017

ttw17The Young Adult Library Services Association sponsors Teen Tech Week to draw attention to the importance and availability of various technologies in libraries. Besides offering technologies such as audiobooks, DVDs, electronic games, computers with Internet access, and more, libraries also have librarians with expertise in using many of these resources effectively. This year, Teen Tech Week (March 5-11) celebrates the teen-selected theme: “Be the Source of Change.” The 2017 theme encourages teens to take advantage of all the great digital resources offered through the library to make a positive change in their life and community. Here are resources to support that change:

Teens as Change Agents
Books featuring teens as change agents call attention to young people who are lobbying for change in their schools, communities, and the larger world. Tune in to this podcast episode to hear about teens who work for change by participating in political campaigns, defying social hierarchies, and even going to war.

Making Memories: An End-of-Year Digital Scrapbook
Students reflect on their school year, creating a digital scrapbook consisting of images and text to present to their school community.

Exploring Plagiarism, Copyright, and Paraphrasing
Students investigate issues of plagiarism, fair use, and paraphrasing using KWL charts, discussion, and practice.

Copyright Law: From Digital Reprints to Downloads
Students investigate how and why copyright law has changed over time, and apply this information to recent copyright issues, creating persuasive arguments based on the perspective of a particular group.

Copyright Infringement or Not? The Debate over Downloading Music
This lesson takes advantage of students’ interest in music and audio sharing. Students investigate multiple perspectives in the music downloading debate and develop a persuasive argument for a classroom debate.

Digital Reflections: Expressing Understanding of Content Through Photography
Striking images can leave lasting impressions on viewers. In this lesson, students make text–self–world connections to a nature- or science-related topic as they collaboratively design a multimedia presentation.

How will you recognize Teen Tech Week?

The 100th Day of School

100The 100th day of school is celebrated in schools around the country, usually near the month of February. The 100th Day of School is usually filled with activities, crafts, and math exercises based on the number 100. Here’s an idea for combining the school celebration with history.

Invite students to investigate what life was like 100 years ago. Using multiple sources, have students read and talk about the clothing that was worn during that time, who was President (or Prime Minister, King, or Queen), what inventions weren’t around then (computers and television, mobile devices, hoverboards, video games, etc), how many states were in the United States at that time (and what the US flag looked like then). Ask the students to find and share other surprising differences between now and 100 years ago. They can record their discoveries using a Venn Diagram.

To take this idea a step further, engage students in researching various aspects of a setting’s decade.  Then using the information they have gathered, students communicate their findings via a presentation tool. Through the sharing of their findings, all students gain an understanding of the historical decades. This understanding can be transferred to historical novels or other studies of history. After all students have presented, students will write a paragraph explaining which decade they would have like to have experienced firsthand.

How do you celebrate the 100th Day of School?