Week 10 Highlights: Nonfiction, the Neglected Stepchild

23 03 2011

Thanks to all for sharing some compelling nonfiction books. I think we all agreed that there is something about reading about real people that makes the reading even more compelling.

Essential Question: Does reading about real people make a difference?

Nonfiction can help us “live the literature” (Jewitt, 2010).

To engage boys with literature: Make the study active with visuals, music, social, exportable-real world, powerful ideas, and opportunities to achieve flow – Wilhelm & Smith (2001)

Writing can be the most open space in the curriculum — Newkirk (2001)

Openness to popular culture in the classroom is beneficial for boys – Newkirk (2001)

Keeping students engaged in learning requires having the latitude to be highly creative, to build strong relationships, and tailor to the learning needs of the student – Crabtree (2004)

Modeling isn’t one way to influence people. It’s the only way. – Albert Einstein

All of the above quotes cited in Me Read? No Way! A Practical Guide to Improving Boys’ Literacy Skills www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/brochure/meread/meread.pdf

FLO – Fully Literate Other – Students need role models of fully literate others.

The use of essential questions can be a valuable way to make the study of literature relevant and exportable to the real world. See Grant Wiggins’ introduction to essential questions
And Jim Burke’s example, The Purpose Project – Who Am I? Why Am I Here? Also, Walkertown Middle School’s multigenre, multimedia project “What Is the Cost of War?” combines the reading of nonfiction with the writing of fiction about real people involved in World War II.

We don’t “teach the book.” We “teach with the book.” NikkiCastle: “Teaching with the book implies letting students have input vs a static lesson plan.”

Nonfiction Book Responses:

Frederik —
Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One Child at a Time (Young Readers’ Edition) by Greg Mortenson
Essential Question: How can a single man start a movement to change lives?

Jen —
Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of a Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement by Rick Bowers
Essential Question: “What other injustices are being perpetrated today?”

Karen —
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
Essential Question: One dealing with writing one’s own reminiscences . . .

Maureen –
Charles and Emma by Deborah Heiligman
Bookcast by Lara, Katrina, Katherine, and Courtney, ECI 521 2010 Nonfiction Book Club

Micheline —
Teen Depression by Michael Martin
Essential Question: What’s the difference between teen depression and teen angst?

Shannon —
Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

Scott —
Good Brother, Bad Brother: The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth by James Ross Giblin
Scott’s Bookcast


What Is an Essential Question?
Grant Wiggins

Academy of Achievement

Goal is “to bring students face-to-face with extraordinary leaders, visionaries, and the pioneers who have helped to shape our world . . .” Short passages and video interviews.

Me Read? No Way! A Practical Guide to Improving Boys’ Literacy Skills

Summary of research on boys and reading

Online network for English teachers –English Companion Ning – Where English teachers go to help each other
There’s a Young Adult Literacy Group!

The Purpose Project – Jim Burke of the English Teacher Compaion shares a project based on the essential questions: Who Am I? Why Am I

History and Context in Teaching Literature: An Action Learning Project by Krystal Chambers
(use of the timeline tool Dipity)

Yellow Ribbon: Suicide Prevention Program (recommended by Jen)




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