Friday, February 03, 2006

Critical dialogue # 2: Using Text Talk as a Gateway to Culturally Responsive Teaching by Natalie K. Conrad, Yi Gong, Lillie Sipp, and Lillian wright
This article is about the research of these four teachers who pose a question to three groups of students with whom they were working at that time. The question they pose is, "What would you do if you did not know how to read"? (187). The authors want to link a theory (culturally responsive teaching with a strategy (Text Talk). The authors advocate that by combining Text Talk and culturally responsive teaching will provide "enhanced Opportunities for diverse groups". It will prove to be be beneficial to students' because it makes connections with their backgrounds. Text talks improves students' oral language and comprehension. "In culturally responsive teaching, teachers build on student's language and background by making connections to extend thier literacy" (188). The authors state that culturally responsive teaching increase the academic achievement of students. These approaches can make the topics relevant to students because there is connnection between the backgrounds of students and the text. The use of this strategy provides students an opportunity to analyze the text from various perspectives. The authors suggest that, "this approach provides a gateway to a succesful reading for students who find learning to read challenging" (189). I will use this strategy in my class to help students by considering their background and selecting the books that will relate to their prior experiences and knowledge.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Critical dialogue #1: Reading Storybooks with Young Children: The Case of the Three Robbers by Cynthia Ballenger.

This article gives me an insight into how teachers who are trying to teach children a concept can get frustrated if they feel that they cannot get their ideas across. The teacher who are assisting children to connect or reconnect with school knowledges and practices might employ a critical approach to literacy and what that might look like. The author talks about her experience when she was trying to read the story of The Three Robbers to her preschool children but was getting frustrated because she was not able to hold her students' interest focused on the the topic. The students were making connections with their own lives.
The author states that adults also make connections to thier personal lives. Beseler reanalysis her own way of reading , "We also, as we read, let the book take us places we haven't been, didn't know about, couldn't have gone without it" (37). These children has also done the same. The author poses a question, "Had they allowed the text to take them somewhere they they had never been before? Had they traveled with a book into a new territory"? The author felt astonished at the way children took a different approach to the story. This approach opened new avenues for the teacher. Through this article the author wants to share her story to make readers aware that there is not a one way to teach literature. The children can also interpret the story according to their own life-experiences, "Including them has opened my own assumptions for scrutiny and thus deepened immeasurably my own ability to think about literature and stories and their uses" (42).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Literature Circle: Mina's Spring of Colours by Rachna Gilmore
The literature circles that were set up in the class were rewarding because we had an opportunities to exchange ideas about the book Mina's Spring of colors. Everyone shared how they will teach this book in the class.
Mina's Spring of colors is a valuable addition to Canadian children's literature. The story is about a young girl, Mina, whose grandfather has come from India to live with her family. Her conflicting feelings are intensified when a classmate passes a racial comment at her grandfather's accent at a school open house. Mina vows to get revenge, but her wise grandfather intervenes at the crucial moment, and Mina comes to an awareness of herself and other people.
This book can be used in the class for different purposes. It is a book about 'Holy' festival which is celebrated in India with a great enthusiam. The children can perform a research on other festivals in India and the class as whole can report on their findings. This book can also be discussed in Personal Planning class. The students can discuss how racial comments cause hurtful feelings in the victims. I would use this book in intermediate grades. The link on the top will take you to teacher's guide site for this book. There are great ideas to use this book in different ways.
Evaluating Multicultural Literature:
Froese, Deborah. (1996). The Wise Washerman Illustrated by WanThis is a traditional Burmese folktale that portrays a traditional blend of myth and folklore. I chose to review this book for my multicultural literature evaluation assignment because I think the story has an interesting plot and captures reader's attention all through the end. The story is realistic portrayal of the era when kings were considered to be supreme power and the public obeyed the authority figure without any inhibitions. The illustrations take readers to a time period when kings,dukes dressed in silk robes and common public dressed up casually in cotton attire. We have been talking about the social justice issues, stereotyping and cultural equality and equity issues in the class. I thought about this book over and over from that perspective and realized that this book does not portray social justice and cultural equality within the Burmesian culture. The class difference between a monarch and a commoner arises hurtful feelings. The cultural differences do not specifically prevail between two cultures but can exist in one culture by showing an inequlity between upper and lower class society.
I feel that the author has portryed a traditional period and has sterotyped the role of the king and his subjects. The king portrays the character of a person who can excercise his power in a mean way. The subjects are portrayed as helpless people who bow their head in front of the almighty King. There are examples of kings in the history of India and Burma (Burma was a part of India before) where kings use to roam in disguise at night, to find the pains and sorrows of His people. By stereotyping the role of the king, I feel the author is misguiding the young readers. However, I think the story is memorable and is interwoven in such a way that it captivates readers attention. My recommendation is to use this book in the class but also read the other books that portrays kings as kind monarchs.

Grimm,Wilhelm. & Grimm, Jacob. (1985). The Falling Stars
Illustrated by Eugen Sopko
I chose to read this book because the story conveys a valuable lesson to children. The story is about a little girl whose mother and father died and left her with nothing. She had nowhere to live, not even a little bed to sleep in. All she had were the clothes she was wearing and a small piece of bread, but in spite of everything she was a sweet and gentle child. She gives everything away to others who are suffering and receives a reward from the heaven. This book is about feelings and generosity. It is good book for K-3.
As a teacher, you can discuss about the feelings and emotions in the class. Usually, the schools that I have been in, teach either virtue of the week or virtue of the month.The class can brainstorm some scenarios about specific situations where they displayed a virtue and how good they felt after doing an act of kindness. After listening to this story, one of my peers showed the concern about discussing "God" in the class is not a very good idea. Any views on this topic will be quite informative for me. My opinion is, as long as you are not preaching about any one particular religion, you are okay. Correct me if I am wrong!

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Shute, Linda (1988). Clever Tom and the Leprechaun

General Description: This story is about a clever boy Tom who meets a leprechaun. Tom gets hold the little leprechaun in his fist and wants to have his gold. Tom comes up with a foolproof plan for getting hold of the trasure. But leprechuan also has a trick, and even the clever Tom may be surprised to learn who is the fool after all. This is a traditional folktale which is good for grade 1-3.

Grimm,Wilhelm. & Grimm, Jacob. (1985). The Falling Stars.
Illustrated by Eugen Sopko
General description: There was once a liittle girl whose mother and father died and left her with nothing. She had nowhere to live, not even a little bed to sleep in. All she had were the clothes she was wearing and a small piece of bread, but in spite of everything she was a sweet and gentle child. She gives everything away to others who are suffering and receives a reward from the heaven. This book is about feelings and generosity. It is good book for K-3.

Froese, Deborah. (1996). The Wise Washerman
Illustrated by Wang Kui
General description: (multicultural)This a traditional folktale from Burma. This story is about a washerman Aung Kyaing who is acclaimed throughout his village for his "magical" ability to make clothes gleam like the snowcapped mountains. A jealous and treacherous neighbor tries to ruin him by tricking the king into giving Aung Kyaing a seemingly impossible task. The task was to transform the king's gray elephant into a fabled white elephant. If he fails he will be banished from his beloved kingdom forever.
This book is good for grade 3-5

Convor, Chris. (1989). Mother Goose and the Sly Fox. General Description: This story is about a Mother Goose who lives with her seven goslings in a snug little house. She is always busy, with seven tiny goslings to take care of, and a do-nothing mouse who lived in a wall. One day when Mother Goose is away at market, a Fox tricks his way into their home and carries off six of her seven goslings. Luckily, one gosling hides from the wily Fox and is able to tell his mother what happened. This book is good for read aloud for grade 1-3. My children used to love this story when they were little.

Tomie, DePaola. (1983). The Story of the Three Wise Kings.

General Description: The story is about three wise kings from the East . They studied the night sky and saw a spectacular new star. Thier learned books told them this was a sign that a new child-king would soon be born. So they each set out to follow the star and follow the star and find the new king, to honor him with their special gifts. This is the classic biblical legend of the gifts of kings. This book can be read during Christmas time. Grade level 1-3.

Hayes, Sarah. (1990). Nine Ducks Nine.

General description: This book is about nine plump ducks who walk in line to the river-and a hungry Mr. Fox is following behind. One by one the ducks make their way to the rickety bridge, where they have a big surprise waiting for Mr. Fox! This book is for K-1 children. Literature connection: Math The children will learn to count backward from nine to one.

Bourgeois, Paulette. & Clark, Brenda. (2000). Franklin Goes To The Hospital.

General Description: Children love Franklin series...In this Franklin thier favorite character, goes to hospital because he gets hit by the ball. Dr. Bear schedules an operation for him. This is a hilarious book like all the other Franklin books. Grade level 3-4

Margaret, Hodges. (1995). Gulliver in Lilliput

Illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken

General Description: In 1699, a ship's doctor named Lemuel Gulliver sets sail from England to the South Seas. When a raging storm destroys his ship, he swims to the nearest shore and falls asleep, exhausted. He awakens and finds himself tied to the ground , surrounded by people less than six inches tall. They are Lilliputians, the tiny citizens of a strange little country called Lilliput. After Gulliver convinces the Lilliputians that he means them no harm, he is released. He learns their language, lets them dance on his hand, and allows children to play hide-and-seek in his long hair. This is an adventurous story for young people. Grade level 5-7

I read this story when I was in grade six/seven.

Literature Biography:
From Preschool to Elementry Years...(Cindrella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, The Princess and the Pea and many more fairy tales, Nursery Rhymes i.e Ba!ba blacksheep, Twinkle Twinkle little star, Humptey Dumptey sat on a wall, london bridge is falling down, Jack and Jill went up the hill and many more. All these books and stories stirred a passion for reading books and poems at a very early age. As a preschooler , (mind you ...seems like only yesterday) the books that stand out in my memory were colorful and appealing. The fairy tales engaged my imagination and the nursery rhymes had a lyrical quality about them that was very appealing to a young mind. I still love fairy tales. I can read them over and over and never get bored.
Teen: As a young elementry student colourful glossy pictures were still appealing, but the elements of storyline and the content were starting to move in a different direction. I started looking for chapter books, mystery novels, and romantic novels. I started reading novels by Agatha Christey such as NEMESIS, 1971
AKHNATON, 1973 (play)
AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, 1977 . I also started reading novels written by Barbara Cartland i.e Fragrant Flower, The Pride and the Prodigal. This boosted the wings of my imagination ...I started dreaming about tall, handsome man(just kidding). As the years passed, I chose to do my B.A Hons.in English and M.A in English I started enjoying plays written by Shakespeare, Victorian Literature, novels by Thomas Harding, Charles Dickens, E.M. Forster and the poetry by Wiilliam Wordsworth, John Keats, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, William Blake, and Tennyson and the list goes on. Over the years, I have read literature in Hindi as well such as Gulshan Nanda, Adil Rashid, Rohinston Mistery, and other renowned hindi writers. I have a passion for reading. In my class literature will be a major area of focus and attention.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

My favorite book during my school years was "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp". I found a copy of this book in the library. The author of this book is Carol Carrick(1989). I remember this book with fond memories. I think the reasons for reading this book might have unconscious delight that I experienced at that time. This book transported me to a different world...where author's imagination aroused my curiosity. I was fascinated how Aladdin got everything just by rubbing that magic lamp. Besides this book, there were other books that nurtured my growth as a reader. Each book led to another, and I have been an avid reader since then.