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Using Bit Strips to Respond to Literature

IvanOver the last several weeks our whole school has  been reading  The One and Only Ivan  by  Katherine Applegate.  The story is so  unique because it is written from the perspective of Ivan, a gorilla who was kept in captivity for several years.  Based on a real life  situation, the novel really brings the reader to re-think how we use animals for entertainment.  My class had strong responses to the novel, leading to great class discussions. We then used bitstrips to respond to the story by choosing a scene and creating a scene with a beginning, middle and end.  Below are just a couple of examples of their interpretations of some of the story scenes. Enjoy!  Feedback welcome.

The gorilla and elephant images are free downloadas from www.classroomclipart.com

Pirates on the High Seas: Teaching Kids about Online Safety

learningtreasure Technology is revolutionary tool that has the power to bring the outside world into our homes and our classrooms, but what is the cost of using this power?  What do we have to give up in return?  On line safety is an essential discussion to have with our students as we venture, with them, into the world of blogging and other social media experiences.  They must understand the pros and cons of participating in the global community through the internet, and be made aware of ways to minimize their risk.

So how do we, as teachers, teach on line safety in a fun and engaging way? One great  resource can be found at : http://mediasmarts.ca/sites/default/files/games/privacy_pirates/flash/PrivacyPirates_English/main.html

Another way is to set up a blog with KidBlog.  KidBlog allows students to interact and share their ideas by writing blogposts on the internet, while allowing the teacher total control of  what is published, both going out and coming in.  In other words, KidBlog has a filter, it’s you, the teacher!  Only upon your approval do the student posts go out to the world, and only upon your approval, do outside comments get to your students. Nice.  This makes it a safe and powerful tool to use, while teaching students all the internet safety rules  that go along with blogging.  Below is a list of some of the lessons I cover in  the first few blogging sessions with my class:

1. Only first names allowed

2. Blogging is writing about a topic. It is not FaceBook, texting, snapchat, or twitter.  Each tool has its own purpose and etiquette.

2. Never post a solo picture to identify yourself

3. Never answer personal questions on line about where you live, where you play, your number on a team,  where you’ll be at a certain time, etc.

4.  Always read a post completely  and comment about the topic that the student posted.  Be polite. Think about how you can encourage them as a learner and as a writer.

We’re just getting going this year, so we don’t have much posted yet, but to get more ideas for class posts and topics to blog about, check out my class’ Blog from last year.  If you set up your own class blog, leave a comment and let me know. Our class would love to connect with yours and become blogging buddies!