Monday, January 26, 2009

Entry #2

Similar to what Erin said, I broke up literacy into categories, which were broken up in my developmentally appropriate curriculum book. The categories are interrelated, but sequential at the same time. Literacy is listening, speaking, writing, reading, and viewing. After class today, I have changed my view on the topic. I think that some sort of technological category needs to be emphasized in literacy. The internet relates to every category of literacy and I feel that with today’s time, it needs to be emphasized more.
I hope to make my classroom somewhat of a literacy haven. I want print to be everywhere. Everyhing should be labeled with a word and a picture to help with word recognition. Familiar words, such as the children’s name, can be placed in many locations and be used to daily activity. Books should be anti-bias, and feature children of different cultures, genders, race, and abilities. Writing materials should be placed around the classroom for the children to use. In pretend play, items like grocery lists can be used to help develop of genre knowledge. Interactive prompts should be placed around the classroom. For example, in the book area I would place a poster that said, “What is your favorite book?” Then the children could respond. The playing of words will be everywhere. By clapping out names, singing songs, and having interactive rhymes like “Willoughby Wallaby” the children are getting more phonemic awareness. Literacy is also important when referring to the skills of the adults interacting with the children. Depending on the age, providing verbal prompts for the children to be able to communicate their thoughts will help extend their vocabulary.

Just a side note, slightly unrelated to the blog subject:
Becca and I visited our school’s library with our children this past week. We wanted to get an idea of what kind of books were available for the children. I wanted to check out the critical literacy that was in our urban, city school. Our children usually go on Friday, but due to an in-service day, the children were going to the library with another class on Thursday. Our second grade students were going with the neighboring kindergarten class. The teachers in the class usually drop off the students while the librarian works with them. This time, the librarian put in a movie about jellyfish. She had to speak with a parent, so she placed Becca and I in charge. The children, especially the kindergarten students, spoke to each other about the movie. The librarian walked towards the children and told them in a stern voice to stay quiet. We didn’t see a problem with the children talking, if it was related to the movie. Then each class got to choose books from a select assortment placed on a nearby table. The other students were to watch the movie in silence. The child in our class who is diagnosed with a learning disability, was left to wander around the classroom. Becca noted that the lack of structure was very problematic for him. When the children started talking, the librarian yelled, “Be quiet or I will make you write sentences.” Nearby, a pile of papers sat on a table with the words: “I will be quiet in the library,” written multiply times.
I felt like EVERYTHING was wrong with this experience. I understand that it is difficult to find qualified, trained staff but how is this appropriate? The kindergarten students may not even have their fine motor skills developed to even write their names. Plus, how could you expect four and five year old children to sit still and just watch a movie without any structure? The second grade students had trouble with the task. I feel like this experience could interfere with these young children’s interest in literacy.

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