Favourite Language Arts Links

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Reading Differences or Gifts!

Words are a gift no matter how we read them.

This wonderful video shares the beauty of words and stories from the mind of a Dyslexic.  Experiencing Dyslexia in my family I have advocated for many years on behalf of my children to help them assimilate the written world within their day to day existence. What may appear so easy for one child, may be so horribly difficult for another!  Yet the majority of teachers do not teach students in multi-sensory ways, to be able to recognize the cadency in a sentence.  Sequential learning is something that needs to be integrated on a daily basis both with sounds and with words.  It is very hard to do in a brick and mortar classroom.

These wonderful role models share their confidence despite having experienced so many obstacles in their path towards learning.  Having read Malcolm Gladwell's book David and Goliath, it was so encouraging to hear how the role of being straitjacketed or treated as an underdog is actually an advantage to overcoming such disadvantages, and learning compensatory skills to think "outside of the box" may actually be a gift.

Many home-schoolers are Dyslexic.   Many have struggled to stay within the constraints of a brick and mortar classroom.  With the use of technologies such as reading aids, speech recognition software, multi sensory tools, audiobooks available in e format, changeable fonts, and focus on verbal skills to bring out confidence,  students CAN overcome great feats.  Dyslexia is not the challenge it was in the past.  Having raised a Dyslexic student who also struggled with anxiety as a result of being misunderstood, I have a huge heart for all students who struggle in this area.   

Some ideas to foster in your child.

Go the long road to work out a system which works for your students, encourage, read to them, engage literacy and role model reading on a daily basis.   Find their gifts, and help them appreciate the written word regardless of how they learn.  Listening to stories is just as wonderful as reading them!  The power of the spoken word is so ENCOURAGING.

You are blessed to be the parent of a Dyslexic child!  I am blessed to see my son read and write essays albeit slowly, with precision and a "wordsmith's" creativity in his grade 12 year!

Thanks to Ted Talks for sharing this video.  It is well worth an hour of your time.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I think therefore I blog

Thankful for my network
Thankful for my network (Photo credit: krossbow)

Three years ago when I began my adventure on Twitter, I was amazed at how I could find such value added professional development at my fingertips.  Having blogged for a few years as a teacher librarian for a distance learning school,  I realized that having VOICE was something that resonated deeply within me, and many of my colleagues and students.  I had taught my students  about academic authority, sharing ones passion and reflecting accuracy and currency (all those lovely teacher librarianship question's).  But now the crunch was up!  Could I role model that myself? Could I learn all these weird and wonderful hashtags, how would I engage in virtual chats, and could I make friends with strangers? 
Three years later I am loving the ENGAGEMENT!  Discovering curation and sharing on Scoopit, Twitter, and other social networks like Ning,  has widened my knowledge base, helped me research pertinent scholarly articles, archive for my patrons, and also help me make friends.  One of these friends and fellow teacher librarian from England Elizabeth Hutchinson   collaborated via blog and virtual classroom with our campus and distance learning grade 6/7 students, on Chocolate Lily and Kate Greenaway children's' books.  We hoped our students would imbibe cultural sensitivities and global awareness as they studied the language similarities and differences between England and Canada.  We laughed at our accents, shared our silly phrases, and reached out to connect on a heart level around picture books.
On our Ning (a private social network within our distance learning school) we teach digital citizenship skills, such as media sharing, blogging, discuss issues such as cyber bullying, collaborate in online book clubs and participate in events such as our Innovator's Challenge.  We trust and value our relationship within this private and safe community.  
So what I hope to share from this conversation is how we can have virtual relationships using social media.  I was in a library advocacy workshop recently,  and I heard the presenter share that social media is not a place for advocacy.  I would strongly disagree!  Enjoying ten years as a virtual teacher librarian... this is my world and most of my students' world.
I do believe that we are called to reach out, love, respect and accept one another regardless of our background.  As Gust Mees @KnolInfos my Twitter friend shared  we thought it would be pertinent to create a multilingual social media dictionary for other educators to share their thoughts on the positive and community forming bases for social media.  We can do that in 30 words or in 3 characters.  The choice of words we use can either build up or bring down.  It would be cognizant of different languages, ethnic and religious backgrounds.  Thankfully on Twitter I have seen mostly positive encouragement!  I have also seen poetry in reduction.  As a wordsmith in hiding I LOVE it! We welcome your thoughts!  Thanks Gust Mees@KnolInfos for starting a blog to collaborate on such thoughts!
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