Developing Teaching Strategies. In Essentials of Children’s Literature, 5th edition by C.Lynch-Brown and C. Tomlinson, Pearson, 2004
I really enjoyed this article about developing teaching strategies. I wanted to suggest a resource that makes use of some of these teaching strategies that is available in most libraries. The Collections series for language arts provides a wide range of short stories that challenges young readers to draw to develop their language skills and comprehension. These stories integrate with other areas of the curriculum and include multicultural themes, science articles, and poetry. One of the important facts mentioned in “Developing Teaching Strategies” was that teachers should find a variety of activities to accompany a story rather than resort to a plain old book report. Teachers can lose student’s interest if they overuse or repeatedly fall back on the same assignments every week. Students will respond to me if I introduce a variety of strategies to teach them about the plot, themes, or chronology of events about a story.
During my second practicum I had the opportunity to teach a grade 2/3 class a language arts lesson using audiotapes. I quickly discovered that children respond really well to the audio taped stories and would love to repeat the story again and again. I found that there were so many ways to draw information from a story at the grade 2-3 level. Creating a concertina book was just one of the ways in which students could illustrate their understanding about a story. The Collections Series is a great teaching tool for teaching reading in language arts which offers short stories and a wide variety of ways to respond to the reading. The Collections series comes complete with assessment and offers more than one method of teaching a story. I found it interesting that students responded well to
the different voices on the tape and would repeat the words together in unison imitating the new voices.
I found this article particularly useful in suggesting alternatives to traditional book reports:
Here are some examples from page 269 of this article
Describe the author or book character you would like to meet in person. Explain why you want to meet this person or character.
Jackdaws: collections of artifacts or copies of realia from a particular historical period or event. Jackdaws are often available in museums. Songs, paintings or traditional clothing are examples of Jackdaws that can be used to extend an activity.
Find objects that were part of the story. Place these objects in a bag. Then booktalk your story and take out each object to show when appropriate.
Create a collage using fabric, string and pictures from newspapers or photographs to illustrate the story.
Murals are made from long rolls of paper mounted horizontally. The entire length of paper is usually divided into sections and often presents a chronology of the story events. Murals may feature a particular theme.
Roller movies are pictures designed frame by frame on a long roll of paper. Once completed each end of paper is rolled onto the feeder rod so the beginning frame is viewed first.
Make a book cover for this book. Include an illustration, book title, author’s name, design the illustration so that it is faithful to the story and will interest others in reading the book. On the front inside flap write a story blurb. (Be sure not to give the story away)
Write a letter recommending this book to a classmate. Tell why you liked the book, do not give away the ending.
I also thought that this article presented good points for selecting a story.
According to the authors, good stories for telling usually have few charcters (2-5), high conflict, action that builds to a climax, and a quick conclusion that ties together the threads of the story.
Good luck with your teaching strategies and selecting good stories for children.