Digital Literature Communities

As part of an era where reading, literature, and literacy are always evolving, it is important to find ways to be connected. Digital communities are one of the greatest ways to make that happen. I have experimented with 3 different options: pinterest, twitter, and goodreads. 

#1: PINTEREST 

Pinterest is awesome. I had already started a “teacher board” earlier in the year, but because of this project I looked into it more deeply and greatly expanded my board. My board currently has 42 pins, and I cannot wait for it to continue to grow. Pinterest is full of so many great teaching ideas and resources. Sometimes it can be a little tricky to find exactly what you want or are looking for, but overall I love using Pinterest to generate ideas for teaching and literacy in the classroom. You can find all kinds of different things on Pinterest, from extensive lesson plans to tips for organization. I have also now started to follow other people’s “teaching boards”, so that whenever they pin something it will automatically show up on my homepage. This will be a great way for me to be connected to what is happening in other classrooms and to what seems to be popular in the teaching community. 

Here is the link to my board:

http://pinterest.com/akbergstrom/teaching-middle-school/

#2: TWITTER

Another digital community that I experimented with is twitter. I had never thought of using twitter as a resource for teaching, but I am now realizing that there are all kinds of possibilities on twitter! I am following several teachers/educators as well as larger educational programs such as ReadWriteThink. If one of these tweeters posts an article that I think looks interesting or a great idea for a lesson plan, I can ‘favorite’ it so that I can come back to it a later time. The main downfall with twitter is that tweets can sometimes just get out-of-hand and I find myself having to sift through a lot of meaningless (at least to me) and useless stuff in order to find something good . Basically it feels very cluttered. Colby Sharp and Donalyn Miller, for example, tweet about very specific things and constantly respond to different random people. This is great, don’t get me wrong, but just not exactly useful for my purposes in following them on twitter. For this reason, I like following things like ‘ReadWriteThink’ and ‘We are Teachers’ more than actual people. 

Here are the different educators/programs I am now following: 

[In this order – We are Teachers (teacher social network), Donna Bambic (elementary school prinicpal),  Colby Sharp (teacher), ReadWriteThink (resources for reading and language arts instruction), Jeff Anderson (writer), Donalyn Miller (teacher, author)]

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#3 – GOODREADS

I also started a goodreads account, but I am still figuring out exactly how to use it/what its benefits are. So far I have rated some books and seen that it gives me recommendations for more books based on those ratings, which is super cool. I also like how it is all broken up by genre. I have added some friends but I am still working on adding other teachers or joining groups. I think goodreads can definitely be useful I just need to do a little more research! 

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My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

This book was intense, but really good. I personally just love stories about families, so this book attracted me because of that reason.  I loved the narrator, 10-year-old Jamie, and hearing the story from his perspective is I think what made me really get into the book. The death of his sister (the one who ‘lives on the mantelpiece’), is of course one of the huge things that Jamie and the rest of the family are dealing with. But this is not the only thing facing the family. The dad drinks all the time, Jamie and Sunya get picked on at school, the parents are separated, the older sister Jas rebels in her own way, and more.

I also think this book is interesting because the way Rose died was based on real bombings in London. I think it could be cool to compare this and the reactions to the terrorist attacks in America on 9/11.

I think middle school students would really enjoy this book (even though it is sort of depressing), and I am almost positive that every single one of them could relate to at least one of the characters or situations in some way. I would love to have it in my classroom.