Diane Roberts, Alma Flor Ada, and My Students

This summer I had the distinct pleasure of teaching two classes: Developing Language Arts Classes (EDLL 5350) and Studies in Langauge Arts (EDLL 6350), the subtitle of this second class was Creative Writing for the Classroom Teachers. I've written about the latter earlier in the summer, and now I want to mention the former: some highlights anyway. Among the authors we studied this summer were Alma Flor Ada (I Love Saturdays y domingos and My Name Is Maria Isabel) and Diane Roberts (a fellow Texan whose Made You Look was a hit in class). And among the different projects I assigned were blog reading responses and craft lessons in the manner of Fletcher. The end products are very good; you should take a look at some via the links below under the heading "summer ii '08 (5350). Besides the responses and craft lessons, students also put together digital literacy narratives and video book reviews. Like I said, all very exciting, but then came one of those moments in a class that a teacher just can't get over. Molly Long, one of the students, finished reading Diane's book super quick and blogged about it. Saying she had enjoyed the book for various reasons, one having to do with her family also being into traveling on vacations together. I got the idea to give Molly Diane's email and to get in touch with a living, breathing author. Molly took me up on the offer and Diane emailed back within a day or two. Then came a second email from the writer. Molly was so excited by this development that I asked her to share her experience with the class. So far as I know, they're still emailing back and forth. Then there's Carmen Ontiveros. She put together a craft lesson on Ada's Saturdays y domingos. Earlier this evening I was checking to see if there'd been any movement in terms of blog updates now that the summer term is over (in the hopes that the students would actually keep these up as a sort of techno-intro to potential employers and future students). And so you can imagine how excited I got when I opened up Carmen's blog and saw two comments under the Ada craft lesson and saw that Ada herself had found Carmen's blog and thought enough of it to do more than just pass through. She gives a really cool description of how the story in the picture book came about. It's a must read. So are my students' blogs.

1 comment:

Alma Flor Ada said...

Dear Rene:
I enjoyed reading your students blogs and now that I have found yours want to thank you, not only for including my books in your curses, but by encouraging them to use literature creatively and to make use of the Internet.
Thanks also for your wonderful blog, it's very inspiring. I enjoyed seeing your family, reading about your experiences and your excellent teaching.
Are you familiar with the book Authors in the Classroom (co-authored by Isabel Campoy and myself, published by Allyn & Bacon). After so many years encouraging teachers to have children write we discovered that the essential element for that to happen is that teachers themselves become authors. By proposing books, simple but powerful, based on the teachers own reality this is accomplished very effectively with amazing results for all involved.
All best wishes for your new academic year, and for every day.
Cordially, Alma Flor