Dorothy L. Henry
Language Arts and Technology
Professor Susan Silverman
October 28, 2006
Using the literature circle method of book discussion provided a student centered environment where a student’s questions and viewpoints become the central focus. Rather than reading the book and answering a set of questions designed by the teacher to test comprehension, the literature circles gives the student the responsibility of leading a discussion and reacting to questions that other students have posed. I enjoyed the interaction with the other students in the class and reading through their views. Oftentimes, it would give one something further to think about. We had a good group. People took the time to respond to other’s comments even when it wasn’t their time to “lead” the discussion. It fosters relationships within the student body and gives voice to the student who perhaps is shy. It was interesting to see what pieces from the chapters the other group members pulled from the reading to ask questions on. There were so many nuances that could have been used. Having to come up with a question that couldn’t be answered straight from the text of the book provided a challenge for students to think higher up on Bloom’s taxonomy.
Extension Project Reflection
At first I was unsure of the parameters of the midterm project. I looked through the examples provided, but had troubles opening some of them. The question that Jessica posed on the discussion board that Prof. Silverman’s answered really clarified the assignment. The best website was http://www.litcircles.org/Extension/extension.html. That really helped. Once I had a handle on the assignment, I was off and running. Deciding what to do proved a bit of a challenge. I am an artist, so the possibilities really sparked my imagination. I had started a story quilt and liked that idea, but then realized that it would be better suited for me to work on that by hand and as the assignment required a computer generated product I decided to create an ABC book using PowerPoint. Creating that in PowerPoint would still allow me to print the pages and bind them into a physical product (this is a great option if given in a classroom environment) as well as produce an electronic product that can be shared over the internet.
Once I decided on the ABC book I had to find the elements that were important. I chose the gradated orange background with the leaves because it reminded me a fire that burns and consumes, so much of the circumstances of the book are fueled by that fire, sometimes smoldering under the surface, sometimes burning out of control.
I wanted to highlight as many of the characters as I could from the book. When I couldn’t use the C to write Christopher-John, as I had already used it for Cassie, I had to figure out a characteristic he possesses to highlight. Of course, the problem was the obscure letters such as XYZ. A little “out of the box” thinking was in order for those. I really wanted images that would suggest something more about what I was writing. For example, I see Mary as a strong rock. In her husband’s absence, she really must be strong to run the home, teach school and raise four children. She provides a solid foundation, bedrock for the family. Finding the images I wanted was a challenge. If I were drawing this, I could draw up something that I couldn’t find. I searched at google images, but then realized the extent to which I would credit pictures and use them, I decided to use the Microsoft Office Online clip art gallery. I found that to have extensive images. It also enabled me to search within one site which made it easier due to the amount of images I needed. I also wanted to use some clip art and photographic images to introduce variety. I had to be a little creative in the search words for images to convey ideas and concepts.
Producing the ABC book allows me to have a product I can share to show what I have gotten from the book. It will hopefully act as a springboard for more discussion. It is such an important topic. Prejudice is something we all live with in some way. This book highlights racial prejudice, but someone may make the connections to other forms of prejudice that they have seen or felt. The extension project also prompted me to reread many portions of the book and reflect on the ideas and concepts I wanted to get across through my project. For my self-assessment I chose to adapt a rubric found at the http://www.litcircles.org/Extension/extension.html website.
Response Project Rubric
F (11 or less)