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English/Spanish Codeswitching in Children’s Literature

by Janine Schall, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX

I Love Saturdays y domingos

I spend los domingos with Abuelito y Abuelita.

Abuelito y Abuelita are my mother’s parents.

They are always happy to see me.

I say: –¡Hola, Abuelito! ¡Hola, Abuelita!—as I get out of the car.

And they say: –¡Hola, hijita! ¿Cómo estás? ¡Hola, mi corazón!

I Love Saturdays y domingos
Alma Flor Ada

“I love to see that my language is valued and that my ELL students are offered booksthat they can connect to.” – Gracia

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Responding to Literature in the 21st Century: Challenges and Resources

by Janine Schall, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX

I hope that through reading the previous four blog posts you became more aware of available technological resources for literacy classrooms. In this last blog post for November, I will briefly discuss some challenges facing teachers who want to use 21st century technological tools in their classrooms. I end with some online and print resources for those who want to explore these issues further.

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Responding to Literature in the 21st Century: Tools to Share Current Understandings

by Janine Schall, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX

Scarlet Letter Prezi

What happens after the book is read and the discussion is over? How do students share their current understandings of the literature? Presentations and reports have also moved into the 21st century with a number of technological tools available.
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Responding to Literature in the 21st Century: Tools for Collaboration

by Janine Schall, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX

We know that collaboration can help students create more sophisticated responses to literature. As students think together through oral or written dialogue they hear multiple perspectives, challenge others’ thinking, and revise initial responses. While children have always talked with friends about the books they read, today reading is increasingly social in new ways. Informal talk on the playground is being supplemented with a variety of online resources. For example, a very quick Google search brought up multiple online sites for fans of the Harry Potter series, including a message board, wiki, and fanfiction site.

These sites are sometimes run by a publisher or author, but they are often started by children and adolescents who want to share a reading experience with others. These children are building, maintaining, and moderating the sites. In addition, they are contributing a tremendous amount of content through writing, artwork, and video.

It is clear that children love to talk about books with other children in these informal, out-of-school contexts. How can teachers harness some of that impulse towards social interaction to support thinking about literature in school as well? In this post I will briefly discuss three online possibilities that can help with this: social networking, wikis, and voicethread.
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21st Century Tools for Thinking About Literature

by Janine Schall, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX

WOW Currents readers are probably familiar with response strategies such as the graffiti board, written reflections, sketch to stretch, and save the last word for me. These engagements help children think about literature, deepen initial responses and prepare for literature discussions.

In this week’s post I will share several technological tools that can be used for similar purposes. One note: just like traditional response strategies, these technological tools can often be used for more than one purpose, so don’t let the way I organized these tools within this series of blog posts limit your use of them.
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Moving Beyond the Graffiti Board

by Janine Schall, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX

The world has changed. What it means to be literate has changed.

Ok, so that’s a little portentous and possibly even cliché. It’s still true. Yet, if you look into many of today’s K-12 literacy classrooms you will see lessons, engagements and room arrangements that look almost identical to what you would have seen 50 and even 100 years ago. This is a problem.
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Children Respond to Xavier Garza’s Books

by Janine M. Schall, University of Texas-Pan America, Edinburg, TX

In previous posts I talked with author Xavier Garza about his books for children. I’d like to share more children’s responses to Xavier’s work in this bonus post. I’d also like to ask other teachers and librarians to share by commenting here how they have used multicultural literature with their students. How do students respond to multicultural literature? How do teachers and librarians facilitate this response?

Angie Hilton read Zulema and the Witch Owl with her fourth grade students in Alamo, Texas. Her students then created an artistic response. I’ve included some of their work in this slide show:

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"Is the Chupacabras Real?" Xavier Garza Answers Questions from Children

by Janine M. Schall, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX

On this fifth Monday of November, we continue our focus on children’s author Xavier Garza. In this post, Xavier answers questions from 2nd and 3rd grade students at Ynes B. Escobar Elementary in Roma, Texas. Student questions were video taped and transcribed. Xavier’s responses follow the transcription.

Mr. Xavier Garza, what gave you the idea to write the storyJuan and the Chupacabra? Like were you looking around and something gave you the idea?

Xavier: The idea came to me from my childhood memories. When I was little my cousins and I would pretend to hunt for monsters in the fields found in the back of our grandfather’s house. We would hunt for everything from La Llorona to the Chupacabras, but we never did catch any of them.
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Interview with Xavier Garza, Part 4

by Janine M. Schall, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX

This is the last of a four part interview with author and illustrator Xavier Garza, 2005 América’s Award Honor Book winner. This interview was conducted electronically by Janine Schall.

The luchador "El Toro" from Lucha Libre-The Man in the Silver Mask

The luchador "El Toro" from Lucha Libre-The Man in the Silver Mask

Janine: The illustrations in your books are striking and attractive to kids. Juan and the Chupacabras was illustrated by someone else. Was that a publisher’s decision? Were you able to collaborate with April Ward or was she given your text to work with on her own?

Xavier:That was strictly the publisher’s decision. At the time that I got the contract for Juan and the Chupacabras, my book Lucha Libre still hadn’t come out. I was viewed as not having any experience in the field of children’s book illustrations, which I have to admit is very different from just being able to draw and paint. A lot of work goes into producing these illustrations, and you have to learn to work with art editors. Making illustrations for a book isn’t a one person show. After Lucha Libre came out and received very favorable reviews for the art as well as the story, it opened the door for me to ask to illustrate all of my own books. Zulema and the Witch Owl was also done with Arte Público, and featured my own illustrations. I love my book Juan and the Chupacabras, but I would be lying if I said that I don’t wish that I had done the illustrations myself. I however must say that April Ward did a wonderful job working on the book. Her art alongside the sketches done by Felipe Davalos who was the original illustrator of the book, but who had to drop out of the project due to scheduling complications, were truly beautiful. I have never met April Ward, and this isn’t uncommon when it comes to an author and an illustrator working on a book. They are often kept apart so as to give the illustrator more freedom to turn the writer’s vision into his or her own.
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