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Imagination Fridays

By Mary L. Fahrenbruck, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

Each week in November, WOW Currents will feature an online resource that teachers and families can access to support literacy instruction in their virtual learning spaces. This week’s post features Imagination Friday hosted by Worlds of Words: Center of Global Literacies and Literatures and Tucson Festival of Books. WOW offers many amazing resources for teachers and families, and Imagination Friday is no exception. Continue reading

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Creating Literature-Based Digital Classroom

By Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ and Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

In our school district (Tucson Unified School District (TUSD)), in this unusual time, “Bitmoji Classroom” is one of the hottest educational tools among teachers, especially Grades K-5, for distance learning. A bitmoji (personal avatar) classroom is an interactive virtual classroom that bridges virtual and hands-on learning to keep students engaged. It makes resources, such as a school calendar, books, and activities, easily accessible to students and provides them with a sense of virtual familiarity and stability. Continue reading

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Inquiry into Global Nonfiction and Informational Literature: Student Learning Outcomes and Reflections

Judi Moreillon, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

This post summarizes IS445 Information Books and Resources for Youth graduate students’ learning outcomes and reflections. I also included my brief reflection on teaching the course at the end of this post.

Small Group Collaborative Inquiry Projects
As noted in last week’s WOW Currents blog post, IS445 Information Books and Resources for Youth graduate students brainstormed topics and formed five inquiry groups. Topics for two of the five groups made natural connections to global books and resources: immigration and refugees. These topics grew out of the prejudice and discrimination pathfinder I provided as a model for students.

Decorative image of a blue wall featuring a world map with silhouettes of people walking past. Continue reading

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Guided Inquiry Design: Explore and Identify Phases

Judi Moreillon, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

The Explore phase of the Guided Inquiry Design (GID) offers learners resources to browse, read or use to stimulate their thinking and prompt sub-questions related to the overarching inquiry question. A hands-on text set of books is one option. Students may also be guided to online resources that may further increase their interest in the overarching inquiry question. A combination of print and digital resources can be especially effective for today’s youth (and graduate students, too). This dip-in strategy is designed to deepen students’ background knowledge before they identify inquiry questions of their own.

Book Jackets for We Are Here to Stay, Enemy Child, Racism and Intolerance, and The Unwanted. Continue reading

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Guided Inquiry Design: Open and Immerse Phases

Judi Moreillon, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Before beginning our whole-class Guided Inquiry Design (GID) experience, I shared information about the eight phases of the process. Students also read a chapter from my latest professional book that describes the process in detail. I shared my experience of using the GID with K-12 students and in professional development activities for educators and librarians. I explained the purpose for modeling the process and let students know they would engage in small group inquiry projects later in the course and could also select an inquiry process for a choice project assignment.

Open: Prejudice and Discrimination
The “Open” phase of the GID is designed to stimulate learners’ curiosity, pique their interest, and invite them to join in the inquiry process. Educators often launch this phase by posing a question, problem or dilemma. The Open phase may begin with a read aloud, a selection of media or a short text that hones in on the inquiry topic or theme. The overarching or essential question for the inquiry can also serve as a prompt for connecting learners to the topic and opening and engaging their minds.

I launched our inquiry into prejudice and discrimination by sharing a photo montage of global current events images and brief print from newspaper and website headlines focused on children and teens who currently experience prejudice and discrimination. My goal was to focus students’ thinking on how global prejudice and discrimination impact today’s youth.

Opening slide of Judi Moreillon's presentation Prejudice and Discrimination in the News, link below image
Slideshare Link: https://www.slideshare.net/jmoreillon/prejudice-and-discrimination-in-the-news Continue reading

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Inquiry into Nonfiction and Informational Global Literature Focused on Prejudice and Discrimination against Children and Teens

Judi Moreillon, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

This summer, I taught an 8-week online course, “Informational Books and Resources for Youth.” The students participating in the course were practicing school librarians or preservice school or public library children’s and teen services librarians. We “met” virtually face-to-face in the online classroom 2 hours each week. The primary course objective is for students to identify, curate and present purposeful, relevant, current, accurate, authoritative and inclusive print and digital resources to support collection development and provide curriculum and programming support. Continue reading

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Teaching about the Refugee Experience

By Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico and Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District

In this month’s WOW Currents, Yoo Kyung Sung and Junko Sakoi talked about their project, “Read, Write, Review for Us (RWRU)” and how it is helping to educate local Tucson children about the refugee experiences of kids just like them. This week we will focus on the positive developments that came from the students’ pen pal experience. We will also discuss what teachers can do through classroom instruction to cultivate awareness of the diversity of people and cultures in the community.

Continue reading

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Creating Student Connections Using Text Sets

By Sakoi Junko, Tucson Unified School District and Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico

This week, we will continue the discussion about text sets, which were created by the “Read, Write, Review for Us (RWRU)” project to help educate local Tucson children about refugee students’ homelands and the diversity within those groups of people. Once the first text set was displayed for book browsing in the classroom, the 5th graders were able to “relocate” their old home into the various stories within the books. We observed the excitement in the students’ voices as they shared stories of their homeland with their peers. It became obvious at that point that even the 5th graders did not know each other’s backgrounds. Because they are often generalized as “refugee students”, the students’ individual identities are often forgotten. With the exception of customs, the refugee and immigrant students are no different from any of the American students beginning the new year in a new classroom every August. It was particularly advantageous to put aside the term, “refugee” and allow the children to learn about each other from a fresh perspective.

Creating Student Connections Using Text Sets Continue reading

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Creating Mixed Genre Text Sets

By Sakoi Junko, Tucson Unified School District and Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico

Children’s literature may be one the best mediums for promoting new learning in the classroom. Text sets are especially helpful in that they offer a collective of literary landscapes full of unfamiliar places and various perspectives. This week, we introduce a text set that we put together to support the new Tucsonan (immigrant and refugee) children’s cultural affirmation while they develop the Tucsonan side of their identity. The text sets we create for “Read, Write, Review for Us (RWRU)” projects are to inform local Tucson children about refugee students’ homelands and the diversity within those groups of people. When the the topic of refugees is framed in this way, students will realize that the term “refugees” does not always mean war-zone survivors. Students learn that it can also include those surviving climate change. For example, the Marshall Islands are drowning due to climate changes and many of Marshallese had to relocated to places like Tucson.

Creating Mixed Genre Text Sets Continue reading