Friday, March 26, 2004

Children's Literature On-line Lectures

Children's Literature On-line Lectures. A set of lecture notes for an children's literature course by John Corbally. Notes provide insight into what makes a classic.

From the site:

On these pages, you will find lectures that go along with the readings. Please read them carefully; they should help focus your reading and give you some ideas for your writing and discussion; they may also raise some questions you might want to post to the message board.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Teaching Creative Writing in the Elementary School.

Teaching Creative Writing in the Elementary School. Personally, my observations with primary students is that despite their big imaginations, creative writing is beyond most of them. This paper does not agree with me.

From the site:

Most children enter school with a natural interest in writing, an inherent need to express themselves in words (Graves, 1983). Couple this with the child's love of stories and nursery rhymes (Who has not seen a goggle-eyed group of kindergartners lost in the world of imagination as their teacher reads them a favorite story or nursery rhyme?) and you have the basis for building an emotionally involving and intellectually stimulating creative writing program for your students. This "Digest' should help teachers with that task.


Tompkins (1982) suggests 7 reasons why children should write stories (these reasons, of course, also apply to writing poetry): 1) to entertain; 2) to foster artistic expression; 3) to explore the functions and values of writing; 4) to stimulate imagination; 5) to clarify thinking; 6) to search for identity; and 7) to learn to read and write.

With these compelling reasons in mind, it is hard to justify not making creative writing an important part of the elementary school classroom day. It is important that the reasons for writing be made clear to administrators and parents, who may automatically categorize creative writing as merely frivolous play, something akin to recess. While writing certainly should be enjoyable, and children should have opportunities to choose their own subjects and methods of writing, the importance of creative writing in developing children's cognitive and communication skills cannot be underestimated (Tompkins, 1982).

By being actively involved with, and actively interrogating their involvement with the elements that make up our written and oral communication, these young writers of fiction will gain an intuitive and intellectual understanding of its operations. This kind of understanding will elude those who merely observe it in its final, polished, professionally produced presentation. Simply put, one can best understand how something is constructed by attempting to put it together yourself.

Monday, March 22, 2004

First Grade Plus

First Grade Plus. Free stories, coloring pages, follow up exercises, and teaching hints to supplement drug prevention curriculum.

From the site:

An educational website where primary teachers will find free materials to supplement their drug prevention curriculum. Featuring Tuckertown and its fascinating cast of animal characters. Download this entertaining and fun program free. Stories, coloring pages, follow up exercises, and teaching hints all included!

Enter our site and discover one of the most innovative educational programs available anywhere....Tuckertown. Meet the cast of characters who live there. They're waiting to be invited into your classroom and give your children educational experiences they'll never forget! Drug awareness stories (values and ecology to be released soon) taking place in a little home for distressed animals called TuckerTown. Many first grade teachers abhor the idea of exposing their children to the world of drug abuse, but in Tuckertown they have nothing to fear. They'll find well conceived stories free of anything frightening or threatening..... educational entertainment in a fun atmosphere.