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Final Reflection

As I spent my semester in this class, I learned about how to use technology in the education world. My views expanded on some that I had limited thoughts on (like Instagram and Youtube) and I learned how to completely use new ones (like info graphics and podcasts.) I am excited to try pretty much everything that we have learned in the classroom. But if I had to choose one that I feel I will benefit the most of, I would have to say is properly using any social media like Facebook and Instagram. In the library, I want not just the students and staff, but the entire community to know what is going on in our school library. I believe that if properly used, Facebook and Instagram pages for the school library will get kids excited to come and spend time in here and it will help parents know what is going on in the school as well, like if there is a book fair going on, or a book club meeting. But of course, all the other media outlets I learned about, like QR Codes, Screencasts, and Cartoons and Comics will have excellent uses in the classroom.

The thoughts of Jen Hatmaker is an interesting and very true mindset when it comes to teaching how to use technology in the classroom. She says that regardless of how much you know, you have to listen to what THEY know and work from there. I think a lot of people out there (myself included) always forget this when they are teaching someone something new about technology. We are the educators, and we need to know the needs of those we are teaching.

Adapted from Hatmaker, J. (2015). For the love: Fighting for grace in a world of impossible standards. Nashville, TN: Nelson Books.

November 9

November 9: A Novel by [Hoover, Colleen]

Summary: Ben and Fallon were two people that fate brought together. One day, as Fallon is getting ready to move across the country, their paths meet. And from there it seemed as if it were love at first sight. They spend the day together and as the day comes to an end, they promise to meet up once a year on the ninth of November. As the years pass, they grow and mature, but they always keep their promise to meet up once a year. With the sparkling romance comes a twist that no one was prepared for and it is going to be the ultimate test to their love.

Strengths: This new adult book falls into the categories of realistic fiction as well as what I have seen described as “new age romance.” The criteria for realistic fiction says that a book has to be consistent with our real world, more specific, in how the people are behaving. This book is a romance novel, there is no doubt about that, and one could say that the two characters are stereotypical “boy and girl” that end up falling in love. But what makes this book come out on top is that both Ben and Fallon actually have personalities and as the book goes on, they grow and learn from not only each other, but the world around them. The twist at the end may have been a bit of a stretch with the whole reasoning to him lighting the car on fire, but still realistic, which is where this book succeeds.

Connections to Text: When the book first starts, Ben and Fallon are already 18, which means that they have already gone through most of their teenage years. But we can still see them reaching those final stages of development throughout the story. I can make the connection to Havighurst’s stages and say that they have gone through most of these like “working for pay” and “an easy relationship with the opposite sex.” Well, not so easy because they are going through their own hardships, just like almost every person in a relationship.

Other Connections: Book Trailer   Similar Books

Hoover, C. (2015). November 9. New York: Atria Paperback.

The Schwa Was Here

Summary: The Schwa was here is a story by Neal Shusterman about a boy named Calvin Schwa, or the Schwa as he is known, that has the unusual ability of being able to just blend in with the environment and go unnoticed by everyone around him. This is noticed by Antsy Bonano, who is the character we are seeing the book through, and his friends. They use Schwa’s “ability” for pranks and to make money. But one day, during one of their heists, they get caught by Mr. Crawly who forces them to work for him. One of the jobs is to escort his blind granddaughter and soon both Antsy and Schwa begin to grow feelings for her. Eventually Schwa, who is also looking for his mother, runs away in search for her. He eventually does find her as we get to see a happy ending for the boys.

Strengths: Despite Schwas “ability,” this book falls into the category of realistic fiction. The main characters are all teenage boys who live in a realistic world and do what teenage boys do. They play pranks and fall for the girl. Even the humor of the story can blend in well and doesn’t go over the top. Their are also consequences to their pranks, like when Mr. Crawly caught the boys and had them “pay off” what they have done. The subplot of Schwa searching for his missing mother works naturally with the idea of Schwa just blending in and being forgotten himself.

Connections to Text: The character of Schwa seems to be going through a rough patch in his life and not having a mother their (until the end) isn’t making things easy. When we look at Malslows Hierarchy of Needs, one can argue that he “blends in” with the environment because he hasn’t reached the level of “love and belonging” so to him, no one cares to see him. This seems to also be the reason he was fighting for Lexie, the blind granddaughter, affection. He wanted attention from someone. It is good to see that he has met up with his mother and will finally continue up in the Hierarchy of Needs.

Other Connections: Book Trailer  Similar Books  Lesson Plans

 

We Were Here

Summary: We Were Here by Matt De La Pena gives us the story of troubled youth, Miguel. Miguel commits a horrific crime at the start of the novel, and is sentenced to one year of being a group home and to keep a journal. It is through this journal that we see events unfold in his life. After a rough start, Miguel, and two other of his inmates, Mong and Rondell, escape. They commit a few more crimes along the way and also begin to learn about each other. They then realize that the only path to safety is to get to Mexico, but this plan does not succeed. In the end, Miguel goes back to his family to try to make things right.

Strengths: This novel falls into the category of realistic fiction. The character of Miguel is a protagonist with real life problems. And not to mention real life consequences! At the beginning of the story, Miguel commits a heinous crime. He goes through actual consequences for a person his age. Sure, the whole “keeping a journal” thing may have been a bit of a stretch in a realistic scenario, but it works with this story and its message. Matt de la Pena himself has a Hispanic background and he uses that knowledge to create characters we can all relate to and avoids lots of stereotypes of Hispanics. A lot of readers out there may not be able to relate to the story of Miguel being a runaway criminal, but what does make this book succeed is the fact that we are still rooting for Miguel and fell empathy for him.

Connections to Text: It’s obvious through the text that Miguel has not had an easy life. With that difficult life, comes a rough developmental stage. When we see Havighurts developmental stages, we notice that Miguel has had difficulties with “learning to get along with peers,” and “developing morals and values.” The book does end with Miguel going back to his family and returning the money he stole, so hopefully this will pave the way to further development.

Other Connections: Book Trailer  Similar Books   Lesson Plans

Peña, M. D. (2009). We were here. New York: Delacorte Press.

King of the Mild Frontier

Summary: King of the Mild Frontier is the autobiography of famous author, Chris Crutcher. In this autobiography, we see get to experience his childhood all the way to adulthood. We see his pretty functional family, unless you count his mother who really enjoys drinking. There is also his dad, who tries to teach him about life… with some unexpected outcomes. Also included are his experiences at school as skinny kid and trying to ask his crush out. It all leads up to him becoming a therapist and from there, becoming the young adult book author we all know and love.

Strengths: The criteria to evaluate a nonfiction books ask questions like “What are the qualifications of the author?” and “Are the facts accurate?” I think that’s the beauty of autobiographies. The fact that no one is more qualified to write a book about yourself!  What is interesting about this autobiography is its organization and style. Like any good nonfiction book, we have a table of contents and a fun placed photo album at the end of the book which strengthens his use of visuals to portray his information. But it is interesting to note how the writing on the pages is slanted. I think this is a unique portrayal of an autobiography because the author sees the humor in his life and how things can get a bit “lopsided” just like his book.

Connections to Text: As I went through the book, specifically, his teenage years, I started to notice how he was developing as an adolescent. We see him develop a crush as he is “defining appropriate sex roles” and when he gets that giant zit it is a sign that his body is changing. It is also mentioned how he had quite the temper growing up. It is interesting to see how he used his temper to not only relate to his patients as a therapist, but you can see him channel his anger through his writing of his other books.

Other Connections:  Other Books by Chris Crutcher    Lesson Plans

Crutcher, C. (2003). King of the mild frontier: An ill-advised autobiography. New York: Greenwillow Books.

Clark and Kozma Debate

The Clark and Kozma debate has been going on for quite a few years now. When I first started reading on the debate, I though it was recent, but imagine my surprise when I came to find out that the initial debate took place since the early nineties. The basics of the debate argues about the use of technology in an educational setting. Clark first stated that technology is nothing more than a “delivery device” and that it is still up to the teachers to do the teaching. The media is just another tool. Kozma, however sees technology as a little bit more than that. Kozma argues that media could have an impact on a students cognitive skill if presented correctly. He says that any type of media can help the learner access prior knowledge and further helps them understand complex concepts.

When considering which side you are going to take for this debate, you have to also keep in mind that the original debate took place about 25 years ago. Back then, one would have never imagined that such a thing as Youtube, Twitter, or Facebook would ever exist. Yes, the internet existed, but it was so limited that it would have been easier to just stick with old fashioned books. These days however, both students and teachers are so reliant on technology that you would think that Clarks argument has become obsolete and Kozma is the clear winner. Take my own campus for example, we are a 1:1 school, so everyone has their own netbook. Yesterday, I had planned on giving an entire lesson through blended learning, but due to unfortunate circumstances, the internet was out for the ENTIRE school for about three hours. I as an educator, was lost. I had to resort to printing out some articles we can read and work on together and my original lesson had to be postponed. My point is Kozma does seem to be correct when it comes to media being a medium of cognitive growth, but on the other hand, I agree with what Clark said about it should be a delivery device, because technology is never 100% reliable.