Children's Literature Review: True (...sort of) by Katherine Hannigan

I was first introduced to Katherine Hannigan when I was working as a teacher in Virginia.  I was at a one day reading workshop where the presenters talked mostly about new books and how to use them to make reading more exciting (definitely my kind of workshop).  One of the presenters talked about Katherine Hannigan's first book, Ida B., and compared the main character in it to the main character in Kate DiCamillo's book Because of Winn Dixie.  I, of course, went to find the book that weekend and read it within a day.  I have been buying my teacher friends copies of Ida B. since then.  Hannigan was another author I had the privilege of meeting this summer at the ALA conference where I was able to score a signed copy of her new book True (... sort of).

Synopsis:  Eleven year old Delly Pattison is nothing but trouble with a capital T.  She gets in fights, ditches class, and enjoys spitting in inappropriate places.  Delly starts to really believe that there is nothing good about her because she cannot stop getting in trouble.  Just when she is about to be kicked out of school, Delly receives a surpresent (a present that is a surprise) in the form of a new student named Ferris Boyd.  Ferris Boyd is a pale, skinny girl who doesn't talk, cannot be touched. and looks like a boy.  Delly decides to befriend Ferris Boyd because she thinks Ferris will help her stay out of trouble.  As the novel progresses, R.B. (Delly's younger brother) becomes a part of the chumbudions (the fiercely faithful friends) and not only does Ferris Boyd save Delly from all of her trouble-making but Delly saves Ferris Boyd from troubles that even the surrounding adults failed to recognize.  

Hannigan's new novel is definitely something to Dellybrate (to celebrate in a Delly sort of way, often involving doughnuts, a trip to the river, and trouble). 

**Words in bold print are from the Dellyictionary which is found in the back of the novel. 

Recommended for Grades 4-6.  

Note:  This new book is even better than Ida. B.  So run... don't walk to get your copy.  Or just click here to order a copy from Amazon. 


YouTube Channel for Teachers

YouTube has developed a channel just for teachers.  From what I have seen so far it looks like they have done a great job of compiling videos along with ideas for using them in the classroom. 

Here are a few things you should check out:  

1.  On the main page, click on the Getting Started tab to view 10  Ways to Use YouTube in the Classroom.  The suggestions listed here are great ways to begin using YouTube in your classroom.  One of the most interesting ideas is #10: Flip Your Classroom.  This idea suggests that you record your instruction and have students listen to it at home.  Class time can then be spent on collaborative learning projects that allow students to be active learners. 

2.  Also check out the different types of videos available (this is in the Getting Started section).  One type listed and demonstrated is Student Videos.  Students can create their own videos and upload them to YouTube instead of creating traditional paper reports.  

3.  Think about creating your own Channel.  The Create a Channel section gives a tutorial for how to do this.  Creating your own channel allows you to make all of the videos you create for your students easily accessible.  

4.  Also, check out other Channels that have been made available by other teachers.  One specific channel that offers lots of great math videos is Mathademics


Storybird: Collaborative Storytelling

What is Storybird?  
Storybird is an online collaborative storytelling tool that allows users to work together to write stories.  Storybird is different from other digital storytelling tools in that it uses artwork to begin the creative process.  Users first browse "story art" and choose an artist's work or a theme to help get the creative juices flowing.

Storybird has now added a new section to its website for teachers.  This portion of the site allows teachers to manage classes and students.  Each class is a private learning space that allows teachers to create student accounts without email addresses, issue assignments, host discussions, and manage the activities of students.

How do I begin using Storybird in my class?
1)  Sign up for a Storybird Teacher Account. When you sign up you will be directed to create a class.  You can add or change your classes at any time. 
2) Once you have created a class, you can start adding students.  You will enter in their first and last name and also assign each student a username.  Storybird will then assign each student a temporary password which they will later change (student's should create a password that will be easy for them to remember). 
3)  Teachers can then create an assignment for students to complete.  Assignments can be simple or complex.  Examples of some assignments are "create an ABC book,"  "write a story about fall,"  or "read the attached story and figure out a theme."  Assignments appear on each student's dashboard and link back to the assignments page.  Once students create their story they can link it to the assignment which then allows it to appear it the teacher's library.
4)  Teachers can then view completed assignments in their teacher library.
5)   The remaining features are not available with the ForeverFree account.  The TeacherPro or Pro+ accounts allow teachers to add more than 30 students,  give feedback on unpublished stories, grade assignments, and give out digital stickers and rewards.  Click here to view all of the different features available with each plan.

More About Storybird: 
About us: a peek inside Storybird by mark on Storybird 
More examples of Storybird books:  http://storybird.com/books/