Persuasive Letters Become Persuasive VoiceThreads.

Mrs. Howes’s students chose issues they care about, conducted researched to support their ideas, and composed and mailed persuasive letters to people they believed could help these changes come about. This VoiceThread extends their persuasive efforts to the world, as they explain their projects and use their voices to advocate for change!

Below you will find the five VoiceThreads created by my students.  Each is focused on a particular category of issues: Global, National, Local, School and Sports. Please take a few minutes to listen to what these students have to say about changes they would like to see in their world. Leave a comment and let us know how you feel about these issues.

Global Issues VoiceThread

National Issues VoiceThread

Local Issues VoiceThread

School Issues VoiceThread

Sports Issues VoiceThread

A Little Toy Boat


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIRCHBARK CANOE

It drifts
through Michigan lakes
and rivers–

summers up north
with the cousins,
my dad’s ears tuned
to the softest bird call,
thunderstorms
and early, silent mornings,
bonfires, dragonflies that
skimmed the surface,
sisters’ whispers,
brother’s tale of Indians
who meet at midnight
on the muddy bank.

I lean back
and let my fingers
break the surface,
rustle
of the pine trees
satisfying
plunk and swish
when paddle meets and parts
the water, pushing gently
toward the shore,
passing over
shadows that are
the underwater boulders
of the future,

I am carried
safely home.

 

REFLECTION

This poem started with a toy canoe that I bought in an “All Michigan” store in my hometown, Detroit.  The canoe evoked memories of childhood vacations spent with my parents, siblings, cousins and other relatives and friends in northern Michigan, which we call “up north.” I wrote the poem in order to model the creative writing process with my students.  Like them, I started with a brainstorm to gather ideas and images and sensory details.  Then I wrote a rough draft, and I asked my students for feedback and editing suggestions.  Their help was invaluable; for example, they suggested that I delete a section referring to an incident in the book Stuart Little.  That helped me see that even though the canoe did remind me of this incident, my poem would be stronger without it.  I think that the poem reflects both the pleasure I take in a real canoe ride, and the memories I have of special places and people in my life.  At the same time, one part of the poem refers to the fact that even though there are troubles lurking in the future (“shadows that are/ the underwater boulders/ of the future”), in my poem I am safely passing over these.

 

 

CLEAN SLATE CLUB

Just before classes began on the first day of school, I asked a brand-new, fresh-faced seventh grader if she felt a little nervous.

“Yes, a little,” she answered.

“Me too!” I admitted.

Really?  Well, there I was, about to stand up in front of nearly eighty people I had never met before, all of them perched on the somewhat precarious edge of a new school year.  I had to tell them so many things–about me, about my class, about our coming journey into the fantastic but not always worry-free realm of reading and writing.  Then there is the fact that I am inherently shy (something I always confess when I introduce myself to students).  Yes, I was nervous.

But like each and every one of the young people with whom I am privileged to spend my days, I can be brave.  Courage seems especially possible at this clean-slate time of year, when all goals appear to be within reach.  On the first day, I call on the other, bolder forces within me to overcome my shyness and let me speak what is on my mind and in my heart.  After all, that is something that I will ask my students to do every day in my classroom, so it is only right that I be the first to jump.

For those first thirty-eight minutes with my classes, I bombard them (poor things!) with practical information about routines, homework, and grades, hoping that some of it will stick.  I also try to emphasize a few, much more important things: that their voices matter, to me and to the world; that this classroom must and will be a place of safety and support; and that each of them, whether confident and passionate or discouraged and reluctant, has the means to grow as a reader and writer.  Like all the other teachers who stand before those seas of still-unknown faces on the first day, I have seen it happen, and I will see it again this year.

So here we go ….

Words on Stones A Period

In February, 2013, 7th graders at our school traveled to Washington, DC on their annual class trip. As a Language Arts assignment, Mrs. Howes’s students took pictures of “Words on Stone”–inscriptions found on monuments, memorials and other places that they found particularly inspiring or meaningful.  After returning to school, they wrote reflections about these inscriptions. The VoiceThread below represents their thoughts and images.

http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/4194808/

Words on Stones E Period

 

In February, 2013, 7th graders at our school traveled to Washington, DC on their annual class trip. As a Language Arts assignment, Mrs. Howes’s students took pictures of “Words on Stone”–inscriptions found on monuments, memorials and other places that they found particularly inspiring or meaningful.  After returning to school, they wrote reflections about these inscriptions. The VoiceThread below represents their thoughts and images.

http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/4194865/

Words on Stone B Period

In February, 2013, 7th graders at our school traveled to Washington, DC on their annual class trip. As a Language Arts assignment, Mrs. Howes’s students took pictures of “Words on Stone”–inscriptions found on monuments, memorials and other places that they found particularly inspiring or meaningful.  After returning to school, they wrote reflections about these inscriptions. The VoiceThread below represents their thoughts and images.

http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/4194860/

Words on Stone H Period

In February, 2013, 7th graders at our school traveled to Washington, DC on their annual class trip. As a Language Arts assignment, Mrs. Howes’s students took pictures of “Words on Stone”–inscriptions found on monuments, memorials and other places that they found particularly inspiring or meaningful.  After returning to school, they wrote reflections about these inscriptions. The VoiceThread below represents their thoughts and images.

http://damiddle.ed.voicethread.com/share/4194869/

Welcome to the World of Blogging

As+the+sun+sets+on+2009%2C+what+will+you+do+to+improve+in+2010%3F

Image: ‘Little Pencil free creative commons’
http://www.flickr.com/photos/40645538@N00/4564378252

As we begin to learn about blogging, always be mindful of writing for a larger audience since this blog could be read by anyone in the world.

As you learn to write posts, be mindful of not using your full name. You should only use your first name to maintain some privacy. You will use a Tag to collect all of your posts into a tag cloud which will get bigger the more you write and tag your posts.