Friday, July 10, 2015

Kevin on Beyond Traditional Texts

I found the readings and jig saw discussion I had on Day 5 about reading beyond traditional texts informative but not as helpful as the past days readings.  It seemed that we could all agree that getting out side of traditional texts was a good thing but where to proceed wasn’t as clear, at least to me.  As an example I read the article  “What Pokemon Can Teach Us About Learning and Literacy”.  In this article the author shows how her nephew is learning literacy concepts and skills through Pokemon.  She made some really good connections but also some connections that seemed like she was kind of reaching for something that wasn’t really there.  Pokemon cards do contain text, but not much and can be very different then reading novels or textbooks.  So the question I had (that was never addressed) was if these skills her nephew learned through collecting and trading Pokemon cards carried over into the classroom.  Maybe I was just spoiled by past articles being more practical and applicable, but I really felt this article was lacking.  The author did ask some really good questions at the end of the article like “what can we learn about what motivates children to stay in the game in spite of increasing difficulty” or “how can we capitalize on the new literacies developed through everyday engagement with popular texts?”   However I was disappointed that she just left it there and didn’t try to answer those questions.  I do realize that not all articles will answer all the questions and the point of some is to merely ask a question, to get it out there and get people thinking about it.  I guess I just like the practical ones better.
I absolutely believe that non-traditional texts can have a place in the classroom and can be helpful in motivating students, helping with differentiation and scaffolding other material.  The readings and discussions today reinforced this belief.   I learned that it is also important for a teacher to ask students about their reading habits and listen to what they have to say.  Also model a wider understanding of reading material to your students.  Let them know that literature other then novels and textbooks can be valuable in developing literacy.   The final thought for today would be that it’s important to recognize where kids are at and what’s important to them.


1 comment:

  1. Kevin, thanks for sharing this. I have seen a lot of students at my school playing magic cards (chinese version) during lunch times. They usually come in groups of 4 or 6. One time, I sat and listened to the their conversations. I found the whole scenario very interesting. The students who are involved in this game/activity talk in Mandarin and English. They often switch languages as they play the game. It's amazing to hear and see how focused the students were during the game. It certainly fosters social interaction and language acquisition for these students. The games also promote strategic planning from the players in order to challenge their fellow competitors. Without a doubt, this type of games can encourage thinking. These are some of the valuable skills that can be learned through non-traditional texts. However, if I were to implement them in my classroom, I will plan it carefully to ensure that the purpose of using them will meet my goals in teaching. As an educator, using non-traditional text can be challenging. There are a lot of factors to consider to ensure the quality of learning in the classroom. I remember working on my text set while writing this response. Without the books in hand, I had to figure out ways to find out more why I select those texts. I had questions in my head. Does it fit my ultimate goal? Are they appropriate for my target level? Are they good enough to motivate my students to read more? and so on. I believe that non-traditional texts have place in 21st century classrooms. We just have to explore how we can incorporate them purposefully into our teaching. I hope to find one something that I can use in the future.