Wednesday, February 25, 2009

No Talking by Andrew Clements

The boys at Laketon Elementary School challenge the girls in a no talking contest. Keeping track of the number of words that they speak, the group that speaks the least amount of words wins bragging rights. This is a great story that will appeal to those competitive boys.

Activity: Again we met with the school in California and held a virtual book discussion. This time the activity played a major role in prompting the book discussion. We used activities from Boredom Blasters; hours & miles of games & activities to make time fly by Susan Todd. Stare Down is a challenge for two people to stare at each other without laughing, smiling, blinking or looking away. The first that does loses. The second challenge is Giggle Game. In this players take turns trying to make each other laugh. The boys had a blast challenging the boys in California so much so that even the leaders got into the action. This book and the activities worked quite nicely in the virtual environment.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Invention of Hugo Cabret: a novel in words and pictures by Brian Selznick

"Whoa! That’s a big book!" was the initial reaction when we asked the boys to read this title. But as you know, it is filled with illustrations that really exemplify the meaning of "extending the text".

Activity: With this book we experimented with the concept of a virtual book discussion. We worked with a school in California and used Skype. Skype is Internet Telephony software used mainly for making telephone calls over the Internet. It has a video call feature that transmits video and voice as long as one or more users have a Web Camera (WebCam) installed. Since the WebCam can only view a small area, the boys were forced to sit in a confined area. Normally, the boys are more active during the discussion. The activity seems to prompt the discussion rather than the boys sitting around talking about the book. Using the WebCam forced them to sit around and did not allow them to be active. We had some boys that were engaged in the technology rather than the discussion. Therefore, did not work as well as other discussions.