April 20, 2010

Independent Reading Part 2: Why Ms. Sefton Loves to Blog

Sophomore English teacher Ms. Sefton uses blogs to elicit responses from her students regarding their independent reading choices. And she loves it!

Here are some responses from her students:
  • Dominic likes the fact that he can access the blog anywhere, and it's easier to organize. 
  • Jared likes it because typing is easier for him, and it saves paper.
  • Because the blog is public, Dylan puts more thought into what she writes.
  • Taylor adds that blogs are more in tune with what teenagers do on a daily basis.
Ms. Sefton started the blog during this fourth quarter, to try something new.

"The students have to go onto the blog to see what each day's assignment is. I like providing that mystery for them.

We have to adjust our assignments to the ever-evolving needs of the students. Computers are their favorite way to communicate. My objective is to make writing as relevant and engaging as possible."

Thanks, Ms. Sefton!


April 12, 2010

Independent Reading Reinvigorates Reading!

What happens when students are allowed to choose the books they read for class? Our English teachers infused independent reading into their curriculum, and the results have been amazing!

Mr. Hodara, Department chair:
"The English department is increasing the opportunities for students to do independent reading as part of the English curriculum because both research and our own observation confirm that students are more motivated to read when they choose their books. Reading is the foundation for increased language development and improved writing and critical thinking skills. We find that when students read books they have chosen, they are more likely to  talk about their books and thus can teach their peers about the people and places they've read about. They then recommend books to each other and spontaneously form little reading communities. Independent reading has reinvigorated reading at Seabury Hall!"
Mrs. Martelles:
"What’s wonderful about Independent Reading Projects?  Everything!  The students get excited.  They get to choose their own books.  They get to discover their own meanings inside those books & focus on story moments that connect with them.  They get to express their understandings and perceptions in a variety of ways, whether the projects incorporate art, drama, music, essay, creative writing, poetry, photography, slideshow, or other vehicles of expression.   Independent Reading Projects put literary analysis into the students’ hands, because it’s their eye on their chosen books and their voice expressing their own discovered meanings--and that’s what literary analysis is all about."

Mr. Strohecker:
"I think it is important because it allows students to exercise their sensibilities as readers; they can choose books according to their own tastes instead of the officialdoms of the classroom and develop a reaction to it, whatever extraneous materials it includes, that makes living the literature possible."

Miss Davis:
"Readers come in all shapes and sizes. Some readers like science fiction and fantasy, while others go crazy for true life stories or adventure tales. Independent reading allows readers to pursue what interests and excites them. It strengthens the English department curriculum because it introduces students to a wider range of texts and it helps instill the daily habit of reading. If we want our students to become lifelong readers, then we need to expose them to great literature and give them opportunities to find books they can't wait to read."

Mr. Van Amburgh, always the clever one:

"It's good because...

Choice is power.

What we choose becomes us."

Thank you to the English department, for making reading a highly personal experience for our students!

Coming next, as a follow-up to this article: "Why Ms. Sefton Loves to Blog"


April 2, 2010

"After the Fall", a Short Story Written by Seabury Alum Rebecca Serle '03

Now we know of two published authors from the Class of '03!

Rebecca Serle just learned that her short story made the long list for best online story of the year, according to storySouth, whose mission is "to showcase the best fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry that writers from the new south have to offer. Special emphasis is given to finding and promoting the works of promising new writers."

The stories are at Notable Stories of 2009 http://www.storysouth.com/millionwriters/millionwritersnotable_2009.html, including the full text of Rebecca's story:

It's 10-minutes of reading well-spent! It's at first funny, then thought-provoking, then heart-breaking.

We'll know by May 1 if Rebecca's story makes the top ten. I know I'll be voting for her...

Bravisima, Rebecca!


April 1, 2010

E Pa'a Pono (Hold Fast) -- A Book Written by Seabury Alum Kawehi Wallace '03

Heitiare (Kawehi Wallace) Klammerer (Seabury '03), speaks about E Pa'a Pono, the book she wrote in Hawaiian. The book is available at ulukau.org and can be read either online or downloaded.

"The book was part of several other books that I took part in. E Pa'a Pono In particular is one that I authored, designed the layout and did the photography. The book project was a partnership with several community groups in the Ko'olauloa area headed by the Na Kamalei-K.E.E.P. Early Childhood Education Progam of Punalu'u. The project was to tell stories related to the Ko'olauloa area of O'ahu. The story E Pa'a Pono comes from the Kula Kaiapuni 'o Hau'ula.

Having been a teacher at Hau'ula Elementary, I was given an opportunity to put in a story idea for our Hawaiian Language Immersion Program (HLIP). I put in a story idea that showcased the Hawaiian language and its importance. The story also highlighted the local Halau Nalu or Surf Club which is made up of most of our keiki from HLIP. The Halau Nalu is just a great outlet for Hawaiian keikis as well as non-Hawaiian kids to learn the Hawaiian sport of surfing as well as practice language and culture.

Mainly the book is meant to show the importance of preserving our Hawaiian language. I believe it is the kuleana of all who love Hawai'i and who make Hawai'i their home.

I don't know how it is that people separate language from culture because they go hand in hand. As the 'olelo no'eau or Hawaiian proverb explains it best, "Ma ka 'olelo ke ola, ma ka 'olelo ka make". In language there is life and death.

E ola mau ka 'olelo Hawai'i."

Mahalo, Kawehi, for sharing your mana'o with us and for helping to preserve our Hawaiian language!


(This article is also posted as "Telling Hawaiian Stories Online" in sister blog mauilibrarian2 in Charlotte, because of the technology connection.)