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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Because of Winn-Dixie & Technology

Hello Buddies-

As I've mentioned before, we are a workshop district! We've been using the new Writing Workshop units of study for the last three years and have been using Reading Workshop for the last four. This year, however, my principal purchased the Teacher's College Reading Workshop units, one for each grade level and an entire set for third grade. My third grade colleagues and I were SUPER excited to receive them and dove into the character unit. The character unit uses Because of Winn-Dixie as a read aloud. This was a text I used when I taught fourth grade and was a little concerned that it might be a bit "over the head" of my third graders. However, they fell in LOVE with India Opal Buloni from the very first line. 


“My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog.” 

I mean seriously- what a GREAT first line!

After reading the novel, we got the entire third grade together in our APR to watch the movie and conducted a digital chat using TodaysMeet as our hosting platform. We watched the movie and compared it with the text. Can I just say- I don't know who was involved in adapting this heart-warming novel into a film but they MISSED THE MARK! BIG TIME! Although I was disappointed in the film adaptation, and think Kate DiCamillo should be as well, it made a great comparison to the novel. 

It was blankets, pillows, and chrome books for our digital chat. 

TodaysMeet is a quick and easy format to have
bachkchanneling while viewing any kind of film. 

Here are my two third grade colleagues and I facilitating our student chats. 
One of the coolest thing about our chat was the way it helped a poor friend who went home early. One of my littles got sick in the hallway (with yours truly-yuck!) the morning before our viewing. Not to be too gross, but as the little sweetheart wiped the vomit off his mouth he immediately asked "Can you tell me the time we are watching the movie in-case I get sent home so I can watch from there?" In-case! In-case! Honey- we are sitting on the floor in the hallway with a garbage can- YOU ARE GOING HOME! I felt really bad for this cutie so I coordinated with his Mom so that he could not only watch at home, but participate in our digital chat with the rest of the kids in school. How cool is that!?!?! Technology really helped to once us and make sure my little friend didn't miss out on the experience. 
Here's a picture of my little friend watching bat home and chatting with us while we
watched and chatted at school. 

If you haven't read Because of Winn-Dixie, you should! It's such  heart-warming tale with some really interesting characters. One of my favorites to read aloud is Miss Franny Block. In my interpretation Miss Franny is a former souther belle who is past her prime and runs the Herman W. Block Memorial Library. One of the best parts is when Miss Franny tells Opal and Amanda about her relation Littmus W. Block and his time int he Civil War. Miss Franny teaches the girls about the tragedies of war and that "war is hell". When I read that line aloud to my class I thought they were going to have a stroke. Here were my little third graders hearing their teacher say hell not once, not twice, but three times! (Thanks Kate) Each time the word left my mouth they gasped in a way that said "we are shocked but trying to keep it together". I just tried not to laugh because it was hysterical! 

You can't make this stuff up!
-Damien 


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