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Karma Khullar’s Mustache Book Review

Karma Khullar’s Mustache Book Review from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

I was delighted to receive an Advance Reader's Copy of this novel as part of a YA Blogger promotion from Simon & Schuster Canada. All opinions are my own, and I was not additionally compensated for this post beyond the complimentary novel.


Summary
Karma’s life is changing - she is about to start sixth grade and her life is not as the same as it used to be: her parents have switched their employment status, her best friend is changing in ways Karma does not recognize, and puberty has hit. All of these combine to create a memorable storyline which will engage young readers and remind adults of their youth.

Review
Kristi Wientge’s debut novel Karma Khullar’s Mustache is a must for every middle school classroom library. The content was suitable for late Grade 5 to Grade 7. I was very happy to read a novel with a diverse main character that reflects my students. Karma’s inner thoughts, as well as her social and family struggles, make her a very relatable main character. She is a strong role model for young girls as they strive to find characters in novels to admire. Her growth as a character throughout the novel will help other young girls struggling with similar cultural and religious questions. She remains true to her beliefs and her family values. Karma reminded me of Margaret Simon from Judy Blume’s famous book “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret”.  I enjoyed every minute reading this novel, and I know teachers and their middle school students will too.

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#2ndaryELA Twitter Chat on Tuesday 8/22 Topic: Teaching Novels

Join secondary English Language Arts teachers Tuesday evenings at 8 pm EST on Twitter. This week's chat will be about teaching novels.
Brynn Allison, The Literary Maven & Kristy, 2 Peas and a Dog host #2ndaryELA on Twitter every Tuesday evening from 8 - 8:30 PM EST. #2ndaryELA is a weekly chat for secondary English Language Arts teachers focused on a topic. Every Sunday, we post the topic and questions on our blogs to allow you to prepare for the upcoming Tuesday evening's chat. Thank you to everyone who joined us last week and we hope that you will join us again.

We'd also love for you to join our 2ndaryELA Facebook group, even if you aren't on Twitter. 2ndaryELA is a group of middle and high school English Language Arts teachers looking to share ideas and best practices. This group is an extension of our Twitter chat and a place for collaboration, questions, and encouragement. Feel free to post teaching ideas, success stories, resource links, photos, etc. that will enhance our instruction.

On Tuesday, August 22, our #2ndaryELA chat will be about teaching novels.

The Format:
8:00 – What and where do you teach? Include a link to your blog if you have one. #2ndaryELA
8:05 Q1: What novels do you usually teach? Include a grade level. #2ndaryELA
8:10 Q2: Are novels read whole class? In literature circles or book clubs? In class? Or for homework? #2ndaryELA
8:15 Q3: What are the most important skills for you to cover when reading a novel? #2ndaryELA
8:20 Q4: Describe the most engaging activities that accompany your novel studies. #2ndaryELA
8:25 Q5: Share a resource for teaching a novel that you find invaluable (book, article, blog post, type of technology, etc.). #2ndaryELA

The Directions:
1. Log into Twitter on Tuesday from 8-8:30 PM EST.
2. Search for tweets with the hashtag #2ndaryELA in the search bar. Make sure to click “Latest.”
3. Introductions are for the first 5 minutes.
4. Starting at 8:05 (@literarymaven or @2peasandadog) will post questions every 5 minutes using the format Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. and the hashtag #2ndaryELA.
5. Respond to questions using the format A1, A2, A3, etc. with #2ndaryELA.
6. Follow any teachers responding and who are also using #2ndaryELA.
7. Like and respond to other teachers' tweets.

You can schedule your responses to the questions ahead of time using a scheduler like TweetDeck or HootSuite (but don't forget to use A1, A2, etc. and #2ndaryELA). Links are encouraged, so be sure to use a link shortener like tinyurlbitlygoo.gl or ow.ly Just visit one of those links and paste your long link to shorten it for Twitter. Using images is also encouraged when relevant.

New to chats? Here are the rules:
1. Stay on topic & stay positive!
2. Please do not post or promote paid products unless specifically asked.
3. If you arrive late, try to look through other posts before beginning.
4. Feel free to just read, like, and/or retweet.
5. Always use our hashtag #2ndaryELA, including in your replies to others.
6. Make sure your twitter feed is set to public. (Also keep in mind that Twitter is completely public – that means students, parents, and administrators can and will read what you tweet.)

You can also check out a quick video tutorial in this blog post.

Be sure to spread the word to any teacher friends who might be interested in joining us as well. We look forward to chatting with you Tuesday evening and in our 2ndaryELA Facebook group!

Get caught up on past chats here:








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Integrating Technology Into The English Language Arts Classroom

Technology can be integrated into any subject area. Check out how other teachers are using technology in their English Language Arts classrooms from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

Technology can be integrated into any subject area. I love using technology in my ELA classroom to share assignments, reduce photocopying and to help students show off their creativity when completing assignments. 

Check out how other teachers are using technology in their English Language Arts classrooms by reading the questions and answers below from our #2ndaryELA Twitter Chat on Tech in the ELA Classroom. 


Q1: How has technology changed what and how you teach
  • Tech has allowed to me create more engaging lessons and differentiate my content more effectively. 
  • Not sure about the what, but my lessons are def more streamlined and engaging. Forces me to think in diff contexts.
  • I feel I can be more innovative with LP, and Ss have a larger range of how they choose to learn. 
  • Tech changed how I teach > what I teach, like using G.Classroom, Edmodo, Quizlet, Docs, etc. 
  • Makes learning more fun and gives easier access to resources. Also improves collaboration. This year I'll be 1:1
  • Tech definitely makes interventions and differentiation easier, providing Ss reading passages at their level is invaluable 
  • Technology has created a way for me to give instant feedback to students! It's also helped creation be normal in my class! 
  • Being a 1:1 iPad school completely transformed my teaching & I could never go back! Ss still need me, but tech is an amazing tool.
  • Tech has changed the way we discuss in the classroom - I love having digital discussions using Padlet and GoSoapBox.

Q2: What’s your most creative use of technology in your classroom?
  • I use tech to organize my lessons like a digital textbook see example https://t.co/KCf4sWU2Ka
  • Putting students in the teacher role more often, especially when they make their Grammar Videos (Screencast-O-Matic & Google Slides)
  • Theme project with To Kill a Mockingbird. Uses Google Sites & other Google apps for ed. challenging & meaningful.
  • I've used Twitter chats with my AP students. We discussed a poem with other Ss around the US - makes the world smaller! 
  • Ss presented new vocabulary info in a format of their choosing. Some used Slides, Powtoon, Snapchat, etc. It was interesting. 
  • I use digital interactive notebooks for our lit units.
  • The use of Numbers (spreadsheet app). I'm able to provide every Ss a personalized learning plan for each unit.
  • I edited live with my students when I was in the hospital We were on Google docs.
  • A2 & 3 Breakouts are my favorite and most creative. My planning process: https://t.co/btJccZOeDV
  • A2 & 3 And resources if you want to create your own digital breakout https://t.co/szGanoRSA5

Q3: What are your favourite assignments to give your students that incorporate technology?
  • My students enjoyed using Google Slides to create a digital graffiti wall about the novel we were studying 
  • Book Snaps for annotation, collaborative Docs and Slides 
  • They also enjoy using technology like QR codes. I am still learning a lot about technology in the classroom. 
  • I have my Ss create Kahoots and other digital activities to help class review for vocabulary quizzes
  • Interactive presentations. Ss had to create an infographic using Piktochart and get the audience involved using tech.
  • I love assignments that encourage creativity and collaboration. Visual representations of thought. Makes Ss really think.
  • I had Ss research a Holocaust topic & create a presentation, which subbed an essay. Ss learned more w/o pressure of an essay. 

Q4: What do you do when technology isn't working properly or the internet is down?
  • Always have a low tech backup! 
  • If I can't work around the problem, it's bonus reading time. Always a go-to backup plan. 
  • Read! Or have class discussions or do a mini-lesson. There's always a backup plan.
  • Independent reading time! 
  • Class discussions, reading, stations
  • Lessons should always focus on standards. If tech isn't working I try to flip the lesson. I think quick and remain calm.
  • I go back to the "old school" techniques. When the technology goes down, our discussion increases significantly! 
  • Always ALWAYS have a backup plan. Wifi goes down regularly.
  • I always try to be prepared with copies of texts and handouts. We have a lot of glitches with tech at our school.
  • Depends. Usually I try to have something that gets them interacting with each other (giant stickies on the wall for respond)
  • Remain calm!! Especially when starting integrating technology! Remember that ELA is the focus and tech is a tool! 

Q5: Share your favorite free online technology resources.
  • All the free resources @AppleEDU publishes
  • Google!! Padlet. Kahoot.
  • Lots of information in these blog posts https://t.co/5MkP7v1I0v
  • I loved using @ReadTheory this past year for reading interventions, exposure to test questions, and practice writing
  • I constantly follow a variety of hashtags on Twitter or FB groups for ELA and EdTech. 
  • Socrative, TED talks, NY Times Room for Debate 
  • I also love @Newsela! The free version is great and the pro version is better. Tool for article of the week!
  • Quizizz, Autocrat extension, everything Google
  • Padlet, GoSoapBox, Piktochart, Vocaroo, CommonLit, Newsela, ReadWorks, Dogo News, TED talks 



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Technology can be integrated into any subject area. Check out how other teachers are using technology in their English Language Arts classrooms from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

#2ndaryELA Twitter Chat on Tuesday 8/15 Topic: Integrating Technology into the ELA Classroom

Join secondary English Language Arts teachers Tuesday evenings at 8 pm EST on Twitter. This week's chat will be about integrating technology into the ELA classroom.
Brynn Allison, The Literary Maven & Kristy, 2 Peas and a Dog host #2ndaryELA on Twitter every Tuesday evening from 8 - 8:30 PM EST. #2ndaryELA is a weekly chat for secondary English Language Arts teachers focused on a topic. Every Sunday, we post the topic and questions on our blogs to allow you to prepare for the upcoming Tuesday evening's chat. Thank you to everyone who joined us last week and we hope that you will join us again.

We'd also love for you to join our 2ndaryELA Facebook group, even if you aren't on Twitter. 2ndaryELA is a group of middle and high school English Language Arts teachers looking to share ideas and best practices. This group is an extension of our Twitter chat and a place for collaboration, questions, and encouragement. Feel free to post teaching ideas, success stories, resource links, photos, etc. that will enhance our instruction.


On Tuesday, August 15, our #2ndaryELA chat will be about integrating technology in the English Language Arts classroom.

The Format:
8:00 – What and where do you teach? Include a link to your blog if you have one. #2ndaryELA
8:05 Q1: How has technology changed what and how you teach? #2ndaryELA
8:10 Q2: What’s your most creative use of technology in your classroom? #2ndaryELA
8:15 Q3: What are your favorite assignments to give your students that incorporate technology? #2ndaryELA
8:20 Q4: What do you do when technology isn't working properly or the internet is down? #2ndaryELA
8:25 Q5: Share your favorite free online resources. #2ndaryELA

The Directions:
1. Log into Twitter on Tuesday from 8-8:30 PM EST.
2. Search for tweets with the hashtag #2ndaryELA in the search bar. Make sure to click “Latest.”
3. Introductions are for the first 5 minutes.
4. Starting at 8:05 (@literarymaven or @2peasandadog) will post questions every 5 minutes using the format Q1, Q2, Q3, etc. and the hashtag #2ndaryELA.
5. Respond to questions using the format A1, A2, A3, etc. with #2ndaryELA.
6. Follow any teachers responding and who are also using #2ndaryELA.
7. Like and respond to other teachers' tweets.

You can schedule your responses to the questions ahead of time using a scheduler like TweetDeck or HootSuite (but don't forget to use A1, A2, etc. and #2ndaryELA). Links are encouraged, so be sure to use a link shortener like tinyurlbitlygoo.gl or ow.ly Just visit one of those links and paste your long link to shorten it for Twitter. Using images is also encouraged when relevant.

New to chats? Here are the rules:
1. Stay on topic & stay positive!
2. Please do not post or promote paid products unless specifically asked.
3. If you arrive late, try to look through other posts before beginning.
4. Feel free to just read, like, and/or retweet.
5. Always use our hashtag #2ndaryELA, including in your replies to others.
6. Make sure your twitter feed is set to public. (Also keep in mind that Twitter is completely public – that means students, parents, and administrators can and will read what you tweet.)

You can also check out a quick video tutorial in this blog post.

Be sure to spread the word to any teacher friends who might be interested in joining us as well. We look forward to chatting with you Tuesday evening and in our 2ndaryELA Facebook group!

Get caught up on past chats here:








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10 Ways To Make History Class Engaging For Students

History class is much more than reading out of a textbook. Use these 10 tips to make your lessons engaging and relevant to your students from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

History class is much more than reading out of a textbook. Use these 10 tips to make your lessons engaging and relevant to your students. 

Tip #1 Use QR Codes
This quick technology can be accessed with personal or school portable technology (phones, iPads, tablets). The QR code embeds information (text, URL, etc) into the code image. Students scan the code with a QR Code reader app and they unlock the information. I use this in my classroom for introducing vocabulary words in a new unit or for students to access information in a different format. I try to make QR Code activities into scavenger hunts where they must locate the code before accessing information.

Tip #2 Incorporate Movement into Lessons
I love using the cooperative learning strategy called Four Corners. Around the classroom in each corner hang up four different answer cards such as Agree, Disagree, Undecided, and Need More Info (cards can be changed to align better with your lesson). Then ask the class a rich thinking question. Students move to the answer card area that best aligns with their opinion. In this new opinion group, students discuss their ideas. Ensure that they know they will be held accountable for these discussions either through written or oral means. When first introducing this strategy it is a great idea to have a Need More Information section where the teacher can stand and provide support.

Tip #3 Add Drama
Activities such as Historical Monologues, Wax Museum and Hot Seat make historical figures come to life in your classroom. Each year students in my Grade 8 history classes become the Canadian Fathers of Confederation. They research their Confederation father, write up a 1-minute monologue introducing the person to the class and create a costume (usually out of their parents dress clothes). This cross-curricular History, Drama and English assignment helps my students engage with the content beyond the textbook. I have also created monologue assignments for Canadian Prime Ministers and American Presidents.

   


Tip #4 Use Collaborative Discussion Strategies
Students are not always comfortable discussing in History classes due to their lack of subject area background knowledge. When we have class discussions I try to build up their knowledge and confidence by using strategies such as Think Pair Share or Four Corners Placemats.

Tip #5 Bring In Primary Sources
Where possible bring in primary sources. Photos from the time period and archival documents can make history seem more authentic to students. Lots of internet sites (government archives) have access to these excellent pieces of history. A quick Google search will contain lots of ideas. Your local library, historical societies and museums are also great places to look. Also, the New York Public Library has recently digitized a lot of pieces that could work in your classroom.

Tip #6 Picture Books
Do not discount the value of picture books in the middle or high school history classroom. Two of my favourite picture books for my Canadian history classes are The Cremation of Sam McGee and The Canadian Railroad Trilogy. The vivid images and story lines bring history alive. Picture books can also be used to provide background knowledge prior to starting a unit. In English classes, I often use the book Teammates by Peter Golenbock as a mentor text, which discusses Jackie Robinson’s treatment as the first African American Major League Baseball player.

Tip #7 Browsing Bins
To help ignite and maintain a spark for historical knowledge, create a browsing bins of books related to curriculum topics. Ask your school librarian or media specialist if you can borrow books from the school library that relate to your current unit of study. Keep these books in a special bin and in a highly visible area to encourage students to look through the materials and possibly check them out at the library. If your school does not have a library, visit your local library or contact any local historical associations to see what materials they can lend your classroom.

Tip #8 Historical Fiction
History classrooms are also literacy classrooms. Students engage each day with written text and make connections and inferences about the people they are studying. Keeping a good variety of historical fiction related to your topics of study can help students extend their classroom learning. Favourite books among my students are anything related to major wars or conflicts. The Dear Canada and Dear America series from Scholastic are great places to start for historical fiction.

Tip #9 Assignment Choice
It is also important that your assignments have different choice options. Students feel more empowered about their learning if given the chance to produce works of their choosing. Providing choice about content and product are a great place to start. My first major assignment in my Grade 8 History class is having students creating a persuasive piece to encourage the British Colonies to join Confederation. Depending on the school year, students have been offered choice in the final product: pamphlet, website, slideshow etc. They can also produce the product in either official language English or French. During historical inquiry assignments, students are given choice over what topics (from a list related to the curriculum expectations) that they want to learn about. I match them with other students in the class who want to learn about the same topic. For my inquiry assignment on Canada at the turn of the century, students can choose from a long list of topics ranging from technology and transportation to arts and culture.

Tip #10 Artifacts
Last year, for one lesson I setup my classroom as an interactive museum. The unit was called Canada: A Changing Society 1890-1914. I tried to find artifacts around my house and relatives houses that could potentially represent items from this time period. I also printed off colour photos of daily living artifacts. Students had to circulate around the classroom in pairs and guess what the object was and its modern day equivalent. The item that had most of the class confused was the manual meat grinder. They definitely had a better understanding of the challenges of daily living from touching and seeing the different tools than if we had read about it online or in a textbook. Another year, while studying the settlement of Western Canada, I contacted a local museum and borrowed an educational kit which had replica items from the mid-1800’s. Students loved seeing the toys and school materials from this time period.




Bonus Tips

Tip #11 Virtual Field Trips
The internet has changed the way I teach history. No longer are students only able to access information from library books, they can actually digitally visit the locations we are studying. This past year we used Google Maps to locate major battle sites and visit museum websites. Use Google to help locate interesting virtual field trips for your class this year.

Tip #12 Embrace Virtual Reality
Depending on your school budget Google Cardboard could be a very good investment. This small device allows students to download an app and view places in a virtual reality environment.

Tip #13 Use Engaging Curriculum Materials
At the end of the day, you still need to cover the contents of your curriculum. By integrating some of these tips into your daily lessons you will make history class more engaging for your students. If you teach Canadian history check out these two units by 2 Peas and a Dog which will help you keep your students engaged.

  

As a history teacher, it is important to contact local historical sites, museums, organizations and libraries to see how they can help enrich your program.


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History class is much more than reading out of a textbook. Use these 10 tips to make your lessons engaging and relevant to your students from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.
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