All I can say is, it’s a good thing Google Reader has the “Mark all as Read” feature as well as the capacity to organize into folders. Processing long strings of information is far more difficult than chunking smaller amounts. I continue to enjoy the feeds from Larry Ferlazzo, especially his chunked “Best of. . . ” websites. This particular one is a listing of “Interesting Ways” Series on Using Web 2.0 Apps in Schools. Mr. Ferlazzo includes VoiceThread, Google Docs, Google Earth, pocket videos, and interactive whiteboards in his listing.
Also, I enjoy the Reading Rockets feeds. We have been working on the school’s summer reading lists in hopes of making them more palatable to our reluctant readers. Follett has given us permission to use their summaries, and the books are given a 1-4 ranking, according to the reading level. The students return postcards for the books they have read, color coded to their grade level. When the required number are returned, the student receives a one subject homework pass. We also award a whole day homework pass for proof of completion of a public library summer reading program in addition to our summer reading. This has been more successful each year, although it is time consuming to manage it during the summer. Students also rate their books with 1-3 happy faces. We track the 1 happy face books and delete them from the list, if appropriate. We also view fewer books with 1 happy face as an indication that we have chosen books the students actually want to read.
Oh – we noticed that students/parents very often didn’t read the directions about how many books were required and instead sent in all the postcards they were given. We make a point now to send extra postcards to each child.
I confess to being a book snob in my earlier days. I thought children should only read good Literature (note the capital L). I now think that the first step with many students is to get them to read, period. It’s a lot easier to raise the bar when they can decode and comprehend with more ease.