This week for Adolescent Literature I read the book, “The Chocolate War” by Robert Cormier which was published in 1974. To start off this book, just like Dr. Ellington had warned me, this book was very bleak! I thought that with it being an older book it would have some things that I wasn’t used to like with its language and syntax that it used but it was very dry to say the least. One thing I think that would have benefited this book is if there was a little bit more sense of imagination or inner thought processes. This story just kind of tells it how it is without any embellishments or anything and I think that was the main downside to this story.
Another reason I had to start reading this book is I was really intrigued with the storyline of a child who doesn’t sell candy in a school fundraiser. Everyone has had some kind of fundraiser for their schools and I have always wondered what were to happen if you weren’t to participate in it. This was the first implication that urged me to read this book even though it was an older choice. Although I did feel like this story had a lot of different aspects to it I feel like it needed more development with these aspects to make the story a bit more concrete. I would get distracted and confused with all the characters and different point of views the story talks in to really divulge the characters and what is happening to them. The ending of the story I thought was the best part because it ends with Jerry and Emile fighting until the lights on the field are turned off. The story then goes onto then showing Jerry and Obie walking home in the dark. This ending caught my attention as the author doesn’t end it just at the football field at the end of the fight but puts a little bit of humanity back to Jerry and Obie and ends a little less expected than I had thought.
In all, I thought this story was a good start to my adolescent literature book journey. I now know to pick books that are a little bit newer so I can get a feel for what the culture of adolescent literature is like in the current time period. Although, starting with an older book does help me progress better as I know what the literature was like a couple decades ago and what I will read that is newer I can compare the two.
The Famous People. (n.d.). Who is Robert Cormier? Everything You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/robert-cormier-4093.php
Bookshelves of Doom. (2013, May 17). The Chocolate War — Robert Cormier. Retrieved from http://bookshelvesofdoom.blogs.com/bookshelves_of_doom/2013/05/the-chocolate-war-robert-cormier-chapters-12-17.html
My life as a learner has been pretty ordinary I would say. I went to preschool with some of my best friends that I still have now and we progressed through our younger years with each other. Having the same friends surrounding you as you move through school I think is very beneficial because they are going through the same thing you are and they can help deal with challenging obstacles that undoubtedly will arise. Obstacles like trying to pass French class or physics. Smaller obstacles also affect learning at a younger age like who to play with at recess or who to sit next to at lunch time. All these problems in school either helping my learning or not helping which has molded me into the learner that I am today. Unlike a lot of other people, I never had to change towns or school which I think benefited my learning experience. I never had to deal with being the “new kid” which does seem like it could affect your education as it was something you had to transition with being in a new school and finding new friends.
I grew up in Spearfish, South Dakota and went to school through my K-12 years. I graduated from Spearfish High School in 2015 next to my twin brother Landon. I think having a twin brother helped me through my learning experiences as well. I was always trying to one up my brother all the time and helped me have extra effort towards my learning. Having a twin also made me want to be a teacher as well as I was usually the twin getting the better grades because I worked harder than he did most of the time. (he was just a lazy learner really.) Me doing better in classes made me focus on my brother more also when he would get behind in class or not do well on a test. I would try to help him study more and I think that was the first spark of wanting to be an educator that occurred for me.
During my schooling years I always loved English. Writing had always come pretty natural for me and I always helped my classmates with their writing as well. I remember some of my classmates really had a lot of troubles writing and I would go over to their desk during study hall and ask if they ever needed any help. One thing I wish I would have done just a little bit more of was read when I was younger. I went through reading phases where I would read a lot and then not at all and that seemed to not help my learning patterns as much. I now read and write dozens of times a day and that makes me such a more well balanced, smarter learner.
My professional learning career I hope ends at Chadron State College. I know I will be learning things for the rest of my life but not having to transfer to another college before I get my degree is the main goal for my learning life right now. I have learned so much things here in Chadron I can’t fathom what my life would have been like without going to college. I cherish learning for myself here in school instead of learning for others as I did most of my life in public school. I am finally learning things that I want to learn and that will benefit my soul life rather than things that I am told to learn.
Before I started my Digital Literacy class, I had known what it meant to be digitally literate but I did not know if being digitally literature required a certain amount of overall education or if it was more of a generalized term. After doing some research, there isn’t a certain amount that you have to know its more of the sense of ability you have to have to use this sense of knowledge about the digital world. Digital literacy can be defined as the, “an ever changing consideration of sociocultural understanding regarding technologies and the uses of those technologies across an individual person or larger group’s life and experiences.” (PIMA) So in short, mostly everyone that I know is digitally literature to some extent. Some main reasons people are digitally illiterate can be age, socioeconomic status, location, or personal preference. I hadn’t really thought of digital literacy as being a big issue for people as I have gradually been brought up with technology in my life and also my education. I realize now that digital literacy can be a problem for some people, especially for those who aren’t comfortable or familiar with technology as it just hasn’t been a big part of their lives. It takes a variety of different skills to be digitally literate and for some people, they just don’t have these certain skills.
Some skills that are needed to be digitally literate are to, “Find, understand, evaluate, create, and communicate digital information in a wide variety of format.” (ALA) This is one of the main attributes on being digitally literate because if you can’t critically think within the digital world and really scan the information being presented then you aren’t using the resources we have to their fullest advantage. We are given so much information through the internet and different search engines that we have to process all this information to know what the truth is and what the best sources are for each different topic. To be digital literate you also have to, “Use these skills and the appropriate technology to communicate and collaborate with peers, colleagues, family, and on occasion, the general public; and use these skills to actively participate in civic society and contribute to a vibrant, informed, and engaged community.” (ALA) These additional steps that I listed are needed to be done help promote digital literacy to others.
PIMA County Public Library Jessica P. (2017, August 14). Four things you should know about digital literacy [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.library.pima.gov/blogs/post/four-things-you-should-know-about-digital-literacy/
ALA Office for Information Technology Policy & Digital Literacy Taskforce. (2011). What is Digital Literacy? Retrieved from http://connect.ala.org/files/94226/what%20is%20digilit%20%282%29.pdf
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As I grew up in the public school system we read a lot during class but that seemed to just be about the subject we were in and consisted of the textbooks we had for each class. We didn’t have a lot of time to free read nor was it encouraged that much in or out of the classroom. As I got older and could make my way through town by myself I started to attend the public library on occasion. I remember my parents taking us to the public library when we were younger but honestly with four children, books were hard to keep track of. I then remember asking my mom on occasion to go to the library on the weekends and her saying, “Well, if we didn’t lose all of our books, we would be able to go back without paying an arm and a leg.” So, it wasn’t until I could get my own library card that I went back and I did that as much as I could which would helped me travel to places that I wasn’t able to go at such a young age. I really admired that about reading and literature. Reading was always something that made me feel peaceful and calmed me whenever I was flustered.
I would say that I am kind of like Gallo and his literary past as I didn’t really get into literature as much until I was more independent. I really started to read more when I was in middle school but it seemed to dwindle a little bit as I went onto high school. But after meeting very influential teachers that sparked the literary flame in me again in high school, it led me to come to Chadron and major in Secondary English Education. My attitudes towards reading have been influenced a lot by the people that I have surrounded myself with. I wasn’t one of those adolescents who read whenever there was spare time but I read when I wanted to escape for awhile and be by myself. Growing up with three obnoxious brothers made silent reading times mostly before bed that much more sweeter.
My favorite book series that got me first intrigued with reading was the Magic Treehouse collection. They had so many different books that you could choose from I remember it being almost endless and it was a goal for me to read all of them and so I did. I then got really into the author Andrew Clements and his book Frindle. We read this book as a class and I really loved the author and it led me to read more of his books like Lunch Money, No Talking, and Lost and Found. I was actually cleaning my room at home over break and found dozens of Magic Treehouse and Andrew Clements books. What a fun blast from the past!
As I got into my older ages I do feel like I free read but not as much as I did in middle school or that I do now. High school was a busy time trying to fit in and be “cool” and I feel like I lost some of my literary drive. I continued to find this drive more as I got into my junior and senior year as I was getting ready for college. Some of my favorite books in high school was of course the Twilight series as that seemed to be every high school teens book of choice, especially back 4 or 5 years ago. I would have to say that my attitudes as a teen reader were ambitious but yet scattered and have led me to a bright future as an enthusiastic reader.
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Scholastic. (n.d.). Frindle by Andrew Clements | Scholastic. Retrieved from https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/books/frindle-by-andrew-clements/
Scholastic. (n.d.). Twilight by Stephenie Meyer | Scholastic. Retrieved from https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/books/twilight-by-stephenie-meyer/