Daily Archives: March 14, 2015

Teachers Do TED Talks Too! Meet Cynthia Rylant

The children gave us an assignment and we were off planning our own TED Talk about Cynthia Rylant.  We followed the structure we set for the students and here is our planning;

How did what you learned about your author’s life impact yours?

She is such a private person yet so much of her life is out there for all to read through stories.  This really makes us think about how we are putting our teaching (private practice) out there for all to see while we are blogging.  Putting yourself out there leaves you open to vulnerability. She shows us how special ordinary moments are; the people you know, the places that are special to you are worthy of attention.  Even people who would otherwise be shy of attention have dynamic stories to tell and there are avenues to pursue this. This is so important to us as teachers because we want to give children a great variety for self expression and teach them that every story matters.

Why are you passionate about the author? Why should others care?

Teaching small moments is one of the hardest forms of writing to teach.  Children have trouble seeing “regular” experiences as being story material. Life is story and each day is a new adventure that can be put to the page.  Cynthia Rylant knew this, stories cling to her everyday experiences and are showcased in her books:

  • Take the soot faced coal miner coming home with clean lips
  • A simple lighthouse keeper making sure everyone is safe
  • The day to day adventures of a boy and his dog
  • Family coming together, animals making ready for winter

We should care about life – as teachers it’s our job to lend insight to our students about the value of life and curiosity and living each moment to the fullest.  We want our students to have an observant eye.

Favorite books:

  • Lighthouse series: I want my students to always know they can count on me.  A classroom is like a family in the way that we are all vested in each others’ success: we listen, we encourage, we care about each other.  Family is not only defined by who you’re born to it is defined by love. Cynthia Rylant shows us this as we see Pandora and Seabold coming together and nurturing their family of mice.
  • When I Was Young In the Mountains – I want my students to have a strong core;to have a sense of who they are and an understanding that they are valued. As a teacher I want them to know that the sense of who you are comes from your early beginnings. A family doesn’t have to be a traditional family.  If you grow up in a loving home you are set for life.  Cynthia shows us this as she grows up with her grandparents and shares her identity.

Image & Quote: We created our own just as we are asking students to create theirs… you can do this easily using PowerPoint / grouping the image & quote / saving it as a picture:

Rylant quote for march 14