Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Elegos form

The Elegos team would like your feedback about improving our publication for you. Please answer the following questions for us. We really appreciate you input! Thanks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Learn something new

Found this idea on jennylu's blog, Lucacept-intercepting the Web. Use Google things to do to choose a wide variety of things to do on the web and discover. She suggests:
Imagine setting the task to find a new thing to learn and present back to their peers after a set period of time to demonstrate what they’ve learnt.
I imagine possibly using this with my juniors when we study the Transcendentalists who loved to learn independently and freely. It would be an interesting way to give them the freedom to go out and discover what they can learn when they set their minds to it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Catching up...

Been feeling guilty/stressed/unconnected so I sat down this morning on my favorite NING and this is where it led:
1-reviewed a couple of discussions on the English and FA groups
2-liked one of my responses so posted it to my blog
3-reminded of Twitter so posted a tweet about my blog post (nothing better than self advertising :)
4-went to email to clean it out a bit and found a message from my uncle about my blog post from Friday
5-liked my response to him so I posted that on my blog too
My learning process-discovering, reinvigorating, reflecting...in no particular order
I can help my students do that too.

A Call for Votes

This year I published some sophomore papers in a different way. Recently they studied "Beowulf" and wrote humorous papers in the style of the Beowulf poet. Then, I had them each record their stories. I published their own recordings of their papers on my school webpage (in the resources folder at the bottom of the page) and invited the students to listen to each others' work and vote on which one they liked best. They didn't have to listen to them all in order to vote, but I am going to recognize the "winner" at our school community meeting next week with a little prize. If you go to the website you'll see that I voiced my vote as well. This is just a one more way to give a wider audience to my writers and recognize the effective papers.

Please feel free to add your vote too!

A Call for Help

This year I am excited to be teaching a senior elective course titled World Cultures through Literature. Unfortunately it is only one semester, but I am trying to expose my students to a broad array of cultural experiences from around the world. Right now we are reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe from Nigeria. In a couple of weeks we will begin A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaleed Husseini. We will also read some more short stories from Latin America and poetry from Asia.
Here's where you can help...I'm looking for outside "speakers" to share their personal experiences in any of these countries. I have had a couple of live speakers, but I thought that some guest bloggers or a Skype chat would be a great way to hear from the world out there. Any ideas or suggestions? Add a comment or email me. Thanks for your help!

A Summer Time Metaphor

How do we as full-time teachers find the time or mental capacity to keep up with all of this???
I'm going to return to my swimming pool metaphor to describe where I am with all of this right now. When I go to a swimming pool for the first time each summer, I hate to just slowly walk in and "get used to it gradually," I dive in and just force myself to adjust. When I first heard Will Richardson speak at the VAIS tech conference two years ago, I was devastated and thought that I was drowning because I had not heard of any of this (so how could I be a good teacher). I used my dog paddling skills and quickly recovered back to the surface. When I got back to school I found myself overly enthusiastic and jumping into every pool I could find: I created a personal blog, a wikispace, I published my students' writing on my wiki, etc, etc, etc. It was too much but I was riding the adrenaline. But then I reflected :) and realized that I was just using and not necessarily improving the learning in my classroom.
Now, I've learned :) to be more cautious, and I don't fear missing out on some great new technology because I know that what I am doing with my students is meaningful and enriching to them (well, not all the time). It's much more manageable to think of each of these applications as separate pools which I can dip my toes in at times or sit on the side and dangle my feet. There are some that I swim in more regularly (wikis and blogs), but one thing that I'm coming to enjoy most is that we are each developing specialty areas that enrich each other. Imagine what a diverse experience our students are getting when they come to my class and share group work on a wiki, or Katie's and create a personal blog, in Susanne's class they can use Google docs in such meaningful ways, or Susan's and use VoiceThread.
Is anyone else starting to miss summer ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stories of Excellence

I just found out that my submission to the "Stories of Excellence" contest on the NAIS ning was chosen for their publication. This is comforting recognition, which teacher's don't often get, especially in the middle of the first semester with grades due next week. This gives me the encouragement to keep my nose to the grindstone-trying new things, polishing the old, and starting fresh each day on my adventure as a teacher and learner.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Becoming Poor Richard

Try your hand at some of the lines made famous by Benjamin Franklin in his popular Almanac. Fill out the form below by completing each sentence with words that you think make sense. Try to be witty and precise in your word choice and you may wow your audience with your writing prowess.

If you'd like to see Franklin's versions you can access that here. (But don't go there until you give it a try yourself!) Happy writing :)