Check out #literallyliteracy to see my graduate students’ live-tweets from our most recent class. While very few of them actually chose to post their thoughts during class on Twitter, those who did try it said that they liked being able to see what other people were thinking because you can tweet much more than you can actually say in a class discussion with twenty people. Next time around I will give my students advance notice about this opportunity so that they can sign up on Twitter and familiarize themselves with it if necessary. I was surprised to hear from several of them that they never use Twitter. I think that developing some background knowledge about the platform and some questions about how it can be used as a Writing to Learn activity would have resulted in more participation.
This semester I’m teaching a graduate course on adolescent literacy. For our next class we’ll be focusing on Writing to Learn. I’ve decided to ask my students to live-tweet our two-hour session together. They’ll start by brainstorming hashtags, presenting their ideas to each other, and selecting one as a group. Throughout the class they’ll (hopefully) use their laptops, iPads, and phones to respond in real time. At the end of class we’ll talk about what the experience was like, whether or not tweeting functioned as a Writing to Learn activity for them, and how they might use this activity in their own classrooms. I would love to hear suggestions or probing questions as I continue to plan, so please feel free to respond here. I will let you know how it goes!
Rebekah is getting some press in her new position as a coach. Congrats Rebekah. Hopefully you find some teachers who would be interested in the work of the DLC as you visit classrooms.
Everyone should start to think about a colleague who would like to join us next summer for our DLC Institute. Begin recruiting now, an perhaps even invite him/her to join one of our upcoming book discussions.
I gave my graduate students an assignment to write a memoir of their own literacy. For the first time since I started assigning this project a couple of years ago, I gave students the option of creating work in any genre they wanted. Most still produced a traditional narrative in print, but a few chose a different genre. One created a Twitter feed, @literacymemoir, to document his growth as a reader and writer. Check it out!
Check out “Fair Use & the Thirty-Second Rule,” NCTE President Sandy Hayes’s easy-to-understand explanation of copyright law for educators in this month’s Council Chronicle. This is a great resource for teachers and students using images and other online material for classroom use.
I’m a little behind on English Journal, but I read this article about an online teachers’ writing group and thought, “Hey, that’s kind of what we’re trying to do!”
After our last book study discussion, I decided to start my own blog. I know that Will Richardson recommends starting with baby steps and commenting on other people’s blogs first, but I needed to take the plunge and just start my own thing. Plus, now that I am not teaching full-time this year, I really felt like I would miss having a captive audience to listen to me talk about all of my favorite things. So I started a blog. I made my first post exactly one week ago. And I’ve spent every day since then thinking about what my next post would be.
A couple of days ago I went back to my former school to clean out my classroom. After ten years of teaching, nine of them at that school and seven of them in the same classroom, there was a lot of stuff. I threw most of it away. Here’s what I kept, by the way:
As I was sorting through the file folders, the student work, the books, and all the minutiae of a decade of teaching text, I found myself consciously putting things into the “save” pile that would provide fodder for my blog. When I found a shared journal my colleagues and I kept for writing about the incredible experiences we were having as teachers, I knew that was a keeper. When I discovered a thick manila envelope I had labeled “Notes from Staff and Students,” I knew I needed to bring that home. And when I found photographs (actually printed out!) of my students performing scenes from Shakespeare on our school’s roof in 2005, I knew I’d want to write about our work on that project. And not just for reflective purposes either. I’m actually thinking about my audience (all four of you out there!), and what my readers might find illuminating, funny, inspiring, or provocative.
Does every new blogger feel this way? Do our students?