Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Today my group did our pod-casting book review, and now after creating my own podcast and seeing how the product turns out, I really think it is a great idea that I would love to work into my own classroom someday. We chose to use Podomatic- it's so simple, and it would be great in the classroom because it is free and you don't have to download any special software (in case your school is against that.) I think this is a great way for students to reinforce what they have learned from the reading. I see this as another medium that will allow students to better understand and connect with their reading, along with photo essays, "fakebook," and many of the other tools we have discussed in class. Many of them are things I can see myself using in my own classroom someday. It's crazy how many tools and activities there are to use in the classroom today. I graduated high school in 2009 and never used many of these tools we have learned about in class. Not only do I think that had I done assignments similar to the podcast I would have had a greater understanding of the works we read, but I likely would have enjoyed them more as well.


Monday, February 27, 2012


One thing that really interested me in our textbook Adolescents and Digital Literacies is the "drop everything and read" program that is implemented in many schools today. Sara Kadjer mentions the program several times throughout the text, one specific instance is in chapter five on page 70. DEAR is an independent reading time implemented during each day's morning meeting. Basically, students are required to read something in homeroom every morning. Another thing DEAR is known as is SSR (sustained silent reading.) We never had DEAR or SSR time in my high school, but I wish we had. We basically sat around and finished up the previous night's homework, or didn't really do anything. I think that if we would have had a program like this in our school maybe more of the students would have grew to love reading and would have rather picked up a book in their free time than spending countless hours in front of the television. I will be sure to keep many good books in my classroom when I am a teacher in case any student wants to read them in homeroom, even if the school I am teaching at doesn't have a DEAR or SSR program.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Say it in Six Words

For the past couple weeks in my Writing for Non-Print course we have been presenting lesson plans for developing digital literacies. Several of the lesson plans seemed like something I would love to use in my own classroom someday. The one that I liked the most was called Stop. Shoot. Send. Using Phone Cameras to Find Meaning and to Engage Students. My favorite part of the lesson plan is the six word story. Sometimes students don't need to write a one thousand word essay to express what is on there mind, and fewer words may have a great impact. We took a look at http://www.sixwordstories.net/ and on my own I found another helpful website with examples http://sixwordstoryeveryday.com/. Here is one that I found that I really enjoyed..

Six Words. Right to the Point.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Teacher Workload

Many of you may have seen this image floating around...

I found this via "Secondary Solutions" Facebook and I can't agree with it more- and I have not even started my teaching career but I know it is a lot of work. Many times after telling people that I am going to school to be a teacher their thoughts are- Oh that's easy you get to hang out with kids- basically babysit for 8 hours a day. News flash to all of those people, our jobs are MUCH MUCH more than that. Our days don't stop once we get home from school because from there we have to work a few more hours at home working on lesson plans, grading tests and papers, etc.! And then there are those people who think how we get all Summer off as well- but they don't realize we have things to work on in the summer as well! My own grandfather asked me why I was going to school to be a teacher and told me I should get a real job and be a nurse! I think it's insane seeing a teacher's salary compared to, say a professional athlete. And now with all of these budget cuts many teachers end up spending their own salary on materials for their students because their school no longer provides them. This is just my personl rant about how underappreciated teachers are, but I'm sure many of you understand where I'm coming from and agree.

Any thoughts?


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Same old, same old

Admit it, when you are in a class where you nothing but the same things over and over it gets a bit boring, right? Sure, papers and exams are both a great way to assess students, but they aren't the only way. The possibilities are ENDLESS. So don't just keep doing the same old things over and over again. I found this new idea on Pinterest that I would love to incorporate into my classroom someday. I'm sure we've all been given the assignment to write our own poetry at some time throughout our schooling, and this puts a new spin on the "usual" way we are used to either writing poems by hand on a sheet of paper or typing them up on a computer. It's called "black out poetry" and here is one of the examples I found..
You can take an old book (and I mean OLD- falling apart- not able to read from any longer- no one wants to destroy a perfectly fine book,) newspaper, magazine, journal article, etc. and allow the students to write a poem with the words that are already on the page-- by blacking out the other words. It could even be a new spin on the six word stories we talked about in class, blacking out words to create a six word story. The possibilities with this idea are endless as well.

Anyone else like this idea? 


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Today I was thinking to myself about my future classroom, and I was wondering how many people still think it's OK to decorate their classroom for the holidays? I know when I was younger we had Christmas and Halloween parties but then in second grade or sometime they were changed to Fall and Winter celebrations. We had religious neutral celebrations, which I'm sure most public schools do today. Of course that means Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc. But today I began thinking what about other holidays such as Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day? Isn't Valentine's Day named after a Christian saint after all? I remember having full out Valentine's parties in elementary school and some might think this is more of a topic for elementary teachers but I would like to decorate my classroom someday and I'm just not sure if it's appropriate to go around hanging up window cling conversation hearts or if I should stick with something neutral like snowflakes. Even a simple bulletin board like THIS could that be considered inappropriate? St. Patrick's Day is considered a religious holiday to some as well yet I remember teachers decorating for that holiday when I was in school. Or another idea- not merely decorating for the holidays but even planning a lesson around a holiday.

Anyone have any thoughts on this subject, is it appropriate or should we leave the construction paper conversation hearts at home?


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Decisions, decisions

As I have been reading for my literature classes this semester I have suddenly realized what a BIG decision it is trying to decided what texts to use in the classroom and what books are appropriate for each grade level. Some things, especially in today's books just seem so powerful and not age appropriate for specific grade levels. Reading for my YAL class in particular this thought crossed my mind. The first book we read was Freak the Mighty, which involves some crime, the topic of murder, and death. This was not my first time reading the book, I actually read it in my 7th grade reading class. During a class discussion yesterday, some students said they didn't think they would teach this in their classroom because some of the things were a little too heavy for teens to handle. I, on the other hand, could see myself teaching this in the classroom, maybe because it was a book I had read at an early age. I then thought to myself- murder and crime isn't anything new to teenagers, they see it on television, online, and even in video games. And death is something we will all have to face in our lives at some point, so I really do not see this book as being controversial at all. The second book we are reading for YAL, Breathing Underwater, seems a bit controversial as well. It deals with themes of abuse and violence. This book I see as being a bit more controversial and inappropriate for certain age groups. I thought to myself while reading it, that a lot of the stuff in it was really HEAVY, maybe a bit to inappropriate for middle schoolers, but high school students should be able to handle it. This reminds me of something my college writing professor told me, she said that there were parents complaining that the parents of her college students were upset that their children were reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower, because the book talks about sex and drugs. If their children haven't learned about sex and drugs or encountered them in real life or on television, I don't know what world they are living in because it sure isn't this one! This all made me reflect on the decisions I will have to make once I become a teacher, and I have realized that students are (for the most part) mature enough to handle the situations that occur in these books.

This website lists some books schools view as controversial: on it are some books I read in school, and others I have read outside of school which really shocked me.
  • The Chocolate was (read in 8th grade)
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The House on Mango Street
  • The Joy Luck Club (read in 10th grade)
What some people view as controversial, may not be CONTROVERSIAL at all..


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Digital Resource

Today I received an email from my Special Education professor saying that he just began testing out a new technology called CorkboardMe. I had never heard of this tool before, so of course I was intrigued. CoarkboardMe is descibed as a Shareable sticky notes web-app and it could be used for just about anything. The app's slogan is, "the simplest way to manage life, work and play." If you would like to browse the website click HERE. On the home page to the website it demonstrates a few of the different uses for the app. You could use it for to-do lists, grocery lists, recipes, etc. My professor has chose to post important concepts that we have learned in class and we are permitted and encouraged to add our own sticky notes of questions or comments. In a way we are using it as an interactive study guide. Here is a youtube tutorial video for anyone that would like to learn more about CorkboardMe. Basically, it's like the sticky note gadget for desktops, but they are all confined to this website- that way your desktop isn't all cluttered with tons of sticky notes, and we can share them with others, which is helpful as an educational resource.
So feel free to check it out, I definitely see this as a tool that I could use someday in the classroom.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Social Bookmarking

As I was reading chapter 2 in the the Hicks book, The Digital Writing Workshop, I came across the subject of social bookmarking. Thea first thing that came to my mind when I read it was Pinterest. According to Wikipedia, "Pinterest (pronounced to rhyme with "interest") is a vision board-styled social photo sharing website and app where users can create and manage theme-based image collections." Wikipedia also goes on to say, "The mission statement of Pinterest is to connect everyone in the world through shared tastes and the 'things' they find interesting" As a future educator I have found Pinterest to be extremely helpful. I have a pinboard titled "Teaching English" where I have pinned many items that I have come across that I can use in my classroom someday. Some of the things I have pinned are lesson plans, classroom posters, and even student activities. Pinterest was listed as one of the top 50 websites in 2011 by Time magazine. I think that Pinterest is a really great way for educators to share ideas with one another. Sure, I follow my friends on Pinterest, but there are also people that I have found on Pinterest and began to follow because that have English education pin-boards as well.
So, if you have a Pinterest feel free to follow me HERE, and if you don't you should really check it out!
Here is one of the inspiring English related pins that I came across and would love to display in my classroom someday maybe on a poster:

I'm not sure if Pinterest is actually considered a "social bookmarking" tool, but it is the closest thing that I have used. It tags all of these webpages for the specific content into one area so that I can easily access it, and I'm not filling up my bookmark or favorites toolbar, so it keeps my computer more organized, and I can also share everything that I pin with others.
Happy pinning everyone!