Sunday, September 21, 2008

Google Docs

I've heard recently that student (especially males) like to write more when it is on the computer. I decided to test this theory by going beyond just the standard word processing. A few weeks ago, I introduced my students to google docs, a free website (part of that allows users to create documents and share them with others to view, edit, or comment on. I was interested when my students jumped right on. Many even used the opportunity to ask me for feedback prior to turning in a final draft. This was something that I had always encouraged, but rarely saw my offer utilized. And while it is too early to see if their writing skills (quality and quantity) increased, but I have enjoyed having a few less papers to carry back and forth.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Reflections -- 2008 CLAS conference

This year's conference theme is "Literacy Now" and, appropriately, the icons that are on the program and tickets feature rockets. Here are a few reflections on what ideas have "launched" me into inspiration for my classroom. I hope to expand on a few soon...

  1. Ralph Fletcher - His humorous presentation last night focused mostly on boys and writing and some of the little things that educators can do to help shrink the gap. Choice, humor, and violence (to a point) were the three main allowances that we can provide our male writers in our classroom
  2. Dan and Dawn Kirby - Their humorous presentation (it is so nice to laugh!) showed me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel if writer's workshop doesn't seem like the only "good" way to teach writing. Their discussion of memoir in a studio format was enlightening.
  3. Nikki Giovanni -inspired her packed audience with her humor (yep...lots of laughing there too), poetry, and the story of Rosa Parks
  4. Technology - I focused two of my breakout sessions on technology and received great ideas on how to use web 2.0 in my class
  5. writing - I learned about brain gyms and how some simple, short exercises could help students get over the fear of writing or the dreaded writer's block.

Tomorrow...Leonard Pitts, Katie Wood Ray, and more inspiration.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

My venture into podcasts in the classroom

I am getting ready to assign my students a podcast for their project on the independent reading books that they are about to finish.

This is a new frontier for me, but I have found a couple good sources:

If there are more sources that anyone has used, please comment with a link. I'm needing as many options as possible.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

February Slump and Spring Resolutions

I'm still wondering if there is a good reason why I hit a Feb. teaching slump each year. It is not too far after winter break to feel burnt out...but every year it hits. I'm out of it now with the help of thoughts of spring and all that means to me. In a short time, I'll be off to the annual spring conference of CLAS. That always seems to lighten my spirits. Sharing and absorbing classroom ideas always makes me glad that I chose this career path.

Since I feel like this is my new year...I think it is time to make resolutions. I do this at the beginning of every school year, but I have never done this mid-way through. Here are my goals for the remainder of the year.

  1. spend more time on my thesis...if I'm ever going to finish grad school, I have to get in gear
  2. write more regularly on my blog...this may be a good venue for exploring my thoughts and questions for my thesis
  3. conintue experiementing with technology in the classroom... I have the ideas of a blog for Romeo and Juliet and a podcast assignment for independent reading novels.
  4. read blogs more regularly...there are so many ideas and exchanges that can keep me refreshed through the rest of the year