School Spirit Banter

I am SO impressed by the creativity of two local area high schools and their students’ videos. As quoted in this Get Schooled post, these ARE examples of what the best “spirit cheers” look like today. You can check out the original video in this “battle” here and the response here.

For me, these videos show just how multiliterate our students are and all of the neat ways in which they are reading, writing, and engaging with the world around them. These videos use rhetorical strategies, rhymes, video angles, music — and this list only continues — all to help show their school spirit. And, I love the fact that they pull in lots of different members from their respective student bodies to be a part of the banter.

No matter which school wins the game, the main point is that these two videos have just under 400,000 hits (combined) in two weeks. Where these students’ voices heard? [I think so!]

Positive Footprints

As you all know, I feel very strongly about helping kids understand how to create and why to create positive digital footprints. I’ve thought about this topic a lot, and yet it’s something that is still weighing heavily on my mind. [Maybe it’s because the means in which we work digitally is constantly changing???]

Anyway, I’m seeing more and more kids not understanding what their digital footprint is all about and how it can/will affect them now and down the road. I know that I stress it a lot when I work with my students and try to emphasize it’s not about culling their creativity, but a way to push them to think critically and post information that is appropriate (and in a way that still gets their point across). So, I’m curious…how are others helping their students develop positive digital footprints? How can we keep kids motivated to produce and stress to them they can still “own” that digital space (without them not being “googled well”)?

Lit vs. Lang

I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to teach Lit this year! However, at first, I was a bit nervous about the differences between AP Literature and AP Language. And then I reminded myself: reading is reading and writing is writing!

One of the things that my students struggled with the most (particularly in regards to Lang): the multiple choice questions. One of the key words that always messed them up involved picking the “best” answer. Many would talk themselves around the correct answer. In my opinion, stressing MC strategies is helpful; however, I think it all comes down to Continue reading

Book Talk: must-have app! (or two)

I have been looking for some way to help keep track of all of my books — both electronically and hard copy. With the suggestion from one of my “virtual colleagues,” I checked out Book Crawler.

So far, it has been super user-friendly and a great app! I love that it scans the ISBN and automatically fills in all of the information for me. The only thing I would love to see it do is sync books more smoothly to Goodreads (after accidentally deleting my entire Goodreads library, I tried to import the CSV file from Book Crawler, and it left off a few books).

I know this may not make sense to some people, but I found it a lot easier to catalog the correct book within Book Crawler, yet still love the more social feel of Goodreads. Also, I wish there was a more direct way of transferring information from different devices (i.e. iPhone to iPad) without having to actually merge the CSV file each time. Regardless, it’s a great app for book lovers to check out!

ps I just found out that the Goodreads app also has a bar code scanner for quick access to info! So, now goodreads vs book crawler…or maybe both? You can never have too many backups, right? Then again, I’m striving to be more simple, ha!

Philly!

I recently headed to Philadelphia for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference. Through my experiences with ISTE, I’ve already been lucky enough to meet a ton of other educators from all over at the conference (and virtually) who are using technology in really neat ways!

A goal of mine is to help other young educators connect with the ISTE Young Educator Network. Too often my colleagues say, “Oh, that’s not me! I’m not tech savvy like you!” However, the reality is that this network isn’t about how “tech savvy” you are, but instead it’s a place to share ideas and gain confidence in utilizing technology in the classroom to enhance what you are already doing in it. One of the ideas I brought up at the conference was to host a Twitter “chat” (like #engchat) to help extend the conversation of the YEN. We’ll see how it develops … maybe even joining the conversation of the #ntchat sometimes, too! (By the way, if you aren’t branching into all of the edu chats going on, you should do so. It’s a great way to not only network, but have instant PD!)

Below, you can watch me and all of the other award winners during the opening Awards Ceremony. It was a huge honor to be named one of the Emerging Leaders for 2011! Enjoy!

Shakespeare and High Schoolers

…don’t always work well together. I’ve found that until you help kids make that connection with his language, themes, characterization, etc., many dread pulling out their books to read Shakespeare.

With this in mind, I’m always looking for new ideas to help liven up Shakespeare lessons. It is through these great teaching strategies and my passion for reading his work (and again, helping show kids the connections they can make with his work) that I have found teaching Shakespeare can be a LOT of fun for both me and the kids.

One resource that I have found VERY helpful is Mary Ellen Dakin’s book Reading Shakespeare with Young Adults. There are so many helpful topics in this book (ranging from understanding the language to reading strategies to acting out to hear [and see] the words) that my kids have really enjoyed participating in and that have truly helped bring Shakespeare’s work alive.

[note: a favorite activity is the “living pictures” (pg 158) assignment that I modified to fit in with our Othello reading. We record the groups “spins” and enjoy watching them together to add to our discussion (with some even taking it a step farther to create a video in which all of the spins are brought together to ultimately define the complexity of the characters, specifically Iago).

Also, as many of you probably already know, the Folger Shakespeare Library has TONS of resources, too!

If you’ve had success teaching Shakespeare to high schoolers (or if you are a high schooler who has found something that works for you or you have enjoyed doing!), feel free to share! 🙂

ISTE Young Educator Video

Here is the video I created for my entry to the ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award. I had so much fun creating it and it really got me thinking about how important it is to think critically about the technology we use in our classrooms. We have so many opportunities today to engage, challenge, and motivate our students through the use of technology — the possibilities are endless!