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!]

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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!

NCTE Day 1: It’s about literacy practices — not tools.

I’m backtracking a bit here, so I plan on going back through my NCTE notes and posting some thoughts from the talks I attended.

Reports from Cyberspace inspired the tag line for this post: “It’s about literacy practices — not tools.” Too often I think teachers get caught up in the tools aspect without ever thinking behind the “so what?” ideas about the implementation. I’d really like to see this mindset change within more classrooms. This mindset NEEDS to change within classrooms. Tools come and go. However, the practices that our kids are engaged with remain (and evolve into multiple forms).

Two other thoughts from this talk (and Middle Level)…I love the idea of creating a video process essay. We have a “snapshot” of essays that my seniors practice leading up to their graduation second semester. I think this would work really well (and, as I’ve stated before, may work well with cross-curricular collaboration). Also, Because Digital Writing Matters is definitely on my must read list.

Finally, be sure to check out Digital Is.

 

So much more than “just” pictures

After a great discussion about the arts in the English classroom tonight via #engchat on Twitter, I have to admit I was rather shocked at reading this post discussing a NYT piece on the “loss” of picture books.

Now, you must understand…I am a big “visual” person. After all, my studies for my MA in English centered around rhetoric and composition focusing on visual rhetoric. However, it’s not just because I feel strongly about the visual that I see a big problem with the fact that picture books are slowly fading away.

There’s so much behind what goes into the picture itself, even advanced college students could analyze all that goes into one tiny picture. Furthermore, I have even personally used graphic novels to help me understand things better (i.e. Persepolis and Buddha for Beginners). And if picture books help promote literacy, why would we not encourage our youth to take advantage? (Because in reality picture books are much more “adult” than most realize.)

 

Posture!

POSTURE!!! Do any of you think about it? I do (but don’t). To be honest, and this may sound crazy, but since becoming a teacher I feel that my posture has gone downhill. I say this jokingly, but quite seriously. Maybe it’s because I find myself at the computer more? I’m not really sure. However, I think technology — for all of us — does play a factor in our posture today.

Even as I look around at my students, I notice many of them with postures that are not the greatest. I asked a few if they ever thought about how they were sitting while doing work (again, at computers) and all said it never really crossed their mind.

I know numerous studies are being done on the effects of technology use (many health related), and I’d be interested to see how a person’s posture ties into all of this. Though something as simple as sitting up straight may seem trivial to sum, a strong, healthy core is what supports each and everyone of us in ALL of our activities.

So, the question is this…what can we be doing — as individuals and as educators — to ensure that we are being “healthy” in our technology activities to promote good postures?

‘Preciate ya!

Recently a few of my former students [from my very first graduating class (*tear*)] have sent me quite a few notes thanking me for preparing them so well last year as they have really been able to enter their college classes and feel confident and successful while many of their new peers are struggling to keep up. [Many of them also asked if I’d come teach at their school…I laughed…though becoming an adjunct at one of the local colleges has crossed my mind…hmmm…oh, how I do love rhetoric & comp!]

First, I would like to say that I am honored, humbled, and sincerely grateful for their kind words and for the fact that they even took the time out to write to me in the first place. Second, I think their thanks reaffirms that what we do within our classrooms is SO important to what goes on after they walk out of our doors on that last day of class…more so than many of us may even consciously realize. Third, [taking into account the previous point] our job as educators Continue reading

Book Talk: The Hunger Games

I found a great review on this book I am posting here (thanks to Rachel of Progressively Unnecessary). She gave it a 5 out of 5, and I’d have to say I’m doing the same.

Funny thing about this book is that I read it because a colleague said it would be the “next big thing.” What I didn’t realize going in (and what my dear friend failed to inform me) is that it is part of a series. And generally speaking, I am NOT a series kinda reader until ALL of the books are out. (As in I have to read them all, one after another…not months later!) So I jumped on the sequel and am now anxiously waiting to pick up the 3rd book (which is released today!).

For those of you who may be questioning age/grade appropriate level for using the book in the classroom, please check out this recent ECN discussion. This is a summer reading requirement for our freshmen, and I’ve found it to be a popular book to include with dystopian themes as well.