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!]


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!

Remote School Days

Well, I’m sure most of you have followed along with the news reports to hear about the Atlanta area being on a stand still due to all of the ice and snow that hit our area this past week. It has been unbelievable! [And to think I moved south to get away from all of that “stuff!”] Many local streets are still covered in thick sheets of ice a week later, but we are all hoping for some relief this weekend as temperatures will hopefully raise enough to melt it all away.

Anyway, my school (along with most of the local schools) was closed the entire week. However, we implemented our remote school plan which allowed us to have school for the past three days. Three days that will count for school days and not require anything to be made up. Three days of instruction that could continue outside of the classroom. Three days of creative thinking to truly infuse the content through the technology integration to keep our kids learning.

Overall, I was really excited to see the kids jump right on board with everything. They were so enthusiastic about their work! And in fact, one of my students was quoted in one of the local news resources stating,

“At first I thought it was a crazy idea, trying to control students’ via computers and the Internet. But now, as I sit here and do my homework willingly, I realize that there is a characteristic that pushed me to do this. One that I, and plenty of other Lakeview students obtain, that is respect for our teachers and respect for our education.”

I think the last line really sums it up about the kids’ work ethic during this entire remote school experience. And, for us teachers, it allows us to not miss a beat and continue our instruction…just in different forms. So, what did my kids do? We blogged. We created visual analyses. We read articles. We wrote and recorded. We submitted assignments via Moodle. We took quizzes via Google Forms. We researched. We prepared for our units by watching videos (uploaded via Dropbox). The list continues…and needless to say this first experience of remote school has brought about many new ideas I am eager to try out in the future. (Or with integration into a blended classroom…which is something I am VERY interested in.)

So, here are a few things I’m interested to look into for down the road:

As you can see, just a few random ideas that have been bouncing around! Also, I would love to hear from anyone with experience with teaching in a blended classroom or with reverse instruction!

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.)


Flipping through my yellow notebook

As many of you all may remember, I keep a yellow notebook of random ideas that come to me at random times…times that do not necessarily allow me to thoroughly investigate my ideas until awhile later (such as now, on summer break…well what’s left of it anyway. Wait, actually, what break? I’m on break? Whoops, I digress… 🙂 ).

Anyway, I’m beginning to Continue reading

Vote for ME!

Help me win the WeAreTeachers microgrant project and VOTE FOR ME! 🙂 (and spread the word!)

And I would love to hear others share their ideas on what 21st Century Readiness means to them, too!

Thanks for the support, everyone!

The BIG Project

I promised the details of my seniors’ final eportfolios and here they are! I titled this “The BIG Project” (for lack of better words). Essentially, the goal of this project was to have students writing in multiple forms while also reflecting on the reader/writer they are today and how they have become that way. Though at first, I’ll be honest, introducing an end of the year project to seniors did not go over too well. Seniors + end of the year projects = are you crazy? However, I told them that this was their opportunity to truly dig deep and show what they had learned as well as what they had learned about themselves too.

Another thing that came about with this project is the ability to pick tools that 1) get your point across the way you want it and that 2) you find convenient to use. I wanted my students to be able to pick and choose what they felt would work best, try new “things,” etc. I’m not going to be there next year to tell them, “Hey, go to this website…” They’ve got to be able to find resources that work for each of them based on their need and purpose.

And the end results? Despite the complaining, last minute preps, and frustrations their projects overall were awesome! I am adding some of their work to our gallery for the National Day on Writing, and I really am very proud of all of their hard work! Continue reading