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!

Bittersweet goodbyes

Today was the day…time to say goodbye to my senior classes. Here are a few thoughts on my bittersweet goodbyes…

Gallery Idea!

I mentioned before that I really wanted to figure out something to incorporate into the National Day on Writing’s Online Gallery. And I realized I don’t think I mentioned that I did it! Well, my students’ work hasn’t been submitted yet; however, I did set up our gallery!

OK, so I may be way more interested than most of the kids are about our gallery, but I know some of them thought it was “neat” (and all of them were amused by the challenge of creating our gallery name). I think it’s going to be great…

BUT I’m not 100% sure what the writing will be comprised of that is filtering into our gallery. And then it hit me (and I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before!)….digital literacy narratives.

Again, a huge focus in my classroom is on why English matters (and the fact that we read/write every day of our lives). With that in mind, I think it would be helpful to combine many of our discussions into the foundation for how my students have become the readers/writers they are today. Plus, I have had them writing a lot about what they read/write over the weekend for example. I let them be the judge of what they consider reading/writing and then we discuss what they did. Long story short, I just think creating a narrative about their personal reading/writing journey would be beneficial to help them see the bigger picture of all we do in class. Adding it in a digital format just makes them think about their writing in another way.

I’m excited. I thought I’d have them do it before the end of this semester….but now I’m thinking this is a project we are going to continually build. Thus, spring semester seems better to me…that way they can really apply all of what they have learned and thought about over the year into a great narrative!

The Fun Theory

My principal sent out this video as part of our weekly notes…

That’s right. The “Fun Theory.” Thinking about all the ways this plays out in the classroom already…and the many more ways it can be included as well. (Because reading and writing is fun! And I think some of my students are truly seeing that as the year progresses!)

On a side note, a comment I most certainly am taking as a compliment…given while discussing this student’s essay…

Student: “Well I haven’t had English since 7th grade.” Me: “Huh? How is that possible?” (thinking English is a required course how have you not had it?!?) Student: “I mean, I haven’t had real English since 7th grade. This is the first time I can remember being really pushed.”

To me, pushed = challenged. For the student to mention this = the student is engaged. For the student to be challenged and engaged = English class is tough but can be “fun.” Hey, I’ll take it!

And as I’ve said so many times before…it’s all about the little things….


Legit lessons

Now that life has calmed down some (ha!), back to reflecting…

You may remember students referring to me before as being “legit.” Well it seems this group of kids think the same thing as I’ve been hearing this same comment recently. Not going to lie, it makes me feel good. I want students to realize we aren’t doing just busy work, we’re doing work to benefit them. Too many times I’ve heard, “Well Mrs. (fill in the blank) only had us do busy work stuff. English was so boring!” Though not every student is all about English class, I have noticed that even within the first few weeks of school, some students now have more confidence within the English classroom and are opening up. Positive steps towards the learning environment that is beginning to take shape in my classroom which is definitely awesome to see happen.

One of the big projects Continue reading