Thursday, July 10, 2008

Perfect Pods

Today, I explored ideas on how I might use podcasting in my classroom. Listen to the podcast below to hear some of my ideas!

Gabcast! Learning Literature Podcast #2 - Podcasting Ideas

This podcast explains how I might use podcasting in the classroom

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tagging Terror

At first, the idea of tagging seemed overwhelming, but I think it is due to the fact that I no have so many different accounts with so many different sites that my head is spinning! However, this tagging trick actually does help eliminate some of this stress! In my classroom, I currently have a rather long list of sites that are bookmarked. Unfortunately, they only come up on my computer at school...which is why tagging is so smart! Now, all my favorite sites that help me with my classroom can be easily accessed at every computer at which I find myself. (If this were a video, I would perform that cool little hand jive that Lee does! Yay!) The time that this trick (no longer a terror) will save can be dedicated to the many other tasks that overwhelm me at school instead of this one!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wikis and Blogs Join Forces

Based on the latest discussion in class, I determined that I shall use a combination of wikis and blogs for student work and student discussion. It seems that I can use student-access pages (levels) to keep a record of all of their work, and I can use blogs to facilitate class discussions. More on this later...

Wiki Workshops

Using a wiki for the purposes of a writing workshop is a great idea for my students, specifically due to its ability to store the history of changes made to the wiki. So, if I assign my students to write essays, I can require that they use the wikis as their writing spaces. By doing this, they can continuously edit, and I can continuously monitor!

Wacky Wikis

Continuing my research on wikis, I have been thinking about using this tool for an exploratory project on the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. The book lends itself to various topics such as parenting styles, discrimination, coming of age, and education, so having the students create projects where they explore these topics and organize hyperlinks would be a great way to encourage their learning and to faciliate the assessment piece.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Blogs in the Battlefield

In considering how I might use blogging in the classroom (or in the battlefield, as I call it), there seems to be two main ways that seem the easiest: having my own blog and having individiual student blogs. For my own teacher-driven blog, I believe that I would use it as an organizational tool. Each day, I could post the in-class assignments (so absent students can view them) and the homework. I would also post tips or reminders for them, rules for writing, due dates, etc, as encouraged by the idea of routine in classrooms. It would also be a great place to post hyperlinks to resources such as MLA on the Web. Students could concentrate more on their learning if they had to worry less about keeping their notes organized. As for student-generated blogs, these would eliminate so many of the papers that I drag to and from school (and thus eliminating many of my chiropractic bills.) I could ask a discussion question, assign each student to post a blog as a response, then assign each student to comment on at least two fellow students' responses. Students would be given examples of valuable comments (in to faciliate an intellectual, ongoing learning experience) on which they would be assessed. More ideas to come later...


I am currently re-reading 1984 for a course I am teaching in the Fall. It reminded me of how frequently we come across allusions in our daily lives. The idea of "Big Brother" has been a reference in movies, tv shows, and intimate conversations between friends. Before I read the novel for the first time, I had only a hazy idea of what the reference meant. After my first reading of the classic novel, the reference made SO much more sense! Now, when I hear the reference, I think of all the people who may not understand and who may feel "out of the loop" when hearing that particular allusion. It is a point that I will continue to make when teaching my students about life-long learning. The more we read, the more connections to every day life we make. In the movie Shall We Dance, a character says, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." I show that clip to my students before we begin reading Emerson and Thoreau. Later, many students come to class with stories of hearing Emerson or Thoreau quoted elsewhere. It is almost like a puzzle of which they continue to find pieces. I love to see their learning continue and to see their enthusiasm for it.