“Your room has a really different feel to it this year,” my principal said the other day with a smile on her face. In reflecting upon that statement, I have to admit that it’s true.
My digital journey started about four years ago when I converted a classroom closet into a makeshift “studio,” brought in an old tripod, and dusted off my five-millimeter camcorder. I had no idea how it would work, but I wanted my students to write in various genres about their independent reading books and then use their imaginations to perform what they wrote. I knew there were better ways of accomplishing my goal of integrating technology, student imagination, and the writing process, but I frankly didn’t know how to go about it. I quickly realized, though, that students knew more about integrating technology than I did. On their own, my 6th graders began to bring in videos they had made at home on iPads, iPods, digital cameras, and phones. They knew how to use the technology and were happy to share their knowledge with each other and me. Soon, I discarded my outdated camera equipment and encouraged my students to make their videos at home using their own devices as both the technical quality and student effort were so much greater. Continue reading From Teacher to Digital Facilitator→
The other day, my daughter called and asked me about a recipe. We chatted about its origin, and recalled a funny story that went with it. Our lively conversation had stemmed from a simple question. Recently, I’ve been paying close attention to questions and their resulting conversations.
“Do you have an idea for your digital story?”
“How was your Fourth of July?”
“What’s the best way to get ketchup and red wine out of a table cloth? ”
“Who can help me with Weebly?”
“Could you look at this piece to tell me if the transitions work, and if the ending is strong enough?”
Each of these is a question I heard asked by someone during their time at the CRWP Summer Institute. Each of these led to discussions between two or more people. Sometimes the discussions were short, other times they were long, and a time or two the discussions were later revisited. Although it might appear that the conversations were casual, they were still interactions in which two or more people needed to communicate with others and needed to know what others knew in order to help their own learning or thinking.Continue reading The Value of Talk→
… participants will explore the complexities of teaching writing in a digital age in which students potentially play the role of writer, multimedia creator, collaborator, publisher, reader/viewer/audience member, and critic during their online engagement both during and outside of school. This four-day event will also provide a space for dialogue between K-12 and university educators about the ways that the teaching of writing is enacted in schools, colleges, workplaces, and communities.
The auditorium in Anspach Hall was buzzing on the morning of Saturday, April 25th, as 30 excited young authors from area schools grabbed their pencils and notebooks to kick off the first annual Manuscript Day. The event — co-hosted by the Chippewa River Writing Project (CRWP) and the student affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) at Central Michigan University — was free for the elementary and middle school students in attendance.
After having a year of flipped instruction under my belt and absorbing all of the student feedback that I received (see my 2nd blog post in the series from last summer, “Flipping English Classrooms: Grammar Instruction”), I have taken time to reflect and consider what options and changes I could explore with this teaching strategy.