An Update on Classroom Blogging

Initial post about using WordPress/Blogging/Feedly in the classroom

Several weeks ago, I discussed my desire to have my students begin blogging in the classroom.  My plan was to have them create their own WordPress accounts and write both creatively and academically, both inside and outside of the classroom.  The school year is only 3 weeks old now and I have successfully assigned two blog postings.

Blog Assignments:

  1. “Convince Me” Final Draft
    1. Students will participate in a Think-Pair-Share in order to create a list of the characteristics of a convincing argument.
    2. Students will share out their responses to create a master list of all the characteristics.
    3. Students will read a sample argument essay in which the major parts are labeled.
    4. Students will create their own definitions of the parts of an argument essay based on the samples and their purposes.
    5. Students will respond to the following prompt: I am a flexible teacher, so if I hear a convincing argument for something, I will give it genuine consideration. I typically assign homework three days a week. Write a one-paragraph argument that attempts to convince me to cancel assigning homework for Eng IV.  Alternative: You may like homework, so you can argue for why it should still be assigned.
    6. Students spent three days between peer editing, reading samples and grading them, and studying other argument essays before writing their final draft that is uploaded to their blog as their first posting.
  2. “To This Day” Inspired Poem
    1. In our synthesis essay unit entitled “Haters Gonna Hater,” I had students read multiple texts from various genres that all dealt with bullying.  One poem that was included in this unit was “To This Day” by Shane Koyczan.  There’s a fantastic rendition, in addition to the TEDTalk, of “To This Day” that you can watch here.  
    2. Students worked with “Arm Partners” (someone that is within arm’s length of their original seat) to read through the printed version of “To This Day” and they completed a Close-Reading analysis.
    3. After sharing their analysis with their partners, students watched the video version of “To This Day.”  This is the version we watched:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltun92DfnPY
    4. Students were asked to discuss the specific writing choices that were made that separated this poem from others they had read.
    5. Finally, students were asked to write their own versions of “To This Day” in which they mimicked Koyczan’s style.  The topic was bullying.  Their poems had to be 10 stanzas with a minimum of 6 lines each.  This poem was posted on their blogs.

Summer Bucket List

bucket-list

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Show me a teacher on summer vacation and I’ll show you a person who has zero worries and a million items on a to-do list.  I’ve been saving up my chores and projects during the previous 9 months to begin tackling as soon as the final bell rang in June.  After spending a week up north with friends and family, and a week of catching up on my DVR, I am finally ready to dive into my Summer Bucket List.

Creative Outlets

1.  I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to blog for another website and I am thrilled!  I am going to be writing two articles per week and I would like to get back into the habit of writing for Numbered Pages.

2.  I’m a HUGE Erin Condren Life Planner fan and have drank the KoolAid from the personal planner decoration punch bowl.  I’ve been neglecting my Silhouette lately, but that’s to be expected.  Since the launch of the new horizontal ECLP layout, I have been adjusting my planner sticker designs.  It’s been a fun process.

erin-condren-life-planner-horizontal

3.  A new friend told me about the #ListersGottaList challenge.  I love making lists (geez, I hope that’s not as lame as it sounds/reads) and this group/challenge seems to be a match made in heaven for me.

trg-lgl

4.  Any combination of #1-3 will most likely take place in my office, so this shouldn’t be difficult at all.

Books to Read

Goodreads Links:

1.  So We Read On

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2. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

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3. Red Queen

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4. Big Little Lies

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5. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

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Healthy Goals

Reflective Teaching Challenge Day Twenty-One: My Hobbies

DAY TWENTY ONE

Do you have other hobbies/interests that you bring into your classroom teaching? Explain.

1.  Running

I started running when I was engaged and planning to drop a few pounds before my wedding in 2009.  I didn’t think it would be anything that would last longer than June 2010.  What I realized was that I had found an activity that both modified my body, but cleansed my mind, gave me a goal to work towards, and gave me a greater sense of pride in myself than anything had up until that point.  I began to read and study the art of running.   I signed up for races, developed my own personal training program, and bought into the hype.  Before I knew it, I had started running half marathons and enjoyed it!  I was a runner.

Running Goddess

 

I used all these things today on my long run; that's water, not Vodka

I used all these things today on my long run

Medal and Bib Love my Medal

I bring my love and history of running into the classroom to help demonstrate to my students that benefits of working through the difficulties towards a greater goal.  I share with them that there were many times, more times than not, I wanted to give up.  I wanted to stop right in the middle of a run, the middle of a race to walk back to my car and go home.  I knew the joy and pride I would have if I kept going, and knew the list of reasons why I had started with that first step, and kept going.  I also share with them the cathartic aspect of working through a difficult task.  Most of the time when I share this with students, it’s in relation to the usual school-related topics:

  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Homework
  • Studying
  • Coming to school on a regular basis

Ultimately, this connection works.  I hang up my race medals in my classroom as an allegory to those sentiments: Work Hard, Achieve Greatness; Learn Who You Are Through Your Struggles

2.  Reading

You cannot be a teacher and not have students assume that you’re a book nerd.  I grasp this assumption by the coffee cup handles and drink it all in.  Naturally, I share my love of reading with my students.  Not only do I let them know that I am a reader, I bring the hobby to school with me in all it’s glory and blemishes.  I let my students know that I have not read as much as I would like to; I”m not as well-read as I should be.  By letting them know that I am not perfect, that I struggle to maintain focus and interest in books as well as they do, they know that their experiences are normal.  Additionally, it shows them that I am interested in what they are.  It’s become well known around my school that I am huge John Green fan.  I show his vlogs, loan out my copies of his novels, and have even created an after-school event to watch “The Fault in Our Stars” on its premiere night.  Do I hyperbolize my fangirl status with John Green?  A bit; that’s not to say that my admiration is any less.  I do this because I want my students to know that I am undeniably enraptured with my love of reading and experiencing.

luv books

Books Collage

 

Matched/Crossed and The Hunger Games trilogy

Matched/Crossed and The Hunger Games trilogy

Read Books Collage

Book Collage

100 Book List One

Book 2

3.  Blogging

A few students know that I write my own blog.  Most of them know that I write, both creatively and for my own cathartic needs.  Similar to my love of running and reader, when I talk to my students about my own writing, I share with them both my triumphs, but my struggles as well.

Run a Sick Ass Blog

Daily Blog Schedule

Original blogging-topic schedule

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Two of my original headers for Fancy Oatmeal

Additionally, I use my own blogging experience to support my requirement for them to maintain their own blogs.  I run down the reasons for why students should write, always looking for new scientific and emotional reasons to further support my statements.  Here is an example:

MGUxMDU1NzExNiMvakFlSldrSWp5VlJpVEZrMkFXLXZDNV80LUZRPS82NXgxMjI6MTE5NHg3NDIvMTI4MHg2MjAvczMuYW1hem9uYXdzLmNvbS9wb2xpY3ltaWMtaW1hZ2VzL2NkeGVjbm54b2Z3bWpibHI4bm1weXFmcmxmbGx3Mm45OGoxdTVkODlsYWV0cDF1bjg1dzF2cTk0cWg5ZW5uZW0uanBn

Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Love to Write by Rachel Grate