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.

Get Rid of It

Just when you were starting to expect me to be a real human and begin to take life seriously (see my resolution to start flossing daily), I am going to introduce you to one of my favorite Youtubers/Podcasters: Grace Helbig!

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Here is a link to her Youtube page: Grace Helbig

I am most consistent with listening/watching Grace via her podcast, Not too Deep.

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I first became familiar with Grace when she did a vlog for John Green while he was on his paternity leave for his 2nd child entitled, “50 Ways to Pretend to be Smarter.” She had me hooked and I’ve been trying to step up my cheese game ever since.

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While getting caught up on missed podcasts on one of my favorite Christmas gifts, the Creative Woof 2 bluetooth speaker, I became inspired for today’s posting from her interview with Mark Douglas of Barely Political, a Youtube show I have yet to see, but will mostly likely in the future.  Grace plays little games with her guests that are both thought-provoking and totally ridiculous #RunningThemeOfMyLife.  The game Mark played with Grace was called, “Get Rid of It” where she gave him a series of categories and he was required to get rid of one thing from said category.  I decided to play along and share my answers with you.

P.S. – Choose your own categories that correspond to a text or character, and have your students complete their own responses to help them demonstrate their understanding.

Get Rid of It…

  • A holiday
    • Columbus Day.  Sorry, Mark, but I am stealing your answer.
  • A state
    • North Dakota
  • A human being
    • If can I get rid of a group of people (keep reading, this isn’t going to be racist) I would get rid of hackers.  If I can only choose one person, I would get rid of James Eagan Holmes, the man responsible for the “Dark Knight Rises” 2012 Aurora shooting.
  • A song
    • “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time” because I never do when I hear this song.
  • A color
    • I wanted a more specific name other than “Yellow Green” so I Googled it.  Even if you were a fan before, the suggested search terms provided should solidify why my answers is the correct answer:

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  • A TV show
    • I really shouldn’t be allowed to have an opinion on this topic because I am an avid Bravo/Real Housewives obsessed fan, but I would like to get rid of the show, “My _00 lbs Life.”
  • A historical event
    • All of World War II, just for the efficiency of saving lives.  If that’s too broad, then the Bubonic Plague.  If THAT’S not specific enough, 9/11.
  • A feeling
    • Misplaced Anxiety
  • A food
    • Raw onions
  • *A word
    • The “F” word that is the derogatory term for homosexuals
  • *A social norm
    • Shaking hands/fist bumping/hugging/air kissing when you greet someone.  It’s always awkward and I never choose the appropriate response.
  • *A body part
    • Under eyes.  I don’t understand why the skin is so different there as opposed to the skin that is adjacent to your eyes.  I also dislike how easily wrinkles and dark circles form there.

*My own categories

Inspired to Write

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  1. Name: Noah Stein
  2. Last name means “Stone” in German
  3. Freshmen in high school
  4. Has Aspergers
  5. Transfer student from Michigan to Alaska
  6. Parents are teachers
  7. Difficulty making and maintaining friendships, yet is not an introvert.
  8. Extroverted
  9. Started out in middle school as an outcast, yet has become the class’ mascot in a way
  10. Favorite TV Shows: Walking Dead, WWE, and Housewives of _______
  11. Avid Reader
  12. Wants to become Youtube famous for documenting his life using only electronics from the 80s
  13. Yes he does realize the dilemma with this; that’s half the fun
  14. Then he found the TV show Doogie Houser, MD – inspired to use a typewriter to become Noah Stein, PhD
  15. Fascinated with things from “the olden days”
  16. Obsessed with typewriters, VCRs, and peculators
  17. Began signing up for 5ks to accumulate the t-shirts, but never actually runs them
  18. only-child
  19. Best friend is a blogger on Tumblr who also reads John Green books, an introvert, and does not post pictures of themselves online – follows all of her social media accounts (Tumblr, Twitter, Goodreads) once mother showed Noah about them.
  20. Finds his name to be ironic.  His first name is an allusion to Noah’s Ark, yet his last name means stone, which is an object that cannot float AKA sinks
  21. Smart enough to get all As, but only completes work that can be done at home.  Prefers to work on projects as opposed to homework assignments
  22. Rarely does homework unless it’s a project
  23. Works on school’s newsletter – self-proclaimed school historian
  24. 5’3″
  25. Sandy Blonde hair
  26. 165 lbs.
  27. Signature outfit: wrangler jeans and dark gray hoodie
  28. shoes bought from Payless BOGO sales
  29. Obsessed with Montgomery Wards
  30. Grandfather’s pole barn loft is Noah’s haven
  31. Carries a mokesine journal everywhere he goes
  32. Always writing in notebook
  33. Writes about…new words he’s learning
  34. Writes about…observation he makes about others
  35. Writes about…fanfiction (WWE merges with Housewives)
  36. Sketches hypothetical scenarios based upon snippets of his day/observations
  37. Writes about…daily agenda items/mundane items
  38. Turns in most classwork assignments he actually does on typewriter
  39. Blue 1960s Retro Portable Typewriter- Olivetti Studio 44. Made in Italy

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