Blogging in the Classroom

In my Education English class today one teacher-to-be brought up the discussion of using blogs in a high school classroom. She was talking about how we need to teach students what to post on the internet. This would be a step to teach students that they need to be aware of what they are posting on the internet. And that whatever they choose to post could affect them if future employees are looking for them. They need to be aware of what they are posting on the internet — especially on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Blogging is a great way to incorporate internet and get students thinking about their image in the online world. Instead of writing in a journal, they could blog.

One disadvantage to having students blog would be for some homes that don’t have the money for internet or computers/laptops. In my internship, I had a student in grade 10 who had a phone but it didn’t have data on it so he could only connect to WIFI. I’m not sure if he had internet at home but if I would have incorporated daily blogging into the class, he would have fallen behind if I didn’t give him class time.

However, I think if it’s possible, blogging should be incorporated into a high school classroom — especially English. I think it would be a great tool to utilize if you are able to as a teacher. You could give students topics to write about just like we’ve had in my ECMP 355 class this semester.

Padlet in the Classroom

I was introduced to a bunch of useful teaching tools that use technology. I was immediately drawn to the first one – padlet.com — where you have a wall and can post anything on there. Whoever has the link can post on there, too.

This would work great in any classroom because it would give students all students a chance to contribute to a class discussion. You could easily use it for brainstorming. For an English classroom setting you could brainstorm story ideas in a fun and unique way. For my first wall, I decided to do a “bucket list” style. Anyone could contribute their ideas on what would make a fulfilling life for them. I added a few ideas and I believe I’ll ask some of my friends to contribute their ideas. You can view and contribute to my wall here. Below I’ve posted a screenshot of what my wall looks like!

BucketWallStarting off a unit in English would be easy, too. You could have students brainstorm at the beginning of a new novel about what it was like to live in the 1930s (if you were doing Of Mice and Men). It would also be a neat to do as an ice breaker at the beginning of the school year.

I will definitely use Padlet when I am in my own classroom. Even if students are doing their own independent research project, it would be a fun way to display the information they find on the subject. It’s an awesome program!

Table for One – FanFic Assignment

“Table for one, please.” He says in a crowded Saturday morning where all the hungover kids scarf down their breakfast in an attempt to calm their stomachs.

Kevin Reowl’s six foot frame follows the waitress to the table and slides into the seat and stares at the other chair across from him. She hands him the menu and places a neatly wrapped fork, spoon, and knife beside him. “Anything to drink?”

“Water for now.” He says and opens his menu, green eyes lazily scanning the pages. He hated waffles and eggs and skillets. He just liked bacon and the odd orange juice. He’s kept one ear piece in and the other dangles around his neck. He’s supposed to, though. That was the plan. Go in, scope it out, and leave.

Kevin Reowl takes his position seriously. He works for someone who knows exactly when targets will be arriving at certain places. Then he’s sent out. Soon, she’ll arrive and the waitress has placed him in the exact spot he needed to be. Of course, the Boss knew that, too. He set an elbow on the table and rested his jaw in it, fingers brushing his short, curly, brown hair. He enjoyed sitting alone on missions like these. He was able to have some alone time to himself and think about his life.

He ended up with this position when a good looking woman entered his life and told him that he would be perfect. He must have looked confused. Perfect for what? Marriage? A doctor? An all-star quarterback?

Nope. An spy.

And so here he was sitting in a restaurant waiting for the next target to come into play so he could get the details he needed and leave abruptly. Maybe he would buy an orange juice. if the waitress ever came back with the water.

Whatever. He wouldn’t care either way. it was just something to make people think he wasn’t a creep or something.

Kevin heard her voice and his looked up above his menu. He glanced down at his watch and nodded. Right on time. Now he could finally complete this.

____________________________

There’s a short answer to that assignment for DS106: http://assignments.ds106.us/assignments/creating-your-own-character/. I could go on for a lot longer but I believe I covered the majority of the criteria of the assignment. I really enjoyed this little assignment. This prompt came from actually hearing a guy ask for a table for one. I found it very interesting and decided to write about it here. Any feedback would be great on it. Can you tell I’m an English major? This might actually spin into a longer story for another class of mine.

Something like this I will definitely do in an ELA classroom of mine. I would love to tell students to just listen to conversations around them and something might spark a story. I’ve had this happen to me several times. Just seeing what a person looked like had a story spinning in my mind and I ended up writing it.

Writing about a character’s likes, dislikes, appearance, backstory, personality, and what their place is like in their world is definitely a great place to start for a character. If I were to continue this story I would add in more details about him but this will suffice for now. Again, an assignment like this is a great way to get students thinking about characters for stories.

Another great place would be to ask students to think up questions they would like to ask a character who lives in their mind. Tell them to think up ten questions and not just basic “What’s your favourite colour” ones, either. I’ve also had to do that for a creative writing class this semester.

Overall, I love writing exercises so whenever I get the chance to do them, I’ll do them. I’ll definitely continue writing some DS106 Fanfic or Writing assignments.

 

Googled Myself

Image

Googled Myself

So I Googled myself and was pleased at the first few results that came up.

The first three links that came up are definitely me but then the next two after that…not so much.

The first post that comes up is my Pinterest page which is fine and I have no problem in showing to people. It basically consists of ideas for my future wedding and teaching ideas.

The next one features a poem that I wrote for the University Poetry Slam last year and I like the poem so I’m fine with people being able to see that.

The third one is of another one of my Google+ profiles — one that I don’t really use. I might try and figure out a way to remove it.

Further down the page features a scholarship I won from grade 12. Overall, I’m pleased and content with what I found when I “Googled” myself.

Standing up for Yourself

Recently I had a conversation with my cousin about students being bullied.

She told about how her nephew was being picked on and then he finally decided to stand up for himself and not be pushed around anymore. This young boy is only in elementary school and he was already being bullied. He ended up punching his bullies.

It was a very interesting story she told me and I felt sorry for the young boy. She said that after he stood up for himself, he started having more friends and began to feel included because he wouldn’t let anyone pick on him anymore.

I don’t think students should be reprimanded for standing up for themselves. Though I don’t think that punching and physical violence is the best answer, being called names is terrible and can stick with students through their entire lives. I think this video shows this best.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltun92DfnPY

Tech Survey Results

So it’s been roughly a week since I posted my New Tech Survey and I decided to do the results today and talk about them a bit. 

I had 8 responses total including my own response. 

My first question – Have you heard of Prezi? I had 7 Yes and 1 No. That’s interesting to me that the one person hasn’t heard about Prezi. I figured it was a pretty common thing for teachers like me to know and be somewhat familiar with. 

2nd – Do you like using a powerpoint program? There were 7 Yes and 1 No. I figured that in a world where technology in the classroom is being pushed, there might be all “Yes” answers to this question. Apparently I was wrong. I’d be willing to ask this person why they don’t like using powerpoint. For me, I find it really easy to just whip up a powerpoint and have it ready to go for my lesson. I don’t have to bother writing on the board or anything. 

3rd – Have you heard of Hootcourse (Twitter-based program)? I had 1 Yes and 7 No. The one yes was from me. As for the rest that don’t know about the program. I find it really useful for if you are using Twitter in the classroom and want a way to send out a tweet to everyone. So what you would do is you would have students sign in to Hootcourse with their Twitter account. It’s essentially like a little community that brings Tweets to one place and where you, as the teacher, can fire out questions and assignments without having to get everyone’s Twitter names in the question. Very handy. 

Number 4 – Would you use Twitter in the classroom? 6 people said Yes and 2 said No. I think that’s a fair answer. Twitter definitely isn’t for everyone. I’m not a huge twitter person myself but I think for something like an ELA class or Drama class it would come in real handy. 

5 – Would you use YouTube in the classroom? All 8 people said Yes they would. I believe it’s a great tool to use for Educational purposes. There is so much on YouTube that it make teaching and learning so much easier. You can give the students visuals to what you are trying to teach them. 

My final one – Do you care if students have their cellphones in the classroom? 

These were the answers: – No, as long as they are participating.  – No, doesn’t matter.  – I don’t mind. – Depending on how they were using it. – No, as long as the students are not using them inappropriately or at the wrong times. – I don’t think students should use their cellphones in class. – Not at all! I love to have mine! – Yes. – Not if they are using them appropriately.

Very different responses. I suppose it would be the individual’s opinion on them. I think that as long as you have some firm rules on them, then you should give them the choice whether they let it affect their learning or not. I would try to use it positively in my classroom but I don’t think I would ban them out of my room completely. 

Overall, very interesting responses from my survey. I realized that there is lots that people don’t know about! I’m eager to learn more about different ways of incorporating technology into the classroom in a positive way.