Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Entry #12

Prompt: Review page 1 of the syllabus. In what ways did keeping a blog this semester help you to meet the Student Learning Outcomes of this course? Is there anything else you learned that is not represented in the identified Learning Outcomes for this course?

I have personally never experienced creating or reading blogs before, so this was a new and exciting experience for me. The blog in particular allowed me a "space" to reflect on what I had read and how I was comprehending and connecting it to other readings and conversations (online and in class). I saw my audience as being a group of my peers that were reading and writing about similar topics and we could use one another as a reflective and collaborative audience for feedback and response (which also created a relationship between the reading and writing process through response). Although I didn't receive much feedback from my peers per se, I was able to read their blogs and interpret what they were saying about similar topics which was very helpful to me in understanding my own thinking and stance on specific topics (role of metacognition in reading and writing proficiency).

Although the blogging was a digital writing/reading tool that was utilized for this course, being introduced to wiki, google docs, and many other digital writing and reading forums had given me an opportunity to use them for multiple purposes which will help me as a new teacher extend them into the classroom for my students. With the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and the emphasis of effectively preparing our students for college and careers, the use of digital software is imperative. As a teacher, it is even more important for me to know how to use and manipulate these programs so I can implement them into my curriculum. Also, because of my experiences with this technology and the discussions with my peers, I am better able to know which is developmentally appropriate for what age group or how to modify lessons to meet the needs of my students.

Although this is not specifically part of the student learning outcomes, I wanted to mention this anyway. The genre pieces project was helpful for me on many different levels. I have had conversations, lectures, and readings about student motivation throughout my college experience and in studying English and Literacy education. I knew that student choice and motivation was an important part of student success, but I got a first-hand view of this when I created my genre pieces project. We were told to choose any topic. I was nervous that my choice would be seen as non-educational or "silly". Although I am a skeptic of sorts when it comes to the paranormal, I find it fascinating and am motivated to read and learn all about it. I created a blog that would document my own experiences with the world of paranormal investigation and it serves as a timeline for myself and my the paranormal investigation team that I have joined up with. I don't think I would have ever tried to pursue anything like this without having this class and for that I am very thankful. This is something I can take with me past the realm of Nazareth and into the world. Mostly, it showed me as a student and a teacher just how powerful choice and motivation can truly be.

Blog #11 -

Blog Entry #11 - Learning through the Genres

I have learned so many things throughout the semester in regard to the genres which have been presented and explored. I would have considered myself to be very knowledgeable about the genres due to my educational background and English as my content specialty, but it never ceases to amaze me that I am always learning new information and I will forever be learning in this field!

Some specific features of the genres that were new to me or that I didn't fully understand or appreciate were the correlation between persuasive writing techniques and letter writing (as well as most other genres). For both of these genres, understanding what your purpose is for writing was essential as well as knowing your audience. Persuasive writing is a difficult genre to teach younger students due to the need to be able to think about your audience's needs and possible opinions. I love the idea of using conversation to introduce, model, and help develop students understanding of "the other side" of the argument.

With the addition of adding more digital writing tools and opportunities, as teachers we need to be aware and prepared for the potential problems that some of our students, myself, and other faculty members may have. As teachers we need to be active in continuing our education and collaboration so that we may better serve our students. With stress being placed on better preparing our students for college and careers, more emphasis needs to be placed on writing throughout the curriculum and using digital writing is even more imperative.

Understanding audience and purpose were ideas which repeated throughout all of the genres as being an integral part of becoming a successful writer. Many of the genre presentations included graphic organizers to aid the student with identifying the purpose and details for their writing. There were also graphic organizers that organized what the students had read which could work as great tools for modeling and practice prior to writing in the genre.

I absolutely love poetry, but I do not claim to know everything about it. I know that there are many students I have had in the past that shy away from poetry because they don't understand it or it seems intimidating. The Bio-Poem that was presented by the Poetry Genre Group was a great example of how I could take non-fiction and historical fiction and make it more interesting lesson and project than simply writing a book report or essay about a person, place, or time. And for students that are intimidated by poetry, this gives them an organizer that creates a formula for them to follow. I always want my students to feel successful and I truly think formula poems can be great tools and the bio-poem shows that it can relate to non-fiction and multiple subject areas.

The descriptive genre was initially confusing to me as I had never heard of this being a genre in and of itself before in all of my time studying! After the group presented it made more sense to me as there really were specific techniques that are utilized while engaged in this writing style. Dialogue, figurative language, word choice, and sensory imagery were all techniques that I had thought of as being separate from each other and not necessarily connected. The descriptive genre does just that connects them. This was by far my favorite presentation because of the impact that they all have on every other piece of writing we perform regardless of who or what it is for. It is the pivotal point of communication. They are all connected through the idea that there is a need to know your purpose, audience, direction, organization, and ultimately understanding. It just seems like description is in everywhere ( including our own speech) and narratives and biographies are such wonderful tools in and of themselves for harvesting information from outside curriculum areas.
Finally, in regard to the actual texts that I explored for each genre, I found that many of the texts that I pulled for one genre could very well be used for another genre (hence the multi genre texts).

Monday, November 26, 2012

Entry #10: "Bless, Address, or Press"

Blog Entry #10: "Bless, Address, or Press"

This excerpt was taken from:

Entry 7: Poetry Writing
Kelly P. at Kelly P.'s Blog

                     After reading Tompkins (2012) and researching this genre for my  
                     group's Expert Share presentation, I have realized that there are so
                     many more different types and forms of poetry than I had imagined.
                     Before this class, I wasn't aware that poetry was broken up into
                     different types (within the genre) and then broken down further into
                     different formats/formulas within those different types. For example,
                     the "I Am" poem is a specific type of formula poem and has its own
                     "rules" and structure

I am addressing the same concern in which many of us are not familiar with the dynamics and the multitude of rules that poetry bears. Poetry is my favorite genre as I have practiced writing almost everyday in my collection of journals since I was eleven. I will often bring in my journals for the students to see that not everything I wrote was "right" when it came to the rules of poetry, but they were right for me. I also showed then how my writing progressed as I began to learn more and practice more.

I am a huge fan of the "I am..." and "If I ruled the world..." templates. I have found this to be great with all levels of students. In particular, when I was able to implement these into the classroom, my special needs students were able to participate with a scribe and didn't require extra time. I remember how successful they felt which in turn made me feel good because they could do it and have fun doing it too.

Throughout my educational journey, I have taken many literature classes (haven't we all?) and poetry always seems to have the most negative feedback associated with it. I love poetry because it is not cut and dry and one person's interpretation can be different from another, yet one doesn't necessarily have to be wrong. I love teaching poetry but I have found many students feel overwhelmed by it. Free verse and formulas can be great tools to start students off on a positive note and give them a chance to be successful.

I have always thought it would be important to let our students know that:
A poem, is a poem, is a poem, is a poem.,,just like the rose.

Blog Entry #7 - To Blog or Not to Blog

Blog Entry #7 - Open Entry

To Blog...or Not to Blog. That is my question.

I started my "other blog" not too long ago for the genre pieces project. It's amazing what a little motivation can do which Hicks agreed with as well (Hicks, 2009). I was originally concerned with my topic being too "far out there" and that I would receive negative feedback, but so far it has been great! I have also experienced first-hand what a little motivation can do for writing and your general outlook on the process which connects to our readings and previous discussions over the topics of student choice and motivation.

I have never done an actual blog with my students or even on my own, but I can see where it would provide them with an opportunity to not only experience and manipulate current technology, but to create something of their own with the authentic purpose of being published and read by others (not just the teacher). I had not thought I would have many people read my blog, but there are apparently many more believers out there than I originally thought. I am still hoping that they will start to give me feedback and possibly ask questions or give me advice which is another reason I think that blogging can work in the classroom. It provides an authentic audience where students can get feedback from other students that will help them to know what their readers are thinking while reading their work (which is something that many students find difficult).

So my thinking leads me to the question of how to best implement blogging into my classroom practices? Since I have never done this myself, I am wondering if any of my peers have done this? I have listened to other teachers talk about creating classroom blogs, but due to limited availability of computers and laptops, their plans were put on hold and I had to move on to another LTS position before I had the chance to find out what the outcome was. Unfortunately, I have also been out of the classroom for over a year now and am wondering if blogging has become more of a regulated practice in school? Some of my concerns with having students create a blog is Internet safety, teaching students "netiquette", and being able to monitor 25+ students on the computers at a time. This is where I am going to ask my readers/followers what their experiences are with this so far. I would also like to know if blogging and other digital forms of writing are taking hold in the classroom? Feel free to write me back about any of the experience you have had lately!

"Bless, Address, or Press" Blog Entry #8

Blog Entry #8

"Bless, Address, or Press"

While reading my peers posts, I found one that was written by Shawna Wright about the persuasive genre that we had done together for our genre presentation. In part of her blog she wrote:

                "Nippold, Ward-Lonergan, and Fanning would agree with Tompkins
                 about many things. They agree that persuasion is used everyday regardless
                 of age or where one lives. Even young children use verbal persuasion
                 to prove to their parents they should be able to stay up later. In fact, when
                 asked to generate an example of persuasion for our presentation I was
                 thinking to myself "How in the world am I going to find an example!"
                 I learned quickly that I have a ton! Even last month I created a
                 persuasive PowerPoint presentation to persuade my fiance to wear
                 grey tuxes at our wedding :)"
I thought that this was an exceptionally great example of how we were all feeling as a group when thinking of what persuasive writing is and what are the best ways in which it should be taught (and not to mention what grade level to begin). I too realized that I write persuasively on a regular basis. It is not always through the form of an essay or speech, but many of my examples are informal texts and conversations in which I am trying to persuade my daughter to come home early so I can go to bed. I write letters when I am angry and feel as though I need to get my point across to someone. Writing allows me the time to reflect on my thoughts prior to writing them down whereas conversation does not always afford those opportunities to think and reflect before you say something. I also have conversations when I feel very strongly toward a particular subject and am not willing to give in to the conversation or other persons side until I have persuaded at least one person to see things the same way that I do.
The research I had studied for this project focused on how we should utilize conversation as a means of scaffolding persuasive writing instruction. Even young children can engage in conversation at a young age when they feel strongly about a subject. Just ask a five year old why he should have a birthday. My niece wanted a bounce house for her fifth birthday party and a clown. Just a reminder here that she was only five...She took it upon herself to go online and get some prices of bounce houses to rent and what the cost would be. She even printed out pictures. She came up with a list of reasons she should have the bounce house at her party. She was still too young to be able to come up with answers to the negatives that would be brought up, but even with what she had researched and done showed that she was able to engage in conversational persuasion.
Personally, after reading the research, listening to my own students, gaining feedback from all of our peers, I think persuasive reading/writing can and should be taught in the younger grades. Readers Theatre could be a great way to help students experience and come to an understanding of opposing view points, creating contrasting drawings that depict the multiple viewpoints, and read alouds as well as many others. There are many books available at the P and M levels to demonstrate this type of writing as well.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What to Read? - Blog #9

When we first had the chance to choose the topic to write about for our blogs, I didn't have a clue where to start. Now, I am overflowing with ideas that I want to write about. I have become addicted to blogging! Not too long ago, I even started a blog for my genre pieces project that would allow me to document my journey into the world of paranormal investigation. I can't wait to have the chance to use blogging or something similar when I have my own classroom. This has truly shown me the power of motivation and choice that Hicks, Kucer, and many other well-known researchers have previously researched and discussed (Hicks, 2009 & Kucer,2009).

I am choosing to write about the genre presentation experienced. I always cringed when there were group projects when I first returned to college. There always seemed to be "floaters" which is what I called the students that did the minimum or just enough to say they did it, and there were others that didn't help at all.

Since I have been at Nazareth I have never had to relive any of those negative group experiences. I have also noticed as a graduate student, being more focused on a specific topic is more intriguing and all of my peers which I have done group projects have been absolutely amazing (and my group for this presentation - Danielle and Shawna - were totally awesome! I know very 80's to say, but they really are).

When it came to the presentation that my own group did on persuasive writing, I was stunned by the amount of information I didn't know about persuasive writing! As an English major for my undergrad and a graduate student in the Literacy program, I felt as though I should have known some of the concepts and components, and those concepts and literary devices I was familiar with, I should have had a more substantial understanding  of them.

After deliberating with my group regarding the information we had all consumed through our readings, it was apparent I had the background knowledge and schema to comprehend and apply my new knowledge (eg. all propaganda should be considered biased, underhanded or  shady and we should use these cases to model and demonstrate bias for the students).
I thought it was very interesting how much we actually engage in persuasive actions and writing as adults in our everyday lives. It could be through e-mail, text messaging, facebook, twitter, and some use the mode of friendly conversation, debate, reading, and writing as their career choice, but I personally also found I engage in persuasive conversation daily (if not hourly depending on my mood and my daughters actions).

There is still one question that I am pondering and which is one of the reasons I chose to write about my genre presentation for this open entry. I wanted to do the "U" level book for our group project because most of my teaching experiences (as well as my dream job) are at the middle school level. Tompkins (2012) had some recommendations, but nothing that really stood out to me or that I could get my hands on. As I asked around for some reading suggestions, I found and read a wonderful book titled, One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia.

In most of the "U" leveled texts I have read, persuasion was not "in your face" or clearly evident as in the case of many of the "P" leveled texts. An example would be Click, Clack, Moo by D. Cronin (2000). It followed the typical formula in which a position statement is presented (by the animals), the reasons and steps they took to make their position known and/or rectified (to the farmer), and then reverting back to the original position statement at the end.  The "U" leveled books had underlying tones which indicated the position that was being taken, and many of the reasons and counter-arguments were implied rather than clearly stated.

I also discussed my observation with Dr.Jones and she mentioned that most books contain some form of persuasion within them and many are considered multi-genre. In many books, the reader needs to be persuaded in some way. If you are reading this, think about anything you have read for your own enjoyment lately. Did it contain any persuasive literary devices?

Here is my confusion and main question; if persuasive reading/writing is considered to be one of the most difficult genres to teach students, why are there so many persuasive books at the P and M levels? I understand the process of persuasive writing is more difficult than reading and requires a different skill set and the ability to take understand multiple perspectives, but can we begin to teach our students at younger ages through the reading of these books (either aloud or independently) and the conversation that ensues after the reading is completed?  We can also use natural conversation with younger students to enhance their understanding of a two-sided issue in which they are defending a position. How young is too young and with the younger students, what is the best way to start them thinking, reading, and writing persuasively?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Blog Entry #6

Blog #6 - Open Entry

This course is truly fostering my ability to question the ways in which I interact with the writing process. I am older than the average college student, and in many cases, the ways in which I was taught the writing process varies greatly from those that are younger. I do not remember much about there being any specific model of the writing process in which to follow. I remember beginning with three paragraph essays and then moving to five paragraph essays. I don't ever remember being taught that reading and writing were a parallel process either (Kucer & Rhodes, 1986). I never learned how to do an outline until reviewing for regents exams in high school and I remember that if we were required to do an outline because it would count toward our grade, I would often throw one together after completing the essay or writing assignment.

I know that much of my learning to write came to me as being the "great imitator" where I could replicate and/or apply what was being taught when given a solid and tangible reference or model. Until graduate school, I was still very much reliant on examples and modeling to support my own writing. I would keep the examples next to me the entire time I would write and compare my piece to the example.

The only time I felt comfortable in creating my own pieces with little to no instruction was when I was given opportunities to engage in creative writing assignments, personal journaling, and subjects or topics of extremely high interest. Choice and inquiry is a major topic mange researchers and was discussed in Hicks, chapter 2, in the beginning of the semester (Hicks, 2009). A recent example of motivation and choice being an important factor in my own writing was when creating the blog entries for this class. For open entries, I found it very difficult to get started and I will have to admit that I often procrastinate because I don't find the process enjoyable. I thought that this was possibly my own personal aversions to not being familiar with blogging, but I created a blog for my genre pieces project, and I can't wait until I have extra time to add to my blog! It is of a high interest topic which supports the theories that motivation is a crucial factor in engaging students in the reading and writing process. Well...I'm a believer!


Hicks, T. (2009). The digital writing workshop. Portsmouth, NH:

Kucer, S.B. & Rhodes, L.K. (1986). Counterpart Strategies: Fine
              tuning language with language. The Reading Teacher, 40
              (2), 186-193.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Dear Dr. Jones,

Over the last five weeks I have learned more about myself as a
writer and a student and have had to consider my own purposes and
audiences when engaged in the writing process. As a young student
I can remember learning about the writing process in a five
paragraph format. It seemed simple and we used transition words to
move from idea to idea. I have taught many of the genres we have
and will be studying at the middle school level and had never
questioned the differences, purposes, and audiences that are
addressed in different reading and writing situations. I now can’t
write without thinking to myself, why am I writing, and who am I
writing to? Danielle’s blog title, Thinking as a Teacher / Writing as
a Student made me think that we are always students when engaged
in the writing process. We do not simply copy previous writings to
meet all of our reading and writing purposes. We are constantly
creating new writings and interpretations of readings to meet our
needs for the type of language transaction we are engaged in. I also
believe that we are as human beings, lifelong students; always
learning and changing.

I literally write every day, several times a day for multiple purposes
and to varied audiences. Every morning I have to write a pre-trip
bus report so the school district can keep records of the condition of
the bus, the mileage, and track the number of students riding. I
complete conduct reports to inform school personnel and parents of
student behaviors, and each night I have to complete a journal to
document any problems encountered other drivers. I send daily e-
mails and text messages. I read e-mails, traditional mail some are
formal and most are informal. I previously did not think about how
much I write or compose and to whom.

My previous writing habits were that I didn’t necessarily have
many. For essays I used the five paragraph rule and would
complete an outline to keep me focused. As I am preparing my
genre pieces project I am beginning to realize that I need to put
more thought into my writing than just the “rules” that were
dictated to me as a student. My topic is one which has me
wondering how I could write and word my information without
sounding crazy which is a stereotype associated with paranormal. I
also am very interested in trying to create a digital story about my
personal upcoming experience with my first paranormal

This last week I completed many of the readings associated with
the genre study project. The persuasive genre was not my first
choice, but I have found it to be fascinating. I had never
contemplated the difference between persuasive writing and
propaganda.  I had previously just thought of propaganda as
someone trying to sell you something. I did not process that this is
an actual form of writing and advertising to confuse and sway a
person’s desires and opinions without actual fact based
information. Tompkins explains propaganda as not being the same
as persuasion because “the word propaganda suggests something
shady or underhanded,” (p.253, 2009, Tompkins).  It shows how
important wording and the manipulation of language can be for
communication and comprehension. This is an extremely important
concept for our students to understand as they become more
interactive in the world as well as becoming young adults that are
beginning to make more independent choices, not to mention the
astronomical amount of ads that are targeted at children and young
adults every minute of every day.   

I like to think that I hold myself to a higher standard, and I am not
content with my progress so far in this course. I am not a person
who uses her personal life to make excuses for substandard
performance in my professional life, but the last year has been a
test of my strength on a mental and physical level. I know I have
already told you that my oldest sister attempted suicide (thankfully
unsuccessfully), but also my father passed away (I almost feel
strange using this phrase now that I have read about doublespeak,
euphemisms, and inflated language in Tompkins), and most
recently I have been the target of workplace bullying and am now
fighting to keep my job driving the school bus. I have been
contemplating leaving my job as a bus driver due to the stress and
impact it has had on my college studies as well as my personal
health. My education means a lot to me as well as my family and I
will do what I need to do in order to be a better student, teacher,
mother, and friend. I am going into the next ten weeks of this
course with a renewed sense of motivation and desire to be


Marsha O’Leary

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Entry #3

I find it very interesting that among many of the discussions we have had in class, a topic that is often brought up is student choice. For this week's entry it was free choice. Instead of making it easier, it makes it harder to take all of the ideas I have been coming up with while reading and participating in online discussions and focus on one of them. I felt better about my own struggle to begin the writing process when reading my peers blog entries that indicated similar obstacles. As an adult with ADD, I often have difficulty in scaling down large ideas and focusing on one topic at a time. One task I often engage in is brainstorming. This allows me to get all (or most) of the ideas that are scrambled around in my head down on paper so I can then narrow down my choices. For writing pieces, I will generally create a basic outline which will help me to focus on specific topics and details. For me, organization is a key factor in my being able to read, write, and think while remaining focused on the task at hand.

Technology has slowly but surely become a friend to me over the last eight years of my collegiate studies. I went from not knowing what a power point presentation was, to being able to design excel spreadsheets and even create animations. I am fascinated with the idea of RSS(Really Simple Syndication) that was discussed in chapter 2 of Hicks (2009). I wish I had known about this eight years ago! As I had mentioned before, organization plays an important role in my being able to maintain my focus and stamina (reading or writing). I created my Google Reader account at after viewing the video on When readnig about this application in the textbook, it seemed complicated, but the video tutorial put everything into perspective. I am currently using this to gather more information about common core standards and the genre pieces project.

So how can I use ths in my classroom? Although I do not have a classroom to speak of right now, I have had the most teaching experience at the middle school level and this would be a great tool for students to use when it comes to research projects and to find more information about topics that interest them. This is also a tool that the students can easily access from their home computers if they have access to the internet. Often, when students would use the mobile laptops to work on projects, their work was not accessible to them at home (unless they had an e-mail account to forward their work to or a thumbdrive). I would also have some students find a great article at home or school and not be able to find it again when they went to bring it back up (a problem which I have had myself).

Although RSS does not eliminate the need to search the internet for information, I feel as though this saves time in the research process and brings information directly to the user. I would even feel as though this could be implemented into SSR as the students are checking their readers for articles to read. Instead of signing out passes to the library, the students can search, find, and read in one location. One stop shopping! I just recently added the topic of nutrition so I could start to receive articles that may be of interest to my daughter who is studying nutrition. I am hoping that I may become inspired by these aricles too!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Given the three elements of the framework Hicks (2009) notes in chapter 7 - your students, the subject of writing, and the spaces in which we write - how would you describe these elements as they are currently present in your classroom and school? What do (did) you need to develop in order to make your digital writing workshop successful?

The three elements of Hick's (2009) framework that influence the way we teach writing are "the students we teach, the subject matter of writing, and the spaces in which writing occurs," (125). I have seen how all three elements have affected the way in which I previously thought about teaching writing in my own classroom. Most of my teaching experience has been as a middle school English and special education teacher. Both positions afforded me the opportunity to use technology as a means to support my students and their learning. Because of my own limited knowledge of some of the digital tools available, I had to spend a great deal of time learning about the different digital mediums and how to best implement them into lessons and the classroom. The librarian was a wonderful woman who mentored me throughout the process and gave me many ideas for future lessons. She also took the time to show me her recommendations and how to best implement them dependent on the unit of study and student access.
Almost every unit that was taught, implemented some technology within it. For an author study, the students were introduced to research sites and how to find reliable web sources. They then had to prepare a power point presentation in which they would present their author and information to the class. For another unit that involved literature circles, as a culminating project the students created a skit in which they recorded their performances and then placed within an interactive website where they would then be presented to the class. Prior to their being able to record their performances, they needed to write the scripts. They knew their audience would be their peers and quite possibly the entire school if we could get a performance broadcast on the Friday morning news. This provided them with an authentic purpose and audience in which to write for.
What I did not plan for was an actual digital writing workshop. I didn't have a specific plan as to how to teach my student's to implement this technology. In many cases, I had the expectation the students would already know how to use power point presentations and video cameras. I hadn't planned well enough for teaching those students who did not have the experience. I also think I relied to heavily on those students who had the experience to help those who didn't. I actually wrote this in a self-reflection I had written after the completion of one of the units. At that point, I realized I needed the help of a mentor to guide me.
I also thought the students would understand the needs of their audience. Hicks explains " digital writing changes the contexts and purposes for writing," (2009). I suppose these are learning experiences that hopefully many new teachers face. I look back now and realize I had only planned a partial experience and my idea of what writing was did not necessarily include the digital writing tools the students were using. An example would be I wanted the students to provide me with a rough draft of their script writing. I now question why I needed this. Corrections can be made digitally as well and the students would not have had to take the additional time to create an additional word document as their final copy. This would have given me more time for the mini lessons which would accompany many of the tasks I had assigned, which would have helped the students that did not have as much experience using these digital mediums.
In regard to space, I had the computers placed on the outside perimeter of the classroom with the center of the room having a table to meet with students individually. Again, in retrospect, I should have placed the students in "pods" based upon their groupings. This would have allowed them the space to become interactive with their peers and collaborate.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Entry #1

Entry 1 Prompt: As you reflect on your experiences teaching (or perhaps simply assigning) writing, consider what "feels comfortable": What core principles do you value and enact in your classroom? Time for writing? Conferring with other students? how have those practices remained constant over time?
At the same time, consider your familiarity with a variety if technologies including word processors, digital audio and video editors, and online writing spaces such as blogs and wikis. What are some of the challenges you anticipate in trying to blend the principles of the writing workshop with these technologies?
(Optional): In regard to the evaluation criteria for this assignment: What concerns, if nay, do you have about the way this assignment is evaluated? Is there any language in the rubric that you are not familiar with or that does not make sense to you?

Reflecting on my personal experiences as a student, teacher, and mother, I know the value of motivation. Motivation in every sense of the word. The motivation to learn, to read, to engage, to act, to love, to go to the gym...and the list goes on and on. In my classroom, I want this motivation to be constantly and consistently fueled. Through writing, students can identify strengths, interests, fears, and learn to take risks. The art of writing can be as unique as the individual.
Blogs and wikis allow for writers to share their ideas with a larger community and at the same time, these members of the community can choose to join, read, and contribute to  forums that are of interest or value to them. This in turn creates a continuum of participation through dialogue that elicits a response through reading and writing. Where I have been a fan of utilizing technology as medium for instruction, I often do not have as much personal experience with using these methods as some of my students do. This is a challenge I have faced and as technology continues to evolve, and I anticipate this will continue. When I have utilized the computer lab or mobile labs for my classroom activities, an obstacle that always arises is after group introduction and demonstration of the activity, when moving on to guided practice, there is only one of me and twenty-five to thirty students with their hands raised. Many of the students will have to wait for more instruction before they can begin due to their learning needs or lack of familiarity with technology. Often including a print out of instructions to look back on helps students as well as providing multiple opportunities to practice through examples prior to starting the activity. Then there are those students who do not want the instruction and are driven to begin the activity because of the familiarity with computers or the programs we are using which also poses its own complications.
One of the lessons that I composed a few years ago utilized a website which allowed the students to create their own cartoons. This was extremely motivating for several of the students (in particular the boys).
In the last three years, most of my experience has been with middle school students. Most of the classrooms were equipped with projectors and I was provided with a laptop, but in order to conduct a lesson that required students to utilize a laptop to compose or research work of their own, I would have to sign out a mobile lab. There were two mobile labs for the entire middle school and there were only two desktops in each classroom. In a world which requires our students to be proficient with technology, the schools need to be provided with more access. I know this is a problem for many school districts and teachers, and this continues to concern me as technology continues to develop by leaps and bounds, but the amount of funding for our students continues to dwindle.