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.

1 comment:

  1. What a funny title for your blog (and the URL). You clearly have a great sense of humor Marsha!

    I know this first entry was particularly rushed. You have a number of great ideas listed throughout this entry, but it is a little hard to read as there are not clear breaks between ideas and paragraphs.

    Also, I am wondering if you would consider making the size of this middle block larger so your reader can read more text at once? Just a thought.

    I look forward to reading your next entry and learning more about how you think through your planning and routines for teaching reading and writing.