Thing 4 (Week 2): Blogging Begins with Reading

THOUGHTS ON “Why I Don’t Assign Homework” (from DY/DAN)

I like the links to other blogs. You can have a blog citing a source and then a comment in the blog citing a different source. A real conversation. I like that someone can challenge you and then you can think about what they say and either change your mind or improve/refine your argument. I think it can get pretty nutty with 70 something posts, but I assume one is not required to read every one, and you can probably get the gist of things with a sampling. The post has a light but purposeful tone. He’s working through his ideas. He’s informative, specific, self-deprecating. There is a dialectical aspect to the post as well. His current self talking to his older self. His “better” half talking to his less effective half. He’s clear with context, establishing the kinds of classes and lessons he’s talking about. He asks questions and answers them. He sums up, acknowledges opposing points, and leaves us with a big question right where we started. In this particular case, it’s quite like a persuasive essay. (In terms of the post itself, I’ve always tried to consider the work I give at night. As an English teacher, I think you can’t NOT assign readings. But there are probably some assignments I give that I could repurpose/redesign for the classroom.)

THOUGHTS ON “Teaching Brevity” (from Students 2.0)

Well, I was reading the blog and seconds later I’m visiting the Twittery site and envisioning future activities of that nature in my classroom. Doing much with 42 words and passing the story along. I’ve done a similar kind of thing in the past, and Web 2.0 might be a perfect way to reinvent and get kids collaborating on stories. As for the blog itself, great voice to it…self-aware, funny, slightly cynical 14 year old who seems to have genuine sympathy for all parties and just wants the classroom to be a better place. Again, the comment section allows for tons of readers to share their own experiences and in the aggregate one gets a sense of the general frustrations among students but also their excitement over particular activities that challenged them in new and different ways. (And I like the little pictures!)

THOUGHTS ON “How to Prevent Another Leonardo da Vinci” (from Wandering Ink)

I liked the top 10 structure to the post. It’s also great that this post was inspired by another post. One person’s writing leading to another person’s reflection and creative thinking. Then, with the top 10 list, the writer is concise, making a few bold slashes at typical pedagogy for each trait. It’s very easy to think about your own practices and decide where you fall.

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This is all quite fascinating. I’m beginning to grasp the possibilities of this transparent medium. Thinking aloud, sharing, linking, reacting.

At the very least, it’s got me thinking about the school newspaper I advise. This may be the year The Lion hits the blogosphere. That’s the first time I’ve used that word. Good grief.

One thought on “Thing 4 (Week 2): Blogging Begins with Reading

  1. I agree with your assertion: you can not NOT assign readings when you are a teacher of english. I rely on my student actors taking home time to study and memorize their lines. I do agree, though, with the basic principle outlined in the “Why I Don’t Assign” blog. Kids who really need to do the work at home don’t do it.

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