November 19, 2014 — Grammar, Language Arts, Learning, Reflection, Ruminations
When I was in high school, I diagrammed exactly ZERO sentences. In fact, I didn’t even know what diagramming was until college, when I took a Linguistics class well after declaring secondary language arts as my major. I remember doing grammar worksheets in elementary school, junior high, and high school. I remember learning tricks like FANBOYS (which maybe isn’t even a thing anymore???) and being confused by when to use commas. I also know that until I became an English teacher and researched it on my own, the semicolon was an enigma. (Now it’s my favorite.)
I also remember learning more about grammar in French class than in English class. I, without a doubt, learned more about how to apply grammar to my writing as a school newspaper staffer than I ever did in any English class. Newspaper staff is where I learned how to use a style guide too. Even though it was the AP Style Guide, it still set the foundation for using MLA and APA in college in the sense that it was a place to go when I wasn’t sure about something.
I’ve also sort of been blessed with excellent grammar genetics. I’m a good speller and have a good gut for the rules. Reading was a big deal in my household growing up too, so I’m certain I picked up on the rules of Standard English Grammar because of how much reading I did as a child and young adult. (Thanks for setting that foundation for me, Mom.)
During my language arts methods classes in college, we didn’t learn any techniques for teaching grammar explicitly. We were told that students should learn grammar through their own writing and that we should address grammar issues prescriptively. In other words, when we noticed an ailment, we should offer the student a cure at that time, rather than taking preventative measures, because discrete grammar instruction was supposedly ineffective.
So, it should come as no surprise that I really don’t know the best way to teach grammar. There. I admitted it.
I have some ideas, but I’ve been using the prescriptive method for nearly 15 years now and I’m not convinced it’s the right way to go about it. However, drill and kill doesn’t sit quite right with me either.
It is also less than unexpected that when I seek advice on best practices for teaching grammar from other teachers via social media that I get a whole bunch of cricket chirps in response. I have also done some poking around on the web and there are some good lessons out there … creative, engaging, helpful … but they are few and far between, and random. There isn’t that much stuff out there to help teachers teach grammar (in an engaging way). For example, when you type in “Romeo and Juliet Lesson Plans” in a search engine, something in the neighborhood of six magjillion lesson plans come up and a good number of them are effective. Not so with a search of “high school grammar lesson plans.”
Hear my cry, internet!
How do you approach grammar in your high school English classrooms?
I tried something new in the grammar department today and the lesson will continue tomorrow. (It may bleed into next week for all I know) … and I will document the experiment here.
What I really want to create is a bank of awesomely engaging lessons that teach something that is not usually categorized as “awesome” or “engaging” (in the eyes of most students anyway). If you have an awesomely engaging grammar lesson for high school students, will you share? Please?
Also, if you would, please share this post and respond in the comments below. (Please don’t share this with any crickets though.)
October 31, 2014 — Language Arts
Photo Credit: Brenda Clarke via Compfight
Right before Halloween, one of my sixth grade teachers sent me a post on Facebook leading me to an aggregation of two-sentence horror stories. She still teaches sixth grade and thought that while these stories might be a little too much for sixth-graders, as a high school English teacher, I could have some fun sharing these with my students. And I agree with her. So I did.
I told them how I came to find these stories and some of them commented on how neat it was that I stayed in touch with my sixth grade teacher still and that it was sort of cool and sort of creepy that she would send me a link to such scary stories. After I read through one of them, my drama students insisted that we turn the lights off. With my AP English students, we just went ahead and turned them off from the outset. The reactions to the stories were pretty good in that I think some of them legitimately creeped out some of the students, which was, after all, at least partially, the goal.
The other goals were to practice brevity in writing. How can we deliver a power-packed story with only two sentences? Which word choices will give the most bang for the buck? Which would be more effective-short sentences? long ons? a combo of both? We had an opportunity to analyze some of the sentences’ grammatical structure. Are some of these run-ons? comma splices? long, grammatically correct sentences? We also talked about formula. Was there a trick to making a short horror story work? Was there a pattern that tied all nine stories together? Which stories were the scariest? Why were they scary?
After reading through all nine of the stories, and having a wee discussion comprised of the aforementioned questions and their responses, I gave the students time to compose their own two-sentence stories. Then we shared them aloud in Drama class. (We had other things to do in AP English, so they just submitted them to me to be shared on a another day.) Oh, and I wrote one too! You will see some of the results below.
from Morgan Z.
That creep was still standing by the bus stop the next day. Even after running him over twice the day before, there he was, standing there.
from Hannah C.
He woke up from a nightmare in which a creature was in his bedroom. He drifted off, while staring at two yellow lights outside his window, except they weren’t lights …
from our foreign exchange student from Holland
De donkere nacht is nog maer net begonnen. Er tyn al 10 lyken geuonden …
(If you read Dutch, you are probably really scared right now…)
from Shaylee M.
I walk down the hallway toward the bathroom, only to see a light coming from a crack under the door. I slowly open the door, but I see no one there … until I turn around …
I woke in the middle of the night and heard a girl singing beautifully. I follow her voice to a pond outside, but all I can see is my demonic reflection.
from Jax C.
Marry had a little lamb; it’s fleece was white as snow. Now Mary’s dead and the lamb’s fleece is red as blood.
I couldn’t move as thousands of their little legs crawled up my arms, legs and into my moth. I screamed, waking my self up only to feel the little legs crawling up my neck.
from Sophia V.
He whispered, “Go to sleep.” So I did … forever.
I was walking though the forest as the sun was going down. I saw a tall man with a white face and now all I can give you are signs from my own blood to stay away.
She was only four years old and dressed in white. But she managed to kill me anyway.
from Tanner P.
One day I came home from school and had a hankering for some oreos. When I opened the package, it was empty.
I was walking through the forest, hopelessly lost, and my phone was dead. Then, out of the corner of my eye I spotted him: Shia Labeuof.
It is a tough job being a mortician nowadays. It is getting harder and harder to hide the claw marks inside the coffins.
Supper is the one time that my family all comes together. The only bad part is the main course will not stop screaming.
from Maria B.
Every night, the old woman would say goodnight to her dead husband before crawling into bed. One night, a scratchy, dark voice responded from under her covers, saying, “He’s not here anymore.”
As they lowered my little sister into the ground, i just wanted the funeral to be over. I couldn’t help but wonder if the coffin would supress the screams that were sure to start at any moment.
from Devin N.
It was Halloween night and it was pitch black outside when out of the corner of my eye I saw something on the ground. To my horror it was a person tearing the flesh from a dead rotting corpse and as I looked closer I said, “Mom!?”
And finally … MINE:
“Lullaby, and goodnight,” she sang in her raspy coo to the children. “When did Fluffy learn to sing?” said the boy to his little sister.
October 26, 2014 — 1:1 iPad, Reflection Tagged goal, Goodnotes, Google, iPad, paperless, technology
I have always been a tree hugger, both literally and figuratively.
This is me hugging a tree that George Washington planted at Mount Vernon.
Three years ago when we began our iPad initiative my technology goal was to go paperless over a three year period. Predictably hippie of me, eh? I wanted to phase out paper completely by the end of THIS school year. I have been toddler-stepping toward that goal ever since.
I deliver almost all handouts and assignments digitally through email, this blog, Twitter, and now most prominently, Google Drive. Students complete and submit most of their assignments digitally. The first year the students did so hesitantly and with raucous complaint. The second year it was about half and half. Half of them preferred to submit things digitally and half of them preferred the old-fashioned way of doing things. This year students almost exclusively hand in their papers digitally, without much comment, though we do struggle with a standardized process. And there will always be Luddites, even young ones, who just want to etch their responses into a stone and call it good, (or at the very least use a pencil and paper).
All through this process I grappled with the best way to deliver feedback to students. I struggle with feedback as it is. I have still not mastered a balance between high quality AND timely feedback. The students get one or the other for me. The closest I can get to providing both is the oral feedback process I started experimenting with back in 2013, but that still isn’t ideal.
Before I use technology in the classroom, I ask myself these questions: 1. Will it help my students learn new information that will help them in this class (and life)? 2. Will it help my students learn or strengthen a skill that I want them to have? 3. Will it serve to build or strengthen my relationship with my students and/or their parents? If I can’t answer YES to at least one of those questions, then I most likely won’t be using it in the classroom during instructional time.
So, at the beginning of this school-year, as I reflected on years one and two of my three-year technology goal of going paperless, I asked myself, Why am I going paperless? Is it going to help my students to become better readers, writers, researchers, speakers, or thinkers?
Is it going to strengthen my relationship with my students and/or their parents?
So, why did I go with this goal in the first place?
Aside from the idea that going paperless seems like the environmentally responsible thing to do, I am big into the idea that if I ask my students to do something, I should be doing it too. I’m very much against the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude, so I feel like I’m letting my students down when I insist that they submit their work digitally, but then I print off the assignment and return it with feedback written with a pen. I don’t why I feel like I’m letting them down and I have not once had a student say, “Gee Mrs. M. I was really hoping that this feedback would be written in digital ink,” so I guess I’m sort of making an assumption about what constitutes “letting my students down.”
I have taken numerous stabs at downloading every students’ writing assignment to Goodnotes and delivering painstaking feedback with my finger, a stylus, or a keyboard, and every single time I try it, I give up and print it out. Usually, by the time I break down and hit command+P, I am so flummoxed that I wait to give feedback until later when I’m in a better mood (and thereby deliver feedback much later than I intended) OR give rushed handwritten feedback that is simply not up to the standard to which I hold myself. I did successfully deliver quiz feedback via Goodnotes and Google Drive this quarter and that felt like a minor victory to me, but again, not one single student said, “Gee Mrs. M. I truly appreciated that you returned this quiz to me digitally and that you used your stylus to write your explanations for why this answer needs work or how wonderful my response was.” (Not that students are known for giving such feedback to teachers anyway. Ha!)
This is me hugging a tree in The Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, France.
So, am I attempting this goal for environmental reasons? (Sort of. Okay: Yes.) And, am I failing the environment if I continue to print student work and write my feedback out long-hand in ink? (Probably not.) It depends on who you ask. I read an article that said that really it’s not the paper-making process that’s environmentally problematic; it’s the fact that we humans don’t recycle enough of it. Now that my school district is recycling again (YAYZ!) I feel a little better about this. It seems that I should spend less time feeling guilty about things and more time reflecting on why I do the things I do. After all, I’m into the third year of a three-year goal and this is just now occurring to me … ??? (Did I just admit that aloud? UGH. True confessions.)
One of the most important things we do at the classroom level is give students feedback, so if my goal to become a paperless teacher is impeding this important thing …
I have decided to rethink my goal.
My new and improved revised goal is to run a mostly paperless classroom in which the teacher delivers high quality feedback in the most timely manner possible, even if that means sometimes printing stuff off and writing the feedback with a pen. My goal will be to use paperless methods where it makes sense and works well for all parties involved and offer alternatives when it doesn’t work well for someone (be it student or teacher). I will use paperless methods when it makes sense to do so and not just for the sake of going paperless.
The other good thing about this revised goal is that I’ve already met it! (Pretty tricky. I know …) I feel that I’ve succeeded because most of my information level and activity level handouts are digitized and students are successfully navigating Google Drive, Goodnotes, Twitter, and their blogs to give and receive information. And, my lack of success in delivering digital feedback 100% of the time has given me another lesson in empathizing with the frustration students feel when they have to turn in work digitally and struggle with it. And I don’t think there’s such a thing as a teacher having too much empathy for her students.
September 5, 2014 — Grading, Reflection
Photo Credit: Kristina Alexanderson via Compfight
On Thursday, one of my students bombed his vocabulary and sentence structure test. He seemed less disappointed when he found out that he could retake it and receive some remedial instruction pre-retake. This morning he was waiting for me when I arrived at school. We reviewed comma splices (and how to avoid them), as well as the complex sentence structure. He retook the test and I told him I’d have the results for him later in the day.
When I gave him the results, he seemed pleased to learn that he recovered almost all of his points. He told me that his father had texted him earlier in the day to find out how he did on his retake. When this student told him he didn’t know the results yet, his father, (sensing his son’s apprehension regarding the results, I imagine) said, “Don’t worry about the grade. Focus on what you’re learning.”
That is a remarkable things for a parent to say in the day and age of the Almighty GPA, high-stakes test scores, and an overall desire to “keep up with the Joneses.” Our culture has a general obsession with how people look on paper regardless of what they actually know and can do. We can talk multiple measures all we want, but until more colleges start looking at the student as a total package and actually using multiple measures to determine admission, and even more importantly, who receives scholarship awards, we will continue to perpetuate the culture of distilling people into numbers. (I realize this isn’t the ONLY thing that needs to happen, but it would be a very influential place to start. I also believe that those who run colleges are starting to recognize this.) We can push from the bottom, but what we really need is some top-end action.
I can tell students that it’s important for them to challenge themselves by taking more difficult classes, by doing their best, by trying, even when trying is hard, and I might make a difference, but when a child grows up in a home where the learning process is valued above sheer numbers, that is the most powerful influence of all. Learning is a lifestyle. What a powerful message–what a powerful gift–that father gave to his son this afternoon.
Many students spend so much time fixating on their GPAs that they lose sight of what school should really be about–learning transferable skills that they can take with them into the world (not just college, but THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD). Any time I hear of parents taking some of the pressure off of their children by assuring them that the process they are going through is more valuable than a number on a paper or in a grade book, that makes my heart happy. It gives me hope for our system.
August 27, 2014 — #EdTech, 1:1 iPad, Language Arts, Paperless Classroom
Photo Credit: Melina Hermsen via Compfight
1. When you receive an assignment via your class’s Google Drive, open it in GoodNotes. This will allow you to write directly on the document.
2. WRITE YOUR NAME at the TOP OF THE DOCUMENT.
3. Click on the title of the document to change the name of your document to …
ASSIGNMENT NAME + YOUR CLASS PERIOD + YOUR CLASS CODE + YOUR LAST NAME and FIRST INITIAL + .DOCUMENT TYPE
| WORLD LITERATURE
| HONORS ENGLISH 9
| CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE
| AP LITERATURE
4. Once you’ve completed your assignment go back to the main screen in GoodNotes and click on EDIT.
5. Choose your assignment, so that it is highlighted.
6. Click on EXPORT.
7. Another prompt will appear. Click on EXPORT.
8. Many options will appear. Choose EXTERNAL APPS.
9. Choose GOOGLE DRIVE. This will launch Google Drive.
10. Google Drive will ask you “Would you like to upload this document to Drive?” Choose UPLOAD.
11. Click on the “i” on the right-hand next to the document title.
12. This will pull up the DETAILS menu. Choose the “MOVE TO” option.
13. Choose our SHARED SUBMISSION FOLDER.
14. Click on “MOVE HERE.”
15. Google Drive will prompt you with the message “Move: Document will be shared in Folder”. Choose MOVE.
Now your document should be available to both of us. YAY!
1. Create the document in Pages.
2. WRITE YOUR NAME at the TOP OF THE DOCUMENT.
3. Go back to the DOCUMENT screen to change the name of your document. Click on the title to change it to …
ASSIGNMENT NAME + YOUR CLASS PERIOD + YOUR CLASS CODE + YOUR LAST NAME and FIRST INITIAL
|HONORS ENGLISH 9
4. Complete the assignment.
5. Go back to the DOCUMENTS screen in Pages.
6. Click on the box with an upward pointing arrow in the top left-hand corner of the screen.
7. Choose OPEN IN ANOTHER APP.
8. Select the assignment document.
9. Choose PDF.
10. Click on CHOOSE APP.
11. Choose OPEN IN DRIVE.This will launch Google Drive.
12. Google Drive will ask you “Would you like to upload this document to Drive?” Choose UPLOAD.
13. Click on the “i” on the right-hand next to the document title.
14. This will pull up the DETAILS menu. Choose the “MOVE TO” option.
15. Choose our SHARED SUBMISSION FOLDER.
16. Click on “MOVE HERE.”
17. Google Drive will prompt you with the message “Move: Document will be shared in Folder”. Choose MOVE.
Now your document should be available to both of us. HUZZAH!
May 28, 2014 — poetry
Photo Credit: Tc Morgan via Compfight
I would like to say that Maya Angelou’s worldview shaped mine, including the way I view what it means (and how awesome it is) to be a woman.
I love Maya Angelou.
She is and always will be one of my favorites. She was one of the LIVING poets that I shared with students. I love many of the things she said over the years during speaking engagements and interviews, such as the idea that people won’t remember what you say or do, but they will always remember how you make them feel … about how we can be a rainbow in other people’s clouds … about how we are only as blind as we want to be … about how growing up means we stop blaming our parents … about the greatest agony of all–bearing an untold story within oneself … about how we can change because of something that happens to us, but it doesn’t mean we have to be reduced by it … about how love knows no boundaries … about how we should seek life’s laughter. There is more.
I would like to say that Maya Angelou’s worldview shaped mine, including the way I view what it means (and how awesome it is) to be a woman.
MY all-time favorite Maya Angelou quote comes from my all-time favorite Maya Angelou poem, “Still I Rise.”
It goes a little something like this:
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
When I read those lines for the first time … I was just like BOOM. YEAHHHHH. Still. I. Rise. I am woman! THIS, ladies, is how you SHOULD feel … most of the time. THIS is how you should approach life.
Maya Angelou captured the POWER of the WOMAN. WITH WORDS.
The beautiful thing about TODAY is that from this point forward Maya will live FOREVER through her words and through the worldview she shared with her readers and loved ones.
May 2, 2014 — 1:1 iPad, Language Arts Tagged Beowulf, Grendel, social media, Vine
This assignment was featured in an episode of “Learning World” on Euronews. Check it out! Our portion begins at the 6 min. 30 sec. mark. –> Learning World
Photo Credit: jason via Compfight
“Playing” and “Beowulf” don’t typically appear in close conjunction with one another. Really “playing” and English class don’t go hand in hand often enough, in my opinion. This assignment is designed to combat the perceived stuffiness associated with old texts. Through play, we can find and make meaning–even when we’re beyond the age usually affiliated with “playing”.
What is one thing the big kids like to play with? Social media! In this assignment I ask my students to celebrate and showcase the language of Beowulf (in translation) through the currently popular Vine app. In doing so, they will be zeroing in on and mastering a tiny portion of a text that can otherwise seem daunting to a reader–especially a young one–and thereby providing a stepping stone upon which they can launch into deeper understanding of this text as well as other similarly difficult ones that they will inevitably encounter in this class and beyond. What follows are the instructions I provided my students and an example Vine that a student and I created.
This assignment is designed not only to look at the text “under a microscope” for greater understanding of it, but also to celebrate the language and story of Beowulf, the oldest written English-language story in existence. For this assignment, we will use the Burton Raffel translation from our textbook.
THINK. What was the most engaging part or aspect of the story? Who was your favorite character, and why? Are there any words or lines that especially stand out to you? What were some examples of kennings and alliteration the author/translator used?
CHOOSE. Identify a line or lines from the text on which you’d like to focus.
PLAN YOUR VINE. How can you bring this line of text to life in a creative, celebratory fun manner in 6 seconds or less? Will you use a costume? an accent? props? Will you need to recruit friends to be a part of your video?
TIPS. Use the following checklist to guide your planning.
Make sure …
… you know how to pronounce all of the words in your chosen line(s).
… to speak clearly and enunciate each word, so it is easy for your audience to understand you (especially if you decide to use an accent).
… to project your voice and speak loudly enough that the camera picks up your voice (without overpowering the microphone and speakers).
… to use a costume, props or “special effects”. It will make it more fun for you and your audience.
… experiment with different ways to deliver the line(s).
… practice it BEFORE you commit it to video.
Your final product should show evidence of planning and celebration! Have fun playing with Beowulf and friends.
UPDATE: Here are some of the results from this year’s group (2013-14 semester 2)
Here are some quote choices. You are welcome to pick others, but these are some of the ones I thought would lend themselves well for Vining.
The corners of the earth were made lovely with trees and leaves …
So Hrothgar’s men lived happy in his hall/Till the monster stirred, that demon! that fiend! Grendel!
He was spawned in that slime, conceived by a pair of those monsters born of Cain.
The Almighty drove those demons out, and their exile was bitter, shut away from men.
The monster’s/Thoughts were as quick as his greed or his claws.
At daybreak, with the sun’s first light, they saw/How well he had worked …
So Grendel rules, fought with the righteous/One against many, and won …
So mankind’s enemy continued his crimes/Killing as often as he could, coming/Alone, bloodthirsty and horrible.
He never/Dared to touch King Hrothgar’s glorious Throne, protected by God–God,/whose love Grendel could not know.
Beowulf, Higlac’s/Follower and the strongest of the Geats … /Heard how Grendel filled nights with horror.
None of the wise ones regretted his going, much/As he was loved by the Geats: the omens were good …
So Beowulf/Chose the mightiest men he could find, the bravest and best of the Geats, fourteen/In all
“Whose soldiers are you,/You who’ve been carried in your deep-keeled ship/Across the sea-road to this country of mine? …”
“Nor have I ever seen,/Out of all the men on earth, on greater/than has come with you …”
“… No commoner carries/Such weapons, unless his appearance, and his beauty/Are both lies …”
“You! Tell me your name,/And your father’s name; no spies go further onto Danish/Soil than you’ve already come …”
“We are Geats/Men who follow Higlac. My father was a famous soldier, known far and wide/As a leader of men.”
“A soldier should know the difference between words/And deeds, and keep that knowledge clear/In his brain.”
“I believe your words. I trust in your friendship. Go forward, weapons and armor/And all, on into Denmark.”
They marched, Beowulf and his men/ … until they could see the gables/Of Herot, covered with hammered gold/And glowing in the sun …
“Hail Hrothgar!/Higlac is my cousin and my king; the days/Of my youth have been filled with glory.”
“Now Grendel’s/Name has echoed in our land: sailors/Have brought us stories of Herot, the best of all mead-halls, deserted and useless …”
“My people have said, the wisest, most knowing/And best of them, that my duty was to go to the Danes’/Great king.”
“They have seen my strength for themselves,/Have watched me rise from the darkness of war,/Dripping with my enemies blood.”
“I swam/In the blackness of night, hunting monsters/Out of the ocean, and killing them one/By one … /Now Grendel and I are called/Together, and I’ve come”
“Grant me, then,/Lord and protector of this noble place,/A single request!”
“I have come so far,/O shelterer of warriors and your people’s loved friend …”
“…I alone and with the help of my men,/May purge all evil from this hall.”
“I have heard/Too that the monster’s scorn of men/Is so great that he needs no weapons and fears non.”
“My lord Higlac/Might think less of me if I let my sword/Go where my feet were afraid to …”
“… my hands/Alone shall fight for me, struggle for life/Against the monster.”
“God must decide/Who will be given to death’s cold grip.”
Out from the marsh, rom the foot of misty/Hills and bogs, bearing God’s hatred, Grendel came …
He journeyed, forever joyless,/Straight to the door, then snapped it open …
By morning, the monster’s mind was hot/With the thought of food and the feasting his belly/Would soon know.
But fate, that night, intended/Grendel to gnaw the broken bones/Of his last human supper.
And Grendel’s great teeth came together/Snapping life shut.
The infamous killer fought/For his freedom, wanting no flesh but retreat,/Desiring nothing but escape.
That trip to Herot/Was a miserable journey for the writhing monster!
The high hall rang, its roof boards swayed,/And Danes shook with terror.
That mighty protector of men/Leaped out, knowing the fiend was no use/To anyone in Denmark.
… the sharpest and hardest iron/Could not scratch at his skin, for that sin-stained demon/Had bewitched all men’s weapons …
The monster’s hatred rose higher/But his power had gone. He twisted in pain/And the bleeding sinews deep in his shoulder/Snapped …
The battle was over. Beowulf/Had been granted new glory.
Grendel escaped/But wounded as he was could flee to his den … Only to die
He, who had come to them from across the sea/Bold and strong-minded, had driven affliction/Off, purged Herot clean.
… the Danes/Had been served as he’d boasted he’d serve them …
Beowulf,/A prince of the Geats, had killed Grendel/Ended the grief, the sorrow, the suffering/Forced on Hrothgar’s helpless people/By a bloodthirsty fiend.
No Dane doubted/The victory, for the proof, hanging high/From the rafters where Beowulf had hung it, was the monster’s/Arm, claw and shoulder and all.
April 23, 2014 — Instagram, Mission Possible, NETA, Photography, Social Media Tagged #NETA14, #NETA14InstaWalk
All righty #NETA14 attendees: We have a mission for you–a mission of possibility–if you will. Welcome to the #NETA14InstaWalk. We are your task masters and hosts, Jodie Morgenson (AKA morgetron)
AND Eliu Paopao (AKA paopao)
and we will be guiding you through this most arduous, but rewarding experience.
We don’t want to flood Instagram with such intrepid volumes of awesome that it implodes or anything, though this will be difficult, because face it, teachers who spend time improving themselves for the sake of their students and attend events like #NETA14 are undeniably radical. That being said, we don’t want to overshadow the existing awesomeness that is already happening in the inner workings and cogs of the #NETA14 machine, but we do want to HIGHLIGHT it! Make it shine! Therefore, we are going to ask you to to do some reconnaissance–for the betterment of #NETA14 networking–and of yourselves.
Your mission, dear #NETA14 attendees, should you choose to accept it, is to use your spyglass, (in the form of a camera, or a phone, or an iPad) to seize the very awesome to which we earlier referred and share it with the world via the Instagram hashtag #NETA14InstaWalk. Capture the awesome on camera and share it with the world (or at least with us). Let’s make a tiny ripple in the social media realm and force the Instaworld and the Tweetosphere and the Faceplace raise their styli in the air, mid-swipe and declare, “Something is going on in La Vista Nebraska, and we want to know what it is.”
For simply participating, you can earn this esteemed badge:
That’s right: You heard me. For simply posting a single piece of insider intelligence–just one little picture on Instagram with this hashtag: #NETA14InstaWalk–you will earn this shiny spyglass inspired badge. We chose this spyglass to represent YOU, giving THE WORLD the insider’s view of the convention from the ultimate infiltration level–that of an attendee.
Next up? The Felicity Badge. What brings you joy? What inspires you? Who makes education a better place? Capture this in the form of these four TASKS to earn this badge. Make sure to include the word “FELICITY” in your post and hashtag it with #NETA14InstaWalk.
TASKS 1-4–>Post photos portraying …
something at #NETA14 that makes you happy
a poster sesh that taught you something new
a breakout session inspiration
- someone who makes education a better place
(Why the Starfish? If you’ve never had a chance to read “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley, you should. It is a beautiful story of inspiration, kindness, and felicity. This is why we chose this as our symbol.)
You know you look good. (Just admit it.) And so do your friends. Gone are the days of the stuffy polyester pants-wearing curmudgeonly teacher. Teachers are fashionable. Teachers have got it goin’ on. Make sure to include the word “FASHION” in your post and hashtag it with #NETA14InstaWalk.
TASKS 5-8–> To earn The Fashionista Badge take photos of …
hat you wore on Thursday of #NETA14.
what you wore on Friday of #NETA14.
good lookin’ groups of educators
- ANY noteworthy #edufashion that you spy (a la Kristina Peters–@Mrskmpeters)
Everybody’s gotta eat, so let’s share in the yummy. Make sure to include the word “FOODIE” in your post and hashtag it with #NETA14InstaWalk.
TASKS 9-12–> To earn The Foodie Badge spy on your own plate, and share photos of …
NETA is truly the ultimate networking event for teachers seeking to improve their practice and share in expertise. It’s natural that our friends show up to this event because we like to surround ourselves with people who love to learn. Celebrate these friendships–old and new. Make sure to include the word “FRIENDZY” in your post and hashtag it with #NETA14InstaWalk.
TASKS 13-16–> To earn The Friendzy Badge take photos of …
reunions–friends you haven’t seen for a while
new friends–people you just met!
session selfies–> (Think Craig Badura-@mrbadura-at #edcampomaha)
digi-friends (friends you’ve only met digitally prior to today)
Complete ALL of the aforementioned missions to earn THE HIGHEST AWARD available during the #NETA14InstaWalk–The Camera Totin’ Educator Badge–as inspired by Laura Gilchrist (@LauraGilchrist4).
Mainly we just want you to have fun and enjoy the conference. If you get a chance to snap some photos, don’t forget to include the hashtag. We may regram some of your posts. All of the posts will show up on NETA’s Facebook page and Twitter feed though. The hashtag will be the only way PaoPao and Morgetron will be able to find your pics, so it’s super important!
Above all, keep on being the awesome educator that you are, and if you have a chance to share your insider’s view of NETA, we hope you do it through the #NETA14InstaWalk!
…INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO INSTAWALK? –> CLICK ON THIS –> How do you InstaWalk?
…BADGES AND TASKS? –> CLICK ON THIS –> Take me to the badges!
… A WAY TO ASK A QUESTION? –> (Remove the asterisks) and EMAIL ME HERE –> *morgetron*@*gmail.com*.
… THE NETA INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT? CLICK ON THIS: @NEBEDTECH
April 22, 2014 — NETA Tagged #NETA14, #NETA14InstaWalk, edtech, Instagram, InstaWalk, nebedchat, nebedu
If you’re looking for THE #NETA14InstaWalk Tasks & Badges, CLICK HERE–> This Mission Is Possible!
You are cordially invited to our party, our #NETA14InstaWalk party, that is.
Later this week, educators from all over the region will be flocking to the the La Vista Convention Center for the premier Midwestern educational technology convention–> #NETA14 and this year, Eliu PaoPao and I will be hosting the first ever InstaWalk. We want YOU to join us.
What is an InstaWalk? you might be asking. An Instawalk is a photo scavenger hunt of sorts designed to infuse #NETA14 with an element of fun and whimsy, whilst offering yet another brilliant opportunity for attendees to network. Also, we’ve decided to gamify it by offering badges to those of you who carry out the given tasks.
To participate, follow these steps.
1. If you don’t have the Instagram app on your mobile device, download it from the app store and establish an account.
2. We will post the scavenger tasks in a couple of places: here on my blog, on Paopao’s blog and on NETA’s Instagram. Either check back here, or follow the NETA Instagram to see the prompts.
3. Fulfill the scavenger tasks throughout your NETA14 experience. Snap; share; search; interact.
4. Make sure to add #NETA14InstaWalk to all of your photo captions. This will send your photo to an Instagram backchannel that will allow everyone to see our photos in one place. Some of these photos will be regrammed on the NETA Instagram account. (Please note that if you have a PRIVATE Instagram account, you photos will not show up in the backchannel for everyone to see. They will only appear to those users who follow you. There are pros and cons to private accounts.)
5. This is for fun, so don’t let it stress you out! If you can’t fulfill one of the prompts, NBD. It’s not a contest; it’s strictly to make our conference experience more fun, so we hope you enjoy it! Everyone who plays is a winner, and even those who don’t play can enjoy the fruits of our labor.
6. If you’re more of a lurker, you can also watch the fun unfold by searching for the #NETA14 hashtag on Instagram (via the EXPLORE function) or clicking on the tag when it appears in the caption of a photo. However, I want to encourage you to pop your comfy lurking bubble and at least try one of the tasks. This will be a very supportive environment to test the waters of social media, if you haven’t done so before.
In addition to posting your photos, we also encourage you to comment on and “LIKE” others’ photos as well. Interaction is the goal here! You can also share your photos via Twitter or Facebook. Josh Allen has set up an IFTTT recipe to share these photos via the NETA Facebook page and Twitter and Elui and I will share some of them via our personal Twitter feeds also (@epaopao & @morgetron).
Paopao and I will be keeping our eyes on the #NETA14InstaWalk backchannel, and we will be delivering badges to everyone who earns them via shared Google Drive Folder! If you earn a badge, we will tag you on the badge post on Instagram and then, eventually contact you to download your very own copy of the badge to display wherever you want to display it. Remember EVERYONE who plays, wins.
April 19, 2014 — #slowchatED, Learning, Metaphor
This post is cross-posted here: #SLOWCHATED BLOG.
You can find poetry in your everyday life, your memory, in what people say on the bus, in the news, or just what’s in your heart.
~ Carol Ann Duffy
April is National Poetry month, which means that April is a month that ONLY English teachers should be interested in … right?
Poetry is for EVERYONE … even you, and you, and especially you … and your grandma, and your best friend and your grandma’s best friend. So let’s get this party started with some personal definitions of poetry. Nothing says PAR-TAY like defining words. #W00t! <smashes generic cola can into forehead>
Remember: It’s a party, so be raw; be honest. If you hate poetry, tell us why. If you love it, wreck a guitar and tell us about it. Wear a jaunty hat, and flirt with the idea of wearing false eyelashes–just for this week–just for our party. Also: Glitter. There can never be too much glitter. Consider all of this as you think up your definition of poetry.
I’m going to to ease you into this with a question, but FAIR WARNING, much of what I’ll be asking of you this week will not be so much questions as they will be TASKS or better yet … PARTY GAMES. Consider DAY 1 the ice-breaker-mingly-honeymoon-fancy cheese-and-crackers phase of the party.
Day 1 (Q1): What is Poetry? #slowchated
Lawrence Ferlinghetti said, “Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.” Carl Sandburg said, “Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.” Bob Dylan said, “I think a poet is anybody who wouldn’t call himself a poet.” Emily Dickinson said, “If I feel physically, as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” Rita Dove said, “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” Marianna Moore said, “Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.” Leonard Cohen said, “Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”
How do YOU define poetry? Feel free to be straightforward or … poetic. I want to hear from some English teachers, of course, but I for sure want to hear from EVERYONE else too.
DAY 2/QUESTION 2:
Q2.1: What is your fave poem or if you hate poetry (WHY?) what is your most palatable poem? (Provide a link, if possible.) #slowchated
Q2.2: Tell us WHY said poem is your fave or more palatable than others … For a bonus points, do an interpretive dance. #slowchated
(Yes, it’s THAT kind of party.)
DAY 3/Question 3:
PARTY TRICK TIME–>Q3: How is education like a poem? Education is like a poem because …
Q3expansion: You can insert any edu-term in there, if you so desire … Learning/Teaching/Education is like a poem because …
DAY 4/QUESTIONS 4, 5, and 6
I’m going to add QUESTIONS 4, 5, AND 6 on DAY 4 because I’m AGAIN breaking the rules … which sort of makes me a poet, eh? Eh? EHHH? I’m viewing questions 4, 5, and 6 as a “CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE” because I know that we are all busy people and there’s probably a good chance that none of us will have time to do ALL THREE (four really –hehehe) of these things because, as I stated before, they are more so TASKS than they are QUESTIONS, so if you would choose just one of these things, it would make me infinitely happy. I’m also hoping that by giving you a head’s up about Question 6.1 and 6.2 that it will increase the likelihood that more of you will do it (since you have three whole days to do it! Of course, if you were able to get to all three, you would get the PARTY HARDY award from this here poetry party.
Q4:Let’s brainstorm a million or less ideas for ways to use poetry (especially in the non-ELA classroom).
Q5: Write a less than 140 character poem about the topic of your choice and tweet it at us.
Q6.1: Capture a video of yourself doing an oral interpretation of your favorite poem by someone else.
Q6.2: Capture a video of yourself doing an oral interpretation of a poem YOU wrote.
Can you imagine what a fan-freakin-tastic archive this will be, if we all made a video?
POETRY RESOURCES for ALL Y’ALL.
20 POETS on the MEANING of POETRY
WHAT is POETRY? 50 DEFINITIONS and COUNTING
POETRY ABOUT POETRY
IDEAS for EVERYDAY FOR THE REST OF THE MONTH+
Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry.
~ Jack Kerouac