Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Do you know the Permission Man....the Permission Man the Permission Man..




I am on my second day of being a Stay at Home Lady. TRANSLATION: christmas break with the kids. After we all rolled out of bed, we turned on the TV and started watching Temple Grandin.

WOW! That movie directly speaks to autism but to me it also spoke to education.

Temple Grandin said "I am different, not less."

Different is NOT less, but somehow in education we seem to think that changing the traditional norms is less, but is it really?

What makes it okay not to reach all of our students? Isn't that inhumane?

Do we hear their mooing? (This makes a lot more sense if you check out this link) In addition to watching the movie.

I loved watching the passion and persistance that she put into her "squeeze" machine and the redesign of her cattle stockyard receiving gates. She created something and represented something that changed the world.

Aren't all kids capable of this? I look at the interest that my kids had in the story and how it relates to all of us.

Perception.

What do we perceive? Is what we perceive what is real,what is true or is there another way?

This is where the Permission Man comes in. Waiting for someone to tell us there is another way.

But where are our Temple Grandins in education? Who is going to barge in, headstrong and say... Now...this is what I observe and this is what we need to do!

We need to see what children do and design a school for them. Child driven - Shaped by the Teacher!

Where do children like to sit?

How do children work?

What time frames do they need?

Are we assuming that children work best with short isolated projects or perhaps they would blossum with long range projects?

I am intrigued by the ideas of something different....

"Different is not less."

In fact, I think it is a heck of a lot more.

Until Next Time,

Lit Maven Out!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Where the Wild Things Are...Meets A Christmas Story



Thanks to Heidi at work for sharing this video of the Christmas Story.

What worked for the Lit Maven?

1. Children telling the story in their own voices.

2. The use of technology to make a story more relatable

3. The music.

4. The costumes were fun and reminded me of Where the Wild Things Are.

5. It was cute!

Until Next Time

Lit Maven Out!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Who's Johnny?



Yes…who is Johnny. Where have all the characters gone?

Do you remember when we used to name everything? Dolls, stuffies…and then our cars. Ever ask a kid what their toy’s name is? They will say “Teddy” if it’s a bear, or “Doggy” if it’s a dog.

Circa 1984 I received my first Cabbage Patch Doll. She came with a birth certificate and a pre chosen name. Mine was Geraldine Georgia. I changed it after the adoption became official….

What is the point LIT MAVEN!!!!
Well my point is…where has the discussion of book characters gone? Where is the focus on developing strong characters? Is this lack of focus evident in the lack of powerful story writing? Is it possible that stories would improve if the student’s really fleshed out their characters? Would the whole story improve?

Brian McDonald has an amazing book on the process of screenwriting called Invisible Ink. He said the key to writing a great story is to really “know” a character and then throw something in their way that would be “the worst thing that could happen.”
Recently in a grade five class I proposed this idea of character + the “worst thing” that could happen.
"What if a girl was popular?"

“She could become invisible.”

“ Or another girl who was more popular shows up at school.”

Exactly, know you know your characters traits….the need for popularity…throw the worst thing that could happen at them.
Voila….Character + motive+ plot + need for resolution is established.
So perhaps we need focus kids back on the characters they know. What would be the worst thing to happen to Fancy Nancy? What do we know about her? What would be the “worse thing that could happen”?

Let’s looks at Shrek. He was a recluse and liked to do things his way.
What’s the worst thing that happened?

Everybody moved onto his land. (Remember, he’s a recluse). Someone interfered with his journey causing him to collaborate. (Remember he liked to do things his own way.)

These ideas should help you get started.

Lit Maven
Out

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Accidental Genius...Not Just Yet!


I am back. Yes the Lit Maven has returned from a self imposed exhile. My last entry was in June. June is a natural end for educators. Fall is the new beginning. I forgot to begin again on the Blog. I apologize.

SO what have I been up too?

Quick Update
In July I went to UDL institute in Harvard. Incredible information about new posibilities for learning and curriculum.

Also in July, I discovered a new blog Thoughtwrestling (blogger Mark Dykeman). This was the needed impetus for my new foray into ideas/creativity and how to finally get started on the path to self fulfillment.

Late August I began to sign up for Motivational Moments. Rock Thomas is the life coach behind these messages. This has led to a 10 week Secrets of Success course. I am not done but WOW have I made some shifts in thinking.

Recently I reread Accidental Genius by Mark Levy. With new eyes, I rediscovered the power of free writing. I am now on my way to finally getting where I wanted to be with my ideas and aspirations.

Please stay tuned for more info on my PLN-ing adventures.

Lit Maven
Out!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Laura Ingalls Teaches the Lit Maven a Thing or Two....Creating a "Just Right" Classroom


Yesterday I tuned into an episode of LHOTP (Little House on the Prairie). As in most episodes there was an image of the one room school house. Generally smaller kids were in the front rows and bigger kids in the back. Kids were first sorted on size but instructed on their ability.

In the 21st Century...we sort by age.
For example: Six years old in grade one.
By sorting kids by age, the assumption seems to be, rather foolishly, that the kids are all the same in everyway. Teachers bang their heads on the wall and are astounded by this fact year, after year when the kids are reading at different levels.


Was it tough teaching in a one room school house. I guess. But at least the teacher met the kids where they were at and didn't have the illusion of "age" grades to deal with.

SO what does this mean...
I think it means a shift in thinking about how we group during the day. Perhaps flexible groupings, through the day, through the building. Teachers no longer teaching a "grade" but teaching children.

Until Next Time,
Lit Maven Out!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Calvary Ain't Coming!


I am currently reading Chris Gardner's book Start Where You Are

Right into the first section of the book he announces :

"The calvary ain't coming!" translation...wishes are just wishes.

I think that is a mistake we all make. Those goals you have must have some action behind them.

Even those crazy movies of the 80's had goals. Let's take Footloose. Ren could have just gone through the motions, finished high school and moved on...
But no...
Not Ren...he wanted to DANCE.
He stood up to the Reverand in a Town Hall meeting. ACTION
He was shot down but because he made his feelings known, the lovely man at the mill where he worked...slighlty out of town limits said, "Have the dance Here!" ACTION

So Ren and his girlfriend, who was never in any movies after, that decided to round up the resources and hold the best dance EVER!!!! ACTION

After a necessary father and daughter talk and an obligatory "punch out" the old boyfriend scene...

They had the best dance ever. GOAL
...cue the annnoying South African Horns.

So what are your goals....are you waiting for the calvary? Cause they ain't coming!!!!

Until Next time,
Lit Maven Out!

Monday, June 7, 2010

John Connors and GaGa!



I found this lovely mash up in my google reader. I was trying to think of a post to go with my favorite book:

1000 Awesome Things


My Awesome thing today was finding a video that made me laugh. I know, small potatoes but I am consciously going to try and collect my own list of awesome.

What "awesome" thing happened to you today?

Unitl Next Time,
Lit Maven Out!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Learning From Simon Cowell...I know...CRAZY!!!



I hesitantly sat down to watch Simon Cowell on Oprah last month.
I admit I was intrigued about what he had to say.
Unlike most North Americans, I prefer Simon to Paula.
Paula was out there just to make friends, "you made it your own."
Simon was filter off, "you are not talented."
We need honest feedback.
I need honest feedback.
Who pushes you the most, subjective friends or objective aquaintances?

Another thing that struck me in the interview was Simon's reason for leaving,"I grew as much as I could in that job."

SO true...making changes in your career, does not mean you don't like your friends or the setting.
Perhaps the environment has given everything it ever will.
Perhaps you have taken everything from that environment that you can.

Be true to yourself.
If you want to know how you are doing, seek out those that don't have a stake in your relationship.
If you feel your growth is stunted...find a new place to set down roots.

Some thoughts to ponder.

SIMON SAYS!

Until Next time,
Lit Maven out!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

You Don't Need Super Powers to Solve a Problem



When I think of strategy teams, this comes to mind.

The Mighty Ducks helmed by Emilio Estevez
The Bad News Bears

The A-Team
G-Force
Power Rangers

Lit Maven read this awesome possum article Strategy Challenges and thought..."can I use this idea in the schools?"

Yes of course. I can't do it ALL!!! Surely not.

But if you assess yourself, target the weak areas and find people to fill the gaps you have the MIGHTY!!!

So next time you sit alone hashing out a problem, remember about the great teams of TV/Movie past and recruit!

Monday, May 31, 2010

SLP...Yah...You Know Me!


"A synthesis of the research on summer learning loss that integrated 39 studies (including three Canadian studies) revealed that, when students’ standardized test scores from the fall are compared to their scores from the previous spring, summer learning loss is equivalent, on average, to at least one month of instruction."
-Canadian Council of Learning.

The Lit Maven read this and thought, "What about educators?"

DO you have a Summer Learning Plan?

How are you going to keep yourself limber for the fall?

Here is The Lit Maven's Summer Learning Plan

1. Read YA novels.
2. Blog, at least, five times a week.
3. Tweet awesome google reader finds.
4. Read teacher resources on Adolescent writing.
5. Write a novel...

Yes, the Lit Maven sets the bar high.

SO what are your Summer Learning Plans?

Until Next Time,
Lit Maven Out!

Friday, May 28, 2010

No Previews in the Classroom!


Time wastage in the classroom is a huge issue.

"When stuff dominates instructional time, warning flags
should go up. This is true even when the activity, in some
form, has been shown to be useful." -Richard Allington

I went to a movie yesterday and previews got me thinking, why do we waste so much time on the "non" essentials before the main event?

What if students came into the classroom and started to learn?

What is with the announcements, broadcasts and collecting forms?

We need to take back the day. Get rid of those previews!

Until Next Time,
Lit Maven Out!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dancing With the Stars in the Classroom?



Ok...Lit Maven...are you joking? Where would we find the dancefloor? Would we have to use local celebrities? Could we fly the dancers in?

No...not literally of course.

The idea...is...MENTORSHIP...

Dancing with the Stars is successful for a number of reasons. But when you look at the dancing development of the stars...it's amazing! even Kate...
An eager to learn star is paired with an expert (mentor). Both of the partners put in long hours for a 5 minute presentation. It works because:

1. The mentor is passionate about what they do.

2. The mentor is aware of ZPD and knows that they have to meet the learner where they are at, to bring them up.

3. The learning is supported by a predicatable framework (Tango, Mamba...etc)

4. There is a gradual release of responsibility to the learner.

5. There is a sense of audience for the final product.

Lit Maven, you amaze me...

Thank you...but there is more.

This is how I apply this concept to my blog writiing.

1. Seek out blog mentors. My favorites are Chris Brogan, Seth Godin and ThoughtWrestling. I chose these for their content and process.

2. Seek out books on writing. My favorite authors are Brenda Ueland, Ralph Fletcher, and Donald H. Graves.

3. Read books written in the style you hope to emmulate. My current favorites are Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman and The Absolute True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

4. WRITE EVERYDAY! Those dancers...even Kate...practiced everyday. You can't wish yourself a better writer, you have to write...shocker! I know!

5. Support each other. You are a mentor and teacher throughout your whole life...embrace it!

Until Next time...
Lit Maven Out!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

If I Ate Dirt Would I Be Less Anxious


Well...close...

According to this article If You Want Smart Youngsters Let Them Dig in the Dirt , digging in the dirt provides contact with a natural anixety reducing drug.

"The researchers say we've become so urbanized we risk losing a connection with an organism in nature that may actually be beneficial to humans."

So does what does this mean for us. It means, instead of reading this post at your desk, perhpas kick off those pumps, shoes and socks and enjoy the post running your toes through the dirt. Turn all Shrek like and roll in it...if you must...or check out this book.

I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature By Jennifer Ward (Author),
Enjoy!

Monday, May 24, 2010

5 Ways to Use Shrek in the Classroom



1. In the new movie, Shrek wished his royalty status away. Have your students pick a turning point in their lives and write about what would have happened if they had gone the other way. (Use Wallwisher)

2. Write a backstory for Donkey. What "story" does he come from? How did he end up in that forest? (Use whatever you want to create this one!)

3. Make character trading cards on readwritethink.org

4. Create a movie trailer for Shrek using scanned student drawings or thematic symbols and ANIMOTO.

5. Use glogster as medium to reflect on one of the fairytales mentioned in the movie. Include history of the story, possible audio retellings and images.

Or make up your own idea. I promise not to stalk your classroom and check what you do.

Until Next Time,
Lit Maven Out!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Damn! Remember When You Used to Get Change From a Dollar

 


Clearly, being a Lit Maven, I notice signs.

I notice cute signs.

I notice loud signs.

And...

I notice signs that misrepresent info. (Or at least I hope it is wrong!)

Check out the above.

Would it have killed them to include a decimal?

A decimal makes a huge difference.

Would you rather get paid $1000.00 for a job or $100.00?

All I know... is that suddenly... I have to create an account for fast food.

I hope smiles are still free.

Until Next Time
Lit Maven Out!
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Look no Hands! Look no Feet! Look no......BOOKS!


Here's a new one...

Stanford is moving towards a bookless library.

I was thinking...ok...makes sense... grownups like books online...

Then I thought...ok but what if it trickles down?... as things often do.

Until next time...
Lit Maven Out!

What will happen to our librarians?


What if they replaced all libraries in our schools with a bookless version?
This is where the problem lies. Can you imagine the digital divide then?

Watch this one carefully...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Do Grades Matter?


It's standardized testing season in our district. You know those tests that don't mean anything but mean everything..

While planning with a teacher she mentioned the book
Report Card by Andrew Clements
The basic synopsis: a gifted child, hides her "giftedness" at school and at home to prove that grades don't matter.

Last night I dreamt I was taking a course where the marks were given online...not just mine but everyone else's, was there to see and compare.

Grades did matter in my dream.

In my dream, it mattered that the highest mark was not my own.

It mattered who got the lowest.

It mattered how many other students did better than me.


BUT...Grades don't matter in the way we would like to think.

They don't make us learn something better.

They don't always reflect what we know.

They don't tell us how to do better.

They don't really tell us what we do well.

So...do grades matter?..they matter to some.
But...should grades matter?...depends who you ask.
Who is the sheriff of grades? and Where can I get a hold of him?

Until Next Time,

Lit Maven out!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cancer and Literacy?


This title caught my attention today How Literacy is Like Leukemia"WOW...where was this going?" I thought... as a cancer survior.

This article speaks a lot to what is true but not said...There is no Magic Bullet in solving literacy problems.

Students are wholistic beings that require wholistic measures.

Filling in bubbles provides data but not the data that is actually helpful.

What do we know about the rest of these students' lives?

Lots to think about.

Until next time...
Lit Maven Out!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Need a Writing Prompt? Use a TV Synopsis


One day I was checking out Supernatural on TV. I have never seen a full episode although I am sure I would like it. What struck me the most was the synopsis.(The brief episode blurb you find when you hit info on the remote control)
Here is a recent one:
TWO MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT
"Crowley (guest star Mark Sheppard) tells Bobby (Jim Beaver) he will give him the location of Death (guest star Julian Richings), the fourth horseman, in exchange for his soul. Knowing Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) need that fourth ring to stop the Apocalypse, Bobby reluctantly agrees. Sam and Dean confront Pestilence (guest star Matt Frewer), but he unleashes a deadly virus upon them, so Castiel (Misha Collins) must intervene on their behalf. Dean has a meeting with Death to discuss Lucifer, and an unholy alliance is formed at a very high price for Dean"
WOW! And I thought I had rough days!
Truly having not seen this show, I could use this prompt as a writing exercise.
1. Focus on the prequel...what happened before these Shenanigans?
2. Create a characterization...
3. Doodle a picture of the ring and write a story of its origins.
4. Write the dialogue between Death and Dean...or another character of choice.
5. Explain the possible significance of the title..
If you have any others, please leave them in the comment box below.

SO...on days when you are stuck..."What should I write about today?"

Just flick on your TV or search the internet for episode guide. Be sure to pick a show that you have "no clue" about.

Have fun!
Jus stay out of the way of Pestilence!

Until next time..

Lit Maven Out!

Monday, May 10, 2010

What Lady Gaga Taught Me About Writing



1. Start with a catchy lead.....

Ra-Ra-Uh UH Ahhhh

2. Create vivid images.

3. Be a shoulder above the rest.

4. Find a mentor...pick the old guy...not a candle in the wind.

5. Stand out! Highlight what you do well.

I am not suggesting that I am now without any writing issues. It's safe to say that I do feel slightly better about myself...or is that my Poker face?

Until Next Time...

Lit Maven Out!

Friday, May 7, 2010

5 Ways to Put Language Arts on Stage


Sorry I have been away a couple of days...

I had the opportunity to help out at our Districts' Celebration of the Arts (Music, Drams, Art). Amazing does not even touch the surface of the talent in our district. It got me to thinking...how do we celebrate language arts...do we do this enough?

5 Ways to Put Language Arts on Stage

1. Have students create a reader's theatre and perform it in front of other classrooms.

2. Students can write the school plays for the yearly concerts.

3. Many schools in our district have a morning broadcast. Have students create persuasive ads or commercials celebrating upcoming events.

4. Have a section of the school newsletter where students have a place to add their voices.

5. Think outside the "book". Stretch yourself as an educator. There are many forms of writing, presenting and speaking.

Here are some ideas to start with...maybe you have some others to share.

Lit Maven Out!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mean Girls Meets Mother's Day Tea


Yesterday I was blessed to be honored at my son's Mother's Day Tea...it was lovely...but something still bugs me...one of the moms!

Wit a movie with Emma Thompson, is about a doctor with cancer. She experiences first hand what it is like to be a patient.

As an educator for 10 plus years, I am now experiencing life on the otherside of the classroom door ...as a parent.

SO what was the problem Lit Maven?

Well, at first it was lovely..the tableclothes, the goodies...All Good!

Then finding your nametag on a table...All Good!

Another parent coming in behind...finding her nametage on another table and announcing..."I got the good table!"...Not Good!

Really!!! Thought the Lit Maven..."good" as in your other cronies are with you! (Okay that was dramatic)

She proceeded to chat with the moms at an adjoining table, while the rest of us sat quietly waiting for our children to come in and sing.

SO when did junior high end for these people?

No..The Lit Maven...is not at school everyday to hang out...but is she still fun to be with!

I can make a "good" table.

I thought the feeling of working versus stay at home mom was over...guess not!

SO what did this teach the Lit Maven...what did I learn?

If I had a do-over?

Well you can't go back, but I would have introduced myself and chatted with the other quiet moms..I would have led by example...



Have a great day!
Lit Maven Out

Monday, May 3, 2010

You can Pick Your Friends....and You Can Pick Your Nose...


But you can't pick your friend's nose! Another week and another motivational speech from Rock Thomas. This week's messgage is Peer Group. How do we get better at anything? By surrounding ourselves with teachers/leaders who are better-smarter-more knowledgeable than we are, we can expect some change. When we are the most knowledgeable we can help others and bring them up but who brings us up? Think about it...if the Karate Kid had relied on his friends he would still be encased in a shower curtain. Instead he sought out the help of Mr. Miyagi and real change started to happen. So whenever you are up to learning something new, seek out some new peers. Not just the ones in your city, but reach out on Twitter, join a Ning...You can do it...you can pick your friends...but not their nose!

Until Next Time,
Lit Maven Out!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Key to Changing the Teaching Profession


Just got my new copy of Educational Leadership. Love the new issue. Focusing in on teachers, "Are we going grey or green?".

A great tidbit was an article on "Preparing to Teach Digitally". Here is the link to the wiki mentioned in the article.

"In fact, one of the saddest but most common conditions in elementary school computer labs (when they exist in the developing world), is the children are being trained to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint. I consider that criminal, because children should be making things, communicating, exploring, sharing,not running office automation tools."



---Nicholas Negroponte, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab

Monday, April 26, 2010

Let's Start at the Very Beginning



How do you hook your readers in? On my pursuit to make it to the oscars, I have dusted off my rough copy manuscript for a Young Adult novel. It has sat their miserably looking at me because I didn't know how to revise. The Lit Maven has an extensive bookshelf of writing books. I should have enough information...but can you really have enough information?

Here's a great one that I pulled off my shelf Hooked by Les Edgerton. If you are like me and you have no idea what to do after your first draft, this book gives you a start at possible structural trouble shooting. If you get a chance...check it out...you will be Hooked...

Unitl Next Time
Lit Maven Out!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Just A Spoon Full of Trailers Helps the Medicine Go Down....

Here is something creepy to start off your Friday. Did Mary Poppins have references? I think someone forgot to check!




Have a great weekend!
Lit Maven Out!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Twitter Chats for Writers



Here is a link to Twitter chats for writers.


Compact writer chat schedule (for details, read further down on page):
EVERY DAY: #amwriting, #writegoal, #writingparty plus others (see hashtag list below)
SUNDAYS: #writechat, #scriptchat
MONDAYS: #litchat, #journchat, #ThrillerChat
TUESDAYS: #kidlitchat, #poettues, #FaithLitChat,
WEDNESDAYS: #litchat, #memoirchat, #wnw, #yalitchat
THURSDAYS: #bookmarket, #JournalChat, #poetry, #dnchat, #kidlitart, #scribechat
FRIDAYS: #followreader, #fridayflash, #litchat, #scifichat, #StoryFriday
SATURDAYS: #ScreenwritingSaturday

Also check out there Writer's Guide to Twitter!

Lit Maven Out!

"The Fortune is in the Follow Up"-Rock Thomas


I subscribe to Rock Thomas' motivational chats. These are mostly about business. But who said education wasn't a business? How can this weeks topic help you in the schools.


The Fortune is in the Follow Up


Oh Lit Maven...what are you talking about?

Well as I see it. Helping someone else out is great. That's part of my job. But what if I followed up more. Did what I suggest work? Was I perhaps unclear? Can I do a better job next time?

What can we possibly learn from one visit?

So next time you help a colleague, a student or even a family member. Follow up!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What George Clooney Taught Me About Web 2.0




1. Choose your wigets wisely, you don't want your blog to look like a bad batman costume.

2. Create a strong PLN. Ocean's 11 would not have been the same as Ocean's 2.

3. Have a great profile pic. Smile...alot.

4. Look professional. Wear a suit everywhere you go.

5. Don't be limited in your role. If you want to learn how to write, act and direct...GO FOR IT!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What Super Grover Taught Me About Blogging



1. Just get in the air...don't worry that you might fall, you might soar too.
2. Look for people to help, don't just stay at home, get out there.
3. Dress the part. What does your blog say about you? Does it scream SUPER?
4. Make an entrance. Crash landing is effective if it garners some attention. Don't take your blog so seriously!
5. Keep talking. Eventually you will figure out what you want to say. Those left standing will be glad you did.

Until next time,
LIT MAVEN OUT!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Literacy Junkie! Time to Rehab Your Collection


IMG00061-20100408-1831
Originally uploaded by LitChick35
Last week we had a vortex of garbage spiraling around the city. I snapped this pic of a tree outside a cafe, with 6 bags hanging off the branches. SO...this brings me to my point. DO you really need those files of "just in case" activites hanging off your literacy tree? Is it possible you could be a paperless teacher? Here's a strategy:
Put a sticky on every activity file you look through. At the end of the year check for the stickies...no stickie, no keepie!
I think we need to get away from the just in case. Ever move classrooms? Do we really need all that stuff?

Until next time...
Lit Maven OUT!!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What Words Do Educators Love Too Much?

Inspired by a post on After Deadline, which words are overused in education?

Please note, the words mentioned below are good words. They did not harm anyone...but they have a severe cringe factor due to their overuse, not their value.

Let me start:


1. Differentiation
2. 21st Century Learners
3. Digital Natives
4. YOUR TURN

When You Find the Time....There's "After Deadline"


Thanks to my friends at the English Companion Ning, I found out about the NY Times Blog called After Deadline.
About This Blog
To better inform readers of the story behind each story, Times Topics blog provides access to the contents of NYTimes.com and the most informative sources on the Web on hundreds of subjects. This blog provides a place for informed discussion about the events and circumstances that shape the news and lets readers in on those conversations.


Check it out!
Lit Maven Out!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Don’t You, Forget to Tweet Me…Don’t, Don’t, Don’t You….Forget to Tweet Me (Post 10 Reflection)



 

January seems so long ago. Back then I was Web 1.0, so "old" school. Now I am Web 1.999…

As I sat thinking about this post, among all the other crazy thoughts came John Hughes. Oh Lit Maven! Too much book glue!

Stay with me here.

I am fluent in all things John Hughes. I am still waiting for Jake Ryan to be waiting for me outside my church. But I am happily married and I wouldn't want to clean his messy house.

Those of you not familiar, John Hughes has contributed to great films such as:

Sixteen candles

Pretty in Pink

Breakfast Club

Uncle Buck

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Home Alone

All of these movies have limited to no technology. If Web 2.0 would have existed, Ferris Bueller would have tweeted he was sick, Steph would have noticed Andie
on Facebook and told Blaine about her "other side of the track" friends. The kids in the Breakfast Club would have collaborated on a wiki document or GoogleDocs, instead of a piece of paper. Photos from the party at Jake's House would have been uploaded onto Flickr or Facebook during the party.

So this reflective post will be called…

5 Ways John Hughes' Movies Reflect My Web 2.0 Journey

  1. Home Alone with E-Class

I cannot tell a lie. This course SCARED me! The outline was menacing…menacing I tell you. I wasn't sure what I was thinking. Could I even get through? Would I be accepted on the web?

My previous PLN (Personal Learning Network) was made up of me, myself and I.

E-mail and I were tight friends.

"Oh, Hi Amazon, What's that? You have a book you think I would like? How nice of you?"

"Hi there Stenhouse Publishers! Wow, new titles. How do, you read my mind?"

"Oh EPL, are my books due…how sweet for the reminder."

Then the course happened!

Pandoras box from Michael Flückiger on Vimeo.



 


 

Warlick (2009) states "PLNs open up doors to sources of information that were not even available a few years ago, and continually evolving technologies are making it easier to capture and tame the resulting information overload."


 

Key words OPEN UP DOORS….INFORMATION OVERLOAD.


 

Pandora's Box------PLN…similarity…I think so….


 

Initially I wanted to clone myself… like Michael Keaton in Multiplicity.


 

But we all know how that worked out. The more you replicate, the more "special" you get. Not to say I wasn't "special" at times.

Hijazzi (2004) states "....While the amount of information increases at an exponential rate, we still have the same number of hours every day" (p.121). That was evident right away. Checking in and discovering all the unread blog posts and class discussions.


 

The panic was echoed by classmates who developed coping strategies, such as Pauline (ED ES 501) who suggests, "Using Excel I have made myself a check list of all the things I need to check out with the days of the week running across the top. This way I can keep track of whose blog I've commented on, what sites I've checked out, etc. I'll try this method and see how it goes." This course took organization to a new level.


 

Gradually I got used to the flow of the course. Still my PLN in "real" life was just not this crazy. I explained my studies to other co-workers and got the blank stares or the "sour" faces. Sour as in, "WOW…that sounds like a lot of work" followed by a whiskey face.


 

I did start this course feeling isolated, overwhelmed, tethered to a laptop. My dreams became disjointed to the point that I started reading fiction before bed to get my brain back to normal.

I felt left behind on Friday nights when the family was eating popcorn and relaxing…HOW DARE THEY?    

Like Kevin, I developed strategies, I made a plan and I reached out to my new network, the Breakfast 2.0 Club.

2.Breakfast (2.0)Club

So there we were the Consultant, the X-Ray Tech Teacher, the Primary Teacher, The Phys Ed Teacher, The Doctorate Student, The Librarians, the Professor and…what ever happened to Mary Ann?

…All thrown together in the Web 2.0 club.

The professor told us to write a blog post telling her who we thought we were…

The shyness began to melt away as we bonded over common tools and other course related anxieties.

Podcasting was the "devil's" tool and we realized that perhaps LAME was a great summary of that.

My classmates were the start of my PLN. Through their blog posts and discussions on elluminate, I discovered that there is strength in numbers.

Our first area of consensus was trying to get a handle on our networks.

How did we take in all that information?

Rob (EDES 501) had this to say," I find that most of my reading is typically the comments sections of blogs that help me to get a better feel for what other users are doing with the knowledge, and how they are responding to the world we live in."

Brad (EDES 501) echoed all our feelings with,"
I read for both learning and understanding. It depends on what I am reading and like anything else, it depends on my interest level in the material. If a printed article is boring, I am not going to get anymore out of it than an online digital one."

I was proud of myself this course. I printed only a handful of articles. It's a strong possibility that I am an official "online" reader. However with fiction, I am right there with Nancy (EDES 501) who stated "Love the touch, sight, physicality of the book, still."

Hijazi (2004) refers to the possibility "… that every new technology is introduced with the hope of replacing an old one, but what happened is the "new" technology will be added to the existing list of others and the "old" and the competing one will 'adapt' " (p.122). I think that for me and my classmates, the new tools and information were overwhelming. For the most part, Web 2.0 did not replace old tools but merely added to the pile and conflicted with our loyalty to the old ways. However that may change over time as Tom (EDES 501) noted, "As with most things [tools] we have been exposed to this semester I just need some more time to "play"."




 


 

Hijazi (2004) speaks of learning to understand the difference between data, information and knowledge. I think that I was always trying to internalize and create meaning with everything I read. Gradually I realized that some information was irrelevant, thus mentally discarded. Some was "taggable". Yet the few keepers where posted and Tweeted about. This was where the thinking and the knowledge creation occurred and was truly remembered. This process is what our students are going through, sifting and sorting through barrages of information.


 

This comment was retrieved from a comment posted on PLN: Your Personal Network Made Easy "Online learning can be very serendipitous. You have to leave behind the worry that you are going to "miss" something, because something is always going on!"
Gradually pressing the "Mark all as read button" in Google reader became less guilt ridden and at times rebellious!

Tom (EDES 501) said it best with this tip,"
I think for students I would stress this skimming, tagging, marking as fave techniques. This way they can go through a lot of material and locate enough articles related to their topic to get a good start on any project." Yes and I think we all finally learned this, I hope, but still I continue to read so fast like the blogs might self destruct.

So how do you use these networks?

3.
Sixteen Candles (burning at both ends)

Sam loves Jake.

Farmer Ted loves Sam.

Sam tells Ted about Jake.

Jake tells Ted about Sam.

Sam and Jake find each other. (Then there is that cool make a birthday wish scene, totally diverted from the topic here.)

Towards the end of this course, networking and connections became everything.

Nings. Tweets. Staying in the loop. Talking to others you may never have met before. Throwing questions out to people. Networking. Joining in on hashtag discussions etc.

If Sam had not made her intentions known and networked, Jake would have been left with Carolyn, uneven hair and all!

Janet Abruzzo asks in her blog post "Why do we connect?"


 

Indeed, there is a commitment involved with establishing a PLN.

Warlick (2009) states "Working your PLN involves a great deal of responsibility because you are almost certainly part of someone else's network" (p. 16). I had never thought of this, in this way. Of course, they attach to you. They expect something in return. All the networks I am in are not as patient as my Facebook friends. There is a level of commitment implied or otherwise. At the end of this course, I think I will have to pare down my participation in Nings. Still, difficult to decide, which is in? Which is out?


 


 


Warlick (2009) makes the point that as educators we need to be learners ourselves. We owe it to our students to be up to date and "in the know". Perhaps that is the best response to other educators when they question the need to learn Web 2.0. If not for their own needs at least consider that the students will live and work in this evolving digital world.

Here is a great reminder of what it means to be a "connected" student. So much depends on Web 2.0, never mind that red wheelbarrow.



 


 

Gilroy (2010) states"…social networking sites represent a new way of communicating that also is changing the way the public interacts with and perceives higher education" (p.22). I would think that it also changes how the school community interacts with parents and students. It's one thing for parents to access newsletters online, it's quite another to be engaged on their child's classroom blog.


 

This blog,
Once a Teacher…offers some ideas on how to establish your own PLN and explain the process to co-workers and stakeholders.


 

So where does this leave the Lit Maven?


 

4. Pretty in Pink but mostly in sweats as I have blogging my butt off most days…

In this movie,

Lit Maven (played in the actual movie by Molly Ringwald) chose Blaine (2.0) new and interesting to Ducky (1.0) the old reliable.

This is definitely a turning point for me. Where do I see old tools fitting with the new tools? Do I send PowerPoint in a basket down the river?

What is the future of my PLN? I like to think of my net-life in two parts, personal and professional learning networks.

Personal Learning Networks

When a learner or worker has a problem, where do they go first?

Friends or Google, sometimes one in the same….

Facebook will always continue to be a forum for my jokes, insights about life and connecting with friends. Friends on Facebook are more interested in life topics and I don't feel comfortable linking to educational issues. I don't want to be that person: the person who always talks "shop".

On the other hand, I have seen the potential in using my Google reader, blog and twitter to create a network for my personal interest in writing. The networking for a writer is a must, with such a solitary activity.

Professional Learning Networks

I see some really opportunities for strengthening my learning networks I look forward to time to reestablish myself on Nings and to develop ideas. As a consultant, the resources are hard to find. It is not as easy to find information, as compared to a school administrator or teacher.

Warlick (2009) states "It is human nature to incline toward sources that agree with our own worldviews, so we must try to cultivate networks that challenge our thinking and frames of reference" (p.16). I guess this depends on the goals of my network. Forcing myself to consider different ideas and perhaps even to question things more. I think that we like to think that our workplaces couldn't possibly be similar across the nation but I have noticed common themes emerging. Soule (2008) adds "Networking through technology can form powerful alliances, connecting leaders and experts locally, nationally and internationally" (p.15).


 

This question was poised on a Selling Learning Communities: Not Everyone Will or Wants a Group Hug:


 

How do I communicate the value of social media as a learning tool to my organization?


 

My next steps will be to add web 2.0 tools to job delivery. Creating a solid learning community and offering exposure to these tools may create interest. I consider technology to be part of my role. It's non-negotiable considering the literature on the
new digital literacies.

My goal of this course was to find a way to increase the communication with my teachers and to offer additional support in the form of podcasts, wikis and tutorials.

Ÿ Trying to experiment with newsletter updates

Teachers appreciate new ideas and info.

Blogging requires a lot of initiative on the part of the others.

What if they don't check in?

Subscribe?

Ÿ Being consistent with posting and the variety of information

Ÿ Creating a theme for daily posts or a structure or perhaps a series of posts

Ÿ Engaging in deeper educational discussions (Could I be Lord of the Nings? Maybe…)

Ÿ Helping teachers set up a PLN

    How could I take this further with my teachers?

Would they set up a PLN?

Is there an easier way to help them since they cannot invest the same amount of time?

Is there a first tool? Mel (EDES 501) suggests, "focus on quality rather than quantity, so I would start by introducing teachers and students to just two tools: Google Reader and Delicious. I believe this would be a great place to start that would be manageable and practical for most."

ŸDemonstrate how to use the program of studies as a basis to demonstrate where these Web 2.0 tools fit


 

Nicola (EDES 501) sums this up nicely, "The amount of time and money saved is priceless. Making sure that colleagues and students realize they have these resources available to them is vital in extending our learning to others in the community. For example, our high school subscribes to several online databases and encyclopedias and yet few staff or students use them as a resource, preferring to Google most of their searches. It takes in-service, modeling and integration of these resources into assignments to see an increase in use."


 

DuFour (2007) states "The rise or fall of the professional learning community concept in any school will depend not on the merits of the concept itself, but on the most important element in the improvement of any school—the collective capacity, commitment, and persistence of the educators within it" (p.7). Although this pertains to PLC's I do think the idea easily translates into PLN's and the idea that it is the users that maintain the usefulness, the strength and the power of these networks.


 

5. Weird Science"It's my creation, is it real?"

This whole course was an experiment of sorts. Our Frankenstein was our weekly post. What kind of shenanigans could we get into every week?

The different tools required different demands. Specifically writing was extreme between blogs and twitter. Twitter required an on the fly response edited to 140 characters. The blog posts were a huge process, requiring several different steps.

There were demands to keep the message consistent. Trying to establish and maintain the blogging voice over the weeks.

"I'll give my voice to Ursula... if she'll do the legwork!" was how Todd (EDES 501) articulated the weekly demands. Indeed as Lois (EDES 501) said, "I've tried experimenting with my voice but alas, much like my haircut, it just keeps going back to the same style no matter what I try."

The professor and the fearless crew (A.K.A. EDES 501 winter session 2010) have been on this amazing journey with me. A journey that at times was more Rocky than Steve Perry.


 

On paper, this course is about developing a PLN through Web 2.0, never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be so much about writing.

My news resolution was to become a better writer. Look what happens when you throw that into the universe.

I hope this becomes one of those everlasting habits. Dr. Phil says it takes 21 days to make a habit. Well then I guess it's settled. I will be a blogger.

Here's a little Lit Maven ditty:

1-2 Twitter for you

3-4 Blog some more

5-6 Flickr Pics

7-8 Nings are Great

9-10 Blog again

Sincerely Yours,

The Lit Maven


 

Nonlinked Resources

DuFour, R. (2007). Professional learning communities: A bandwagon, an idea worth considering, or our best hope for high levels of learning?. Middle School Journal, 39(1), 4-8. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Gilroy, M. (2010). Higher education migrates to youtube and social Networks. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 75(7), 18-22. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Hijazi, S. (2004). Too much information--Too much apprehension. Association of Small Computer Users in Education (ASCUE), Retrieved from ERIC database.

Soule, H. (2008). Transforming school communities: Creating dialogue using web 2.0 tools. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(1), 12-15. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Warlick, D. (2009). Grow your personal learning network: New technologies can keep you connected and help you manage information overload. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(6), 12-16. Retrieved from ERIC database.


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet, Except if You Were a Librarian Media Specialist!




This cold arctic day in Edmonton, reminds me of how unpredicable things can be. Just when we think we have all our ducks in a row, the unexpected arrives. Today I heard news from a colleague that her school is changing her title of Library Media Specialist to School Librarian. What does this mean? Why the change? Just when we take steps forward, suddenly there are leaps backward. Names are important! Technology is important. Our students are important. Please let our specialists do what they need to do, they are Roses is our school gardens, and any other name would smell like feet!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Eat-Pray-Blog- (Post 9 Blogging in the Time of Cholera)

Blogging is About Letting Someone into Your Virtual Home…Just Like the Friendly Giant Created His Ambiance


 

Burling Down and Down The Network, That's Where the Blog Writer Learns to Type Lightly (Learning the Tool)

Finally! Blogging about blogging…how not easy. It's funny I have been blogging all term. Never giving it much thought, perhaps taking it for granted. But no more, Blog…

HERE IS YOUR LIFE!

Where I started?

So I began this journey in the cold days of January. I spent an entire day deciding on a blog platform. The top two choices were Blogger and Wordpress. It came down to compatibility. E-harmony chose Blogger. Blogger and I both liked Google Reader and well, that's what I look for in a blog. I have tried to blog before but I would get three days in, forget to post, and then abandon the project. Why bother? I didn't post everyday…no one cares. Bring on the sad Eeyore.

So What Was the Problem?

I knew I had something to say.

BUT I was afraid no one would read it.

AND I was nervous if someone actually read it.

Confused? Me too!

With my past experience murky at best, there was no where left to go but up.

I'm Baby Steppin'
Creating the Lit Maven

  1. Name: Creating a name for the blog was a struggle. I tried to find a blog naming rubric and then I experimented with NameThingy, a word generator. Finally I went with my first choice, The Lit Maven, isn't that how it always goes?
  2. Layout: You would think my life rested in on it. Two columns or three…what's better for resale? I still aspire for three columns like those in Wordpress but so far Blogger is limited to two.
  3. Widgets: I added a clock, fish, blogroll and some images. Very conservative, you would think they cost money. I wasn't sure what to add. I was thankful that my fellow classmate told me that with the HTML widget you can add miscellaneous things. With the HTML widget I added a tagroll for De.licio.us.
  4. Posts: I posted sporadically, always on the Monday, with a sprinkle of posts in between. I thought about posting more often. But in all honesty the Monday post took all week to write and I rarely had enough time left.

What I found out?

Later on

  1. During podcasting week I added Feedburner. The feedburner has interesting statistics. Watching subscriptions go up and down has been troubling. I am not sure what is causing that. I ended up erasing a post because it was too literary based. I am beginning to understand the importance of being a consistent poster with a consistent style.


     

  2. I added a Clustr Map
    because I noticed them on other sites and I wanted to see at a glance where users were viewing from. According to this article, key words are huge with attracting readers. The post where I referred to Shaun White, Olympic Snowboarder, I noticed a blog reader from California. I have no idea if that was a coincidence or that a search of his name brought up my blog. Either way, I find clustr maps very motivating.


 


 

  1. During wikis and social networking weeks, I began to add badges. Kinda like Girl Scouts but without the effort or the creepy brown dress and putrid brown tights. So far I have the three Ning badges. I am starting to see how a personal blog can be your main control panel to access everything else. The confusion at the start of this course was how everything related and how I could find it quickly. I was joining so many things that I felt I needed my own cruise director. Redirecting back to a personal homepage from Twitter and vice versa seems to be the best way to go in terms of building your brand on the net.


     

  2. During twitter week I invited Stephen and Chris over to redo my space. My blog was getting to me. I ended up dumping all my widgets. YES…that's the noise you heard a few weeks ago! I reflected on my e-class discussion on blog design. I decided that the blogs that I loved were clean and crisp, right to the point and that is what I wanted my blog to reflect. I also decided to get rid of widgets horizontally along the top because they pushed down my blog posts from view. The color is now blue and the columns have been flipped. I have added a Google search button that works within my blog. In addition I have maintained my Shelfari. All and all, I am very pleased.

Google Reader

When the professor said we had to follow a list of blogs plus the classmates' I had no idea about Google reader. I imagined checking the blogs separately every day. In addition to twitter and e-class, this was almost a deal breaker. Then Google reader came into my life. I become a subscription maniac! Google Reader is an aggregator that is fed by RSS feeds. Honestly, the little orange button has become my best friend.

But guess what? I had no idea that you can view the blog entries in Google Reader, expanded or in list format. I had it expanded for the first two months of the course and the downloading of each post was lengthy. I hit the list button by accident once and I finally cued into the class conversation of the importance of blog titles. Love those light bulb moments, but just wish they happened earlier.

What I Learned?

Celebrations and Challenges

I have learned that blogs are not static. They are evolving and dynamic. The more you blog, the more you can create a look or brand for yourself.

The writing process of a post: 1) Find an Idea 2) Thrash Around 3) Clean 4) Do Laundry 5) Revise 6) Edit 7) Post

Commenting on other blogs is a lot of work. I comment on my classmates but not any of the others. I have noticed that people prefer quick responses such as retweeting or sharing articles but to engage in dialogue seems to be left for Nings or perhaps sites that you are devoted to.

I need more blog traffic. I am still unsure of the current direction for my blog so I am hesitant to string people along.

The most difficult part has been deciding on content. The course has set up a direction. But how will I continue after the course is over?

Little Miss Muffet Sat on a Tuffet Blogging and Posting A Way (Personal and Social Uses of the Tool)

"Don't worry about retracing the path of ten thousand other creators. Make the journey your own with your honest, authentic thoughts and feelings. No one can accurately duplicate that." - Matt Dickman

A Path to Rapid Growth: Find Your Formula suggests that blogging is about finding a formula that works for you. Make it work…as Paula Abdul would say, "Make it Your Own." (Never thought Paula Abdul would make it into my blog posts. I promise this will not happen again.)

So I decided that learning about anything requires a mentor. I chose three of my current favorites.

Why do I love them so and how do they relate to my future blogging?

1.Copyblogger – This is my number one favorite. With unusually lengthy posts it takes some commitment to get through. But the style feels like a daily pep talk or words of wisdom. I appreciate the witty anecdotes and the general content. The design is crisp and clean, easy to navigate with links to the most popular articles. Began in Jan 2006, the first post is found here.
This blog has maintained the same look and feel for four years.

2. Seth Godin's
–This blog is very minimal, quick concise writing, not flashy. His books are written the same way. Here are links to his ideas on redoing your website/blog such as:

Ÿ "What is the goal of the site?"

Ÿ
"Are we hoping that people will watch or learn?"

and trying to increase blog traffic such as:

Ÿ"Write like it's the first post for everyone everyday"

Ÿ "Why are most people on the net? What do they need to know?"

3. HipWriterMamaThis blog is a favorite because I want to write. Write anything, really. Vivian has numerous links to writers' blogs and resources, a one stop shop. I found this interview on why she blogs.

This reflection has taught me:

  1. These bloggers wanted to write, even if no one ever read their blogs.
  2. Begin with a passion and keep on going.
  3. You are never alone in the blog-o-sphere, other like-minded bloggers will find you. This seems to be something I am missing with my writing, a support group. Richardson (2008) states "…Publishing content online not only begins the process of becoming 'Googleable,' it also makes us findable by others who share our passions or interests" (p.18).


     

My huge issue: what kind of blog will I have after the dust settles? Of the 25 different styles, what fits me best? Do I want it to be one that fills my personal goals, professional goals, or both?

  1. I have been bouncing an idea for a YA book for some time. The struggle has been the format. I am now considering writing the story in the form of a blog. Perhaps this hybrid format will suit the idea. In addition to this course, the other inspiration has been from this book Skeleton Creek. I read this book in the summer…and it freaked me out!


     

  2. Another idea, is to continue my blog but focus more on literacy. In that case I will take the advice of Brogan & Smith (2009) who talks about viewing your blog like a resource. Create it with common questions concerning your topic. Most people returning will have common questions.


 

  1. This summer my husband set up a blog to support my dad's car detailing business. I see the value in using blogs to showcase your work. In my other life, when I have more time, I can create a blog of my painting.


     


     

  2. I have tossed around the idea of creating a blog for my daughter's artwork. I think that would be an excellent way to document her artwork overtime. Relatives could see it…and I could…sshhhh….recycle some of them!

Blogs for social use… I am not sure if I would endeavor to that. I think Facebook facilitates that purpose of sharing my life, for me.

If Your Blogging and You Know it, Post A Link (Educational Implications Uses of the Tool)

As educators, we have to make a decision about what we do in our classrooms. There is so much content and not nearly enough time. Where does blogging fit?

There are many forms of writing such as: narrative, report and essay. But what makes blog writing an enticing option?

Ohler (2009) explains that

"…blog writing requires a kind of visual rhetoric I call 'visually differentiated text'. It uses conventions intended to make on-screen reading easier, most notably the four Bs: bullets, boldface type, breaks, and beginnings. That is, students must visually sculpt blog writing" (p.3).

For some students, blog writing speaks to their strengths but for all students it puts emphasis on developing concise writing. Furthermore, Redekopp & Bourbonniere (2009) add that for some students blogging might provide their only voice in the classroom. Students, who otherwise stay silent in class discussions, come alive online.

Lastly, Ducate & Lomicka (2008) add "In addition to the social aspect of blogs, they also serve as a space for micropublishing, where sharing, collaboration, responsibility, and ownership are key features" (p.11).


 

Once the decision has been made to include blogging in the classroom, what type of blog supports your classroom needs?

Zawilinski (2009) suggests this tidy list of four.

  1. Classroom News Blog: This type of blog allows teachers to post classroom events, make announcements.
  2. Mirror Blogs: This type of blog allows the teacher to reflect on events, like conferences, and give an account of her learning.
  3. Showcase Blogs: Support showing student work, such as art.
  4. Literature Response Blog: A teacher can post a question about a selection of literature and encourage students to log in and respond.

Blogs are a tool. Blogs themselves do not create the magic of learning. Teachers should expect to provide a lot of additional scaffolding and support. Zawilinski (2009) suggests these steps to support reading comprehension.

1. Bolster background: Building background knowledge before reading.

2. Prime the pump: Stopping after an initial reading to clarify confusions, make statements.

3. Continue the conversation: Summarizing and synthesizing information.

4. Make multiplicity explicit: Students responding to each others' posts and final thoughts on the reading.

Blogs can also be used to gather research. Valenza (2008) suggests ways to incorporate blogs as a research platform. Here is a Research Log Template blog. Valenza (2008) adds "We've found that many of our students who resist writing don't mind recording their progress in a blog that they own, a space that they decorate and populate. The fact that they have audience validates their efforts and engages them in deeper analysis and synthesis of their research." (p.11). This form of report writing is a convincing alternative to the standard report writing assignment.

Research can further be enhanced through the use of RSS feeds. Glotzbach, Mohler & Radwan (2009) explain "The use of RSS feeds in a classroom also allows for a more collaborative learning environment and enhances communication between educators and students, creating new networks of knowledge" (p.2). RSS feeds bring outside information into the classroom in a manageable way, providing up to date late breaking news.

Bigenho (2009) suggests a teacher can use an RSS aggregator to subscribe to student blogs. Bloglines provides a notification feature when a student adds a new post. Students can also subscribe to class bookmarks that you create in delicious.


 

One important ramification of blogging in education, Richardson (2008) states "…the things we create are searchable to an extent never before imagined and will be viewed by all sorts of audiences, both intended and unintended" (p.19). Students need to be aware that what goes on the net, stays on the net.


 

Helping Educators Get Started with Professional Blogging

Blogs provide a forum for professionals to exchange ideas about education. Many of the blogs on my blogroll are dedicated to issues surrounding education reform. There are a plethora of sites that detail how to get started. All blogging platforms have tutorials. But the difficulty seems to be 'What am I going to write about?' Rempel & Gronemyer (2008) suggests choosing blog content that is broad enough to appeal to a large group of people. This is what I discovered too. The blogs that appealed to me were the ones that had a general appeal. I can use the same information to suit so many different purposes.

Part of my job is to introduce teachers to literature. I am by no means the book whisperer but I do feel I have a way with books. I have a school district blog, that has many links to books but it requires a log on/password. I enjoy adding the newest and latest information but it is difficult to locate on our portal. Not sure what to do about that. But I think that is where my strength lies. Books and writing. What to do with a book?

Bird (2009) discusses whether specialized blogs, such as Kid-lit themed ones, have influence outside their community. Bird (2009) suggests that the existence of these blogs, rather than the hard to find journals, bring book discussions and reviews to eager audiences. Librarians, educators and parents no longer have to rely on book awards.

At the core, blogging is about writing. It is about a conversation. Globally or locally it's about making connections. Pull up a chair, would you like a cup of cyber tea?

I will leave you with a quote by Gretchen Rubin's
that speaks to my experience thus far:

"My blog gave me a new identity, new skills, a new set of colleagues, and a way to connect with people who shared my interest. I'd expanded my vision of the kind of writer I could be. I had become a blogger."

Lit Maven…out!


 

Nonlinked Resources    

Bigenho, C. (2009). Mining for gold. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(6), 18-20. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Bird, E. (2009). This blog's for you: Ten of the best blogs for folks who take kids' lit seriously (but not too seriously). School Library Journal, 55(11), 26-29. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Brogan, C. & Smith, J. (2009). Trust agents: Using the web to build influence, improve reputation, and earn trust. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Ducate, L., & Lomicka, L. (2008). Adventures in the blogosphere: From blog readers to blog writers. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 21(1), 9-28. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Glotzbach, R., Mohler, J., & Radwan, J. (2009). Really simple syndication (RSS): An educational approach. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, Retrieved from ERIC database.

Ohler, J. (2009). New-media literacies. Academe, 95(3), 30-33. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Redekopp, R., & Bourbonniere, E. (2009). Giving reluctant students a voice. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(7), 34-35. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Rempel, H., & Gronemyer, K. (2008). Infodoodads--building a new blog community. Computers in Libraries, 28(4), 16-21. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Richardson, K. (2008). Don't feed the trolls: Using blogs to teach civil discourse. Learning & Leading with Technology, 35(7), 12-15. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Richardson, W. (2008). Footprints in the digital age. Educational Leadership, 66(3), 16-19. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Valenza, J. (2008). A few new things. Library Media Connection, 26(7), 10-13. Retrieved from ERIC database. (print this out)

Zawilinski, L. (2009). HOT blogging: A framework for blogging to promote higher order thinking. Reading Teacher, 62(8), 650-661. Retrieved from ERIC database.