Engnology

Reflections of Blending English and Technology in the Classroom

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Buddy Day Spring 2012

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On March 1st, BCLUW High School students hosted a buddy day with their elementary friends focused on Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read Across America Day. Each high school room chose a different Seuss book to have as the focus for their room. I chose “Oh The Places You’ll Go” – one of my all-time favorites.

While eating our lunch, I shared the book through my Apple tv and ipad app which allowed students to listen and view an animated version of the story. Many of Dr. Seuss’s books are apps! After lunch, each buddy pair chose a section of the text to illustrate. With the help of their high school buddies, the second graders chose parts of the sections to read aloud for the imovie we were going to create. Applying a number of different activities to the piece with a variety of learning styles targeted increased learning, connection, and engagement. Students were listening, reading, drawing, and speaking all in one activity. We worked on fluency and pronunciation of the words to prepare for the taping of their part.

The following imovie was created from the students’ work and voices.

On a side note, and an idea from Mary Ascher, the second grade class is actually that of my son’s, and so I am going to save all of their drawings, writings, and videos and give to them for senior gifts.

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Written by sfarnsworth

March 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm

“You Never Know Unless You Ask” – Skype with Poet Taylor Mali

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As a bell ringer during the poetry unit, I share with students one of my favorite poems. This helps to showcase different poets, forms, poetic devices, etc. Tuesday began with Taylor Mali’sWhat Teachers Make” and a few other poems of his. The students fell in love with his boldness and play on words. He was a poet that they immediately connected with; speaking about school, relationships, typos…

Throughout the day I noticed tweets to Mr. Mali  from my students and much to my surprise he responded back to them. One of my students (I have labeled the “Queen of Social Media”) suggested he skype in with our class. We were all shocked and pleased when Mr. Mali agreed, stating to the student, “You never know unless you ask.”

Mr. Mali skyped with the students the following week. He spent time answering questions, inspiring students, and connecting with the kids. At the end, as a surprise, he sent them all a copy of his poem, “How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog” and recited it for them. A memory that we all reflect upon fondly.

Top Things Students Learned:

1. Poetry is COOL!

2. Twitter and other Social Media connects you with experts/world.

3. You don’t know unless you ask…

The next day the students were abuzz talking about skyping with Mr. Mali weekly, other people they wanted to skype with, understanding the power of technology to connect them to the world! This experience is one they will never forget, and they joke about telling their own children one day how they met Taylor Mali.

One of the highlights of my career!

Written by sfarnsworth

March 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Cross-Curricular, Project Based Learning: BCLUW Mock Trial

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For the past five years, on the day before Thanksgiving break, the BCLUW senior class holds a Mock Trial as a culminating project at the end of a cross-curricular unit designed by myself (English) and Josh Ehn (Social Studies). This unit is designed to provide students an understanding of how our legal system works, as well as job prep skills. The government side of the project is taught by Mr. Ehn who also decides the roles each student will play and the court case to be tried. Students interview for positions from judge to jury members highlighting the skills and qualifications they have gained in high school that makes them the best candidate.

In English class, students create resumes based on real information, a necessity for graduating seniors. They also learn the fine art of writing a letter of application in hopes that their words and experience stands out in order to receive an interview. Finally, with the help of teachers and community members, each student is given a time and location for an interview.

This is a fantastic Project Based Learning example that helps blend learning from different departments. Students are challenged to express their skills on the resume, and the interview provides much needed experience with a bit of added pressure. We want to thank the following community members for donating their time to support BCLUW students: Shane Tiernan, Darla Ubben, Doug Benjamin, Denise Hoy, Mike Payne, and Jayne Katzer. It was another successful trial, the students had fun, and the defendant was found GUILTY… Next year we are looking for challengers, any school interested?

Written by sfarnsworth

November 28, 2011 at 2:34 am

Teaching Tether Free: ipad and the Apple tv

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Three weeks ago I was given an ipad to aid in my teaching. Having never touched one before, I was excited to explore the possibilities and advantages that teaching with an ipad would offer to the students. I was also at an advantage having both an HDMI projection system and an apple tv to air stream my ipad through. (I would recommend both of these additions to maximize use) I have found 2 main advantages while teaching with an ipad:

1. No anchors, unlike hooking my laptop up to the dongle and then projecting from my station, with my ipad, I am MOBILE. Because of the wifi capabilities within our building, I am able to essentially be anywhere in the school and stream into my classroom. It is hard for me to sit still or stand in one place while teaching. With the ipad, I am able to move about freely. Mobility means closer proximity to students, easier monitoring options, and through the app Splashtop, I am able to control my laptop wirelessly displaying any document, program, etc. I might need from there.

2. Student Examples, I will list a few of my favorite apps later in the post, but one that I use most frequently is Noteshelf. Through Noteshelf I am able to draw, annotate, and explain in real time using student work. Take for example grammar, as I am walking around the classroom I notice a common mistake in students’ writing concerning commas. I can quickly snap a picture of their essay, annotate it, and use their own work as an example. This provides relevance and engagement; the examples are specific to their own writing. In essence, my ipad becomes a mobile document camera, when combined with noteshelf it allows me the capabilities to manipulate the document without being tethered to one place.

Must Have Apps So Far:

Splashtop

Noteshelf 

Zite 

ShowMe

Tweetdeck

Inkling 

Written by sfarnsworth

November 22, 2011 at 1:44 am

#BCLUW students on #WhyIWrite

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BCLUW students added their voice to the twitter feed on National Writing Day answering the question – #whyiwrite. Inspired by the challenge posted on the New York Times Learning Network, BCLUW students composed, reflected and tweeted reasons why they wrote. First year BCLUW English teacher, Molly Finkenbinder,  also recorded student messages and a video will be posted shortly.

Here is a storify highlighting their reasons:

#bcluw students,, National Writing Day asks,,, #whyiwrite add your voice here!
shfarnsworth
October 20, 2011
#bcluw sophomores: Let me know 1 positive thing about writing in class today! Notecards. Pics. Voice Think. Create. Share. WRITE! #whyiwrite
finkenmo
October 20, 2011
#whyIwrite #bcluw I write to speak when no one listens..
HeyoooKelso
October 20, 2011
RT @mitch_mill: #bcluw #whyiwrite I write to communicate with friends
Chuck_Neff
October 20, 2011
I write to feel free. #whyiwrite #bcluw
rschultzzz15
October 20, 2011
#whyiwrite I write to communicate with other people with something other than my voice. #bcluw
caitlynpurcell7
October 20, 2011
#whyiwrite I write because I want to or like to. Sometimes maybe to show my emotions. #bcluw
shelnico
October 20, 2011
#whyiwrite I write to model for students. To be a better teacher. Add my voice to the mix! #bcluw
shfarnsworth
October 20, 2011
#whyiwrite I write because it’s all around you and it’s like we’re always doing it, sometimes I write because I have to. #bcluw
Haley_Justine
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #whyiwrite I write to communicate with friends
mitch_mill
October 20, 2011
#WhyIWrite I write to do my school work. To communicate with others. #BCLUW
kodi11
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #whyiwrite To help people learn about chevy citations
Chuck_Neff
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #whyiwrite i write to express my feelings.
eschossow31
October 20, 2011
I write because life depends on it #bcluw #whyiwrite
finkenmo
October 20, 2011
#whyiwrite I write when I send emails. When I write I it seems to never stop so I guess i do it for fun. #bcluw
HunterMcCalley
October 20, 2011
I write when I can’t think of what to say…#bcluw #whyiwrite
NicSimpson22
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #whyiwrite (jacob h.) I write when I sign birthday cards
shfarnsworth
October 20, 2011
To make sense of the world.. #whyiwrite #bcluw
RaeBebe03
October 20, 2011
#whyiwrite to communicate with people throughout the world. #bcluw
kariberryoh
October 20, 2011
#whyiwrite I write so that I don’t forget what I want to say! #bcluw
DanielleLeeee
October 20, 2011
to communicate without my voice #whyiwrite #bcluw
kbenjii18
October 20, 2011
#IWriteBecause it’s the epitome of expressing myself and if I’m not me, who is? #BCLUW
iFAILbadly
October 20, 2011
I write when the realitivy of the world fails us. #whyiwrite #bcluw
Kaythekat
October 20, 2011
#whyiwrite: to put my thoughts in a tangible form #bcluw
Lo_Elise
October 20, 2011
#BCLUW #WhyIWrite I write to express what I am feeling. To explain what I am thinking. To be heard of what I’m saying.
nicolearlene14
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #WhyIWrite I write so show i don’t care what others think about me.
MalVawter20
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #WhyiWrite I write to tell the world how I really feel.
MaddieEmilee
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #whyiwrite I write to be understood
MaddieEmilee
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #whyiwrite i write to give people my ideas how to get passed monday
LukeAsche96
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #whyiwrite to leran more things for school work and it is fun to write
ga_gavin
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #whyiwrite I write to leave a note on the counter when I leave the house.
BlakeSCooper
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #whyiwrite I write to let people know where I am.
jason_arends
October 20, 2011
#Bcluw #whyiwrite So i can keep thinking of ideas for virtual reality
Will_Garber
October 20, 2011
#whyiwrite I write to preserve my ideas and feelings. #bcluw
terraleighfasho
October 20, 2011
#BCLUW #whyIwrite I can hold on to the memories I know I would forget.
LEVI_J_S
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #whyIwrite I write because i would like to get better grades, get student of the week in math and get better grades over all.
AmblerBo
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #whyiwrite To inform you of what i know!!!
PhReAk64
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #whyiwrite to express myself.
itsLyddie32
October 20, 2011
#WhyIWrite to express my emotions, and clear my head. #bcluw
SadieJeanBean
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #WhyIWrite when i want to remember something
JOHNMAN20
October 20, 2011
#bcluw#whyiwrite to show that i do have a personality and my interest in photgraphy
ashtre9696
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #WhyIWrite to express my feelings
hopeyhope449
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #whyiwrite i write to tell fun and sad moments in my life
shanaynay1122
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #whyiwrite because it is a good way of communicating
bhesp22
October 20, 2011
#whyiwrite #bcluw I write because I can’t draw
leahkathryn01
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #WhyIWrite to express my feelings and to remember something important.
MadysenPauline
October 20, 2011
#iwritebecause It allows me to express myself. #bcluw
zoekristine3NT
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #iwrite to express my feelings if I don’t enjoy talking about them.
tmccoy13
October 20, 2011
#bcluw #whyiwrite To communicate with friends and family, and to express my self.
BreannaGardner2
October 20, 2011
#whyiwrite I write to SEE what I am thinking. #bcluw
DCJF13
October 20, 2011

Written by sfarnsworth

October 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Remembering 9/11 – A Lesson in Empathy

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This year marked the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, and while I distinctly remember the events that unfolded on that tragic day, my seniors were only in second grade and recall scattered fragments or nothing at all. During a group skype call between the teachers of the blogging community (5 schools where students blog/comment enhancing engagement and widening audience to promote writing) we decided to create a collaborative lesson plan to teach our students empathy, citizenship, and patriotism with the end product in the form of an imovie.

Building a foundation of the tragedy with resources found on the NYTimes Learning Network Blog; teachers @eolsonteacher, @shawnhyervm, @Bev-Berns, @toddvogts, and myself  shared videos, pictures, and reflections with students. We then allowed students to explore the plethora of links found on the blog and report back to the large group their findings. What happened was an emotional connection to the day that most had a disconnect with because of age. Empathetic stories of victims, family members, and heroes were retold through the voice of our students. One student even stated, “I have not thought about or viewed footage from that day for so long, I can finally understand what happened and how horrible it was.” As teachers, this type of response is music to our ears. We want to help mold a future generation of insightful, empathetic citizens who will lead our world in the future.

The next day we used a strategy taught by @KirsteyEwald during an experience while taking the Iowa Writing Project (a division of the National Writing Project). Students wrote answers to prompts on sticky notes which were then complied and edited to form a poem. Each school had different questions ranging from “How do you define America?” to “How can one honor the lives lost during the attacks?” Each student spoke their line and placed an image of their hand into the project. Teachers shared the movies using dropbox culminating in one movie written, spoken, and illustrated by the students!

Students proudly shared their video with family and friends. It floated around facebook and was highlighted in local newspapers and on local news stations making the Anniversary of September 11th more meaningful.

Written by sfarnsworth

October 6, 2011 at 8:38 pm

6 Word Memoir

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Last year creative writing students wrote 6 word memoirs; they enjoyed the exercise but it did not draw the attention that it has this year. With new students, the assignment has taken on a life of its own. I was attending a meeting out of the district  last week when I assigned this writing exercise. Students read excerpts about memoirs, background information about the 6 Word Memoir, as well as examples that have been collected in the past . Finally, students were to write their own memoirs to be shared with their blogging community. Half way through the meeting I started receiving emails from students containing examples of their personal memoirs, as well as added phrases such as “this is fun,” “love this,” and “when do we share.”

Each student will select one memoir to illustrate and submit to be published in a collection. In essence, they are creating the Class of 2012’s 6 Word Memoirs. These memoirs have also been springing up on their blogs, facebook, and twitter; proving that students desire to share writing. Three years ago my students shared their writing within the classroom, now they use social media to share with a world wide audience!

<div style=”width:425px” id=”__ss_9097119″> <strong style=”display:block;margin:12px 0 4px”><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/ShaelynnFarnsworth/screen-shot-2011-0901-at-92926-am&#8221; title=”Screen shot 2011 09-01 at 9.29.26 am” target=”_blank”>Screen shot 2011 09-01 at 9.29.26 am</a></strong> <div style=”padding:5px 0 12px”> View more <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/&#8221; target=”_blank”>presentations</a> from <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/ShaelynnFarnsworth&#8221; target=”_blank”>Shaelynn Farnsworth</a> </div> </div>

Written by sfarnsworth

September 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm