Engnology

Reflections of Blending English and Technology in the Classroom

Archive for the ‘#IWP’ Category

Considerations for Designing an English Curriculum in a 1:1 Setting

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Yesterday I completed (and passed) the oral exam needed to obtain my M.A. in English from UNI (now all I have left is the research paper!). My focus was on the confluence of our school implementing a 1:1 Laptop Program and my studies in graduate school which caused me to redesign current  curriculum.  During the conversation I verbalized important components of an English classroom in a digital age. This list helps to frame my curriculum:

1. Focus on the solid foundations and theory not the tool or application.

2. Students need to be critical thinkers, understanding content/messages in all literacies .

3. Reader is at the center of the text – only when meaning from text can be applied to self does it become important and relevant.

4. Students work within the cannon of the English language not outside of it.

5. Literacy is the heart of education.

6. Reading and writing are dichotic not separate entities.

7. Writing as a form of learning and reflection.

8.  Communicate effectively in written, verbal, or multimedia forms for pleasure, education, and professional reasons.

9. Not all writing is complete or publishable, most is not

10. The art of response, how to respond effectively.

11. Understanding communication in multiple literacies and how to use different mediums to share their voice is essential part of being a productive citizen.

12. How to use technology to access information, connect, collaborate, create, and publish.

When focus is shifted to curriculum design with the aid of technology instead of a focus on tools and applications, student learning is framed within the essential skills of a curricular area not a set of tools that becomes outdated quickly.

References – Rosenblatt, Elbow, Atwell, NWP, Cope and Kalantzis

Written by sfarnsworth

March 26, 2012 at 1:52 am

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