Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

Motivating Middle School Writers from Kate Roberts August 16, 2009

Filed under: middle school,TCRWP,writing workshop — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:40 am
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Motivating Middle School Writers

Kate Roberts presenter  8/11/09 (Notes from Megan-a colleague who teaches 6-8 in a Middle School in The Bahamas)

There are three things needed:

  1. To demonstrate motivation
  2. To create a community of writing
  3. A genuine response

We want our students to practice 18th century literacy in the 00’s.

There are some ways we hold them back…

–       By giving the same prompts all students

  • Ex. “Write about a time you were scared” vs. “Write about a time you felt big emotions”

–       By giving too many directions or teaching too many points at once

–       By not taking their work seriously

Ways to Create an Audience

–       Have them check in with their partner about regular HW assignments

–       Share with each other everyday

–       Try out different partners (a speed-dating approach to finding a buddy)

–       Don’t wait for celebration

–       Use student work as your demonstration text

–       Quick publish

  • Even before the end of a unit, say “Find your best piece, let’s publish it. Get it on looseleaf for tomorrow.”

–       Publish dramatically across the school

Accountability and Rigor

–       Set high goals for volume

  • At the beginning of the year, do a stamina assessment. Have them write for ten minutes and keep that page to show them how much (or how little) they could write.
  • Draw an X at the bottom of the page. Tell them to write to the X

–       Teach elaboration

  • Give them a list of phrases like “I think, for example, this is important because”
  • Have them orally tell a story and have the partners throw out a phrase when they are struggling

some quick pics from the school visit today March 20, 2009

Filed under: middle school,TCRWP,Uncategorized,writing workshop — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:25 pm
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Social Media crash course November 1, 2008

Filed under: Facebook,school,technology — bestbookihavenotread @ 2:16 pm
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I have had a huge crash course in social media since starting my new job in July. I have to say that I’ve gone from being very disturbed by what I thought it was to, to fascinated, to slightly obsessed.  It seems so many parts of my life end up leading back to something that is somewhat related to social media. 

I recently joined Facebook when I needed to be able to do some research on it to see if I could determine which student(s) had started a false page for one of our administrators. I have to admit that I was initially really creeped out by it. As a friend and I started started researching, I started an account while she ran to the restroom. I have to admit I didn’t even really know what Facebook was, much less how it was set up, until getting on the site. For those familiar with it, you know the sign-up is pretty quick and even before my friend was back from the restroom, I had a post on my page from my youngest brother, complete with a photo of my niece! Yikes-how did that happen? Well he has an iPhone and received a message notifying him that I had clicked on him as a friend. From the same iPhone, he sent a text and photo to my Facebook page through his Facebook account. 

Here’s what I found initially creepy:

  • the speed with which people can be connected-instantaneous!
  • the content on some younger students’ Facebook pages
  • the fact that the iPhone got around all the school’s filters since it is a wireless mobile device
  • that I could tell that students were posting to their Facebook page from their phones during the school day, even though there is a policy against cell phone use during the day-my brain instantly went to all the naughty things students could do at school with Facebook, iPhone, etc.
  • do I really want to be “friends” with someone if we knew each other twenty plus years ago-isn’t there something sociologically that thinks that you move on from different points in your life and not reliving them? 

Here’s what I now find fascinating!

  • That this blog can be linked to Facebook
  • That I easily communicate (for Free! unless you count having the internet at home) in brief spurts with my brothers, my college roommate, friends from high school, or teachers from other schools-complete with photos of their children in almost “real-time” 
  • That I can find other KidLit bloggers, curriculum coordinators, teachers, moms, etc. who are like-minded through Twitter, JacketFlap, Facebook, Ning,…
  • Now the NCTE site even has a social networking community of people who will be attending the conference in November