Burned out by Conferences

I am ready to leave Conference City behind … but when I get home, I am right back into another literacy conference at my school. Oh well. This morning, we had a standing room-only crowd for our presentation at NCTE on Assigning and Assessing Digital Writing. There were about 100 people in the audience and they seemed to get a lot out of the conversations we had, which spring from our book Teaching the New Writing (and the publisher told us that they are about to head into the second printing of the book, which is very cool because that means people are using it as a resource).

My part of the presentation centered on a digital science picture book project with my students. I am embedding my prezi presentation here but you can also view resources and materials from our presentation at a Google Sites that we set up, instead of killing trees with too many handouts.

One thing we did was to have the audience view both the science book and listen to Dawn Reed’s students’ podcasts and come up with criteria for evaluating some digital media. Then, we looked at a third piece and tried to make sense of it based on some of that criteria. Our hope is that the process of coming up with ways to examine a piece of digital work from an assessment angle will help teachers.

From that session, we wandered over to the Teachers College Press booth to sign some books but no one asked me to sign their book there, so we just stood around, blocking traffic. I tried to grab some good book swag but I couldn’t find much. Where did all the free crap go?

Later, I did one of the NCTE Tech to Go sessions. My focus was on using webcomics and I had a nice little crowd. I showed them some options, some student samples and then had a few folks working on creating their own comics at the kiosk (Thanks, Stacey and Ruth!). It was a bit of a strange situation, with me standing there chatting with a computer monitor and folks just milling about. But I think I sparked some interest in a few teachers to try out a few sites.

Here is the Comic website that I created as a resource for folks. Use it and share it as you wish.

Peace (in the reflection),

I’m a Curator — You can be, too

Loraine County Community College Invitation Ticket
I’ve written about the upcoming National Day on Writing which is being sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English (and supported by my own National Writing Project) but it is coming up soon and I want to keep getting the word out about the event. (see the flier)

Here is how NCTE describes it:

Writing is a daily practice for millions of Americans. But few notice how integral writing has become to daily life in the 21st century.To draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in and help make writers from all walks of life aware of their craft, NCTE has established October 20, 2009, as the National Day on Writing. To celebrate composition in all its forms, we are inviting diverse participants –students, teachers, parents, grandparents, service and industrial workers, managers, business owners, legislators, retirees, and many more — to submit a piece of writing to the National Gallery of Writing.

The National Gallery is shaping up to be an interesting site where hopefully all sorts of writing will be posted and perused and show the power of our writing as a nation.

So, as part of the new venture that Bonnie and I are helping to foster — an online social space for National Writing Project teachers, mostly in the New England/New York areas which we call the iAnthology (and which now has more than 100 members) — we have created our own gallery for the National Day on Writing and are going to be trying to urge folks in our network to consider publishing some of the pieces they are developing.

It occurs to me, though, that I would love to find a way to get my students involved and I need to sort through the various release forms and think about what that would be. I know one person has set up a gallery designed specifically for graphic stories and comics, so that may be an option for us to consider (if I can get that far with my students).

And you can set up a Gallery, too, or at consider posting some of your own writing, or your students’ writing. Let’s celebrate our love of writing and show its power as a nation.

CAVEAT: I wonder how many pieces will be posted that in a multimedia format (podcasts, videos, etc.)

I do love this powerful statement from NCTE:

NCTE members value writing as a tool for learning and live the importance of writing daily.

Peace (in the sharing),


Technology and Changing Teaching Practice

Thanks to Bud the Teacher for this one.

I am a co-editor on a book (which will be published sometime in the future by Teachers College Press in partnership with the National Writing Project) on how technology is changing teaching practice in the writing classroom, and how teachers are assessing such work in light of national and state curriculum standards. It’s been very interesting to read the chapters as they filter in (mine is about a digital picture book project).

The NCTE is also looking for stories of how technology is impacting our teaching practice and what it means. Here is what they write on their website:

We’re interested in how your teaching has changed—in how you have altered, adjusted, or shifted your habits and expectations—since the time you began teaching. For example, what has changed in your approaches to reading? Writing? Evaluation of students? Use of technology? Confidence level? Rapport with parents? Balance of personal and professional life?

Whether you are a 30-year classroom veteran or a new teacher, you have a story, and we’d like to hear it!  Email us 150 words or less describing changes you have made in your teaching and your teaching life. Please include your full name, school name, years of teaching, and a preferred email address or phone number in case we need to contact you. Send stories to chronicle@ncte.org.

You might want to consider writing up a piece about your classroom. I, for one, am thinking of something along the lines of podcasting.

Peace (in reflection),