Friday, June 27, 2008


I found this site on the email that Larson sent out a while ago. It is a collaborative story writing site where you can add to what other people have written. Check it out!

Final Presentations

Last night’s presentations were great. It was really nice to see what other groups had been working on over the 6 week course, and it was interesting what everyone’s video topics were. There was great variety among them. I was also surprised with how many groups used a website to create their final project. I agree with Grace’s post about “Learning it Digitally.” We were given the opportunity to use a “new” literacy ourselves. We were given an example, but then as the presentations show, each group played around with the “new” literacy in a different way. This shows how we successfully incorporated a “new” literacy into our classroom. Thanks Liz for letting us do this! I think if a teacher allows their students the chance to play around with different literacies, they will eventually learn new ones. But if they are not exposed to such types existing, they will never learn.

Standardized Tests

"The vast majority [of parents] think classroom work and homework - not standardized tests - are the best ways to measure how well students are doing."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bilingual Education

SO... My first student teaching placement was in a bilingual class. I have spent a great deal of time in bilingual classes, and I have sort of mixed feelings about bilingual programs. Even one of the teachers whom I have worked with in the past (a bilingual teacher herself), doesn't feel that they are actually good for the kids. A Spanish professor of mine in undergrad (a native spanish speaker) herself chose not to enroll her own children in bilingual programs... she thinks it's important for them to learn and be able to use English in order to get a good job and be successful. What are peoples thoughts on this?

Read All About It!

So a recent New York Times article mentioned that Laura and Jenna Bush had come out with a book that was intended to get kids excited about reading. Taking a look at the book on Amazon, it seemed to be pretty standard children's book fare. I find it hard to believe that a child reading this book would suddenly say, "You know? They're right, I should read more. It's fun!" I feel as though Lynn Gatto has the better approach. Give kids the option of what they want to read and they'll find something that interests them. Furthermore, make reading a necessary part of achieving some other goal - like building a butterfly farm - and they'll understand its purpose and usefulness. Someone mentioned this sort of thing in class. Kids aren't going to read because there's a poster in the library that says "Shaq Reads." They need to find their own reasons to read.

Learning It Digital

I was thinking how on the syllabus, this project is described as a written paper. When Liz introduced it to us in class, however, she mentioned that one group a previous year had done it as a website. I would not normally have thought to create this project on the Internet, but because of this suggestion, my group and I soon found ourselves learning how to manipulate a wiki. It was much easier than a traditional group paper would have been, too, I might add. My point is that part of including and teaching digital literacies in the classroom is simply to allow it and perhaps offer a few suggestions. Students will likely learn and explore on their own, choosing whatever is most efficient and appropriate. You don't necessarily have to spend class time teaching it.
I read an article the other day about how teachers need to "interview" schools that they are applying to to make sure that they are a good fit. I was wondering how plausible this much are you really able to tell before you actually begin teaching there? Are other teachers willing to talk to you about what happens within the school? Does anyone have any suggestions?