In a stack of papers called Connections.

  • Jun
  • 18
  • 2005

I’m headed down to RAFT this morning, so this will be quick (“quick” turned into 2 hours, by the way).

I was reading Bud the Teacher’s Blogspot blog and he has a few entries that are interesting to me. Often, it’s easier to write the more you write. And it’s easier to write the more you read.

Classroom Furl Account

The idea of blogging habits is one that I tried to instill in my freshmen this year. Stuck for an inspiration, though? Jim Burke’s Weekly Reader is a model for the interesting links that students could read through and get ideas for a blog entry. I also like the idea of just getting a Furl feed going to a spot on the site and filling that up with links that may be appealing for whatever reason. This creates a library of possibilities when struggling for a topic to write about. Once the culture has been established, passing out the login info for a classroom Furl account would mean that students can post whatever they happen to be reading. Then you’ve got a list of links that are created by students, full of things that they are interested in. You also have your students using a piece of emerging technology that will certainly become more important in the future.

Reading is Writing is Reading is Writing is…

The other idea in Bud’s post is something that a woman named Nancy mentioned: blogging is harder when you’re not reading other blogs. It’s harder to write when you aren’t reading. So reading is part of writing. What a perfect way to demonstrate that connection! We read so we can write. We read and we want to share what we’ve read with others. We read so we can evaluate and expand our own understanding of the world and of others. That was a good reminder, something I need to keep in mind as I plan next year’s blog project. Will has also written an entry about this idea that might be a good place to comment and bookmark.

Contribute to the Culture

Yet another idea Bud mentioned is the idea of a “culture of contribution” (an idea he first came across on Will’s site). I spent much of the freshmen blog project trying to get the students to not only write an entry, but to take the time to look at what their peers were writing and comment. The idea was that a contribution to someone else’s ideas is necessary to be part of the community. It’s not only a “culture of contribution”; it’s contributing to the culture.

Take Me To Your Content

Bud goes on to quote Will and spark the idea of educators as “content creators.” That’s part of my idea with Just Across Campus: give teachers a chance to create some of this content and they have a better idea of limitations and possibilities. If students can see teachers doing some of the same things they are, taking the same risks and facing the same challenges, students not only have examples but they’ll feel more comfortable knowing that a teacher is willing to share just as readily as they are.

I recall that I had this idea of giving a writing prompt to my students using the book The Mysteries of Harris S. Burdock, a book with full-page pictures accomapnied by a single line. The idea is to use the picture to create a story and that accompanying single line must appear somewhere in the story. I think my senior English teacher in high school did this for us. It seemed to work then, because I’ve always held onto it as a good idea. That is, until I tried it recently. I still haven’t been able to incorporate that single line into the story. I have it in my head where it will appear, but I can’t get to that point in the story I’ve started. I worked with a group of 4 other teachers on this same writing prompt and they all had the same problem. I decided not to use that prompt in class.

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