Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Trends Hunter -- Video

Thanks to Maria B. for finding this video.

Monday, February 1, 2010

You're Gonna Go Bananas

If you've yet to read WILLY AND HUGH by Anthony Browne then you are in for a real treat.WILLY AND HUGH is the story of a Willy, a lonely Ape who, after many unsuccesssul attempts, finds an unlikely friend in Hugh. Once befriended, the two people-watch in the park, go to the library (yeah, libraries) and visit the people in the zoo. You'll not only enjoy the storyline, but the illustrations will amaze you...just check out the detail on Willy's sweater vest, amazing!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Writing is a series of choices...

"There is nothing wrong, really, with any word-all words are good, but some are better than others"- William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

In your notebook, write about the choices you conciously make while you are writing.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Impressions

A great idea that I got from the CTL workshop was a letter writing exercise that I find works really well in our type of classrooms.

What do you do? Well, you give each student an envelope and you have them write down their fears, hopes and expectations for the course. They should also include what they hope to get out of us (the instructor) as a resource and how they will engage. Then the students seal the letters, write their names on it, and then they hand them back to you.

I have adapted this idea so that I keep the letters until just before they have to write their learning letters for the final portfolio so they can see how they have progressed and what they have accomplished. It not only makes them pay attention to their roles as writers, but I think it even gives them an idea of how to value themselves as learners and contributors in the course and it makes them realize that you as an instructor are really interested in providing them with a classroom community wherein objectives and goals are set and reached (together).

Try it and let me know how it works for you!!!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

How to get students to find and read 94 articles before the next class

Michael Wesch is doing some very interesting work: "My student-researchers and I tried something a little different to kick off our semester. Instead of the standard syllabus that requires everybody to read a few articles to discuss, we decided instead to organize ourselves into a Smart Mob that would try to read a good hunk of the literature on a single topic in one go. We chose to explore the implications of anonymity online, which is the centerpiece of our project this year." Read about it here. Also, check out their cool video.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hear it, Read it, Analyze it

This is a simple activity that I will try out with my students. Before lecturing on Proposals, I will have the students engage in an activity that will demonstrate the making of a proposal. I will begin by dividing the class into committees (or islands again) and give them a problem to work out. (This is similar, but not identical, to the activity on p. 262. I’m planning to do an alternative activity because my students tend to use the problems and solutions that we come up with in class and this thwarts their creativity.) I plan to begin with an abstract idea and through the lecturing and class discussions move towards a more concrete idea of how to make a persuasive proposal.

Here’s the problem :
A new government has been installed that rejects Freedom of Speech in favour of Complete Censorship. Give them examples of what might be censored (such as certain words, who speaks, writes, reads etc). Each group is on a committee that wants to counter this problem , i.e. denounce censorship. Your task is to brainstorm a number of solutions and choose one that seems most feasible, and summarize, in a line or two, the benefits of such a solution.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Just Saw Something Cool: The Class Blogger

Hi Everyone,

I've been conducting classroom observations this semester (I have 28 of them to do!)
I just saw a great idea, being used by one of the GTAs here at WVU.

One of my research interests is accessibility -- how do we make our pedagogy as broadly accessible to the widest range of students as possible -- whether we see this broadness as across "learning styles," "modalities," "abilities," languages, learning backgrounds, or other differences.

One way that we can create access is through redundancy -- a positive kind of redundancy, in which ideas and information can be made accessible in multiple formats, and the class is engaged in translating ideas across these formats. 

So, the idea was this: every class session has a blogger.

The teacher set up a class blog, linked to the course webpage.  A different student is the blogger each day, and they record notes, summarize conversations, narrate classroom action, and so on, as best they can.  The succinct but descriptive writing they do is important in and of itself.  And their synthesis and summary is then there for students who may need reminders, might benefit from another perspective on the day's themes, or otherwise benefit from accessing this information another way.

Asking students to take turns doing this also seemed to nicely "democratize" the class. Over the course of a semester it might even chisel away at the idea that the instructor's voice, vision, and version are the only mediums for the creation and dissemination of classroom "knowledge."

Anyhow.  I thought this was a really nice technique.

(I saw this done in a computer classroom, and the blogging was done in "real time."  But the blog post could be done retroactively as well, after class as a homework assignment.)