Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Photo Essay

Calvin & Hobbes

Calvin has a point. Fluffing up your writing to take up space until you can get just one word onto that last page in order to get the credit for turning in a 5 page paper, or 4 pages + one word depending on how you look at it. The creative aspect of writing should not rest in the inflating and obscuring your writing. 
However, it should consist of more creative writing assignments using digital technology! Early this semester we created a photo essay. This is just like any other essay except instead of the regular rules of 12 pt font, Times New Roman, 3 pages with 1" margins, the rules consist of creating a sequence of photos with subtitles to create their essay. Digital writing is taking over, and the traditinal essay will be left behind if it does not conform. I can write you a bunch of black and white words about the Great Depression, and I can occasionally add a picture or two when I feel like breaking it up, but check out this photo essay on the Great Depression. Using it strategic structure, the author aligns the photos to deepen her thesis and create a stronger emotional rresponse for the reader. Voice is not lost in this format as the author riddles the subtitles with vivid adjectives and small quips that show the author's opinions
We need to open our lesson plans and classrooms to a new ideas, and we can start with a simple Photo Essay.  


Text message, #Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

We all know these digital based programs; in fact, we probably have an account of own for most of them. I'll admit, I have all four. I text daily, Twitter occasionally (#slacker #wannabe #don'tseethepoint), Facebook constantly, and check Instagram at least once a day. How about you? If your text messages, tweets, pictures and status updates were just deleted for a week, how would you communicate outside of the spoken word? We'd be back to snail mail and knocking on doors.

We do not live in a traditional world anymore, and even more so than us, our students live in an almost solely digital world. It is time we implement digital writing into our curricula. When we tweet, we are writing for our followers (#ihavenofollowersbesidesmymom). We post on Facebook to reach out to our friends, acquaintances and occasionally people we don't even remember how we know them anymore. However, in the classroom our students write papers, respones, poems and short stories for one person: the teacher. By simply searching Google we have hundreds of people's opinions at our fingertips, but our classrooms are still designed for one person.

It is time we include digital writing in our lessons. It is an injustice to our students if we do otherwise.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I Need YOUR Input!

I've emailed some past teachers of mine, and I hope to get more feedback from them and from others about this topic. I asked them if they think digital writing is good or even beneficial. If and how they use it in their classrooms and what they personally think about writing. I just sent them out, but when I get their responses I'll keep you updated. For now though, what are you thoughts? I don't care if you are a teacher or not, or even in school anymore. What do you feel about learning how to write on a blog or video record a research paper? What about your kids learning this?

It Has Started Again...


I know it has been a long time since writing, but I've picked up where I left off, only this time I'm moving from reading others primary texts to other forms of writing primary pieces. My earlier research about what constitutes that primary text for consumption revolutionized my beliefs about teaching. Yes, reading the text is reading, but I will always believe in other forms of consumption, but, what about producing other forms? What about after reading, listening, watching or playing the text? Well, you write a paper of course! Or do you have to write a paper? Is that the only way to synthesize your thoughts about a topic? Pencil and paper with a big, pink, rubber eraser? What I told you it is just as beneficial to your learning if you blog about? Act it out? Video record your research paper or draw a picture of the adjectives describing a character? We read, read, read and then we write, write, write, but are we learning? We consume so much, and we create so much, but we connect so very little. A bright, tenth grader can write a research paper about NASA and only the teacher and their two peer editors will ever read that paper. That may be the best paper they will ever write in their life, and it is filed away, read by only three or four people, it's now food for mice in the back of the filing cabinet. I piece of the best work a person will ever do is now only mouse food: left to be eaten bit by bit and never seen again. I want to resurrect those papers! Why shouldn't they a student be able to post their research paper on YouTube, and then share it on their Facebook wall, and after that post a link to it in their blog or email it to their grandma?

Why shouldn't my students feel published?