Teachers Teaching Teachers

Teachers Teaching Teachers #58 - 06.20.07 - Finding passion in and out of the classroom

This year several elementary school teachers--mainly Writing Project teachers--from California, Colorado, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon, and the Philippines sent each other podcasts and poetry and responses on a weblog, Youth Radio: Connecting Youth Voices to the World. These teachers have created a space where young writers and voices can connect with news stories about their communities, their schools and their interests!

That's all fine, but on this webcast Paul Allison and Lee Baber talked to two of the teachers behind this project, Glen Bledsoe and Kevin Hodgson. We never got to the student work because we spent the entire time learning more about each of these teachers as musicians and creative people outside of the classroom.

It's fascinating to hear the differences between the music that Lee and Glen share with us, and to imagine Kevin's sax! Yet what we all share is a passion for living creative, passionate lives in and out of the classroom.

We had a great time together, and we invite you listen in.

Click Read More, below to find a long list of links from Glen's amazingly diverse creative mind.

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Teachers Teaching Teachers #57 - 06.13.07 - What's old and what's new about blogging?

­L­isten in as Christina Cantrill and Paul Oh from the National Writing Project, Kevin Hodgson from the Western Massachusetts Writing Project, and Felicia George from the New York City Writing Project -- plus Jason from Australia and two students from his school, along with Paul Allison and Susan Ettenheim describe ONE blog post, written by an 11th grader on Youth Voices.net. Paul directs our attention to the teacher-work and the student-work that went into producing this post. Our goal was to to collectively describe how blogging borrows from past writing pedagogy and seeks to go beyond it as well! It promises to be a very grounded, yet insightful conversation. We used a remote version of this Zoho Show during the webcast:
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Teachers Teaching Teachers #56 - 06.06.07 - The International Teen Life Project


At the end of this webcast, which features the five teachers involved with the International Teen Life Project, Scott S. Floyd, a teacher from the White Oak ISD and the Tech Liaison for the Bluebonnet Writing Project in Texas, USA asked, "What's one thing that teachers who want to get involved in a global project should keep in mind?" Clarence Fisher, a 7/8 teacher from Snow Lake, Manitoba, Canada began his answer with one word, "Planning... " This only made sense, because the International Teen Life Project that Clarence organized with four colleagues from around the world this last winter and spring is a model for how to go about planning a global project for middle school students. In January 2007, just as "the fun" was about to begin, Clarence wrote about this work in his blog:

In the middle of December, a small group of teachers, Kim Cofino and Jabiz Raisdana from Kuala Lumpur, Jamie Hide from Columbia, Lee Baber from Virginia, and myself began putting our heads together about more intense ways to bring students together. All being middle school teachers, we came up with the idea for a project that would focus our students around examining and reflecting on their own lives first and the lives of other people their age in their nation. From here, we want the kids to think globally and look at the lives and the concerns of people their own age in other parts of the globe.... While we are just beginning off, I am truly excited about this project.We are bringing together so many things: blogging, Skype, wikis, videoconferencing, podcasting, digital storytelling, etc in one place that is truly a new literacies sandbox!

Remote Access: International Teen Life

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Teachers Teaching Teachers #55 - 05.30.07 Re-mediating Speech Class


Our guest hosts on this podcast were Troy Hicks and Dawn Reed from the Red Cedar Writing Project! Here’s how they describe their work:

As podcasting has become a part of our language arts classes, weave seen first hand the ways in which it gives students an audience for their work. By its very nature, podcasting is an oral phenomenon and while it involves the writing process, examining the production rebroadcasts as a speech act also merits our attention. We, Dawn Reed and Troy Hicks, have been interested in how podcasting — because of its ability to record, edit, and revise oral language as well as to time-shift content — can be used as an extension of speech class in high school.

Our project this spring attempted to engaging students in responsible, ethical,and productive composing activities thorough blogging and podcasting. We set out to study how creating and publishing a podcast modeled on NPR’s This I Believe essays could change the composing process for students. In so doing, Dawn’s students created and published their own podcasts, and the two of us discovered a few things about our own technology skills, the school infrastructure, and students’ ability to rise to the occasion that we would like to share with you.

Also, we would like to discuss three ideas that we began our project with and think about how these were actualized:

  1. To understand how blogging and podcasting can be considered a part of Michigan’s new “online experience” for high school students and, rather than take a class fully online, teachers might incorporate elements of digital writing into the irregular classroom work.
  2. To consider themes that emerge from a project like this and how a K-12/university research team can better understand those themes through collaboration.
  3. To reconsider how teaching “speech,” a curricular partner to composition, changes when the media for production includes podcasting.In that sense, we will discuss how purposes and genres change, as well as the affordances and constraints of podcasting, both from technical and pedagogical perspectives.

Join us in the conversation! Add a comment here.

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Teachers Teaching Teachers #54 - 05.23.07 How do we keep it real in school blogs?

We invite you to listen in as eight Writing Project and WorldBridges teachers from five different (U.S.) states reflect on our students work in Youth Voices.
  • Alice Barr, Yarmouth HS, Yarmouth, Maine
  • Barbara Mehlman, Humanities and the Arts High School HUM, NY. New York
  • Bill Oneal, Trenton Central High School, West, Trenton, New Jersey
  • Ken Stein, Satellite High School, Midtown, NY, New York
  • Lee Baber, F. Hillyard Middle School, Broadway, Virginia
  • Matt Makowetski, MHS, Lompoc, California
  • Paul Allison, East Side Community HS, NY, New York
  • Susan Ettenheim, Eleanor Roosevelt HS, NY, New York
After welcoming our newest members of the community, we spent some time celebrating what is going well in this school-based community of about 1000 student writers/bloggers. We discussed ways we might collaborate more over the summer and into next fall. And we began to make plans for next year. We are a community of teachers, focused on fostering a social network where students can become compelling bloggers. Some of our questions include:
  • How can we cover all of the required skills and topics of our various curricula (technology, global studies, art, English...) and still allow students to blog about topics of their own choosing?
  • Could we select a group of books and invite students to form communities (reading groups) around each of these? How could we have a common text or common texts available as an option for students to blog about... without loosing our environment of student choice?
  • How do we continue to nurture our ethic of student peer response. Do the sentence starters we've been using work? Can they be more open?
  • Can we use the elgg to share multimedia work, art, or visual work more? How do we sponsor peer response to this work? Can we all learn to use the wiki more, following Susan Ettenheim's lead on Gallery pages like Flash Creations Page 2? Will an update to the new elgg profile pages (see Paul Allison's example) be part of the solution?
  • How do we remain a community of teachers that is open to new teachers jumping in with their students, yet maintain a transparent support structure where we can share tips and community standards (e.g. "only Creative Commons images, please, and no pictures of the students themselves... and... and...)?
  • What role might our wiki play: http://elggplans.wikispaces.com? How might we organize this site better? How do we get everybody to contribute to and use this site?
  • Could we use our new Gcast to stay in touch on a regular basis? (Email Susan Ettenheim -- [email protected] -- to learn more.)
  • What can we do this summer to build this community? (Step one. All of us should register at the elgg: EducationBridges.net - We'll form a community or communities there.)
Come hear us talk about these and other questions. Hear what teachers talk about when they talk about their students blogging in an elgg. Join the conversation! Leave a comment if you would like to join Youth Voices, and start blogging in your classroom.
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