On this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers,we talk to teachers from the Gulf Coast again. School has started in many places along the Gulf, and there are many different and mixed reactions as the emergency has turned into a long-term clean up effort and part of a chronic crisis in the region.
On this podcast you'll learn what teachers and students on the Gulf were thinking about the BP oil spill in at the beginning of August, about 3 weeks after the cap was put on the Deepwater rig. You'll also learn why they believe that the “Voices on the Gulf” project is more important than ever. If you haven’t signed up yet. We’dlove for anybody who listens to Teachers Teaching Teachers to join the site!
We expect that students’ voices will dominate on the site once more schools start up, but we’d love to hear your plans, your thoughts, your voices on the site right now! Thanks!
The series of podcasts about the Gulf oil spill that we started at the beginning of June continues on this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers.
We are joined by Alicia Blair a 5th grade science teacher from Mississippi who has been an important voice on many of these podcasts this summer.
It was also a delight to listen to Ann Dobie, author, professor, and former Writing Project Director from Louisiana.
Ann Brewster Dobietaught at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for thirty-eight years, where she is now professor emerita of English. She directed graduate studies in rhetoric and the university’s writing-across-the-curriculum program. She is the author or coauthor of six college writing textbooks and author of numerous articles on literature and composition. She is the editor of Something in Common: Contemporary Louisiana Stories,Uncommonplace: An Anthology of Contemporary Louisiana Poets, and Wide Awake in the Pelican State: Stories by Contemporary Louisiana Writers. Ann received her doctorate in the teaching of writing from Columbia University.
Biography on http://anndobie.com Given our interest to work with teachers in the Gulf to collect the stories of students there, take a look at this description of Ann Dobie’s newest book, Fifty-Eight Days in the Cajundome Shelter, which was published in 2008.
Fifty-Eight Days in the Cajundome Shelter
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed thousands of homes, schools, and businesses across the Gulf Coast and changed the face of southeast Louisiana forever. However, nearly a hundred miles northwest of New Orleans, in Lafayette, Louisiana, a different story was unfolding. As men, women, and children waited on their roofs for rescue, executive director Greg Davis hurried to prepare the Cajundome in Lafayette as an emergency shelter.
The workers and volunteers in the Cajundome provided food, showers, and medical care to more than eighteen thousand evacuees that came to Lafayette. From the first busloads of newly homeless to the disasters caused by Hurricane Rita, “Fifty-Eight Days in the Cajundome Shelter” shares personal accounts of heartache and joy, tragedy and triumph. For the first time, here is a collection of the stories of the volunteers and evacuees. Their heroism, courage, and despair are etched into these stories as they endured the first few weeks in a hurricane-ravaged world.
Retold here is the bravery and leadership of Donald Williams as he took charge and led a convoy of handicapped and elderly to safety. Readers will also be captivated by the unforgettable story of the Prevost family as they climbed their way to the roof of their home and their heartbreaking journey to dry land on I-10. The author includes her own personal accounts of what really happened in the aftermath of Katrina and the bravery and selflessness of countless people who struggled to make a difference.
We are excited about the number of teachers who have joined us this summer for this exploration into how we can be good neighbors with our friends in the Gulf Coast. Al Doyle, a NYC teacher of gaming, joined us from the woods of a summer camp in Maine, and a new teacher Rebecca from Pennsylvania, had some things to say as well.
Some of the things to listen for in this podcast are some of the reasons we have been working with Bill Fitzgerald at FunnyMonkey to build an extension of our Youth Voices site. Two quotes from this podcast help define our mission for Voices on the Gulf:
I think sometimes when your there at that Ground Zero, if I can borrow that phrase, it's a little overwhelming. But I talked with several people and got together with our [Writing Project] director, and we just had a real brainstorm. And we went back again to our experience with Katrina. What did we end up doing? Not that we ever planned any of these things. It was more the spontaneous improv sort of thing. So we went back and we looked at the things that had been successful, and thought about what we would like to do for the oil spill. This time planning, with the goal being: We want to publish! We would like to do that this time.... This whole experience that we've had this summer in trying to brainstorm how to bring student voices out has really inspired us to take the initiative, instead of waiting until we see it through like we did with the hurricane, to make those efforts.
--Alicia Blair, high school science teacher and member of the Live Oak Writing Project, University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast
In Louisiana after Katrina and Rita our [Writing Project] sites published any number of anthologies of student writing about those hurricanes, and about what it meant to live through the hurricanes, but even more so, through the clean up and the rebuilding. I have no doubt that that's going to happen again because our teachers always capitalize on those things which are happening in students' lives and their families' lives, and use those as sources of writing and a kind of catharsis. I have no doubt that it will happen.
--Ann Dobie, professor emerita of English, University of Louisiana, director of the Louisiana Writing Project State Network and former director of the National Writing Project of Acadiana
On this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers, Alicia Blair, a science teacher who lives near the beach in Mississippi, asked us to think of her the next time we pump gasoline into a gas-guzzling automobile. Later in the show her heart went out to an art teacher, April Estep, who lives 20 minutes from the site of Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mining disaster. Casey Daugherty, a co-director of the Ozarks Writing Project, observed, "We'll think of April every time we switch the lights on."
Sandwiched between these ongoing conversations about how to respond to the BP oil spill and similar disasters such as the Big Branch disaster, we talked about how to raise teacher voice and how to push out audio and video on social networks like Twitter.
This summer our guests brought twitter and social networking to and from their local Invitational Summer Institutes of the National Writing Project. Paul Oh leads us in this discussion of how the face-to-face, intense summer work widens when social networks become part of the mix.
Our guests on this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers were:
Writing Project teachers have found Twitter to be a serious learning tool. Many sites across the country integrated Twitter into their summer institutes this summer, and teachers have built "personal learning networks"—groups of people who casually join together to communicate and collaborate on common topics—where they discuss serious educational issues.
Story behind the image:
As an ornithologist’s son, watercolor artist Paul Jackson grew up spending Christmases in the park ranger’s cabin on Horn Island, Miss. Over several weeks, he turned his outrage into “Fowl Language,” in which a least tern, stilt, egret, cormorant and other Gulf birds sit atop a dropping-streaked BP sign as an oil rig smokes in the background.
He posted a photo of the painting on his Web site while the paper was still damp. Within two hours, it was selling as a T-shirt on the art-sale Web site Zazzle.com.
The Columbia, Mo., painter has since created his own site, “Art vs. Oil Spill.” About 100 artists from as far away as India and Malaysia have offered works, with all proceeds going to nonprofit groups working to clean up the oil or oiled animals.
Diana Laufenberg, a history teacher from Science Leadership Academy who joined us on this topic 3 weeks ago will try (from her family’s farm) to join us again.
Natasha Whitton, one of the three teachers from the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project two weeks ago, hopes to join us again
Andrea Zellner, a biology and English teachers from the Red Cedar Writing Project in Michigan will be with us again!
AND NEW to our webcast: Catherine Tibbs, a former high school English teacher who works for the Live Oak Writing Project in Mississippi joined us. (She is also invited colleagues who will be heard on future podcasts. Catherine wrote this on a Monday late in June :
I don’t know if you know this or not, but oil reached the MS beaches this weekend. We had been fortunate so far to avoid this mess. From what I understand from the media, the manpower was not coordinated in the Gulf to skim the oil that is now reaching us. Isn’t that always the case?
Also new to the podcast is Jeff Mason from Penscola, Florida, a biology and technology teacher. We met a Twitter, and we look forward to a continuing connection. (Jeff came on the webcast last week as well, so look for more from him on future podcasts.)
We hope you will be able to join us in this ongoing project. Help us know how to respond as teachers—and with our students—to this monster that will continue to reek havoc for weeks? months? to come!
Soon after we launched Bitstrips.com, we found that teachers everywhere were using Bitstrips as a teaching tool, engaging their students with the exciting power of comic creation. So, we decided to build a new version of Bitstrips, tailored specifically for teachers. Bitstrips for Schools has all the awesome tools from Bitstrips, transplanted into a safe and secure environment, with additional administrative features that put the teacher in control. Teachers can create a virtual classroom, where their students can become cartoon characters and then complete activities by making comics. It’s an amazing way to promote literacy while having fun.
And, to start things off with a bang, we’ve licensed the service to the Ministry of Education for our home province of Ontario. This means that all 5000 publicly funded schools now have access to Bitstrips – that’s over 2,000,000 students! We can’t wait to see what they come up with.
Have you thought about using comic strips as a new way to engage your students? It seems like a perfect step along the continuum of multimedia use in composition, but the artwork aspect of it may be daunting. Enter: Bitstrips for Schools.
I am always interested in the various online, but protected, sites offering students and teachers a way to make webcomics. I use ToonDooSpaces with my students, and I love the variety of artwork and other options at ToonDoo, but I keep an eye out for other sites, too.
Recently, the National Writing Project finagled a deal with Bitstrips to let NWP teachers give the Bitstrips for Schools a trial run, so I jumped right in (big surprise) and started up an account, established a “classroom” and began making a comic. Later, I created an “activity” that will show up in any student account that I create.
Perhaps you do comics with your students, or would like to consider the possibilities! We hope you enjoy this conversation!
Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.
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