Monday, April 16, 2012

Blogging about Blogging

I like to blog when I have something to say.

For those of you who don't know me well, I usually have something to say. My problem is that I rarely have anything to say that is educational-blog-appropriate.

A blog is like an online journal; a collection of shareable thoughts that other people can have access to. Sometimes your friends will read. Sometimes random people you don't really know will read. Sometimes, like in this class, your professor will read.

Isn't it amazing, the writer's block we suddenly get when we know that our professor will be our audience, reading our collections of thoughts? I can't think of how many times I've typed something and saved it to my drafts only to delete it and write about something menial.


Self censorship. Only for the brave of heart.

Elton John Multi Genre Project

I was looking around for examples of multigenre projects and I found this one. I thought it was very informational and extremely creative on the student's end.. One of the good things about multi genre projects is that we are able to view an abundance of information but we don't really feel like we're learning. Still we are able to take so much away from it. I think that is one of the many benefits of multi genre writing. For those who like to be visually stimulated by educational content, this is an area in which they could easily be interested and the possibilities are certainly numerous and rewarding.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Learning a Language

I'm trying to learn a language and I cannot help but wonder why I wasn't made to start sooner. It's seriously frustrating. Studies show that the best time to teach a child a second language is during the very young years of his or her life; preschool and, most importantly, prepuberty.

In that case, why do we start language learning at the high school level? Did any of you take a language before ninth grade? I'm not sure if this just happened in my high school, but I know that I was only required to take three years of Spanish to graduate.

What were your experiences with language learning like?

Three Rules

In high school, we did play one improv game I always really enjoyed. We would do it while we were reading a novel (The Hunger Games, for instance. I'll use that since it's popular). There would be a certain number of characters from the book chosen (this is determined by the teacher. So, let's pretend I'm the teacher and I chose three characters: Catniss, Cato, and Peeta).

The audience (the rest of the class) sets the scene (For example, they'll say "Let's pretend Catniss, Peeta, and Cato went fishing...") Then, students will volunteer to play one of the characters. After the three lucky students volunteered (or were chosen), they came to the front. The audience then made up three rules.

The rules were usually silly like "the person playing Catniss can only talk in questions" or "none of the actors can say words ending in 's.'" After the three rules were established, the scene began. The scenario had to be played out, with each character behaving as they would in the book, and all three of the rules had to be obeyed.

When an actor broke a rule, the class caught them by yelling "Off with his (or her) head!" and booed them until another actor jumped in and took over his or her place as the character in that scene.

To add some twists, the teacher made up new rules. Sometimes, she would pause and tell everyone to perform an action. It would quickly turn into a game of Simon Says or memory.

It was a good ten minutes of fun :) and educational, believe it or not. Just thought I'd share!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Since Everyone Else is Doing It... My Comments on the 20 Shot Film

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I loved, loved, loved the 20 shot film assignment. I had a huge internal debate in order to decide whether or not I would do this with a class of my own. I went back and forth for a few days and eventually weighed the pros and cons.

 I guess the pros have it. I do think I would complete this assignment with my future students.

When I finally saw the result of our storyboarding, collaboration, and filming, I was pleased, excited, and amused. I think that high school students generally will enjoy this assignment if given the appropriate instruction (just as we were given a 30 minute lecture about angles and shots). The process might be a little scary for future teachers. I would be worried about their film's appropriateness, the students' access to technology, and their availability to shoot. Many students are involved with extra curricular activities, so I'm sure that picking a meeting time outside of school wouldn't be ideal. Of course, they could use in class time to go shoot around the school building, but that poses other problems to consider.

 I have faith, however, that the kinks can (and should) be worked out.

Cardboard Village

This is a noneducational story, but I figured I'd share anyway.

Last night, I participated in the Cardboard Village. Basically, organizations (or people) sign up and build a cardboard house in the quad (the house can only be made with cardboard, tape, and tarp). The house has to be occupied at all times in a 24 hour time period by various members of the group. Participants are only allowed one blanket per person (no pillow, no cell phones, no space heaters). Additionally, there is no food allowed in the house. Basically, the "homeless experience" (or as close to the homeless experience I'll get as a non-homeless person) knocked on my door.

I answered.

As I was in my cardboard box, colder than I've ever been in my entire life despite the fact that I wore layers and layers of clothing, I felt weak, defeated, powerless, hungry, and uncomfortable. I tried to go to sleep, but I couldn't because I was shivering so badly. I tried to text (on my banned cellular device), but my hands were so stiff, even through two pairs of gloves. So... I sat there. For hours and hours. Miserable. And angrier than I've ever been.

I guess the moral of the story is that good things can come from anger. If something really, really, REALLY ticks you off, fight it. I know I am.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rice on Education: American Dream on Verge of Collapse

"Condoleezza Rice on Education: American Dream on Verge of Collapse: If America doesn't reform education, security and upward mobility will suffer, she warns"

 This article was posted on Google News a few hours ago and it's interesting. It's hard to imagine some of the immediate results of what could happen if American education does not reform (and really reform... not just pretend to "reform" like it has been doing in the past). Many educators and politicians are worried about the United States falling behind "educational powerhouses" like China and South Korea. I haven't looked enough into this myself to know how legitimate the opinions in this article are. Still, I think it's a frightening prospect and I thought I'd share.,0,3654983.story