Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Entry #12 The end of the semester but not blogging!

Blogging was an interesting experience for me.  Initially I was not looking forward to having to having to BLOG each week.  It seemed to me as though it would be one of those assignments I would just complete and wouldn’t learn anything from.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I gained a wealth of knowledge not only from writing a BLOG each week but also from what each individual involved in our blog brought to the table as well. 

I wasn’t very keen on the fact that others besides a professor would be reading my blog.  Why did what I have to say matter to others?  Did what I had to say make sense?  Would people really take the time and read what I had to say?  The most beneficial part of blogging for me was once we began our blogs using bless, address, or press.  After a few of our blog entries which asked us to bless, address, or press I really could see that what I had to say mattered.  People were thinking about what I had posted and I was in turn doing the same about what they had written.

The student learning outcomes that are stated on page one of our syllabus were satisfied.  I read a lot of different blogs where people had incorporated the genres presented that week into their blogs which in turn gave their blog a creative sense while reading it.  I was not brave enough to attempt writing my blog in any of the different genres we talked about.  I have always viewed blogging as more of a personal space to write so I found it difficult at times to incorporate readings and using it as an educational learning space.  I’m glad I had this experience because I was able to learn what worked for and what didn’t.  I wonder where my blog could’ve went if I would’ve taken more chances/risks.  I am still adapting to having such a wide audience.  The more comfortable I become writing with an audience such as this I am hoping to become more comfortable with incorporating some form of blogging into a future classroom.

Entry #11 Genres

Throughout this semester I have gained an incredible amount of new information on the different genres.  As Alyse stated “I KNEW about the genres but I didn’t KNOW”, as a teacher I thought I had a good base of knowledge about the genres but in actuality there were so many pieces I was missing.  There are distinctive features that belong with each genre and that is an area I needed some fine tuning in.

At the beginning of the semester I felt as though I had a decent understanding on using the biographical genre.  After this particular presentation I expanded my knowledge and what I had previous thought about this genre.  Although I have had practice with using this genre throughout elementary and high school I realize I was just completing an assignment, I wasn’t really taking time to understand what I was doing and the meaning behind it.  Now that I have learned about the different types of biographies as well as the distinctive features for each I am looking forward to incorporating this genre in my own future writing as well as in a future classroom.  For instance when it comes to autobiographies I never thought about digging in deeper and using different techniques such as life boxes or bio bags.  In a future classroom I would definitely incorporate using something such as life boxes to gain a better understand each other.

Tomkins states “one reason that children are so successful in writing personal narratives is that they can draw on what they know best-themselves” (p. 231).  I feel as though I am emotionally involved with this genre because it is a genre I know I can be SUCCESSFUL using.  I feel as though students are drawn to this particular genre for that exact reason, how can one be wrong when they can use what they already know.

I was the least knowledgeable about the descriptive genre.  Tompkins states, “too often, students’ writing is limited to one sense-sight: They describe something as though their writing were a home movie without sound” (p,139).  I relate to this statement because I feel as teachers we continually do this while planning lessons.  We’ve become so accustomed to the way we do things it becomes repetitive.  Being future literacy specialist it is important that we remember to teach with all of our senses but especially sound, this can be a difficult change.  The hands on activities in this particular presentation were great and could easily be shifted into using for future lessons.  Because there are so many distinctive features within this genre, I am going to continue to engage in reading more descriptive literature.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Entry #10 "Bless, Address, or Press"

I'm not sure why I don't have all these negative feelings towards writing poetry but I do know that it is crazy to hear about all of the negative experiences people have had when it comes to this genre of writing.  When we were first asked to write down on an index card different genres I don't exactly remember how I choose to order the different genres I was interested in.  However I do know that I have always enjoyed poetry and have always been interested in gaining more knowledge about the genre as well as teaching and implementing within my future classroom.

I would like to BLESS Alyse for her latest Blog entry, I don't want to write a poem and you can't make me...  The more I think about it, I realize that when individuals are faced with choosing to write a poem or use a different genre of writing is seems as though they almost always choose to write any genre BUT poetry.  In the beginning of Alyse's blog she talks about her response to thinking about writing a poem,  "Hmmm... naaaaaooooo. I don't think so. I don't really like poems"...it may be because I have had a couple of classes with Alyse and have gotten to know her but I loved reading this because I could visualize her responding exactly like this.  It seems as though most poetry related experiences I have read about students only explore the poetry genre when asked, it isn't something one tends to discover on their own.  Is this because of all the negative experiences people have had in the past? 

According to Tompkins, "many students have misconceptions about what writing poetry is, they think it has to rhyme, or they're unsure of how it should look on a page...students need to develop a basic understanding of the genre as they begin to write poetry." (p. 171)  I agree with Tompkins that students need a basic understanding of what the genre of poetry is.  When talking with people about their poetry experiences I believe that they haven't been given the opportunities to properly learn about this genre.  Unfortunately because of experiences like this many feel the same as Alyse and "learn to SHUN the genre" (By the way I love the use of the word shun!)  I'm happy that you enjoyed our presentation and that it was able to INSPIRE you to give poetry another CHANCE!  I can't wait to hear about your POSTIVE experience using this genre for your project!

Maybe the reason I have always enjoyed exploring the poetry genre is because it's exactly what Alyse states, "Poetry is a celebration of the unconventional. It allows people the freedom to construct a  message in a unique way, placing more emphasis on the meaning of the text instead of following traditional form." Thanks Alyse for sharing and putting yourself up to the challenge of writing in the poetry genre!

Tompkins, G. E.  (2012).  Teaching writing:  Balancing process and product 
            (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Merrill

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Entry #9 Bibliography

Last week Kristen and Elyse presented on the biographical genre.  From this presentation I gained a deeper understanding of all this genre entails.  According to Tompkins writers use this genre to tell stories about their lives or other peoples lives.  The biographical genre encompasses four types of life stories which include personal narratives, memoirs, autobiographies, and biographies.

I feel as though I was drawn to this genre because I have had positive writing experiences with the different types.  The type I feel as though I identify with the most is autobiographies.  Tompkins states that "students greatest source of information for writing is their own experiences..."  My earliest memory of using this genre is a My Feelings Book, which I made in third grade.  Throughout the years I have kept this book and it stays on my desk at all times.  I don't know what it is about this book that has remained with me through the years, but I'm guessing it's the personal connection I have with the book and the feelings that I had at the time.

This type of writing has continued to play a role all throughout my education.  I have always enjoyed the connection I fell with using this genre.  How can I get it wrong?  I can't it's about ME and MY LIFE!  While writing this blog I am reminded of LTED 609 and the first night of class and the timeline we were asked to create.  I had never had to think that in depth about my life.  Although I had previously had positive experiences with this genre, I felt defeated before I even began this particular assignment.  What could I even remember that was being asked of me?  How I was I taught to read and write?  Who read to me when I was younger?  Everyone around me had these great memories about their literary experiences and it seemed as though they were right there on the surface.  I really had to sit and think about these questions.  What would I be willing to share?  When I look back on these writing experiences it makes me wonder, why was it so much easier to write about these topics when I was younger?  Why was it more difficult to write about these questions now?
We use this genre in writing all the time.  When meeting my student for clinic this semester I wanted to build his trust and get to know him.  In our first session together we created all about me books.  We talked about our families, favorite foods, and our goals for our time together.  This was a great way to break the ice and learn a lot about one another in a short amount of time.

If I were to incorporate this genre in my future classroom I believe that I would like to explore life boxes.  I really enjoyed they way Kristen incorporated her life box in the presentation.  Although I am friends with her outside of class I learned new information about her that I didn't know before. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Entry #8 "Bless, Address, or Press"

I wanted to bless Alyse for her post this week A Fluke, it was really descriptive and there were certain instances in which I could visualize exactly what she was talking about.  I  appreciate how open she was about her struggles with her genre presentation piece.  I believe that each of us in different ways have struggled with the different pieces we are creating.  In addition to blessing Alsye for he descriptive blog writing, I also wanted to address something that came to mind and see if after her teaching the genre presentation which focused on descriptive writing may have also played a role in her figuring out where to focus for her first genre piece?  I admire that she was able to find time to do some personal reading for enjoyment and within that time have an "a ha" moment of which direction to move towards with her first genre piece.

Hicks states that writers write to be read (p.82).  As I read that statement pertaining to this particular blog entry I find myself wondering, do writers write to be read?  I know that having a purpose and an audience is essential for ones writing process, but I am having a hard time finding that with blogging.  I feel as though I like to write for me, is this something I was taught?  Is it because no one can judge my writing besides me if I am the only audience.

 Like Alsye I have had my struggles with blogging, for me however the reasons are different.  I am struggling with the fact that my writing will forever be somewhere and at any moment can be viewed from a variety of different people.  Hicks mentions that when students are responsible for their own writing they feel more engaged in the process (p. 82).  When and how does this happen?  I mostly struggle to feel engaged while writing my blogs.  It really isn't the topics that aren't engaged because we mostly have the freedom to write about any topic pertaining to class.  I continue to ask myself what is it and why is this such a difficult assignment for me?

Hicks, T. (2009). The digital writing workshop. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Entry #7 Google Sites and Publishing

Technology is scary!  There are so many confusing questions but so many undiscovered places in which it can take you.  I am learning the key to technology is pure exploration.  Discovering all of these new ways in which technology can be incorporated into the classroom,  makes me wonder how many of my past teachers/professors were as scared as I was about learning unfamiliar ground.  It truly is amazing how much is out there for educators to incorporate into their classrooms.

Last class we learned about creating our own google site.  This was yet another new form of technology for me to learn about.  Although I am still learning about my google site page I am really looking forward to the end result.  I'm hoping to learn different ways to incorporate something like this in a future classroom.  I definitely think something such as a google site would be beneficial for students to learn about as well as use. 

According to Tompkins, publishing motivates them to improve their writing because they know they'll share it with a real audience.  This statement specifically stuck with me because we were recently talking about this in clinic.  We give students writing prompts that don't even necessarily pertain to anything we are talking about.  It's a topic way out in left field and we are asking them to write only for us.  I am their only audience.  It's pretty absurd if you really take the time and think about it.  Why would a child want to write about something they really don't care about when I am going to be the only person reading it?  They don't!  Finding a real audience as well as a real purpose is what will ultimately motivate the child.  In my next lesson I was thinking about just giving my student a chance to just have time do to a free write.  My biggest fear, what if he says he doesn't want to write or has nothing to write about?  Well I guess I will tell him that's something to write about, write about having nothing to write about.  It is an interesting balancing act when trying to figure out what works best and what doesn't.  I do agree with Tompkins that when a child have a real audience that in turn motivates them to write.  However I wonder in situations such as clinic how do you incorporate a real audience to motivate the writer?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Entry #6 Responding to Students Writing

After class, I was thinking about all of the different discussions we had in reference to Nancy Sommers article, Responding to Student Writing.  Initially I never really looked into this issue in its entirety.  I now realize there is much more invested in a topic such as this rather than what you only choose to see on the surface.

I personally am the type of student that never wants my paper read by ANYONE until it’s time to be handed in.  I can’t think of a specific example that in turn makes me feel this way, however I do believe that I must’ve come across some negative writing experiences to want to be so closed off from different writing experiences.

I feel as though I have grown tremendously in my writing in general as well as within the writing process throughout my time as a graduate student.  In certain classes we have used RAGS which made me more comfortable with sharing my writing because of the anonymity with this process.  I also feel as though I have been given more tools throughout the writing process to be able to grow as an individual writer and not feel so “judged”.

In Sommers article she states that written comments need to be a means for helping students to become more effective writers.  I feel as though it could only serve as beneficial to read through a student’s paper one full time before writing any comments down.  As teachers we need to make sure we are seeing the writing piece as a whole and not just word by word, sentence by sentence, or one error after the next.  If we take the time to see the writers view with a thorough read through to begin with, it will help us as teachers to know what type of information can be useful for the writer, and what they need to get to the next level.  By doing this I feel as though it will help me to not write down every little thought that may confuse the writer even more.  I have also come to the conclusion that writing is a creative process and I may write comments on a student’s paper and they may edit it and when I read it again I may still be confused.

Sommers, N. (1982). Responding to student writing. College Composition and

Communication, 33(2), 148-156.