Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Entry #5 Class/Self-Assessment Letter

Dear Dr. Jones,

At first I was feeling very uneasy about taking this class because the thought of writing makes me more than uncomfortable.   Once we began class I began to feel even more anxious, especially with the thought of writing a blog.  The thought of classmates having open access to “judge” my writing or thought process is very intimidating.  I initially was struggling when reading Hicks because I felt as though so much of it I was unfamiliar with.  I never knew about wikis, what the purposes of blogs were, and how these could be valuable to our students.

Since the beginning of class I feel as though I have become more comfortable to the thought of the different types of writing assignments I am presented with, such as blogs and discussion forums.  I believe that my feelings steam from the fact that I have never had to write like this before with classmates as audience as well as my professor.  I can see why incorporating different facets such as these with our students serve to be beneficial learning.  Not only will they be able to grasp these concepts early on but they will be able to use them in their future.

I feel as though my understanding of connections between reading and writing have progressed since the beginning of the semester.  When beginning the program at Nazareth I had no idea about all of the information I was going to gain pertaining to the connection between reading and writing.   I never knew the connection between the two were so in depth.  The writing I have engaged in so far in class has allowed me to fully transact.  I feel as though when using the discussion forum this is when I am to reconsider what I have written.  I am able to see others views and look into the discussion a bit deeper than if I had just been responding for my own wellbeing. 

I have learned many strategies that help me to better understand what good readers and writers do.  As I learn different strategies and think back to my education I wonder why I wasn’t taught such skills.  The school I work at I am always hearing the principle talk about what good readers and writers do, it makes me feel good to know that he is talking with students about strategies.

I still feel a bit overwhelmed with all that we are learning this semester.  I have always been a very organized person and at the moment I am feeling unorganized, not in the general sense but an in my head sense.  I feel as though I am still trying how to figure out how to write and use technology to its fullest in many new ways.  The most important thing however is that I am learning all of this new information and the different ways to utilize it which can only benefit my future students.  If I didn’t have access to learn these kinds of tools I would be a disservice to them.  One area I would like to focus on is having more time to further explore these different tools, how can they be used outside of educational purposes and be used towards personal thoughts.  I would like to focus on being able to write with a “clear” mind when using the blogs and discussion forum.  I feel as though I have a “block” because I know others are reading.  I don’t believe that there is anything needed to further enhance my learning there has just been a lot of new technology introduced to me and as I stated before I just need to find the time to explore these tools to their fullest ability.

I appreciate the time you take to respond to our blogs and discussion forums it is really beneficial while learning about all of these new topics.  Thank you for introducing me to a new way of writing.


Still getting used to it

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Entry # 3 Journal Writing

As Tompkins states there are a variety of purposes that students write in journals for. In my journal writing experiences I mainly wrote to record experiences, explore ideas, and ask questions. I never really thought about journal writing in the other aspects which Tompkins states that consist of activating prior knowledge, engaging the imagination, assuming the role of another person, or to solve a problem. I do however see the benefits is talking and modeling all of the varieties mentioned above. I find journal writing to be very fascinating. It seems as though when writing in one’s journal there could be limitless possibilities as well as no boundaries.

 I first began writing in journals around the age of eight. I also had a diary with a lock on it and thought that would be the perfect place to keep all of my top secrets. Little did I know they were very easy to break into, especially when left for an older brother! I wanted a diary to escape from the thoughts of my parents’ divorce. I believed that if I was able to write my thoughts down they would somehow vanish from my mind. I realized this really didn’t happen but it was a “safe” place for such ideas to be written.

 As I got older I found that I didn’t write in my journal as often. Did I not have enough to say? Was it not important enough to keep track of? Was I afraid of someone seeing what I had written? Ultimately the last question was what always made me fearful of continuing to write in my journal. In my earlier years of journal writing I was always so forth coming and willing to write so freely, but as I got older I found myself “blocking” out what I really wanted to write down in fear of who might one day read what I had been feeling at this particular time in my life.

I was happy when this genre was a topic in class. It brought me back to remember that journal writing is for a variety of purposes and that it doesn’t have to be a fearful topic. This topic made me excited to look back on some of my journals that I haven’t revisited in many years. As I reread my writing from previous years I was reminded that I wasn't taught about journal writing in school, it was just something I found interest in initially as an escape. I am reminded just how essential it is to talk to all of our students about the many different genres of writing. If these different types of writing aren't modeled for them I'm not sure they will have the benefits of exploring all that writing has to offer.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Entry #2 Digital Writing Workshop

When dealing with my students, the subject of writing and the spaces that surround the environment in which we write in are all very complex in their own ways.  While I was student teaching in a kindergarten classroom I believed that it was essential to introduce my students to the benefits of writing workshop.  Writing workshops can be developed in many different ways.  I would use mini lessons to develop concepts, ideas, and organization. 

I believe that it is important to model writing and show my students how to write about topics that really matter to us. While reading  Radical Reflections for clinic I discovered that giving students a real audience for writing is essential in developing language.  Fox implies that language develops only when it is used “for real” (1993).  Many times I would need to adjust my lessons and teaching according to the different needs of my students.  From this I learned that when using real topics my students were able to have a more in depth connection with their writing.  My personal favorite part of the writing workshop was having the individual conferences with students.  Although these conferences were much more difficult than I anticipated I gained an emmense amount of knowledge about each student individually.  These conferences were needed in order to help move my students forward with their writing.  I believe that when I first started conferencing with students I was using it as a time to correct errors.  I learned from this that at a kindergarten level conferencing should focus on what parts of the writing the student liked the best and where were they going with it.  I was also able to use this time to note specifics about each student, were they able to blend and segment could they use the word wall or classroom environment to find a word if needed? 

I introduced technology by having students create digital vocabulary books.  The kids used digital cameras to take pictures of things that depicted their vocabulary words. Then they uploaded them to the computers and used Windows Power Point to make slides with sentences using the vocabulary word to describe the picture they took. We printed them, laminated, and then used book binding machine to make a book!  Making these vocabulary books took a long time.  In reflection I think at the kindergarten level it would’ve been easier to begin with using a photo that went along with a single sentence they wrote.  I wasn’t prepared for the amount of time this particular lesson would take.

Looking into my future teaching I would love to use a digital writing workshop and have students create their own topic page.  Students would be able to use the internet as a learning resource.  Students would be able to choose a topic of interest and it would be intended for a real audience.

When it comes to writing whether it be with a pencil and paper or using technology I have learned that students need a foundation.  The most important is giving students a purpose for writing.  I learned that at the kindergarten level that students can only write about what they know.  I learned that I needed to be careful if I wanted to choose to use a prompt with students, this was because not all students were able to relate to particular prompts.


Fox, M. (1993). Radical reflections. (p. 4). San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Company.