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.