Cheryl Ball and Drew Lowe's new FREE ebook Bad Ideas About Writing is your new #1 weapon to bury zombie ideas about writing and writing instruction for good!
Introducing a new collection of resources that exemplify some of the best connected learning practices from Pittsburgh.
Years in the Making with Connected Learning seeks to offer lessons on the evolution of Connected Learning through the vantage points of mentors, community collaboration, and interest-driven learning.
This collection shares resources created by educators across the Educator Innovator network who are working to transform their teaching in order to promote connected learning.
Resources in this collection have emerged from a growing partnership between the National Park Service (NPS) and the National Writing Project (NWP) designed to bolster connected learning opportunities within the national parks and reach more young visitors and educators.
- Writing Feedback
- university writing
- Writing Instruction
- first year writing
- teaching writing
- Growth mindset
- connected learning
- learning innovation
- Remake Learning
- museum education
- art museum teaching
- arts education
- art museum
- project based learning
- malcolm x
- random house
- authentic audience
- LRNG Grant
- LRNG Innovators
- meaningful audience
- Social & Emotional Learning
- Gateway Writing Project
- OneCity Stories
- race conversations
A funny thing happened on my way to the Rhizome sometimes last year ... the hashtag got switched. Now, normally, this would not be a big issue. But I have come to realize more and more how much I rely on the columns of my Tweetdeck app (sorted by hashtags) as a place to keep connected to various projects. So, when someone switches a conversation from one hashtag (say, #rhizo16) to another (say, #resilience16), I suddenly feel disorientated. Lost. And I depend on the kindness of strangers. A few rhizo folks had made some initial tweets with both hashtags (which is quite generous because together, they take up a good portion of the 140 characters to begin with, you know?).
High school English teacher Scott Glass at Glenbrook South in the suburbs of Chicago had always been interested in art and creating, but didn’t do a lot of it himself until he started teaching a humanities class.
Colleagues of mine from the Philadelphia Writing Project asked me recently if I had suggestions about ways that they might think about extending their Summer Institute (SI) beyond the summer and into spaces, on and offline. The goals were to allow for beyond-the-summer discussions as well as to support others in joining in and participating beyond that particular SI cohort. Below are a set of Whys followed by a list of Hows ideas that I put together for them; sharing them here as a resource for other writing project sites and colleagues across the country. Feel free to add to an editable version of this list!
Starting something new is perpetually a complex endeavor: exciting and challenging; confusing and frustrating; fun and eye-opening; and important and mysterious --- think first day as a freshman, think mid-week of the first week of the Summer Institute (as part of the National Writing Project), think first day on the job. Being a member of this team of teachers (see links, below) working on creating curriculum for Youth Voices was just as amazing.
I had been writing about diving into the world of Twitter Bots for Networked Narratives, and my interest in creating my own Twitter Bot, if only to understand the process of how it is done. Well, I did it. Check out the PeaceLove&Bot bot. Every six hours, the PeaceLove bot will send out a new tweet that begins with the lines made famous in the Elvis Costello song (but written by Nick Lowe) with random word replacing "Understanding" in the lyrics. I've included the #NetNarr hashtag in the code, too, so that the tweets get sent into the NetNarr twitter stream. Phew.
This past summer I attended our local chapter of the National Writing Project, Red Cedar Writing Project, leadership meeting. During the meeting, we were given the opportunity to join projects that were either in progress or just starting up. I found myself intrigued by the description of both YouthVoices.live and LRNG.org. I decided that these two projects sounded interesting and fulfilled my need to combine learning with technology.
Little did I know what an awesome team I would join. There are seven of us, and our leader has taken to calling us the Magnificent Seven (but without all the violence, of course). I have to admit that never in my wildest dreams did I expect this team to be as productive and driven as it has proven to be. So what has it been like for me?
Langston Hughes said it best when he expressed his feelings in the masterpiece, “I, too”:
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—
I, too, am America.
Sometimes innovation is about having a sense of the big idea, then paving the way one step at a time. Creativity and exploration certainly is part of the learning process.
As an engaged digital literacy educator, I invite my students into powerful opportunities to engage in conversation with other learners across the country through the Youth Voices Community. Through this professional learning space, several dedicated teachers, including National Writing Project teachers, engage students in conversation through written discussion and video conferences, as well as support with guides for writing and learning with shared curriculum.
While I think the goal of providing equitable access to educational technology is laudable, I am consistently amazed at the lack of foresight demonstrated by districts when it comes to what teachers and students should do with the devices once they have been distributed. As I have ranted before, the devices do not magically transform learning — strong pedagogy does that. And, I do not see much evidence of sustained, meaningful professional development being offered to teachers so that they can create strong, technology-enriched pedagogy.
This post was written by all the teacher-leaders in Sandboxes for Learning who attended the meeting described below December 9-11, 2016: Paul Allison, Christina Cantrill, Joe Dillion, Jenny Lockie, Jo Paraiso, Dawn Reed, Shantanu Saha, Chris Sloan, and Trixie Smith.
A profile on the evolution of educator innovator, Joe Dillon, 11th grade English teacher and instructional coach at Rangeview High School in Aurora, Colorado.
For the CLMOOC Pop-Up Make Cycle for #DigiWriMo, we invited people to help annotate an interview of Troy Hicks about digital literacies. The Edutopia article by Todd Finley is a few years old, but holds up remarkably well, I think. We have been using the Hypothesis annotation tool, which allows you to collaboratively add comments and media in the margins of a web-based article. It's a great way to "think out loud with others" in the margins of the Web. It's also invisible, to some degree.
I don't claim to understand all of the data analysis that goes on when people research and examine all of the elements of our social interactions in places like Twitter and beyond. Here, for example, is what the Innovator's Mindset MOOC looked like from a data analysis viewpoint.
For the past several years, PhilWP has partnered with the Independence National Historical Park to offer a two-week summer program for students in grades 9-12, giving them the opportunity to explore the history of their city, think critically about American history, and use their experiences to inspire their writing and art. In addition, the partnership provided an opportunity for middle-school students to explore the importance of creating arguments using evidence as part of their ongoing learning. In 2015, the Philadelphia Writing Project, the National Writing Project and Independence National Historical Park completed a video called The Power of Argument, featuring Philadelphia eighth-graders and highlighting the Declaration of Independence as an argument.
Their World – A Digital One
By Amy Quinn
This is the only world young students know of… a digital one.
As an adult, we can see this “change” as clear as night and day because we remember the “before.” There was a time we didn’t all carry our smartphones everywhere. The “before” was a time when every place didn’t have wifi. We remember how Sunday mornings were spent holding onto a crinkly newspaper. Our main inbox was an actual mailbox. Book stores were common. The only choice for programs to watch on TV were the shows scheduled. When having a phone conversation, the only image we had was… the one in our mind.
Research papers often get a bad reputation. But we conduct research all the time in our everyday lives. Whether we want to understand civic issues or make a major life purchase, we need research skills to sift through all the information. Research writing skills students practice in the classroom need to transfer to their lives too. The most powerful opportunities for this kind of academic learning to transfer to lifelong skills happens when students have some degree of choice about the topics and texts they will study, are able to socially construct new meaning from shared experience, and to demonstrate their skills in both writing and through other media.
As I enter my 21st year of teaching at Thurston High School in the South Redford School District, I have seen the change in how my students learn. Students in 2016 are no longer the same passive consumers of information that they were in the mid 1990s. Instead, they have transformed into creators of information they disseminate through blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos and more. In fact, hundreds of hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every minute. The transformation from consuming to producing created a need for me to change my teaching style in order to encourage student engagement.
Yesterday was International Dot Day, and this is the first year I had my students join the millions (6.6 million from 139 countries, in fact) people making circles and dots as a way to nurture a sense of creativity and imagination. The Dot Day idea stems from a picture book by Peter Reynolds, called The Dot. We connected with Peter and his brother, Paul, last school year, and we hope to do so again this year.
It's quite possible this is impossible. I am trying to narrow in on the affordances of what we mean by the phrase "Digital Writing." I may even veer way off track here, and perhaps it is best for all of us just to drop the "digital" once and for all, and just call it .. writing. Although, I, for one, still prefer the word "composing."
As an English teacher, when I say the word literacy to my non-English teaching colleagues, their eyes glaze over. They’re no doubt thinking about reading a textbook and answering questions, and they’re bored by the thought of it. But in today’s world, the definition of literacy has changed. It is no longer acceptable to only teach students what I’ll call classic literacy skills. Of course, these are important, but if we as teachers focus solely on these, we are leaving out a large chunk of literacy skills that are necessary in today’s society, the so-called new literacies. But, what are new literacies? The National Council of Teachers of English (2013) defines 21st Century literacies as the ability to:
● Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology;
So, consider me intrigued ... I just re-discovered the MediaBreaker tool by The Lamp as part of the Letters to the Next President campaign. MediaBreaker is like the old Popcorn Maker (I still miss you, Popcorn!) by Mozilla, in that you can layer media and text on top of video content. In this case, the idea is to make commentary on top of political videos.
[Cross-posted on Edutopia]
There is a sad truth about the way that most students learn to write: They become boring writers. To write with clarity and insight involves struggle (regardless of age). When faced with this challenge, many students are taught to detach from content, to analyze with sterile language, and to develop ideas within a narrow formula.
Structure is helpful, but if not implemented strategically, it can stifle creativity and require students to go through motions rather than investing themselves in creating something. Many of our attempts to help young people develop writing skills actually deter them from the joy and power of developing a unique, insightful writing voice.
New Ways of Understanding the Writing Process
For three months in the fall my 12th grade students designed their own learning. Each plan culminated with a project. In the fall I wrote about the fear I felt when I began to step back. There is a lot I learned from this process (and I plan to write more about it in the future.)
Designing learning in this way meant students were able to pursue topics they felt passionate about and many did so by embarking on complex projects. The result is a collection of products that go beyond traditional ideas of school work and instead speak to the abilities of young people to create work that has meaning in the world.
But, you shouldn’t trust me. Go and judge for yourself!
Radio pieces made in collaboration with Jeanette Woods at WHYY:
So, I have been having more fun that I have a right to have by making political-themed distorted graphs that have no data correlation whatsoever. I don't even think or consider any numbers when making these. Who cares about data when you have cool graphs in a misinformation campaign!
My teaching load increased this academic year, for the second year in a row. I am not alone with this struggle, but it doesn’t make it easier to cope. There might be content areas where this is easier to handle, but writing is not one of them. There might be groups of student that make an increased load workable, but first-generation, first-year students is not one of them. However, after weeping, wailing, and gnashing my teeth for a while, I remembered a key tool that could help me serve my students’ unique and varied needs while providing the support they need to grow as writers (and readers and thinkers). This magical tool is the workshop. Two weeks into the semester and I have fallen back in love with the workshop. I’ll share my love letter to the workshop in a future blog post, but this Notable Notes will share some thoughts about workshop to inspire your thinking and teaching.
One of my goals this year is to provide writing experiences that encourage young people to identify as writers and thinkers. My own school writing experiences (many of which were unmemorable), my opportunities to write in non-traditional ways (thank you Mr. Gross and Susan Lytle,) and knowledge I gained from my spouse via her time working with Pat Hoy in the Expository Writing Program at NYU, all helped me develop a structure for what I call Advanced Essays. I wrote about the details of the writing process for our 11th grade Advanced Essays elsewhere but right now I want to gloat.
Eva Mejia is a Learning Systems Associate and Director of Special Programs for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Working in the area of network initiation, she leads partnerships with organizations that are launching Networked Improvement Communities and builds processes to accelerate learning and build capacity among practitioners.
Project’ is one of those words with a meaning that hinges on whether it is used inside or outside of a classroom. ... How do young people learn how to take on projects of their own? How do they learn to trust their impulses to imagine and devise - and follow through on these notions?
Codecraft Lab, a 501(c)3 public charity in Brevard County, FL, began working this school year with local public schools to create after-school clubs that teach students how to create with computer coding while focusing on student expression and creativity. Codecraft Lab currently works with three schools to offer 118 students in grades three through six the opportunity to learn to code using Scratch, an object-oriented, drag-and-drop, cloud-based programming tool designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group (http://scratch.mit.edu/about/). Scratch is designed specifically for children ages 8-16 and is used worldwide. Children create and program their own interactive stories, games and animations and also work collaboratively on team projects.
This project guide offers a method for teaching basic circuitry and developing powers of observation and persistence by building simple robots that color as they move.
There are essentially three camps among educators who support the idea of integrating video games and learning:
- those who are playing video games as a means to support student learning (e.g. Minecraft, SimCity Edu, Civilization, augmented reality simulations)
- those who are creating video games as a means to support student learning (e.g. Scratch, Globaloria, Gamestar Mechanic)
- those who are applying gameplay structures from video games to real world learning environments (i.e. gamification)
In this post I focus on the third approach, specifically on ways that intentional use of gamification can either empower or disenfranchise its participants.
Games are powerful
One of the difficulties of translating the school makerspace experience for people who are not currently engaged in maker projects with us, is that most of the work we do with students in the makerspace takes place over many days, weeks, or months. However, as is often the case when you are working in an area that generates great interest, it is necessary to find a way to boil down the experience to fit into a more limited timeframe. When my colleagues and I were asked to create a STEAM/maker experience that can be completed in two hours we were skeptical that we could design an experience that honored our principles of creating Agency, Audience, and Authenticity, while fitting within the time constraint. Ultimately we focused on crafting an experience that encouraged significant participant agency, constrained audience to the fellow participants, and hoped that this would be enough to create an experience that felt authentic.
The Making Learning Connected Massive Open Online Collaboration (CLMOOC) summer professional learning is comprised not of units or weekly topics. Instead, the collaborative professional learning is organized into "make cycles" which invite participants to make artifacts or content in an effort to explore Connected Learning principles by embodying them. Make cycles are lead by intrepid teams from National Writing Project sites or Educator Innovator partners.
This resource supports make cycle leaders in preparing to lead these cycles, detailing the explicit tasks they'll need to complete, and describing the help they'll receive. The graphic below lists the tasks which correspond with the content of this resource.
Brianna Crowley is a Pennsylvania high school teacher who encourages her students to use social media tools to express themselves and expand agency in the classroom. She also asks her students to use these platforms to teach each other about a range of topics and to build a sense of connectedness and community. Before approaching her teaching, she asks students what they have to teach her.
post by Colin Angevine and Josh Weisgrau
We started a STEAM program, and three years later, we’ve outgrown the acronym.
It began when a group of upper school students approached a physics teacher about creating an advanced physics group tutorial. The physics teacher recruited a computer science teacher and the tutorial became robotics. The computer science teacher enlisted the support of a media and design teacher and the program became STEAM. By the time September arrived, our students, teachers, and school began a three year trajectory we did not anticipate.
Start with design: The hated classroom chair. We asked students to redesign them. They did. They couldn’t stop. They redesigned the classroom. Then they redesigned the school.
Last week, I read an article on venturebeat.com, describing Nancy Pelosi’s “awe” for the maker movement. The article was old, (published January of last year), but I was still happy to see this opinion vocalized, being a maker-educator, myself.
This project guide gives a series of lessons for teaching basic programming and mathematical concepts using "Turtle Art."
These lessons were developed by Miriam Leshin, Laura Kretschmar, and Aaron Vanderwerff of the Lighthouse Community Charter School, in Oakland, CA.
Guide written by David Perlis.
Laura Ritchie is a teacher, researcher, performer, and learner. She is currently a Reader in Pedagogy at the University of Chichester. She created Cello Weekend, a time for complete beginners to come together with novices, students, and professionals to learn to play the cello. Through Connected Courses, she created an open, online connected course about creating a curriculum for connected learning about music.
We’re a K–12 school, with K–12 makers, and we treat that making as a way of driving student learning, rather than simply showcasing it. What that means is that we let students tinker, discover, and hit walls with a project before giving them instruction, then use these successes and setbacks as learning tools. Driving our curriculum through our making requires shifting our roles as educators. We often take a step back from teaching directly, so students can teach themselves.
Receiving a Grant, joining the Flat Class Global Educator Course (FCGE), and reading so many incredibly helpful blogs has invigorated my desire to blog and share what is going on in my classroom. I hope it may be useful!
Newsflash: The Information Age, which favored the left brain, is over, according to Daniel Pink in his revolutionary new book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future. This collection explores the book and considers how the themes presented in A Whole New Mind may influence culture and education.
Released in 2009, The Digital Writing Workshop (Heinemann) blends the pedagogical approach of a "writing workshop" with the technical and rhetorical features of "digital writing." This collection features a number of resources related to the concepts presented in the book, many of which feature fellow NWP teachers and examples from their classrooms.
Writing was always about the word. Even the most read book of all acknowledges that elemental idea: In the beginning, there was the Word... This collection looks beyond the word, examining how the digital transcends the traditional, reshaping and re-envisioning building blocks of literacy to convey meaning.
This collection considers the tension associated with helping students find their voices as communicators and make their messages public.
In November 2009, I had the honor and privilege of speaking to a group of NWP leaders, teachers, consultants, and friends at a convening for the NWP's DIGITAL IS initiative. This collection features the presentation itself along with a selection of related resources.
The Digital Is website hosts a growing collection of stories, reflections, and resources about teaching and learning writing in a digital age. As the collection grows, we hope to maintain a certain point of view about teaching and the practice of writing: heavy on reflection, open to inquiry, focused on authentic student accomplishment.
What does it mean to teach digital writing? Not in general, but in specific: specific teachers, specific students, specific opportunities. In this collection we invite you to look at a sampler of what 'digital' is in five classrooms.
How is the introduction of new technologies pushing NWP teachers & their students to rethink their fields and ways of composing?
This collection highlights three of the many excellent resources tagged voice and audience on the Digital Is website. Important elements of the digital classroom—inquiry, emerging experts, and a pedagogy of collegiality—are clearly themes in the work of these classrooms.
At its core, connective writing is the idea that digital writers using digital writing tools create an inherently different kind of writing. What is connective writing, and what might it look like in practice? Is it new and different?...or simply an extension of what's come before?
The Internet is our writing space par excellence, whether we access it via our smartphones, through a Web browser, or using an email application. Here, we delve into a complex narrative of how this space was imagined, designed, and crafted, surfacing important developments worth thinking about.
The typical kindergarten classroom is a cacophony of voices matched by the constant motion of little bodies. Every square inch of space offers opportunities for kids to construct, create, talk, share, and use their hands. Where in this picture is the time and space for technology?
The prevalence of new multimedia authoring tools has redefined the kinds of writing students can compose in our classrooms. This collection supports students in composing with and using new digital writing tools in purposeful manners.
Jenkins, et al. (2007) characterize today's society as one based on participation, using the term "participatory culture" to describe how we are no longer pure consumers of media, but producers, sharers, and collaborators.
Youth are communicating with each other and the larger society today using a variety of digital and social media tools, but what are they saying? What possibilities do these digital tools hold for social, political, and economic change?