student engagement

Thanks to a growing chorus of outspoken scholars and educators, our current discourse on English education is ripe with calls for critical literacy and engaged pedagogy; for English classrooms that base academic literacy on what students already know and then move toward the yet unknown, that have burst the constraints on how we define a text, that see educators as conductors of light,...
PowerPoint did the job and I collected a number of wonderful pieces over the years. As I worked with students, I found more uses for electronic media, including offering a space for voices that were silent in the classroom. One young man—a senior who was taking the class to complete an elective requirement—sat on the front row with his back to the majority of the students and usually spoke only...
Students are eager to begin working on Powerpoints and they love to give their presentations. They need clearly defined expectations, a tangible list of expectations with minimum guidelines, to view before they get started, and to review as they continue working. We use the Direct Explicit Instruction model to convey objectives and requirements for every Powerpoint. Here they are: Eight slides,...
All students, even those in fourth and fifth grades, demonstrate their exuberance and self-esteem and technological prowess when they create and present their own life story through Powerpoint presentations. Beginning Powerpointers will need to focus as much on learning to use the software as much as they do articulating the topic. A self-reflective, educationally introspective topic is a great...
Digital Writing Changes Everything As a new teacher 10 years ago, I was a judicious writing instructor. I thought carefully about assignments, offered student choice, tried to make assignments relevant. Day after day when computers were in short supply and I didn't know how to incorporate the few I had available to the best benefit - writing happened something like this: we started an assignment...
I wrote this chapter, "Inside the Digital Classroom," for Teaching the Neglected R: Rethinking Writing Instruction in Secondary Classrooms edited by Thomas Newkirk and Richard Kent and published by Heinemann. It's a glimpse into how writing happens - at least some of the time - in a language arts classroom that has transformed into one highly focused on multimedia, student centered learning, and...
escaping_Page_01.jpg In late 2009, students in my second-year high school English class focused part of their reading and writing on the issue of how people survive difficult times. It seemed an ideal way to help my students meet a range of literacy standards while also helping bridge the gap between rural Maine and the world. We read Tracy Kidder's Mountains...