From the Community

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One of the most popular links on my Twitter feed lately has been a post by Melissa Donovan of Writing Forward. Her post, “Thoughts on Becoming a Writer,” explores the journey of becoming a writer and what it means to be a writer, but what really resonated with me was the simple statement: “stop becoming a writer and just be a writer.” I have always suggested that the BIC (butt-in-chair) method is the best approach for writing. It is not about the place or the mood or the writing implement – the focus has to be on the writing and just writing – a lot!

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on Nov 9, 2015
by Deanna Mascle
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During National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8, 2015, the Center for Teaching Quality invites all teachers to share their #TeachingIs story in an effort to change the national narrative about teachers, education, and schools. A number of powerful and wonderful stories have emerged from this challenge. I was particularly inspired by my friend Liz Prather’s “#TeachingIs Messy (And I Like It That Way)” (which was in turn inspired by another great piece by Bill Ferriter: “#TeachingIs According to Twelve-Year Olds”).

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on Nov 6, 2015
by Deanna Mascle
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It's November and that marks the launch of this year's Digital Writing Month. We know you have a lot of writing choices in November (why is that? why November?) with NaNoWriMo and all of those interesting projects underway. With DigiWriMo, the aim is to investigate and push at the edges of what writing is and what writing is becoming, and tinker, play and collaborate.

Sort of like the mission of Digital Is, right?

Check out the Digital Writing Month home for more information.

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on Nov 1, 2015
by Kevin Hodgson
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I love the double entendre in this title, because this post is about teaching creativity to our students (or perhaps more accurately encouraging rather than inhibiting it) but also about encouraging (rather than inhibiting) the creativity of our teachers.

Two of the most retweeted links on my social media feeds this week concerned creativity and critical thinking and how our current model of education (and teacher assessment not to mention teacher professional development) inhibits rather than encourages these essential traits.

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on Oct 24, 2015
by Deanna Mascle
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This semester I have been experimenting with collaborative assessment. I lead my students through a collaborative process to build their own assessments for assignments. I was first introduced to this idea at our 2014 Writing Eastern Kentucky Conference by three Morehead Writing Project rock star teachers: Lindsay JohnsonBrandie Trent, and Leslie Workman.

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on Oct 24, 2015
by Deanna Mascle
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CLMOOC Emergent Branches

(Year One Emergence Ideas: CLMOOC)

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on Oct 23, 2015
by Kevin Hodgson
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When I originally posted this Notable Notes on my web site I included this quote from @bradmcurrie Tweeted by @justintarte. It is worth following Justin just for the great quotes he shares although he has much more to offer as well. One of the great tragedies of our current educational climate is that so many involved are risk-adverse, but not everyone and I keep hoping the pendulum is swinging. As anyone who has studied educational history knows, the pendulum always swings and this too shall pass. This collection of notable notes celebrate risk.

 

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on Oct 16, 2015
by Deanna Mascle
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Paola Ricaurte Quijano is a Professor and researcher in the School of Education, Social Sciences, and Humanities ITESM at University Tecnológico, Monterrey, Mexico. She encourages her students to take full advantage of technology and the connected nature of their lives to enhance learning and solve problems in their communities and beyond.

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on Oct 12, 2015
by Connected Learning Alliance
blog

(This first appeared at my blog: Kevin's Meandering Mind. Feel free to do with it what you want.)

Digital writing is untethered writing

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on Oct 11, 2015
by Kevin Hodgson
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Ella M.
By Poppy Dames

I’ve seen this before. You pull back a curtain, and a ghost or a ghoul jumps out at you. I’ve been in a haunted house, and felt the exciting moment when you turn a corner and find a rush of adrenaline, and an exciting skip in your heart. But this is a different feeling. Instead of pulling back that curtain and finding a ghost or a zombie, you find a friend. A friend lying so still that all the memories of your time with them fade away, like it was a dream all along. And you’ve just woken up to find that none of it was real. But the reality pierces your heart. It’s October 30th, and your friends are paying to find death. But when you look death straight in its face, you can never return to the acceptance of the unknown. When you see with your own eyes, a person with no soul, it’s hard not to say “where did they go?”

I wish that time could halt.”

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on Sep 29, 2015
by Dave Chandler
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computers.jpg

computers set on curb for discard
Creative Commons Licence
...
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on Sep 21, 2015
by Joe Dillon
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Struck by the recommendations in Writing Next: A Report to Carnegie Corporation of New York, I found myself thinking about one in particular: collaborative writing.

The report notes, "Studies of this approach compared its effectiveness with that of having students compose independently. The effect sizes for all studies were positive and large. Collectivey, these investigations show that collaborative arrangements in which students help each other with one or more aspects of their writing have a strong positive impact on quality."

Thinking a little outside the box, I wondered if I could create authentic collaborative experiences. Could I develop something where students not only collaborated on something very real and meaningful, but also collaborated with students outside of this specific classroom.

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on Sep 18, 2015
by Brian Kelley
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This week’s notable notes focus on unintentional consquences that so often result from good ideas gone awry from the effect that bad writing instruction has on students’ critical thinking abilities to the impact of standardized testing on the type of people our students become.

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on Sep 5, 2015
by Deanna Mascle
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I named my blog Metawriting for a reason. One of the foundational principles of my theory of teaching writing (or fostering writers as I prefer to think of it) is that in order to improve writing we need to think about writing and talk about writing – our writing as well as the writing of others. This is one of the reasons why creating a community of writers is so central to my classroom practice. My fascination with metawriting emerged from my quest to understand learning transfer – when and how are students able to transfer knowledge and skills learned in one setting (or class) to another. As a result, during my evolutionary journey as an educator I also became a metateacher and this week’s blog post will offer three reasons why you should become a metateacher too.

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on Sep 5, 2015
by Deanna Mascle

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(This originally appeared at Kevin's Meandering Mind)

Each year, when I teach Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, I make sure to read the first few chapters out loud to my sixth graders. This gives them a feel for the poetic style of writing and allows them to visualize some important elements of the setting.

It also leads me to a great passage on page 7 that always sparks interesting discussions and debate among students:

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on Jul 22, 2015
by Kevin Hodgson
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In the extremely rural place where I live, there is lots of space, but not a lot of public spaces in the conventional sense. No coffee houses, malls, or parklets. We do have large open pieces of public land and an amazing library.

A couple years ago, I wanted to start a seed library, and our local librarian graciously offered to host it at the library. I wasn't sure whether other people would be interested in it, but it turnout out that they were.

Lesson #1: Food builds community, even among otherwise segmented groups.

Here is a story of our seed library:

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on Jul 21, 2015
by Karen Fasimpaur
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After a few months with this project, we moved into Holiday Break which allowed some time to dig deeper into my students' blogs and evaluate the effectiveness of our approach to 20 Time. I made some big changes that alleviated some of the issues that kept cropping up across the teams.

From January 2015:

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on Jul 21, 2015
by Carrie Honaker
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This blog represents a turning point for 20 Time in my classroom. The funding I was awarded, as well as the implementation of status reports changed the tides of student projects and progress in my class.

From December 2014:

I opened my email yesterday and there was a great surprise waiting for me. I was awarded an Educator Innovator Learning Challenge mini-grant. It is not the whole sum I applied for, but substantial enough to help my students realize some of their 20 Time dreams. The money will help us purchase website domains for some teams, pay book publishing fees for some teams, pay for some speakers to run some workshops on public speaking and purchase some video equipment to put together our 20 Time Showcase. It is an exciting time for my students!

 

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on Jul 21, 2015
by Carrie Honaker
blog

Innovation Hour journey- Installment 4

From November 2014:

It seems like my classroom this year is a bundle of activity. I think much of it is attributable to the 20 Time projects, but some of it stems from my desire to not repeat the same lessons year to year. Changing things up each year keeps me and my students from getting bored, but it also creates a tension within myself that I never really have a handle on what is going on. Sometimes I wish I could just do the same canned lessons, but it is not my way.

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on Jul 21, 2015
by Carrie Honaker
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As I continued with my 20 Time journey last Fall, I realized how important it is for students to see somebody who has walked the walk with following their passion. We watched lots of TED Talks and discussed how to find and follow a dream, but there is no substitute for live mentorship. This post come from October 2014:

My students are clicking right along with their 20 Time projects and we got some big news this week. About a month ago, I was searching for a new breakfast granola and picked up a package of Woats. They looked interesting; the package had a great design; I was intrigued…and then I read the story. Woats were created by a young entrepreneur named Justin Anderson. He started his epicurean adventure with a tasty granola mix and $500 of seed money from his grandmother. I was inspired.

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on Jul 21, 2015
by Carrie Honaker
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Installment two, from September 2014:

This was our first official week incorporating the 20Time Project. I thought the students would enjoy it but I had no idea how much they would dig in and create amazing stuff. I think it helped that each day I showed different takes on projects in the spirit of the 20Time idea. We looked at the Humans of New York blog, Storycorps, a project focusing on homelessness and on and on…I worked with many of the teams today as they set up their blogs and began to post their initial ideas for projects. A couple of students plan to venture into the Vegan lifestyle and document their journey, another pair pledged to read a book a week, post reviews and book trailers to their website and link it to our school library as a resource for students looking for a book and yet another student plans to write 20 minutes everyday in an effort to write his first complete novel.

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on Jul 21, 2015
by Carrie Honaker
blog

This and future blog posts are meant to document my journey with the concept of 20 Time in the classroom. I started this project at the beginning of last school year and wrote about successes and failures along the way. This is post one, last August, as I planned the implementation of what became so much more than I thought it would!

From August 15, 2014:

I am not officially back to school yet, but I have been lurking around the halls and in my room over the past few days to get a feel for how I want to set it up this year. I wish we had smaller, more modular tables so that I could set up a square of tables for discussion plus some work stations, but I will work with what I have.

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on Jul 21, 2015
by Carrie Honaker
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I’ve been thinking a lot about the issue of student shaming and why we shouldn’t do it. I agree with others who have argued that it is bad for our students  and it is bad for education, but perhaps if those arguments don’t appeal to those practicing student shaming then simple self-interest might.

Student shaming is bad for you. You might worry about bad karma (I know that I do), but you should definitely worry about focusing time and energy on something so negative and destructive. Unless you a practicing monk or hermit, chances are pretty good that you do not have enough time and energy to do everything that you want to do in any given day or week or semester. So why are you wasting your valuable resources on something from which no good can come?

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on Jul 20, 2015
by Deanna Mascle
blog

(This first appeared at Kevin's Meandering Mind)

Change the system

I've been up and down with systems thinking all this week in the Making Learning Connected MOOC. What I mean by that is that I've had days where I have been playing with a systems thinking approach and other days where thinking about systematic inequities has me struggling with how to address problems that seem larger than me.

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on Jul 19, 2015
by Kevin Hodgson
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I debated for some time if I needed or wanted a preposition in that title. Should it be Connecting With NWP or perhaps Connecting Through NWP or maybe Connecting By NWP. All these things are true but don’t fully convey the idea that I’m trying to share here so I eschewed prepositions altogether.

I’ve written a lot about the impact of the National Writing Project on my professional and personal life and this point in the year when we are on the cusp of Invitational Summer Institutes, Summer Writing Camps, and a multitude of summer professional development programs throughout the United States (including CLMOOC 2015) it seemed a good time to share why educators should join (or renew their relationship) the National Writing Project network.

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on Jul 16, 2015
by Deanna Mascle
blog

Yesterday, I saw this quote on Twitter posted by @dogtrax from Advice to Writers.

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on Jul 15, 2015
by Karen Fasimpaur
blog

Notable notes is my attempt to curate my social media feeds and recognize some of the most notable ideas and resources to flow across my consciousness this week.

This week I chose to use a mix of MyTopTweetFavStar, and AnaTweet to select the top Tweets I wanted to share:

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on Jul 12, 2015
by Deanna Mascle
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on Jul 12, 2015
by Deanna Mascle

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As mystical as Twitter can sound to those who don't use it, others, like me, find that it can be a venue for surprisingly deep conversations. In particular, Twitter chats can be a great way to explore a topic with a group of like-minded folks. In a typical Twitter chat, an hour-long synchronous discussion is held around a specific set of questions. Tweets that are a part of these chats are marked with a hashtag (such as #clmooc or #edchat) to call them out. Special applications like Tweet Chat or Twubs can make following the chats easier.

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on Dec 26, 2013
by Karen Fasimpaur
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In facilitating a massive open online course or collaboration (MOOC), one consideration is how you will communicate with your participants. There are more direct methods like email; social media-based methods like Twitter, G+, and Facebook; and others like web sites and blogs.

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on Dec 26, 2013
by Karen Fasimpaur
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I'm not an architect, nor do I have any training on how to design a building. But this summer, I was inspired to teach basic principles of architecture in my English class. I read an article in the New York Times, "Writers as Architects," that got me thinking about how buildings are like stories.

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on Dec 25, 2013
by George Mayo
resource

The technical aspects of how to develop and host a MOOC are often one of the first challenges developers tackle. While the technical decisions we made regarding CLMOOC were important, they grew out of our planning process and our overall ethos.

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on Dec 19, 2013
by Karen Fasimpaur
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In planning for massive open online courses or collaborations (MOOCs), I often think about the dynamics of self-direction in a peer learning context. How do you get learners actively driving their own learning experiences? It's not as easy as it might appear.

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on Dec 19, 2013
by Karen Fasimpaur
resource

One of the most exciting features of the Making Connected Learning Connected (#clmooc) experience has been the regular Google Hangouts On Air we’ve hosted during each Make Cycle. As synchronous events broadcast live and archived on the NWP Make With Me blog page, these sessions provided an opportunity to share what we were working on during each week’s Make Cycle, invited participants into the larger conversation, and helped us dig deeper into the Connected Learning Principles that underpinned each week’s explosion of making and sharing.

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on Dec 19, 2013
by Stephanie West-Puckett
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Openness is an important piece of thinking about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). However, there are many aspects of what "open" means to consider, and all MOOCs are not as open as others.

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on Dec 19, 2013
by Karen Fasimpaur
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There’s an old adage that has often been adapted by anyone brave enough to try their hand at building an online space: You can build it, but will they come? And then there is the ancillary adage: If they come, will they stay?

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on Dec 19, 2013
by Kevin Hodgson
resource

The process of planning a MOOC can be a whole project in and of itself. For CLMOOC, the facilitator team was very involved in the planning process. For many weeks before the MOOC started, we had weekly web meetings in Google hangouts to plan the MOOC. We also used Google Docs extensively to record our meetings. In these meetings, we talked about our goals, our ethos and guiding principles, how we'd divide the work, and many other issues.

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on Dec 19, 2013
by Karen Fasimpaur
resource

Believing that all young people, across spectrums of privilege, are human enough to need it somewhere in themselves, and creating curriculum based on that, holds the potential to create self-actualized students and educators. It is not enough for marginalized students alone to develop the critiques that will survive them in a world intent on their demise; we need to hold privileged or centralized young people accountable to become critical readers of the world’s texts as well. It is only through curriculum that does not accept the limits of performance and instead demands all people become literate in their own personhood, that we will find the kinetic force of “needing it” which propels our learning, generates meaningful work, and inspires engaged young members of communities and societies ready to own up to the tensions and inequalities at hand.

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on Dec 15, 2013
by Hana Malia Quinn Feit
resource

“I want students to use English to be advocates for their own lives.”

Eureka! Never before had I heard it articulated so simply, yet meaningfully, what our purpose as English educators should be: to equip students to be advocates for their own lives. Nicole Mirra, a postdoctoral scholar in education at UCLA, made this statement on the video panel “Community Member/Teacher as Connector” on October 9, 2013 (conducted as part of our Supervised Teaching of English class at Teachers College, Columbia University).

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on Nov 30, 2013
by Joanne Hinkel
resource

To take a meta-step back from the google groups discussion our Supervised Teaching of English , to what extent can or should teachers serve as connectors not only for the surrounding community but also between students and communities far distant from the specific cultural context of the school community? To what extent should a teacher not simply participate in school community, but also broaden its horizons? In our modern age, it is easier than ever to expose students to discourse on an increasingly large scale. Certainly this video chatting experience engages us, as pre-service teachers, with pedagogical conversations on a national level. But what specifically makes this practice beneficial to students?

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on Nov 30, 2013
by Andrew Ryan
resource

   In the age of education and how Trans(S)pace can be created in our classrooms for young people, I am constantly thinking about myself as a stakeholder in my future teacher communities that I will encounter. As most people so painstakingly have portrayed teachers as the “experts,” what we have failed to realize is the expertise that young people have and how we could have been using that to plan our lessons and guide our instruction and curriculum. Something that resonated with me that Nicole touched on was how we can teach students to use English to “advocate for themselves” rather than feeling burdened by a class that is required of them for their academic lives. Part of that, I think, is being able to come to these experiences with our students not just as their educators but as humans and for them to be able to see our vulnerabilities as we see them and ask of them in our classrooms.

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on Nov 30, 2013
by Margarita Lopez
resource

As a student teacher and beginner in the field of English Education, hearing from the discussion panelists and reading articles for my related seminar has made it clear that one of the best things a teacher can do for his or her students is to genuinely care about them and be able to authentically respect/ be familiar with their surrounding community. By being a part of a community as teachers, we can then find ways to give students opportunities to speak back to their community and get involved, applying their studies to their immediate, real-world contexts. A lot of what was mentioned related to being authentic, and one small piece that stood out in this idea for me was immersion within the community and being able to consider a school’s community “my community,” as Nicole Mirra mentioned during our October 9th panel stream. Part of this seems very much linked to physical location of community.

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on Nov 30, 2013
by Kelsey Rogalewicz
resource

The Supervised Teaching of English Class I am taking at Teachers College recently took part in a Google Hangout, themed “Teacher as a Community Member.”  I have found it one of the most important activities we have done; what I learned from this Google Hangout has already influenced my teaching.  

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on Nov 29, 2013
by Katherine Freedman

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