Monday, April 24, 2006

Another Longer Rant

There's been a lot of buzz recently in the blogosphere pertaining to and a block by Texas school districts - not just the site, but any site containing the word. Bud has linked to a number of posts and has a podcast of his own on the topic.

So I ended up addressing censorship in my column this week. Feel free to take a look.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Podcasting Expo

I've spent some time this weekend at the International Podcasting Expo happening online. I was lucky enough to win tickets from Podcast for Teachers. Unfortunetly, Podcast for Teachers was the only educational group signed up for a booth. It is interesting that podcasting could be on the way to making money - many of the booths and seminars were based in the premise that podcasting can make money through advertising.

There were some seminars I missed because I was at a wedding on Saturday, but they've archived these so I'm looking forward to checking some of those out for my own podcasting.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Some More Thoughts on Writing Workshop and Book Clubs

I realized yesterday that my book clubs had finally started to work. Students were taking about the book, about what happened, about their predictions, and even what they liked and disliked about it. That last one, I think, is the biggest success, because that's what adults do a lot of in their book clubs.

Half of the class, unfortunetly, was still on the other side of the room finishing up the double-entry journals they were supposed to do for homework and are a prerequisite for book clubs.

So I've been thinking a lot about how to make book clubs / literature circles and writing workshop work in the mixed and remedial classroom. I think the empowerment that chioce gives is essential to creating life long readers and writers.

If you listened to my last podcast, you'll know that I'm thinking intense formulaic writing of numerous genres in the first semester could slowly stem into a more open writing workshop. I think for book clubs, perhaps if students get a choice in book first, (so that every student is reading exactly what they want) then the educator could work on building the groundwork of throughtful reading with talk alouds, retellings, and other comprehension building strategies individually.

This would require a well read instructor, but I think once the base is there, the class could move to short stories as a whole, then novels together, and finally literature circles in the second semester. A thought.

Monday, April 17, 2006

A Longer Rant . . .

I'm still a student at CSU and work for the student paper as a columnist. Recently, I've had the urge to write fewer politically minded pieces and focus more on education (though the two can go hand-in-hand). If you're interested in something timely that's a bit longer than my posts (or as I like to think, you just can't get enough of Ben Bleckley: the Man, the Myth, the Legend), here's my naive column on bringing equality between urban and suburban schools that ran today in the Collegain: Three Steps Toward Equal Schools.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I Admit It . . . I Watch Oprah

Depending on the episode, she can be such a great journalist.

In fact, just this week, Oprah Winfrey did a two-show special report on American schools.

Her thesis, along with Bill and Melinda Gates and former NBA star Kevin Johnson, among others, is that our schools are in a state a crisis. Time magazine this week is running a cover story, "Dropout Nation." While suburban schools are largely succeeding, urban and rural schools are by and large failing.

The show looks at some interesting new ideas in schooling (although I'm surprised blogging and podcasting didn't make the cut). You might want to check it out.

Also, take a look at the grassroots campaign to reform education.

The Long Anticipated Episode Two

Since I haven't posted in over a month, I figure I'd better make it up to my loyal readers . . . all two of you. The long awaited Pedagogy in Practice Podcast - Episode Two.