Thursday, September 29, 2005

Teacher-Consultant is Also a Columnist

I'm pleased to report that Greg, a T-C in the 2005 class of CSUWP, had an excellent guest column published in today's Fort Collins Coloradoan. Hopefully, we can get him to reprint it here or on his blog. The piece, which you should all read, is about how students can get help at school when they need it. I intend to share it with my students over the next several days.
Unfortunately, for some reason, the paper doesn't post education columns online.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Let's Share!

Hey all!

I personally think that we should saturate the CLAS conference in March with CSUWP presentations. So we are going to have a get together on Oct. 17 at 4 pm at Fossil Ridge High School. We will meet for 15-20 minutes as a large group, then break out to work on our proposals. You can stay as long as you want, just remember you need to submit your proposal by Halloween.

We are planning a follow-up to workshop presentations on Feb. 4th.

Hope to see you all there!

Governing Board Minutes

The minutes from the last CSUWP Governing Board meeting are up. The meeting, held last Monday, was a good chance to catch up on each other's work and to share a great meal (Thanks, Cam!) while discussing future projects.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Writing Group

Hi everyone! CSUWP Writing Group will be held the second Tuesday of every month. That means our first meeting will be on Tuesday, October 11th. The time & location will be annouced by the end of the week. This will be a time to come together and share our writing, write, and catch up. Hope to see you all there! ~Kim P.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Starry Night

We had a really productive meeting at the Starry Night. Great coffee, Breakfast Burrito, conversations about teacher reseach, and a funny essay about life in 6th grade.

The next meeting is at Starry Night, October 28th @ 3:45pm.

Peace out.

Come Join Us!!!

Billy Collins is reading at the Rialto in Loveland on Saturday October 1st at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $14 for adults and $7 for students. Tickets are available throgh the box office at the Rialto. Click here for more information. I am intending to plan a pre-event meeting at a coffee shop or bar near the Rialto. More information on gathering details to come.

Teacher Research Group -- 1st Meeting

I'm writing right now from a table at a Fort Collins coffeehouse where the first meeting of the CSUWP's all new teacher research group is meeting. Right now, Kim D. is sharing some of the stratagies that she is using to incorporate more writing into her high school math classroom.
Want to learn more about math and writing working together to build understanding?
Tell Kim. She'll share. Honest.
Want to know more about teacher research in the CSUWP? Here's an okay place to start.
Our next meeting, if you want to join us (and we'd love to have you!), is Friday, October 28th, at 3:30pm. E-mail Megan for a location.

Monday, September 19, 2005

New Blogs

I've just added links to the blogs of members of the CSUWP. They're over there in the right margin. Many of them are new blogs -- so you might want to drop in and say hello. If you're a CSUWP teacher consultant with a blog, let me know and I'll add you to the blogroll.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Thanks for today

It was great to see everyone. Here's the text of the poem you all inspired today.

Ancestors

there are twenty-five ghosts in this room
standing behind me and all around

moving in and out of chairs
perched on bookshelves and under desks

my posse
my choir

singing backup to verses
we sang all summer long

the shades of their fingerprints
dust the chalk rails and the dictionaries

the memory of their footfalls
reverberates off the concrete slabs

the collected wisdom of their high voltage brains
fuels the furnace that warms this room

and makes a place where
you are loved and brilliant and will succeed

in spite of yourselves
and in spite of your plan

and in spite of the fact
that you can’t spell perseverance

there are twenty-five ghosts in this room
who’ve beaten the path into submission

cut back the thorny brambles
and softened the soil

where you will place your feet
to tap out the rhythm of your prose

so lift up your faces
make an altar of your rhymes

es el dia de los muertos

Teacher as Researcher Group First Meeting!

Hey, y'all! Come to the first Teacher as Researcher Group meeting on Friday, September 23 at 3:45 at Starry Night. Bring your brain, your questions, your feedback, your planner! We'll talk about our work and set our next meeting. Email Megan B. if you have questions: meganb@psdschools.org.

Welcome to Blogging 102. Let's Get to Work

Good morning.

I'm tickled to death to have the opportunity to spend the morning with you on the next step of using blogs and blogging with and/or for your students. Over the summer, we used this blog to communicate, share ideas, listen to each others' readings, and to share our work with others. Some of you became bloggers -- many of you didn't. Many of you still will/might/could. The writing project believes that technology is a big piece of writing. Here's some information on how they're thinking about blogs.

Today, we're going to look at some education blogs, write our own posts, and sign up for an account with a web-based aggregator. We're also going to review the CSUWP website and some of the features that you can use in your classrooms. We're going to do all that in the next 90 minutes.

I hope.

TASK #1 (10:33-10:48)

You're going to use the next 15 minutes to create a blog and record your first post. We'll be creating today in Blogger. Go ahead and register for a new blog by clicking on the arrow on the bottom right of the main page in Blogger. You might want to open a second browser window so that you can follow along with this blog post as you work. The username that you create is something that you should write down, as is your password. Don't forget, too, to write down the URL of your blog. You'll need it later.

After you register, go ahead and make your first post. It can be a simple "hello!" or an introduction. Even better -- write about what you've taken from the writing project back into your classrooms. What cool stuff are you doing with writing?

Just make sure you make a first post -- your blog won't exist if you don't. After you make that post, come back to this blog and post a comment telling us the URL of your new blog.I'll be around to answer questions and to help out.Let's get this done quickly so that we can get to the good stuff.

Essential Steps of Task #1

  • Create an account in Blogger.

  • Write your first post.

  • Post a comment to this blog sharing your new blog's URL.
TASK #2 (10:48-11:18)

Let's take a look at some blogs that other teachers either use with students or for conversations with other teachers. You can find links to a pile of educational blogs via my blog and aggregator. Also, you might want to read the article on blogging that ran in the Coloradoan last week (I posted it here.) Still having trouble finding blogs to consider? Try a blog search engine, like Icerocket or Technorati. Just type in a topic you're curious about and see what the blogosphere spits back.

Your task is simply to read to see what's out there. You're looking for something that you can share with the group. The trick is that we won't be sharing out loud -- you'll be sharing on the blog that you just created. You've got 30 minutes.

Find one use of a blog that you find interesting, frustrating, or otherwise response-worthy. Write a post on your blog sharing your response, question, or idea for using a blog in your own classroom. Make sure you link back to the blog that got you thinking.Go.

Essential Steps of Task #2

  • Find a blog or blogs that you would like to respond to.

  • Post a response on your new blog.

  • Make sure to link back to the blog that you're responding to. Use other hyperlinks when and where you're comfortable.
TASK #3 (11:18-11:33)

Blogs are great, but who has time to go to a ton of different websites every week to check in? I certainly don't -- and I don't expect that you do, either. In fact, no one does. Luckily, we don't have to.

An aggregator is a piece of software that collects and brings blogs and other information to you. It does so using a technology called RSS. If you want to know more about how that works, check out this link. All you need to know right now is that you can use an aggregator to look at lots of blogs in one place.

You're going to subscribe to your brand new blog with your brand new Bloglines account. Bloglines is a web-based aggregator. You can log on and read from anywhere that you have a web connection.

You'll have 20 minutes to create an account at Bloglines and to subscribe to your own blog, as well as any other blogs that you found that you'd like to keep an eye on. Also, you should subscribe to Will Richardson's Weblogg-ed and Anne Davis' Edublog Insights.

To add a blog to your Bloglines account, click on Add in the top left corner of your screen. Follow the on-screen instructions from there. (Hint: All you need to add a Blogger account to Bloglines is the first part of the URL. For example, if you wanted to add the CSUWP blog (http://csuwp.blogspot.com) to your account, you'd only need to enter the csuwp from the URL.). I'll be circulating throughout the room to help you through this.

Essential Steps of Task #3
  • Create a Bloglines account.

  • Add your own blog and any others you found interesting or important.

  • Add the blogs of other CSUWP members.

  • Marvel at how much work you've done in the last hour.
TASK #4 (11:33-12:00pm)

Okay. We've done a lot with tech this morning. We'll take the rest of our time to review the CSUWP web site and to answer any questions that you might have about all we've done today.

Then we'll eat some lunch.

You've earned it. I'm asking you to take a big risk for the sake of learning today -- thank you. I hope some piece of it was useful. Let me know how I and the other board members can be helpful to you in your work.

Essential Steps of Task #4
  • Ask good questions.

  • Take a breath.

  • Eat lunch.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Blogging 101 . . .or something like that

Here's an entry into the Blogging 101 category -- the latest installment of my "On Writing" column for the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

Blogging gives students real audiences
by Bud Hunt

Students today have access to a huge network of writing and publishing tools via the Internet. And, to borrow a line from Martha Stewart, that’s a good thing.

If you can send e-mail, and I am guessing that many of you can, you can publish your writing online for the world to see. This is great news for students who wish to communicate their thoughts and ideas to others in their communities or to students in other states or even half way across the world. It’s even better news for teachers, as we know that there’s no better tool for improving writing than a real, non-teacher audience for the students’ work. The Internet, via weblogs or blogs, provides just such an opportunity.

According to Dave Winer, a blogger since 1997, a blog is “the unedited voice of a person.” More specifically, a blog is a collection of posts written for online publication. Blogs and bloggers cover almost all possible topics, from hurricane disaster relief to creative writing pieces to dealing with candy addiction.

Blogs are more and more becoming first stops for those looking for news or information on the Internet. In the classroom and at home, blogs are tools that students can use in order grow as writers and responsible citizens in the digital world. At school, blogs are not yet essential curricular tools, but they will be. While schools are still learning where blogging fits into the curriculum, students are flexing their digital muscles after school.

There are several free sites out there that you can use to start a blog. Perhaps the best known of these is Blogger. After a five-minute registration, you can post your writing directly to the Internet. Many students use free websites like Myspace, Xanga, and LiveJournal to tell stories about their lives, share musical influences, and write about and discuss just about every topic that you could possibly think of. On their blogs, students are talking about the war in Iraq, how to help in the aftermath of Katrina, and who the cutest kids are in class.

To get started, try reading some blogs to get a feel for the genre. Perhaps the best way to do this is to use a search engine that specifically searches blog posts. Two useful ones are Technorati and Icerocket. Try searching for a topic that you are interested in and see what others have to say.

The Internet is a big place – there might be some content out there that you find objectionable. However, the vast majority of bloggers are interested in opinions and viewpoints and good writing. They will welcome you as you begin to comment on their blogs and, preferably, starting your own.

Blogging allows students to both practice their writing and to have a connection to the real world that exists outside of the classroom. Interested in astronomy? Start writing about and linking to interesting astronomy websites. Along the way, you’ll meet others interested in astronomy and begin to have conversations with them about your passion for starts and supernovas. You’ll also be taking control of your learning in a powerful way that was unavailable to students just ten years ago.

Because they contain hyperlinks, blogs are a great way to visualize and show in practice how ideas connect to each other.

Parents have an essential responsibility and privilege to stay up on what their students are writing and thinking about. They should even be regular readers of their child’s blog – both to learn about what learning is going on but also to become a partner in that learning. Because blogs are public, parents should also read to make sure that students are protecting themselves by not sharing too much personal information online – phone numbers and home addresses are probably a no-no. Families should sit down together to review family Internet policies and privacy concerns.

Of course, parents can and maybe should start their own blogs to provide a positive model for writing with their children. Ask your child if you need help getting started. They might just already know how. One estimate says that teenagers are responsible for more than half of the sixteen million blogs current online.

That’s a lot of writing.

Bud Hunt is a board member of the Colorado State University Writing Project. He blogs at http://www.budtheteacher.com.


** Originally posted at Bud the Teacher.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Writing from New Orleans

Tracy's posting writing from the annual New Orleans Writing Marathon, sponsored by the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project. Stop by and check out what's posted so far. If you've written at the retreat, head on over and share your work.

Stay tuned for a virtual New Orleans Writing Marathon, says Tracy.