Blogscars: Professionalism, Design, Creativity, and Classmate’s Blog

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THE SPRING 2014 BLOGSCAR AWARDS FOR CURRICULUM APPLICATIONS OF THE INTERNET

English Education students learn how to blog and tweet, and their hard work has paid off. 

     

The Blogscar for Professionalism goes to “Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: Promoting Deeper Thinking”

The blog post I chose for the “Professionalism” category is from April 6, “Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: Promoting Deeper Thinking”. This blog post is professional because it has different elements to it. These include: the description of my background with digital storytelling, how to use digital storytelling in the classroom, a resource link about digital storytelling for further explanation for my audience, and an example of digital storytelling that I found on YouTube. By describing my background with digital storytelling, I was able to be personable with my audience in order to relate to them. Whether or not they have had experience with digital storytelling since I have had hardly any and they are either at the point or were at that point. Since the blog post is focused for teaching, since I’ll be a future teacher and this is a teaching class, I related how digital storytelling is useful in a classroom. This way, other teachers or future teachers can see how this can be another learning tool to benefit their students. I further helped this by adding a link about how it is useful and operates in a classroom. Finally, I added another link with an example of a digital storytelling video. The example is about the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I chose this example because it was my favorite book that I read in high school; therefore, since I read it in high school other high schools may have this book in their curriculum or something similar. By having a popular high school book, the post is even more directed towards teachers. In the end, this blog post is my most professional since I discuss a learning tool and a different approach to homework for high school English teachers, versus a reflective blog post about a unit in our class.

The Blogscar for Design goes to “‘Mini’ Digital Writing Project”

For the best “Design” category, I chose my blog post from April 6, “‘Mini’ Digital Writing Project”. My blog posts did pictures, except this one contained an infographic that I made. This week during class we made mini digital writing projects, so we could practice for our final digital writing project. Since I made an infographic, I had an image to add to my blog post; therefore, this blog post has design because the infographic adds to what I wrote for the post. To help make my infographic stand out and explain why it was there I explained what the infographic represents (which actually relates to my final digital writing project), a link to what an infographic is as an infographic, and a link to make one’s own infographic. The link I used also is a design metaphorically because the link explains what an infographic is as an infographic.

The Blogscar for Creative goes to “Blogging? Tweeting? I’ve only been used to Facebook”

My most “creative” blog post is “Blogging? Tweeting? I’ve only been used to Facebook” from February 1. First, the blog post is creative because of the title. The title raises questions and my familiarity with Internet publishing. After the title, my blog post goes into learning how to try something new. For this class, I got to experience using blogging and tweeting for the first time. This was a new experience. I thought blogging would be fine since I looked at is as responding to a short answer question on D2L or writing a weekly response to hand in for class; however, it was not the case for Twitter. I hardly make Facebook statuses, so writing Twitter posts seemed like something I could not do. Although, we had a structure for Twitter and this made it easier to compose a tweet. In the syllabus and in class discussion we were encouraged to include a resource link, a description, and a hashtag. The tweets are supposed to reflect education; therefore, I added a resource like about 50 ways to use Twitter in the classroom. Relating my resource link to how to use Twitter was creative because it was my first basis for creating structure to my tweets.

The Blogscar for Classmates Blog goes to “Embarrassed Emoji” by Katie Garcia

The best “Classmates Blog” was Katie’s. First, her title was intriguging, “Embarrassed Emoji”. She used two visuals, which were emojis making different faces. In her blog post she discussed her progress on her digital writing project. First, she reflected on the editing process. It is both exciting that one is almost done but also sad that one has to edit something he or she already finds good. Katie then offered insight to her piece by concisely writing using quotes, which led her to making her digital writing project. This dialogue was to the point in an engaging way since she was explaining that she was on a trip and decided to capture it in the shotgun seat of a car.

To end the Blogscars, here’s an idea for writing your best blog:

“What Makes Great Blogwriting?” offers insight as explained why each blog for each category. Basically, a good blog needs the writer’s voice to offer insight to his or her posting so the audience can learn and be interested in two different ways. The article goes over how a blog is a new and different form of writing so it should include the writer’s voice, be useful, be concise, be aware of the audience, and experiment with presenting blog posts.

 

Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: Promoting Deeper Thinking

I have not had much experience in digital storytelling or other forms of video composition. The only time I have made a digital video to tell a story was in high school for my Spanish class. We had to write our own script during our medical unit. My group wrote about two girls playing basketball and one breaks her leg so she goes to the hospital to get it examined. The video was only a few minutes long and was all spoken in Spanish. Using iMovie, we put each scene in order in order to make the final video. Text was used at the end to state our names.

 

In my classroom I can use digital storytelling to promote deeper thinking because it will offer a visual to the class. Instead of having students write a paper about a book at the end of a unit, I could have them create a video that highlights certain parts and aspect of the book read in class. This way, they will understand it better with a visual versus text. Also, students might enjoy this more interactive approach since it’ll be a different type of writing assignment than they are used to. In the end, it will be a break from pen and paper to sound and images. Then, the class can present their videos to everyone, which will enhance the class’s understanding because they will see various perspectives and thoughts about the books. They will see new perspectives because students don’t typically read every other student’s paper about something.

 

This article, The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling, explains the benefits of using digital storytelling the classroom. It lets students be more creative with their assignment; therefore, can help engage them in what they are learning more. Like I said earlier, it gives students a break of assignments they complete daily, such as writing papers.

 

Here is an example, The Great Gatsby Digital Story, of digital storytelling in the classroom. This example includes the background of the author of The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), the history of when the book took place, similarities between the author and protagonist, and the story in popular culture today. All of these ideas were able to be explained in less than two minutes through multiple visuals and voice thread.

 

“Mini” Digital Writing Project

For the mini-composition project I choose to make an infographic. Even though I am making a video for my final project, I thought practicing with an infograph would be helpful to get familiar with software. For that reason, my infographic reflects what my final project will be. For my final project, I am making a video of my family’s vacation to California, which will be a story told through pictures, text, and sound. So, my infograph is a road map of the family vacations that my family has taken with the last one being California.

 

The image of the infographic drove the narrative because it’s a road map of my family’s vacation with the last one ending at California; therefore, it’s like a preview going into where my final project will start.

The software I used to make the infographic is from easel.ly.com and the website had different layouts for infographs. I was not sure what my infograph would be about but then I found one with a winding road on it, which led me to make the one I did. I then put the year of the trip, the main location of the trip, and a description of what was seen. The year of the trip was placed on picket signs to represent when we were there. The main location of the trip is in a bigger font with a red background to make that vacation stand out. Then, what my family saw is smaller with a black background to give a description of the place.

To look at this from a teaching perspective, a teacher could use the same layout to teach students something. For example, it could be used as a timeline in a book that is read in class. The years could be changed to times in the book, the larger text could be the situation, and the smaller text could be the characters involved. 

 

What is an infographic? Customer Magnetism Digital Marketing Agency explains infographics make a topic engaging to learn about because there are visuals and short facts, versus reading a log description or an article. This link also has an infographic about what an inforgraphic is and how they are helpful. One fun fact listed is, “Publishers that use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who do not use infographics” (Customer Magnetism Digital Marketing Agency).

 

 

My infographic:

 Image

The software used to make this infographic: easel.ly

 

 

 

Online Tutoring Experience & Online Tutoring vs. Face-to-Face Tutoring

My tutoring experience so far has been a great learning experience. Even though being a tutor is for me to help others learn to write or construct a better paper, I have learned how to make a better paper as well. Reading multiple students’ work I am able to see where mistakes are usually made; therefore, when I write papers now, I pay close attention to those things in my own papers. For example, some students are really good about having an opening and concluding sentence in every paragraph. These sentences are clearly visible. Other times, students will have an opening sentence and the concluding sentence is explaining an example mentioned and it is not restating the main idea.

 

This experience has also been good because I can apply things I have learned about English over the years to something. For example, I had a teacher once who said it’s important to restate textual evidence in your own words after it’s quoted. Therefore, I have been able to share this piece of advice with the students I’m tutoring. I’m also able to explain why it’s important. It’s important because the audience can understand the quote from another point of view. For the author to restate it in his or her own words also makes him or her understand the textual evidence better, so they can write his or her paper more clearly.

 

I noticed for one school, a teacher had students make a detailed outline before writing a research paper. Their drafts of the research paper were very good with the help of making an outline first. Other essays the students wrote were written well, but not as detailed or as organized as this research paper. It seemed that by having an outline, students were able to write more of what they already knew (because they had already done research with the outline) and plug in examples and textual evidence to their points from the outlines. By doing this, students also had an intriguing opening paragraph, more clear theses, opening and concluding sentences for paragraphs, and detailed concluding paragraphs. This seemed to be the case because students already knew what they were going to write about. Instead of going back and trying to edit these pieces, they knew how to make these pieces work from the beginning because they had a better understanding of what they were writing about.

 

The asynchronous setting of tutoring differs from face-to-face tutoring. Face-to-face tutoring is beneficial because tutors can ask the students right away what they mean by something they wrote, ask what goal they want out of the tutoring session, and explain things easier by having the student respond back to advise. Doing asynchronous tutoring this semester made it hard to ask a student what he or she meant by something. Because of that, I would reread certain parts of the paper and try to give detailed feedback with different approaches in order to help since I could not back and fourth communicate. Also, not all students mentioned what they hoped to get out of my feedback; therefore, sometimes my feedback was more general than specific to something, if I did not know what the student needed the most help with.

 

Tutoring Writing: 10 Top Tips – This article gives tips for tutoring in writing. The first one even explains what I talked about in this post: students should explain issues they feel are in their essay so the tutor can pay more attention to those in order to help the student more beneficially. A few of these points also point out what we learned in class, which is not to edit students papers for grammar mistakes. A tutor is there to help with the overall concepts of the paper. If there are multiple grammar mistakes, a tutor should either point out ones that reoccur or suggest a grammar resource for the student.

 

The Pros and Cons of Online Tutoring – This article explains the pros and cons of online tutoring. Some of these apply to what we have done in class, while other points are more general pros and cons about online tutoring. First, the article explains convenience. By having students email their essays to us when they are ready provides convince to them to have the time they need to write the paper. Then, it gives us the convenience to review the paper on our own time instead of working to review the paper at a certain time with the student.

Online Role Play Reflection

In the online role play I mentioned that I was a parent or I was concerned about my children’s education throughout many posts. That way others could remember by role and understand why I made the comments I did or why I posted certain resources with my comments. I even posted a couple articles that focused on parents’ view of the Common Core or how parents can learn about the Common Core. These were helpful because they tied directly to my character and not every character may have an article that relates to who they are representing. By doing so, I also felt empowered by the character because I was able to have resources to support my character’s opinion and feelings about the Common Core. I also liked how there was another parent in the online role play so I could go off of her ideas to support parents in the Common Core decision. During the online role play I felt hindered when other characters would ask me questions. I either thought my point was not clear or they did not agree with me; therefore, I had reframed my point or tie it to their opinion in order for them to understand it.

 

I felt my views were similar to my character’s view. I know if I was a parent, I would want what is best for my children in their education. There are positives and negatives to the Common Core, so I agree there could be revisions but I do see the beneficial outcomes of it. My views did not necessarily change throughout this because I saw how the Common Core was helpful but, also, how it can negatively affect students and teachers with learning or teaching in different ways.

 

My advice to participate in online role play would be its most helpful to be a character you are passion about. If you are assigned to someone you are not passionate about, research how that character might respond in real life to frame your comments in the online role play. Since I enjoyed being a parent in this I felt more intrigued to be involved in reading posts, commenting on others, making my own posts, and researching various resources.

 

Online Role Play Character

Role-Play & Simulation: Purposes in Learning for Traditional and Digital Writing

Using Schoology for our class is my first time experiencing role-play and simulation. It will be exciting to see how the class interacts as certain people to develop practice of what we might experience as real teachers in schools. These include parents, students, district officials, principals, and other teachers in the school.

 

Practicing role-play in the class will promote writing in traditional and digital forms. This will help us learn how to communicate to people that are involved in schooling. In a traditional form of writing, it will help us learn the structure and form of writings we will encounter when we are teachers.

 

For the digital form of writing, teachers will receive emails from various people and it is important to know how to respond. For example, if a parent emails a teacher it is important for the teacher to note that discussing something with a parent is different than with a student. A teacher may want to think about being more detailed and thorough with the parent because the parent does not attend the school; therefore, he or she may not be fully aware of how grades, assignments, and attendance work. If a student emails his or her teacher, the teacher may want to take into consideration the student may already know the answer but was not clearly focused in class; therefore, the teacher might frame a response to help the student get on the right track.

 

This article, Simulation-Based Learning: Just Like the Real Thing, relates to the simulation in role play and how it is a technique to learn how to communicate in realistic settings.

 

This article, Using Role Play Simulations to Promote Active Learning, explains how role-play simulations are beneficial in learning because people are actively learning.

 

 

 

Giving Students Feedback: As a Teacher, As a Peer, As a Writing Coach

When a student needs feedback from teachers, it is important for the teacher to think what the student want to hear. If a teacher questions why a student wrote something in a certain way that teacher should find something in the essay that does this well. This way the teacher is pointing out something that worked so the student can use that as a tool to fix other parts of the essay. If a teacher cannot find a good example, then phrasing a question with the idea the student used to help the student find a solution. By doing this, the student sees what the teacher wants. Also, it is important for teachers to example on questions that just contain, “how?”, “why?”, “so what?”, or just even a question mark. By expanding on these questions it does not shut the student down by thinking he or she is not writing well. Instead, it will, give the student a starting point to help him or her write to a fuller potential with support.

 

Besides receiving a teacher’s feedback, students also receive feedback from their peers. Many times, peers tend to write, “this is good idea” or “good example”. Peers may not be as knowledge as teachers when it comes to giving feedback on the same thing they are also working. However, if peers do write “good example” to other peers, they should example why it is a good example. Such as, it supports the thesis or it shows the topic of the paragraph. By doing this, it may make the peer realize how good of an example it really is or question if they are taking their peer revisions seriously. In order for peers to take peer revisions more seriously, it is important for them to understand the rubric of the assignment and point what it requires in their peers writing. Not only will this help them evaluate their peers, but it will make them understand the assignment better, which may help their writing too.

 

As a writing coach this semester, with our class, it is important for us to take into consideration both what teachers and peers should be giving as feedback. This is important because are in between that. We are only slightly higher than these high school students since we are in college, yet below a teacher since we are studying to be teachers. Therefore, we should be reading the prompts the students are given to write about carefully, so we can see if they touch on what they are suppose to. Based on what we did or did like when our teachers gave us feedback in high school we should use to our advantage. For instance, if it frustrated us to just see “why?” in the margins of our papers we should be phrasing this as “why is this important in this paragraph? Or to the thesis? Or is it fully supporting your textual evidence?”.

 

All three of these roles share responsibility because each one is experienced in different ways. Peers typically reflect in positive feedback because they want to be considerate of their classmates because they are going through the same thing. As writing coaches, we have taken college courses and understand what is needed in an essay but also understand the feelings of peer work; therefore, we are giving similar feedback to both a peer and a teacher. Finally, a teacher is giving feedback that supports what is required and what should be seen in the writing. Together though, they are different since all three positions are offering different insight based on our knowledge and education.

 

This resource link provides some ideas I mentioned above about giving students feedback. It touches on the importance of understanding rubrics, explaining to students how they should give feedback to their peers (because often they may not know how), and focusing on giving comments to students versus just correcting them. Besides those points, there are many others, which are important when helping students with writing.

Resource Link:

Tips for Grading and Giving Students Feedback