Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Coming out of my hole

Ok, so school started almost a month ago. That's not really an excuse anymore. And I just finished grading a batch of essays from my new essay writing class. So much for that as a handy excuse. And I'm no busier than most other professionals who take their jobs seriously.

So why haven't I posted anything since June 18? First I needed a break, then I felt overwhelmed, then I didn't know where to start again. It just kept getting harder and harder to resume. I've even ignored my bloglines blogroll, which swelled to 3267 unread entries as of 10:50 pm Tuesday, thereby neglecting all those wonderful professionals who helped me grow so tremendously last year. (And Patrick, I'm apologize for never completing your meme.) It's almost like there's too much now for me to get started on.

Then how do I get started again? In the spirit of trying to ease back into this thing, let me start listing some of what it is I'm doing this year. I can't promise much insight, but it's a start...

I have continued to use my English 10 blog in class and started with it right away. This year, we received a laptop cart and 25 laptops, so I put the students to work the first week reading about Liverpool's failed experiment with laptops and this thoughtful response. Then I asked the students to weigh in on what they thought we should do in F14. I even helped prod the teacher I share the class with to do the same.

I set up a blog for my writing the essay class and began posting assignments, including one that required they post a comment. Each time I update my blog or think of how to incorporate it into my lessons, I think about that great thread from last year about vampires and student blogging. As part of the writing the essay blog, I also set up a feed to the page for all del.icio.us bookmarks with a wte tag. They show up on the blog and are geared for the students.

I use a SmartBoard almost everyday. As part of the online writing grant, our school purchased 100 accounts in the MyAccess writing program, where students submit their writing to be scored via a computer. We'll see how that goes.

I still use my Google calendar like it's my job. I just like everything Google.

Because of time constraints, I scrapped a plan to start a class wiki to compile literary information on the short stories we are reading - conflicts, symbolism, characterization, themes etc... It's not worth forcing it unless I can adequately support the students with instruction.

I hope to get back more fully into the conversation again. I miss it.