Here’s a summary of what we did in preparation for and on Tuesday (10/25):
Here’s a summary of what we did in preparation for and on Thursday (10/20):
-Remember those assessment readings some of us did early? Those were back! They included NCTE Beliefs on Assessment, selections from Bridging English about assessment on Blackboard, and formative assessment examples (also on Blackboard).
-Because it had been awhile since some of us had read these documents, we spent ten minutes reviewing them on our own, especially the NCTE reading.
-We then divided into groups – Benji/Emily/Cassie, Brittany/Alyssa/Beth, and Liv/Kayla/Rachel (me!). Each group took a set of standards to discuss, and then came back as a large group to share how we’d interpreted them. Benko explained then that she sees the NCTE reading as pillars, as justifications for best practices in assessment.
-STANDARD 1: not rewarding or punishing system, everyone trying to improve somehow; assessment should not harm a student, getting meaningful information that will actually help students (don’t NOT give students a reason for assessment, also make sure to give people feedback — what does a B mean otherwise?, meaningful information to go with grade)
-STANDARD 2: teacher’s the most important agent —> agent implies action and engagement, collecting data in order to change teaching, notion of putting own spin on midterm is this standard —> teacher knows their students best and knows what will push them/etc., don’t just take data from standardized tests
-STANDARD 3: formative (even summative needs to be formative) —> assessment is not to prove teaching and learning have happened, but to improve both teaching and learning
-STANDARD 4: doing things with the information you get, letting the assessment change your teaching, curriculum — don’t boil down one subject to something too small, complexity of literacy, assess what’s hard to assess not just what’s easy to assess (quality of writing, e.g., realistic dialogue, vs. black-and-white grammar — this is not always black and white). A key quote from this standard was the following: “Furthermore, even when the standards come closer to representing these features of complex
literacy, high-stakes assessments rarely address the difficult-to-measure standards, opting
instead to focus on content that is easier and more expedient to assess using inexpensive test
-STANDARD 5: recognize lives of students, what’s important to them — think about culture; related a lot to standard 6; must recognize what students KNOW (issue with nationalized, norm assessments — what if they don’t know the thing? e.g., Benko’s barter system example); one-shot assessments are not representative of real, physical kids; test is only representative of that one day
-STANDARD 6: test biases —> must be multicultural (cultural background, languages, but also SES, etc.), fair AND equitable (Emily’s example — fair by teacher standard, but others didn’t perceive it was fair; Brittany’s daughter held at equal standard even though she’s made tons of growth)
-With Standard 6, Emily gave an example about her sister, how parents told her mom that “It [wasn’t] fair” that she got shorter books for book talks.
-Standard 7 was one we should come back to at a later date!
-STANDARD 8: if you vary your assessment and assess often, you’ll get a better picture of the student
-When Benko said she felt separate from us because she was plugged in, when we started with Standard 8, Benji said that’s what technology does.
-We also talked a lot about AR (don’t get Benko started on it) and how that fits in with assessment.
-We then shifted gears to talk about the formative assessment documents and the Bridging English piece, and that the one of the differences between the final and midterm is including formative assessment. Here‘s an additional page about other examples of formative assessment that you might include in your final! Remember that when we use formative assessment, it’s not just collecting information from students, it’s using that information to make a choice about your teaching (e.g., Benko having us hold up fingers at the beginning of class so she can see how to change her instruction).
-What Benko thinks is most interesting in Bridging English starts on pg. 421 — poles of grading.
-What is also helpful for us is pg. 423 — the difference between formative and summative — not only for final, but for final reflection (this BE piece might be useful for justification).
-Benko also talked about Catherine for awhile and it was SO CUTE.
-Julie is coming on Tuesday, so start thinking about your Northside work!
-Midterms are due then, too!
Today in 350:
We began with talking about happy things that happened over Fall Break.
- Beth didn’t have to drive to Muncie for 2 whole days
- Cassie picked up her cat from the vet
- Rachel met the Author of Percy Jackson…and he retweeted her!
- Dr. Benko had a relaxing/writing weekend, and got to sleep in until 7am.
Everyone turned in their This I Believe Essays and Reflections.
Since we all had many meals and sleeps during Fall Break. Rachel started the class with our conversations from last Thursday (10/6)
Digitally Convenient or Digitally Enhanced?
Here is the Google Doc for our conversation over the TIB podcast and Joel’s Book Trailer.
Is the Podcast convenient or enhanced?
Many said that it was more convenient than enhanced, but knowing that it was going to be recorded had an effect on they way they wrote.
Rachel asked if even though the podcast was considered digitally convenient, does it still have merit?
Cassie said that it depends on how you use it. It does teach inflection, and is more engaging.
Beth said that it would be a good way to introduce students to working with digital media.
This conversation ended with this idea:
Even though the podcast was defined as digitally convenient, it may be used effectively as a scaffold to work students up to creating more digitally enhanced projects. Therefore, digitally convenient and digitally enhanced to not need to work as opposite, they can exist together.
“Now let’s talk about everyone’s favorite thing! Assessment!”
We discussed the positive and negative aspects of using rubrics.
can individualize rubrics
helps grading in a timely manner
clear descriptions of what is expected
Students may write for the rubric, and not for their own purpose
Rubric may not represent the writing
Wilson vs Gallagher
Maja Wilson argued that using rubrics would take any real human response away. However, Gallagher showed that there are many ways that we can balance rubrics and human response.
Brittany pointed out that Wilson had a very rigid use of rubrics, and fell into the same trap of students who worry about rubrics too much.
As A Side note: Dr. Benko asked us to think about numeric conversion when creating our rubric…
For the midterm, Don’t use numbers like 4, 3, 2, 1.
They don’t translate correctly, use percentages instead.
DON’T USE A RUBRIC GENERATOR. That’s Plagiarism
If you use a model, say it.
Things Dr. Benko asked us to think about when creating a rubric:
Good writing is good writing. How do you boil that down to a rubric?
“Good writing” as a blanket statement does not exist, but good narrative, good poetry, etc. does. What is my student writing? What makes this kind of piece good?
Rubrics will change with different genres of writing.
After these conversations, we separated into our midterm groups to discuss what we think should go on our rubrics.
For next time:
There is no reading. Just work on your midterm! Drafts are Due Tuesday 10/18, and we’ll be having peer review in class. The finished product is due Thursday. Good luck!
Oh, And a little something extra:
Here is an article from English Journal called “The Infamy of Rubrics” by Michael Livingston. I thought this would be interesting because actually cites and mentions Maja Wilson’s article in his piece. Enjoy!
Today was sort of all over the place. Having finished reading Chapters 3, 5, and 6 of Troy Hicks’ Crafting Digital Writing, we discussed and analyzed the differences of “digitally convenient” and “digitally enhanced” texts here on the Google Doc. Also, with TIB essays in hand, we had planned to expand them to their full podcast glory. However, iCare failed to receive us, but Rachel swooped in and saved the day!
While I struggle to put into words the vast amount of wisdom and learning she bestowed upon us, here are possibly some helpful resources/reminders as we all work on our podcasts:
This one is from Dr. Benko which she tweeted and is a PDF from iCare about creating podcasts: https://ballstate.app.box.com/s/weoone7hfifl2zxx6mzdsxi3yrj34j33
Some final notes on the podcast (mainly advice from Dr. Benko and Rachel):
If you don’t have GarageBand, you can get it for free at iCare, at Teacher’s College. It might be helpful to record in segments in order to avoid mess ups. Your belief statement should be the title of the piece. The Soundcloud login is the same as the blog login found on the blog assignment. Last, but not least, Dr. Benko needs a break too and will be under radio silence over fall break but gives this final encouragement: MINIMAL TEARS EVERYONE.
Further goings on in the classroom today centered around the idea of an online text being either “digitally convenient” or “digitally enhanced” as defined by Hicks.
According to the Google Doc, most people thought of “digitally convenient” as being the text being put online merely for accessibility. A digitally convenient text for the most part would be just as good in a non-digital form (a sentiment voiced by Emily during discussion). This isn’t to say that there are no digital elements involved in the text. Therein lies the key difference between the two terms. As Liv and Brittany point out, the digital elements of an only digitally convenient rather than enhanced text are superficial. They add no significant meaning or function and are just there because they can be.
A digitally enhanced text will definitely use digital elements, but each time with a purpose in mind. Whether it be a hyperlink or embedded media, it serves a meaningful purpose and the text would be less without it. As another example, Rachel targeted the hashtag as an element of digital craft, with its multiple purposes of making associating, reflecting, grouping things together, and choosing who sees it because of the tags certain people are known to follow.
Finally, we were all given a chance to deepen our new understandings by applying them to two texts: our choice of a TIB podcast, and Joel’s book trailer for Feed by M. T. Anderson. It seems all groups agreed that Joel’s book trailer was a digitally enhanced text, using various elements such as music, imagery , voice, and text in a way that all fit together and played off of each other well.
On the other hand, groups for the most part considered the TIB podcasts to be more on the convenient end of the spectrum than enhanced, due to the fact that it could have easily been left as an essay on paper. However, with voice recording and underscoring music, there is a tone added which affects the meaning, which can count toward it being an enhanced piece.
To apply our new knowledge to a different situation, I find this potentially helpful resource to be another example of a digitally enhanced text. This kind of text is a prime example of using hyperlinks effectively. Not only is each resource connected for easy access, but the suggested page for each resource helps readers more quickly find what they might be looking for. The links go beyond just shoving a new resource at people and telling them to figure it out, and actually pave the way for exploring them.
Midterm draft is coming up! By now you probably have set up a time to meet with Rachel. If not, it’s a pretty good idea to do so (and required).
Podcasts must be uploaded to the SoundCloud account by Thursday next week (10/13).
The following 3 articles need to be read as well:
(The second two probably need license, so you can find them here!)
Enjoy Fall Break everybody!
Podcasts, This I Believe, Critiques: Today’s To-Do List
Today In ENG 350…
The class began in splitting off into groups to chat about the This I Believe podcast features of Kristin Kelly’s “Books at All Costs” and Brian Grazer’s “Disrupting My Comfort Zone.” Going into the class, we read Hick’s “Chapter 5: Crafting Audio Texts.” The text gave context into examples of audio text craft and what the process looks like for digital writing.
Here is the Google doc link to the break-down groups had when critiquing the podcasts of both TIB essays.
So, what did we hear between the two TIB essays? What did we notice about what they did and what does it mean for us as readers?
- Benji noticed that “Grazer sounded like he was reading the essay” and Kelly had a “flat line voice” that was emotionless and sounded the same.
- Kaleb “enjoyed the way that listening to Grazer was more enjoyable.” He also liked that there was more emotion and emphasis put on words; whereas, Kelly’s piece had been “expected to be more passionate, but she seemed to speak neutrally.”
- Liv was “turned off as a reader” because she “objected to her [Kelly] TIB statement.
- Brittany found more excitement in reading the pieces than she did in listening to them.
- Erin mentioned that she “liked Grazer’s more because he seemed like he was reading his own [TIB statement] and believed it himself.”
- Read your drafts aloud and determine where to pause, stop, and breathe– find spots that make sense to slow down so that the listener can follow along with you.
- Think “WHERE DO I BREATHE?” (I mean, how am I supposed to breathe with no air?)
- If it sounded like Kelly and Grazer were reading their pieces, ahem, that’s because they were.
- Think “I AM READING THIS” (no ad-libbing, no freestyle, no I-forgot-to-add-this)
- The recording should sound like something you care to be sharing.
- Make sure that the tone of your voice matches the tone of your writing.
And For Next Class– October 16th
- Rachel is teaching (class selfie round two?)
- Bring back your TIB revisions
- Write your intro and outro for the podcast (this’ll be a rough draft)
- Read chapters 3 and 6 from Hicks
Keep In Mind…
- A rubric has been added to the TIB assignment
- For the podcast, Benko is looking for the sound that you have rehearsed it, that you have paused, and that there are no distractions to the content of the piece due to your reading
- For the intro and outro…
- Give relevant background information
- Don’t have to be too explicit for it– just get the listener in the right frame of mind
- Also, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO READ YOUR OWN INTRO
- Maybe there is someone “legally obligated” to read it for you like Beth has– if not, word on the street is that Rachel is easily bribed
- Keep it third person
- TIB IS OFFICIALLY DUE ON 10/13
A Little Something Extra
Here is a really cool article by The Atlantic that touches base on the medium of the podcast being used to tell stories. This article explores the idea of “Why do audio stories captivate?” Enjoy.
Credit to Kaleb for a fantastic and fitting title for today’s blog.
Before the Door
Before coming to class today, we prepared for our discussion on digital literacy and using technology in a writing classroom by reading two works by Troy Hicks:
- Crafting Digital Writing chapters 1 and 2 (pages 1-27)
- “No Longer a Luxury: Digital Literacy Can’t Wait,” an article by Troy Hicks and Kristen Hawley Turner which was featured in The English Journal in July, 2013
The purpose of the discussion for the day was how to incorporate technology into a writing classroom and why it is important.
Sass in Class
Class started today with some praise from Dr. Benko on our attendance and engaging conversations over the reading. This made Kaleb and Cassie’s absence that more noticeable…we missed you!
Dr. Benko noted that she usually gives more pop quizzes on readings than she has this semester in order to determine if students have done the reading. However, because of our always in-depth conversations so far she feels confident that the readings have been taking place. With this in mind, she decided our first activity of the day would be a non-quiz where we discussed the quiz questions with a partner. Dr. Benko transformed herself into a more attractive version of Drew Carey and stated “This will be like Whose Line is it Anyway, where the points don’t matter.”
Of course, despite the jokes, an engaging conversation ensued. We tracked our partner answers in a Google doc and then came together to have a whole class discussion.
To start off our discussion, Benji described the main point of the Hicks and Turner article as advocating that technology alone does not equal digital literacy, but instead technology must be taught and used in meaningful ways. This led Emily to point out the importance of attentiveness (it is a word!) with the technology that you and your students are using. She even discussed an exercise of having students handwrite a reflection on what they did with their computer during class and whether or not it had been meaningful. This point led Benji (yes, folks, he talked twice in class AGAIN! 😀) to note how Hicks urges teachers to develop their own digital literacy.
Recently, I attended a library workshop on some of the resources available for teaching 21st Century learners. The American Association of School Librarians compiles a yearly list of the best apps for teaching and learning, as well as a list of the best websites for teaching and learning, as well as the standards that these help you to achieve. These can be valuable resources when administrators look to us new teachers to be “in-the-know” on technology.
From here we moved on to discussing the language students use in their texting and social media, which Hicks and Turner called Digitalk. We pointed out that Digitalk can be seen as another dialect for students and to note how they are capable of code-switching between this language and standard English quite regularly. Instead of criticizing students and telling them that the digital language they are using is “wrong,” we can instead take this opportunity to point out lessons on audience, the writing medium being used, purpose, and appropriateness. If we make ourselves more open to allowing the students to use language they are comfortable with in the appropriate settings and context, they may become more open to using, and understanding when to use, “school” language for certain purposes and audiences.
As the discussion of openness to new ways of thinking, we came to the heart of the matter in using digital technologies in a classroom. As Hicks argues, we can no longer afford to NOT teach these skills, it is a necessity within our society. Makayla and Erin voiced their frustration at the idea of teachers who nonchalantly give up on teaching technologies due to a lack of resources. Dr. Benko warned that having excuses can be a very dangerous, and deficit-oriented, way of viewing students. Makayla passionately pointed out, “Ok, you don’t have a lot of options but you can’t just give up. I want answers. How are you going to teach these students what they need to know?” To which Beth had the all-encompassing answer, “Exactly! Let’s make lemonade.”
In an ideal world, our students would all have a one-to-one iPad ratio and school corporations would offer their staff professional development workshops in order to better implement these new technologies. But, unfortunately, this is just not always the case. However, this does not mean as teachers we simply throw in the towel and not introduce our students to the world of digital literacy and digital literacy practices.
You may ask, but how can we do this? By replicating a digital space within your classroom. Dr. Benko suggested creating a Twitter wall where students can post their “tweets” and respond to others. “Is it the same? No. Is it equal? No. But it is a move in the right direction.” Image Source: Westquarter Primary @WestquarterPrim
At this point Dr. Benko was willing to admit that she breaks two of Troy Hicks’ practices that discourage engagement with digital literacy. The first is that she counts Tweets and the other is using a Blog without really Blogging (that’s what I’m doing here 😉). So we discussed her purposes and intentions behind these practices, the advantages and disadvantages these situations can present, and ultimately the understanding that we will not always teach in an ideal world, with ideal resources, and ideal students so some practices may have to be adjusted but we should always understand why we are making the adjustment, not just because it is the “easy” thing to do. In another article written by Troy Hicks, which I saw because Ken Lindblom posted it on Twitter (circles within circles, this is like Inception education), he discusses some of the difficulties with teaching writing on tablets and other smart devices and uses a variety of apps to show his students that they can still live writerly lives (Dr. Benko’s term) through their devices. As most of Hicks’ articles are, it is a an informative, applicable (I pulled a few apps myself), and approachable read, so you should definitely check it out!
After this, we turned to discussing the two chapters in Crafting Digital Writing and what Hicks means by “author’s craft.” A tricky point to remember about author’s craft is that writers rarely sit down and say “This is craft. This is how I do what I do.” But in taking a moment to recognize craft elements, and teach our students to recognize craft elements, we can begin to notice the features that make authors successful at creating their works. Among these elements we noted intentionality, choices, a particular goal, and particular features. We took a moment to understand Ralph Fletcher’s concept of a “hot spot,” where you slow down and concentrate on crucial moments within a story while skipping quickly over the not important information. And we also noted that in looking at digital genres we have to consider what features are present that we may not always be considering in a general writing mode.
To finish out class, we spent some time in our midterm groups (Again, Cassie and Kaleb you were sorely missed!) looking over the charts in Crafting Digital Writing and brainstorming the craft features that are used in our respective genres to accomplish the author’s purpose. These particular features may be something that we want to consider as individual lessons within our plan for our midterm. Everyone please note the sneaky scaffolding teaching that Dr. Benko slipped in there (she’s a slippery teacher!)– we thought we were learning about one thing, but really we were building on what we already know and working toward a bigger goal.
Some Fun Moments…
As we get to know Dr. Benko better we love including her in our conversations and jokes- more than a source of authority for us, she is becoming a mentor and teaching colleague. With that being said, she can sometimes be sucked into our silly giggles and jokes as well, but luckily we have Erin to remind Dr. Benko “Back on track, please.”
And somehow, despite her love for Harry Potter, Dr. Benko has never lost hours of her life on Pottermore.com. She discovered in class yesterday that she can determine what her Patronus is, but she has yet to reveal.
A Shrewder Future
In going forward we have a few things up in the air right now.
- We will be reading the chapter from Hicks on crafting audio texts in preparation of our TIB podcasts
- On Tuesday we will most likely go to iCare to learn about GarageBand and making those podcasts.
- Speaking of TIB, the third revision will be due before our next class on Tuesday 10/4, so make sure to be looking over that feedback.
- We should be working toward our midterm writing task and begin preparing those outlines
- With that in mind, everyone needs to schedule an individual conference time with Rachel (this is required) to go over your writing task and ideas.
- Please have as much of an outline drafted as possible when you meet with Rachel. The more specific you are the more feedback you will receive.
- Note: Dr. Benko is willing to conference as well, but only after you have conferenced with Rachel.
- With that in mind, everyone needs to schedule an individual conference time with Rachel (this is required) to go over your writing task and ideas.
- And as always keep on tweeting!
-Stay Golden! Love, Brittany Sylvia