Day 14: Here There Be Technology

Hello everybody,

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:


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.

Friendly Reminders:

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: 

“Assessing Writing”

(The second two probably need license, so you can find them here!)


Enjoy Fall Break everybody!




Day 12-Is the Key Mightier than the Pen?

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:

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.
screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-10-53-27-amFrom 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.” Screen Shot 2016-09-30 at 10.55.21 AM.png

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.”ctjrfkjwwaauolg                                 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.

screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-10-54-54-amTo 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 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.Screen Shot 2016-09-30 at 10.53.10 AM.png



  • 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.
  • And as always keep on tweeting!

-Stay Golden! Love, Brittany Sylvia

Day 24

Hey, ya’ll,

It’s Christian and Troi!

What is coming up?dont-panic-everything

  • iCare on Thursday, 4/14
  • Grammar videos are due Tuesday, 4/19
  • Only three more classes left after this grammar video is due

What happened today?

Today we broke off into two groups to present our grammar video concepts. To keep things short and sweet, we’re just going to lay out the feedback we heard Dr. Benko and Emilie give our prospective groups.


Helpful Texts:

Chapters 4 and 6 in Hicks and pretty much all of Anderson.


Constructive criticism in Dr. Benko’s group:

  • If your presentation takes longer than 12 minutes, start looking at what you can cut.
  • Define your topic clearly; Cate and Maverick are covering vague pronouns, so they defined vague and pronoun separately and then put them together to make a meaningful definition for vague pronouns.
  • Pay spec9bcd07b02975021484d101464f360a25e89efdf66747d692d5ded3c8a1748f34_1ial attention to the accuracy of all of your content; it needs to be one hundred percent accurate. We can’t teach these kids the wrong thing!
  • Make sure your visual scaffold actually scaffolds understanding of the concept; visual aids are not the same thing as a visual scaffold. Make sure you carefully explain your visual scaffold, then use it throughout your remaining examples.
  • If you are incorporating activities in your video (i.e. those opportunities to practice that Troi mentions below), make sure the directions are clear.
  • If you are using young adult fiction mentor texts, include a picture of the book!
  • Pictures, memes, gifs, short videos, and/or clip art–use them!

    I was totally guilty of this!
  • On a related note, make sure your slides aren’t text heavy. Any text on the slide should just be a visual aid to keep students focused on the topic. The rest can be audio.



Care ‘N Share/Constructive Criticism in Emilie’s group:

  • Make sure your video is fun and something that students will want to watch
  • Don’t get caught up on making it fun though, it still needs to be completely accurate. f91973590229d428a6efdfb3fe0773ce10560be4113ddcb93c5ced538bfe3258What is the point of us teaching a grammar concept if we don’t understand it ourselves? (Hint, there isn’t one)
  • Your visual scaffold needs to make sense, and it needs to be present throughout your video. Don’t mention it once then never bring it up again. Repetition is key for students to remember concepts, and your visual scaffold is no different!
  • Make sure students have opportunities to practice during the video, do not just talk at them
  • Use interesting mentor texts as examples

Troi’s wise words

Wise_CatIf we incorporate all of these things into one cohesive video, we will help students better their grammar skills. It is ESSENTIAL that ALL of your information is right, and that it is taught in a way that makes sense. Remember, talk at their level (but don’t dumb it down), if you are going to bring up a concept and aren’t sure if they know what it means, give a little definition and explanation. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Imagine you are making this for your future students for a tech day, also, don’t be afraid to go back and look at the models we watched in class, they are great examples of what we should be trying to achieve with our videos.


Additional Resources!

If you want to learn more about online teaching, (because tech days are becoming more and more popular) here are some actual teachers who use technology daily!

Also, Zaption is a great online tool to use to incorporate video into online lesson plans. You can upload a video from YouTube or you can upload one of your own, and you can place questions that stop the video and allow for students to practice. Cat shared it with us for an assignment we had for another class and I love it, it’s so easy to use as well!

TedEd is a website that is similar to Zaption. I personally found Zaption to work easier, but it’s totally personal preference. Both sites are excellent examples of what we as teachers can do to keep students engaged while watching videos, which is typically seen as “filler” work. If you all know of any more, feel free to tweet them! Using of course the #BSU350 hashtag!


Final Words

As Dr. Benko stumblr_mzsn1kDZD21tq4of6o1_250aid in class and Christian mentioned it here, we only have 3 more regular class periods after the video project is due until the final is due and our time in ENG 350 comes to a close. I know we are all in panic mode and it does no good to act like we are not. But please do not forget that you are human, and you need to eat and sleep. We’re all in this together, and we will pull through. Our future students are counting on us!

February 23 – Crafting Audio Texts

Hey future teachers, it’s Troi this time, and today we talked about crafting audio texts. Let’s break it down.


Dr. Benko will be handing back twitter reflections soon, so be on the lookout for those.


Please please PLEASE look over your meeting time with Emilie for our midterm project. Input the time/place in your phone, calendar, whatever, just doesn’t forget!


Emilie is going to be such a great resource because she knows what Dr. Benko is looking for in our projects, she will give us great feedback. But, the feedback will only be as good as the work we bring to our meetings.

That being said, take these next two weeks before Spring Break to work on the project. The more work you have done the more feedback Emilie can give you and the more helpful the meeting will be.


This brought on a short discussion about the midterm. Just to reiterate what Dr. Benko said in class, our project is NOT a regurgitation of whatever Smagorinsky chapter we read, but we also do not want to deviate so far away from the chapter that we lose sight of our objective.

The most important thing is that we have activities that build students’ knowledge and skills, and that we teach the writing they will need to accomplish the end task. Use the chapter as a MODEL, not a script we need to follow.


After that clarification, we moved to the main focus of the class, and that was listening to the TIB podcasts to analyze was makes for an enjoyable podcast. But before we started listening, Dr. Benko shared with us the four “parts” of the podcasts:

  • Opening Statements
  • Introduction of the Specific Essay
  • Reading of the Essay
  • Conclusion


These are what we need to include in our podcasts, and instead of lecturing or having group discussion over what we thought made for a good intro, reading, and conclusion, we listened to two podcasts of essays we had already read.

With this in mind, we listened to the podcast. First was Kristin Kelly whose TIB on books was my favorite to read, followed by Brian Grazer who no one really knew but we all pretended that we did.


We were to take notes specifically on the reading of the essay, focusing on the pace and the diction.

We all agreed that we were bored with Kelly’s diction and pace. We agreed that we do not want to put our audience to sleep, but we also don’t want them to not understand our podcast. My group felt that none of the podcasts sounded authentic, they sounded like someone reciting a script. We then discussed how these examples will all come in handy when we are creating our podcasts.


Some suggestions to find the perfect pace/diction are as follows:

  • have a friend listen to you read it
  • record it first then have others listen to it
  • find the right places to breath (I was a choir kid, this is ESSENTIAL for pace and diction)
  • rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal!


One student raised an interesting point of wanting to sound authentic in his recording. We brainstormed ways to do that, including:

  • Going with the flow, if you are reading from the script but realize you could word a sentence better, go for it!
  • in order to go with the flow, you need to know what the flow is, you need to not rely on reading solely from a sheet of paper, because that can sound very robotic and awkward
  • use inflections in your voice! you have a voice, use it!


We then listened to both podcasts again, this time focusing on the content and background of the Introduction and Conclusion, as those will be incorporated into our podcasts as well. After small group discussion Dr. Benko noted on the board the following:

If you can’t read it, or you don’t want to tilt your head fear not! I have a list, for the intro, we noted:

  • both podcasts had introductions by a different voice, the host
  • the first podcast begins by setting up the idea
  • the second podcast begins by setting up the person, then the idea (because he’s famous…I guess)
  • Kelly’s idea was general to specific (as a student noted, this was done to “snag readers” into continuing listening to the podcast)
  • Grazer’s idea was more universal from the beginning
  • The introduction introduces (duh) the idea of the TIB statement without directly saying what the piece is

For the conclusion we noted:

  • both podcasts had a glimpse towards the future/look ahead at the next TIB podcast
  • Grazer’s conclusion included a recap of the belief statement
  • Kelly’s conclusion included a short biography

In terms of music:

  • inviting tone
  • present (you can hear it under the introductions & slightly before the conclusion)
  • the music set the tone


What does this mean that we need for our podcast?

  • music that sets the tone for your piece (should be calm, so no dubstep…sadly)
  • an intro that gets at the big idea of the piece and also sets some content for the piece
  • for the conclusion, wrap things up
  • have a host introduce you (distort your voice, or use the classic buddy system and have a classmate record yours in return you record theirs)

If you are worried about finding music to set the piece of your tone, worry not! Included are some lists to sounds/songs that are free use:

(the last one listed in chapter 5 of the text was oriented more towards sound effects, and we are not focusing on those for this audio project, so I didn’t list it)


The Bigger Picture

In addition to learning about what to do and what not to do in terms of creating podcasts, we learned that there are several intricate parts that go into producing audio texts, and that as future teachers, we can have students write an essay, personal narrative, etc. then have them go back and record it, so they get the digital aspect as well. Also, we mostly know “introductions” and “conclusions” from the written standpoint, we know what goes into a good paper intro & conclusion to make for a strong paper, but we must realize that students aren’t going to only be writing papers their whole lives. Therefore, they (and us) need to understand what aspects cross over across media and which ones we need to pay special attention to. We don’t include music in papers (because it is scientifically impossible) but we do take into consideration our tone and how that sets up the rest of the paper.


For Thursday

  • Don’t come to our class, go to iCare in TC (it’s the room with all of the computers on the second floor)
  • Please bring your revised copy of TIB
  • Bring back writing tasks
  • Have a draft of your intro and conclusion (5 sentences for intro, 2-3 for conclusion)


Looking Ahead

  • When we turn in our TIB podcasts, we will also need to include a short reflective essay about what we learned about teaching writing while completing this task.
  • Keep working on your midterm! I know a lot of people who took this class last semester, and the first thing they said to me about this class was “start the midterm early!” so obvious it’s not just a scare tactic from Dr. Benko.



Be sure that you are following Troy Hicks (@hickstro) he is very active and may join in on a conversation or two! Peter Smagorinsky (@psmagorinsky) is also on twitter, he is not as active as Hicks, but his cover picture is him and his cat, so that’s pretty great. Here are some other teaching accounts that I follow

  • We Are Teachers – another online community of teachers, they share ideas for classroom management and even decoration, they also share inspirational posts as well (@WeAreTeachers)
  • 21st Century Teacher (@21stCenturyTch) – They link their online articles that are about education, and they even allow for submissions (extra credit maybe??)
  • Kelly Gallagher-teacher who happens to write about teaching, I’d honestly be surprised if you have never heard of him (@KellyGToGo)
  • Teacher2Teacher – a twitter account that links teachers together across the Internet, they share inspirational pictures, and have hashtags like #whyiteach to remind us all of why we are here (@teacher2teacher)
  • TED-Ed – the education side of TED Talks, they tweet short videos, link to lessons, and have Q&As with some prominent people *cough*Bill Gates (@TED_ED)


We’re almost halfway through with this semester, and as we have been warned it will only get harder from here.


Don’t lose hope though, here is an inspirational quote to remind you of that end goal we are all trying to reach:

“Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students.” – Solomon Ortiz


Keep on keeping on,


February 16: Hicks and Turner

Hey friends, it’s Christian this time, and I’m going to recount what we did in class on Tuesday, February 16.

But first, housekeeping:

In case you missed it, the Twitter Reflections were due by class time. If you accidentally emailed Dr. Benko your reflection—that’s OK, but take the time to upload it in Box now.

We talked briefly about revising our TIBs. Continue to work on these, and incorporate revisions based on feedback you have so far. The next step will be creating podcasts, which we’ll work on next week. Dr. Benko reminded us that, though we’re about to start our midterms (more on this in a minute), we’ll soon be done juggling these TIBs.

Finally, in preparation for today’s discussion (and pop quiz), we needed to read Chapters 1 and 2 of Crafting Digital Writing, by Troy Hicks (one of those other books we bought for this class) and “No Longer a Luxury: Digital Literacy Can’t Wait” by Hicks and Turner (available on BB).

The Midterm

“Get ready, we’re going to start working our faces off”—reassuring words from Dr. Benko concerning the midtermGif2

We took over half of our class time to review the assignment and discuss Dr. Benko’s expectations. The assignment is split into four parts, listed in depth as follows:

1. Create a standards based writing task:

This task will be inspired by the tasks presented in the Smagorinsky chapter we are each assigned (see Who’s Reading What). We should look at Smagorinsky’s tasks for inspiration, but ultimately, we are creating our own writing task. This assignment should be (1) geared towards 6-12 grader, (2) very clearly relate to specific standards, (3) be inspired by your Smagorinsky chapter, and (4) meet the four criteria of good task design (purpose, audience, rigorous intellectual work, and opportunities for ownership).

2. Draft a Rubric:

9efd21499399b5143d737f7cec67dfd9876334ebaac218ff0cebed43ac280795Dr. Benko wants us to craft our own rubric from scratch in this assignment; in other words we can’t use Rubistar or other rubric generators. When crafting our rubrics she suggests asking ourselves these questions: What does it mean to meet my expectations? What are my expectations? What does a good rubric do? What are the five points of this assignment that I value most—these are the categories that should be included.

3. An outline of activity:

54497413This is not a full on lesson plan. Dr. Benko wants us to think about how we would scaffold this writing task and create an outline to map that process. Questions we should ask ourselves when thinking about activities that could accompany our writing task include: What is the task that I’m doing? What activities do the students need to do to be prepared for this task? What mentor text could accompany this task? How can I incorporate technology? What kind of grammatical lessons can be incorporated in this lesson? This should include enough detail so that Dr. Benko understands our intentions, but is not a detailed unit plan. It should definitely include the utilization of a mentor text and technology.

4. A short paper

This short paper is actually longer than what you’re thinking, Dr. Benko says, but we can talk about length later. The point is that this paper connects our task with all of the readings we’ve done so far, so “quote like crazy”. Also, the blog is going to become more helpful as we reflect on what we’ve already talked about and tie it into this short paper.

Things to remember when crafting this task:

Begin with the end in mind. What do I want students to do at the end of this task? Is it a paper, project, etc.? (Remember, it doesn’t have to be a traditional academic paper.) What do I want them to learn? By starting at the end, we are designing this topic with our goal in mind.

Dr. Benko recommended gearing this assignment toward middle school students because we can’t make the same assumptions about their prior knowledge, like we can about high school students. Word of warning: do not gear this toward 12th grade AP students. Dr. Benko isn’t sugar coating the reality; those aren’t going to be our students for a looooong time.

Most important: this is a writing task. Students are producing something written. Oral presentations and group work can be part scaffolding and included in the outline, but the final assessment should be individual and written.

The final is a going to be a revision of this midterm. Dr. Benko promises that this will be helpful in our construction of lessons in the future.

“Don’t be discouraged” Emilie says, “I really loved this task!”

Emilie created an assignment around building evidence for a crime in her Clue-based assignment, which is a great example of not being tied to creating that traditional argumentative assignment.

Who’s Reading What:

Chapter 4 (personal narrative) Hailey, Christian, Cammie, Cate

Chapter 5 (argumentation) Katie, Jacob, Ryan, Hannah

Chapter 8 (research) Troi, Jill, Maverick, Seth

To Do List:

  • cat-to-do-listRead your chapter for next time (see Who’s Reading What)
  • Set up a thirty minute one-on-one with Emilie before Spring Break (3/7-11!!) here; this should be set up after you have made a decision about your midterm writing task and have an idea about your outline.
  • Entire draft due for peer review on 3/15
  • Final draft due the Thursday after spring break, 3/17.

 Finally, Hicks and Turner

With not too much time left in class, we turned to our readings for the day. Ultimately, we determined that only two of us were confident about how to define craft, so Dr. Benko split us into groups to create a definition. We looked at “The 7 Lessons Every Writer Must Learn” and tables 2.1 and 2.2 in Creating Digital Writing. My group talked about how the Huff Post article’s definition of craft was centered on narrative writing. From this, Jill R. articulated that craft consists of the little things that go into making writing unique, be it narrative, argumentative, or research-based. With no time for a combined group discussion, Dr. Benko asked us to tweet our definitions of craft:

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 10.57.12 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-16 at 10.56.51 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-16 at 10.57.32 PMScreen Shot 2016-02-16 at 10.58.09 PM

One Final Note:

We talked briefly about Cathy Day’s Middletown project as a researched story; I found her blog and the Middletown project. It’s a really interesting crossover genre of narrative fiction and research-based composition, and worth looking into for some creative inspiration. Additionally, I was talking to one of my teacher-coworkers at the high school about this unit plan, and she told me that she likes to use Teachers Pay Teachers when she has to create a unit on material she’s never taught. While we can’t use this for our midterm assignment, it looks like a really valuable resource for our future classrooms; the material is reasonably priced (think $3-$15 for reproducible pdfs), it supports actual teachers, and if you come up with something phenomenal, you can sell it, too.

Don’t forget to work on your TIB revisions and read your Smagorinsky chapter. See you Thursday!

Christian S.