Day 1 – Introductions and First Steps

Welcome back to Ball State and welcome to English 350! I can tell already that it’s going to be a great semester and I hope you all are excited for what’s to come!

Here’s a summary of what we did today in class (08/23/2016) followed by a more detailed breakdown:

We discussed the significance of our online presences and digital footprints as educators, as well as looked over the syllabus. 
-There was no required reading for our first day, but “Informal and Shared: Writing to Create Community” by Dean and Warren is optional and is also linked on the schedule.
-Class started with completing the survey from the Office of Educational Excellence — we’ll fill out another one of these at the end of the semester!
-We had a brief free-write on what we would tell our dream principal about ourselves as teachers and discussed this with a partner.
-With the same partner, we looked online for whatever we could find about our partner. We introduced this parter with an approved fact we found and discussed whether or not what we found matched up with what we would tell that dream principal.
-Employers (and future students!) will absolutely Google us; having an online presence and professional digital footprint allows us control over the message they receive. Did your current online message match up with what you would want that principal to know? If you wanted that principal to know how passionate you are about reading, are you a literary citizen online? If you want to keep your professional and personal lives completely separate, does your current online presence keep them separate, or is there overlap? (We opened this specific topic up at the end of class: What do we do with blogs that go back and forth between personal and professional?)
-The rest of class was spent talking about the syllabus (namely the foundations for the course, as well as major assignments and classroom policies) — if you have any additional questions about the syllabus, feel free to ask me or Dr. Benko! You can DM me on Twitter for my email (@rachellauve).

Thinking ahead:

Make sure to setup a professional Twitter account — you’ll need to tweet weekly for class, and you have to have a Twitter account in order to do that!
     -Use #BSU350 for all class-related tweets
     -Try using #bsuenglish so we can show the whole department what we’re doing, too!
     -Follow everyone from class and other educators on Twitter (big names like Troy Hicks and Kelly Gallagher are there, as well as others that we’ll be reading this semester! Google “educators to follow on Twitter” if you’re stumped — you’ll find tons of recommendations just like this list).
     -If an @ mention is at the beginning of a tweet, adding a period (e.g., .@ncte) will allow for the tweet to appear in others’ feeds, rather than showing up as a conversation!
     -Brevity is a killer on Twitter — this will be good practice for keeping things nice and concise, but consider how this will affect what you want to convey!
-At some point, we will have a mini-lesson on Box, but until then, remember to be conscious of where assignments will need to be turned in.
-The first chapter of Smagorinsky is on Blackboard, but you’ll need to get this book as soon as possible! (I recommend buying this and the other books — I rented mine initially but ended up buying!)


P.S. For fun, here’s a matching game of everyone’s fun facts and names! If you complete this and get it back to me, I’ll try to remember to bring in a treat of some kind for you!

Teaching, technology, and blogging — Oh my!

Welcome to ENG 350, a course dedicated to teaching writing in secondary schools.  I’m looking forward to learning with you this semester.  I thought I’d kick off this blog by answering two questions that I’d be asking if I were a student in my own class.

Why so much tech?  You’ll notice that we will are going to use lots of technology over the course of this term.  For example we will be creating professional twitter accounts and using a course tag this semester (#BSU350) to tweet about our learning; we’ll create podcasts for our This I Believe essays; you’ll design and teach a grammar-based lesson that you’ll record digitally; we’ll use this site daily in our learning.


Because if we want our students to navigate a variety of literate environments in the 21st century, we, as teachers, need to practice and play with a wide variety of technological tools!  In this course, I hope to provide you many experiences to do just this — play with technology.  And, I hope that you bring your own knowledge and tools to this playground so that we can all learn together!

What’s this blog for?  Primarily, this blog will serve as a space for us to archive our thinking and learning.  After class session, one student will be responsible for updating the blog with a summary/re-cap of that class session.  This summary will review the activities in which we engaged, and describe major take-aways and learnings from the class meeting.

As a writer, you’ll decide how you best want to represent these things, and together, we’ll negotiate specifics about what gets included. For example, we might want to post pictures of our writing (e.g., of our group work on huddle boards), or key quotes from students/texts.  These summaries may take on  different forms — maybe a found poem from one of our course readings, or maybe something else creative that you come up with.  We’ll also negotiate specifics about assessment of posts together.

Overall, my goal with this blog (and in this course) is to try to model how teachers might play with and technology (I’m no tech expert, folks!), and to provide a space for us to write with and for each other.

Let’s get started.  🙂