We bloggers all pay homage to Winston Weathers

From page 44 of An Alternate Style: Options in Composition:

I, for example, try to capture each day some of the moods/events/thoughts/insights that I have experienced—and though some of my “material” may benefit from a Grammar A articulation, a good deal of it would be robbed of its vitality and immediacy if I did not write it down in Grammar B. Much of my journal writing is creative—not “arty,” not the creative of “creative writing class”—but the creative of immediate unhampered recollection, expression, outpouring—and that creative confrontation of the days of my life more freely comes into existence through Grammar B verbalization than through Grammar A verbalization. That’s what my psyche tells me at least. And I am willing to go along with it.

It Starts with a Poem

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A few colleagues have been exchanging poems via our English and Foreign Languages
listserv. The poems have dealt with some less-than-positive learning experiences
the poets had suffered in grade school: bad methods, bad teachers, all producing
bad effects on learning….

The original poem was an unexpected gift from out of the blue—but from
a poet who has led us to expect such generous spontaneity. As usual, a wonderful
read. It was the camaraderie of the poetic response, however, that stimulated
me to plunge—somehow—into this dialogue. What fun….

Continue reading It Starts with a Poem

eBN: One Stop Shop for Educational Bloggin

While working on the English Education portal (I’m trying to find a way to
use Drupal’s hierarchy, node, taxonomy, multiple term select features), I came
across a Web site that might provide me and my students and colleagues a rich
resource, if we wish to pursue reasarch in the educational uses of blogging.
It’s called the "Educational Bloggers’
." Here is how the site describes its mission:

eBN is a collaborative of teachers and
organizations using weblogs in education. Its purpose is to help its
members, kindergarten through university, to access and use weblog technology
for the teaching of writing and reading across the disciplines. The network
provides a forum for educational professionals who use weblogs, an array of
opportunities for teachers to continue their professional growth, and a framework
for cooperation to deal with issues that affect the integration of weblog
and other digital technologies into teaching and learning.


Discussion Boards or Blogging

Here is an excerpt from a message by recent alum and cuurent Lockport teacher
on the topic of using the Web in teaching:

Hello Dr. Bonadonna,

. . . I am looking at doing another classroom
webpage. This time, rather than bothering you with discussion boards, I wanted
your opinion on web logs. The NCTE electronic newsletter contained a couple:
tblog.com, and movabletype.org. My only concern is that other people outside
of my class can log in to classroom discussion. What do you think about blogs
and their feasibility for classroom use?

Monika S.

Here’s my reply:

Wow–funny you should ask, Monika. All I’ve been thinking about lately is
the issue of blogs vs. discussion boards in English education.

I’ve taken the plunge and decided to ditch my Blackboard discussions boards
for blogs. I can identify several advantages to blogs (involving issues of
the writing process, authority and ownership of content, flexibility, etc.)–but
there are issues involved.

In short, I like blogs for MANY (English-teacher-type) reasons, but one
problem they create is the "dispersion" of the discussion. Instead
of being organized in one spot, the discussion is distributed across many
different Web sites (i.e., each individual’s blog). Another problem is the
password restriction issue. A bulletin board in Blackboard or PHPBB makes
it easy to restrict access. This is not always the case with blogging software.

But there are solutions to these issues, and I’d love to discuss them with

The blogging software I’m using with my classes right now is called bBlog.
It has several excellent features, but one that I really like is the ability
to "tag" each entry with a user-defined category. It doesn’t sound
like much to get excited about, but what it does is let the blogger do true,
chaotic, random, chronological, "processy," Grammar B blogging–the
"real thing" in blogging–and while doing that, to mix in some quality,
teacher-assigned, essayistic-type blogging–all without any fear of creating
a disorganized, impenetrable mess. With the "category tagging" feature,
a teacher could go to a student’s blog, click on a category (e.g., "Antigone
Journal") and foomp! get a sorting of all the entries that the blogger
had tagged with that category.

The mind ‘gins to spin…. Would you like to experiment with me? What if
we created a project of some kind with your students and mine…? It doesn’t
have to be all that involved. It could be as simple as your students blogging,
and my students reading or perhaps even responding to some of the postings
in a kind of reading buddies sort of way.
Of course, I’m getting way ahead of myself here, but hey, it doesn’t hurt
to ask. I’m always looking for creative ways of "bringing" real
kids and real experiences to my pre-service teachers. With everyone blogging,
it just becomes a little easier to do all the "bringing." So don’t
feel any pressure. But there is this other thing:

Monika? I have a category, "On Blogging," set up in my blog….
Do you see where I’m going? May I have your permission to use your email and
my response in my blog? :)

As far as tblog and moveabletype.org go, I’m not sure of their exact features.
I’ve used www.blogger.com in the past. But maybe we should talk… You might
find some advantages to using bBlog…. How many students do you have? :)
–Angelo, who yells: "Hey, Congrats on the Lockport gig!" Much good
luck to you.