SOL17 DoodleaDay 7 Inner Critic

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How do you overcome your inner critic?

#DoodleaDay is helping me have that conversation — the one in the above doodle. It’s so common, isn’t it? Especially if you’re just starting a project of any kind. For me it was starting blogging, and then to keep up with blogging.

And now it is doodling– I doodle in lines and squiggles; I’m not an artist, but I think this doodling daily is improving that, along with overcoming my blogging arguments.

So my advice to myself and my readers is to to keep trying — and like that last part on the doodle:

we learn when we read and watch what others do,

so acknowledge those who went before

by honoring them with your take

on what was learned from them,

and share so others learn too.

Just go where your heart takes you and share it–

As sharing like this makes the world great!

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Places I’ve learned:

Resources to Start Blogging:

The Fear of Sharing by George Couros 

A Series of blog posts on blogging by George Couros

Why Educators Blog: A series by Sue Waters from Edublogs.org Scroll down for more posts

A JumpStart in Technology Class by Jennifer Gonzalez [I’ve take it; it’s awesome- my work here]

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haiku sol17 blossoms hail.001.jpeg

Ideas blossom

Doubt hails to destroy, yet melts

to open thought’s bud.

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This post is:

Part of Slice of Life 2017 by The Two Writing Teachers

Part of DoodleaDay by Royan Lee— today:  Inner Critic Conversation

My Doodling song — one of my very favorites:

Title Song from Star Trek Enterprise: Where My Heart Will Take Me (Faith of the Heart) originally written by Diane Warren, reworked by Dennis McCarthy for Star Trek Enterprise and sung by Russell Watson.

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Doodle by Sheri Edwards

Blossom image and poetry by Sheri Edwards

Slice of Life

draft_computer

Rushing in with barely a ‘hello,’ but with scraps of paper in hand, students rushed across the room from their previous class and logged onto their computers in Google Apps.

“I’m ready for Slice of Life.”

“I’m writing about the fish I caught.”

“I’m writing about my brother’s birthday party.”

“I’m writing about the game last night.”

For most, I needed only to offer support and feedback when students asked. They popped over to read each other’s stories. They helped each other edit. The discussed what image would best fit. And most important, the students used their writing vocabulary: elaborate, dialogue, strong verbs, imagery, simile, sights, sounds, smells, paragraphing, netiquette.

And these students encouraged the hesitant ones.

The Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge is an exciting motivation to hook kids on writing. [How It Began and Slice of Life 2017]

I miss that.

So, I revised my menu for those students who did need some suggestions, and created it on my blog here, and will post below for anyone who would like to participate and may want some ideas for getting those hesitant writers.

DigiLit Sunday


Thanks to Margaret Simon’s DigiLit Sunday Challenge, I have a way to meet my new blogging goals, as I’ve explained here. Margaret also writes for Kidblog, and in her post, “Author’s Comments offer Fame to Students,” she shared some of her reasons for starting to blog:

“When I started writing on a blog, I wanted to share my writing with a wider audience. I wanted to feel like an expert. I was probably looking for fame. I admit it. But as I began connecting with other bloggers, mostly teachers, I actually received much more than fame. I received a connection. These connections fed my confidence more than superficial fame could.”

Writing does build our confidence, and when shared with others who reciprocate with their ideas on similar topics, we all gain confidence and expertise. I remember when I started blogging, it was not because I was an expert, but because I could share how strategies in education, which others had shared, worked for me and those may help others, thereby extending the reach of those ideas. I was but a part of a larger idea.

Margaret’s experiences shared on her blog help other teachers and students learn. The same blog post explains how her students’ blogs about their reading and when tweeted to authors brought them comments and therefore connections to the authors and their stories. Talk about confidence building! And the experience of learning from and becoming experts on their topics. Please read her post about this and other posts to see how blogging with students enhances learning that will live on throughout a student’s life.

Blogging, because it’s writing, has served to guide me when I was a teacher, and now continues to guide my thoughts and ideas as I slip into the elder years in my life. This blog will now serve for many kinds of thoughts: from cooking to art to politics to education. I’m moving on from a focus on education after two sad moments in my life. My son passed on suddenly and I miss him as do his children. And of course the loss of a great country, which once accepted diversity and supported liberty for all. Those things still exist, and part of my role in these senior years will be to support those ideals. The blogging challenges will help me get started. That’s my plan: to be inspired by those challenges to meet the challenges I need to overcome and support. Not as an expert, but as one with experience and knowledge, which together, when shared, can build those ideals again. It’s like the veteran in The Postman, “I know stuff.” I don’t know everything, but I do know stuff, or have the wherewithal to find out. 

And bloggers connect with each other. Like Margaret says in her post, “Cherishing Celebrations,”

In this daily struggle to understand what the hell we are doing here, my online community holds me together, grounds me, helps me to see what is truly important.

The tweets and blogging newsletters brought me back to keep going, grounded me in what is important. Margaret’s blog led me to Julianne’s “Celebrating: My Social Media Bubble.” Her words express exactly how I feel about those I follow and connect with on Twitter, in blogs, on Google Plus: they uplift the world.  Julianne says, 

Social media can be many things. Perhaps it’s a function of where you look. I’ve managed, unwittingly, to craft a social media bubble around people who nurture. Around those who celebrate simple things, who notice and wonder; around poets and teachers; around readers and writers. Around people who spend their energies engaged in lifting up the world, looking closely, and caring. And because of this we continue and grow, even in the darkest times. My wish for 2017 is that we hold tight to each other and our beliefs through the storms and joys.

So you can see why these are “dark times.” When the entire country and the newly elected government has so many examples of the opposite of nurturing and lifting of opportunities, then Julianne is right, we must “hold tight to each other and our beliefs.” We’ve got to share them.

But the ideas must be both online and face2face. We’ve got to have conversations. We’ve got to listen.  Michael Buist in his post “Have you #Eduheard” suggests that in education, we should

Let’s start our own movement. A movement of listening, of truly hearing and reflecting on what happens around us every day.

I think we need to do this for the ideas that matter to us — share yours, share those of others and how you understand them. Get a conversation started to lift us towards acceptance and understanding of our human condition, of our dreams and hopes. For education, it’s #eduheard.  For America, it’s #usaheard. I’m really not suggesting a hashtag, because these ideas are bigger than that. The educational ideas of anti-bullying, of opportunity, of equity, of tolerance and acceptance– these are ideas of the great America. So, for me, I’ve got to talk about them, and understand them in my neighbor’s terms, whether that neighbor is next door or on the next blog or tweet. One connection at a time; one share, one conversation. It’s a way to keep the ideas and ideals alive.

Drew Frank, who started BlogaMonth, wrote a post “Good Trouble” about a presentation from his family friend, Congressman John Lewis, who said in his presentation at Drew’s school:

  1. We all have an obligation to leave this little piece of real estate a little cleaner, a little greener and a little more peaceful!
  2. Get into trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble!

That’s what is important. That’s a plan. For my grandchildren, it’s a necessary plan. I hope to see you in the conversation for the great America that strives for those  ideals. 

Are you in the conversation

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Image: Thanks to Margaret Simon’s DigiLit Sunday Challenge

Blogging Begins

How does a teacher with no experience begin blogging with
middle school students? Here’s another idea?
Introduction:

First, we reviewed
Internet Safety since we already use wikis. (Netsmarz.org is great) Quotes and CommentsI asked students a question or asked them to respond to a quote. While reading about Martin Luther King, Jr, students chose a quote from his work. Students wrote the quote on an index card and explained why they chose the quote or what they thought about the quote. Then we passed the card to the student on the left, and that student read the card and added a sticky note comment. The note needed to be at least three sentences, refer or quote something from the original text, and be “overly positive.” We handed the card and comment to the left again, and that student read the comment and the card. We continued passing to the left and adding sticky note comments, which could comment on the original text or any of the comments.

As we passed the work along, student comments became longer and better as they read other comments that were better than some who had not followed our protocol and simply wrote, “I agree.” By the time every one had commented on every one else’s card, all students had written at least one good comment.

 

 

 

Discussion:

Back Comments

Added comments on back!

 

When the original writer received the card, they chose and shared the comments that helped them think more or caused them to want to add to their original ideas. One student, a very active youngster, proceded to notate every one of his comments by placing a sticky note on the back of each of the sticky notes on his card! We talked about how each one had added to the conversation, how their positive words (even if they disagreed, but positively) demonstrated their own character as well as their ideas, and how they had become a small community on the topic of MLK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Application:

Next, we looked at a new site called Tween Tribune (http://tweentribune.com/), a site for students and teachers with kid-friendly news feeds on which to comment or add their own stories. We read comments and critiqued them, noticing some grammatical errors and mostly that some comments did not add to the conversation. Of course, the students began asking to make their own comments. We completed two comments together to see how to do it — and we decided to use the fantastic “check spelling” aspect every time! Students have been commenting for two weeks.

Our next goal: write a class news story. Just a few small steps (Internet Safety, commenting protocol, note-card practice) and we began the blogging journey. Have fun!

blog comments

Note: Students’ names are pseudonyms.
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