08.30.06

Core 1-2:

  1. Share-On: Share your Authentic prompts with 2-3 others and select the best one or two to be included in the online resource for student generated authentic prompts.
  2. Discuss the great prompts as a class.
  3. With a partner and a laptop, sign-up for your learner blogs using my demonstration and this how-to.
  4. Explore your blogs and watch 2 videos on using WordPress blogs.
  5. Homework: Change your LearnerBlog password.

Core 3-4:

  1. With a partner and a laptop, sign-up for your learner blogs using my demonstration and this how-to.
  2. Explore your blogs and watch 2 videos on using WordPress blogs.
  3. Homework: Change your LearnerBlog password.

08.29.06

Cores 1-4:

I was at a G/T Langauge Arts meeting for most of the day, so here are my sub plans.

Core 3:

  1. Discuss any great reading that happened in the library today.
  2. Share your Authentic prompts with 2-3 others and select the best one or two to be included in the online resource for student generated authentic prompts.

Core 4:

  1. Discuss any great reading that happened in the library today.
  2. Show my first Weekly Authentic taken from one of Core 4’s thought heavy initial responses to “the worst prompt of all time.”
  3. Share your Authentic prompts with 2-3 others and select the best one or two to be included in the online resource for student generated authentic prompts.

Writing as Inquiry (A G/T Pro. Dev. Opportunity)

  • My questions:
    • How can we use our language so that our students become more metacognitive and reflective?
  • Others’ questions:
    • Is peer editing actually useful for students or only for teachers?
    • How would our teaching practice change if we were to consider all of our students as gifted?
      • Iquiry works for all students, no matter the level of giftedness.
  • Naming things makes writing more powerful (specificity is potent).
    • Food
      • Japon Spicy Tuna handrolls at the happy hour price.
      • My wife’s savved second breakfast of Lucky Charms.
      • Ordering Dairy Queen Blizzards with chocolate ice cream.
    • People/Pets
      • My wife as she picks at her stretch marks.
      • Charlie when he sees his red leash.
    • Places
      • The fear of never breathing again after the SCUBA gear fell out of my mouth.
    • Objects
  • My Quick-Write on the Naming:
    • Kara goes into the kitchin, stepping on the slightly-off new tile floor. She sets herself up for her first breakfast. Try number one at filling her stomach. Out come the rice chex and the two percent milk. Out comes a big spoon to get it all down quickly. She scarfs in front of a tivo’d family feud, sitting on the couch that she sinks into and hates because of it. She waits. She hopes. She knows. It is is all in vain as she heads for the toilet that she knows too well…
    • Intentionally use one craft that we discussed and that is present in the “professional writing” and use it in your writing piece.
  • Make your writer’s notebook special. Give students cool tools to do the mundane things.
  • All writing is personal. We need to make this fact more apparent.
  • Teaching sentence fluency through the use of commentary (Rick Reily, Leonard Pitts)?
  • We should be looking at professional writing and student writing side by side. Quick-Writes and imitations of short pieces can be great for this.
  • We can look at a genre, not by definition but by inquiry.
    • What is the author doing in this piece?
      • Are these elements of this particular genre?
    • Example:
      • Memoir Crafts (Murphy the Dog):
        • Short/Long sentences fluency
        • frames setting first
        • aides-voice
        • personal/universal
  • Writing workshop:
    • Getting ready to write
    • Writing
    • Making a little bit better
    • Celebration/Publication (making writing public).
  • Either you will share your writing in my classroom, or I will share you writing anonymously. I will never embarrass you or call you out on your writing, but we will share our writing in this class, otherwise we will never progress as writers.
  • Research:
    • Grammar in context.
    • Guided writing is more effective than free writing.
    • Modeling good writing of your own, published writing, and student writing is important.
    • Sentence Combining works.
    • Use scales for success in writing.
      • What is the target for your writing?
    • Inquiry in writing is powerful.
      • Asking questions as an author or a reader of authors is a virtue.
  • All writing choices are based upon data.
  • Resources:
    • Shakespeare Set Free (Writing prompts for each chapter of Shakespeare’s plays).
  • When kids are in a writing group there needs to be a good process for talking about writing.
    • Mark Overmeyer will be e-mailing us his classroom process.
  • The play-do protocol for revision.
    • Sculpt
    • Take Away
    • Add to
    • Write about other’s sculptures.
      • How is this like the process of revision?

Metawriting

Today, in class, I asked my students to think of the best and worst prompts that they could be asked to write about (most authentic and least authentic). I was impressed by the sophistication of their responses, but I was particularly intrigued by one response in the category of least authentic prompt. It came from an identified gifted 7th grader (although, I’m not sure that it matters). He said the worst prompt would be to write an essay about the essay you are writing. I think that he put it better, though. It took me a couple of minutes to regather my wits after battling such wonderfully recursive logic. I kept thinking about how we use metacognition in writing (thinking about thinking). I was also taken with the idea of reflecting about writing as you are doing it. So, in honor of this fantastic premise, I would like to begin writing an essay about writing the essay I am writing.

I am writing about what I am writing about. The right wrists placed near the right keys. The longer I think and write, the longer I rightly think. I have no concept of content, a supposed constant companion in an essay. This essay, though, this one right now lacks all content, so what is left? Style, my friend, style.

The essay, as a way of making meaning about a topic, is so perfect. In this way, I am writing about nothing. I can’t write about anything but what I am writing about. I have no point, but to be pricked by potent words. This is the writing that is continually reborn, every syllable is eating itself, turning itself inside out, and becoming the same again and again.

Just as a sine wave crosses the x-axis infinitely, writing about the words themselves is the freedom to come home as many times as I want. I can go deeper into the crevices of every word, seeing them as open and hopeful, more so than any others because these are words about words. This essay is as closed and open ended as a circle. It can never be about what it isn’t about.

I find purity in writing this essay. in its unending and unbeginning. Truly, all of these words cannot exist. They can only be within my head. But they are at my fingertips too, and because they are there, I love them. Once I start writing, I have changed what I am writing about. How can I then write about it? I love my paradoxical essay, my potent words without a point.

So, these words must blur together and leave no residue in your mind. I have said nothing about something many times over. That nothing, though, is so savory, so stylish. I could write about writing about nothing for a very long time.

I’m not sure that my student implied all of this when he wrote it, but I hope that he did (we’ll see when I show it to the class tomorrow). I like this type of recursion and metacognition. With a little bit broader scope, this kind of writing about writing could be actually useful in the classroom. Let me know what you think about this “instantaneous reflection.” Is it useful? Is it important to reflect upon every action you do as you are doing it? Do we do this naturally or do we need inquisitive 7th graders to point it out to us?

Language Theory Class #2 08.28.06

  • Linguistics is a sub-set of Cognitive Science.
  • Linguistics is only a study of natural langauges (not like esperanto)
  • If Language is a mirror to the mind, unnatural language (created langauges) are like fun house mirrors.
  • The different schools of thought in lingustics define linguistics in very different ways (parsing the parts of a sentence vs. trying to figure out how the mind works with words) (surface language vs. deeper meaning).
  • What is the nature of language? (Innate? Arbitrary? Messy? Rule Governed? All languages use some aspect of word order (place holders, SVO (Subject/Verb/Object) or SOV) and/or inflection to differentiate meaning, Spontaneous? Recreated with every generation (generative)? Novel? *These are not really questions, but things to think about).
  • What is it that makes language possible? Context.
  • How does communication work? Physical, Cognative, Non-Verbal, Conventions/Social aspects of language.
  • Maxims of:
    • Quality
    • Quantity
    • Manner
    • And one more that I can’t remember.
  • Prescriptive rules vs. Descriptive rules. Generative Grammar is the best of both worlds. It is both at the same time.
  • Language is a preeminent trait that develops in a child spontaneously and formal instruction is not neccesary.
  • Children instinctually desire language (the art of langauge) (according to Darwin).
  • What is the difference between teaching language, vocabulary, and grammar.
  • Language is prior to undersanding symbols. Language is not a substitution for symbolic representation.
  • Black English Vernacular (BEV) – it has its own grammar.
    • Double Negatives are okay.
    • Deletion of verb “to be” and other unnecessary pieces of english.
    • Contracting auxiliaries.
  • The distinction between a language and a dialect is political rather than linguistic.

08.28.06

Cores 1-4:

  1. Last week we spent quite a bit of time talking about our reading program. We have now sufficiently set up AR+. This week we are going to continue our work with AR+, but we are also going to start the weekly writing piece that you will come to know and love.
  2. Discuss-On: What makes a writing prompt boring/inauthentic?https://i2.wp.com/discovery0607.wikispaces.com/space/showimage/Authentic_1.png?resize=226%2C223
https://i1.wp.com/discovery0607.wikispaces.com/space/showimage/Authentic_2.png?resize=228%2C228
https://i2.wp.com/discovery0607.wikispaces.com/space/showimage/Authentic_3.png?resize=230%2C230
https://i0.wp.com/discovery0607.wikispaces.com/space/showimage/Authentic_4.png?resize=230%2C229
    1. Smart Board Discussion for all cores.
  1. Introduce and Explore The Weekly Authentic.
  2. Write our own ideas for authentic writing pieces.

08.24.06

Cores 1-4:

  1. Introduce the concept of Authentic vs. Inauthentic writing prompts.
    • Talk about ways of changing inauthentic writing prompts into authentic ones.
  2. Give students initial writing assessment for the year. (These will not be posted online because they are reused from year to year.)
  3. Tell students that Mr. Wilkoff will not be in class tomorrow.

008/23/06

Much of today’s lessons are a continuation of yesterday.

Core 1:

  1. Go over the process of actually submitting a book review.
    1. Discuss-On: How do you think that the Discovery Bookshelf is going to help us to create a community of readers?
      1. Discuss-On: How do you think that creating web pages and content for those web pages changes the way we think about the internet?
  2. Re-introduce the Discovery Web Review and go over how to write a web review.
  3. Do one web review with the full format.
  4. Go over the new capabilities of our blogs and start to talk about The Weekly Authentic.
  5. Homework: Explore the weekly authentics page and find some good topics to write about.

Core 2:

  1. Discuss-On: How do you think that the Discovery Bookshelf is going to help us to create a community of readers?
    1. Discuss-OnHow do you think that creating web pages and content for those web pages changes the way we think about the internet?
  2. Re-introduce the Discovery Web Review and go over how to write a web review.
  3. Do one web review with the full format.
  4. Go over the new capabilities of our blogs and start to talk about The Weekly Authentic.
  5. Homework: Explore the weekly authentics page and find some good topics to write about.

Core 3:

  1. Show How-To page and go through setting up Ning.com accounts.
  2. Explore Ning.com
  3. Re-introduce the Discovery Web Review and go over how to write a web review.
  4. Introduce the Password Manager for your server folder.

Core 4:

  1. Discuss-On and Collect Book Meme.
  2. Re-introduce the Discovery Bookshelf and go over how to write a book review.
  3. Show How-To page and go through setting up Ning.com accounts.
  4. Explore Ning.com
  5. Re-introduce the Discovery Web Review and go over how to write a web review.
  6. Introduce the Password Manager for your server folder.

08/22/06

Today’s lessons are extentions of yesterday.

Core 1-2:

  1. Discuss-On: What is the biggest book/reading virus (meme) you have ever started?
  2. Collect Book Meme.
  3. Re-introduce the Discovery Bookshelf and go over how to write a book review.
  4. Show How-To page and go through setting up Ning.com accounts.
  5. Explore Ning.com
  6. Re-introduce the Discovery Web Review and go over how to write a web review.
  7. Introduce the Password Manager for your server folder.

Core 3:

  1. Go immediately to the Library for book checkout (Use round tables).
  2. Collect Book Meme
  3. Re-introduce the Discovery Bookshelf and go over how to write a book review.
  4. Show How-To page and go through setting up Ning.com accounts.
  5. Explore Ning.com
  6. Introduce the Password Manager for your server folder.

Core 4:

  1. Check syllabus signatures.
  2. Use the one book meme to start a dialog about books, createing a community of readers. My example.
  3. Set library expectations.
  4. Travel to the library, use computers or the bookshelves to find the “next books” from your notecards.
  5. Read.