Texas Bluebonnet Writing Project Blog

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bluebonnet Poster

I was just fiddling around. Here's a poster about our Summer Institute. It came out pretty cool!

You all are so wonderful!

A response to Rebecca!

Excellent job. I think that response journals are great vehicles to really get to know your students. The challenge is motivating the writer and providing the climate for them to feel safe in so they will begin to open up and express him or herself. This lesson in my opinion would not be intimidating to children and would be a fun, light way for them to explore not only their personal feelings but also feelings in different people caused by the same events. You were very supportive as a teacher and created a safe, inviting atmosphere to learn and work in.

Your lesson plan is very detailed and most helpful. Although connecting with our kids is not a state TEK, writing fluency certainly is and your lesson would definitely enhance that.
I would not tamper with it in any other way because then you would defeat the purpose of trying to get the kids to open up.

I have not used this type of journaling for awhile in my classroom but am contemplating reinstating it this year. We supposedly have a challenging group coming into 6th grade with a lot of emotional problems. I definitely could use this lesson in my classroom at the beginning of the year to get the kids thinking about their own feelings and also to address the concern of "bullying."

Your extensions show wonderful thought and insight. Your lists is quite comprehensive. You mentioned in your lesson graphing the emotions to determine frequency of occurence and I think that might be a good math follow--up as well as give you another avenue to pursue conversation about feelings and emotions.

Wonderful job! Your students are blessed!

Response to Rebecca Sandle's Students Connecting to Literature

Jeannine's Response to Becky's Teaching Demo

In response to Becky!

Dear Becky,
Great job today. I really enjoyed your presentation. I know how difficult your particular teaching situation can be as sometimes the "specials" are thought of as being off time for the kids. I really think your passion for art in the presentation of your material shines through and respect you for your interest and acknowledgement that you need to learn more in order to better motivate your students.
The QAR method has been out for a long time and I think might prove to be an effective strategy for using in your classroom. The use of this method with not only picture books but art work was very effective in your lesson. The learning immediately became a collaborative effort between you and your class where each individual was not only allowed to give their own comments but also could use others as a springboard for their own thinking. You effectively built us to the point where we could use writing to express our own creativity, providing the opportunity for us to use the writing process and develop fun stories.
I am not sure what your art TEKS are but your lesson would definitely meet writing TEKS in the 5th grade.
One consideration you might think about is co-teaching with the language arts department so that the stories your students create can be published and perhaps put on display with the art work you use as your motivation. Make a school gallery of sorts or a living museum of some kind.
One question I have is the issue of time. I know you have TEKS you are responsible for in your subject area. What kind of time line are you on? How often do you see your kids? Would this be an issue?
Again great job. I now have seen not only how I can incorporate art and QAR into my own room, but also how I need to collaborate with other departments so that a better connection can be made with our kids between learning and the real world. Thanks!

log for Wednesday, June 28

We started out the day with a fun multiple choice game by Catie. We had two teams, the Not Really team, and the Really? team. I am delighted to report that the Really? team won. We are so smart.
Next to come, we did a brief writing and sharing exercise on exploding the moment in our papers. I personally think this is a great tool to teach revision, and I especially like the term exploding the moment rather than fixing or revising.
To top the morning we had two very different and informative teaching demonstrations. Katherine shared a book and puppet lesson on teaching children revising techniques. I especially liked the idea she had of having the Carnavella be a revision symbol. In the future, when she gets out the puppet, they will know it is time to work on making their papers better.
Scott, our GT student, treated us to a power point presentation about helping students to find voice in their writing. When he put up a quote by Nancy Atwell that stated she was confused too, I felt a lot better about my own confusion, but I think I got it. The activities broke up the time, and revived us. It is so important to remember to do that in class, too.
We wrote our responses to Katherine and Scott with a little time for lunch thrown in there. After lunch, we worked on research for our literature reviews and bid goodbye to another busy exciting day at the Bluebonnet writing project.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Wiki to help understand and integrate technology

Will Richardson has done it again. The author of the great book I had in class has created a super resource site for educators based on the presentations he does around the world. Weblogg-ed Presentations is created in a wiki format allowing others to chime in with their own two cents. He offers great links and how-to's throughout covering blogs, podcasting, vodcasting, wikis, RSS, and more. Check it out, and then go by his blog and let him know you appreciate his hard work with it.

Hello all!

I am irritated that I am not with ya'll. TCU is not impressing me very much. It is nice to spend time with some of my co-workers/friends, but I must admit that I found myself reading one of my research articles. Discretely (sp?) I might add!! There has been this one technology session, go figure, that excited me. I did not realize how powerful Microsoft Word can be. I must demonstrate the revisions, comments, grading security, and summarizing (yes the computer will summarize a piece for you) Word can do. You can also lighten the load of grading by having students highlight in specified colors the parts you are looking to grade. (i.e.--thesis statement in red, evidence in yellow, and commentary in green...or for grammar--pronouns in pink, compounds in purple, yadda yadda) The color coding reminds me of ratiocination. The sessions are sadly not so focused on middle school, but they are trying to implement more since the PreAP curriculum is moving into 7th and 8th grades.

Miss you all...miss the yummy food...miss the yummy foods for thought!

Scott's Teaching Demonstration PPT

Thank you all for being such wonderful students. I enjoyed my time teaching you today. I truly appreciate the positive feedback from each of you. I will take your comments to heart as I use these strategies once again as school begins this coming fall. I look forward to learning from everyone else throughout the rest of the presentations.

Scott's Teacher Demonstration PowerPoint Presentation

Teaching demonstrations

I just wanted to send kudos to Katherine and Scott for starting us off with two strong, yet unique presentations. I am sold on teachers-teaching-teachers concept. Both of you proved that teachers are professionals.

Best Practices in Writing

Please use this link to best practices in writing to replace the one in the handout Janelle posted today.


Response to Katherine's Teaching Demo

To Katherine on her teaching demo

Lens 1: I give a thumbs up on the respect that you showed the students in regards to speaking out and asking questions. Even when some of us got a little too excited, you seemed to understand that. Directions were clear and concise.

Lens 2. Some of the best practices I noticed were that you related the lesson to our previous knowledge, and you also helped to build background with the puppet exercise. You made the learning meaningful to the learner.

Lens 3. You printed your TEKs on your lesson plan, and I'm sure your principal will be impressed.

Lens 4. Extensions and adaptations. I like the way you were going to use the puppet you made in other revision lessons, so that the students could remember and pull from this lesson every time you ask them to revise. It is a good cue. I noticed that you had follow up lessons that the students would continue with based on this lesson.

Lens 5. I saw that you had clear class room expectations for behavior and voice level. You had times when it was OK to talk out loud, and times when it was not. You gave the students plenty of time to process the information and to ask questions and get feedback. I think sometimes teachers forget to do that, and the students don't get their questions answered, or even realize what the questions are until they are in the middle of the project. The lesson was broken down into small sections, giving variety. That would be help to keep the kids from getting to bored or overwhelmed. This is something I need to try to incorporate into my art lessons more when possible.

Thanks Katherine, you gave me some good ideas on how to help students revise papers they write in art, or in after school tutoring sessions. I especially like the way you related the revision process to the puppets. I can use that big time.


Teaching Demonstration Response Letter

Please use these guidelines as we provide feedback to our most excellent and helpful teaching demonstrations.


Thanks so much.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Project Poster

Let me introduce Project Poster. It is another great tool for teachers to use with students to share work in a new format. This is what their website has to say about the tool.

Project Poster allows students to make online school projects and short
reports quickly and easily. Students can include one image (.gif or .jpg
format), four links to other Web pages, and a report of up to 3,500 characters.
These posters are available to the public on the Internet after they have been
reviewed. The reports MUST relate to a school subject and the teacher must
register so his/her students can use Project Poster, but there is NO CHARGE for
its use.

And, yes, it is nearly 2 AM, and I am still up. I am just too excited about my teacher demonstration today (and by today I mean in a few hours). ;>)

Reflection and the Middle School Blogger: Do Blogs Support Reflective Practices?

I found this research article on using blogs in the middle school classroom. I thought there might be someone researching this topic.

Reference Lists???


Did you all post your 10 reference sources on the blog or discussion board. I might be overlooking those. Or, were those turned into Kelly in hardcopy?

Another Sample Lit Review by Jeannine, Kelly and Janelle

Hirtle, J. Frankum, K. & J. Quintans (2005). Online Assessment: Door Knob Medicine or Meaningful Exchange?. In C. Crawford et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference 2005 (pp. 427-434). Chesapeake, VA: AACESpanning%20the%20Accountability%20Divide.pdf

Lit Review Models

Here are some literature reviews from some of my published studies. The easiest ways to access model is to look at the journals and check out the structure of literature reviews in published studies.

Spanning the Accountability Divide (attached) is a short paper (4 pages) accepted into an AACE conference proceedings.Spanning%20the%20Accountability%20Divide.pdf

Virtual Libraries--Take a Look

http://www.csu.edu.au/education/library.html The World Wide Web Education Virtual Library

Literature Reviews How Tos

Please read over these as you prepare to write. It will help with structure:




Revision Tips:


Skim to the bottom of this if you are an experienced reviser--there are specific strategies listed that will be helpful. If you are not an experienced reviser, read the whole thing! :>)

Request for Wednesday

Katherine Barney’s writing request
Please have this ready for Wednesday morning lesson (9:00).
I need a total of 3 copies of your writing.

Please respond to the following prompt.

You are 7 years old
It is the second 6 weeks of school
Write between 8 and 15 sentences
Handwrite your response and make 2 copies (copied or written)
Type your response in 36 point font with 1.5 line spacing


One night a few months ago there was a really bad thunderstorm. You woke up to a loud crash and a flash of lightening right outside your window. The next morning when you were leaving for school you noticed a black hole in the ground with a strange looking plant growing in it. Then you left for school. When you got back in the afternoon the plant grew 10 feet! You started to wonder what kind of plant grows that fast. Write a story telling us about the plant.

Action Research Powerpoint

Here's the excellent presentation from Kelly.


Thanks so much.

Screencasts from HigherEd BlogCon 2006

For additional listening and learning activities on the themes you have been encountering in BWP, I recommend the archives of HigerEdBlogCon 2006, especially those with a "teaching" theme.  This conference took place on-line several months ago, and screencasts of the presentations are available for your viewing/listening.

Among the many fascinating presentations there, James Farmer spoke on learning environments, which I know has been a topic of discussion these past few weeks!

Powered by Qumana

Dessert Pizza

Some of you have asked for the recipe for the dessert pizza (to avoid infringing on any copyright laws, Kelly Frankum gave me the recipe. ;)

What you need:

1 package of already-made sugar cookie dough (I think mine was Pilsbury ?)
1 regular size cream cheese
1 small jar of marshmallow cream
fresh fruit of your choice (about 3 cups - I used blueberries and strawberries. I wanted to put some kiwi on it, but the kiwi at Costco was nasty. Kelly sometimes will put sliced banana on hers - but if you do this, remember to add lemon juice to keep from browning! :)

What you do:

Spread the cookie dough onto a 13" pizza pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 13 minutes (until golden brown)

Mix together the marshmallow cream and cream cheese. Dip your finger in and taste it. ;)

Prep your fruit of chioce of (wash 'em up, cut 'em up, etc. I use vinegar to clean my fruit, and I get made fun of by some family members for this, but hey, it gets it cleaner than water alone! :)

Let the cookie cool for a while.

Spread the cream cheese/marshmallow mixture over the cookie.

Add fruit.

Cover and refrigerate.


Useful Print to Support the Importance of Writing

Here are some excellent print resources from both the National Commission on Writing and NWP. Get these in the hands of decision-makers, policy-makers, and other stakeholders. We need to know these statistics.





Is David Warlick Right?

I thought his post this morning, about the role of writing, was fascinating!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Class log, 6-26-2006

BWP log, 6-26-2006

Dr. Hirtle read When Lightening Comes in a Jar to start the daily writing exercise. The story was about a Grandmother telling family stories. To start the writing process each group drew a giant jar with lightening bugs, thought about family stories, then wrote words around the jar to remind us of each story. After telling the story to our group, we each drew a story map, showing the elements of the story (characters, location, what happened, what do you want to get across). Then we re-told our story and started to write it. We talked about what we got by going through the steps of the pre-writing process, especially the use of two different graphic organizers. It was interesting to see how the telling of the story changed as the process progressed.

Dr. Hirtle showed us copies of the anthologies produced in past years of the BWP. She asked us to think about whether we wanted to make a hard-copy anthology this year, or an e-anthology, or both. Kelley cautioned that if we choose to publish a hard copy then group members will have to do the work of getting it assembled and copied. Be ready to express your opinion.

During lunch we listened to podcasts. See Scott’s post and follow the links. It was recommended that we listen to the podcast by Dr. Berlinger on the effects of NCLB.

Kevin Thompson of Vantage Laboratories gave us a presentation on his company’s on-line software program, “MY Access”. Go to www.vantagelearning.com/ and check it out. Hit the “View My Access” button for a demo. Using this program, students write essays, assigned by their teacher from a list of over 400 possible prompts. The students gets immediate grading and feedback from the computer. No endless hours of grading, and the students are motivated by the immediate feedback! Sounds like a fascinating use of technology.

Pete Smith stopped by to see how we were doing and said that he would be back tomorrow to help us through the process of making our podcasts. Dr. Hirtle provided three digital recorders from BWP. Each group recorded a audio file to use in producing their podcast.

Reminders and requests from the leaders:

Please finish the family story you started. We will work on editing on Tuesday.

If you haven’t done so already, please post a sample of writing to the open mike section of the e-anthology at NWP.org.

Listen to the podcast that Janelle posted to the blog. Please respond to Janelle on your thoughts on blogging vrs. bulletin boards, the writer’s workshop, or on technology and the writing process. Janelle talked about how “Garage Band” can work to ad music to our podcast.

Dr. Hirtle asked us to read the “big long article” she posted on the blog.

See Scott Floyd’s blog, “A Piece of My Mind”, for more examples of podcasts and vodcasts.

See Bob Sprankle’s blog (follow Scott’s link) for examples of podcasts that parents can subscribe to. There are some very entertaining vodcasts there.

Garageband Tutorial Videos

Just a quick link to some tutorial videos for Garageband that I thought may prove useful to those of you fortunate enough to have an Apple.

Death by Racism: Article in Dallas Morning News

Please read this - very interesting story regarding why disease rates for middle-class African Americans are higher than that of whites (when they were the same in the 1950's). At first, I felt anger when I read it. Why is it always blamed on the white man? Then I re-read it and felt more compassion.

What are your thoughts?



Weeks 3 & 4 Calendars

Here are the calendars...can you believe we're already so far along?



Thanks so much, Kelly!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Wesley Fryer Discusses Podcasting

Wesley Fryer has posted a helpful podcasting post on his blog titled "Audacity for Audio Podcasts." It contains several additional great links to other how-to podcasting posts and sites and discusses Garage Band and Audacity for creating podcasts as well as just audio creation. I thought it might be useful.

Be sure you notice how his own elementary-aged children make their own podcasts. If you get a chance, download some of Wesley's podcasts and take a listen. He provides some wonderful insight on a great many diverse topics. If you have iTunes (or another podcast subscribing software, you can subscribe to his site. He is a much needed part of the global conversation.

Bluebonnets, Please Share your Input

Hiya, Bluebonnets, please consider this....


Here is the mp3 for the Mac-impaired.



All, Please Read: Barbara Ganley on Blogging

Ok, I'm shrinking this post due to popular demand, and/but PLEASE read
"Nerve Center of Barbara Ganley's Blogging"



Here are our beautiful mugs!

Picture of our iChat :)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Audio Recording Survival Tips

Hello all, I thought I would add another listening opportunity to the blog--this a short overview of tips for recording live events.

The presenter is Doug Kaye, one of the most prominent names in the field of podcasting, especially the technical side of audio production and post-production. His blog will lead you to several amazing treasure troves of audio, podcasts, and on-line training.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Great tips for blogging from Vicki Davis

If you are serious about wanting to use blogs effectively, Vicki Davis wrote an awesome post on her blog Cool Cat Teacher about the "Ten Habits of Bloggers that Win!" She is the same lady that posted a comment on Rebecca's narrative on this blog. Check it out when you get a chance. It is great information to share with the students as well.

ESL/EFL Podcasts

From reading your blog entries and visiting with you, I know that ESL/EFL learners play an important role in many of your classrooms.

So, within our thinking about podcasts, I wanted to share one 'cast targeted at English language learners. Conversations is produced by Aaron Campbell, who is well known in ESL/EFL cirlces internationally for his net-based writing, thinking, and connectivist projects.

There is also a blogroll list at the bottom of that page linking to other, similar podcasts.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Thundersome Thursday

The only thing I can say is Uuuhhhh and AHHHH! Today was awesome! The group discussion we had this morning using Nancie Atwell's book gave me an idea for my demonstration. I can't wait to delve into the other sections. And where has Refworks been all my graduate days?!!!! The afternoon session was amazing with the tools we now have on the web. It will save hours and frustration as I prepare for my Monday assignment and lit. review.

At the breakfast I heard people say this class would transform me. I thought to myself, "Sure" (with sarcasm). But, I can say that I feel like a monarch caterpillar in pupa stage- all the magic is occuring inside unseen. If I feel like this in just two weeks, I wonder what I'll feel at the conclusion? Looking toward the metamorphosis!

Evelyn and Lea--Thank you

Your presentation was very informative and has sparked ideas for my 7th grade classroom. I look forward to using your resources!!!
Thank you

PowerPoint from 06/20/2006

Sorry for the mix up... I have attached the PowerPoint...

Presentation by Scott

Discussion Board

Kelly Frankum has set us up a temporary Discussion Board.
I have added the link in the sidebar (Under Google News in the links section)
This is a temporary board until we can get something permanent set up.
You will have to use your "Back" buttons to return to the bluebonnet site, though we may be able to remedy this soon.
Kelly will probably have more details about signing in to the board.
Have fun.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Literature Review: For Beginners

Components of a Lit Review

This site is not as user-friendly as the previous site I linked for you, but some of you may be able to relate to it. It is very, very linear. http://library.ucsc.edu/ref/howto/literaturereview.html

Literature Review: How To

I'm posting a link to one of the best written, most comprehensive, user-friendly lessons on writing literature reviews. Please read! http://www.languages.ait.ac.th/EL21LIT.HTM
This is an interactive tutorial and worth every minute you will spend going through it.

PowerPoint from 06/20/2006

Don't hesitate to contact me with any questions. scott@distance.uta.edu

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

What other technology is needed?

This question is for Scott Massey and Pete Smith:

I did part of my student teaching in Columbus Junction, Iowa, and part of it in Tawa, New Zealand. When I went overseas, I'd intended on creating a pen-pal session between my stateside students and my overseas students. Due to time constraints, we were only able to get one letter to and one letter from the reciprocating students. (And the 'one letter from' hit my NZ school's mailbox about the same time I was going through customs in California! So, I never actually got to see those, and although my cooperating teacher, Mrs. Pearl, said that the kids were very excited and that it was definitely a positive experience for them, part of me wondered if there could have been a better way to approach it.

When I left New Zealand, Mrs. Pearl and I said that we would pen-pal with our upcoming students. I have been in touch with her, and she is all about it, and so am I! How neat would that be for my students to make the world just a little bit smaller, by communicating with children who live on the other side of the earth?! Especially since I know the reciprocating teacher so well, I feel confident that this would be a highly valuable and treasured experience for the children involved. I get so excited when I think of the possibilities. :)

My question is, what is the best method (electronically) to go about implementing pen-pal letters?

Thanks for your presentation today; I look forward to our next Technology Tuesday.


re: to scott's book suggestion from catie

Scott let me borrow this book (Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson) and it is such a great resource! It does a great job of outlining technology in the classroom specifically and it is very detailed. I highly recommend it!

Recap of June 20, 2006

A recap of today’s events: June 20, 2006

We drew what happened the day before which was an interesting way to summarize the events of the previous day.

Next, we wrote a journal response that stemmed from a paint chip panel activity which gave us a reason to write based upon the color we selected.

A point of interest brought up by Janelle is that you can post your writing pieces to the E-Anthology of the National Writing Project Website with pinpointed questions and get specific feedback from reviewers.

Afterwards, we spent the rest of the morning learning about podcasting with Scott Massey (smassey@uta.edu). We also spent some time discussing how we would use blogging in our classrooms. We need to think of what other technology we feel is necessary, such as putting images on our blogs. Scott will be posting the PowerPoint presentation he showed us to the Bluebonnet blog.

After lunch, we spent the afternoon in the library doing research for our literature reviews. A valuable resource provided through the UTA library is RefWorks which allows you to search for references and catalog your information into a bibliographic


Good book for integrating all of this technology!

Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson is an awesome resource.

You can also read on his blog how to read the book for free online, although I prefer the book on my shelf when I need it.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Tuesdays with Technology!

I thought I would post this nice little picture of Pete working his magic last week to get us all ready for round two today.

Book Recommendation

What inspiring research questions, moving stories about education, educators, and the vital roles we play!

In reading your entries on the blog tonight (not too late!!), I was reminded of a book I found several years ago and wanted to recommend to you all:

Mentors, Masters and Mrs. MacGregor: Stories of Teachers Making A Difference


Stacy's Critical Incident (Narrative Draft)

Burning question: How can I use writing to enhance my students’ reading skills?

I have often been overwhelmed by the challenge of helping learners at various levels become better readers. For many years, this has translated into helping my students pass the TAKS Reading test. I can remember when I first began teaching reading. I felt very under-qualified and the district I was in offered no training for their teachers in their content areas. There were many days when I felt like I was “winging it,” which was truly no good for my students. In spite of my deficiencies, many of my students were successful on the state mandated reading assessments, but I must admit that some were not. The ones that stick out most in my mind are those who were not. And every year, the names change, but the struggle that these students have to become better readers, remains the same.

When I transferred to a new school district, I had the opportunity to take graduate level courses. My Master’s courses have allowed me to learn a great deal about the teaching of reading, and I have applied what I have learned to my classroom instruction with more than favorable results. This past year, I had the opportunity to teach a sixth grade English Language Learner who was also a struggling reader. Her name is Lee. Lee failed all three administrations of the fifth grade TAKS Reading test. When I taught Lee, I felt much better prepared to teach reading than I had been in the past. I had been exposed to so many new and innovative ideas in teaching literacy learning and I was using research based methods in the classroom. I had learned about conducting Reading and Writing Workshops and I was applying those ideas in my daily activities. Even so, due to time constraints, my writing lessons often took a back seat to my reading instruction. It always seemed as if I could never fully incorporate the writing piece into my instruction even though I knew that my learners desperately needed to understand the reading and writing connection.

That year, I was able to implement some writing to learn activities which I think proved beneficial to many of my students. I used writing activities such as KWL charts, story maps, literature discussion questions, daily journaling, and reading response to incorporate some aspect of writing into the curriculum. Many of my students did well on TAKS that year, but Lee did not. It was disappointing because she had passed every reading benchmark given by the district that year. Although I used many different teaching strategies that year, I feel that if I had done more writing with Lee, she may have fully grasped the idea of reading and all that is involved with it.


Rebecca: Where am I now?

I think that the discussion and feedback has put me more at ease about this assignment. I started off with a narrative, but was unclear of how to pull a question from it. It was benefical for me to hear the strategies and suggetstions concerning my question and experience in the classroom. Now I am to the point where I really need to dive into the research and literature in efforts of modifying my narrative. I noticed that my narrative explained too much background information and not enough concerning what actaully happened. I hope that this makes sense.


Rebecca's Burning Question

My buring question is the following:

Is journaling an effective tool to use with students who have emotional and social needs?

I am trying to connect this question back to writing and started with the following:

How can I motivate students with social and emotional needs?

Please give me any feedback that you can.



Katherine Narrative and status

I am starting my research for my burning question and I will go back to refine my narrative before including it into my final project.


How can I motivate my students to edit?

Critical Incident Narrative
Second Grade Classroom

Twisted Fairy Tales

I always enjoy writing especially when it involves man-eating plants or totally twisted fairy tales. It was late April when my second grade class was reading classic fairy tales followed by fairy tales rewritten with humor. A favorite was The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales: by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. Neither my students nor I tire of reading these silly stories involving classic fairy tale characters. This year was no exception and my students were eager to get started on their own versions. Each student differred on the support needed during the writing process, but everyone did end up with a story. I have highlighted four different students from this class that represent different writing personalities.

Austin loved to write when he is free to use his humor and imagination in his work. He read a little above grade level and read for pleasure. He was eager to start a fairy tale and wrote three pages the first day! His story was a humorous version of Shrek, a favorite children’s movie involving an ogre. Austin’s ogre had different adventures than the Shrek character from the movie, but wass lacking description and action. He was very competitive and motivated to write the longest story. He had a tendency to write run-on sentences and and not end a story at a logical point. He understood that he lost focus when he wrote too many pages, but he avoided editing. Austin wrote dilegently for several days on his fairy tale. He shared the story with the class when he finished the first draft, but he put his story in his writing folder and did not tell me he was ready for editing. When the final drafts were due he finally pulled out his writng to show me. He still did not want to take the time to edit.

Jane also enjoyed writing. She wass a gifted and talented student that read at a seventh grade reading level. She acted very mature for her age and got frustrated when her peers play around. She wass frustated a lot in second grade because second graders love to play around! Her story involved a princess and combined several different fairy tale traits that came together into one story. She started right away and required no help with the rough draft portion. She naturally added action and description to her writing as I would expect a high-level reader to do. She wasn’t happy about editing, but she understood it needed to be done and did what I suggested. She did change a few hings on her own without my prompting.

Jon had a very active imagination and a great sense of humor. He was the all around good student. Good grades, good at sports, good at making friends, etc. He was an above average reader who occasionally read for fun. He was inspired by the stories we read and had no problem getting started. He quickly wrote an adequate story, but the story was below his potential. When I asked him to elaborate he became defensive. When I asked him to go back and add details he told me he was happy with his story the way it was even though he admitted he could improve on it. He became angry and pouted when I instructed him to spend more time on adding details. When it comes to editing he really becomes aggitated.

Keeanna liked school, but it was a bit of a struggle for her. She read slowly and was very self-conscious. She had extemely high expectations of herself and often cried when she was challenged. Since the whole nature of learning involves challenge she was ofen in tears. She was actually paralyzed with the fear of making a mistake. Writing a story was the most challenging and frustrating for her, because she had to use her imagination. She could not use the strategies that she depended on to help her, such as memorization or clue words. I usually have this type of student at least writing short personal responses by the end of the year, but not Keeanna, she continued to cry up until the very end! (However she was crying less and was a little more willing to try.) I find this personality type them most challenging to work with and Keeanna was the most extreme student I have had to work with. How can I get her to edit when she won’t even write? I eventaully got her to use a story frame I created for her to fill in the blanks, but she was not happy with herself having to use it. She didn’t want to make a mistake so she would just sit there staring at an empty page. She was thrilled to be able to edit because it was something she could see and apply rules to. Perhaps there is a way I can motivate her through editing.

Let me backtrack a little and reflect on what we did prior to writing the first draft. We began by reading several different fairy tales. Then we brainstormed, mapped, and discussed the characteristics of a fairy tale. We compared stories that were the same and then a few stories that were different using graphic organizers. We wrote a class story as a whole group using the graphic organizers we created. The students copied the class story as I wrote on a transparency so that the students were able to experience several aspects of writing a story. I made comments on some of the editing I would do if I was going to take the story to a final draft. I did not have the second graders actually make the changes on the class story because some of them got overwhelmed or lost interest in writing with too much time spent on editing. Next the students wrote a few sentences about the fairy tale they wanted to write. I had a quick conference with each one to make sure everyone understood the assignment. I helped those who had difficulty getting started. Some of the students required a story frame in order to write a story. I required those students to change the characters and the names. For example, The Three Little Penguins. Then I gave my students three days of 30 - 45 minute writing periods. As each student finished he/she shared the story by sitting in the Author’s Chair. Even my student who could not read or write stood up and told us his story! Author’s Chair was a popular part of the writing process. Keeanna did not share at this time because she still had not started a story. I was hoping she would get an idea from one of the other students. All of the other struggling writers did get started by this point. Keeanna required much more coaxing and eventually had to spend some recess time with me before she actually started writing.

One of the editing strategies we used was to highlight all of the ands in their papers. Then I had them cross the and out, add a period before the and, and a capitol to the word after the and. Then they reread their stories to see if the sentences made sense. If they didn’t make sense then the student was to correct the structure. I used similar techniques to highlight and check for other grammar or spelling corrections. I only had them look for one or two things each time we edited. We checked for complete sentences with capitols and end punctuation each time we read. After that one or two more rules was plenty for second grade. I didn’t highlight more than five grammar rules altogether. Even this controlled amount of editing was a challenge to get the students to do. (Except for the serious and/or overachieving students, which are usually white females. Perhaps that is a clue!)

My question is: How can I make editing fun, motivating or less intimidating for all of my students?

Calkins Book Tour: Rebecca, Katherine, and Catie

We have decided to divide the material in the following way:

Units of Study for Teaching Writing Grade 3-5 Box:

Katerine: CD-5

Rebecca: 6 and Guide to Writing Workshop book

Units of Study for Primary Writing Box:

Catie:4-7 and The Conferring Handbook, The Nuts and Bolts of Teaching Writing

Rebecca Sandles

Critical Incident Narrative

My burning question....Will bringing technology into my writing class yield higher interests in writing for my students?

At this point I will begin my research process instead of rewriting the narrative into another genre.

Critical Incident Narrative
As conversations begin to dissipate and attendance is taken, I look into their faces and wonder if they are feeling the same thing as me—anxiousness, excitement, and a touch of fear. My first year was filled with days ranging between students reaching an understanding of a particular concept to leaving my classroom with puzzling sighs. Constant thoughts of “I let them down; how do I extend their thinking; am I giving them what they deserve” filled many of my free moments.
The most pivotal moment this past year took place at the end of the year when we opened our time capsules and completed a survey of how Ms. Rita’s English class was. Almost every single student commented on the positive affects of our DOL, Daily Oral Language, assignments. Everyday we spent roughly 10 minutes editing two sentences and then discussing the errors. Then on Friday there was a short DOL quiz covering the same types of errors. My philosophy is that if a student sees an error, explains why it is an error and how to correct that error, he or she will have turned short-term knowledge into long-term knowledge.
Now that I have found a proven method of engaging students in learning the rules of English language, I have gained the confidence for a second year of teaching to forge through the areas I perceive to be weaknesses in my teaching. The most demanding area is writing. After students write their first draft, they think they are done. A number of my students will either change a couple words for draft two, rewrite draft two for neatness, or not write draft two out of lazy or the lack of desire. How do I get them excited about something I’m excited about? How do you teach students to have integrity…in their writing?
Since most of my students spend time communicating on cell phones or computers, and the ones that aren’t are wishing they were, integrating more technology in writing seems to be an avenue worth exploring. Eportfolios and blogging appear to be tools that could lure my students into writing. But how do I make sure everyone has enough time at the computers? Will parents and students complain of unfairness between those students with computers in the home and those without?

Scott's Narrative

Please give me feedback on my narrative. I am ready for research and reading.

It’s not that I hated high school, really. It was a breeze. Not much challenge. I made the grades, and the teachers left me alone. The only vivid memory I have is all of the red ink left on my writing papers, but it didn’t change anything for me. I still made good grades whether I revised or not. The ink just seemed like a rite of passage to go through, so I lived through four years of it and nothing changed. I walked the stage passing from ho hum to what I expected to be more ho hum.

I arrived that first morning of college with few expectations. I mean, it was a small town junior college fifteen miles from my small town high school. What could they really have to offer me that I did not already have? As I drove in the parking lot, I readied myself for a long day. The disgustingly hot weather did nothing but ensure me that the day only offered a chance to sit in the air conditioner and wait out the clock.

My first class of the day was grammar and composition with Linda Jarvis at the helm. Older woman. Blue hair. Typical English teacher look, at least from my experiences. Her enthusiasm for the course was evident from the start as she read through the roster and syllabus in her monotone voice. Boy. She was as glad to be there as I was. “Assignments are due on the first class day of each week,” her voice droned on. “Late papers will only be accepted after one day at the cost of twenty-five percent,” she continued unenthusiastically.

Then something seemed to change in her demeanor, albeit slowly and quietly.

“Get out some paper and write me a note about your English experiences. Put it on the corner of my desk when you are through, and I will see you next time.”

She then sat down and proceeded to start scribbling something out in her notebook. We just sat there looking at each other as if we had been abandoned. Gradually, pencils scratching paper was heard throughout the room as thoughts became written words. We were busy with our first writing assignment. Dutifully, I took my time using every ounce of writing strategy I had learned in four years of high school English boot camp. I placed my paper in the appropriate spot on her desk and giddily left my first college class twenty minutes early. I loved the college life. What I did not know was that Mrs. Jarvis was setting me up for failure.

The second day of English class began much quicker than the first. After she took roll and assigned some work from the textbook, she began calling students to her office one by one. I initially figured it was her chance to meet each of us personally, but as I saw the sober looking faces come back in one at a time, I knew it was the first experience with the dreaded red pen.

It was my turn to head in to no man’s land. After watching those who went before me, I felt like a dead man walking. “If high school English teachers used the red pen, college English teachers had to use red markers,” I thought.

I walked the tiled hallways concerned with what I was about to confront. As I turned into her office, I was presented with the unexpected. She was smiling. “Okay,” I thought. “So she really enjoys the torture she places upon students. What a sicko.”

“Sit down, Mr. Floyd.”

Nobody ever called me mister before. I took it as a sign of respect and sat comfortably in the swivel chair opposite hers.

“Yes, Ma’am,” I replied, figuring my manners might get me some kind of reprieve.

“Mr. Floyd, you went to Henderson High School, didn’t you?” she asked. I just nodded affirmative. “Well it is obvious in the structure of your writing. All of the Henderson kids write like this. You are very structured and deliberate in your writing.”

I was grinning to myself at this point figuring this was a good thing. I was wrong. “All of that is wonderful if you are writing a research paper, Mr. Floyd, but it does nothing to let me hear what you have to say in your writing.”

Huh? What the heck? Hear what I have to say in my writing? Couldn’t she just read it like everyone else?

“Let me give it to you straight, Scott.”

Oh, shoot. She went to the first name. This couldn’t be good.

“You are a good writer. I can tell from what you turned in that you have a personality that just wants to come through here. Let it. Take some chances and see how it turns out. I want you to remember the rules of the road for grammar, but consider taking some detours some time. Any questions?”

Questions? You wouldn’t believe what was racing through my mind at this point. How long should it be then? So, spelling won’t count? What about losing twenty five points for using a fragment? I did what any respectable student would do at this point. I wiped the sweat from my forehead, wrung my hands in my lap, and boldly answered, “No, Ma’am.”

That basically ended the first in a series of what I have come to know as a writing conferences. It was at this point I understood the looks of horror on the faces of the other kids in class. It wasn’t the red pen scaring them to death. It was freedom. Freedom in writing is a terrifying thing when you have never had it before. Those were looks of terror, not from the red pen, but from the lack thereof. I was entering virgin territory, and I was scared to death.

I spent the next four months getting used to this new freedom. Fragments actually had a positive place in my writing. I could use the slang country terms in my writing that I grew up with. Mrs. Jarvis spent more time with me over the four papers I did for her that semester than any other English teacher ever had. It was an experience that matured my writing more than the previous four years in high school.

I went on to take several more of Linda Jarvis’s English classes. I went from being a business major to being an education major with an emphasis in English. Her outlook on writing began a new season of learning for me. I quickly realized that I could never know everything I needed to about writing regardless of how perfect my format and punctuation was. Not only did I grow as a writer, I grew as a teacher. My life had been changed as well as the lives of thousands of students to come.

Barbara's Critical Incident Essay

A Gift From Mrs. Disney

I don’t even know how long it had been since I’d slept as well as I did last night, it was unusual for me to wake in the morning with that weighted-down feeling of coming out of a deep, long, involved dream. I hadn’t remembered my dreams for a while. I was usually exhausted in a stressed-out rather than physically tired sort of way when I lay down, and was often woken in the night by the yowling of my lonely and traumatized surviving cat. It missed its sister, who hadn’t been seen since the house fire two months ago. Lately when I did sleep I just lost consciousness. I wasn’t even having the expected dreams about my upcoming wedding and marriage. You would have thought I would be more scared of marriage, considering how much I wanted my parents to divorce. But I didn’t have time for any crises; I was too busy and over-scheduled. And why in the world was I dreaming about my grade school teacher? Where did that come from? Why now? Wasn’t it a little crazy to be so focused on a teacher that I had had as a kid that I dreamed about her?

Feeling a little embarrassed by the sentimental dream, but feeling so drawn back to it, I rolled over and let myself remember it for a few minutes. Okay, so lets try to figure this out. Was I a kid in the dream? No, it had been in the present. I’d been in my hometown but it was like it is today, nearly a ghost town. I’d been at the site of the old school. The school building had been missing, torn down, again right and logical. There was only some playground equipment left. Then there had been a secret entrance that my dream self had gone into, knowing what was there. Inside was a huge open space. Where had that been? Underground, I think. It was like a cathedral inside, with a vaulted space, and stunningly beautiful. I had so wanted to be there. There was such yearning in my heart for this place. I remember thinking to myself, “I could get married in this space.” It was that beautiful. It was grand and ancient, and built with lovely stone and wood, so very classic and yet comfortable. In the dream I knew what it was – it was a memorial museum for Mrs. Disney, my teacher. I rejoiced in my dream that it was so right and good that the town had been wise enough to build this place, this amazing, beautiful place. I toured the room, stopping at the pictures and displays about Mrs. Disney. Then I noticed a door. I went through it and found myself in Mrs. Disney’s science room, exactly as it had been. Somehow, I had thought in the dream, they kept the room intact when they tore down the school – how wonderful!

I walked around the room. There was everything, just as it had been when the school board had closed our school during Christmas vacation and bussed us to Vincent school. There along the back counter were the unknown solutions and powders we had been testing. I’d almost been done with my planned set of experiments, and had never forgiven the school board for not understanding that we shouldn’t just be taken from our work and sent to another school. There was Mrs. Disney’s library, her closets full of interesting and important equipment, the shelves where we kept out science notebooks. And there, of course, was Mrs. Disney, with that smile that was beaming and so scary at the same time. “Okay,” I thought, “this is getting too weird.” Why are you obsessing over this teacher?”

I got up, got myself to work and got on with things. Emails, phone messages to be answered, and the list of tasks to be done before I left work. Less than two weeks left in this tan cubicle that I had been so proud of but that now I couldn’t care less about. The most annoying thing about my list of things to do was that I wasn’t even trusted by the new boss to be honorable enough to finish all my work before I left. When I gave him notice that I would be leaving, and living in Texas after the wedding, he replied that he needed a schedule of all my projects, the date that they would be completed, and scheduled a daily meeting to review how I was progressing with respect to the schedule. Gee thanks, I’ll miss you to. It makes it so much more empowering when you are followed up on to make sure you are trustworthy. He doesn’t have a clue who I am or how to manage people.

Okay, so the dream is more interesting than this final project report. When was it that I’d first been a student in Mrs. Disney’s basement room? Was it fourth grade or third? I remember I’d had her in third grade. For English and math, I think. After Mrs. Thompson had left, and Mrs. Henry had retired, they hadn’t replaced them. Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Disney had taught third, fourth, and fifth, splitting the subjects. But surely I would have had Mrs. Disney for science. They wouldn’t have had anyone but her teach science.

Mrs. Disney was pretty scary in those days. I hadn’t ever seen anybody with skin that color. Her hair was old-fashioned, and I remember her in old, tailored, black dresses. She had inexplicable habits, like shading herself from the sun with a big, dark umbrella and leading us in stretches on Iowa Test of Basic Skills days. She was way more flexible than any of us. Years later someone had told me that her father was Asian Indian. Scared as we were of her, we looked forward to being old enough to be her student, in that wonderful downstairs room. My last two years in grade school the fourth and fifth grades were in the basement room full time. Everything that she taught there was just more important and more mysterious that anything that had come before. I remember the first assignment in the unit on weather in fourth grade. “You will each be making a weather instrument. You can find some ideas in the books over there,” she said, gesturing to her wall of personal library books. “When you have a plan written out, check with me before beginning.” Enough said. I loved it. She trusted us with her books. She trusted us to make our own plans. Who knows what we would find. We could do great things. In that room we put together our carefully labeled and mounted insect collections and leaf collections. We used our weather instruments and predicted the weather. We built an exploding volcano and turned wood to charcoal. We were special because we were more challenged, trusted, and believed in than any other students in the district, and we knew it. We knew that more students from Mrs. Disney’s class made it to advanced math and science in high school than from any other elementary school in our district. It felt like an honor to learn and use words like “hypothesis”. And everything important was recorded and illustrated in those science notebooks, the notebooks that were left behind when we were bussed to Vincent.

So when was it that Mrs. Disney started to change? And why? My older sisters got to have the smart, strict Mrs. Disney, and do the important science work with her, but I also got a Mrs. Disney who read to us every day after lunch, and formed us into teams that kept our own records of the work we did, competing to get the most answers right. There were rumors that she was taking classes at the University of Northern Iowa, and trying out what she learned in class. Sometimes she just talked to us. She told us stories about her life, and told us that we were lucky to be young and to be able to live to see the wonderful things that were coming. I remember when we got off the busses that first day of school at Vincent, feeling like the world had ended, there she was in her bright pantsuit, smiling and arms open wide. Just seeing her meant that everything would be okay. We would be safe and protected. But when did the clothes become bright and stylish, and the hair close-cropped and modern? When had the smiles become more frequent? It hadn’t happened overnight, but she was dramatically different in fifth grade than she had been in third. And how did she know that sometimes we needed to spend our one class a day with her talking about how awful and unfair things were at Vincent. Then, how could she tell when it was time to steer us back to work?

Mrs. Disney unexpectedly died one night a little over a year after we had left fifth grade and gone on to middle school. I was distressed when the pastor at the funeral quoted a student saying Mrs. Disney was, “Real nice”. Nice didn’t even come close. I wish that he had asked me. I never saw her when I was old enough to show her that she made me brave enough to do anything, even study and work in her beloved science. In the space of her classroom we could do anything. She believed in us. She believed in me. She cared. She loved life and was growing, experimenting, and changing to the end of her life. In her classroom, the present was an honor to participate in, and all things were possible in our future. In the space of her classroom………in my dream, I had been confidently joyful that I could get married in her space. Space. She gave us the space to believe in ourselves. She gave us the space to confidently work for and expect a bright future. That was it! The dream was my heart’s way of reminding me that I could do good and important things – work, even marry. That was Mrs. Disney’s gift to me - I could live into an unknown future and feel safe. Mrs. Disney had created that space for me. But how had she done that? How can a teacher get students to feel the subject she is teaching is important? How can she make them feel like they are capable of great things? How can she make them feel safe?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

6+1 Traits

I found a great website for teacher to use on the 6 +1 Traits. Perhaps you know about it already, perhaps you don't. So here you go! http://www.writingfix.com/Traits.htm

Thursday 6-15 notes

6-15 notes BWP

Boys versus Girls learning styles and reading preferences. Kelly shared an article and we discussed the differences and how that impacts our teaching.

America the Beautiful
Read aloud and writing response.

Peter Elbow
Writing Without Teachers- Strategy
Pointing to the words that stick out during a reading. You can do this by writing the words down also as you listen.
For example: the teacher uses the pointing techniques with student writing to discuss voice with his/her students. (Theresa)

Idea: As I listened to everyone sharing their writing responses I heard several recurrent words; global vs. individual (America), supporting war vs. not supporting war does not equal anti-American, plus a lot of questions. This would be a great way to collect themes generated by the students to build an activity on. You may write a persuasive, gather survey info, synthesize information, etc.

Working Toward Equity assignments

Broke into partners to read and respond to Teacher Research articles

Better Serve African American students p43
Some results:
Focus on student strengths
Collaborate with teachers to support the students
Involve students in lessons
Ask students what they need to succeed in class

Shaping and Owning Teacher Research p145
What happens when teacher research becomes the professional growth at a small school?
Researcher worked with a group of teachers in her school to use teacher research to address classroom specific needs. She used surveys, meetings, reflection, and collaboration to gather and share information.
She concluded that teacher ownership makes the difference in successful teacher research for professional growth.

Partners in Inquiry focused on Literacy p159
School in San Francisco wanted to address why student achievement had fallen.
Received a school reform grant to improve student achievement.
School partnered with Bay area NWP. Teacher Inquiry Group
TIG conducted a research into the strengths and weaknesses of literacy instruction. TIG observed, documented, and presented to faculty. Results: teacher education increased, drop out rate decreased, state test passing rate improved.
Teachers need to be reflective with their teaching practices.

Developing a Culture of Inquiry for Equity p120
Small school of 17 teachers and an instructional leader formed a strong community to improve
Used self-examination to discover biases before working with students.
Teachers met with individual students to find out what wasn’t working. Teachers observed each other to look for strengths and weaknesses.
Teachers were more receptive to peer feedback.

Learning to Listen p101
What would be the most effective strategies to help students who are failing reading in a phonics-based program?
Researcher used her collaborative group to help her work with the teachers in her school to improve reading achievement.
She learned that she needed to change her approach to working with teachers.
· Listen to the teacher
· Approach teachers with a partner mind set
· Encourage teacher/student collaboration
· Work as a team for the students
She became a team teacher rather than a person coming in to tell the teacher what is being done wrong and how to correct it.

Baloney by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

Writing response to music

Visit the Planetarium. Awesome!


Week 2 Calendar

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Bluebonnet Writing Project Wiki

Don't forget to go to the Bluebonnet Writing Project Wiki at bluebonnet.pbwiki.com.

Be sure to add your blog to the list so we can all read what you are writing and comment on it. Use the password I gave you in class as the edit password. Feel free to change what you like. It can be changed back if something goes wrong. There are much fancier wikis than the one I created, but I thought it would be a good way to be acclimated to them in a basic format.

You can create your own wiki there as well for free. Feel free to leave your questions as comments on this post. I will try to answer them if I can. Others may have the same questions.

Cooperative Learning

Link to the Cooperative Learning Center with the findings from Johnson and Johnson.

Cooperative Learning is a relationship in a group of students that requires positive interdependence (a sense of sink or swim together), individual accountability (each of us has to contribute and learn), interpersonal skills (communication, trust, leadership, decision making, and conflict resolution), face-to-face promotive interaction, and processing (reflecting on how well the team is functioning and how to function even better).

Copyright Guidelines

Use these links for some basic copyright guidelines for classroom use:

Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers - Association of Distance Learning Educators

Copyright and Fair Use in the Classroom, on the Internet, and the World Wide Web - University of Maryland

Copyright in the Classroom - ATPE

Copyright Basics for Educators - ATPE

Digital Conversations: Learning Theory Goes 21st Century

Digital Conversations: Learning Theory Goes 21st Century

By: Pete Smith
Center for Distance Education/Academic Affairs
The University of Texas at Arlington
June 13, 2006

Response to Simon Lang

In the beginning there was word.....a powerful start to an extrordinary day. I gained perspective as a writer and teacher. Thank you for coming to our class. You are an inspiration! (I enjoyed our conversation at lunch as well...and my husband knew why the priest kisses the alter and the story behind it...as he said, "I was an alter boy for many years." Thanks again. Cathy

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Response to Simon Lang

Mrs Hartman,
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed your presentation. I heard you speak at the Mid-Winter conference and you have such a rich knowledge base for how to write creatively. I am definitely going to use the activities you showed us to help my students when I do Writer's Workshop with them. I was very impressed with the ideas you brought up for description such as putting words together like "the blackest anger" and layering the elements of writing. You are certainly an extremely gifted writer. I hope to be able to see another one of your presentations. Thank-you for coming to speak with us.

Simon Lang

We were fortunate to have Darlene Hartman, accomplished author and excellent teacher, come in and work with us. She was fantastic, as usual! What are some of the things you enjoyed/learned from her?

Week One: Peer Conferencing for the Critical Incident

Thank you for inviting me!

Hello all, it was energizing for me to meet all of you yesterday--I am looking forward to being a part of the BWP e-community! I appreciate your kind words, and know that we have many wonderful conversations started after yesterday's session.

I can provide copies of my slides from the talk yesterday via email, while we work to get that file posted on the blog as well.

And, I should note: I thought of posting to the blog last night at about 11 p.m., but didn't want to worry the group!!


Blogs for the Classroom

Get your own protected class blogs at Class Blogmeister from David Warlick. You will need to email him your school information to get a password. Every aspect of your blog is as protected as you want it. Each student can have their own blog as it links from your blog within the website. Browse the other class blogs using the drop down box in the top right of the Class Blogmeister home page. See what so many students (even primary grades) are doing. David is a former teacher and now an educational advocate.

You might check out these other blog sites to see what students, teachers, and even administrators are doing:

Bloglines - Use this easy to download piece of software to keep track of new posts to your favorite blogs.

Weblogg-ed - Will Richardson is a true leader in technology integration into the classroom. Pete talked about him in his presentation.

Mabry Online - Entire school site based on a blog created by a principal

Ann Teaches Me - Well-respected educator

Moving at the Speed of Creativity - Wesley Fryer is a former Texas 4th grade teacher turned doctoral student at Texas Tech. He is one of my favorite reads each day.

Coming of Age - a free downloadable book recently written as a collaboration of educators from around the world. This book is an AWESOME start.

Cool Cat Teacher - Vicki Davis is a classroom teacher that does a great job posting current, useful topics for teachers.

Miguel Guhlin - Another Texas educator that taught elementary and is now the current director of instructional technology for San Antonio ISD.

Technorati - Search engine for blogs

Room 208 - Bob Sprankle is consistently listed as a leader in blog and podcasting use in the classroom. His kids produce so much great work.

Room 613 - Mr. Hetherington uses this blog with his middle school social studies class.

Speaking of History - an 8th grade American History blog from Missouri

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Deductive Analysis of Teacher Research

Deductive Analysis of Teacher Research

Directions: Partner with one other person. Read a self selected article from the Teacher Researcher text we will loan you today.
Learn what teacher research is and how one does it by reading the research and examining the process these teachers followed. These questions will help guide you:

What is Teacher Research?

What problem does this teacher want to solve? Or, what question does this teacher want to answer?

What specifically does this teacher want to know?

How does this teacher gather information?

Where does the teacher go to get more information about his her topic or related topics?

What evidence does this teacher collect?

How will this teacher know what he/she has learned?

When the teacher collects data, how will he/she know what it means?

What conclusions did this teacher make?

What implications did this teacher draw?Deductive%20Analysis%20of%20Teacher%20Research%20Activity.doc

Pete's Power Point in Word format

Please enjoy viewing Pete's presentation from June 13, 2006 in the linked Word document.

Scott's Response to Pete

Finally, I have educator-peers in person that share my love of the new technologies. I have been following Will Richardson, Wesley Fryer, Miguel Guhlin, David Warlick, and more for quite some time. It is a setting I wish I could replicate in my physical school. The amount of REAL and USEFUL experiences and theory changing hands is enormous. Those unwilling to step in to Web 2.0 and the global conversation will truly be left behind. Thanks for allowing me in to your conversation.

Response to Pete from Rebecca

I really appreciate you taking the time to come and talk with us today. I am so interested in learning more about how to integrate technology into my classroom. I am interested in learning more about portfolios for students, live journals, pen pals, and maybe even creating a classroom website and allowing the students to maintain it. I am a dedicated life long learner and am open to exploring and discovering new things. Again, thank you. You have really opened my mind and heart.

Response to Pete


I enjoyed learning from your vast amount of knowledge. The learning theory piece settled in with me since I practice "connectiveness" with my second language learners. I am 'an old dog' willing to learn 'new tricks'. I look forward to Technology Tuesdays.


Thank you for your presentation today. I agree with George Seimens who said learning is only of value when in network and connected. We as educators must be knowledgeable facilitators, not managers. I am interested in just becoming more technology literate....aware of what some of my 6th grade students already know about and are using, incorporating perhaps some blogging or e-portfolios into my classwork. I can see where there could much benefit to this as far as reaching some of our more challenging students.


Response to Pete


Thanks for taking time out to teach us about the Learning Theory today. I am excited about using blogging in the classroom, this is great!


Response to Pete Smith/ Rebecca Sandles

I really enjoied your presentation. It really opened my mind and heart to a whole new world. I know that I have some expereience with technology and had no idea there was so much more to learn. I am without a doubt a life long learner who is anxious to discover and explore innovative ways to enhance the way I teach. At this point I am mainly interested in creating a classroom website maintained by my students and learning more about the following:
digital journals, e portfolios and blogging. I am eager to learn about all of the wonderful things involving technology and thank you for truly sharing this information with me today. I love the idea that the classroom should be "learning centered" rather than learner centered. Thanks!!!

Response to Pete Smith


Thanks for your Learning Theory conversations today. It is great to gain this knowledge and feel connected to people all over the world without ever meeting them. How great is this! I am excited about blogging and hope to bring this into my classroom in the future.

Morgan Chappell

Response to Pete

I really enjoyed the class that you taught on technology in the classroom. Thanks for explaining the wiki. Although I knew about Wikipedia, I didn't see it as its own entity as far as technology is concerned. I'm very interested in the other things that you have to share with us concerning technology. I also hope to have a blog set up for my students this school year.


Response to Pete Smith / Barbara

OHMYGAUD. My head is spinning with acronyms.

I also feel like I'm hearing about a new frontier, and I don't want to be left behind.

I'm glad you started with learning theory, because that built the case for connectivity and the motivation and value of the on-line, connected world. You also presented this as something that we all could do, that wasn't just for the young and/or technically plugged in.

There is getting to be a gulf between the teachers that are plugged into technology, and those who aren't. I've been hearing teachers talk about this. I need to be one of the teachers that are plugged into technology.

I'm glad that we started the day writing about courage, because I need some now.

Barbara Fleischman

Response to Pete Smith


Thank you for your presentation today. I agree with George Seimens who said learning is only of value when in network and connected. We as educators must be knowledgeable facilitators, not managers. I am interested in just becoming more technology literate....aware of what some of my 6th grade students already know about and are using, incorporating perhaps some blogging or e-portfolios into my classwork. I can see where there could much benefit to this as far as reaching some of our more challenging students are concerned.


response to pete smith

You have opened "a can of worms" for me. As an 'old dog' the information stretches me to learn 'new tricks'. Thank you for sharing your area of expertise. I look forward to Technology Tuesdays.


Response to Pete Smith

Thank you for time and enthusiasm. I am anxious to learn more about the technology I will be able to use personally and professionally.

Response to Pete

I learned that my interest in learning theory is relevant to technology education. Where will all this lead, that is the question!
I feel inspired!

Becky'sresponse to Pete

Thank you so very much for sharing with us this morning.

I look so forward to learning more about technology this summer.

Maybe I will have a future as the mad blogger!



Response to Pete Smith

Hi Pete,

The words of Thomas Jefferson:

"Words beatifully shaped, shape lives"

will stay with me throughout today.


Monday, June 12, 2006


Hi, Bluebonnets:

This morning was fun,
So many thing to get done
Parking Passes and IDs
Helped put our minds at ease.

Soon we were writing
In response to Shel Silverstein;
That was exciting.
It didn't take us long to discover
How we could make a community
For each other.

Learning who we were
Was lots of fun
And with that Power Point
Our technology has just begun.

As we began to ask
Just who is NWP?
Janelle presented the Inveness report
For all to see.

Kelly got us organized
With sign ups for all
So when there is a need for snacks
We'll know who to call!

At last we circled
And uncovered the latter:
We write
Because Writing Matters!

Jeannine Hirtle
June 12, 2006

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Week 1 Calendar

See Week 1 Calendar... BWP%20Week%201.doc

Friday, June 09, 2006

Writing the High Country!

Writing the High Country:
A Fiction Workshop Intensive on a Western Cattle Ranch
July 9-15th, 2006

Have you ever wanted to spend the morning on horseback and the afternoon writing about the quiet pull of a mountain range?  

Here’s your chance: a week long fiction workshop intensive located on a working cattle ranch near the Snake River in the Idaho Tetons.  We will read a selection of classic and contemporary western writing, discussing both the legacies of the mythical “old west” and the realities of the “new west” as they play out in literature.  Ranching activities (trail rides, round-ups, camp fire yarns) and a rodeo will be interspersed throughout the workshop schedule.  Each participant will emerge from the week with a piece of short fiction.  Readings from Wallace Stegner, William Kittredge, Cormac McCarthy, Richard Ford, Louise Erdrich, Thomas McGuane, Barry Lopez, Annie Proulx among others.
The Location: A working cattle ranch, Granite Creek Ranch is located in the Snake River valley in Ririe, Idaho, halfway between Jackson Hole, WY and Idaho Falls.  The ranch is on a five-acre lake, surrounded by magnificent mountain vistas. Yellowstone & Teton National Parks are nearby.  Accommodations are in rustic cabins.   The cost of the workshop includes all meals, lodging, and activities.  Participants are responsible for their own transportation to the ranch.  For more info go to: www.granitecreekranch.com.
Dates: July 9-15th, 2006.  Space is limited to twelve participants.

About the Instructor: Reif Larsen is a writer, filmmaker, and teacher.  He has taught writing workshops in South Africa, the UK, and New York City, where he currently teaches writing at Columbia University.  He is working on a novel based in Montana about cartographers, cowboys, and scientists.
For more information and an application, please email: ril2104@columbia.edu.

Bluebonnets In the News

Dr. Jeannine Hirtle and seven members of her Bluebonnet Writing Group at the University of Texas at Arlington have put books and lesson plans together for “Katrina’s Kids.” These will be donated to South Davis Elementary for the teachers to use with the students who were evacuated because of the hurricane.