Texas Bluebonnet Writing Project Blog

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Be a part of a Textbook now!

This is an opportunity Dr. Hirtle asked me to pass on to everyone:

Dear Colleague,

We are in the process of writing a textbook for a beginning course in teacher education called Teacher Education: Teaching In and For Democracy. This text will be part of the Teacher Education Series that will be published by McGraw Hill. One of the most important elements of the series will be short vignettes of actual classroom/school practices and situations. We believe that having real teachers describe authentic teaching/learning situations will be very powerful in helping future teachers understand how they can prepare their own students to be active and engaged participants in a democracy.

The themes of the series include:

Teaching for democracy
Teaching for social justice
Teaching in a culturally responsive way
Teaching for high level content knowledge
Teaching for critical thinking

We are asking you to write about an activity or part of an activity that you have done with your students. Describe it for us in as vivid and descriptive a way as you can. Why did you do the activity? What did you do? What did the students do? Describe what they said, what you said, what materials they used. How did you know if the activity was effective?

Or you may want to write about a problematic or unusual event, dilemma or incident that occurred in your class or school. What happened? What was the problem? How did it happen? Who was involved? Was it resolved? How? Feel free to include dialogue to make your vignette come alive.

Elements of any of the themes to include in your vignette are welcome. For example:
Teaching for democracy
Allowing students to argue with reason for their position
Helping students listen to others and adjust their views
Allowing students to make choices and explain them
Encouraging students to show empathy for other perspectives

Teaching for social justice
Helping students understand discrimination
Helping students understand how individual and groups are repressed
Teaching in a culturally responsive way
Using your knowledge about your students to make decisions
Using constructivist techniques
Showing how you respect students and their cultures

Teaching for high level content knowledge
Having students use what they learn
Applying what is learned to new situations
Solving complex problems and explaining how

Teaching for critical thinking
Helping students make judgments about content (why historical event
occurred, how to solve a problem in mathematics, providing an hypothesis in science to explain what has been observed
Having students explain the criteria they used in making judgments
Having other students critique judgments and allowing for reconsideration.

Feel free to think of other examples. Just be sure to make them as real and richly descriptive as possible. We are looking for about two textbook pages, which is about 1000 words or 5000 plus characters. If you want to write something shorter, try it out and send it and we’ll go from there.

If you submit a vignette, and you are welcome to submit more than one, you will receive two McGraw Hill books from the Higher Education list of your own choosing. Those vignettes that we use in the books will include your name, place of work and will credit you as a teacher who excels in teaching for democracy and social justice.

Let us know if you are interested in participating or if you have any questions. We’d like to hear from you as soon as possible. We look forward to working with you.

Nick Michelli
The City University of New York

Tina Jacobowitz
Montclair State University

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Teachers Teaching Teachers

podcasting slidePaul Allison and the group over at Teachers Teaching Teachers has a weekly podcast on Wednesday nights that they record dealing with all types of issues we face in the classroom. This past week dealt with international virtual projects and middle school students. Clarence Fisher was a featured guest on this webcast. I could go on and on about all of the details, but instead I will just send you over there for a listen. I did pipe up a few times with questions and comments, so there is a shout out to TXBWP in the  blog posting. Yeah for us! Enjoy! And consider joining them each week. There is a lot of talent in that group that we can learn from. If I had high speed at the house, I would be there each week.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

YAC 2007 Final Podcast

We had such a GREAT time!

Please listen in:


YAC Day 5

Here's Nada's final report for the week...but I think we'll be hearing much more from her!


YAC Day 4

Nada has done it again. Listen up:


YAC Day 3

Isn't Nada doing a BEAUTIFUL job?


YAC Day 2

Here's Nada's report for Day 2YAC2007%232.mp3

Young Authors' Camp PPTs

We have been having a blast at YAC 2007. We just wanted to share with you our digital movies/ Powerpoint movies. Enjoy and Happy Viewing!

Janelle and Natalie


Thursday, June 07, 2007

YAC 2007 Podcast

Listen please:


Monday, June 04, 2007

It's Yahoo! Teacher Time in Austin!

Thanks to Wes Fryer for sharing the news that Yahoo! Teachers (similar to Google Academy) is coming to Austin July 19th. While I wish I could be there, I (along with my buddy Janelle) will be in Chico, CA, at NWP's Technology Matters Institute. If you are free this summer around the 19th of July, make every effort to attend Yahoo! Teachers in Austin. You will not regret it. Yahoo! is making a big push to help teachers learn to use free online tools in the classroom, and Google Teacher Academies are only held on the coasts.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Bluebonnet Writing Project Summer Institute Orientation

Good Morning and thank you for attending our Bluebonnet Writing Project Orientation.

Today's Schedule:
9-10 Message from Dr. Hirtle
Pass out books, Because Writing Matters
Read The Green Stone
Write a response to The Green Stone

10-? Dr. Pete Smith--Overview of Technology
Scott Massey--Technology Particulars

Message from Dr. Hirtle:

I am sorry I can not be with you today. I am with my mom and dad in Louisiana while my dad is in the hospital. Our associate director, Janelle Quintans is teaching in the Bluebonnet Young Authors Camp as you've probably seen today, and our co-associate, Joyce Jacobs is attending a professional development in FWISD. Luckily, my colleague, Beverly Boulware has graciously volunteered her time to be with you today! We each want to extend you a warm welcome and tell you how happy you are you've decided to become part of our Bluebonnet Writing Project. We are like an extended community--a family of writers and this experience will hopefully be a positive one that will support you in your teaching and writing endeavors for many years to come. In this Summer Institute you will make many friends who will continue to support you long after the institute is over.

You are receiving a copy of the National Writing Project's publication, Because Writing Matters, and we would like you to read it before the Summer Institute which begins July 9. It is an easy and interesting read and we'd like you to take a few minutes to record your thoughts and reactions to this text as you read. We have a Bluebonnet Writing Project blog on which we'd like you to post your comments about the text. The blog can be found at on our in our virtual Bluebonnet Village at http://www.txbluebonnetwp.org and specifically on http://www.txbluebonnetwp.org/bluebonnet/Blog/Blog.html Please be aware that we are loaning you Because Writing Matters and you will receive your texts for the course after the Summer Institute begins.

Dr Pete Smith, Assistant Academic Vice President at UTA and Director of the Center for Distance Education at UTA, and advisor to the Bluebonnet Writing Project will be visiting you at 10:00 overviewing some of our philosophy, goals and plans for utilizing technology in our Summer Instiute. Pete is one of most incredible supporters and he, brings us, among other things, Tuesdays with Technology--an important feature of the SI.

Scott Massey, the Director of Training for the Center for Distance Education at UTA, will be here at 10:00 AM (als0) to help you get a blog set up to record your thoughts, opinions, actions, reactions and other things you'd like to share now that you are a Bluebonnet. Integrating technology in a natural and functional way is part of the BWP philosopy and we hope that you enjoy what you will experience with teaching and learning with technology this summer.

Scott Floyd is our off site Technology Liaison and we hope that he will be able to visit us in person for some experiences as well as meet with us via Skype in a live video teaching experience.

Our summer experience will include daily reading, writing, responding, teaching and discussions. You will create a:

Teaching Demonstration
Critical Incident
Story of Choice (Could be critical incident in another genre)
Inquiry Question (with why this question is important to you and to teaching and learning)
Review of the LIterature (supporting your inquiry question)
Proposed Methodology
Digital Story

Do not worry about doing this work in advance or in a hurry. The purpose of this institute is to take you through five weeks of immersion in writing, inquiry, reading, teaching, and discussing. You have time to do this work here with some reading at home. These five weeks are for you to explore in a supportive and positive learning community. Take your time and enoy the process.

Now to help you begin your thinking I would like you to listen to a story that my colleague Beverly will read to you. It is The Green Stone by Alice Walker. After she reads the story we will ask you to write a response to it.

Read the The Green Stone by Alice Walker

What does the Green Stone represent in this story?

If you had to define a Green Stone in your teaching, how would you define it?

Is there a time you felt you really had (metaphorically) "the green stone" and you did some of your best teaching? If so, can share in story format, a critical incident in your teaching where you felt you did inspired work and were successful--where you made a difference in a student's life? Describe the student. Describe the problem. Describe what you tried. Describe the outcome.

Is there a time you felt you really had (metaphorically) "the green stone" and you were challenge in your teaching? If so, can share in story format, a critical incident in your teaching where you felt you stumbled--where you could not reach someone you really wanted to reach. Describe the student. Describe the problem. Describe what you tried. Describe the outcome.

Pairs Sharing:

Share what you have written outloud to one other person.
Listener: Please record the "heart" of what you heard on a post it note. Read what you wrote to the person who shared the story. Then give them the post it note.

Reverse the procedure now. The listener becomes the sharer and the sharer become the listener and responder.

Group Debriefing:

Beverly: Would anyone like to share their story?
What did you learn from the feedback your listener gave you?
Is there anything you learned that you would like to do further research on to help you in your teaching?

Please save this rough draft and begin to work on it going into more detail with the telling of your story. Make sure the critical incident is written with a problem, characters, setting and solution. Bring the critical incident back to the first day of the summer institute.

Also bring a digital picture of yourself to the summer institute.

We will see you on the blog and see you July 9 at 9:00 AM in Library 512!