Friday, December 26, 2014

Multigenre Paper + Creativity

In October, I wrote a post that I titled “The Genre of Multigenre.” When I wrote this piece, I had not yet written my multigenre paper, my professor had only introduced it to us as one of our final papers/projects.

Now, however, that I’ve written my own, I wanted to share a little bit of what I wrote.

I titled my entire paper “Finding an Artistic Voice in a School against the Creative” and I focused on how oftentimes, creativity is removed from schools in favor of more tangible instruction.

To create my paper, I tapped into twelve different genres, a few of the ones I used, are an extended narrative, I wrote about a dream, dialogue with a student during my field experience, notes from my field experience, I made up tweets from my academic allies, I wrote an exaggerated/satirical newspaper article, I even wrote a haiku about creativity, among other genres. However, my personal favorite was the recipe I wrote for creativity.

Screenshot I took of the recipe I wrote for creativity.
Before I began writing my paper, I was worried I wouldn’t have enough variety in my genres. But as I started writing, I couldn’t stop the ideas from flowing, and I even had to create a list of the genres I was thinking of. That’s when I realized what drives my creativity, and it made me think about how I could get my future students to tap into their creativity.

Furthermore, as I wrote my paper, it made me think about how I would incorporate it into my future classroom.

First off, I would definitely allow my students to pick their topic so that it could be about something that interests them and it would make it relevant to their lives.

I also thought about the idea of having multiple students work on one paper. This would require a group of students to have the same topic, but then each would write about this topic in different genres so that it could be compiled at the end.

All in all, I really enjoyed writing my multigenre piece, and it is a paper/project that I definitely see myself using in my future classroom. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

My Future Classroom

Lately, I’ve found myself thinking about what my future classroom will look like, but not in the aesthetic sense, more in the big idea sense. What I mean by this is how I will run my classroom and what sort of projects, assignments, and books my students will complete.

While a lot of the above, in terms of projects, assignments, and books can be decided for me based on the school/district I teach in, I still have a say in how my classroom will be run and how I will teach my future students.

Through my field experience and my classes this semester, I was really able to get a fuller sense of what type of teacher I want to be, and I learned about how I plan to teach.

Some of the books that I hope to one day include in my
classroom library.
In one of the assignments I had to complete for my EDT 427 class, I had to write about a nonnegotiable in my future English classroom. This made me think about what I can’t imagine my classroom lacking, and I came up with more than one idea.

First and foremost, I cannot imagine a classroom that lacks creativity. If I assign my students projects that do not lend themselves to some form of creativity, then I am doing my students a disservice. Creative elements keep learning interesting and I think that creativity helps build other skills too, as it lends itself to thinking outside the box.

Additionally, I cannot imagine my future classroom without books. If I do not have at least one bookshelf for my students to borrow books from, then I have failed my students. I cannot expect my students to be writers if they are not readers as well, as reading and writing work together.

While I know that not all of my future students will enjoy reading and writing, it is my hope to at least help them gain an appreciation for both.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Shaking Off the Stress of this Semester

Before starting this semester, I was warned that junior year is always the hardest, but until I was in midst of my semester, I didn’t believe it.  

In addition to my field block, which consisted of four classes in direct relation to my major, I also had to complete 75 hours of field experience in a high school. This meant waking up at 4:45AM every day for two sets of two weeks. During this time, I didn’t have to go to my field block classes, but I still had to go to my two classes outside of field.

I think my favorite part of this semester, was getting to know my cohort and having that network of people to rely on. I can’t express how grateful I am to be surrounded by such incredible people, and I’m looking forward to watching where life takes each of us.

My biggest takeaways from the semester have a lot to do with beating stress and time management, because despite how much work and how stressful my semester was, I still had to make time for fun -- no matter how difficult juggling my schedule was.

This finals week was especially stressful, as I had a combination of 5 papers and projects due over the course of the week, most of which I could not start until the Friday before. I found myself a constant inhabitant of the library, and at one point, I realized I spent more time working in the library than I had actually sleeping.

But, that being said, even living in the library for a week allows room for fun, especially when it comes to “shaking off” the stress of finals. Have a great winter break!

(The video above is a video of myself, a friend, and two girls we met in the library, dancing to Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off" during a study break at 1:30AM on Wednesday night/Thursday morning).

Friday, December 5, 2014

‘Twas the Night Before Finals Week

Photo taken of most of my cohort.
‘Twas the night before finals, when all through the campus,
not a student was sleeping, the teachers have slammed us.
The textbooks were open by their laptops with care,
in hopes that their professor’s all would be fair.

The students were sleepy, awake at their desks,
while visions of words seemed grandly picturesque.
And comrades with their laptops, and music with Kid Cudi,
had settled our brains for a long night of study.

Outside the library there grew a loud racket,
I sprang from my chair and threw on my blue jacket.
Away to the doors I ran at full blast,
flung open the gates, and was outside at last.

The moon glistened and shone on the ice coated trees
gave light to the buildings which surrounded the freeze,
when before my eyes there appeared such a sight,
a sleigh and eight reindeer flew above like a kite.

With a good cup of coffee, so bitter and warm,
I knew in an instant it would hit me like a storm.
Faster than a cheetah, the caffeine was strong,
soon it was clear that I would be up all night long

“Now English! Now dancing!
Now, papers and prancing!
On due dates! On Monday!
On Tuesday and Thursday!
To the light of the day!
To the light of the night!
Now read away! Read away!
Read away all!”

Good luck on finals!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Tis the Season to be Thankful

As a college student, I have a lot to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for my family, who has always offered me their love and support, no matter how difficult I may have been.

I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to go to college and pursue a degree in something that I am passionate about. And by attending college, I’ve been able to meet so many incredible people, many of whom have become friends.

I’m thankful for such a wide network of friends who have become my family away from home.

I’m thankful for professors who push me to be better than I can be, and who push me to think outside of the box and look at the world from a new perspective, no matter how challenging I may find their classes

I’m thankful for all the incredible opportunities I’ve been presented with, and that I’ve been able to participate in many of them, as a lot of these experiences have forced me to grow.

I’m thankful for my job, and the incredible people I work for, as without them, I wouldn’t be keeping a blog, nor would I be able to utilize my creative skills as much as I have been able to. In addition, I wouldn’t have learned so much about the digital world, which is knowledge I can apply to my classes, and other real-world situations.

I’m thankful that I have a roof over my head and that I live a comfortable life, surrounded by people who love and care about me.

While I could continue this list, and expand on everything I already listed, I challenge you to think about what you have to be thankful for in this season of thankfulness. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Clearly Creative

Last Friday, I finished my high school field experience. During my last week, my coordinating teacher allowed me to work more with the students than I had been able to in my earlier weeks at the school.

My coordinating teacher taught an acting class that I had not done any work with during my first three weeks of field, but in my last week, my coordinating teacher had me help students write scripts for a production they were making.

Photo my coordinating teacher
took of me while I was talking
to students about their projects.
As part of their final, students had to write parodies of popular holiday movies/songs/activities, and when they’re done, students will put them all together to create a show that they will put on for other classes.

While they were working, I would walk around from group to group and help students further their own ideas, as well as offer suggestions if they were stuck. I was consistently impressed with how creative the students were, and how they were drawing on a variety of sources to come up with their ideas.

One group decided to turn popular holiday characters into pop artists, while another group decided that they wouldn’t use spoken words and would instead rely on movements and music. This group even used a computer program to create a mesh of songs to create their music, and there were specific movements that went with specific beats/melodies.

Other groups were taking popular holiday songs and changed the lyrics to fit their plot line. A group that was parodying The Grinch took the song “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch,” used it as a starting point, and then changed the lyrics and turned it into a rap. Another group took the song “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and changed the lyrics so it became a duet for a couple that was arguing.

I was blown away by the creative ideas that students were coming up with. Some groups would call me over and ask for help because they couldn’t think of a funny way to accomplish the parody they were after. In instances where this happened, I would read what they had, offer a suggestion, and from there, students would take that suggestion and come up with new ideas based on it. In other cases, students would come up with new ideas based on what my suggestion made them think about.

Over the course of my last week, I really was able to watch students go from having nothing written, to having 4 minute scripts written, and ready to act out. So while the old adage “My students taught me more than I could have taught them” is rather cliché, I can’t express how true I found this statement to be during my field experience.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dining with Winston Churchill’s Granddaughter

On Monday night, I had the opportunity to hear Celia Sandys, Winston Churchill’s granddaughter, speak. After her speech, I had the opportunity to eat dinner with her, as well as other students, some faculty members, and a few representatives from The Churchill Centre.

Photo that was taken at dinner.
Sandys has written five books about Churchill, and has been recognized as a speaker and TV presenter on Churchill’s life.

While she was on campus, she gave four talks, each of which was on a different topic. The session I attended was titled “Memories of my Grandfather,” and centered on Sandys stories about growing up with “The British Bulldog” as a grandfather.

Her presentation offered a new perspective on such an influential leader, and I learned a great deal about who Churchill was aside from his public role.

Sandys reminisced about her childhood, and told accounts of Christmas’ at Chequers Court, the country residence of the Prime Minister.

As she spoke, Sandys fondly called upon painting holidays in the South of France with her grandpapa, who was a talented artist. She reminisced about the different holidays they took, and how interesting it was for her to have the opportunity to travel during her teen years.

Sandys told accounts of Churchill’s famous siren suit (very similar to a jumpsuit/onesie), which he wore instead of suits, so he could be more comfortable, and it was much easier to put on in a rush.

During the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, Sandys recalls standing on a balcony, waving to Churchill as he drove by in the procession.

Her stories humanized “The British Bulldog,” as she told accounts of his witty nature, always ready with some sort of smart remark or comeback.

At dinner, Sandys asked us several questions about our lives as college students in the United States, and she offered insights into life in the United Kingdom.

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to meet Sandys and learn so much about Churchill. Having this opportunity was just another reminder of why I chose to come to Miami.

“We are all worms, but I do believe that I am the glow worm.” – Winston Churchill

Friday, November 7, 2014

Under Pressure

I attend my field placement with three other Miami students, and we carpool to the school from campus. On Wednesday, as we were driving back, “Under Pressure” by Queen came on the radio, and I couldn’t help but realize how fitting that was. It was quintessential, if you will.

About 15 minutes before I left my field placement, my coordinating teacher asked me to teach on Thursday, and despite my utter lack of preparation, I was not about to decline the opportunity to teach.

My coordinating teacher was going to be out of the building at meetings all day, so there would be a substitute teacher in the room, and my coordinating teacher wanted me to be in charge.

Picture I took of The Catcher in the Rye, the book that is
currently being taught during my field placement.
So, before I left, we discussed what the students should gain from the activity I was to create, and I left the building with a “To-Do” list about two notebook pages long, between everything else I had to get done, in addition to everything I had to do so I could teach the next day.

Needless to say, I was stressed. But when “Under Pressure” came on in the car, I couldn’t help but notice that it fit my situation perfectly.
I was stressing to the point where I wasn’t even sure where to begin, and I knew that I just had to dive into my “To-Do” list so I could feel prepared and less stressed.

I had to create a guided reading activity for two chapters out of The Catcher in the Rye, which is a book that sadly I never read in high school, but I’m now having the opportunity to.

While it took me some time, I was able to create a worksheet with ten guided reading questions, and when I came into the building yesterday morning, my coordinating teacher was in the classroom, and wanted to make sure I was all set to teach before leaving the building.

I was happy to see that my coordinating teacher was really impressed with the guided reading questions I came up with. Before leaving, my coordinating teacher asked me to come up with more questions like it for two chapters the students will be reading next week.

As for the teaching portion, that was a success as well. In addition to the guided reading questions, I had to administer a quiz and make sure there were no wandering eyes. While the substitute teacher was in the room the whole time, he sat back and let me teach, without interruption.

Lesson learned: I thrive under pressure. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Genre of Multigenre

As the semester starts to wind down (it’s more than halfway through!), my professors are starting to introduce final projects, and projects that I need to complete during my second field experience, which is starting on Monday.

One assignment that I’m particularly looking forward to is an assignment for my EDT 427 class. For this class, I have to write a multigenre paper.

Now, when I first heard about this project at the beginning of the semester, I recall being extraordinarily confused. I’d never heard of a multigenre paper before, but as the semester has gone on, I’ve learned more about it, and I’m really looking forward to writing mine.

The basic premise behind a multigenre paper is to write about a specific idea by utilizing different genres. For example, I could write a piece of dialogue about said topic, and then I could write a poem about the same topic.

What makes a multigenre paper different is how the different genres approach the same topic. When writing in different genres, there’s automatically a shift that occurs, whether it’s in perspective or tone, or any number of things. When these pieces are compiled, it creates a really neat lens to look at a certain topic with.

A picture of some of the different genre
suggestions for my multigenre paper.
Earlier in the semester, I attended a conference at which there was a session on the multigenre paper. During this session, the speaker put up a picture from Cinderella and handed out a different genre to each person. We each had to write about the scene in our specific genre.

The genre I received was lab notes, which is a genre I never would have thought to write in. But putting on this lab notes lens and looking at the picture from a scientific point of view, caused me to analyze Cinderella from a completely new perspective.

After everyone wrote in their specific writing style, some of the audience members shared their writing, and it was, in effect, an example of a multigenre piece written by several different people. This is what really made me interested in writing my multigenre paper.

During my field experiences, I have to pinpoint something I’ve observed and write a multigenre paper on it. When my professor was introducing the topic earlier this week, I couldn’t help but start to think of all the different writing styles I intend to try out for my paper.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Hidden Gem: The McGuffey Museum

I’ve walked by the McGuffey Museum countless times since coming to Miami. However, yesterday was the first time in my three years here that I entered the building.

A few friends and I were walking on Spring Street yesterday when we decided to make an impromptu visit to the museum. None of us had been there before, but we had always been curious.

To give a little background, William Holmes McGuffey is most known for his creation of McGuffey Readers. These Readers were often used like textbooks in classrooms, and were especially popular in the in the 19th century, and also in the early part of the 20th century.

In 1826, McGuffey was hired as a professor at Miami, and he stayed for 10 years. It was during his time here that he wrote the McGuffey Readers.

Photo I took of the Historical Marker outside of the
McGuffey Museum.
The McGuffey Museum is home to artifacts relating to the life of McGuffey, as well as the history of Miami. On our tour yesterday, my friends and I learned so much more than we thought we would about our school.

The museum has several different maps and pictures of what Oxford and campus once looked like, and it was interesting to see if we could guess where certain buildings are now located. It’s incredible how much campus and Oxford have changed over time.

While we were there, we also learned about the evolution of the McGuffey statue that is located in the courtyard area by McGuffey. Before settling on the design of the statue we see today, there were several different plans that had been drawn. In the museum, there’s a picture frame showcasing each of the designs, which was interesting to look at.

Before becoming home to what is now the College of Education, Health & Society, McGuffey Hall housed the McGuffey Elementary Laboratory School, which was both an elementary school and a high school.

The tour guide we had was an incredible resource, and my friends and I were very impressed with his knowledge on Miami and McGuffey. Despite spending an hour in the museum yesterday, I still feel as though there are artifacts I did not get to look at and learn about as thoroughly as I would have liked.

In particular, there is currently an exhibit titled “The Remarkable Stanton’s,” and I wish I would have spent more time looking at this particular exhibit. Robert Stanton was the president of Miami from 1866-1871, and he was the brother-in-law of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Going back to the museum is definitely something I plan on doing so I can learn even more about the campus that I walk every day, because after yesterday, I’m realizing that there is still so much I do not know.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Teaching Avatars: My Experience with TeachLive

As part of my methods block, I was able to utilize a system called TeachLive. TeachLive is a type of software that Miami uses to help teacher candidates practice their classroom management skills in a risk-free environment.

The students are avatars that appear on a screen before the teacher candidate and they will respond to teacher questions, as well as ask questions of their own.
To prepare for my TeachLive experience, I had to come up with a 10-15 minute introductory lesson that would draw on the student’s prior knowledge. Additionally, I had to come up with a way to effectively open the lesson.

For my quick little lesson, I decided to do an introduction to the play A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. This play lends itself to a quick introduction lesson as it contains an epigraph (a quote, poem, or saying that appears at the beginning of a work to suggest its theme).

Photo I took of one of my peers, Alex Mains, an AYA Math
Education major, during his TeachLive lesson.
In the case of A Raisin in the Sun, the epigraph is a Langston Hughes poem titled “Harlem.” This poem centers around the idea of “a dream deferred” so I was able to use this as a starting point for drawing on prior knowledge.

Standing in front of a screen of five avatar students was definitely a unique experience that was unlike any of my other classroom experiences. Each of the students has their own personality, and within a minute of standing in front of them, it’s quite apparent how to handle each student from a teacher perspective.

I found that I was more nervous for this experience than I was for teaching during field, and I think that is because this was such a new experience.

While I was teaching my lesson, two of my peers and one of my professors were watching me on a screen in a separate room. When I finished my lesson, I was able to talk to them and receive their feedback, in addition to receiving instant feedback from the avatars.

Now that I’ve gone through this experience once, I know that I can improve if I were to do this again since I have a better idea of what to expect.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Team Work Makes the Dream Work

This semester, I’m in what is called cohort. What this means is that I am in a block of four classes that I take with other education majors.

The cohort that I am a part of is the AYA (Adolescent Young Adult) English cohort, and in some of our more general cohort classes, the AYA Math cohort joins us.

Photo of students in my cohort that was taken by Maureen
Duncan in one of our classes.
As a cohort, we spend a minimum of approximately 12 or 13 hours a week together, and that’s in classes alone. This excludes all the time we spend together outside of class working on homework, projects, attending meetings for student groups, or just socializing.

Because of how much time we spend together, it’s no wonder that I’ve gotten to know so many incredible individuals. Despite all of this, what has surprised me the most about my cohort experience is how close we’ve grown.

Even though we've only been in cohort for a relatively short time, I already feel as though we’ve formed a sort of family. We’ve all gone through our field experiences together, we’ve offered each other support, academically and emotionally, and as a result, we’ve grown really close.

I didn’t imagine that cohort would be quite like this, but I’m really happy with the experience so far. It’s nice to have a network of people who are experiencing the same things, especially in terms of teaching high school students for the first time.

Another thing that surprised me is how many people I had not yet encountered in my cohort. I’ve had classes in the past with a small portion of people frommy cohort, but until this semester, I had not met a lot of the students who I’ve now grown close with.

Having this network has provided a growing experience for all of us, and I can’t stress how fortunate I feel to have this unique safety net to fall into. I’m amazed at the dedication of the individuals in my cohort, and I have no doubt that as we all move forward with our careers, we will all find success. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Writing is a Process

Writing has always been a sort of release for me. When all else fails, I put pen to paper, or my fingers to the keyboard, and I write. Often, nothing ever really comes of this. Typically, I’ll end up writing something, but then I’ll put it away, only to read it when I come across it at a later time.

This week, I got five free books - hopefully I'll be able to
find time to read them soon.
As I’ve been learning more about the reading and writing process this semester, I’m realizing more than ever that the two go in tandem. I can claim to be a writer, but unless I’m a true reader too, my writing won’t improve. I have to examine the craft of other writers to see how they form language and meaning so that I can improve upon my writing skills.

This is an idea that I know I held a long time ago, but since coming to college, I feel that my more creative writing has fallen to the wayside in favor of more academic writing, such as literary analysis and research papers, which typically don’t offer a whole lot of room for syntactical experimentation.

I’ve learned a great deal about these ideas in my classes this semester, but I also learned a lot by teaching students during field.

During one of the lessons I taught, I asked students to write sonnets. For purposes of the lesson, my coordinating teacher and I only wanted them to focus on the rhyme scheme, so in terms of the structure of sonnets, the meter didn’t matter.

As I walked around the room to help students, I couldn’t help but realize that I wanted to write a sonnet, too. When students were struggling to come up with something to write about, I gave them ideas, which got me thinking about what I would right about if I were in their shoes.

I gave students the option of writing three different types of sonnets: Shakespearian/English, Italian/Petrarchan, and Spenserian. While creating my lesson, I realized that one of the types was more difficult than the other two, so when I got home from field that day, I decided to try writing a Spenserian sonnet, based on rhyme scheme only, since I opted not to follow the meter of a sonnet as well.

            The crisp autumn air stung my lungs as I walked,
            days were shrinking, darkness was creeping in.
            A bittersweet feeling – longing and despair, mocked.
            Seasons leave without a touch of chagrin,
            instead, seem to vanish with a greedy grin.  
            Crunching leaves - brown, orange, red, yellow.
            Colors dropping from the sky, waiting for winter to begin,
            the cold and damp waiting to borrow
            what was once warm and sunny, waiting to grow -
            winter brings swirling winds of snow, cold and dusty.
            With all this talk of nature, I feel like Thoreau,
            thinking of Walden, the winds still spinning, it feels gusty.
            Not long ago, the summer air changed,
            just like every year, it’s all prearranged.

This is my first draft of the sonnet, as I have not changed any of the words since I first wrote it a week ago. At some point, I intend to go back and revise it, as writing is a process of give and take, and change. In the meantime, I’ll leave it be so I can come back later and take a look with fresh eyes…

Friday, September 26, 2014

My First Field Experience

It goes without saying that the dynamics of school are different from a teacher perspective, but being on the teacher side of things surprised me more than I thought it would. 

For the past two weeks, I’ve been in my first high school field experience, and I cannot believe how much I’ve learned. I was in the same classroom every day, which meant that I had the chance to get to know my coordinating teacher and some of the students.

Photo my coordinating teacher took of me while I was
teaching my lesson on sonnets.
During my experience, I had opportunities to observe my coordinating teacher, as well as teach a few classes.

Through my observations, I noticed the different ways my coordinating teacher decided to engage students, and I was able to watch how students responded. Additionally, I was able to pinpoint different ideas and concepts I’ve learned about in the lessons, and I had the chance to ask why certain things were done one way instead of another.

Furthermore, my coordinating teacher used me as a resource for the students to ask questions about college. I was surprised by how interested the students were in learning about college lectures and how to take notes when professors talk for an hour and a half straight.

However, my favorite part of field was being able to teach. With how the schedule worked out, I had the chance to teach a reading comprehension lesson to two different classes, I also got to teach a lesson on sonnets to those same two classes.

Being the teacher in a room full of high school students was a new experience for me and it made me sure that teaching is what I want to do. I was really happy with how my lessons went, and my coordinating teacher was happy with them as well. In fact, my coordinating teacher plans to use the lesson I created on sonnets next year.

One of the most valuable aspects of field was being able to talk things over with my coordinating teacher. Before I taught my lessons, we talked about what they should be over, and while this changed several times, it was really nice to be able to talk to someone who has been teaching for years and get their feedback on my ideas.

The past two weeks have been tiring, but I am so happy that I finally had the opportunity to teach in a high school English classroom. I’m looking forward to my next two week field experience in November.

So now there’s no question about it. Not only do I want to teach, but I can teach.

Friday, September 19, 2014

I Say Conference, You Say...Boring?

Last Saturday, I attended a conference at Miami’s Voice of America Learning Center in West Chester. This was a teacher conference that was put on by the Ohio Writing Project, and was titled Practical Strategies for Teaching Literacy.

Several members of my cohort attended the conference with me, in addition to a lot of English teachers from the surrounding area. While going to this conference meant waking up at 7AM on a Saturday morning, losing sleep was well worth the experience I had.

Members of my cohort and I at the conference
last Saturday.
To start off the day, I attended the Keynote Conversation with Tanny McGregor. Her talk was titled “Closer Reading, Deeper Thinking.” During her talk, she made a distinction between the phrases “closer reading” and “deeper thinking,” which is something I’d never really pondered before. She prefers to use the phrase “deeper thinking” because she thinks that a text, plus student thinking, equals real reading, which is something that I agree with.

After the Keynote Conversation, I attended a breakout session titled “Multigenre: a Festival of Voices” which was given by Angela Faulhaber. I really enjoyed this session, particularly because I know that for my EDT 427 class, I will be writing a multigenre paper later on in the semester.

To start off her session, she handed out different genres to each audience member. After we each received our genre, we had to write for approximately five minutes about a specific scene from Cinderella that she put on the board.

The genre I received was “lab notes,” which was a really interesting angle to look at Cinderella with. After the five minutes was up, several audience members read what they had written aloud, and it was really neat to hear the different takes on the same scene. This is what makes a multigenre project so cool, the fact that each component is looking at the same overarching idea, but they each approach it from a different lens.

The last breakout session I attended was given by Mary Gibson, and was called “Harry Wong Got It Wrong!” I was particularly interested in this session since in my EDT 421 class, we are reading Harry Wong’s book, The First Days of School. While the title of her session confused me slightly, as I was not fully able to see the relation with her discussion, she was an extraordinarily enthusiastic speaker which captivated my interest.

As her audience, she had us practice a few of the techniques she was talking about. One of the activities she talked about was a writing activity. During the session, we watched a YouTube video, and then wrote about what it means to have “pure joy,” which is something that was prominent in the video.

I had a very educational and informative experience at this conference, and it was definitely worth the drive. The ideas and perspectives I gained from this conference will be invaluable to me as a future teacher. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Long Time No Post

It’s a new semester, and I’m back on the blogosphere! For those of you who are new to my blog, I am a junior at Miami University where I am majoring in Integrated English and Language Arts Education, and minoring in Rhetoric/Writing.

Currently, I work for the Creative Team in the College of Education, Health, and Society as a Student Reporter. This is my second year with the team, and I couldn’t be happier!

In addition to writing this blog, I also interview students for the “Student to Student” video series on the EHS YouTube channel. I edit these videos and transcribe them before they’re published. I also take photos and post on the EHS social media sites, and, when needed, I complete other projects.

Picture I took in the spring of MacCracken Hall, one of the
most photographed landmarks on Miami's campus.
This fall I started my methods block, which means that I will be completing my field experience. I’m really looking forward to being in a high school English classroom, and I am excited to learn from the experience.My first day in the field will be this coming Monday, which is even more exciting!

As part of my field block, I’m currently taking four classes, EDT 427 (Adolescent Language Arts I), EDT 421A (Classroom Management), EDT 346A (Reading Instruction for Adolescents), and EDP 301A (Assessment and Evaluation in Educational Settings). All four of these classes directly relate to my major, and so far, I feel like I’ve learned a lot from each of them.

The more classes I take that relate to my major, the more sure I am that I made the right decision when I switched my major during my freshman year.

In addition to my field block classes, I’m taking ENG 301 (History of the English Language), and THE 111 (Intro to Ballroom Dance). While very different, I’m enjoying both of these classes as well.

I’m looking forward to continuing my blog this year, as well as the “Student to Student” video series and other projects that come up along the way! Thank you to everyone who kept up with my blog last year, and I hope you continue to do the same this year!

**If you’re interested in following my blog this year, scroll to the top of this page, and on the right side panel, you’ll see a header that reads “Follow by Email.” Type your e-mail into the box and hit “Submit." A box will pop up, and to complete registration, follow the instructions.

Also, if you’d like to see some of the interviews/videos I’ve completed for the “Student to Student” series, click here.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Halfway Through

Now that finals are over, it’s hard to believe that I’m halfway through my college career. But now, I can start to look forward to next semester, when I’ll be in my cohort and I’ll have the opportunity to be in schools.

In addition to my cohort classes, I’m also taking ENG 301 (History of the English Langauge), which is a class that I’ve been trying to take since I started college. While the topic may sound unappealing to a lot of people, I can’t wait to learn more.
Collage I made of photos from my sophomore year.

As I look back on this semester, I realize that as much work as it was, it was one of the best semesters I’ve had thus far. I enjoyed all my classes, and the fact that they all pertained to my major and minor made it that much more exciting.

Over the course of the next 4 semesters that I have here, all of my classes,will directly relate to both my major/minor, which is something I look forward to.

While this may have been my best semester so far, I also realize that it was one of the most stressful. But from all the stress, I learned that I have a better work ethic than I thought. 

Even so, I can't believe how quickly my first two years in college have gone. It's crazy that I’m already done with my sophomore year. I really don’t know where the time went, as cliché as that may sound.

The biggest thing I’ve learned about college thus far, is the importance of being open to new experiences and embracing change. Some of the best memories I’ve made come from my ability to do both of those things.

I look forward to my next two years at Miami and I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

Thank you to everyone who has kept up with my blog this year – I appreciate your support! Have a great summer!

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Common Core

On Monday of this week, I presented a project with a group at a student conference for my EDL 318 (Teacher Leadership and School Organization) class.

This conference was a chance for my group, and other groups, to present our curriculum projects in front of other students and professors. After each of the presentations, there were question and answer sessions, which were beneficial in terms of feedback.
Photo I took of the program that was used at the Conference.

For our project, my group decided to tackle a rather difficult subject. We chose to base our curriculum around the Common Core, and we aimed our program at teachers. Our curriculum was titled “The Not-So Common Core.”

The Common Core, in short, is a set of standards that outline what students should graduate from high school knowing. As of right now, 44 states have implemented these standards, so they are something that nearly all teachers need to manage. One primary goal of the Common Core is to create consistency across state lines.

For our project, we decided to take a positive standpoint on the implementation of these standards and point out all the ways that these standards can be used to the advantage of both teachers and students.

In our research, we found that there are quite a few misconceptions circulating around the Common Core, and it was our goal to turn these misconceptions upside down and expose the truth about the Common Core.

When my group was discussing this project, we realized that the positive aspects of the Common Core are often overlooked. Going along with this, we believe that teachers around the United States need to start looking at these positives.

The Common Core is not a limitation to teachers, as it is more of a guide. The standards can be adapted for use in every classroom and should be used to fit the needs of the students. By utilizing the Common Core, teachers don’t lose control over their classrooms as the standards don’t state how teachers have to teach.

Furthermore, the standards are not intended to work alone. Teachers should combine multiple standards for a lesson. In a way, the standards are the learning objectives for a lesson and these can even be shared with students.

The most important aspect to remember when thinking about the implementation of the Common Core, is that it is not a restriction of teaching. Teachers still have the ability to be creative within the confines of the standards.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Pros and Cons of List Making

I’m a fairly organized person. And by fairly, I mean extremely. I have color coding systems for all my classes and I make every effort to be as organized as possible.

My planner, for example, is just one form of the many “To-Do Lists” that I create. In addition to my planner, I have a plethora of sticky notes (currently, I have in the upwards of 15) hanging off my desk that tell me what I need to do and what is due when.

Photo I took of the pens that I use to
color code my classes.
But, for someone like me, that’s just not enough. I also have the sticky note program on my computer, and right now, I have 9 virtual sticky notes on my desktop. And believe it or not, I have other places I create lists too.

So, what’s the benefit of all these lists? After all, with all the different lists I make, it's bound to be repetitive.

One would think that at a certain point, too many lists begin to be confusing. But not for me. Lists keep me focused and organized. After I make a list, I get a sense of satisfaction when it comes time to cross something off – even if it’s as simple as, “Charge phone” (which yes, sadly, this occasionally does make it onto my lists during really busy weeks).

If I didn’t make all these lists, I’m afraid I would lose track of my work and time. If I have a constant reminder of what is due, then I feel like I’m more likely to remember that I have it. Forgetting about an assignment is a huge fear of mine, and with seven papers, six projects, two exams, and a lot of reading between now and the end of the semester, I’m afraid to know where I’d be without all of these reminders.

Taking 18 credit hours is a lot, so organizational skills are essential, and I believe that I’ve mastered the art.

However, such organization does have its drawbacks, but what system doesn’t?

Making lists takes up time, sometimes too much. The time I waste making lists, I usually make up for with an abundance of productivity later on, so it's a trade off.

Sometimes, I get off track with my lists, because I do have so many, which usually makes me take a step back and rearrange them. Which again, takes up more time.

While my list making may be a little fanatical, I’m dedicated to it, as it is a system that I’ve found to be worth my time. So off I go to make yet another list…