A Reflection on Blogging

When I first started this blog, I’ll be honest- I was pretty overwhelmed. Sometimes I have a hard time trying new things, especially when it comes to technology. I can get pretty flustered and frustrated. Just to give you an example- I didn’t even learn how to use predictive texting until I was a junior in college. For someone my age, that’s pretty unheard of.

My first experience creating this blog was a little frustrating. For some reason, technology and I don’t get along all that well. And in general, I’m not one who really posts comments about anything on the internet. So for me, blogging was a little bit like entering a new world that I wasn’t sure I’d be comfortable in. After I created my first post, I saw that blogging is not that bad- in fact, it was kind of fun to share my thoughts! So all-in-all, I’m proud of myself for just entering the blogging community and pushing my boundaries.

What I like most about creating a blog is becoming a member of a community that shares information.Blogging also allows me to gather my thoughts, as well as get feedback from others. When I created posts about our book club and commented on my classmates’ blogs, I felt like I was really able to reflect more on my reading experiences. It was also great to be able to read my classmates’ blogs and see what their book club experiences had been like. Each of us shared information about our experiences and our own thoughts, and this was a really wonderful resource.

In the future, I definitely plan on using a blog for my classroom. I plan on creating a teacher blog that will be a resource for my students, and possibly other teachers. I’ve already had some thoughts on this blog; I can use it to get feedback from my students, and provide them with links to other websites that can enhance their learning. I can also include video clips, music, etc. on my blog so that students have more exposure to other literacies. I can also use my blog to connect with other teachers and share what we’re learning about in my classroom. I’m sure more ideas will keep coming as I begin my career as a teacher. And if you think of any more, let me know 🙂

I’m still a novice in this world of new media, but I feel like I’m learning more every day. And every day, I grow more comfortable using new media. I’m really thankful for all the sharing that went on in class and through our blogs. I feel connected to a community that fosters collaboration and sharing resources. I feel like my “carpet bag” (ala Mary Poppins) is much fuller than it used to be!

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Resources for New/Prospective Teachers

Before applying to graduate school for my Masters in Education, I did some research into the teaching career. In doing so, I came across two websites that provide useful information for new and prospective teachers:

1. http://certificationmap.com/

Certification Map is a site that lists the basics of teaching, such each state’s average teacher salary, vacation time, years until tenure, certification requirements, and required tests. It’s a useful site when considering where you’d like to teach.

2. http://www.soyouwanttoteach.com

So You Want To Teach? Is a blog mainly for new teachers, but can also be useful for experienced teachers. It has an entire section on classroom management and handling behavioral issues, which can definitely be an issue for new teachers. It also has interesting posts like “10 Things A First Year Teacher Should Do,” “7 Years Later: 7 Things I Would Do Before My First Year As A Teacher If I Knew Then What I Know Now,” and “5 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers.” It’s a great resource if you are seeking advice from those who have been in the teaching business for a while.

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The most extensive adolescent book list ever!

One of my classes this quarter is Young Adult Literature. As the name implies, we read a lot of literature that appeal to and are commonly read by adolescents. Obviously my professor is doing a great job because I recently found myself on the hunt for more of this literature. In doing so I came across a website called Good Reads that has an extensive list of books these books- and by extensive I mean 2,305! These books are ranked by readers, so the books that received the highest number of votes are listed first. There is a short description of each book along with a picture of the cover in case that’s how you pick your books.  So if you ever find yourself looking for more adolescent literature, I recommend this site!

http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/43.Best_Young_Adult_Books

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What is Literacy?

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “literacy?” For most people, it means being able to read and write. Merriam Webster’s main definition is “educated: cultured.” Now, that seems a little snooty and kind of narrow to me- and seriously outdated. It opens up a whole can of worms that I don’t have time to get into in this post, like “what does it mean to be cultured?” However, look at the third definition, and it says “having knowledge or competence.” That sounds more like it to me. As teachers, what does literacy mean to us and are students?

In today’s world, “literacy” includes more than just being “cultured” and “educated”; it encompasses a whole realm of possessing knowledge. One often hears the phrase “computer-literate,” but I think we can add many more hyphenated words here. How about “Facebook-literate,” “Twitter-literate” or “text message-literate?” I know I have definitely struggled with being literate in these mediums, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one out there.

What this all comes down to is the importance of creating a classroom that is literate in more than just reading books and writing essays. Now, I’m not underestimating the importance of reading and writing at all- but given our ability to access so many resources these days, it is so important to bring multiple resources and sources of literacy into the classroom to create a well-rounded learning environment. To build and expand literacy, teachers need to bring a myriad of resources like videos or YouTube clips, to get kids thinking and expanding their knowledge.

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