Notable notes is my attempt to curate my social media feeds and recognize some of the most notable ideas and resources to flow across my consciousness this week.
The first resource I want to share came from one of my favorite resources, the National Writing Project Digital Is, and was created by Danielle Filipiak. In “Textual Power on Our Own Terms: Remixing Literacy in Out-of-School Spaces,” Filipiak argues that we must give writers more textual power to create texts on their terms and for their own purposes. This idea resonates deeply with me as well as may other NWP teachers.
Another interesting article about writing comes from SmartBlogs and was written by Jim Cunningham. “The importance of deepening and widening the way we teach writing” stresses the importance of writing across content areas, throughout the day, and at every level. While I am not a big fan of canned writing programs in general and do not endorse the products he is marketing (as I have not reviewed them), I do whole-heartedly approve the sentiment of his piece. If teachers and administrators really want to know how to best integrate writing into classrooms then they should contact the proven reputable National Writing Project site in their region.
Carol Holstead wrote an interesting piece for The Chronicle of Higher Education about the benefits of taking notes by hand which I and many of my friends found noteworthy. In “The Benefits of No-Tech Note Taking,” Holstead discussed the relationship between understanding, memory, and writing by hand. While I encourage the use of technology in my classes (BYOD!), I am also teaching writing classes rather than content classes so the needs of my students are different. However, I regularly tout the brain-hand connection and believe it.
I also wanted to share two inspiring pieces about teaching. Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach wrote “Leaving a legacy: connecting to your inner superhero” and Liz Prather posted “Two Reasons to Teach Like Everyone’s Listening.” Both pieces speak about the importance both our day-to-day classroom actions as well as our lasting gifts to our students. I think it important for teachers to record and save those moments when the angels sing in your classroom. Teaching is tough at the best of times and these times are far from ideal, but saving those comments and notes about your legacy can help carry you through the challenges and inspire you to reach once more for the stars.
I will conclude this post with an important final reflection concerning technology: pedagogy before tool. As I wrote in “Technology: Silver Bullet or Amazing Race?” technology will not save education and it will not level the playing field. I love technology and believe it has the potential to tremendously impact education, but every decision to use technology must first begin by considering the lesson(s) and the students. Will the tech enhance or distract the learning? Do all students have (fairly) equal access and comfort with the tech as well as support to level that access and comfort?