Nora – Week 12

I found an interesting article on twitter called Celebrating National Poetry Month with Technology by Mary Beth Hertz. As April is National Poetry Month, the article offers suggestions on how to incorporate poetry into the classroom.  I chose this article because it recommends incorporating poetry with technology and I thought that this connected to what we have been studying all semester. Hertz suggests a few different websites that will engage students, like Listening Booth that allows students to listen to poems, many of which are read by the actual poet. Other great resources that Hertz suggested are Scholastic’s Online Poetry Publisher that allows students to publish their poems online and Scholastic’s Poetry Idea Engine which is an interactive site that shows a variety of poetry styles. And teachers with smart phones should check out Poem Flow, which is an app for bringing poetry into the classroom. Like Hertz, poetry is one of my favorite forms of writing. This is another reason why I chose this article. I want to promote poetry in the classroom. One: because many students connect to poetry and two: I am afraid it is a dying art. As my district is participating in curriculum mapping, I am familiar with the Common Core State Standards, which overlook the power of poetry especially among high school students. As the Common Core focuses on informational text and analytical writing, poetry has taken a back seat in my district, which is why I think it is extra important that, this month, we celebrate poetry.

Nora – Week 10

I found an interesting article on twitter called “Cellphones are a Distraction” by Tom Whitby.

The article is about the contentious cellphone policies that schools are facing today. Whitby talks about distractions: the PA system blaring announcements, the fire drill, the blood drive, the field trip, etc. His argument: teachers and students learn to deal with distractions everyday. Why would it be so bad for students to use their cellphones in class? Smartphones are essentially mini computers and can enhance the students learning. There are innumerable apps on smartphones that can be valuable to students’ understanding. Whitby says that this cellphone debate is about control and educators/administrators need to catch up with technology, recognize the benefit, and teach students how to effectively use it.

I agree with Whitby as I feel that smartphones could be useful, however, the problem is not everyone has a smartphone. Smartphones are expensive and by allowing them in school as a tool, many of our low-socio-econmic-status students would be left behind.

In addition, it would be difficult to quiz twenty students who have the answers in their pockets. I have many students who can text without looking and a few who has mastered texting inconspicuously within a pocket or even a boot.

Nora – week 8

The article I chose to write about this week is titled: Should You Have to Volunteer In Order to Graduate? This is from Bright Hub Education, was written by Julia Bodeeb, and updated on 2/27/12. Here is a copy of the link.

This article discusses that students might be required to give back to their communities in order to graduate. The article talks about how President Obama is a promoter of public service and has spent  most of his life in public service. The article presents both sides to the controversy: will this benefit our students or will this be stressful and deleterious to our already busy teenagers. Bodeeb illustrates some advantages and disadvantages to both sides of the argument. However, her paragraph about how Teenagers Can Change The World shows which side of the argument she supports. Bodeeb lists some service ideas and lists famous quotes from John F. Kennedy, and Albert Einstein that both encourage and motivate public service.

I chose this article because I wanted to see other opinions on this issue. Should high schools require public service? I think back to when I was in high school, I was a painfully shy teenager who hated working with strangers, and although I would have hated this requirement, it would have been good for me. I think of my students, many of whom work and would not have a lot of time to donate, but then I think of my district’s community service day (we go around town in the spring and rake lawns for the elderly or disabled) and try to estimate how many students skip this day of school. If it were a graduation requirement, more students would come to school to help. As teachers, we need to teach more students understand the benefit of helping others. I personally believe that if everyone was a little bit more compassionate and understanding, the world would be a better place and I think if more students were required to shut off their x-boxes and help others, they would become better citizens.

Nora – Week 6

From Text Messages to Essays  Posted on February 21, 2012 by thereadingzone

This article begins with a relatable story: the author is out to dinner with her husband and they are captivated by a group of high school girls who are obsessed with their cell phones. The author describes how one of the girls was fighting with a boy via text messaging and how all of the girls would analyze, discuss, and infer his response, before carefully creating an acceptable response with the appropriate punctuation that expressed the tone they wanted. They were considering and writing for their audience (the boy). This is what we want our students to be doing when they are writing! The author poses the idea, that perhaps, writing for a teacher is not enough and suggests providing students with the opportunities to write for a real audience. The rest of the article describes her publishing space on I have not heard of this website until now but, after a quick glance, it looks like a nice  and user friendly blog. A bit more adult looking than kidblog, so perhaps I might consider switching later (as I teach high school students).

I chose this article because I have seen my students do similar things when texting and I am curious as to why it seem like less thought goes into their writing or why they don’t have their peers look over their writing for my class. Peer revising/editing is vital to the writing process and the success of a piece. Students seem to want their peers opinions on the word choice of a text, so why not an essay for my class? Well, perhaps, it is because I am not enough audience. As the author suggests, I think it is time I find them a real audience.

It could also be the difference of caring. How do I get my students to care about academic writing?

Nora Week 4

“Abolishing Homework: Practical Thoughts” Source:

Last week someone posted an article about the amount of homework teachers assign and when I saw this article come up on twitter, I thought it could continue the discussion. Last week, the resource that was posted mentioned that homework needed to be consistent among teachers. This is where issues begin as the article I am posting today discusses eliminating homework completely, and if more and more teachers decided to do this, the homework issue would grow more controversial and inconsistent. The article does not mention the grade level, but as a high school teacher I feel that this would never work. I assign about fifteen to twenty pages of reading a night and this is not an unrealistic assignment for college prep juniors. My students are to come to class with knowledge of the reading and their own seminar notes, so they can contribute to the class discussion. Homework is a chance to practice the skills taught in class, it would be like abolishing cross-country practice: any runner knows that practice is vital for success in a race. One cannot win a race without training, so how can our students be successful on assessments if they skip the individual practice?