Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stopping and Taking Stock

My wonderful English colleagues in the Upper School, Susan Carter Morgan and Jennifer Clark Evans, and I created a portfolio to submit for the NCTE Media Literacy Award. We worked on it both F2F and collaboratively online, and this wiki is our proud product. I do not know if we will win (and really even what winning this award means ...), but we all decided as we were working that just to have created this portfolio was worth it. It is empowering to stop for a minute and see what great things you and your colleagues have done. There is always more to do, indeed. But for today, pause and pat yourself on the back for what you have accomplished. It is worth it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer ...

I am in my third week of summer, and here is my first visit to my blog. This is probably a good thing overall, although not so good for my blog's currency. I blogged quite a bit last summer -- in fact, last summer got my blog and I cemented in a good relationship with each other! This summer though has started differently. I have a deeper set of connections on Twitter (snobles) plus love spending time on the English Companion ning (many of my Twitter connections came from this ning). I am also trying to visit my school's new private ning as much as I can -- we are trying to get it off the ground. My online life has spread in new ways, competing with this blog.

This article on the possible demise of blogging got me back here. I started this blog for me. I was a journal writer growing up but had not written in my journal for too many years. My blog has become my teacher's journal. The fact that others can read it, maybe learn from it, and definitely teach me things in their comments is an added bonus. But I can see that if I had started this blog with the hope of being famous in the blogsphere, I would not still be here. The blogosphere is too diffuse for that. I would also not still be here if I did not have readers who write back to me -- the idea that someone might just be waiting for a new post reminds me to write. I am curious to see where the world of blogs is heading, and I am glad I have this one. I am a better teacher by reflecting, and this blog is my tangible reminder to do that.

So, what have my early weeks of summer entailed?
  • READING -- I am plowing through books like I have not in a long time. Both personal choices and professional ones are grabbing me, and I find myself already worrying if there will be enough time this summer to read everything I want to read! I am trying to keep my LibraryThing library up to date.
  • Getting better versed with Diigo as both a social bookmarking site and a powerful annotating tool. Steve Shann is one person who inspires me to keep blogging, and per his request, I will be sure to write about what I do with Diigo and my 9th graders next year.
  • Working in my yard. One VERY rainy spring later, and our blackberry vines are full, my first tomato literally fell off its vine ready to eat, and we found even more places to plant flowers.
  • Being with my kids and my husband. This is the first summer in many that my husband is not away for a month directing the Virginia Governor's Latin Academy, and the rest of us family couldn't be happier. We swim, walk, bike, garden, read, laugh ...
I read about a saying Suzy Welch lives by -- 10-10-10. She says she makes decisions by thinking about what will matter most in 10 minutes, in 10 months, and in 10 years. I can't think of a better way to regain perspective on life and what matters most. I am off to pack a picnic right now to meet my kids and husband at a local park for an outdoor lunch concert. I think I know this will matter!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Maybe I am one of the last to discover this neat site, but I am now pondering all of the possibilities. Issuu lets you upload documents to be published online in a great visual magazine format. You then can create different libraries and share the publications -- I am envisioning a class library with all of the online documents we read. Here is an example: