Teaching Gallery

(We all know that “teaching” is the wrong word.) Here are some of the projects I’ve done in the last couple of years of trying to “kick addictions to 20th century teaching.” Check back often for additions – and also check out the “Cut the Crap (from Student Movies)” page for Digital Storytelling tutorials.

Students 2.0 Global Student Edublog

After months of complaining to the “big boys” that they should make it happen, Is2oh header realized (after teaching myself how to self-host a WordPress blog) I should become a big boy myself, and not rely on others. A few emails to student bloggers, a month of planning with them on a wiki and several Skype calls and chats, and a very spontaneous and shockingly successful promotional/marketing campaign three days before the launch, and voila – it was a done deal. I couldn’t have done this without my Twitter network, blog readers, and most importantly, the students of Students 2.0.

“My Suicidal High School Years: A Happy-Ending Bullying Story”

[Added 17 December 2007] Not quite a “lesson,” this podcast is of a true story from my own 3 years of being bullied daily in high school. It doesn’t address the bullies so much as the bullied. Its aim is to give some hope for the long-term. It’s 30 minutes long, and actually full of classroom laughs along the way. Share it with that student who might need it. See full post for more. Download the extended “High School Hell” podcast here.

A Broken World (History) and The 1001 Flat World Tales (Language Arts):

A Broken World (spring 2007) is a student created modern world history wiki-textbook, with an accompanying Broken World Blog of reflective writings about that history.

The 1001 Flat World Tales is an ongoing creative writing workshop on a globally collaborative wiki, the best stories from which are then published (with author podcast recitals as well!) by student editor-publishers on the 1001 Flat World Tales blog.

Here’s a rough iMovie explaining them all. I hope to revise it to get it right…

Student Blogging:

1. A Clustrmap is a Powerful Thing…. (2 minute presentation snippet)

2. “That’s not Homework; That’s Writing” (2 minute presentation on how blogging creates writers)

3. What is Blogging?

4. Connecting with Your Readers via Technorati – Blogging as Connective Writing

Project Global Cooling:

This one is more important to me than anything I’ve ever done in my teaching career (and life, really), because it’s an activity club, and it’s about citizenship and youth empowerment – and about trying to change our carbon-crazy habits.

It’s globally collaborative – flat world for the dying world and seeking more member schools. I’ll write about it more later, but check out the Project Global Cooling website for more. It’s off to a shaky start, frankly. But that’s no reason to quit. (And see our Ning to simply join up. It’s low maintenance, but historically high-relevance.) [Update: Project closed when I left Korea.]

King Lear Street Talk:

My current AP Literature course is all seniors, and they are not included in our 1:1 Apple Laptop launch this year, so my options are limited. We’re still trying to do something interesting by translating Shakespeare’s incredibly difficult but holy King Lear into contemporary English with a mafia twist: thus, King Lear Street Talk. Think Shakespeare meets The Sopranos. It’s on a wiki, which we’ll hopefully then record as a serial radio drama podcast, and make into a graphic novel with ToonDo. Fingers crossed [Update 22 Jan. 2008: No time to do the graphic novel or radio drama. As an exercise in decoding Elizabethan syntax and diction, though, the students gave positive feedback].

Paradise Lost (and Other) Digital Storytelling Experiments

November 2007. I made these recitals of excerpts from Milton’s epic, using illustrations from historical editions, on iMovie. I wanted to know how it feels to do a five minute digital story with care. The first one took me almost seven hours; the second one took about four. I’m not convinced that the learning justified the time spent. But that might be due to the rather “schooly” parameters of my self-assignment.

My students, on the other hand, claimed to find them helpful as learning objects.

I still love Milton, though, and am tempted to read the whole epic as mp3 files for Librivox.

[Update: Added 22 Jan. 2008:] Here’s a sketch I did to extend my own digital storytelling skills by importing films from YouTube – in this case, Charlie Chaplin – to serve as metaphors for my own idea. See full commentary on this “Escape” post.

Modeling Literary Analysis Essay Writing with Screencast-o-Matic

I think this is a powerful way to model adult writing for students: screencasting my own “mock exam” reading of a poem – while talking through my thoughts as I read it – and then composing my own essay about that poem, talking through my writer’s choices as I write the essay – all of which the students can watch and hear as it happens.

It’s as close to being inside the mind and eyes of a reading and writing adult as a student will ever get. In three parts, I read, plan, and write the essay from start to finish:

Part 1: Attacking the question, annotating the poem:

Part 2: Writing the essay (part 1)

Part 3: Writing the essay (conclusion)

Co-Teaching to Improve Learning: An ESOL-in-the-Mainstream Model with Relevance to All Classrooms

See full discussion here. This is a teacher-training video I made at Shanghai American School when I wore multiple hats – ESOL teacher-trainer and head of dept, history, and English teacher.

19 thoughts on “Teaching Gallery”

  1. Hi Clay,

    It’s been a long time since we spoke. Wanted to say I really enjoyed your very personal podcast on bullying. I recently showed my kids a thing from Teacher TV in the UK about a guy who calls himself Mr. Scary – he goes into an English middle school with his message to kids about bullying and feelings.


    Cheers and Happy New Year –


  2. Terry, good to hear from you. Glad you enjoyed (right word?) the bullying podcast. I hope to make a version with better sound quality, but it’s hard to match the storytelling quality in a canned version, instead of in front of a classroom. Hope all is well over there in Missouri :)

  3. Some days the net makes the world feel awfully big (but not nearly as big as it feels when I’m not under a roof), and some days it feels like a small town where, for better and for worse, everybody knows each other.

    Then there are moments when I feel like it’s all just a few synapses in my head talking to each other, pushing me into a solipsistic world I’ll never escape.

    I just read this and realized you’re the godfather of Students 2.0, which I found via Doug Johnson’s site
    The Blue Skunk Blog.

    Not saying this particular internal synaptic world is a bad thing–wonderful things happening here–just shook me up a little.

    Great work, Mr. Burell–you created a tremendous tool for sharing critical voices without stamping your ego into it.

    Well done.

    Michael Doyles last blog post..Why Galileo matters

  4. Hi, Clay. We actually took the AP English course online with Ellen Greenblatt last year. I’ve been following some of your work, and I must say I am still impressed (especially with the magnitude and scope).

    In your Teaching Gallery are your videos to “Modeling Literary Analysis Essay Writing with Screencast-o-Matic” using bliptv. I would like to use them with my AP students. I also noticed your Creative Commons license. Would you mind my embedding the videos in my online course with Virtual Virginia, of course using the appropriate licensing statements?

    In addition, the last video abruptly stops. Is there a complete video to the conclusion of your essay on bliptv? I tried a search with no luck.

    Thank you for the service you provide to your students and our students.

    1. Tracy, it only took me 14 months to get around to fixing that blooper, but…part 2 of the “Inside the Essayist’s Mind” AP Lit essay exam demo is now restored.

      Hope you’re well.

  5. Pingback: RESOURCES
  6. Clay-
    I so enjoy your work. I am thinking about taping my own metacognitive process of thinking through an essay prompt–or even multiple choice type questions. While viewing your blip site I got very interested to see your lecture/video on the Roman Republic as I might be teaching Latin too next year. It’s not loading for some reason.


    I was wondering if there’s a way to fix that?

    I know I’m several years late to the game here in terms of when they were updated! Thanks for putting this material out there on your website. I have returned many times since stumbling upon your reading of Gilgamesh and have taken something helpful away each time. 


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