(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, I 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):
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…
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.