Bright Ideas….

•April 17, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Overall, I found the overall conference really enjoyable. I was really interested in the keynote speaker’s reading of her own work. That is always such a nice oppertunity to have. But as far as what her actual point was, I didn’t really get. Other than that you can’t go into writing being afraid of it or having a set plan of what you want to write about. Which, in creative writing aspects I think is very true.

The first breakout I went to concerned literature circles. And one of the things that I foudn really interesting from that session was the idea to allow students who want to to meet together a couple times a month to have a literature circle that is a lot more casual than what would be done in the classroom. Also, the idea of having a dialogue through journal entries between students as a way to track their reading progress is a good idea. It allows the teacher to know what is going on, but helps hold the students accountable to each other.

Secondly, I went to the MacBeth session. Which contentwise was pretty interesting. They showed examples of using technology in the classrooms to help read Shakespeare, and it was fun to see the students really getting into it and relating it to something that they are more comfortable and familiar with. BUt it was also a nice setup to the third session I went to which was Bethany and David’s presentation on myspace. The macBeth session touched on using myspace, but Bethany and David really went a lot more in depth on how that would work.

Overall, I did enjoy the conference, and did pull some ideas out of it that may be of use to me in the future.


“School of the Future”

•February 1, 2007 • 14 Comments

So while scrolling through my many many articles that have flooded my google account, I stumbled across one that I found very interesting regarding the increase of technology in classrooms, with statements from Bill Gates implying what Microsoft is doing to help improve the technology.

One of the points that the article made that I found very thought provoking was this:

Teachers may have trouble keeping up with students who are already using devices such as the Xbox Live gaming system at their homes, Gates said.

“When they [students] come back into the classroom and there’s a chalkboard there, that teacher has a hard time living up to the level of drama and richness,” he said.

This statement is very true. How can a teacher keep the students’ interest when they are competing with this technology that the students deal with day to day, by their own choice. Well, one of the things that Microsoft is doing is partnering with various school districts to build high-schools that are being referred to as a “School of the Future.”

In Philadelphia, the company joined the city’s school district and built a 750-student high school — called a School of the Future — that focuses on how technology can improve student performance. It opened in September 2006. The company provided technical guidance, which included the building of a secure Web portal for parents and students for access to assignments, class schedules and grades.

So, not only are these schools opening up a new world for technological advances in providing students with information for classroom assignments and activities, but they are also directing the same resource towards parents to keep them informed of what their students are doing in the classroom. In the locations where these schools have been placed, the students’ acheivements and grades have shown an improvement.

Even though however, the article only points out a couple of things that make these schools a bit more advanced, it is pretty easy to imagine what this one step will lead to in the future for technology that will become available to educators in the future.

Microsoft Backs Classroom Technology Programs


February 1, 2007

Full Article

becoming more marketable???

•February 1, 2007 • 9 Comments

Growing up, I have always had an interest in learning things about other cultures. I know as a young child I thought it would be pretty cool to have the opportunity to also learn a second language. Although, for me this chance never came until high school, and when I did decide to learn Spanish as a second language, I was distracted by thoughts other than studying for that. So today, I can’t remember enough of it to have it be much of a use to me, other than potentially making it easier for me to relearn it.

Along the lines of this, a phenomenon that seems to be rising in popularity is the interest in Chinese culture and language. Many parents seem to want to get a jump start on getting their kids involved in this. In a world where China is becoming a big part of the international economy, parents view this as an opportunity to make their children a bit more marketable.

“It’s going to be a big advantage for them,” Mrs. Carlson said. “I think no matter what you do in life, if you have some kind of specialty that sets you apart from other people, that makes you more marketable.”

This particular quote came from an article out of the New York Times talking about the popularity of parents enrolling their students in classes to teach them Mandarin Chinese. This overall experience allows the students to learn a little bit more about a culture other than their own, as well as involving the parents to some degree.

Ms. Chiang, the school’s spokeswoman, said parents like Mr. Patterson gamely participated in celebrations like the Mandarin speech festival, public speaking contests in which students read in Mandarin something they have written or an excerpt from a book. “The parents sit and patiently listen,” she said, “supporting their children even though they don’t understand a word.”

 Overall, I think that allowing students this opportunity gives them the chance to become more aware of cultures outside of themselves and what they know and to have some strong experiences interacting with that culture, and maybe ultimately becoming more sensitive to dealing with various cultures.

Non-Asians Show a Growing Interest in Chinese Courses 


Published: November 29, 2006

full article

Welcome to my blog…

•January 16, 2007 • 6 Comments

Hi! my name is Dana, and this is a blog that I will keeping up for two of my classes this semester. I am  an english major for secondary ed, and hope to get a lot out of these classes that will help me in classroom. As far as where my interests lie in what I want to focus this blog around, I’m not quite sure yet. So that will have to wait to be seen in my next entry and what articles I find interesting.


So topics have been decided on…for my Eng 310 class, I think I want to find information and views of technology in the classroom. Thinking about new approaches to it and such. And for Eng 311, I’m leaning towards writing on diversity issues in schools. Hopefully I will find soem good articles on these topics from the New York Times and the Grand Rapids Free Press.