Friday, November 11, 2016

PLN: Expanding 4, 5, 6

4) Innovative Blogger

In expanding my PLN, I followed several bloggers I found through #iaedchat, Twitter mutuals, and blog recommendations. One of the blogs I followed, called “Class Tech Tips”, is run by a teacher named Monica Burns. Her blog is all about educational technology and how to implement new tech equipment and research into the classroom. I subscribed to her blog and newsletter, and also followed her on twitter. I decided to follow her because she is a published professional and provides great ideas about how to implement new technologies into the classroom. Her recommendations and reviews target all areas of education, even my specialized field of English. For example, she blogged about the benefits of a program called WriteReader where students can write and publish books to share. This is an amazing program that lets students make their work and ideas tangible, and since they are sharing with a wide audience they will be more proud and motivated to put in the effort to revise and learn. On her blog she also encourages us to attend educational technology related events and workshops, and gives book and consulting recommendations.
            I get newsletters and updates about her blog about once a week that let me know what she recently researched. Following blogs like this is very helpful because it is a constant outlet of new ideas for me to explore, research, and implement into my classroom.

Monica's Blog informs me about new technology for schools

5) Connect with an Author

As an English teaching major, it is very important for me to stay engaged in the literary world. One way to do this is to actually read literature to improve my own reading and writing skills; modelling engagement in literacy is very important after all. Using the internet, I was able to find one of my favorite authors on all forms of social media. She is very active in her fan-base and provides loads of information about reading and writing. I followed her on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and subscribed to her blog. I emailed her about how much I loved her books and she even responded back. By engaging with an author like this, I demonstrate to my students that they have a voice and the abilities to communicate with people  they admire. By being able to interact with our heroes, we develop a sense of ability and empowerment, and can begin imaging and working towards making out own aspirations come true.
Going back to this author’s blog and other social media sites, she posts many helpful tips and ideas about writing, creating ideas, developing characters, worlds, plots, and publishing. I have spent many hours and dollars engaging with her works and applying her advice to my own writing. It is important to demonstrate that the writing process never ends and that there is an entire community of writers to interact with and learn from on the internet. I might be able to use social media or email to request that authors come into my classroom or do a video chat. Authors usually love this because they have the opportunity to share their books on an educational level and can inspire the next generation to develop a love of reading and writing. Also, I will definitely have a letter writing unit wear my students write to their heroes and favorite authors to help them see the largeness and openness of these communities. A unit like this would segue nicely into a creative writing workshop where we use the internet to get writing advice and share our work with others.

Rachel Aaron's Newsletter

6) A Professor who stimulates your thinking

As an English teaching major, it is very important for me to work, learn, and share with other teachers. In discussions like this, we can brainstorm about literary teaching ethics, practices, and share our own experiences and beliefs. In my class Teaching of Writing, my professor, Dr. Davis, creates an open, collaborative discussion environment for exploring how to effectively guide our students in creating their writing processes. Dr. Davis really helps me to ask questions about teaching students to write and how to prepare myself to respond and guide them in the process. He uses eLearning to encourage us to have open discussions about the topics and readings we went over in class, and, most importantly, he responds to all our posts. He also shares many articles for us to read and discuss. By modelling and promoting a reflective, engaged, and collaborative teaching environment, Dr. Davis motivates me to stay involved in society, to question and pursue answers through writing, and to work with my fellow teachers to solve problems and reflect on situations. Dr. Davis has really prepared me for my duty as an English educator, and his practices have really impacted the way I teach. I plan to respond to my students’ writing in questioning manners rather than grammatical, and it would be beneficial to encourage students to post reflections and respond to one another on my blog. Writing unlocks more opportunities by giving students time to reflect and express themselves. 
Example of Dr. Davis's eLearning blog and discussion board 

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