Monday, April 6, 2009

Online Assignment #2 -- Natalie Bowers

Oh goodness, I finally found the button to create a new post.  I feel so silly; I've been looking for it for-- well, I won't admit to how long it took me; I'm just glad I found it!  

Like many in our group my goals are: integrating technology, informing, inviting and collaborating with families, and using a variety of assessments.  I am excited to expand my knowledge in all of these areas, but if the truth be told, I'm most excited about the tech goal.  I have an aversion to technology (see the first two lines of this post), and learning more about it and discovering how I can integrating effectively in the classroom is the goal most likely to push me out of my comfort zone and into the place where real learning takes place.  

In the last few weeks I've found many resources to assist me on the road to meeting my goals, below are a few of the ones I'm most looking forward to studying closely.

1.  Integrating Technology
I figured since my aversion to this goal was so great, I would do best to fully immerse myself in it.  I didn't want to just read an article, I wanted a book; my search brought me to this one, Ten Easy Ways to Use Technology in the English Classroom.  I was drawn to this resource for a number of reasons.  First, as I stated early it was a book, and I thought it would be more in depth and thorough than some of the other resources I found.  Second, the words "Ten Easy Ways" really appealed to me; it made me feel like I wouldn't be overwhelmed by the ideas.  Lastly, and probably most importantly, I liked that it was specifically written for the English Classroom.  In a class that is mostly about reading and writing, I find it hard to think of ways technology fits into my classroom in a natural and organic way.   My hope is this book gives me the tools I need to start on my track to having meaning technology in my LA classes.  My principal agreed to buy the book for me, so it should arrive in a few weeks!

2.  Informing, inviting and collaborating with families
For this goal, I decided to use a resource from the bibliography we were given in class,  Rallying the Whole Village:  The Comer Process for Reforming Education.  In my current position as a literacy coach and staff developer, my role with families has changed.  I'm no longer have a set of students I'm responsible for, so the contact I do have with families is on a much greater and more "global" scale. 

 We are currently undergoing major demographic changes at my school.  Due to budget cuts and school closers, we are acquiring 250 students in a special, self-contained advanced program, and right now tensions are high.  Everyone is worried about how our current demographic and our new demographic will mix; there are lots of questions and there is a lot of fear.  Since I'm in position of leadership, I'd like to learn more about how to create a positive, cohesive school that values the diversity each group brings with it, and I think this resource will help me learn more.

3.  Using a variety of assessments
I'm really excited about this resource for two reasons.  First I've been trying to read this book for two years, but I keep getting distracted, and two, I've convinced a group of other coaches to read it with me in a study group!  As we all know, many heads are better than one, and I can't wait to read Assessing Writers by Carl Anderson with them.  I've read a few chapters in this book already, and I'm so excited about his fresh approach to assessing writing and all of his ideas about sharing the process with students and parents.  I also really like that his approach isn't about grading, it is about evaluating growth over time.  I look forward to reading this book completely and with my colleagues.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Hi Natalie!

Great job with your post. I also have the same three goals, so I found your post very valuable.

I'm particularly interested in finding out more about the book, Assessing Writers by Carl Anderson. I've definitely heard his name a lot in the Writer's Workshop world--our school is a pilot school for Lucy Calkin's Units of Study for both primary and intermediate--and I'd like to find out a little bit more about his book. It would be great to chat in class! I'm looking for more tools to assess writing, and also ways of communicating progress with parents.

How great you started a book club! Way to go!

Thanks again,
Kate