Friday, July 4, 2008

Summer Reading and Writing

What are you reading this summer? A book? A recipe? A newspaper? A twitter? A blog?
What will you write this summer? A book? A recipe? A letter to the editor? A twitter? A blog?

I teach middle school writing in a small public school. What will my students read and write? More importantly, who and how will they be reading and writing?

Education faces a dilemma: The future is flying by, and the students are zooming ahead learning as they go, and could use some guidance to navigate intelligently, refectivly, and safely. Many classrooms are still in rows with a teacher at the front. Most classrooms have no or few computers. Electonics is forbidden.

I know my students will imho txt bff & rofl at my attempt at this. I asked my grandkids to txt friends to learn how to say in "Good Day" in as many languages as possible. Here's what they found: TXT In order to accomplish this, my granddaughters had plan, solve problems, read and write, and summarize. Good thinking strategies.

Imagine the power of collaborative chatter on a daily basis? Kids today know how to discover what they want to know: google, chat, MySpace, email. They are connected. They also are also more inherently wise to trouble-makers and danger than we give them credit for.

As a writing teacher guiding students into the future, I would hope that my curriculum includes collaborative media. We are now at the "imagination" and "emotion: stage of the Information Age. Check out two other thinkers in this area:

1. A Quote: "We are in the twilight of a society based on data. As information and intelligence becomes the domain of computers, society will place new value on the one human ability that can’t be automated: emotion. Imagination, myth, ritual, stories – the language of emotion – will affect everything from our purchasing decisions to how well we work and communicate with others. Dream Society: How the Coming Shift from Information to Imagination Will Transform Your Business." by Rolf Jensen from the introduction to Digital Storytelling at

2. A Questions: "Shouldn’t we be teaching the strategies our students need to be successful in the wikinomic world or are we still stuck on content? Many of the state standardized tests are fact based - not strategy based." from the Make It Happen blog post Wikinomics and The Cool Cat Teacher

I agree with the current comments coming from NECC conference as I follow the twitters of some of the participants since I could not attend.

I can imagine my classroom collaborating on wikis and Google Sites. My questions are:
1. What do families think?
2. How do policies support this?
3. Where do we start?

Think about it. Talk with colleagues. Talk with kids. They are reading and writing this summer, just not usually with book or paper in hand. Spend some summer time reading and writing about it with the youngsters you know. Then comment back. Thanks.

Go boldly, and scatter seeds of kindness.
Reflect curiosity and wonder.
~ Sheri Edwards

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