lforner


Humans of…Part One.

This year, in an effort to ensure that the learning of my students has more meaningful links to life beyond the classroom, I have decided to go for an online audience.

Over the holidays I became obsessed with the ingenius blog, Humans of New York; the way that it deals with perspective and characterisation, from the viewpoint of an English teacher, is so original and engaging. It is also great to show the diversity amongst a community, which we lack here in my small, rural town.

I decided I was going to capitalise on the success and concept of the blog and apply it to our Year 7 unit, Real and Imagined Worlds. I also realised this was a great opportunity to incorporate PBL elements to the task, letting the students determine the audience, content of the site and organise the blog. They were extremely excited about having ownership of such a text.

This week, students voted as a class and decided on writing their own descriptions of places which were significant to them to share on the site. After much discussion and debate, they entitled the blog ‘People Down Under’, as a nod to the Humans of New York brand. These descriptions had to incorporate poetic devices which we have been studying, most notably imagery. Students also chose a template for the site, having to justify in terms of visual literacy why their choice was the most suitable.

During the next week, students will get to work uploading the content to the site and choosing colours, fonts, pictures, etc. They also plan to contact the famous blogger himself, Brandon Stanton, to ask for advice on creating the blog and keeping it updated. Hopefully they continue to stay just as excited about the project over the next couple of weeks as we hold its “launch”!

 

Advertisements

Why I Blog

Recently, whilst writing the comment “Must practise writing analytical and creative responses” numerous times on reports, I realised that as an English teacher, it is also my professional responsibility to ensure I too am regularly writing. And I’m not talking about modeling paragraph structure in class or writing examples to show students. I’m referring to writing analytical and creative responses to a university standard.

Blogging is something which keeps me mentally stimulated and engaged in my teaching. I not only get the chance to write analytically and reflectively, but, as we always encourage kids to seek out, it is for an authentic audience which also places certain demands upon a writer.

I will often also engage in creative writing when I set my classes a task. For example, during writing journal time if the students are settled and confident in what they are doing, I will also complete the task. However, I feel that this is something I don’t do enough of, and it is a professional development opportunity I will definitely be seeking out in 2013.