Monday, November 29, 2010

Web 2.0

Sonnet 116

Using flixtime, I created a video of pictures to illustrate my favorite Shakespearean Sonnet. This would be a fun activity to use in an English class. I believe I would do the project at the end of the semester so the students have a larger repertoire of literature to use along with thier own photos. The site makes it easy to upload, and the finishing tools allows one to add voice and edit transitions. Adding the voice would add a new element to the project, by providing the teacher an opportunity to also monitor the student's ability to read in iambic pentameter.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Fischbowl of Conversation!

    Wow! I have, for many years now, imagined what my first day of teaching would be like. What would I wear? What would I say? Do I come off stern at first so they don't walk all over me? Or am I supposed to be myself, and just pray they don't see any major signs of weakness that they can exploit? The question of what I will say has held the majority of my thought on the subject, and now I have found the most eloquently put representation of the conversation I would like to have with my students the first time I ever stand in front of them. Karl Fisch's blog entry of his conversation with students had me nodding in agreement through the entire reading.
    Fisch's entry speaks to the idea of redefining success among our students, and making ideas such as success clear and tangible. he writes, "No, I'll consider myself successful if you turn out to be good, kind, caring adults. If you're a good spouse, child and parent. If you contribute to the world and to your community and help those around you. If you participate. And learn." In a society of political correctness and toleration, I must blaspheme to propose that we need to promote clear ideas and definitions to our students. This means that as a teacher you are responsible for not only creating a learning environment, but teaching the "right" ideas to your students.  Fisch points out the importance of creating well-rounded individuals passionately willing to learn in all facets.
     Fisch goes on to speak to the idea of promoting a sense of citizenship, discernment, goal orientation, and empathy to one's students. He writes, "I believe you need the skills I'm trying to get you to learn for three main reasons. First, to be a successful citizen{...}Second, you have to learn these skills to get a good grade in this class, to do well in school, and to get into college if that's what you choose." Later he concludes by stating,"please consider what kind of future you want, not just for yourself, but for those around you." These attributes are what we should want to instill in every student! This is what education is about right? Training and leading the next generations.
   Fisch goes on to point out that amidst political and scholarly conversation and ongoing debate there should be no question as to the importance of conversation within the classroom, and that, without conversation, without the right emphasis on more character building and less multiplication drilling, we are setting our future generations up for false ideas of success, ease, and knowledge for their futures.
    So I leave with you with these thoughts: what kind of teacher will you be? what kinds of students do you want to see come out of your classroom? These are links to two videos on TeacherTube that address some of these issues.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Combating CyberBullying in My Classroom

 The effects of cyberbullying infiltrate the lives of teens on both mental and physical health levels. That is why I chose these two websites to share. The first of which is TeenHealth. I thought it would be effective to discuss not only bullying with my class, but bullies. I thought it would be interesting to spend time with my class on intrapersonal reflection, getting them to think about what attributes they possessed  that would be considered "bully-like tendencies," and focusing the classes' attention on come of the other statistics linked to the effects of being a bully, such as the increased probability of incarceration by the age of thirty noted by the site's author. The site also focuses on the importance of good mental and physical health. If we ever want to have successful schools, we need successful students, and that cannot happen until we begin to take measures to make students more safe in their learning environment.
The second site I would like to share with my students would be 360onBullying which speaks on the importance of connecting the effects of bullying to real life events and news. We can talk students ears off about how they shouldn't bully, but if anything will render change in their behavior, it will be watching news interviews with family members such as those of Tyler Clementi as they mourn the loss of a son due to cyberbullying. Our focus should be on shaping the way children think about the implications of their words and behaviors rather than focus on shaping specific behaviors.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How I Would Use Infographics in My Classroom

This is a map created in order to easily display all of the events and characters that Odysseus visited throughout his long journey. This infographic could be used many ways, but the way I have seen it used most creatively, and the way I would like to use it myself, is to create a virtual info "map." The graphic would look much like the above picture, however, as the computer's cursor moves over the location or character, more information would be shown in a collapsible text box. In the text box I would include the page number and/ or chapter the  location and/or character appears in the text as well as significant passages concerning the location and/or character. An info "map" such as this could be created with any text, and provides students with quick access to information on specific characters and locations in the text.

This infographic is a literary timeline, and served as the inspiration for the lesson plan I developed for ED 505. For my lesson plan, I had students create a video timeline in which they used the same concepts here to connect historical social developments to the publication dates of well known texts of the time period. Another way to use this would be to have students create the timelines on poster boards and display them throughout the classroom.This allows the students a quick reference guide for cultural changes and allows them to think contextually about the literature in which they are reading at a given time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I'm  Debbie Graff.I was a Burton before I got hitched. I miss being a Burton; I now have to go through the pains of repeating my name multiple times whenever I am on the phone with someone who isn't lucky enough to know me. ( Burton was just so much more phonetically functionable.) Onwards, I go, though. I am 23 years old. Married to a wonderful man despite his inconvenient last name. Together, we live in the small town of Havana which is south of Tuscaloosa, 45 minutes from anyone we know. I have a BA in English from the University of Montevallo, and I am now working on my Master's Degree from the University of West Alabama. Why teaching? Not taking the time to give you the full psychoanalytic answer to that question, I will simply say that it is my love for questions, and my love of finding answers in all the facets of life.