Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Website for Teachers

I haven't fully explored this blog yet but came across it in Pinterest (see there is some value to this site!) and there seemed to be a lot of resources available to English teachers. There are different book sections like, A Brave New World and 1984. There is also a poetry section and many different resources for Shakespeare plus many other things that I haven't fully had the time to explore yet. If you feel like checking it out here's the site:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Social Media Withdrawal

This year for lent I gave up Facebook. It had just gotten to the point where I would be on it for absolutely no reason and waste so much of my time. I also think I needed a little break away from knowing everything going on in someone's life before they really even tell you. I thought it would make me actually call someone up if I wanted to talk to them instead of creeping on their Facebook page. Now I knew I was constantly connected to this Facebook world, whether it be on my computer or on my phone, I was always able to go on wherever I was. I'll be honest though, I don't think I realized HOW much I was constantly on it and now that's it's gone this absence seems humungous. I think it's a little sad, but also reality, that most of our generation is so technologically dependent. In a way we are a little spoiled. When my parents moved away from the country where they were born, they weren't able to see their family for years, until they could save up enough money to make it back home. I moved across the country from my family and I can text or call them every day, see what they are doing on their Facebook, skype them if I'm feeling a little homesick. I think sometimes we take all of these things for granted. I also think (to at least someway tie this post to education) that this is part of the main reason for this class, because if our generation is so heavily dependent on technology, I can only imagine what my students will be using and the things they will be able to do. I think it's important to be aware that this is a way for us to connect to our students and actually get them interested in doing things in class. Anyway these are all the things that this absence from Facebook has made me think about, and I'll be honest miss a little bit. One more month to go!

P.S. I found this image on Google and it was a Wordle from students writing about abstaining from the internet for 24 hours, which I thought was kind of cool because it was one of our presentations in class. Here was a link to the story if you feel like reading it

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"I just hate to read"

I have heard this excuse from so many people when the subject of reading comes into a discussion, including my own sister (who I am constantly on the lookout for books that will capture her interest), and it is something that I still cannot wrap my head around.

For the countless time the value of reading books was brought up by a friend of mine; also for the countless time I was unable to steer away from the conversation without throwing in my two cents, followed shortly by arguing my point as long as I could and almost begging him to "read this one book, I promise you'll like it." The discussion usually follows the same patterns:

"I just don't like to read"
"But, I don't understand. How could you not like to read? Haven't you ever read a book you just loved, something that you were so interested in?"
"Well, yeah, I liked ________ (fill in random book)."
"Then how could you hate to read? You just have to find books that you like. If you loved reading another book then there has to be something else you would love as well."
"Well if it's a good enough book, they'll make it into a movie."

Now this is an extremely abridged version of the conversation because it has been known to last at least an hour going around in circles, and I'm sure part of it is the fact that as an English major, and future English teacher, it pains me to hear people say they hate to read. It's something I have never in my life experienced and just don't understand. For as long as I can remember I have been reading books, becoming so enthralled in a story that I literally cannot put it down because my need to find out what happens is that strong. There has been many a night where I have only been able to get a couple hours of sleep because by the time I finally looked at the clock, or by the time I just couldn't fight the drooping of my eyes anymore it could be five or six in the morning.
This argument is one that I think we are going to have to fight throughout our whole career. Students who just don't care, or who claim that they "hate reading." Or the many that say that they will "just wait for the movie." I'm sure most (if not all of you) have heard this argument and will agree that it just isn't the same. Don't get me wrong I love to snuggle up on the couch and pop in a movie but to me, there isn't that same connection as reading a book. Getting to know the ins and outs of characters, becoming so attached to them that you feel as if you really know these people and what they're going through. A movie has never been able to capture that same feeling for me and I think it's a feeling that many people greatly miss out on. But as the saying goes, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." This doesn't mean I can't stop trying though...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Trickster or Teacher?

Currently in my Educational Measurments and Assessments class we are discussing how to create an assessment, using multiple choice, True/False, or short answer. While we were discussing when to use True/False questions, we also started talking about how accurate these types of questions really are when assessing students. Truthfully I have never been a fan of the True/False portion of a test. Yes, you get a fifty/fifty chance if you don't know the answer, but I always find myself second guessing each question I read and second guessing every answer I put down. I always feel as though the teacher is tricking me in some way, one little word in the whole question can make the statement switch from true to false. Honestly, I feel that at times teachers do indeed throw in the smallest incorrect portion forcing students to feel "tricked" instead of actually assessing how much the student has learned. We also talked about how it is so simple to lead students to pick an answer knowing absolutely nothing about the subject. By including words like "absolutely" or "never" students are more likely to pick false because it is an absolute, and all they need is one example of where this statement is proven wrong, therefore wasting time trying to prove the statement wrong rather than taking the actual test. By including words like "should" or "might" these students are more likely to pick true, and even if they get it wrong, can try to argue the answer.

Don't get me wrong, I think if done carefully a True/False portion of the test may be able to assess your students, but really how do you know if they really knew the answer or they just guessed? We talked about different ways of getting around this problem and my favorite to use when creating a True/False portion of a test is having a portion of the statement underlined and then asking the student to correct the underlined portion if they feel the statement is incorrect.

For instance, given the simple statement:
2 + 2 = _5_                   True    False__________

The student would circle False and then simply put "4" in the blank space.

I'm still not a huge fan of the True/False questions and honestly don't see myself using this very much in my own classroom. Anyone disagree?