Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Stretching Our Thinking--21st Century Literacies

We have dabbled in using more technology in the classroom and have been interested in learning more about authentic uses of new tools for our students. Our big goal is to make sure our use of 21st century tools matches our philosophy about how children learn language. For the last several years, we've both been reading and thinking about what it means to be a literacy teacher these days. How do we best meet the needs of our students? The NCTE Annual Convention themed SHIFT HAPPENS helped us to solidify our thinking a bit and to see new possibilities.

We have silently followed a few blogs--listening in on the thinking of some key tech people who seem to share our philosophies. We have learned lots and also realized how very much we have to learn. So, we have decided to dedicate more of our blog time to following the thinking of this group. We are adding a few of those that we have been reading to our blogroll and hope to find many more as we listen in on the tech network. We have had Bud the Teacher on our blogroll for some time and appreciate his role in helping us think through our changing roles. We have also followed Karl Fisch's blog, The Fischbowl and were fortunate enough to hear him at NCTE. His constructivist theory is evident in all that he does in his teaching. Dr. Tim Tyson has a blog that focuses on the work of his middle schoolers when he was principal. His focus is on student contribution and his respect for students and their work is amazing. Bill at Mr. Bass is a Technology Integration Specialist and shares thoughts on using tech in the classroom. We love the intro to Kevin's Meandering Mind. He says to readers "This blog is a place where I explore writing and teaching and technology. But I don’t like to go on such a journey by myself and I want you to come along as a companion." Bill Kist focuses on new medias and social networking. We are excited to learn from all of these educators and hope to add more as we continue on this learning journey.

We love books and children's literature. And it will always be the anchor of our work. But we can't be comfortable being literacy teachers today without expanding our notion of what it means to be literate in the 21st Century and to learn from experts who have a different set of expertise. We have no idea where this new thinking will take us but we are confident that we'll learn some exciting things and open new possibilities for our students. We know that many of you are on the same journey--thinking about our teaching lives and how new tools will change things.

Franki and Mary Lee

3 comments:

  1. Franki and Mary Lee,
    Wow! Exciting and scary stuff! I really want to take this journey with you. I am alternately fascinated and frustrated as I see what is available to me as a teacher, and then how little of that is available to kids in classrooms. As a parent, I watch my guys totally engaged in You Tube or composing songs or raps on Garage Band, then they go into school and have none of this available and are totally disengaged. Can't wait to see where this road will take us! Thanks for sharing the great blogs!
    Carol

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  2. Oh, I am nervous and excited by this. Thanks for taking the leap...

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  3. I think your journey will be fruitful and important, too. Keep an open mind and be aware of the various paths and connections that occur between bloggers. It's easy to get stuck in one circle of friends and not realize there are entire other blogging worlds/circles out there, too.
    Peace,
    Kevin

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