Reflection on educational blogging

Blogging has been an interesting activity to be involved in, and i think that I’ve learned a lot about myself as a teacher and about the benefits of using technology in the classroom through this experience.  My initial goals for blogging were to highlight specific qualities, experiences, and struggles that come with being a male teacher in a profession predominantly made of of women (hence the name of the blog ‘Teacher Man’).  However, i decided that my interest in graphic novels and their use in the classroom was much more beneficial for the purposes of our class which was to highlight new literacy and its educational application.  Discussing some of the many uses and sources for graphic novels has aided me in becoming more critical about what material is actually worth using and sharing with others.  I know look at it through an editorial lense, thinking about whether or not other’s would agree with my beliefs about the medium.

The thing that has been most interesting to me in using the blog has been checking out how others in the class use multimedia.  I’ve been making a list of some of the more interesting uses of technology that I’ve investigated through people’s blog’s and our class discussion.  Things like Wordle, Prezi, and Glogster were previously foreign to me, and I have appreciated the opportunity to see how other’s use them.  My favorite investigation was comparing Christian’s post of making online comics with pixton.com vs. my recent discovery of makebeliefscomics.com.  I found it interesting to compare the features of the two websites and seeing how I would use each (pixton for older students and makebeliefscomics for younger ones).

While i find the ability to read and correspond with other teachers through professional blogs to be quite interesting and a practice that I hope to continue, I think that the way I will use my own personal blog in the future is to create a classroom blog to interact with my students.  I used my blog as a safe place for students to go to to observe ironic images in my Strategy Tutor lesson, and would like to continue developing online activities that students could access through my blog.  It would also be a great place for students to support each other with homework and for me to provide extension activities to what we do in class.  I may decide to run too separate blogs.  This one, which I will likely revert back towards my initial goals for it and document some unique features of being a guy in the teaching profession.  And another that is purely for classroom use.

As a final reflection of the class I thought I would create a Wordle using the class syllabus to highlight what stood out as being the core concept of ENED 3400.  I think the perfect things stand out.  Read, learning, class, students, digital, media, and knowledge are all highlighted throughout this wordle.  These are concepts that were at the core of our discussion this past year.  Enjoy

http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/1957670/ENED_3400


				

I Kill Giants

Who says comics are for boys.  This is one of the best comics I’ve ever read.  Written by Joe Kelly, it centers around Barbara Thorson, a 5th grade girl who carries around a Norse warhammer in her purse and goes around killing giants.  The intrigue of the book is the question of whether Barbara is really a young giant killer or is her imagination just creating some elaborate story to help her escape from the very real tragedy existing in her life.  A wonderful graphic novel that expertly balances a young girl trying to battle both real and imaginary monsters in her life.  Barbara also deals with being an outcast in school, both in the eyes of the other students and the teachers. 

The artwork of the graphic novel is beautiful, manga-inspired black and white pages illustrated by JM Ken Niimura.  In terms of age reccommendation I would cautiously recommend this book for upper grades in high schools, as the foul language and imagery running throughout the book would get it an R movie rating.  However, if you have a mature group of students, and an administrator that is okay with you using a book that carries a heavy use of curse words (realistic from the teens they are coming from) then I would strongly urge you to use this comic, especially to connect with girls who have an interest in graphic novels but can’t seem to find any that are directed for them.

Joe Kelly’s website:  http://www.ikillgiants.com/home.php 

Comic book resource

In the same category of Christian’s resource recommendation, I would like to recommend another web resource for the use of comic books in the classroom.  The website http://www.noflyingnotights.com/ is a comic book review site organized by Robin Brennar, a librarian in Massachusetts.  The website offers reviews of comics and graphic novels, explanation about the form, and reports news items related to comics.  The website has 3 components; 1 for kids, 1 for teens, and 1 for adults.  Comics are separated into genres, rated for quality, given age ranges, and compiled into many lists of top comics for certain groups.  This is a great resource for anyone trying to determine the best way to develop a collection of comics for their classroom library