My student Josh is one of the the developers of a new social networking service called Moodify.me . As Josh describes it, “It’s a site similar to Twitter but is based around peoples’ moods.” It integrates well with Twitter and Facebook, enabling you to update your mood and send the update as a status update.
Josh is exceptionally gifted with web applications, coding, and computers in general. He has already had a great deal of success with his work, and I know he has a bright future. Please check out Moodify.me and feel free to friend me .
Thank you all for your patience with my Back to School contest. I am pleased to announce that the winning entrant is…
Candace submitted a lesson unit on Macbeth. You can read her blog Mrs. Follis’s Teacher Page for more.
Congratulations Candace, and thank you to all of you who submitted ideas. Candace has won a 1-GB flash drive with Word and PDF copies of handouts I have created and used in my own classes. If you would like to purchase one of these flash drives, they are available for $40, including shipping and the price of the flash drive itself. Note: the 1-GB flash drives are no longer available in my area, and I am now selling 2-GB drives.
If you want to enter the lesson plan contest, you have until midnight tonight. Over the next few days, I will read the entries and notify the winner via e-mail and announce the winner here. A reminder of what you get if you win: a flash drive packed with handouts in MS Word and PDF format that I have used in my classes, including quizzes!
What do you have to do? Submit a lesson plan for grades 9-12 English/language arts in comments of the original post.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me today. Quick! You’re running out of time!
Scott McLeod has posted the details on Dangerously Irrelevant. Since I know most this blog’s readers are English teachers, I urge you to help out and post links to your blogs and your favorite English/Language Arts blogs on the Moving Forward wiki. Thank you to whoever it was who added my own blog, too!
I have to thank Buffy Hamilton for showing me the potential in creating a Netvibes page. You can see her page on Iran Election events for a sample. Imagine being able to gather information related to a topic your students are studying in one place, including RSS feeds, video, and blogs. Imagine students gathering the information themselves for a project. As soon as I saw Buffy’s example, I knew that Netvibes had a lot of potential for education.
I have created a SMARTBoard resources page for educators who have SMARTBoards. I would encourage you to check out Netvibes or similar resources. Create a page and play around with some ideas. Widgets and feeds are very easy to add. Once you’ve experimented with a page, try creating a resource for students, educators, the general public, or yourself.
For the first time ever, I am having a contest. It is my hope to help one of the English teachers who reads this blog get a bit of a jump start on the school year.
What do you have to do? Share a lesson plan in the comments.
- Your lesson must be appropriate for grades 9-12 English or easily adaptable for that level.
- Lesson ideas must be your own original ideas rather than ideas published elsewhere on the Web or in print UNLESS you have sufficiently remixed the idea so that is substantially different from the source material.
- If you have a handout that’s important, you should upload it to an online filesharing host such as Slideshare, Drop.io, or Scribd, or you can upload it to your own website if you have one. You must share the link to the handout in your comment.
- You can enter only once.
- You must be willing to share your lesson with all my readers; therefore, access to any additional resources should not be password-protected and must be accessible at the time of judging.
- The contest will run until August 10 midnight Eastern Daylight Time.
- Lessons can be grammar, writing, or literature or combine all three. Lessons can incorporate technology. If Web 2.0 tools are needed, please link to them.
- You must use a valid e-mail address when you post. It will not appear on this site.
I will select one winner from the entrants who will receive a flash drive with a ton of my personal handouts for the various English courses I teach including quizzes, assignment instructions, writing assignments, questions, and more. I will notify the winner via e-mail and update this post after the winner has been notified.
Your comment may go into moderation if it has several links or if you’ve not commented here before. Please be patient as I post it. Feel free to contact me with questions.
Good luck everyone!
“It’s a Major Award!” image credit: Cyndie@smilebig!
I was cleaning house on Twitter today, and as I made some decisions, some thoughts occurred to me.
Reasons I might not follow back:
- You follow so many people that you can’t possibly be keeping track of all your conversations unless all you do is read Twitter.
- You don’t share valuable information or links.
- You’re obviously scamming for followers and are hoping I automatically follow back, even if what you do and what I do are in completely different spheres.
- Even if you’re not scamming for followers, you and I do completely different things—I primarily use Twitter to learn from colleagues and follow very few people who aren’t in education (most of those people are personal friends, some are celebrities).
- You followed me at a really busy time for me, and I haven’t yet had a chance to check out what you have to say. Give me some time before you decide to unfollow me—unless, that is, you are following me only in the hope that I will follow you.
- You have protected your updates, and I don’t know you, so I’m not sure whether or not your content will be valuable to me.
- You’re a business, and I need to watch for a while to see if what you tweet is valuable to me.
- I don’t recognize anyone in your replies or retweets, which tells me we’re not really tweeting in the same circles.
Reasons I might unfollow you:
- You stop tweeting.
- You tweet too often, especially about information I don’t find useful or valuable.
- We never engage in conversation. I am not sure either of us is really listening to each other.
- You are more often negative than positive. We all need to vent sometimes, but all the time is excessive for me.
- You are rude or confrontational (not necessarily to me, either).
Reasons I might block you:
- You’re on Twitter to advertise your webcam/dating/porn site.
Not good reasons to unfollow (in my opinion):
- You don’t follow me back. If I find your content valuable, I follow you. Period. I’m not looking for a backscratch.
- We sometimes disagree. If we always disagree, maybe, but some healthy difference is OK.
- You don’t always reply to me or acknowledge retweets. I don’t always do either of those things.
Ergo, some reasons I might follow:
- We have the same interests.
- You provide valuable content.
- You regularly converse with people I follow, so clearly we’re tweeting in the same circles.
I tend to give people a fair chance once I’ve followed them. I like to get to know who they are through their tweets. If I’m still not learning from you after a while, or if any of the other issues here apply, I might unfollow. Sometimes I think long and hard before I do it because a lot of people are sensitive about that kind of thing. The last thing I want to do is hurt anyone’s feelings. On the other hand, my time is valuable, and I need a return on its investment. I tend to think people are generally too hung up on followers, and not just on Twitter, but everywhere you see social media. You need to engage in social media because of what you get out of it.
I have begun research into consulting, and I have decided to hang out my shingle as a consultant in integrating technology (especially Web 2.0 tools) into instruction and perhaps backwards design planning. I registered a domain for my Web site, which I began building using iWeb. I may play around with Dreamweaver or do some handcoding–not sure yet. At any rate, I wish this domain had been available when I purchased huffenglish.com, which I chose because the one I wanted was unavailable at the time. I will provide more details once I’ve done more research, planning, and development, but I am fairly excited about going in this direction, as some of my colleagues have been trying to convince me I should for some time. It was very helpful to pick Jim Burke and Angela Stockman‘s brains about getting started, and both were helpful (especially Angela, who hung out her shingle about a year ago and is doing very well).
I am certainly open to suggestions if there is something you have identified that you think I have done well and would be able to teach others to do.
photo credit: Vicki & Chuck Rogers
I created a Diigo group for my students some time ago, but it wasn’t until Monday, when we had a snow day (weird that we’ve had 70° weather in the same week as a snowstorm) that I invited all my students to join. The lack of response has been deafening. I understand to a degree. It’s one more tool, one more crazy thing Ms. Huff wants us to do, blah, blah, blah, don’t see the point. One the one hand, I hate that I have to make use of these tools a requirement to convince students to use them. I am not going to make the Diigo group a requirement the way I did commenting on my blog. However, I have noticed something. Those students who do engage with the tools I provide — whether it’s watching videos I share on the classroom blog, using Diigo, commenting on the blog, listening to recommended podcasts, or even reading suggested links — tend to do better in class. Why? Simple. The tools help. Reading, viewing, listening, engaging — all these tools help my students learn the material in more depth or in more ways. Learning more leads to better understanding. Better understanding leads to higher grades. I prefer to leave it for my students to come to this realization, but when/if they do, I wonder what will happen when I have full engagement.
I have been a Delicious user for nearly four years. I love it that I no longer lose my bookmarks and can take them with me from computer to computer. I love it that I can share my bookmarks with others and tag them according to a folksonomy that makes sense to me and enables others to find them. I have no intention of closing my Delicious account, but I have exported my Delicious bookmarks to Diigo. I also set up my Diigo account to post my new Diigo bookmarks to Delicious for users who know me better over there, so you don’t have to change a thing if you are subscribed to my Delicious bookmarks. You’ll still get new bookmarks.
It isn’t that I have any problems with Delicious at all; it’s just that Diigo is more versatile. Using the Diigo toolbar, I can annotate Web pages that I visit. Finally, users can mark up the Web like they mark up other reading they do. Annotation allows me to comment on what I see, interact with other commenters, or simply take notes. The toolbar also allows me to automatically save and/or e-mail links. Delicious allows for the same type of sharing, but it lacks the annotation component. Therefore, you will now see my latest Diigo bookmarks in the sidebar, courtesy a linkroll widget Diigo provides. I am also able to easily share bookmarks with groups, which I have begun doing, as I am a member of Diigo in Education, English Teachers, and Interactive Whiteboards in the Classroom groups at Diigo. I was even able to create a group for my students. It’s invitation-only, but all the links I post to that group will be saved to my bookmarks, too. I think you can see the group, but you won’t be able to join it or post to it unless I invite you, and in order to make this place my students’ own, I have decided to invite only students.
You will have to decide whether Diigo or Delicious is better for you. I have nothing but positive things to say about either social bookmarking system, but the good news is that you don’t have to choose one over the other to keep up with my bookmarks. With Diigo, I can crosspost, and you won’t miss a thing.