Second to last week of first college-level semester

This Fall semester, I have also been blessed to teach a composition course at Baker College – and I LOVE it!! It was a little crazy at first, hired on a Thursday to begin on a Tuesday: designing the weekly instruction from scratch week to week has been a trial by fire! It has always been my conviction, that time spent on planning will prove a life-saver further down the road. Creating the developing syllabus this semester will prove priceless next semester and every semester after.

As my work load diminishes at Eastern Michigan University and I complete my Graduate Project over the next several months (graduate in April!!) I will be able to devote myself to ramping up my technique in teaching the Composition courses. In the meantime, my research project for graduation is to create and implement a writing project at the charter academy where I teach special education. The project involves 4th-8th grade student volunteer writers who will compose a 3-piece portfolio, submitting one piece, a letter, to a state-wide contest and displaying their finished portfolio at a public celebration event hosted by the school. My research involves investigating effective motivations for student revision writing, my data accumulating from 1 on 1 conferences with the students to polish their portfolio artifacts.

After graduation, I can’t wait to see what college teaching holds for me! I love the new student context, teaching adults is a unique opportunity. 

Hold on, here we go!

          Today is the end of my first week as the Special Education Teacher at White Pine Academy, and I love it! The K-8th grade students are kind, joyous, and academically engaged, while the staff is friendly, supportive, and dedicated professionals. Aside from special education meetings that take place outside my schedule, the 28-hour week is perfect while I complete my final year of Grad school next fall. I am considering an innovative graduation project designing and implementing a literacy-based program to W.P.A. comprising a Readers’ Book Exchange and Writing Project that will introduce Island City Academy as a Sister School – but all that’s further down the road! (Thank Goodness!)

          Right now, I am enjoying getting to know my students and determining methods by which I can best serve them, establishing my record-keeping infrastructure, and discovering my multiple roles as woven into the fabric of special education services. And of course, working hard to meet the coursework requirements in my Written Communications program – which this semester are electives I have selected from a different department, Educational Leadership, in the area of academic advising and student affairs in higher education.

So far – so Good!!

Check. Next…

This is the final week of my long Special Education internship at a middle school – whew! I am more convinced than ever that background training and certification in special education will greatly enhance my effectiveness as a general education teacher! Now to hit that job market…all that’s posted thus far is coaching, foreign languages, and bus drivers  –  Bring on the core content!



~  J. Rice’s >English A and W. Weather’s Grammar B  ~

Introductory Flyleaf

   My cookbook pieces stem from the philosophies of Jeff Rice as “I consider the role of English hypertext A in writing is the relationship between new media and the history of writing and education” and Winston Weather’s as “The criteria by which a writer selects the style, organization and pattern he is to use in preparing any particular composition”.

I have included discussion elements of these philosophies and how they are juxtaposed. Another item is taken from an MCTE article which makes connections between savory restaurant practice and engaging classroom practices. Additionally, I have included items of traditional writing process theories and lessons utilizing the hypertext linking ideas of both Rice and Weathers. Finally I have incorporated a hypertext lesson that borrows methodology from Rice, Weathers, and Sirc, based on the use of biography boxes.     

My default setting is most comfortable at Rice’s English A and Weather’s Grammar A; it is where I instinctively begin. Most of what I write, and most of my perceptions, therefore, stem from this traditional perspective of using the alphabet in sentences to convey meaning. I like words; they’ve served me well. I like using them to evoke sensation, I like dressing them up with pretty eye candy – Microsoft Office has been good. Once in a while, I’ve reached a limit, a designing block, when I have wished there was more offered that could unlock what I’ve imagined and hoped to create.

My very next impulse, following “which words shall be used”, is to think “how can this be different, radical, innovative, fun” – a leap generated from my teaching practice in designing instruction to engage students. Since instruction can be freshly designed to entice student performance, then, naturally, so can the methods of writing/communication and ideas also be revved up.

Innovative methods     The idea of applying this mindset to be more innovative in methods of writing, or communication, is a natural catalyst for me to investigate just how much innovation is out there unbeknownst to me (a lot) and just how radically is it being used (very). I’ve barely begun this journey of discovery and it is immediately clear it will be a work in progress of excitement mixed with angst as I grapple with new areas of learning. How much is out there, is an amazing much; so much, I know I’m only seeing the tippity top of the iceberg! So many wild ideas to use technology to twist, flip and manipulate the abundance of genres to communicate (it now feels inadequate to refer to as writing – still associated in my mind with letters and sentences); the mix and match is endless.

 Luscious and daunting    Those approaches, so similar to one another, of Rice’s >English A and Weather’s Grammar B add the spice I am searching for to enhance my beloved letters in sentences. The intrigue of stylistic communications draped in the sleek vehicle of our media technology is a lure both luscious and daunting to contemplate. As a teacher of course, I am obliged to first consider all devices in the classroom from a vantage of rigor, validity, and measurable goals; however, after that is ensured, it’s a short jump to configuring objectives into creative, productive, applicable learning, and oh, yeah, learning wrapped in fun.

Food for Thought     In the MCTE’s April edition is an article by Janice McGeorge, titled Food for Thought: Classroom Connections Inspired by a Famous Food Critic. In her article, Janice shares her experience of a seminar by author and food critic Ruth Reichl. I especially loved her comparison of restaurant success and classroom success because the resonance created connections of my own between her article, and two other pieces I have recently read.

Understanding audience/Stimulating curriculum     “what makes a great restaurant?” Ruth said, “You must understand your audience. You must serve wonderful food in an environment that makes your guests feel special and welcome. And then, the chef will live up to your expectations.” Naturally, McGeorge made her own connection to the classroom stating, “What makes a great classroom? You must understand your students. You must read aloud wonderful literature in an environment that makes your students feel special and welcome.

Sirc & McGeorge: Strong life/Strong creation     Strong personal connections are made between historical, imaginary, and fictional characters when students can identify with them as people who are much as they are. Assignments that develop context and strong characters can lead to strong, insightful student writing creations.

Rice’s & Maciuna’s Biography Boxes     Biography boxes have given me an idea of using biography from book characters into writing assignments for students who can host a party to introduce a favorite character to their friends.

Resource R./Blended Writing Invitation     Students will create a party invitation in honor of their favorite character in books that they’ve recently submitted book reports on for their regular English classes.

Print, Hypertext, & Image     A short sweet writing assignment such as a digitally created invitation, is rich in new and old media potential. It combines print, though typed, colors, utilizing program features, graphic images, with search browsers, and a hypertext compatibility with the Internet, digital photography, and possibly audio media, involving transferring storage devices. 

Purpose and Audience     As McGeorge noted, a clear understanding of audience and an exciting purpose serve to effectively motivate students. As the targeted students are adolescents, who write socially and have a lot to say to each other, a party invitation should be fun for them to think about, and short enough to accomplish a goal.

Character’s name hyperlinks to book     In their invitation students will be able to make the character’s name link to a description of the book the character appears in; or if there are not “characters”, the event named will link to the book, some Internet sources include e-text versions of the book – reasonably unrestricted Internet access would be needed.

Character description: audio or print?     Students describe their character in a few sentences; with a vocal recording using a software download such as Audacity, opening in iTunes when a key phrase is linked prompting the program to open: requiring 2 downloaded programs, or students may directly type a few descriptive sentences. A choice taking into account a variety of factors.

Host’s photo upload     Finally an author’s snapshot will be taken to save on a media card and copy onto student’s invitations. When printed, their photo will be displayed on their work; which will create ownership and creative pride.

Materials, permissions, access     Technological new media requires a fair amount of frontloading; testing software programs, considering the assistance students will need to accessing it – IF software downloads are permitted on school computers – which swings from “the more the better” to “absolutely not”, and equipment must be reserved – probably for twice as long as you think you need it.

My heroine Jane has what it takes     Jane Eyre, requires an old-fashioned appreciation, which I identify with in reading print media. Like Jane, who adapts to situations, confronts challenges head-on, stays true to her course, and in the end savors satisfying achievement – I slowly but surely adapt to new technology, welcome challenge to incorporate new media, am in it for the long haul, and enjoy the achievement that rewards an open mind and dedication.

Even better the second day (Practice)     As long as I remain eager to discover new innovations, and the more I use the new options available, the closer I will move to a new level of default setting. I want to continue to explore and practice new technologies and media at the pace that works best for me; slowly and repetitively, re-purposed, and with continued use.

Leftovers meets recycling      Another great thing about combining new forms of media technology with writing is the flexibility to patchwork elements from one curriculum design to another. An activity that works well for an assessment may work just as well as practice in another assignment, or two elements of instruction, review or assessment can be combined. 

Concluding credits      I’ve used the work of Jeff Rice, Winston Weathers, Janice McGeorge, Geoffrey Sirc and Halavais 

Entry: 1. Rice and Weathers

Weathers, Grammars of Style; Rice, English A, <A>; and Rice reference (61, 62), Tofts D., Kinnane R., and Haig A., “I Owe the Discovery of This Image to the Convergence of a Student and a Photocopier.” Southern Review 27, (1994), p. 252-60.

Rice reference – “Like Landow and Bolter, Tofts, Kinnane, and Haig explore hypertext as educational. Interactive technologies, promise a high degree of intervention and involvement in knowledge production” (Rice 61/Toft, Kinnane, Haig, “I Owe the discovery of this image to the convergence of a student and a photocopier”, 25).

Weathers – “By “grammar of style” I mean the “set of conventions governing the construction of a whole composition; the criteria by which a writer selects the stylistic materials, method of organization and development, compositional pattern and structure he is to use in preparing any particular composition. This “grammar” defines and establishes the boundaries in which a composition must take place and defines the communication goals to which a composition is committed” (133, 134).

Rice – “My interest in exploring <A> as a keyword is in making it travel in all directions at once. As if this chapter is itself a networked, social space, an initial connection I want to make as I consider the role of <A> in writing is the relationship between new media (represented by the markup) and the history of writing and education” (53).

Theory components      Rice’s English <A> – “The network I imagine creating is flexible, shifting, a never stable entity, <A> causes these entities to form and dislocate, becoming larger and smaller bodies as they do so…the moment one pedagogical space engages with another, both spaces link and then change on the basis of what and how they assemble. The terms they use socialize, the ideas they use socialize, the people they use socialize, and an assemblage occurs. To do an assemblage for education, I engage with the ideas presented here as well as the logics of several social software programs without calling for actual usage of these programs. And as I engage with each, I make a larger pedagogical network. My software choices, overall, are among the most basic applications available, yet each can contribute new meanings for <A>” (62).

Consider Rice’s alternate space of English <A>’s description of what-it-is-not network and the individual: “The networks are not spaces where one may study multiple subjects, interlink multiple subjects, or study in nonlinear  fashion, because to do that work would reinforce the individuality of English A that most hypertext theorists want to move away from” (62). Would networking as it is described above necessarily defeat the purpose and essence of networking? Do you see a value place remaining for the individuality context of English A possible within English <A>?     

Weather’s Grammar B – “An alternate grammar, Grammar B, with characteristics of variegation, synchronicity, discontinuity, ambiguity and the like. It is…a mature grammar used by competent writers and offering students a set of options that, added to the traditional grammar of style, will give them a much more flexible voice, a much greater communication capacity, a much greater opportunity to put into effective language all the things they have to say” (136/137).

Weather approaches communication in his examination of grammars of style by incorporating the social element while supporting the individual in the writing process. Do you see Weather’s Grammar B with “characteristics of variegation, synchronicity, discontinuity, and ambiguity” (136), as a possible forerunner of Rice’s English <A>? With what contrasts?

This definition of Weathers does not seem out-dated to me, though Jeff Rice, viewing English curriculum from the historical perspective of the late 1800s to the mid- 1900s, would possibly consider it so. He presents English curriculum (as if it has remained unchanged) as an “educational protocol, of long-term ideological consequences. Valuing writing as a private, individual experience ensures emphasis in correctness, a necessary skill within a variety of communicative practices, but also deemphasizes the need for relationships. In the English A model, writers and writing content are considered to be independent bodies” (58). Nonetheless, both Weathers and Rice clearly value foundational English usage.

 Just for fun, could Weather’s use of “Crot” be considered a metaphoric precursor of hypertext? (Crot: bit or fragment; compares to the “stanza” in poetry; “ranging in length from one sentence to twenty or thirty sentences, an autonomous unit, absent of transition relating it to preceding or subsequent crots” p 136).

Pedagogy components  

Rice believes traditional curriculum to lack relational context; which he addresses by recommending a framework of the English <A> as networked hypertext using tagging; a notion I recognize, albeit it tenuously, in Weather’s earlier proposed framework of Grammar B, as crots. Significant distinctions between the frameworks are obvious as technological advancements between 1976 and Rice’s contemporary position make those inevitable. However, both innovations include increased social context and multi-functionality.

How do you see English <A> implemented in the classroom to “evoke collagist writing as interesting networks of themes that open up a conceptual map” (Rice 61/T.K.H. 258) in a way that complements English A’s “values of writing as a private, individual experience ensuring emphasis in correctness, a necessary skill within a variety of communicative practices” (Rice 58)? Alternatively, do you see an incompatibility? Are social and individual writing solely exclusive? Do you view the applications of one requiring the elimination, or under-emphasis, of the other?

Assessment components 

Rice proposes a network pedagogical framework of <A>, characterizing the elements he creates as:

          “…flexible, shifting, never stable entity (or even entities), <A> causes these entities to         

         form and dislocate, becoming larger and smaller bodies as they do so. Indeed, to follow   

         Latour’s concept of the network, the moment one pedagogical space engages with

         another (which, in essence, would be every moment), both spaces link and then change on

         the basis of what and how they assemble. The terms they use socialize, the ideas they use

         socialize, the people they use socialize, and an assemblage occurs. To do an assemblage

         for education, I engage with the ideas presented here as well as the logics of several social

         software programs without calling for actual usage of these programs. And as I engage

         with each, I make a larger pedagogical network. My software choices, overall, are among

         the most basic applications available, yet each can contribute new meanings for <A>. Each

         offers a possibility for <A> that English A could not provide” (62).

I see the hybrids of English <A> and Grammar B implemented in the classroom to complement those elements of English A and Styles of Grammar, “values of writing as a private, individual experience ensuring emphasis in correctness, a necessary skill within a variety of communicative practices” (Rice 58).

What suggestions would you recommend for assessing this hybrid model formatively? Summatively? 

Entry: 2. Exciting Menu and Exciting Curriculum

      An exciting item recently caught my attention that will adapt nicely into my cookbook collage as an item tying instructional perspectives of a veteran teacher and two textbook selections. Taken from the MCTE’s April edition of the e-met journal is an article by Janice McGeorge, MCTE Elementary Chair, titled Food for Thought: Classroom Connections Inspired by a Famous Food Critic. In her article, Janice shares her experience attending a seminar by author and food critic Ruth Reichl.

     McGeorge writes of her unexpected discovery connecting the restaurant experience to the classroom experience. I especially loved her comparison of restaurant success and classroom success because the resonance created connections of my own between her article, and two other pieces I have recently read. McGeorge concludes in her article an inspiring reflection of Ruth Reichl’s response to the question, “what makes a great restaurant?” Ruth said, “You must understand your audience. You must serve wonderful food in an environment that makes your guests feel special and welcome. And then, the chef will live up to your expectations.” Naturally, McGeorge made her own connection to the classroom stating, “So then, what makes a great classroom? You must understand your students. You must read aloud wonderful literature in an environment that makes your students feel special and welcome. You must provide ample time for writing while guiding young writers with the literature you intentionally choose to share. You must expect your students to learn and do well. And then they will live up to your expectations”.

     Setting high expectations, not only in rigorous curriculum and instruction, but also in the expectation of students’ ability to achieve high standards, is an essential component in a high-performance classroom. An aspect of high expectations I had not considered before, was from the perspective of student ability tracking and the potential influences on student achievement. After reading McGeorge’s restaurant piece reminding us to “Expect your students to learn and do well. And then they will live up to your expectations” I was pleased to subsequently read of setting high expectations in the Handbook of Adolescent Literacy Research text. Of particular interest, was the chapter on Tracking and Ability Grouping, where a quote appeared on page 231, from Donelan, R. W., Neal, G.A., & Jones, D.L. (1994), from The promise of Brown and the reality of academic grouping: The tracks of my tears, Journal of Negro Education. The reference to “Brown”, as in “Brown v. the Board of Education”, the landmark case that in 1954 determined segregated public schools were not, and could not be made, equal, and that segregated public schools violated black students’ constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment, triggered my special education interest. Further, the text went on to speak of student achievement and stimulating curriculum and instruction in much the same way as McGeorge had spoken. Notably so when Donelan is quoted as “Teachers must be prepared to organize and facilitate stimulating experiences for all students. They must see all students as capable and expect their active involvement” (HALR, 1994).

     Another recognition fell into place for me from McGeorge’s piece, particularly when she spoke of “providing ample time for writing while guiding young writers with the literature you intentionally choose to share” as I read about a pedagogy practice in the text Writing New Media. In the chapter by Geoffrey Sirc, Box-Logic, in which he writes, “True connection with one’s composition is when the work has a strong life in the writer, when it’s part of an on-going project, which means it continues growing, appearing in variant versions. Thus, no draft is ever finished, especially in the arbitrary scope of an academic semester. The raw, then, not the cooked. A loose, unthematized collection; (reminds me of a cookbook genre) the parts not necessarily inflecting each other as in a traditional essay”. I think it is fun to visualize the stimulating, appetizing, environment that makes guests feel special and welcome as suggested by McGeorge, as the aesthetic approach to writing practices suggested by Sirc, that encourages students to inject their “hearts and souls” into their creations. Sirc elaborates on his perspective by suggesting, “A pedagogy of the curio cabinet, an aesthetic of the objet trouve. Celebrating the basic image, seeing perception as a performative gesture”; much like cooking I notice, as cooking television channels create their following, and in certain restaurants chefs’ garner acclaim and perform their culinary skills in live performances to the dinner guests.

     As to pedagogy and curriculum, Sirc further encourages “The new classroom activities to refine these elements let students use what they really care about and love (or hate) as the new subject matter in their work. Homepage as homage; personal immersion in the stuff of one’s other tradition as a writer’s material composition”. A perfect application example is presented by Jeff Rice as an assignment “Asking students to pick the date of their choice and research what was happening then in areas such as history, politics, literature, film, comics, music, art, business, or science, (and I could suggest here ‘food culture’) building a hypertext catalogue of the results (Rice, then, has unwittingly re-invented Maciunas’s famous ‘Biography Boxes’) – Sirc’s second set of parenthesis.

     I have chosen this network of perspectives that I feel fit uniquely into my cookbook, as it is saturated with the metaphoric interjects I enjoy, the insightful and effective pedagogical practices I admire, and offers influences from scholars whose perspectives I’ve chosen to highlight, noted in the Cookbook Introductory, as Rice’s English A, English <A and Weathers’ Grammar A, Grammar B.

 Food for Thought, Janice McGeorge

Entry:  3. Jeff Rice’s, Networks and New Media, 2006

Written only six years earlier, this article opens with the assertion “college English should be new media” in order to situate areas of writing within the media network, “whose role in shaping and sharing information continues to increase within the media world we inhabit” (127). By the very fact that six years later this observation of media networks (prevalence) is taken for granted, supports the idea that media writing and networking affects increases in shaping and sharing of information but also points to the influences in concepts of speed and time; rendering what has taken place as late as yesterday, to be nearly inconsequential, in specific contexts, by tomorrow – an effect itself worthy of study. While what used to be standards of “contemporary” time, written in the last decade, in standards of present time, what was written a decade ago, not only may have already borne fruit, but may have passed into common assumption a decade later.

     After six short years, Jeff Rice’s and Jay David Bolter’s assertions and observations of “Our culture’s practical engagement with digital forms as the World Wide Web, may compel us to rethink the relationship of media theory and practice in the humanities” (127) has been borne out by efforts of teachers at all grade levels to incorporate technology writing media into classroom curriculum for student production as embodied within the nationally-developed Common Core State Standards.

     What Jeff Rice describes as the “network spaces, literal and figurative, of connectivity, ideological as well as technological spaces generated by various forms of new media that allow information, people, places, and other items to establish a variety of relationships that previous spaces or ideologies of space did not allow “(128) and “the space of the page and singleness of an author, keeps bodies of information, and thus bodies, separate” (130). I would have to live in a cave to be unaware of or unconnected to, the term being “off the grid”, this networked space Mr. Rice refers. While I don’t think page-writing has gasped its last breath, I clearly see the over-lay of digital writing and, as Mr. Rice explains, the saturation of digital writing in all areas of English studies; if networked connections of digital writing have not yet dominated, without explicit efforts to contain, it will become the mainstream in education as it has socially and economically.

     One concern of mine regarding a social mainstream entirely based on digital networks is the isolation of the individual from institutional beings; of non-fraudulent identity loss through lack of face-to-face interactions that have been transformed into action-taking only available online; those isolated interactions of politics, economics, socializing, that may exacerbate ripe conditions for the socio-path – but that concern may be a little too sci-fi.

     The “growth that generates complexity, reflexivity, contradiction, ambivalence, redundancy, affect, and other features in emerging ways” (132) has taken on King Kong proportions when the model of connections and linkages of complex nodes shifting in flux is being continuously reconfigured by the entities that develop and host network products with continual system expansions. Did Jeff Rice see the connected network going mobile? When it did go mobile, did we know it would not take long to go viral? With the innovated leap of systems offering “freedom to extend and maintain their brand and products on all of their mobile assets, while easily integrating with their existing data and website systems” Sechrist, 2012 your work can proceed no matter where you are, even while on vacation. Does anyone else see this as not so great?

     Sechrist, S. (2012), mobiManage v.2.) Offers Single System Sign-On to Boost Mobile CMS.      

Entry: 4. Print text, in newly renovated, media

Diction in informational and persuasive text Lesson 

Context: advertising, Audience: public school, Skill Areas: reading, writing, language: parts of speech.

Objective: students will discern informational and persuasive text, identify adjectives and adverbs, and be able to create self-advertising cards using informational and persuasive language to demonstrate descriptive word choices and usage of adjectives and adverbs.

Method: students will examine advertising cards differentiating among informational and persuasive language and graphics, identify purpose of adjectives and adverbs within advertising context, explore and practice word choice effectiveness, and apply knowledge and skills to created product for evaluation refinement and revision. Final products to be displayed, or mailed, for public readers.

Materials: Mail order advertising cards, technique questions to check understanding, pc, projector, Internet links, power point to pace and reinforce lesson, 2 sets blank index cards per student, magazines, calendars, scissors, glue-sticks, color pencils, hardcopy lesson/assessment criteria.

Prior Knowledge: Genre: Informational and Persuasive. Text: Advertising. Word Choice: descriptive language – Adjectives, Adverbs.

Plan: Introduce lesson, purpose, objectives and assessment; open Powerpoint presentation.  Slide 1: Reinforcement: Descriptive word choice; defining parts of speech & grammar usage: adjectives, adverbs    

Build Background: Advertising characteristics: Succinct language – opposite of expanding, extending, developed.

Precise language –attention-getting, powerful, persuasive, word with the most exact meaning – opposite of synonyms of similar meaning, weak, common, over-used words; include dynamic, eye-catching colorful graphics. Slides 2 – 3: Open preselected web links that exemplify objectives – elaborate on examples of media advertising.

Check for Understanding: Cold Call & Extend It techniques: descriptive, informational, persuasive, precise.

EvaluateText: Pass out advertising cards to all students to critically read and evaluate effectiveness of layout; description, information, persuasion, precision, adjectives, adverbs, color, placement, size, style, interest…

Collaboration Practice: Elicit student’s indications of adjectives/adverbs from cards and post their input to blank slide 4: (Recognition of descriptive/persuasive language of adjectives and adverbs. Build group culture.)

Multiple text viewing:  Direct students to rotate cards – farthest left column to pass cards to front and collect. Direct students in each row to pass card to their left. Give collected cards to front of farthest right column to pass to back. (Rotate cards as time permits; keep cards accessible as samples; Accommodated Instruction)

Repeat: rotation/collaboration, posting students recognized descriptive/persuasive adjectives and adverbs.

Check for Understanding: Select Sampling & Boomerang techniques (documented evidence; Differentiated Inst)

Independent Practice: Direct students to create self-advertisements containing informational and descriptive text using precise language of adjectives and adverbs. Pass out blank cards, magazines, calendars, glue sticks, scissors, color pencils, and hardcopies of lesson and assessment criteria – display objective criteria, slide 5. Collect completed cards and pass out Lesson Assessment slips.

Self-Advertisement Assessment: check cards for met objective criteria, non-graded: provide guiding commentary for revision (subject matter too sensitive for peer feedback). Day two pass out blank cards for final display and mailing (addressed/posted envelopes) of self-advertisements, graded to criteria (separately). 

Lesson Assessment: Ask students to evaluate lesson effectiveness using statement rating scale (hard copy). Compare and analyze for patterns of strengths and weaknesses, adjust lesson/assessment as indicated. Use documented evidence (check for understanding/select sampling) to update progress notes.

Remediation:  Organize cards & students according to missed criteria and re-teach in weak areas; document any specific struggles and note emergent patterns as students recreate final drafts independently.

Enrichment:  Pass out blank cards for students to advertise elements outside of themselves; how they spend their time, what they enjoy, what would interest them further…using precise and specific descriptive language.

Applicable ELA strands, standards and benchmarks:  

Strand 1: Writing, Speaking, and Visual Expression 1.1 Understand and practice writing as a recursive process. Benchmarks 1.1.3, 1.1.5, 1.1.7, 1.1.8. 1.3 Communicate in speech, writing, and multimedia using content, form, voice, and style appropriate to the audience and purpose (e.g., to reflect, persuade, inform, analyze, entertain, inspire). Benchmark 1.3.5.

Strand 2: Reading, Listening, and Viewing 2.3 Develop as a reader, listener, and viewer for personal, social, and political purposes, through independent and collaborative reading. Benchmark 2.3.8.

Strand 3: Literature and Culture 3.4 Examine mass media, film, series fiction, and other texts from popular culture. Benchmark 3.4.1.

Strand 4: Language 4.1 Understand and use the English language effectively in a variety of contexts and settings. Benchmark 4.1.4.

Entry: 5. Because Digital Writing Matters

Computer labs I guess, I took for granted; I knew some thought went into the structure of a computer lab, but not really any deeper thought than allowing full visual of all monitor screens to the staff supervising students. In the classic set-up (rows ending perpendicular to a wall) it was more difficult to supervise students by the wall because they always closed out the window of inappropriate sites leaving the accountability up to the firewall and the call from I.T. department to report the inappropriate usage. Figure 3.2 (69) with tables lining the walls and all screens facing the interior of the room makes much better sense both for supervising and for best spatial design for teacher assistance.

 It seems like acceptable use policies were rewritten every semester to try and plug whatever loophole had been breached. I like the all-year parental consent; I signed one of these myself the last couple of years, and while I noticed it was innovative, the convenience and logic didn’t fully sink in, it was just one of those passing “That’s a good idea” thoughts. A blanket permission is sensible, given that students are writing and producing so much more content digitally and publicly. I agree some specifically outlined lessons are needed surrounding identity, privacy, credibility, authorship, and participation – this may tie in with professional developments. It is one thing to learn and apply the technology and digital tools, but it is still another to understand and explain the ethical and academic legal issues, even if these concepts are often a fine line.

 What I liked best about these two chapters, is the inclusion of “places to go and things to use” along with the broad concepts and detailed examples of situations, such as Youth Voices, and the Teachers Teaching Teachers podcasts facilitating collaborative planning and curriculum. I can identify with much of the findings noted in technology professional developments. When we first received smartboards, the training was a couple of hours held once, we were advised we could best learn how to use it through “using it” – an excellent way to learn something, however, as teachers, time to fool with stuff is not time we have available, especially for something large in scope. Like many new gadgets & systems, the programs that “came with”, were not all that useful, the better programs were “sold separately”.  Personally what was most disappointing, was that the materials and lessons I created in Word, were not available for the functions of the program (ie: cloze activities, other ELA functions) – the functions work only with Internet/online texts. So, the technology was great for sharing Internet/online texts & sites with students and was an excellent, but limited, supplement. 

 As the authors (116) point out though (NSDC, 2001) nothing replaces sustained and developed teaching for effective learning. As a student I have had a few technology courses, and I’ve learned a few things; and I’ve learned them for a single, or twice-performed practice; then I don’t have the time to replicate my learning, and after a few months, I have a sketchy recall of what I may or may not have authentically learned of a technology/webtool.

 From a special education technology class, I know my computer is capable of far more than I knew of, and of which I remain fairly ignorant. From a grad technology course requirement, I know there are some free sites that allow me to create academic activities for students (webquests), but I should know more. I know, from taking online courses in general, there are things such as blogs (I hadn’t utilized until now), and wikis (still do not know how to administer/proctor), and web pages (still don’t know where or how to create), and podcasts and audio files which I also wish I knew how to do.

 Public schools have been using Fusion pages, accessible through the school websites, where teachers post lessons (though I do not know where, or how, these are created).  I don’t know how these differ from a webpage (maybe because they are pages on a shared website), but this is my Keyword for investigation, so I expect I shall soon find out these details of Fusion pages.  

 It alarms me I am in the dark to some of the basics of computering; like how to “back up” everything on a storage device before taking a pc in for cleaning (wiping it out to its factory default and it comes back with nothing) – certainly an essential task to know how to perform! Simple things like google docs – still a mystery. I don’t need a multitude of complex things yet, maybe a few really really good ones, and the essential basics necessary to a constant user, as constant users teachers will all be. Isn’t the more you access and download the greater the quantity of debris collected and the frequency the necessary clean up? What a pain.

 The individual state’s Writing Project stories woven through out were intriguing, as were the digital supportive communities such as Edublogs, Nings (??), and E-Anthology. Good too was the digital storytelling (still a mystery to me – but now I know where to look) of places like Nicenet, Tapped In, or also writing projects, like the one in Red Cedar, WRITE, and Write for Your Life Project. As often as Selfe is cited, it looks like he has a lot to say and his books would be great resources leading to great online resources.  

Entry: 6. Digital writing lesson as discussed in Introductory Flyleaf – the sample, the lesson link

Hello Friends,

I would like to invite you to meet my newest friend,

Jane Eyre!

(read her story by clicking on her name)


I am hosting a party in her honor,

celebrating her engagement to Rochester,

being held at the Olive Garden,

3500 O’Neill Dr.

Jackson, MI,

on April 27, 2012,

at 2:30 p.m.

     Jane is my good friend because she’s loyal, thoughtful, sensible,

kind, and independent; she’s my heroine because she overcomes

hardship and obstacles with perseverance, honesty and humility;

there’s more to hear of her love story by Charlotte Bronte at

      I am excited to see you all on the 27th!    Love always, your friend, Robin

 View complete lesson plans and Character Bio Invitation in ORIGINAL formatting and images at:

                                                                         Parkside ELA lesson plan

 Entry: 7. Halavais in plain-speak, a refreshing dessert to an ending

Halavais, 2009

Well, finally something that resonates with me and is stated in plain language! Hello again the joy of reading.  How discursively “Terminator” though – Halavais speaks of machines in the same “human-entity” way the famous flick speaks of machines. Mark Poster’s book, Information Please, I presume is a play on the query made by telephone operators back in the day of the party-line, when phone lines were shared with neighbors and your party’s number could be given and connection established through the Operator – when the phone book wasn’t handily available, but also wasn’t used top prop a wobbly table leg. I expect such a historical reference was made to highlight the gulf traversed between then and now, when basic (and not so basic) information about your neighbors, and strangers, is provided by the “machine” (ok, search engine, but I like “machine” – it’s so ambivalently suspenseful).

     Google not only delivers the information sought but presumptuously offers a smorgasbord of other related information, which can be innocuous enough; maybe in addition to a phone number to a hotel, I may indeed like to read 48 reviews, know what events are happening during my visit, and see some pics approximating what I can expect of the premises.  On the other hand, with full credit given to free will, should information be provided that includes helpful tips on how to make a bomb? Yes, the accountability goes to the seeker; but still, wasn’t life a little safer before just anyone could cook up explosives and super-drugs? Where are the good old days when the murder weapon was a baseball bat or a 38 c. single-shot Saturday Night Special, and only one person at a time could be killed and there were near even odds the perpetrator could be taken out? Shouldn’t the intensive labor of some disciplines be left to those with the personal drive to pursue knowledge the old-fashioned hard way through government funding and the obsessions of the basement lunatic?  

I can’t disagree at all with Halavais’s (plainly stated) bias that search engine users (I agree that would be everyone) should be informed of “how they work and what they mean to society” (3).” Once they know this, they will recognize the need to take collective action and participate in the management of these technologies” (3), recognized by Selber as Social Actions of a rhetorically literate student (2004), and endorsed by the promoter of “The more you know…(I can’t remember the rest of the concept-slogan)”, essentially “the better off you’ll be”. Though this seems obvious now, however, only a short year ago, my own rhetorical literacy of social action consisted of a healthy distrust based on gut instinct. How reassuring to learn there is a discourse of informed distrust cloaked in the obvious “Knowledge is power” and “the only thing to fear is fear itself” (Patton? Freud? Roosevelt? Anyone know?); Yes, I know I could fuckinggoogleit, but I’d rather be a part of a connected digital community of writers (Gimmeabreak!).

 “The appropriate search engine does not promote authoritarian dominion over knowledge, but invites communal finding and search sociability” (3). In contrast, I doubt the search engine is usually held in the regard of such an invitation. I would guess rather, it is more likely to be held in the former esteem of authoritarian dominion, and viewed as the absolute power of given information; especially by those who have literal concrete thinking issues and more readily presume accuracy from a machine entity than from a fallible human. We could be headed in a Vulcan worldview – Lord, I hope not – but from a perspective of younger generations this could be so, as reliance on human authority becomes perceived as less research-based and therefore less valid; in my opinion a dangerous theory smothering nearly all contexts.

S. Selber, (2004). Multiliteracies for a Digital Age, p. 147

Exploring chapters 7 and 9 of The Successful High School Writing Center, by Dawn Fels and Jennifer Wells (2011).

Literacy Theories

 The Successful High School Writing Center emphasizes a director-headed, peer-tutored, writing center with integrated reading; the book’s model is the Mercy Reading and Writing Center. The center combines content-area literacy, literacy coaching, and high school writing to mediate some of the limitations of each individual content area of practice.

In an address at the Midwest Writing Centers Association in 2007, Kathleen Yancey praised writing centers as “the most important unit” in helping students transfer literacies between and among the many communities to which they belong. A place they can return to for developing essential academic, interpersonal, and technological skills.

The authors use three sources to illustrate the purpose of a literacy coach:

  • Fisher, D. (2007) Coaching considerations,,
  • Shanklin, N.L. (2006) What are the characteristics of effective literacy coaching?
  • Sturtevant, E.G. (2003) The literacy coach: A key to improving teaching and learning in secondary schools, Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education.

Literacy coaches work with faculty on an ongoing basis to help them find ways to teach students the literacy skills and strategies necessary. Their major role is to work with content teachers across the curriculum, by providing support when it is needed, they are more likely to step outside their comfort zones and try new things.

The Mercy Reading and Writing Center positioned their center as a literacy leader, clarifying their understanding of what literacy means as “literacy education” no longer refers only to reading and writing; as noted by the NCTE , “Their texts range from clothing logs to music to specialty magazines to Web sites to popular and classical literature. In the classroom, it is important for teachers to recognize and value the multiple literacy resources students bring to the acquisition of school literacy (chapter 9). NCTE, 2004, A call to action: What we know about adolescent literacy and ways to support teachers in meeting students’ needs.

It is important to position the center as a literacy leader and not another literacy remedial program to be confused with improving test scores – though they may – because changing the nature of the relationship centers have with teachers and students would prove defeating to the primary role of student-centered writing instruction. An assessment component is still essential, as the data will meet other desired objectives.

Once their idea of literacy was clarified, they defined the center’s role using questions such as:

  • In what ways are students’ literacies to be showcased?
  • In what ways will they use literacy as a social and political endeavor to communicate their experiences?
  • To what extent will extracurricular activities that align with literacy projects be hosted?
  • How will tutor training and practice reinforce the value of diverse and multiple literacies?
  • In what critical ways will the center collaborate across disciplines to develop assignments that 1. use text and non-text as models, 2. allow students to reflect on learning, 3. employ a multi-genre approach while teaching literacy skills needed in that discipline; and 4. incorporate technology to serve objectives?
  • To what degree will the center encourage teachers to demonstrate their own literacy successes related to their content area? Unrelated to their content area?
  • How will students’ needs be identified and their reasons for using or not using the center?
  • How will emergent learning processes during a writing center session be identified and evaluated?
  • How will it be shown whether or not sessions over time help students improve as writers?  

Reporting how centers contribute to improvement within institutional goals, but without leading to further mislabeling of teachers and students, can be depicted through center attendance and kept appointments, encouragement for students to stay in school and graduate, and as benefits to tutors, students with disabilities, English Language Learners, and to professional development for staff.

 Anchoring the work of a center is the mission, guiding philosophy, and stated core values. Aspects that frame core values are considerations are: 

  • the writing center as a literacy leader
  • the writing center’s role in literacy education
  • pedagogy that serves specific needs of students
  • serving diverse students’ needs
  • teacher professional development and collaboration
  • student achievement and school improvement
  • summarizing/depicting the writing center’s success

 Design approaches of the center can enhance the ELA classroom curriculum and instruction, extend beyond the ELA currently offered in the classroom, and/or supplement the ELA content. Elements of social and private writing, digital writing, art, and photography, creative and genre writing, academic writing – one, or some, or maybe all, can be integrated using literacy coaches, teachers, volunteers, local college students – whomever you can coax in and train.

 The need for integrating reading into the writing center is so great there are a number of alternative to explore. If the writing center is using peer tutors, those tutors should get training in not only conferencing with students about their writing but about their reading, as well. At the college level, tutors have reported feeling that their tutees are not adept at critical reading, and they felt it was important to help them become better readers, but they did not know how to do this. Any writing center will be strengthened if their staff is trained in supporting reading strategies.

 Through faculty survey, they found the most frequent literacy concerns were reading comprehension, distinguishing main ideas from supporting details, and inability to make inferences; to a lesser degree were concerns about reading rates and vocabulary. The writing center coaches routinely collect evaluations for feedback, and report changes in students’ critical reading and writing abilities.

 Best Practices

 The flexibility of designing a center allows whichever delivery is practical – using a writing center room for individual support and conferencing, mobile workshops to content-area classrooms, or scheduled mini-workshops in the center. The (reading and) writing center should promote effective writing strategies for student achievement in the ELA curriculum and instruction.

To launch the Mercy Center it was promoted as a teacher resource, as well as a student resource, that made house calls, or classroom calls. They worked with interested faculty in designing reading and/or writing activities in their various subject areas and offered to come into the classroom and provide mini-workshops with students on a variety of literacy tasks and skills.

Once a year, the (pre-established) faculty and student book clubs merge, and students benefit experiencing their teachers as equals. As student-centered as classroom teachers may try to be, students often feel there is only one way to discuss literature assigned in class. In the merged book club, any and all interpretations are game.

To further support staff, in addition to offering in-class workshops, the center hosted informal workshops to help faculty answer questions such as “How can I get students to know more vocabulary?” or “Why don’t students use the comments I write on their papers?” (90).

Another option is to hold optional brown bag lunch sessions on integrating content literacy. The mention that Janet Allen’s Tools for Teaching Content Literacy (2004) is an approachable, practical, yet theoretically grounded book their teachers have found invaluable. Other alternatives may include faculty pair-and-share where faculty share strategies that are working in their own classrooms (92).

Teacher feedback responses include “When I am planning my day-to-day things, I’ve used the techniques you’ve taught in my classroom”, and student evaluations which mention “Annotating had really helped them understand the material, rather than just copying their notes out of the book.” One faculty member explained, “When students are working together to solve something like how to write a good thesis statement, they use each other as resources”.

As part of the broader scope of the Mercy Reading and Writing Center, they wanted to be useful to all members of the school and to provide a center for previously under-frequented clubs and publications that were reading/writing-related. By offering events and resources for the whole school, we reinforced our first message, that reading and writing involves everyone, and everyone can benefit from using the center. Politically, the more people the writing center has on their team, the better.

Writing centers can open up dialogue between faculty on how writing can be taught, and can help students see writing in a new way of learning and communicating. Teachers’ schedules are so tightly packed they have little time to conference with students about their writing, writing centers make it possible for teachers in all subject areas to enable their students to get personalized feedback.

The many facets of the Mercy Center, include:

  • a series of workshops for seniors on writing college admissions essays
  • a book club, popular even with students who self-identify as being poor readers
  • designs and edits the school literary arts magazine, featuring the best student writing, both academic and creative, along with the best student artwork
  • the Peer Reading and Writing Coaches Program which recruits and teaches volunteer peer tutors

The students who most frequently use the center come for help on research papers, followed by college application essays, literary analysis essays, and reading nonfiction textbooks.

Both high school writing centers and literacy coaching are a response to the same need: to give students the reading and writing skills they need to succeed in any subject. One of the most compelling arguments for integrating reading into the writing center on the student level, and for integrating literacy coaching into the writing center’s work on the faculty level, is that it confronts the need for improved content-area literacy in a way that is simultaneously top-down and bottom-up.

In summary, the best practice in designing a writing center relies on an approach of teaching reading and writing strategies to students and teaching teachers how to incorporate reading and writing strategies into their teaching.

Let’s see if this works…

Graphic Disorganizer: Weathers, Rice, & Tofts, Kinnane, and Haig:

I Owe the Discovery of This Image to a student and a photocopier:



                    Listing                                Fragments                                       Cookbook

Hypertext                         English A                   English <A>                   Sign post Terrain

Straight-line                                                                                                    Technique                    

    Grammar A                            motif                          Repetitions/Repetends/Refrains

                 disparate                                                         Repetitions/Repetends/Refrains                                                                                                             Repetitions/Repetends/Refrains


                                              Literary Forms                               

       Stuart Selber                                                             coherence                                                                   Grammar B                                Jeffery Rice

                                  synchronicity                                                      juxtaposition                       Paratactic Text


           Winston Weathers                                              Tofts, Kinnane & Haig                                                                          

Double Voice                                                            Parallel Passages                                      D I M E N S I O N

                  Individualist                                                 Alternate                                           Socially

              Collage-Montage                                                          Traditional


Multi-genre                Multi-modal                               Multi-style                                                                                     

     That’s a Crot                      Block Writing & Aphorisms                                                   Institutional Space White Space

Keywords                      rhetoric & Composition                        T e x t u r e                   

                                                                           L a b y r i n t h i n e    S e n t e n c e s

EMU  EngL 516  Blogging  Discussion Leads  Presentations  Learning Inventory  Digital Writing  Technology        

college readiness

College Readiness – an excerpt from:
Craft – Seybold, R., (2011), Illustrating the Importance of a Prerequisite College Preparation Program in a Therapeutic Residential School. Spring Arbor University, School of Education library database, at,

     Dozens of intrinsic and extrinsic factors are important in defining effective qualities that contribute to preparing students for college readiness. Intrinsically students must be ready to meet academic challenges through behavioral practices that develop the characteristics needed to manage college demands. Extrinsically students need unwavering support while in high school by compulsory expectations of appropriatebehaviors. Academically, college-bound students should be directed toward, and held accountable to, meeting the standards of a college preparation program that is designed to introduce students to postsecondary skills and to facilitate their exposure to college expectations. The importance of college readiness recognized as personal behaviors, academic preparation and supportive implementation are all part of a system that can make the difference between college student persistence towards graduation and college student discontinuation.
     By setting college-level expectations for students at young ages, the initiative prepares them for the shock of being on a campus – a cultural and academic shift that turns many new high-school graduates away from higher education (Killough, 2009). On college campuses, students themselves are responsible for their education, while in high school, that responsibility falls more squarely on the teacher (Killough, 2009). This point succinctly illustrates the necessity of an academic bridge between high school expectations and college expectations. Why would students who are in high school and expected to enroll in college, or are already dually enrolled, not be previously trained to undertake that role? By not insisting on prior training, we are creating a situation of potential failure and needless struggle. From the beginning, students are told that they will need hard work, long hours, and summer classes to reach their goals; we want the kids to understand that what they’re doing now impacts their futures in significant ways, the point is that they can build confidence and enjoy it and succeed (Killough, 2009, p.2).
     If students survive the first year college, they will have learned two important lessons that will prove invaluable over the tenure of their college experience: (1) College is not high school; one cannot just coast through; and (2) The successful college student takes responsibility for their education and will become an active participant in constructing knowledge (Kidwell, 2005, p.1).
     Some academic differences to expect in college include an increased workload production in every course and the challenge posed by adopting new styles of learning that are less a matter of skills and more a matter of the student’s relation with him or herself as a learner. Also different in a college setting is that instructors serve not so much as authorities, but rather as facilitators in which the students have an equal responsibility to learn and to think for themselves; in this, the high-school experience seems to be more a part of the problem than the solution (Kidwell, 2005, p.2). College preparation should include introducing students to this type of mindset, a part of the behavior expected in college would be responsibility and targeted critical thinking skills, an area students have identified as important in life, whether engaged in vocational or higher education.
     By the end of the first year, students begin to realize their opinions must be backed with reasons and evidence and contrary opinions must be fairly analyzed and evaluated, they must be prepared to support their opinions as well as to be open to alternatives (Kidwell, 2005). These appear to be areas perfunctorily addressed in high school and excused from academic expectations when confronted by emotionally impaired youth afflicted with processing and reasoning deficits. This is exactly why I believe more, not less, specific, rigorous, formal academic instruction needs to be a college prerequisite for high school students.
     College is no longer an environment in which professors have the sole responsibility to teach but, rather, one in which the student has an equal responsibility to learn. Merely providing the right answer is no longer sufficient; instead, students must think why an answer may or may not be right, what makes one answer better than another, and they must also be prepared to explain what they think and why (Kidwell, 2005).
     High school teachers and college professors can help their students through this transition, but not by offering the easy way out, to the contrary, teachers and professors should work to gain a better understanding of the process of transformation induced by the freshman-year experience. We, too, need to stop regarding ourselves as the authority-who-knows and to become facilitators of student-directed learning realizing that we, like our students, are learners as well (Kidwell, 2005).
College Readiness Factors
     To more clearly examine and define what college readiness factors are, 29 experts with backgrounds in special education, postsecondary transitions, higher-education, and/or counseling identified and rated the importance of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and other factors believed to be important for students with learning disabilities, and universally important to students’ success in college (Milsom & Dietz,2009).             Due to the considerable differences between college and high school settings, college readiness cannot be measured simply by high school success. That is, the ability to pass specific high school courses and/or earn a certain grade point average is not enough. College readiness has many intersecting facets, including academic content knowledge and writing skills, academic behaviors including study skills, cognitive strategies such as critical thinking, and contextual skills including knowledge of college policies and expectations as well as coping skills (Milsom & Dietz, 2009).Additional variables such as motivation, college expectations, social support, self-efficacy, time-management, study skills and rigorous high school courses, are all important academic abilities and personal attitudes for college success; social skills, self-awareness, academic preparedness, social supports and personal responsibility are all recommended for assessment when examining college readiness.
     The multi-faceted construct of college readiness is complex; Milsom & Dietz, 2009, operationalized the construct of college readiness as it relates to students by generating a comprehensive list of important college readiness factors. I think this intensely focused, and at the same time holistic view, and the targeted list items used to get to the heart of the matter regarding students’ college preparation, is one of the most useful sources I adapted to guide my own research.Many of the same list items I incorporated into my own student survey data collection.
     Twenty-nine out of sixty-five experts invited to participate responded, reporting an average of nineteen years of experience in their fields (Milsom & Dietz, 2009). Regarding the participants’ educational background, 11 possessed doctoral degrees, and 11 had master’s degrees from the fields of special education, higher education, school administration, school counseling, educational psychology, and rehabilitation counseling. They held positions as directors of college disability services offices, professors, school counselors, researchers, higher education personnel and administrators, and special educators (Milsom & Dietz, 2009). Participants were asked to list what they perceived to be critical knowledge areas, skills, attitudes, and other factors related to college readiness.Condensing the initial list of 570 responses to 89 unique factors, eliminating redundancy and similarity, was the first round.
     The second round was for these factors to be rated for importance on a scale from 1, not at all important, to 7, very important.By following a guideline of retaining only those responses that received a median rating of at least 6, they were able to retain only items having strong overall endorsement and minimal variation to reach a total of 66 factors out of the original 89, that met those criteria (Milsom & Dietz, 2009).They dropped six believing they only could be answered by students already attending college and would not be relevant for high school students, resulting in a final list of 60 college readiness factors.
     Twelve items scored a rating of seven, defining those qualities as essential: 1. confidence; belief they can succeed, 2. knowledge of how to self-advocate, 3. willingness to self-advocate, 4. persistence/perseverance, 5. study skills, 6. time management skills, 7. self-determination skills, 8. self-discipline/self-regulation, 9. knowledge of personal strengths and weaknesses, 10. knowledge of whether the available college accommodations fit their individual needs, 11. knowledge that college is different than high school, and 12. resilience (Milsom & Dietz, 2009).
     The most highly rated items, 1-12, have less to do with academic knowledge and skills and more to do with personal characteristics and attitudes. Of those 12 items, confidence, persistence/perseverance, resilience, self-determination skills and self-discipline/self-regulation reflect positive personal characteristics that could benefit students in numerous aspects of their lives.Students who positively endorse those five factors might be described as individuals who are able to persevere in their pursuit of goals despite potential barriers or setbacks because they believe in their ability to achieve and because they are able to maintain a clear focus on those goals.
     The remaining three college readiness factors in the top 12 reflected academic-related knowledge and skills; knowledge that college is different than high school, study skills, and time management skills. By helping students examine the ways in which college is different than high school, including the need to reexamine current study habits and time management skills, school counselors can enable students to proactively address requisite skills and knowledge for success (Milsom & Dietz, 2009).
     It is also noteworthy that of the top 12 college readiness factors, only one, knowledge of whether the available college accommodations fit their individual needs,might be considered unique to students with learning disabilities. These results suggest that the construct of college readiness mainly includes factors of universal importance. As such, large-scale interventions such as classroom guidance for all students could be used to target many college readiness factors (Milsom & Dietz, 2009).
The Study Skills Inventory can be used to assess areas such as listening, note taking, test taking, self-management, and time management. The ARC Self-Determination Scale can be useful in assessing areas such as autonomy and self-regulation and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to assist students in gaining self-knowledge (Milsom & Dietz, 2009).
     Offering practical frameworks to assist college-bound students in high school are sources such as the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (Bragg & Ruud, 2007) and the Office of Civil Rights who offer a guide for high school educators suggesting how to assist students in transition to post-secondary education.
     The consensus is unanimous; high school students need academic rigor and college preparation has to include vigorous academic and behavioral support.

Bragg D., Ruud, C.,(2007).Career pathways, academic performance, and transition to
college and careers: The impact of two select career and technical education (CTE)
transition programs on student outcomes, Office of Community College Research and
Leadership, In Brief

Kidwell, K. (2005). Understanding the college first-year experience. The Clearing House.
78(6), 253-5

Killough A. (2009). How to help struggling students in high school? Send them to
college. The Chronicle of Higher Education. 55(42), 1-3

Milsom, A. & Dietz, L. (2009). Defining college readiness for students with learning
disabilities: A Delphi study. Professional School Counseling. 12(4), 315-323

Excerpt from Out of Africa (illustrating why writing will never go out of style

 Out of Africa – Isak Dinesen (sample of writing process revisions and how personally meaningful writing can be)

     “But two days later Jogona came back early in the morning, when I was at my typewriter, and asked me to write down for him the account of his relations to the dead child and its family.  He wanted to take the report before the D.C. at Dagoretti. Jogona’s very simple manner was impressive because he felt so strongly about things, and was entirely without self-consciousness. It was evident that he was looking upon his present resolution as upon a great enterprise, which was not without danger; he went to it with awe.

     I wrote his statement down for him. It took a long time, for it was a long report of events more than six years old, and in themselves extremely complicated. Jogona, as he was going through it, continually had to break off his tale to think things over or to go back in it and reconstruct it. He was, most of the time, holding his head with both hands, at moments gravely slapping the crown of it as if to shake out the facts. Once he went and leaned his face against the wall, as the Kikuyu women do when they are giving birth to their children. I took a duplicate of the report. I have still got it.

     It was extremely difficult to follow, it gave a lot of complicated circumstances and irrelevant details. It was not surprising to me that Jogona had found it difficult to recollect, it was more surprising that he should be ale to recollect the facts at all. It began: “At the time when Waweru Wamai, of Nyeri, was about to die – na-taka kufa, wished to die, they have it in Swaheli, – he had two wives. The one wife had three daughters, after Waweru’s death she married another man. The other wife, Waweru had not yet paid for altogether, he still owed her father two goats for her. This wife had overstrained herself when she lifted a load of firewood and had had a miscarriage and nobody knew if she would bear any more children…”

     It went on in this way, and dragged the reader into a thick maze of Kikuyu conditions and relations: “This wife had one small child by the name of Wamai. At that same time he was sick, and the people believed that he had got smallpox. Waweru was very fond of his wife and of her child, and when he was dying he was very much worried because he did not know what would become of her when he himself should e dead. He therefore sent for his friend Jogona Kanyagga, who lived not far away. Jogona Kayagga owed Waweru, at this time, three shillings for a pair of shoes. Waweru now suggested to him that they should make an agreement…”

     The agreement came to this that Jogona should take over his dying friend’s wife and child, and pay to her father the two goats that were still due to him from the sum of her purchase price. From now the report became a list of expenses, which Jogona had brought upon himself through the adoption of the child Wamai. He had, he stated, purchased an extraordinary good medicine for Wamai just after he had taken him over, when he was sick. At some time he had bought rice from the Indian duca for him, as he did not thrive on maize. Upon one occasion he had had to pay five Rupees do a white farmer of the neighbourhood, who said that Wamai had chased one of his turkeys into a pond. This last amount of hard cash, which he had probably had difficulty in raising, had stamped itself upon the mind of Jogona; he came back to it more than once. From Jogona’s manner it appeared that he had, by this time, forgotten that the child whom he had now lost had not been his own. He was shaken by the arrival and the claim of the three Nyeri people, in many ways. Very simple people seem to have a talent for adopting children, and feeling towards them as if they were their own; the facile hearts of the European peasants do the same without effort.

     When Jogona had at last come to the end of his tale, and I had got it all down, I told him that I was now going to read it to him. He turned away from me while I was reading, as if to avoid all distractions. But as I read out his own name, “And he sent for Jogona Kanyagga, who was his friend and who lived not far away,” he swiftly turned his face to me, and gave me a great fierce flaming glance, so exuberant with laughter that it changed the old man into a boy, into the very symbol of youth. Again as I had finished the document and was reading out his name, where it figured as a verification below his thumb-mark, the vital direct glance was repeated, this time deepened and calmed, with a new dignity.

     Such a glance did Adam give the Lord when He formed him out of the dust, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. I had created him and shown him himself: Jogona Kanyagga of life everlasting. When I handed him the paper, he took it reverently and greedily, folded it up in a corner of his cloak and kept his hand upon it. He could not afford to lose it, for his soul was in it, and it was the proof of his existence. Here was something which Jogona Kanyagga had performed, and which would preserve his name for ever: the flesh was made word and dwelt among us full of grace and truth”

   “As to Jogona’s statement which I took down, it proved very useful to him, for when the D.C. had read it, he dismissed the appeal of the Nyeri people, who walked scowling back to their own village, without having got anything off the farm. The document now became Jogona’s great treasure. I saw it again more than once. Jogona made a little leather bag for it, embroidered with beads, and hung it on a strap round his neck. From time to time, mostly on Sunday mornings, he would suddenly appear in my door, lift the bag off and take out the paper to have it read to him. Once when I had been ill, and was for the first time again out riding, he caught sight of me at a distance, ran after me a long way, and stood by my horse all out of breath, to hand me his document. At each reading his face took on the same impress of deep religious triumph, and after the reading he solicitously smoothed out his paper, folded it up and put it back in the bag. The importance of the account was not lessened but augmented with time, as if to Jogona the greatest wonder about it was that it did not change. The past, that had been so difficult to ring to memory, and that had probably seemed to be changing every time it was thought of, had here been caught, conquered and pinned down before his eyes. It had become History; with it here was now no variableness neither shadow of turning”.

Interesting instruction in socio-CMS

3 Lessons From Love for Social Business

By Billy Cripe (@billycripe)   Feb 14, 2012   

Prism Content Connect: Learn How to Work With Your Documents More Intelligently

It is Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. Philosophers and poets have theorized about what it means to be human and to love. They have defined community, explained empathy and descried the connections we have with each other when we’re in love. These days it is often social technology that is making those connections.

So what can love teach us about social business? Here are 3 familiar principles of love, oft examined by poets and philosophers, and what they have to teach us about social. At the end of this you should be able to say I ❤ Social.

#1. Social is a Verb not a Noun.

You have heard it said that love is an action, not a thing. The same is true of social business. Social business is the way you interact with others. It is not a website, portal or even an activity stream. The options for social technologies abound and nearly all of them provide some kind of a “destination.” But the best destination is worthless if you fail to act.

This is what engagement is all about. This is also the part that makes social business more than hope and an intern. In fact,recent studies of job postings show that social media marketing managers are commanding six figure salaries. The work of social business is in the continual communication, engagement and interaction with your social audiences. It is not a one stop shop. It is not a set it and forget it solution. It takes work. That means you actually have to make it a priority and give it your effort. This is true even when you don’t feel you’re getting any lovin’ in return.

#2 Don’t Confuse Passion With the Real Thing

Infatuation is intoxicating. It is possible to make an intense connection right away. But when you wake up the next morning you’re there with a person. People take effort, energy and engagement. After that super-nova like flare of intense awareness and superlative interaction the hard work of maintaining and building a relationship sets in.

For consumer oriented social businesses, you want their continued business, their recommendation, their interest. They want your product, your service. You need to make them feel special. At the same time you need to make them feel that you are even better when you’re shared with their inner circle — their sphere of influence.

For internally focused social business, don’t confuse passion with competence. Curiosity is a great professional attribute, but it does not guarantee great results. Make sure that you are fostering curiosity and building passion while providing appropriate and constructive ways for passionate peers to engage without becoming a bore on the dance floor.

#3 Active Listening is Critical

In love communication is key. Part of that is making sure that you understand what your lover is communicating to you with words, non-verbals and contextual clues. One way of doing this is through active listening. Active listening is more than simply paying attention. It is also testing yourself with perception checking questions such as, “If I understand you correctly, you are saying that….” Advances in social media listening technology allow us to test our social business perceptions as well.

A-B testing for web engagement systems measure the effectiveness of different styles of communicating our message. Ratings systems allow us to measure how those we engage with feel about the quality of our content. Sentiment analysis systems allow us to gauge how our audience feels about what they’re saying to us when they say it. Credibility measuring and gamification systems give us a way to let our audience measure each other and tell us about it.

There is no shortage of ways we can use new social technology to measure our audience and check our perceptions. What sets a social business apart from a business using social technology is that the social business is actively listening to its audience and checking its perceptions.

Love Makes Social Business Go Round

When we apply the principles of love to social business we achieve a deeper, more meaningful relationship with our audience. Love has a lot to teach about how to get engaged with social business audiences.

First, remember that it takes work and will not always be chocolates and roses. Social business, like love, is a verb, not simply a destination or a noun. Second, even though the immediate reaction may be intense, remember that passion is not a proxy for competence. Wanting to get engaged is not the same as engaging. Finally, listening to your lover or your audience is imperative. Without listening and metrics — the business version of perception checking — you may miss the most important thing your lover is telling you.

Social Business is about loving the one you’re with while pursuing the ones you want. For both you need to act, engage and listen.

About the Author

Billy Cripe is the founder and Principal BloomThinker of BloomThink – a social media strategy consultancy. Billy is an Oracle E2.0 ACE. He is author of the book “Two Types of Collaboration and Ten Requirements for Using Them” (2010 Smashwords) and Co-author of the book “Reshaping Your Business With Web 2.0” (2008 McGraw-Hill). He has held positions ranging from Vice President of Marketing, Director of Enterprise 2.0 Product Management, Director of Sales Enablement and Consultant. He is a recognized speaker, author and evangelist for Enterprise 2.0 and social computing. Follow him on twitter: @billycripe and his blog

This entry was posted on February 15, 2012. 1 Comment