Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Posted April 6, 2009 by MsStewart
Categories: Uncategorized

Photo credit: amazing_podgirl

Photo credit: amazing_podgirl

Odes were originally a form of Greek lyrical poetry composed to honor important people, places and events and were accompanied by music. (More about the history of the ode) Over the years, poets have adapted the form by writing odes to more commonplace items. Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet, published a number of these types of odes. Today in class we read Ode to My Socks, Ode to a Tomato, and Ode to the Storm. After we read and discussed the odes, students drew objects out of a bag and composed odes to them. You can read some of their poems here.


National Poetry Month

Posted March 31, 2009 by MsStewart
Categories: Uncategorized

Poetry month begins tomorrow, but we kicked off the festivities a few days early. In class today, students read 16 word poems that they had written inspired by images they found on Flickr. We also watched an illuminated poem from the site, Away To Teach. Click play below to watch the poem and take some time to check out the site. It’s amazing! I’ll be posting more activities and resources throughout the month.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Chatting About Poetry

Posted March 30, 2009 by MsStewart
Categories: Uncategorized

tinychatInspired by a post about using chat in the classroom, I decided we would try it for an introductory discussion about poetry. I was interested in countering some of the negative attitudes students had about poetry and getting a sense of their prior knowledge base (types of poems, poets, specific poems etc.) We used tinychat, a website that allows you to create a chatroom which disappears once the chat is closed without registering a username and password. Before the chat, we reviewed good internet safety and courtesy practices. 

The chat was great for a quick introductory discussion about a subject, but it isn’t something I would use to have an in-depth conversation or with a subject that needed to be pursued linearly. In a quick debriefing dialogue after the chat, students observed that the chat was “awesome,” but sometimes difficult to follow. Some students found it difficult to keep comments relevant to the topic at hand. However, they thought that this skill might develop with practice just as it had with our Socratic dialogues.

Below is a slice of the chat we during one class…

(12:15 PM) Colin: poetry that famous authors made are boring

(12:15 PM) AwsomeJ1234: Why does it make you fall asleeep?

(12:15 PM) MSSTEWART: anyone have a favorite poem or poet?

(12:15 PM) beakerrules!: i like funny poetry only because its less boring 

(12:15 PM) AwsomeJ1234: WHY?

(12:15 PM) hersheybar11: )

(12:15 PM) BAMxxITSxxME: we all have our opinions, some of us dislike poetry some of us dont. I respect ur opinions

(12:15 PM) maddog47: i don’t

(12:15 PM) FuzzyGreenHa: I don’t have a favorite beacause I never remember the names of the Poets

(12:15 PM) metalmaxx211: william bouroughs

(12:15 PM) V-Man: I hate poetry :mrgreen:

(12:15 PM) metalmaxx211: is mine

(12:16 PM) HannahBanana: poetry is boring when it’s too deep to undersstand

(12:16 PM) J-wes: :0

(12:16 PM) Marleybob: teehee.

(12:16 PM) Colin: I dislike poetry

(12:16 PM) AwsomeJ1234: Everyone should like poetry.

Diigo and Homophones

Posted March 26, 2009 by MsStewart
Categories: Uncategorized

If you’ve ever wanted to highlight or put a sticky note on a webpage, Diigo may be the answer. Diigo is a website and toolbar that allows readers to bookmark and annotate web content. It also allows users to share their bookmarks, highlighting, and annotations with others. Diigo has both a toolbar download and Diigolet, which a user can easily drag and drop into his or her browser toolbar.  

Yesterday students employed Diigo to review for a grammar quiz on homophones. Students chose articles from Wikipedia on any subject of interest to them. Choices varied from chocolate to liger to Sears Tower. Students located homophones in the article, highlighted them, and explained why particular words were chosen instead of homophones of the word. Students in each class are in a group in Diigo, so they can view each others’ highlights and annotations. Below is a screenshot of an annotation one student made. (My explanation is inked in blue.)  


Socratic Seminar Take 2

Posted March 24, 2009 by MsStewart
Categories: Class Texts

Tags: ,

Update:  Ia dded Socratic Seminar Reflection and Socratic Seminar Observer Report I use with students after and during our Socratic Seminars. Students are assigned partners. Those in the outer circle fill out the observer report while those in the inner circle discuss and then they switch. Students fill out the reflection sheet as homework.

Students recently finished reading The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn. Today I turned the reins over to them for a second Socratic Dialogue. Each class was split into two groups and each group had about 18-20 minutes to discuss its questions for the day. When students were not discussing, they observed and took notes. I was impressed with the way students attacked the questions and delved into the issues they presented. It’s difficult to have group discussions without a teacher moderating! Below are the questions for the day and several video clips.

Group #1: Based on the events and the descriptions in The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn, what does honor mean for a samurai? Which character do you think is the most honorable in the book? Which character do you think is the least honorable?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Group #2: How do you think the roles in Japanese society affect the events and the way characters behave in The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn? Do you think traditional roles in Japanese society are changing based on the events in the book?

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Vodpod videos no longer available.

Dreaming About the Future of Education

Posted March 23, 2009 by MsStewart
Categories: Uncategorized

Many of the teachers I talk with spend a lot of time thinking about the future of education and technology. Today I thought it would be interesting to have the same kind of discussion with students. During class we watched a video from the 2009 Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) conference debuting a wearable “Sixth Sense” device from the MIT Media Lab. Students discussed their reactions in class, and I’ve also invited them to post their reactions here. (You can watch the video by clicking the play button or clicking on the link above.)

Students: What did you think of the Sixth Sense device? How do you think such a device might change the way we go about our everyday lives? How do you think such a device might change learning in and outside of school?
Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Pattie Maes demos the Sixth Sense | V…", posted with vodpod

Vocabulary Review Using the Class Wiki

Posted March 6, 2009 by MsStewart
Categories: Uncategorized


Students took a cumulative vocabulary quiz on Thursday while I was presenting at the NCTIES conference. To review for the quiz, students created wiki pages for altereach of their vocabulary words. Each wiki page included the definition of the word, synonyms, and antonyms. Students also chose a picture which they thought represented the word well. Some of the choices were very creative! Here are links to the pages for the words alter and remorse.

Hope everyone has a great break! See you in two weeks.