T Sale's Blog

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Blog First, Ask Questions Later

This week I realized that I’ve been guilty of something I always warn my students against. I always tell my science fiction students that they must guard against treating an elective class as so low a priority that they never get around to it. Likewise, I tell my sophomores that they need to treat a reading assignment with importance equal to their other assignments, that it isn’t something they do only if they “get around to it.” As the beginning of the semester has transmuted into the usual stacks of essays and other day-to-day assignments to grade, into planning the next unit and requesting Xerox copies, into answering (or deleting) emails and recording attendance and grades, I find myself saving my blogging activities until I “get around to it,” and I've gotten around to it less and less with each week that has passed. It occurred to me that I was still thinking of blogging as something extra, rather than an integral part of my teaching. Yet my sophomore students have a weekly blog assignment that replaces the numerous shredded and mangled papers on which they used to do freewriting and reading responses, and my AP students are set up to do their reading journals on the class blog. It’s not so much that I can’t see the keyboard in the dusk anymore without the overhead light glaring, not that I never learned to touch type (there’s a 20th century throwback) and so have to hunt-and-peck my way through every one of my blog entries, not even that I much prefer sitting in the Laz-E-Boy with a stack of papers to sitting hunched in front of the computer. I like blogging, like the way it puts ideas out there for all to see, like getting comments on my posts, like the way it empowers students to publish just as if they were college professors. It’s just that…there’s so much to do. And due to that (unalterable) reality, my blogging has lagged.

But no more.

Tonight I’m writing this before I pick up the stack of 29 AP essays. I just won’t get as many done tonight. The comments those students have posted on line are just as important. Tonight, I sing the body electric.


  • At Tue Sep 05, 08:33:00 PM 2006, Blogger Karl Fisch said…

    So, are you referring to Walt Whitman or the movie Fame? I'm not smart enough to quote Whitman, but I'll take a shot at Fame: "celebrate the me (that's) yet to come." Celebrate your students' thoughts and ideas - and your own - and the ideas you'll generate together that are yet to come.

    This is another wonderful post - meaningful, passionate and useful for other teachers as well as yourself. But, as always, I do have a question for you to ponder.

    ". . . there's just so much to do. And due to that (unalterable) reality . . . "

    I completely identify with "so much to do," but I wonder but "unalterable." Is it really, or are we imposing restrictions on ourselves that aren't really there? Especially if one was fairly close to retirement . . .

  • At Tue Sep 05, 08:35:00 PM 2006, Blogger Karl Fisch said…

    Sorry, should've been "about", not "but" before "unalterable."

  • At Fri Sep 08, 02:30:00 PM 2006, Blogger bkitch said…

    Like you, I find myself putting the same things on the back burner. I also wanted to comment about your comment to me. I agree with what you said about knowing what direction you want your life to take at age 14. There is no way I was ready to decide the direction of my life as well. Also, I loved the joke, thanks!

  • At Wed Sep 13, 06:00:00 PM 2006, Blogger Ms. Kakos said…

    Hello, mentee! Your blog just narrated what's going in my head right now, only with much more eloquence and persuasion.

    A couple thoughts about keeping up with student blogs...I'll be honest and say I've had three blogs in each class, and I haven't graded a single one. Yet my students are taking them quite seriously--probably even more so than they did at the beginning of the year. The feedback they get is from each other and from the honor of being "published." Why are we so important that all meaningful feedback has to come from us?

    I do want to honor their blogs in class, however. One thing that I've done a few times is to copy some particularly thought-provoking comments into a quick (and a little dramatic) PowerPoint. They love trying to figure out who said what and are usually pretty impressed by the caliber of their classmates.

    Rock on, TSale, rock on.


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