Friday, May 14, 2010

Twitter Reprise . . .

I deactivated my first Twitter account--under the name ellyn32--for a couple of reasons. My new account is ellyn007--and I am now following fewer people, mostly educators and news people, but enjoying my reads much more than I did previously. There's an addictive tug in the Twittersphere; it's just so easy to grab my phone and spend a few minutes catching up with whatever is out there at the moment. But I do not take Twitter anywhere near as seriously as some people who post dozens and dozens of posts each day, even when they should be working. I am particularly puzzled by the teachers and administrators who have the time to lay on their re-tweet key.

We'll see how it goes this time around.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Essay #1 Assignment

Eng. 105
Univ. of Miami
Margaret Haun, Ph.D.

Paper #1
1st draft due on 2/2; 2nd draft due on 2/4 for peer review/conferences
Final Paper due on 2/11

In 750-800 words, discuss what you think are the chief ideas/concepts/contributions in the Tannen article, “The Roots of Debate.” If you want to disagree with her, please do so—but your challenge, if you mount one, must be made explicit in your introductory paragraph. Note, though, that you are not required to disagree with Tannen; this prompt asks only that you explore her main points and make them clear to your audience—in this case, me, a reader familiar with Tannen’s essay. Do not simply rehash her main points. (For example, Tannen first says this; then she says this, and then she says . . .) I am looking for your understanding of her essay as you make that understanding apparent in your analysis/exploration of her ideas.

You may, of course, quote from the essay as you develop your response to the prompt, but please do so sparingly. Long quotes always give the impression that you have not fully understood the text and are relying on the primary source or focus essay/article to do your work for you.

Drafts and final paper must be typed. Follow the MLA format—see the handout at the end of the course syllabus. For additional information on the MLA format, including examples of how to quote, paraphrase and summarize the Tannen essay, please consult the Purdue OWL site listed on my blog ( or go to the website for the University of Miami Writing Center:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Eng. 105 Assignment #1: Introduction Narrative

For Thursday, 1/21:

2 1/2 minute presentation on your class partner

Typed/MLA format (Use sample distributed in class--last page of the syllabus.) Bring 2 typed copies of your paper to class.

Do your best to include all of the information derived from your interview. Put into a form that is both logical and interesting. Try not to begin with "My partner's name is __________.

Look forward to seeing you tomorrow night!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

MLA Online Formatting Source

This is an excellent site:

Link to the OWL site appears below in Great Links--

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rally for Caroline Lewis: TERRIFIC TURNOUT!!

We estimate that approximately 150 people showed this morning to rally for quality educational programs and Caroline Lewis, former Director of Education at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami. Signs were creative--and colorful: UNFAIR-Child, Honk for Caroline!, Greer Must Go!, New Board at Fairchild, Save the Fairchild Challenge!, Quality Must Mean Something!, etc. Let's see what the next step is. There is a Board meeting coming up at the Garden. We are trying to increase teacher membership so that we can present a stronger front. It seems to be all about dollars.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

What Twitter Cannot Do

Twitter is an amazing tool, no argument.  I've been on the site for about a year now and, frankly, some days it feels addictive.  

But Twitter is not the solution to teachers' professional development challenges--and it is not going to reform education.  Some of the educators I "follow" are making the most outrageous claims about its transformative power and about the importance of what self-proclaimed educator-leaders post in 140 characters or less! "Everything you tweet is so memorable and important  . . . keep doing what you're doing," one woman gushed about a school technologist in NC.  He has apparently accepted the mantle of Messiah and recently dedicated post #10,000--yes, ten thousand!--to his followers (or . . . um, disciples, perhaps?).  Another teacher said he has learned more on Twitter in the 2 months he's been on it than he did in two years of graduate school.  Wonder where he went to school??

I suggest that we slow down, curb our enthusiasm, and begin to check the evidence.  At MAST, there are 2 people out of 43 professional staff members on Twitter. Hmm . . . not even 10%, hardly a tidal wave.  I have seen nothing to indicate that even 10% of the teachers in MDCPS--the 4th largest school district in the US-- are on Twitter. In fact, I have seen nothing that suggests that 10% of the educators of any district have joined the 140-character brigade. Change the face of teaching? Transform professional development? 

For many of the educators on Twitter, RT blasts hold the promise of a radically changed educational landscape. I don't think so.  It's a terrific tool and good fun, but meaningful changes to US schooling will require more than a mountain of RTs.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good-bye, Chaucer!

Long time since the last post. Guess the summer teaching gig fatigued me more than I was aware. We are about to end the first quarter.  It's been good, but not great.  Haven't found the right place to be in the English course.  Reworking the course now so that it includes fewer older writers.  I am also moving away from the chronological survey.  I am organizing the course into thematic modules: Literature of Initiation, the Immigrant Experience (not trying to suggest that there is one experience), Literature of War, Conversion Narratives.  This last one is what excites me most--because it gives me a great excuse to teach Tolstoi!

Change and challenge are good.  We'll be fine. Thanks for visiting!