If anyone else was curious: yes, I am. Effective now.
If anyone is curious why, please get in touch. I'd be happy to chew the fat.
Otherwise, it was just time. Life moves on. Priorities shift.
And certainly other voices are better suited for this state-of-education conversational game and have more valuable/timely things to contribute than I am able to do at this point in my life/career.
My Kids, My Students
Don't get me wrong. I still blog like crazy. It'll just be elsewhere.
But my days as an edu-blogger are now officially in the past tense.
All that previous "think:lab" blogging energy will now be dedicated 100% to my kiddo (and his bro/sis-to-be) and to my HS English students (each year):
- the "rabbits and cheshire cats" blog (desc: 3 sections of Hon Eng 10 focused primarily on Joseph Campbell's "hero journey" and a wide array of classic 'Brit lit' readings)
- the "pass the conch" blog (desc: 2 sections of 'regular' Eng 10 with the same focus as above, just with a slightly more conservative pace re: readings, the length of student responses, etc)
Come Visit, If You'd Like
Feel free to swing by at any point.
While I'm not focused on outside voices being 'the point' of the exercise or fostering 'flat classrooms' per se, you are free to add your voice to the comment mix as long as it appears
- technically relevant to the discussion
- appropriate in spirit re: why these blogs exist in the first place
- focused on the students, not me
- As of 8/26/08, we are in our 2nd week of school. This is the first week where they are obligated to respond to multiple posts. The 2 blogs will remain open/active all school year (with a few weeks as 'extra credit' weeks when the students need a break, semester exams pop up, etc.).
- 6-8 prompts are given each week. Responses are always due by Mon @ 8:30 (even if we have a long weekend). Each prompt follows a set formula: set-up, challenge, length, hint, etc.
- Topics/provocations are meant to supplement class discussion, encourage SAT vocab adoption, and offer my students a way to engage each other 24/7 in ways that the typical 10th grader may not be exposed to yet. All of this is done with an eye on their being part of a competitive college-prep independent school environment and looking ahead at preparing them to be agile at the university level. It also allows me to begin to customize resources for all of individual students: colleges that will fit their personality, books/films they should consider, dealing with the stress of school/life, and challenging them to add a key idea to future class discussions.
- Posts are identified in a W1, #5 fashion ("Week 1, Entry #5) to help the students keep track of how many they've done each week.
- Students are graded based on the # and quality of their comments each week; you can find all related grading info on the blog. I keep rigorous spreadsheets (etc) to track this since I'll receive up to 150-200 comments per week once the year picks up speed and need to ensure that everyone receives the grade they have earned.
- I try to respond -- inside the original comment -- to all student responses prior to Saturday midnight (since I am flooded on Sunday nights and can't do them all justice at that point). Students who seek feedback typically submit their replies b/w Mon-Sat; others know ahead of time that it is hit-or-miss past Saturday whether I'll type them a personal response. Obviously unique/striking student responses will grab my attention even on Sundays, often leading to me breaking this rule.
- Students names are never used, nor do we highlight/name our school. All student replies are given a first-come-first-serve name (i.e. "Student #7, etc.) that I edit in before they are published.
- All comments are moderated.
As I said in my last post, thank you.
I've been very lucky to have this network offer me a seat at the 'table'.
And my students/child(ren) are the better for it.
I have no intentions of continuing to edu-blog here at "think:lab" after today.
I consider it the equivalent of a remarkable 'graduate' degree that I've been blessed to experience for the 3 years and claim many mentors, friends, & colleagues from this process.
The technical reason I am keeping "think:lab" alive is for archival reasons and that several other blogs I have use "think:lab" as a 'parent' URL, including my kiddos' blog. Thus, Typepad will continue to receive my yearly payment though all new blogs (including my 2 classroom blogs mentioned above) are now going to be WordPress.com sites.