You gotta have a schtick

I’ve been working on a book manuscript geared toward teachers. I’m trying to make new literacies theory accessible and meaningful to teachers. So I’m including lesson ideas. What I just realized is that I need to “name” these lesson ideas so they can be easily referred to. So that they become part of the teacher’s schtick.

Like the KWL

or Six Room Poem

or cluster charts

or the Frayer Model for vocabulary


It’s like the carpenter’s tool box – if you know what’s there, and you know what to call it, then you can pull it out when you need it. I’ve always been a bit disdainful of such things, but now I thinking, it’s not all bad IF you use it to free up cognitive space to think creatively about the more important aspects of teaching and learning.

What those are, I have to think about some more.

That’s all for today. After all, the semester is over.

It’s a lovely sentiment, but…

The NY Times has an editorial about the wonders of taking time off after college graduation. I think it’s a lovely idea, but one that in reality can only be borne by the privileged who know that once they get the wanderlust out of their system will find a secure job waiting for them. Most of the students I work with have loans to pay off and other bills to pay. Few have parents who can continue footing the bill for a few more wonderous years (if they were ever able to).


I was organizing my desk at home this morning and came across three lovely journals. Two were gifts, one I bought myself. Two had writing on the first few pages. The newest one is blank. I’ve had the written in journals for quite some time. The newest one was a recent gift.

These physical journals represent something for me, but I haven’t yet figured out what. I used to be a ravenous journal writer. When my children were little, I journaled every day. Mostly about my feelings. Little about the day to day events. It was a way to keep me sane when I was home with two young children. I love my children, but I admit, being home alone with them was difficult for me. Journaling helped.

I now journal through this blog. It helps me sort out my thoughts. It helps me hold my thoughts. But I still have an attachment to those paper and ink journals. It’s something about the aesthetics of the book. The attention to the cover, the binding, the paper. There is a sensuality to the journals.

One of the journals is made of handmade paper. It’s a work of art. It almost feels like a desecration to write on it, yet it also feels like a desecration not to. It’s as if the blank pages are crying out to fulfill their purpose. Yet, the journal is so beautiful I feel as if only my most profound and beautiful thoughts deserve to be placed on those pages. And only in my most beautiful handwriting done with a fine quality pen (neither of which I have).

I also have rather ordinary journals. One that has my institution’s name embellished on it. I keep that at work. I take it to meetings on occasion, but have yet to write in it. Nothing goes on in meetings that I feel compelled to record for posterity in a journal. I have stenographer notebooks that I use for taking notes when I read. I use them extensively when writing. I like the idea that I am able to rip out the pages and arrange them to suit my needs. Interestingly, I don’t do that though. I end up transcribing the notes into my word processor and doing the rearranging there.

So, I sit here and contemplate these lovely journals and write about them using my laptop. There seems to be something comical or ironic about that. Yet there it is. Perhaps I can best understand the phenomenon as a metaphor for something in my life. What, I haven’t quite figured out.

Rewired – or not…

I’m currently reading Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn. I’m not overly impressed. There are some good thing in there. Ideas to think about and maybe apply to my teaching, but in terms of scholarship, not so much. It’s not that it’s not a well written book. It is. It’s just that I’ve already read pretty much everything he’s talking about. I think it would be a good book for someone new to the ideas, or good for teachers, parents, etc. who aren’t immersed in the field. What I need to do is read his scholarly work. Continue reading