Sunday, December 6, 2009

Laptops for Learning-- Please Donate!

Please consider donating to my current Donorschoose project. It is my most ambitious proposal yet, and if it doesn't get funded I will have risked 4 of my hard-won points (earned by completing other successful projects) for nothing.

Laptops for Learning

The idea is to get some laptops for use in my classroom at Tucson High Magnet School, to support the writing process as well as our online learning community (a Ning site.)

This proposal will get us 10 mini Dells with wireless internet capability. Sweet.

Our local TUSD override election, props. 401 and 402 failed in November, which, paired with crippling budget cuts at the state level, means that there will likely be few to no computer upgrades and inadequate maintenance for years to come. However, the techs at our school know that I created this proposal and they have offered tech support for any computers I get for my classroom.

Please help if you can, or at least spread the word!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NWP Annual Meeting Session: 21st Century Literacy and the Graphic Novel

I attended this session November 19, led by Belinda Foster and Anastasia Betts. They offered insightful rationales for incorporating graphic novels into the curriculum as well as multiple useful resources and a current list of graphic novels currently being used effectively in middle school and high school classrooms. Some information below may be incomplete since I am just blogging using my notes from the session. I will try to come back here and correct/fill in gaps later! GREAT SESSION!

Graphic Novels:
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Secret Identity
Same Difference and Other Stories by Derek Kirk Kim
Pride of Baghdad
Baghdad Burning

Resources for Teachers:
101 Best Graphic Novels
Going Graphic by Stephen Cary

Powerpoint of the Presentation:

New Copyright and Fair Use Information for Teachers

I have seen the light. Renee Hobbs, a media literacy professor at Temple University, and a member of the Philadelphia Writing Project, presented eye-opening and potentially liberating information regarding educational fair use of copyrighted materials at the NWP Annual Meeting in Philadelphia on November 20.

Apparently the Educational Use Guidelines that most of us have received and that we have seen scotch-taped to the walls above our school copiers are pretty much bunk. Most of us have been led to believe these guidelines are the law, but in fact they are not the law, but a set of overly-restrictive and somewhat arbitrary guidelines developed by publishers and educational leaders who believed that teachers would not be capable of or interested in interpreting the law for themselves. Apparently these people never met Writing Project teachers.

Those of you interested in using copyrighted works in your lessons or in having students create with digital media will be thrilled to know about the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education developed by a coalition of media literacy educators. This code expresses the norms for using copyrighted materials in media literacy education, and provides clear and flexible criteria that go beyond the simplistic (such as 30 seconds of a song.) You can access the Code of Best Practices at http:\\ Click on "Copyright and Fair Use" for the code and a variety of other great resources.

In addition, a group of media literacy educators has petitioned Congress to offer media educators and their students exemption from the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 2001. This would mean major changes in our ability to use clips from encrypted DVDs, MP3 files of digital music and a variety of other media with our students in our work.

I am considering developing an inservice on this topic to spread the true gospel, so let me know if you are interested (