Final exam: Wed Dec 13, Minard 306, 1:00 pm ….

Five plus minutes to show off your portfolio; about 80-90 seconds to address each prompt, although you can have some extra time if you want to show a video or walk us through a project in a bit more detail.
1. Tell us about your portfolio design and theme: which service did you choose  (WordPress, Wix, Weebly, Google)? Why is it a good choice for you: personality? professionalism? navigation, mix of both? How about image header you have chosen? Other personalizations?
2. Show us your Rules of Writing and tell us why your # 1 rule is your #1 rule.  If everybody has the same #1 rule, feel free to talk about other rules. : )
3. Summarize and/or share your favorite project of the semester. If relevant, tell us about the revisions you have made. Explain why you are highlighting this particular project: what did you learn, discover, or feel after completing this project?
4. Accept applause with humility.
5. Eat donuts.

Alternatives to the 5 P. essay

A former colleague asked me to respond to this short opinion piece about finding appropriate replacements / enhancements for the 5 paragraph essay.  The article recommends blogs, multigenre research papers, infographics, debates, and satire / parody.  What else might we recommend?  How does an answer to this request and this essay have to be framed?


Mentor texts of the day: portfolios from previous 458 students.

WordPress: Katelyn Ostby. Katelyn gave me permission to share her site a few years ago so I continue to use it has an example of a nicely organized portfolio.  Her reflections on revision, and links to scanned first drafts, is an attention to detail that I really appreciated.

Google Site: Callie Bowen. I haven’t said anything about Google Sites before now, but as I was looking for examples, I was reminded of this portfolio.  Callie used it two years ago because she knew that her future students in many school districts would have easy access to Google Sites.

Wix: Haily Colbrunn.  Hailey used her Wix portfolio for multiple courses, and generally she handled navigation in Wix pretty effectively.

Weebly: Doug Kostecki.  I noticed while looking for an example that Weebly users have had trouble with navigation bars, except Doug.  His is among the best navigation bars in the history of 458. : )

WordPress again: Abbey Leier’s model from 2013 has some unique features I will let you explore.


Mentor text of the day: Elaine Blacktree Tweets

Twittature or twitterature can be fun, silly, and disposable, but it can also be a means of creative re-imagining of a work of literature.  Margo Walter reworked The Bell Jar as 113 tweets from Elaine Blacktree  a few years ago, and it is still the most sophisticated piece of Twitterature I have seen a student produce.  She did a nice job of incorporating other social media as well so that they piece took advantage of some of the medium’s affordances.

Twitterature can also happen outside the medium, as in these examples, which are now collected in a book.


What is this “Digital Writing,” Anyway?

Blog posts. Multimedia creative writing projects. Powerpoint presentations. These are all forms of digital writing, and they are becoming more prevalent in our classrooms with each passing day.

Why should we be putting emphasis on these projects? Well, technological literacy is more important than ever. There are jobs that involve (or entirely center around) social media promotion, email correspondence, designing presentations, or making unique compositions that move past pen and paper.

I am a huge proponent of digital writing because of the creative drive it offers students. My favorite assignments in school have always been those that allow me to freely express my creativity. As someone who constantly has thousands of things running through his head, I want a way to get things down in whatever medium I possibly can.

It’s the idea of a total artist. Somebody who expresses themselves in whatever way is most appropriate. Whatever way they feel like expressing themselves at the time.

And that’s what we need more of in education: free expression and creativity. As someone who has come to his moral and ethical values through reading, writing, discussing, singing, playing music, drawing, etc., I know I wouldn’t be the same person I am if I wasn’t encouraged by those around me to always express myself and be who I want to be.

That is what digital writing does. It gives students those extra opportunities to write a script and film it. To digitally manipulate audio to create something most teenagers physically couldn’t a decade ago. To give their work an audience. If students are writing digitally with true, honest feeling, they’re already on a path of writing that most students aren’t.

To make digital writing prominent, students in school need to be exposed to digital writing as good literature. They’re already exposed to it a great deal — as educators, we need to let them know that what they’re seeing, reading, and hearing is an important source of writing that they, too, can produce.

It’s not about eliminating physical writing from high schools. I hope pens and pencils exist for decades to come. However, it’s not a binary; we need to embrace what works, which sometimes means conceding time spent on tradition.