Monday, September 11, 2006


I could throw in the ubiquitous lines about it being a long time since I've posted, but I don't want to waste time with that.

With the holiday last week and then a professional day Tuesday, we had a 3-day week last week. Talk about difficult recovery. A full week out for Kagan training and a four-day weekend, getting the students back in class was difficult. It's like starting the year all over again. This week is a bit better. We're getting there.

Last week, we started journaling, the old-fashioned way, on paper. What incites this has provided into what is going on with my students. It also shows great formative assessment opportunities as to where their gaps are in writing. Still, it's quite a bit of information to process.

Today, as I'm sure many teachers across the country are doing, our journal prompt has to do with the attacks of 9-11. I was on the fence as to what I was going to do. Ignoring it seemed wrong, but I know the country's close to saturation on remembering what we must remember. The students have a choice between two prompts: Where were you 5 years ago today when you heard about the WTC? OR How has America changed in the time since 9-11? What examples can you give to prove your point?

Here's something I hadn't thought of that is unique to students in my county, some of them were in the room when President Bush got the news. They were there. One young man raised his hand during our post-journaling discussion and said, "I shook his hand that day." That's something he'll always have. While it was clear from my follow-up questions he doesn't quite grasp the impact yet, with time, he will. I also have students whose family members were in the Twin Towers that day. Here they are, sitting in a school on a day when the entire country is remembering and theirs are the memories that are more unique than most.

What to do with this information? It seems to me to be teeming with possibilities for using multiple literacies. I'm not sure we're ready yet. I don't know how to evaluate those skills. I know I'm ready. I know I have the knowledge necessary to blog and research and respond to posts, but do they? How do I know? It's something severely lacking in my pre-service experience and professional development. How do I assess media literacy? Where's the test?

I can't remember what I've never forgotten.
More later.

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