Smith's Ninth Grade Blog

Monday, September 25, 2006

This I Believe

Last year a colleague had me listen to a segment on National Public Radio called "This I Believe". After hearing and reading some of the submissions as well as researching the history behind the segment, I was intrigued. I wanted to challenge my students to submit their own essays to NPR spending time writing rough drafts, editing, peer editing, parent editing, and then finally submitting their polished draft to the station. I thought, how powerful for one of them to have their work published nationally. How powerful for all of them to know that their voices matter.

I told the class my goals for the assignment and had them listen and read a few examples. After the class listened to some, THEY decided they would like to podcast their own essays so they could be heard on the web just like those on NPR. What an amazing idea! These kids wanted to not just complete an assignment, but to share the things they believed in with the world. They wanted to be in-charge of letting others hear what is important to them, what mattered to them.

Over the next week, students will be recording their "This I Believe" essays and we’ll add them to this post. At first there might be only a couple, but I encourage you to check back and listen to what matters to them...what is it they believe in? Feel free to leave constructive feedback for them, but please keep in mind that this is their first try as well as their teacher's.

Note: Click and drag on the scroll bar in the player below to see all the podcasts. It only displays eight at a time, but there are more if you scroll. You can't click above or below the scroll bar to move it up or down, you must click and drag on the scroll bar itself.

Update: Apparently the flash player from Odeo only displays the most recent 20 audio files in a podcast. We have 21, so Zoey's (which was the first one uploaded) was no longer showing. So we'll just add Zoey's down here by itself as a workaround for now (and to honor her for being the first one to get hers turned in!)

powered by ODEO

Friday, September 08, 2006

To cell phone or not to cell phone

Recently we were sent an email with an attachment. The attachment read: Please turn off and put away all cell phones, iPods, and other electronic devices It is slightly ironc that we received this email because at a conference I attended this summer, Will Richardson commented to us that instead of telling kids to put away the technology they have, why aren't we embracing it. Have them turn on their phone to search the web, use their iPod as a flashdrive or even have them download podcasts of your lectures. So today I tried something new...I had the kids turn on their cell phones and ring in their answers. You know what? It was cool! It took some time to set up clear expectations as well as determine a few consequences for inappropriate use. But, it wasn't taking away from their education. Instead it was embracing the tools they have and using them for a creative purpose. Kids, tell them what you thought...

What did you think?

Reflect back on all we did with short stories. Reading online, reading from the book, taking notes online, taking notes on paper, discussing, blogging, creative assignments like the skeleton character or story trip. What has been the most beneficial to you? What did you like? What would you change? (keep in mind that you are in high school now and the expectations are much greater) What do you want to do again? or do differently?

Most Dangerous Game

By having less life experience or less experience in various situations (think hunting), how can effect you either positively or negatively in the long run? Connect this to Rainsford's experience with General Zaroff?

Dustin, Jordan, Jason, John, Garrett, Phillip, Cole

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cask of Amontillado

To what point does revenge coincide with insanity?

David, Kelley, Alex, Sarah, Rich, Lindsey, Josh, Zoe