Thursday, December 10, 2009
WRITING AND JUGGLING
Today, as I was messing around with VoiceThread, an online tool I’ve been using in class, I came upon a new way to use it, and I must say that it was a somewhat rousing discovery. It sort of “made” my afternoon, you might say – this find of a hitherto unknown and intriguing method of grading essays using video and audio. I felt like the discovery would immediately help me be a better teacher. It gave me an unexpected lift, sort of like getting a surprise check in the mail or an appreciative note from a parent. Later, I began wondering whether my students occasionally get that kind of lift in their English work. When they’re working on an essay assignment, do they occasionally hit upon a new way to construct a sentence, a beguiling device that might deliver their ideas to the reader in a novel way? Do they get a little lift when that happens? Do they feel, as I did today, that they want to take a few skips and whistle and sing? Of course, I hope my lessons can provide them with some innovative techniques to use in their writing. I often think of myself as a juggling coach who shows his students new tricks to perform. Words are far more magical than three balls, and I hope I can impart new ways to juggle them in writing. In their essays, my students can choose from thousands of words, and there are thousands of ways to spin, toss, twist, twirl, and swirl them – and that’s where I come in. Hopefully I can show them a few tricks that will give them a lift, maybe make them want to take a break and prance around their computer.