A Case for End-of-Year Portfolios

I am a big believer in portfolios, especially writing portfolios. But, like teachers everywhere, I never have enough time to teach everything I think my students need. It is tempting to skip the end-of-semester portfolio. We already did the writing once. Why should we do it again? I know it takes time, but I don’t skip […]

Hopes, Fears, and Expectations for the First Day of School

The other day on Twitter I ran across a statement: “Any teacher who spends the first day on class rules really wants one more day of summer.” Well, it said something like that—I can’t find it now. Even though I agree with the sentiment, I have been guilty of doing just that, for years. For the past […]

Use List.ly for Interactive, Collaborative Book Lists!

Trying out @listly for my #SocialMedia class at @SJSUiSchool: Adventure Reads for Junior High https://t.co/h0j4dmNBhn @Jen_Jumba #edtechchat — Amy McMillan (@amyjmcmillan) July 2, 2016 Here’s a recent library school assignment: Try out a social media tool, one you’ve never used before. Make a Prezi with a voice over to explain how the tool works and […]

Writing for Authentic Audiences #5: Multimedia Compositions

This year I tried an experiment: Instead of asking for traditional essays at the end of our final two units, I asked my students to create multimedia compositions. They still had to draft scripts to outline what they wanted to say or show. They still had to meet specific standards-based requirements. BUT their final products could […]

Writing for Authentic Audiences #4: Blog Ahead!

What is a blog anyway? In a world of Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, Google Sites, Wix, Weebly, Twitter and Pinterest, where do blogs fit in? Here’s my own working definition: A blog— Is written using web-based tools. Contains several entries organized in reverse chronological order. Is based on EITHER writer interests or some kind of central theme. […]

Writing for Authentic Audiences #3: Youth Writing Contests

A sense of audience—knowing that someone beyond the teacher will read what the students have written—is crucial to the success of writing workshop.  – Nancie Atwell, In the Middle  In her book, In the Middle: A Lifetime of Learning about Writing, Reading, and Adolescents, Nancie Atwell suggests seventeen ways student writers can go public. Number one on the […]

How to Create a Class Anthology with iBooks Author

This year I decided to try iBooks to publish student memoirs. Why iBooks? Here are some of my reasons: My school district will probably go 1:1 with iPads for students this year or next, so I wanted to practice using an iOS-specific app like iBooks. While you can only read the iBook version on an iPhone, […]