Friday, April 1, 2011
In the groove with Ning
So this week students have completed four blogs, two on each novel, which is heartening--and yes they are speaking to each other though not as much as I would like. What they are doing well is writing in depth and quoting from the text, grappling with the text. This solves one problem I was concerned about--if I teach six novels how can I be sure they are reading all of them since they will ultimately write essays on 4 of them? (unless they opt for cpsn/contrast); I am relieved that through the blogs and avid class discussion I can tell they are really working and their postings are thoughtful enough that they lend themselves to essay beginnings. Am trying to hone my questions so that they will dovetail with class discussion and I have taken to making notes on the blogs (really forums/fora in Ning) to use as jumping off points for class discussion. What I like about this is that it decenters my authority and allows me to reorganize around what is speaking to them in the text--a little chaotic for a linear person (not a digital native)--but it seems to be working. Am reading through other sites and would like to make connection with another class. Have reached out to Corbett for wikis but am open to another activity. The honors novel students are hard workers and like doing research. Through a student using an ipad, I learned this week that you can type in a phrase like "my father" for the text, Washington Square, and every reference comes up--this is a very cool way to begin thinking about a paper topic!