I know I’m not the first to notice, but the web has an amazing way of making celebrities out of everyday people.  Often they are not even aware of their status.  When I watch Dr. Wesch’ Anthropological Look at Youtube which he presented at the Library of Congress www.youtube.com/user/mwesch I can’t help but feel that he is flabberghasted by the fame of his “Text is Linear” video. His emotion is couched in a fascination with the anthropological implications of the new linkings available through the world wide web. His work is brilliant and insightful and deserves every bit of attention it gets.

bud-the-teacherThis weekend I met some other celebrities at a retreat for the National Writing Project. I was amazed when I realized the regular guy sitting at my table was actually ‘dogtrax’ a blogger I’ve been following for quite some time through Ben Davis’ collaborative blog, teacheng.us. I tried not to ogle like a pre-teen at a Jonas Brothers gig, but I suck at hiding my excitement. Luckily, moments later, “Bud the Teacher” was unmasked as the big guy with the piercings. Of course, I shouted “You’re Bud the Teacher?” eliciting a roomful of laughter, covering my already awestruck state of mind over dogtrax. Ain’t life grand?

As we finished for the weekend, I said goodbye to these lovely nerds and tried to express how much I enjoy reading their work. Bud the Teacher actually denied his guruishness self! He doesn’t seem to think he does anything special and perhaps Dogtrax thinks the same way! These guys are my kind of celebrities. They have NO CLUE what an impact they have made in the world. You’ve got your celebs who’ve been around a while like Kevin Rose whose career blossomed on TV. Now, the TV appearances are completely superfluous to building celebrity. Word of mouth has been replaced by word of web so these everyday people, doing what they do because they enjoy it, achieve a sort of notoriety which is perhaps better than the traditional celebrity. There is probably a greater degree of privacy afforded the new celebs. There is more choice. Keep your life quiet uncluttered and nerdy, or create a video for youtube and let your wild self get famous!

And here’s an addendum:  I spoke to a colleague about meeting these fellows and by lunchtime she reported that she had actually seen a reference to Bud the Teacher on Choice Literacy today.  She had never ever heard of him before.  Let’s talk.  Should we change the Kevin Bacon Effect to the Bud the Teacher connection?

Published in: on May 5, 2009 at 1:38 am  Comments (2)  

National Writing Project Annual Meeting- San Antonio, TX

West Tenneessee Writing Project at NWP Annual MeetingThe National Writing Project annual meeting was overwhelming and inspiring.  I went to workshops regarding advocacy and technology during the two days in San Antonio.  It made me see that what we’re doing at the West Tennessee Writing Project is right on track but that we can do so much more to enhance and promote our project.  On my new to do list:  give some serious depth to our currently shallow website, have a PR101 session for new Teacher Consultants at Summer Institute, provide some tech programs for my school to prepare for some Tech Tuesday presenations at SI, consider getting a tech grant for digital storytelling, apply for Tech Retreat in Denver or create my own retreat, prepare a presentation on digital storytelling, check out all of the fantastic websites created by other Writing Project Sites.  That should keep me busy at least through Christmas break.

The BEST lessons

It’s been one of those days – one of those surprising delightful days when you’re glad that you’re a second grade teacher who makes her children write. It had been a while since we had EVERY student read something they wrote and it seemed as though EVERY student wanted to read today, so, EVERYONE read today.

Each piece was different from the last. I told them I was grading on speaking and listening as well as some simple grammar, so the audience was quite attentitve. We heard about dogs and cats, plans for the upcoming spring break and some hopes for summer break. There were no ‘love’ stories (I love my mom and my dad and my Hamster Joey. . .). Glory be!

One student started reading a piece about going to the beach with some other students (ficticious) and he did a simple, interesting thing. He described the clothes the students were wearing as they walked. The girls were wearing shorts and “shirts with no sleefs” and boys had on shorts and t-shirts with button shirts open over them. As I listened, at first I thought that that was a boring detail, until I suddenly had a picture in my head of them walking the beach. Isn’t that a strategy I try to teach in Reading?

Then the heroes of our story had goggles and hair bows pop out of their shirts. Well, I exchanged glances with the little girl next to me and we BOTH could tell that we had the SAME picture in our heads: the boys with hair bows! Of course, it was explained that the boys gave the bows to the girls, laughter ensued.

This story did more for my class and I than any mini-lesson I had given. When our writer finished, I asked if anyone else could picture them all walking on the beach. (Yes.) Did anyone else picture the boys wearing hair bows? (yes, ha ha ha) By adding a simple description of what the characters were wearing, the whole story came alive for everyone.

I can’t wait until tomorrow. I KNOW we’ll have a lot of over-the-top descriptive writing for a while. They’ll start describing every little thing and get bogged down in details. GREAT! HALELUJAH! Once they obsess on it for a while, they’ll tone it down. Now though, they can see how taking the time to describe something can really add to the impact of the story.

It’s days like this that make if all worthwhile and so exciting. Oh yes, the student who wrote the description? His parents happened to come to lunch today and brought me a diet strawberry limeade, light ice from Sonic too! How sweet it is!

Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 6:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Real Writing Teachers

The RealWritingTeachers group on Yahoo is fantastic!  I receive the daily digest and each day there are exiting suggestions, ideas and questions from other teachers across the country.

I’ve gotten so many wonderful resources from them.  Currently, there are a bunch of entries about “my life in a six word sentence”, that are so interestesting, intriguing and entertaining.

I’m thankful for all of these wonderful, sharing teachers.

Published in: on February 24, 2008 at 10:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Personalizing a Journal

Personalizing a Journal

Published in: on February 16, 2008 at 10:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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