Well, I feel as if I’m quickly becoming addicted to blogging! Since I teach high school English, I obviously have a love of reading and writing. I have found several interesting, innovative ideas through some of the blogs I have read in just one day’s worth of being a blogger. I do think the genre of blog writing is very similar to “stream of consciousness” writing. What is in one’s mind, even my own, flows onto the blog post. This is certainly a change from the “traditional” writing process educators teach in schools. I do have to admit the lack of grammatical correctness does tend to work on my English teacher nerves; however, I do enjoy aspects of the conversational, sometimes humorous, but always collaborative and connected tone of blogging. I find blog reading to be based more on choice than chance or requirements. I enjoyed being able to choose any 5 or more blogs from the many provided for “Thing 4”. Some were irrelevant to the subject and/or grade level I teach; therefore, the reading choice in blog reading is very significant. I was able to pick and choose, and overall, I really enjoyed the self-paced nature of the reading, as well as the choice I had in what sequence I could read the blogs. There certainly was not a “plot” I had to follow, nor was there a great deal of technical reading. I found the reading to be connective in allowing ideas and strategies to be placed in my mind for adaptation and application in my classroom in the future. I think blog writing thus far is wonderful for me! I am very reflective, and I am enjoying responding to what I read and sharing what I am thinking about education, Web 2.0, lifelong learning, and blogging in my posts. I look forward to commenting and receiving comments on my posts. I think the comments are the crux of the contributing, collaborating, connecting, and communicating aspects of Web 2.0. As I mentioned in previous posts(Thing 3), I believe teachers talking to teachers is one of the most significant, effective forms of professional development. I look forward to connecting with other teachers in the course, especially those who may have my same (or different) beliefs or teach the same grade levels or content areas I teach. I think blogging, therefore, can facilitate learning through the continual communication process. I also think the connections and collaboration are vital components we need to provide our students with as examples of the connections and collaboration they will need to employ in their 21st century global world. In reading my chosen blogs for this task, I found Mr. Meyer’s “Why I Don’t Assign Homework” to be quite interesting as he mentioned poor classroom management by the teacher to be one reason that some teachers DO assign homework. I really had never thought of this in those terms; however, I see Meyer’s point in that some classrooms allow a significant portion of the class period as the work on homework time. He poses the question of do teachers do this to allow students to work collaboratively with the teacher’s guidance, or do teachers do this because they have no other activities/lesson plan components planned for the allowed time period? I have seen several classrooms in eleven years of teaching where the latter is the case. I was also intrigued by Chris Betcher’s “The Myth of the Digital Native”. When I began this course last week, I was sharing thoughts with a close friend and colleague about how so many of our students actually do NOT have internet access at home, have a home computer, have never blogged, never used Web 2.0 tools, or do not have a firm foundation of basic Word programs. I found through Betcher’s blog that obviously our schools are not the only ones affected by this lack of digital access by the very generation that is supposedly as Betcher refers to them “digital natives”. I liked his analogy of “natives” versus “immigrants”. My colleague and I agreed in our previous discussions that our youth do the things they “enjoy” very well, but they are reluctant not only to complete schoolwork outside of class, but also to embrace technological tasks if they fall outside the realms of those tasks they enjoy. Betcher’s blog said the same as he noted most young people, especially the ages of 16-17 year olds, which happen to be the exact age group I teach, are comfortable with a “fairly narrow” set of technological tasks, but they are very skilled in those that interest them, such as the social networking, games, music, and texting. His blog ended with the following question: “Does being a ‘native’ have more to do with accessibility than age?” I found this hypothesis significant in that it is exactly the same concept and/or challenge with technology in our schools that my friend and I had discussed last week about the lack of accessibility facing our students. The idea or strategy I am most excited about from the blogs I chose is that of “Reading Bootcamp: How To Read For My Classroom”. I plan to adapt and implement this idea for next school year. I believe in skills and processes and their equality of importance along with content. I think if I spend the first week of school actually teaching students HOW to read for the entire course I teach, then their achievement with the content will rise. I also liked the ideas posed in this blog regarding the blending of both detailed questions on the “Upside Down Pop Quiz” as well as a mix of high-level, conceptual, “big picture” questions. I believe I always do include this blend; however, the concept of providing the questions prior to the reading and allowing retakes on the “upside down” pop quiz encourages careful reading and rereading of the text. Overall, I have been able to take several innovative thoughts and strategies from blog reading thus far to employ into my classroom next year and further into the future.