Gah, I can tell you right now this SS will be all over the place and mostly because my head is all over the place. I am teaching a completely new schedule this year. All except for one class and even that one class is different, so I am kinda co-teaching kinda splitting. I don’t know what we call it but it requires some new thinking.
I am good at coming up with innovative and fresh ideas in my classroom. In fact, I work so hard on that. But I struggle putting it all down and making it work. I will get there, but I can tell you this week I have sat staring at the wall, a calendar and resources and just stared. I am trying to think of making all work. I am teaching dual credit freshman (college) English, Junior Level English and dual credit speech.
The speech class has thrown me for a bit of a loop and though the principles and theories of communication and rhetoric run very similar paths universities do not see it that way. It has required some extra work from me. I am grateful for the extra knowledge and steps and the opportunity. I am really grateful to have it in our department. I just gotta work hard at staying true to the theories and pedagogies of speech communications and I will.
Add in that I am teaching American Literature this year when the last two years I taught novels and creative writing where I had freedom to choose what genre and backgrounds I wanted to teach. The junior level year in Indiana is basically meant to digest the sophomore level of US history. My minor was in Brit Lit as a BA and quite a bit of my graduate work was in Brit Lit. I like American Lit. But it is different. Guess what I have been doing? Any guesses?
I have watched show after show on History channel about Puritans, Salem Witch Trials, Jamestown, our beginnings and the list could go on and on. I did notice the curriculum really only seems to slide Native American Literature in and really does it with just Sherman Alexie (the standard go to). I plan to add. Grateful for my effort and work with one of my favorite professors I have immense understanding and knowledge of Louise Erdrich and by proxy Ojibwe (Chippewa) culture. I placed her into my creative writing course in the Spring and plan to cover Alexie and excerpts of Love Medicine. I have also read like a fool. I have read online, books and talked with my guy and girls about what they know. Thankfully, I feel very skilled in the literature but struggle a bit more with its place in History.
But I have decided to switch myself to an Evernote classroom. I researched and keep finding that Evernote provides great access for students on and off line. It remains there forever and you lose some of the nuances of my previous method. My previous method was using ITunes U which I did love and I have it set as a back up. However, the moving around and access to Itunes U was at times cumbersome and the limits on a private class were frustrating at times. As well your classes expire. Evernote will have my classes there always.
The thing that probably sold me though was the tagging system. Kids work in tags in their tech lives. I have created notes, readings, research and assignments all based on tags. There is no limit to the access to my class. It will always be there for them when I cannot be. It will always be there for me year to year and all I have to do is edit or change or leave it. Probably the 2nd best part of Evernote is the Evernote clipper that you can add on to your browser and you can basically clip what you like and create a document from it. That has been a tremendous use to me this summer. Once I am teaching with it if I don’t like it I can switch back to Itunes U. But I am doubtful.
I also will continue to use Showbie for assignments. I love the time stamp, the ability to lock assignments and the ability to archive. I used it all last year and it worked quite well.
I cannot say enough though that I am so excited for this year. I am excited for the challenge of new classes, I am excited that I am teaching the dual credit courses, I am excited to teach Juniors. I am just plain excited. I have a feeling this will be my best year yet.