I feel as if this class is going well so far. I am learning a lot about the power of digital technology and the influences it can have on students' writing. I am also forming a new understanding of the benefits of having students engage in a structured reading/writing workshop, and how journaling can be a therapeutic expression of ideas for students which helps them interact with their thoughts and responses to texts they read. I came to this realization during your sample presentation on the journal genre when we each worked independently with a book that was written in that particular genre. You gave us the option of completing either a reading log, double entry journal, or a simulated journal/diary entry in response to our reading. Responding to the specific questions that you provided helped break up the text and made me think about it in a new way, and because of this I ultimately got more out of it. Also, I feel as if the information in the text and the specific questions that I answered will stay with me much longer than if I had simply read the text and moved on. This activity showed me that having students interact with and respond to texts they read through writing will make the information more meaningful to them, and will actively engage them in constructing meaning for themselves through guided questioning.
The weekly blog posts and forum discussions have kept me fully engaged in an active and thoughtful process of writing. Every time I go to post on one of these sites I have to think about what I'm going to write, how I'm going to say it, go back and revise what I previously wrote, include sources as well as my own personal experiences and thoughts, and proof read for mistakes or confusion before publishing it. I choose to engage in this kind of writing because I believe all of these steps are necessary to produce a thoughtful, well-constructed piece of writing. If I were to just pour my thoughts out into a blog post about anything and everything then publish without going back to consider what I've written, it would be an incoherent mess and people would get too caught up on the poor mechanics or sentence structure to be able to focus on the actual content. As of right now, I don't think I really need to change any of my reading or writing habits because I believe I am fully engaged while writing. Perhaps taking a little more time to organize what I'm going to say, or create a short but structured outline of my thoughts would be helpful. Also, maybe searching outside of our course textbooks for ideas or inspiration would keep me even more engaged in my writing.
As I mentioned previously, the reading log, double entry journal, and simulation journal/diary entry responses really opened my eyes as to how writing can influence meaning and engage students in what they're reading. I will definitely work to include these as instructional activities in my classroom. Also, Scott and Vitale's "Writing Wheel" was concise and structured and would definitely benefit students during the writing process; it also provides students with a visual representation of the writing workshop and what they should be working on during different stages of the process. This is a strategy I could see myself using in the future.
The only thing that I'm struggling with in this class are the projects -- they just seem very daunting and a little overwhelming at this stage because I haven't really gotten into them yet. I'm sure that once I start really working on them and putting 100% of my focus on them, I'll find that they're very manageable.