Hello everyone! I have a good report. I ended up in the best possible category for the surgery I had to undergo. I am now out of the hospital and recovering at Seton Hall. I feel good. I may be a little weak and a little wobbly but I am healing. I seem to be passing the severe headache stage and am trying to do what the doctor says. If things continue to go well I will be able to fly home next Thursday. My brain is healing from the jolt! I thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.
a very heartfelt thanks to all you you who responded to my previous
post. It is very uplifting, to say the least. My husband John and I
have just spent two nice days at a wonderful hotel right on the coast.
It has been peaceful and relaxing as I get ready for what lies ahead.
Now we are headed over to the hospital. Tomorrow I have a battery of
tests and then surgery will be at !:00 PM LA time this Friday at
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I’ll post again when I can.
about writing this email and sharing a personal situation with you.
I’ve decided to go ahead because just like I have a school family, I’ve
come to feel that I have an “educational blogging” family and I want to
let you know why I won’t be blogging for a little while.
Back in 2001 I was diagnosed with an Acoustic Neuroma, a brain tumor
that starts in the cells that wrap around the auditory (hearing) nerve
in the head. Now the good news is that these tumors are benign. The bad
news is that if they grow they can press on the brain stem and that is
life threatening. The other good news is that they grow slowly.
Needless to say, 2001 was a traumatic time for me as I researched what
to do about it. This was right in the midst of 9-11 so things wern’t
going well for me or my country. The Internet turned out to be a
godsend and led me to a wonderful doctor at Johns Hopkins to have
radiation. That was the least invasive treatment and I wanted to avoid
surgery at all costs. What I read about some of the surgery results scared me.
Anyway to make a long story short, 3 years later I find out that I am in
the 3-5% failure rate for radiation. I have to have surgery. Everything
I learned told me to go to the surgeons with the most experience as
this is a very delicate surgery. This time I am going to Los Angeles
for surgery on May 20th. I’ve got a good doctor. Both of my doctors do
email and respond anytime I write. I think I’m going to make that a
requirement for all future doctors.
Now, hopefully, I will do just fine and snap back in a few weeks. That
has happened to others. Others have not been so lucky and have ended up
with facial damage, problems, etc. I’m an optimist and plan to be on
the high side. I have learned that this tumor is life-altering, not
life-threatening and I will carry on.
I welcome your thoughts and prayers. I have already told the guys
that I would have been presenting with at NECC. I hate to miss my
favorite conference but I am going to take Will’s suggestion and tell
the doctor to be sure and leave the “blogging” lobe untouched!
I’m off to catch a plane to LA in a couple of hours. I’ll post again as soon as I am able.
from Ewan McIntosh. He came across my site and shared what he was doing
with educational blogs in the UK. He wrote:
Grammar School, we were the first school in the UK to use blogs (with
open comments and post post moderation) to get pupils talking to each
other. We use traditional web pages to present ‘read-only’ information
and subject help to pupils from teachers, and weblogs to create
interactional, cooperative projects with the community and other
schools abroad. We are the first and still the only school in the UK to
work with blogs this way.
He pointed me to this link.
There are many projects which include weblogs and great photo diaries.
I want to include his links on my blog so I can share the wonderful
Lots and lots of
photos and information about the various trips and topics – spend some
these blogs. You’ll learn a lot and get some good ideas for blogging.
Our UK blogging buddies are doing a great job! Thanks for sharing, Ewan!
these good blogs and need to carve out a few moments to share the joy.
A little while back a Pre-College (12th grade) English teacher
commented on my students’ writing. He asked me to let them know
that an English teacher was quite pleased to see future writers
and thinkers interacting on blogs. He invited us over to see what my
students’ older peers were writing. It was good. Pre-College
is a blog for his class to reflect on their readings. He encourages
them to offer feedback and comments regarding the literature. Listen to
the uplifting quote he included on his blog.”The author Frederick Buechner says that words written
today or 500 years ago have the power still to transform and move us”. Outstanding blog! Then I traveled over to his blog, The Daily Grind.
On a post that he wrote yesterday, he talks about some problems that
arose from his blogging about student attire at the prom. He writes a
heart-felt apology that has prompted a lot of discussion. His post about
a student, JK, is also heartfelt. JK died recently of Cystic Fibrosis
and Mr. McNamar writes a warm,caring tribute. There’s lots of
heartfelt writing in this blog.
Now I know I am totally biased but my students have outdone
themselves. You can see the PowerPoint with all the bells and
whistles there but I’m posting a PDF version here.
(The bells and whistles one is more fun!) I plan to put it in a
book format later but time is just running out right now and I wanted
to get it up for the students to see.
educational technology consultant who emailed me about a blog
participation slip for an elementary school. I referred her to a few
sites and she came up with the following [Macro error: Can’t call the script because the name “manilaSuite” hasn’t been defined.]
thought I’d share with those of you who are interested. Lori is
planning to implement a weblog at her daughter’s elementary school. I
asked her to keep us posted.
Just received an email from Lori giving an update:
Now that our science blog is populated with some content, I am
sharing the link with you.
teacher’s vision for her blog is in the blog description at the top. I think her
approach, and the science focus is really unique. She’s definitely an innovator
at our school.
I have been in the classroom to help facilitate the
science and the initial blogging activity. Now, the kids are training each other
and it’s pretty much a self-sustaining system. I am especially struck by how
some of the children have really taken to express themselves and their
personalities in this forum. And they think it’s fun! I define that as a
Feel free to share this if you would like. It’s closed to
outside comments (unfortunately) because the administration is concerned about
security, but I think feedback, especially from educators, is really valuable.
And, your advice and comments have been very helpful already. Thanks again for
taking the time.
More and more educational bloggers entering the scene! I love it! Thanks Lori for sharing!
Click on one of the student blog links and tell them goodbye. We put
together a great project – title is “The T.A.G. Blogging Machine”. Does
that whet your appetite? I will share it as soon as I can get all the
This is my last year at J. H. House. (sniff, sniff) I will go
there once a month or so to check in with the principal but I am going
to be doing a blogging project at a high school next year. I won’t have
any of the kids that I have blogged with (they’re still in Middle
School) but maybe, just maybe, I will have some students whom I have
taught before in elementary school. That would be so cool!
I am totally blown away by Bud’s students. They continually write such intelligent things.”
I couldn’t agree more. Then Nancy summarizes with……. “Tyr and most of Bud’s students get it. I know that Bud has worked hard to make that happen. You have to wonder what would happen if all teachers could educate their students about blogging. I think we would see some pretty incredible thinking and writing.”
I say Amen! I posted “All the Voices Need to Be Heard” a little while back. It was about Tyr and Moe’s posts and my students reactions to the discussions. I love having all these student voices in the mix. I think that is crucial but maybe we all need to focus on commenting, in particular on our various student blogs and having our students commenting on other student blogs or our blogs. This is happening but maybe we could step it up. I think if more of us joined the conversations on blogs with students we could really show the power of blogging. That kind of data could do more to promote blogging than anything else. Nancy has commented to my students’ blogs from The Write Weblog group. She makes a difference.
I think this aspect of blogging is one that we all need to think more about and make a priority. I know it takes time. I try to do it but need to do much more. I wrote to the students on the “A Look at Bullying” blog. I was astounded at their answers. Sometimes I get carried away and think that I have to comment to all the students, not just one so I am going to rethink that and try to make one comment a day to a student who is blogging. It can be one of mine or one of another bloggers’ students. One a day….. I like it. So think about it, how about committing to one comment a day to a blogging student? Let’s make a difference. And by the way, thank you Nancy. Your commenting to students is VERY much appreciated!
‘Teachers & Technology’ course wrote brief reflections about
blogging. Christen’s response really caught my eye. Christen is a good
student and on her way to becoming a wonderful teacher.
I truly belive that keeping a log of my work, my learning exeperience,
and tips and websites for future reference will serve as a valuable
tool for me in the future. I also enjoy having a link to my classmates’
work, as I can refer to their blogs for tips and lesson plans in the
future as well. HOWEVER, my attitude toward blogging has recently
become jaded. I was a blogger by hobby in the previous year, as were
many of my friends. We all kept in touch with our blogs, posted
opinions and personal news, pictures of ourselves with friends and
family, and so on. These were all informal, hobby blogs. Although we
always understood that they were posted on the Internet and therefore
available to the public, they were hard to find unless someone was
specifically looking, and were not accessible through a simple search
of our names. Everything changed recently when someone close to me was
featured in an article on the front page of the Washington Post.
Because she was unavailable for comment at the time the article went to
press, they searched for her weblog and quoted it. They also took
informal comments on her weblog out of context and plastered them on
the front page of the Post. This was horrifying to me. For one, because
what they chose to use was not flattering. And secondly, my personal
blog was linked to hers in her “friends” section. Therefore, my blog
was immediately available to the greater public that was now seeking
out her personal blog. This resulted in the deletion of her blog, mine,
and others. You do not realize automatically, when blogging, that
ANYONE at ANY TIME could access the material you post and use it out of
context to represent YOU! It is SO necessary to be as careful and as
cautious as possible when putting things and information on the
Internet. For this reason, based on this recent experience, I do not
think that I will have children blog in the near future. Although they
can be closely monitored, I do not want to take any risk of too much
information landing on the Internet. Even having their names linked to
a specific school or location could prove dangerous in some future
situation. With all of this said, I plan on using the blog as a
professional tool in the future, but not in my classroom. At least not
any time in the near future…
Something like this
would be a good case in point for other young people to read. Just
making young people pause and think about what they are writing and
possible consequences is a good thing. Christen said, “It is necessary
to be as careful and cautious as possible when putting things and
information on the Internet.” Careful yes, cautious maybe. Caution can
be thrown to the wind if you are trying to make a point but doing it in
such a way that will not hurt someone or be irresponsible. It’s a gray
area that we need to talk about in our classrooms.
I am surprised though that “good thinkers” like Christen think these
sites are not accessible. We educators need to talk to students about
this. I spend a lot of time with the students I work with about what
they write. I tell them they are ambassadors for themselves, their
schools, their country and even the world. I explain what that means. I
teach them to think before they write. I keep coming back to it. We
discuss other postings and try to reach conclusions in our classroom
about whether it was responsible or not. Maybe we need to delve into
this more and come up with ideas for how to get it across. It’s called
common sense and we need to figure out better ways to teach it.
I don’t agree with Christen about the risk factor. The more I
read the more I believe that the risk factor is not getting involved
with the students in discussing these issues. Young people are
not thinking down the road, for the most part. Working out solutions,
discussing responsible use and how to handle situations that come up,
talking about possibilities for blogging that would appeal to students
and just listening to them. We can’t prevent students from blogging
inappropriate things outside our classrooms. At the same time I think
we are remiss as educators if we don’t start having these conversations
in our classrooms.
I like my students using their names (first only). I believe it gives
them ownership and puts the responsiblity in their hands. My
responsibility as a teacher is to oversee what is being written on
classroom blogs and steer them in directions that make them think and
hopefully make good decisions.