Louise’s Blog

PART A: Annotated Resource List

I looked into the following websites / webpages:

1. Quick and Dirty Tips – Grammar Girl
2. Poetry Soup
3. Education First: Resources for Learning English
4. teachHUB
5. Teach With Movies: Literature
6. Where are the children

CATEGORIES:

SITE

Web address? (edu / gov / org / com / k12)
1. .com.
2. .com
3. .com
4. .com
5. .org
6. .ca

Name/Title?
1. The title Quick and Dirty Tips does not seem very professional, yet has a fun feel.  It is not solely based on education, but definitely has a comprehensive cover of key issues in grammar usage.
2. Catchy name, and obviously about poetry
3. Uses buzzwords: Education and First
4. Catchy, providing clear idea of intention of site
5. Intention of site very clear
6. Catchy title, emotively charged, referring to the children in residential schools

Easy to navigate?
1. Yes 
2. Many hyperlinks are provided – different ways to get to poetry – covering a huge variety of options, yet some amount to nothing, i.e. no information is provided, or there is only a promise of information.
3. Yes, although not all the information is available from the Homepage. As you follow links, you discover additional information.
4. Very busy homepage, but clear enough if you take time to understand all the hyperlinks.
5. Yes
6. Yes

Working hyperlinks?
1. Yes
2. Yes and no. At times, a link would provide no information.
3. Yes
4. I could find one link that did not work: “Graduate Programs for Teachers” – page has been removed.
5. Most links work, with the exception here and there. Did not hinder me in the path I took.
6. I could only find one link that did not work: “Edu-Kit and Teacher Bundle”

 

WHO

Name of author/creator(s)/owner(s)?
1. Mignon Fogarty is the author of the site page “Grammar Girl”, but also co-owns the site with MacMillan Holdings LLC.
2. Arczis Web Technologies owns the site. Budding poets publish poems, but the site also hosts poems from more established poets. Articles are posted with names of writers.
3. EF Education First Ltd. – Zürich
4. K-12 Teachers Alliance. Bloggers provide names or pseudonyms. Names of writers of articles provided.
5. teachwithmovies.com Inc.. Creators of lessons provide their names.
6. Legacy of Hope Foundation. Chairman: Georges Erasmus; Curator of exhibition: Jeff Thomas; Partners: Aboriginal Healing Foundation, Library and Archives Canada, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Nation Media, Donna Cone, Isite.

Biography / resume?
1. B.A. in English from University of Washington and M.S. in Biology from Stanford University, magazine writer, technical writer, author of 7 books, entrepreneur, senior editor and producer of number of health and science websites
2. Articles are posted with names of writer, as well as a date in most cases. Citations are provided for articles.  Poems are posted by all members of the site, but does not provide info about each poet.   
3. No information.
4. Only first names given, with links to a private Disqus site. Links are provided to follow bloggers. Some writers provide a short resume.
5. Yes, detailed with regards to their experience and expertise.
6. Jeff Thomas, member of the Six Nations Reserve (List above shows obvious connection to Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.)

Way to connect with author/creator/site?
1. Google+, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.  Provides opportunity for questions, report of technical problems, and media or speaking inquiries – links don’t work.  However, if you go to the bio page, the link to her email works.
2. Address is provided in Georgia, USA, as well as an email address. You can also follow them on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest.
3. Address and phone number provided – in Zürich
4. Address in Illinois is provided. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+. They provide an RSS Feed.
5. Email address of one of the founders, and authors provided. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
6. None given


 

DATE

When was site created?

1. Earliest record: 2006.  Copyright 2016.
2. Earliest record: of posting is 2007 (no other information obvious)
3. Not clear
4. Only provides date the site was first copyrighted: 2009.
5. Not clear, although it states “Terms of use agreement effective August 19, 2013.”
6. 2001

When was the last update?
1. New posts are added with regular intervals.
2. No indication
3. Not clear, but Privacy Policy was last updated on 2/12/2015
4. Not clear, but copyright listed as until 2016.
5. Dates provided when lessons were revised.
6. Not clear

Date of post?
1. Each new post is dated.
2. Articles are dated.  Dates are provided when poems are posted.
3. No dates provided
4. No dates provided
5. Dates are provided when lessons were revised.
6. Site was created to support exhibitions of Aboriginal stories. Last exhibition was in 2013. Site features as an online exhibit.

 

SPONSORS/ENDORSEMENT OF SITE & ADVERTISING

Reputable?
1. Writer’s Digest, Writer’s market, Writer’s Digest University & Writer’s Digest Shop.  Awards:  Best Writing Website, and 29 other awards (website and podcasts)
2. RBC advertisement, grammarly.com, education.com, CIBC, Infiniti, Home Depot, AssetCloud (by Wasp), Classifieds – bookstores, books from amazon.com
3. No apparent sponsorship
4. No apparent sponsorship
5. grammarly.com
6. Canadian Government – Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and Canadian Heritage, and Royal Bank of Canada

Reputable sponsors or connection to subject-matter?  
1. Related to subject-matter
2. Reputable and related to subject-matter
3. n/a
4. n/a
5. Yes
6. Yes

 

INFO

True / useful?
1. Yes
2. Not always. At times link provided page with no info.
3. True, but definitions could be clearer. Some links simply provide a list of words, e.g. list of 50 most common adjectives in English. It is not clear as to the purpose of the list which makes it useless.
4. Yes, but not for higher grades. Articles that I was interested in re. technology, more aimed at the reader who is very new to the game.
5. Very much so. “Fair use” doctrine, thus “TWM grants free limited licenses to copy TWM curriculum materials only to educators in public or non-profit schools and to parents trying to help educate their children.” “More than one paragraph copies – must be attributed to TeachWithMovies.org.”
6. Very much so.

Mechanics: spelling, grammar, punctuation?
1. Lenient approach to use of punctuation
2. Punctuation errors, and the odd spelling mistake
3. Punctuation used according to Oxford system.
4. Good
5. I picked up on some spelling errors, e.g. “tremendious.” Seems just an oversight as lessons are written in clear, good English.
6. Excellent

Citations provided?
1. Yes
2. Yes, for articles, but not for older or classical poems
3. No
4. No, articles posted seem to be the original production of author
5. Only for movies
6. Resources provided – for example extra reading – with proper citations

Generalized, biased statements vs. factual, proven, objective (depending on the site)?
1. Factual and correct
2. Factual. Listing of poems, biographies and quotes, although some biographies from wikipedia which might need additional confirmation.
3. Factual
4. Articles and blogs largely based on opinion.
5. Factual as for information re. movies. Rest of information an analysis of movie, i.e. rather factual, although you cannot escape a hint of subjectivity.
6. The purpose of the site is to allow the story of the Aboriginal People of Canada to be told. It is obviously subjective. Facts are provided about names, locations and dates of Residential Schools.


 

My intention was to find websites that would support the different genres I cover in English Language Arts, grades 9 and 11.

A.  Quick and Dirty Tips – Grammar Girl

This is a fun website that provides explanations, complete with examples of common and pressing grammatical issues and tips for writing. My focus was the site pages on Grammar and Writing. For the audio learner, there is the option of listening to podcasts while, or instead of, reading the explanations of rules. Links are easy to follow, and the fun element is a bonus.

 

B. Poetry Soup

The website promises a lot, but does not always deliver. It is easy to use, and interactive by interlinking many different categories. An irritation was the inconsistency of the use of line numbers – nitpicking, but an indication of unprofessional and slipshod management of the site.

This website serves the the following purpose – for grades 9 and 11:
~ provides a huge variety of poems from famous, reputable poets to novice poets. No discussion on poems, though, and that is a negative.
~ is a source for students to find poems to read on our Poetry Day.
~ will help with rhyming words when writing poetry
~ has some terminology with definitions.
~ provides opportunity to create a fun Greeting Card / Poem Art Generator with your own or a favourite poem.
~ provides the opportunity for students to publish their poems. (You have to join though, and the one-year membership will cost $39.) There are other sites where this can be done for free.  I see this as a negative!

 

C. Education First: Resources for Learning English

Using the buzzwords “education” and “first” was clever. I only ventured into the site page “Resources for learning English.” The part of the site is almost minimal, with a homepage that does not list all the links that this website provides. As you dive deeper, more information is provided. There are better websites available.

 

D. TeachHUB

The homepage is too busy. I initially googled “technology in the classroom,” but the article was basic. Only 5 lessons apply to grades 9 and 11 – not enough reason to join. The blogs provide easy reading, but as a resource for my English classes, I do not see myself using this site.

 

E. Teach With Movies: Literature

What a gem! The BC Curriculum includes film. This site offers full lesson plans based on a collection of great movies.

Here is a list of the categories they offer, and the movies I am considering:
Literature of England: Animal Farm (gr. 9), Oliver Twist (gr. 9),  Great Expectations (gr. 11)
Literature of the USA: 12 Years a Slave (gr. 11), Great Gatsby (gr. 11)
Literature of Other Countries: The Book Thief (gr. 11)
Literary Devices and Lesson Plans relating to ELA : The Boy in the Striped Panamas (gr. 11), Cast Away (gr. 11)
Stages and archetypes of hero’s journey: Big – gr. 9
Non-fictionMao’s Last Dancer (gr. 9)
Social SatireGulliver’s Travels (gr. 9)

Another possibility I am considering, is the Lord of the Flies movie. It is not an award winner by any stretch of the imagination (I see a fun-to-write movie review), but their lesson plan will trigger critical thinking skills, yet provide fun at the same time. They ask thought-provoking questions, and dig deeper by challenging the students to make a “moral-ethical” and a “socio-emotional” evaluation. And, of course, comparing the novel with the movie is a great way to teach synthesis.

 

F. Where are the children

The new BC Curriculum expects the teacher to “Develop an awareness of the diversity within and across First Peoples societies represented in texts” (written or oral), visual texts (like photographs), digital texts, visual elements like film, and oral storytelling. This website is the jackpot. Although this site was originally created to advertise exhibitions held from 2002 – 2013, it now serves as an online exhibition. It provides:

~ photographs of residential schools and students, dates and locations, with explanations of the culture
~ a timeline
~ 47 videos of stories (in the form of interviews) told by students who attended residential schools
~ reading lists for different age groups (12-14, and adult being relevant to my teaching)
~ links to “The Inuit Experience of Residential Schools” and “Forgotten Metis.”

 

RESOURCES:

(n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2016, from http://www.teachhub.com

(n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2016, from http://wherearethechildren.ca/en

(n.d.). Retrieved October 9, 2016, from http://www.poetrysoup.com

Create lesson plans for English Language Arts and Literature classes based on movies and film. (n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2016, from http://www.teachwithmovies.org/literature-subject-list.htm

English Language Arts. (2016, October 3). Retrieved May 25, 2016, from https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/curriculum/english-language-arts/9

Fogarty, M. (n.d.). Grammar Girl. Retrieved October 6, 2016, from http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl

Resources for Learning English. (n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2016, from http://www.ef.com/english-resources/



2 comments ↓

  • #   Nic on 10.10.16 at 14:22     

    Hi Louise,

    I think your research was incredibly thorough and well done. It seems you’ve generated several great websites to support your 9-11 English students and I’m sure they are loving your class for it. Given that I’m not in a high school environment I’m wondering if high school students are more willing to participate in critical thinking skills related to Shakespeare etc. if they are given the opportunity to use technology. You mentioned that students are on their phones anyway – do you find that they engage with your class content if you are using technology to access the information? Does it make a difference, or do students ignore and continue with their social media instead? Nice work on the assignment!


  • #   lkondos on 10.10.16 at 15:00     

    Thanks for the encouragement, Nic.

    Most students embrace a lesson where they are challenged beyond the basic content. Teenagers really have the ability to take a discussion beyond your expectation, given the right prompt, and careful guidance from the nitty-gritty and “look-how-silly-I-can-be” stages, to profound discoveries. It is one of the most beautiful and exhilarating things to see: a class where discussion has a mind of its own, with students getting excited, and challenging each other’s point of views.

    As for cellphones, they will walk into class with cellphone in hand having been in communication with that little device from the moment they packed up in the previous class. They will check their social media, share funny stories and videos until that second bell goes. Then, those phones had better find a safe hiding place – in pockets or bags. I have a special place where cellphones meet until the end of day if they are used for anything other than educational purposes. I have had some students who prefer to read their novels or plays from their cellphones. They don’t seem bothered by the small screen. (And I did keep a careful eye on their body language, and felt compelled to sneak up behind them to check their screens. All in good faith ….)


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