Friday, July 13, 2018


I read an interesting study that was, at its formation, a critique of digital composition research in the context of social semiotic theory.  It took issue with the fact that much of this research does not account for a holistic, embodied experience and it separates experience between tool, active, space and time.  In their study the follow to girls digital composition experiences and in the findings section make the statement that is illustrated above in regards to how space, time, and affect are important in the design of classroom activity.
Even with the best of intentions, we as teachers/designers we can unintentionally remove opportunities to for our kiddos to make use of resources and develop the ability to identify and use resources that will help them construct meaning and meaningful artifacts of their learning.  The structures of our classroom and the tools (both the physical and mental) that we allow (or not) students to use have a great deal to do with the level of complexity with which they work.  When we lesson and experience design, are we giving the proper amount of attention to these aspects and how they can help our kiddos think deeper and more creatively?

Ehret, C., & Hollett, T. (2014). Embodied composition in real virtualities:                          Adolescents' literacy practices and felt experiences moving with digital, mobile          devices in school. Research in the Teaching of English, 48(4), 428-452.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Intellectual & Affective

In studying multimodality this semester, I've already found many connections with areas from my own classroom and leadership experiences that are near and dear to my heart.  Seeing learning as not only as an act of the mind but also an act that has an important grounding in emotion that drives it forward.   This is something that language alone can not always evoke.  Elliot Eisner (2002), making some connections to the ideas of multimodality, especially as they relate to the arts, said, "work in the arts cultivates the modes of thinking and cannot succeed in the arts without such cognitive abilities" (9).  The interplay of different modes to create and how we as interpreters construct meaning is quite fascinating, especially when we begin to think about how these important literacies play out in tools such as these (blogs) and social media!


Eisner, E. W. (2002). What can education learn from the arts about the practice of education? Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 17(2), 4.
Hull, G. A., & Nelson, M. E. (2005). Locating the semiotic power of multimodality. Written Communication, 22(2), 224-261. doi:10.1177/0741088304274170

Monday, June 18, 2018

Firing It Up Again

It's time.  Nearly three years have passed since my last post and many things have changed and shifted for me as a person, learner, leader, etc. as it should for anyone over the course of time.  In the last three years, I've left administrative leadership, returned to the classroom, begun doctoral study, and left the classroom again!  It has been a wild ride. 
As my career now takes a decidedly more scholarly and academic turn, it's important to keep track of the thoughts and ideas that come across the brain and I'll place them here.  It's the right time as my class this summer requires an on-going journal, it's the right time to continue to let my learning be contagious here!  And especially as my research interests are in the literacies and multimodalities of digital tools, especially blogs and social media, this is, again, ideal (which hopefully means, I'll be reinvigorating the old Twitter account for that purpose).
I look forward to questions, comments, & discussion as they come! 

Happy Learning


Monday, July 27, 2015

Recruiting Season

A few months ago, during one of my FMLA principalships, I attended a district principal's meeting where one of the principals stood up, almost in tears, and began to speak about how hard it was to be the principal of a Title campus, that it was harder than other schools (she'd know, her experience runs the full range of socioeconomic backgrounds) and it was very difficult to get teachers to stay and buy into the work that was happening. My apologies, I really can't remember the exact context of the comment, but I recall it very clearly because it was an emotionally charged portion of the meeting.  She was highly frustrated.

While every campus has its struggles and challenges, having taught at Title campuses, I'd tend to agree with her, but my brain immediately shot to what is the identity and brand of this campus?  Why do teachers want to belong, what makes this school an amazing place to be?  I also began to think about how we often speak of student engagement.  Is the difficulty or type of work any different than blaming video

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Joy & Growth Mindset

What happens when the happiness doesn't come?

There was the key question from a message at church a few weeks ago.  Replace happiness with any type of word you like: success, promotion, healing, etc.  I've shared this with teachers and friends following tough conversations or in tough situations:  
How we respond to a situation truly defines us, not the situation itself.  Tweet this!  
I've had to remind myself of this quite a few times.  I'd venture to say that it is not a natural response to choose joy or to choose growth in failure or shortcoming.  At least for

Monday, June 29, 2015

More than Group Work

I came across this article a few days ago and tweeted it.  It is a great overview of 21st century teaching foundations and practices.  I'd encourage you to click & read it.  #2 caught my eye particularly.  It seems I've had many conversations over the last five (5) years or so surrounding this idea.  And, many of these conversations were surrounding a misunderstanding of this idea and I'm thinking there are many out there that have had similar experiences.

I remember these conversations began when opening a new middle school campus.  There would be a wealth of technology, but not 1:1.  Our focus was to be more project based, but for some reason that immediately meant that everything we were going to do was group work.  The discussion

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Contagious Learning

Why do you do what you do?

In embracing the growth mindset through a disappointing Spring, I have recently asked a colleague and former supervisor to serve as my mentor.  This is a facet of my own growth I realized had been absent from my life over the last 5+ years.  I asked her explicitly to ask me hard questions that I hadn't thought about myself, I choose to ignore or that I refuse to answer myself.  I desired a new level of accountability in my growth and development as a educator as well as a person.

So what's the first thing that she asks me.  "Why do you do what you do?"  Should be an easily
answerable question.  My brain starts to filter through 14 years of educator experiences: beauty of