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If you’re writing and/or getting students to write about personal memories, here’s a short YouTube video I made on writing from family pictures. It has several advantages. There are many instances where students are already doing this. They are likely posting pictures of themselves on facebook or at least sharing and narrating photos with others. There are also many instances of good exemplar “mentor texts” in children’s and young adult literature that do exactly this. Everyone has a story to tell. I guess, though, that some stories should be left untold! Nevertheless, here is the video. I welcome all comments!My favorite type of writing I like to engage in is the “vignette”. Sandra Cisneros does this well in House on Mango Street.

Does anyone have any literacy questions or topics they want to discuss? What’s been on your mind as far as literacy and instruction and literacy policy lately? I’ve been thinking a lot about how much is on teachers’ plates lately as far as “covering” the curriculum they are required to teach and assess in a limited time frame. I tell the pre-service teachers to integrate and incorporate content area literacies into language arts. What else are burning topics these days?

Why did all those cool expressions from the 60’s fade out? I watch old reruns of Hawaii-Five-O almost daily and they say things like, “Crazy, Baby” and add “Baby” to everyone’s name. What if we did that now, would it be seen as archaic? I’m reminded too of that Russ Meyer classic, “Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill!” and how the lead women did the same, added “Baby” when addressing each other, even though they savagely had a love-hate relationship with one another. It could be used with either male or female, addressed to either gender.
The 60’s must have been another time altogether. I don’t think our current era has any kind of gender-neutral moniker like “Baby” like they did in the 60’s. Maybe a modern equivalent would be “dude” but that terms seems to have heavy traces of masculinity attached to it.

And, on the question of gender, is Lady Gaga a feminist? Have you seen the latest “Telephone” video? Or is she just defiant with artistic license? What would Camille Paglia say?

There are so many choices of where to put down our thoughts. We have so many audiences, as well. As an aspiring academic, I’ve been saving a lot of my words for formal, technical writing like research reports and some personal narratives that have made it into print!

However, there are so many places we can write. Does anyone ever write with pen and paper anymore? Will it become a thing of the past, much like typewriters, both manual and electric? Many of our writings are digitized for digital audiences and friends (and strangers) we communicate with electronically.

Does anyone use Wikis anymore to record their own thoughts and ideas?

I dated a guy in Austin who had his own extremely complex personal wiki. Like many Austinites, his laptop went everywhere he did. I met him at the Bouldin Creek Coffeeshop and he told me about this ongoing massive knowledge wiki he had been working on for years, created in code. So, I started talking and he typed and typed and entered a lot of what I said on his wiki. I found that so strange–first that he found what I was saying as valuable to document it and then I was wondering how anything I said possible linked to other ideas within his intricately organized wiki. Maybe it didn’t but it was like his laptop was an extension of his mind. Then, after the date he sent me like a billion links related to the various topics of our conversation, like a follow-up. SOOOO Austin.

It’s actually not a bad idea to create a wiki of every brilliant thought you have or that others say so you don’t forget about it. I suppose we do this all the time in our scholarly endeavors with software that creates links, networks, and nodes of thought and thinking…..It was just funny that it happened on a coffee date.

Podcast

Reading motivation among African American and Caucasian students with Dr. John Guthrie

I love the references to literacy in this. It’s fun to read old English, too. Click on the thumbnails to read the text.