Get Hooked on 'Tronics

Writing

Get Hooked on 'Tronics

Posted on October 14, 2010

Get Hooked on 'Tronics

Teachers across the board are trying to grab the attention of their secondary students during composition and literature classes. And after a few short minutes with Michelle Rodgers, high school English teacher at Woodlan Jr-Sr High (Woodburn, IN), it's easy to see that she is "in touch" with her students. Here are just a couple of ways she has used digital technology to positively impact her English classroom:

1. Text messaging includes its own code of conventions. It breaks the rules of standard English grammar, capitalization, and spelling. However, this "foreign language" is a language. It communicates from sender to receiver. Unfortunately, students don't see that they have to be code switchers. They can write with texting conventions when text messaging, but in the classroom, they have to follow more standardized conventions. That said, Michelle assigns her upperclassmen to translate a text message into correct grammar. She has her juniors, seniors, and/or AP classes pull out their cell phones and re-write a recent text message using formal English with proper conventions. If there is a "naughty" word, they have to replace it with a nice one. If the text is too personal, then they can use another one or create something from scratch. NOTE: Michelle only does this with her upperclassmen who are mature enough to handle the activity. And she received administrator approval first. (Her administrator gave her permission to do this lesson as long as she informed him, and it was made clear to the students that they could not have their phones out in other classes. For those whose administrators are not too keen on the students utilizing their cell phones, a teacher could make up texts for students to translate.)

2. Michelle created a Facebook profile and page just for her class under the name Mrs. Rodgers. Only current students are allowed to be her "friends," and when they are no longer in her class, they are deleted. Not crazy about traditional journaling, Michelle utilizes this digital forum for posing questions about class reading or writing. The students then engage in a written dialogue on Facebook. She finds this gives students another opportunity to write without having to write a paper. She also uses this media as a means of reminding her students about upcoming tests and papers due.