Here is my Action Learning Project on Student Receptiveness to Graphic Novels. Enjoy!





I can’t believe that the semester is already over! It seems like a whirlwind of projects, reading, Second Life classes, and everything in-between. I completed a self-reflection of some kind most every week, but my FOKI was always in the back of my mind while doing this. Building my professional, literate, and virtual selves is very important to me as I know it makes me a better person and teacher. I am excited now to look back at my original goals and see how far I have come since the beginning.

Professional Self

My main goals in this category were to learn practical ways to use theories in the classroom and to have more time observing in the classroom. I feel like I have accomplished both of these things. Through mandatory observation hours in another class, I was able to really spend time in this professional setting and witness what a real school day is like. My Action Learning Project helped me to create and implement a project that the students participated in and I definitely felt more comfortable with my ability to teach afterwards. As for theories, I think that I have gained a lot from the readings in this course and in my other courses at this point in the semester. I have learned to take the good parts that I like from the theories and extract them for my use. I may not be doing what the creator originally intended, but as I have learned from the technological projects in this course- it can be a really beautiful thing to mix it all up and make something new! Each person is unique and I am really embracing my special talents and how I can use what I have learned to benefit those qualities. I hope to keep building my professional self with student teaching and the experience that will bring.

Literate Self

For my literate self, I wanted to continue reading Young Adult novels and figure out ways to bridge the novels and create ways to use them in the classroom. I read a lot of novels throughout the semester and especially a great deal of YA graphic novels for my ALP. This different style really broadened the way I thought about literature for this age group and it made me think about how I could integrate them into units. I want to try finding a graphic version of a classical book my class is reading or use one in conjunction with a text based on theme. The Aronson books we worked with also gave me a lot of great curriculum ideas on how to incorporate non-fiction and I really enjoyed using social justice as a thread through it all. I think my future students will also connect to the idea of looking for social justice. I’ll continue working on my literate self by reading and trying out all different kinds of novels that stretch my knowledge and comfort zone.

Virtual Self

I wanted to build my knowledge of how to use technology pedagogically and find the best technologies for my classroom when I created my goals. The assignments in class have shown me some great ways to use technology pedagogically. I have been incredibly inspired by hearing how my classmates have planned or are using programs with students. The group project planning sessions always brought out this information and I had fun collaborating with the group on our own technology venture. My classroom observations were another valuable tool to find ideas on how to use Twitter and other social media for projects. While I still want to work on finding the best technologies to use, I feel much more open to trying out a lot of things before I narrow it down too far. I think it will be important for me to be ready for change by trying to constantly add new technologies to the mix. This is a field that is always evolving and I need to keep up! I want to continue building my virtual self through making a professional Twitter account that is public to really get my words out there.

A Final Reflection

I’d say that I have done a great deal of growing this semester. Writing this FOKI throughout helped me to see where I was at and where I needed to go. I don’t think that I would have made such great strides without the self-reflection it brought me along the way. My professional, literate, and virtual selves are things that I am going to constantly need to work on and grow. Having a FOKI system or something like it is something that I think would be helpful to me even after this course. For each category, I would say that I got the most out of stretching myself and trying new things. I will continue to do this through reading different genres, trying new technologies, and maybe coming up with new ways to network and mingle with others in the teaching profession who can help me be my best. I feel like I can do anything after seeing tangible evidence of my progress and I’ll keep that motivation up as I move on to the next chapter and continue improving myself.


Non-Fiction Reflection

Our class had the opportunity to interview and hear from author Marc Aronson this week.

I was really interested in this activity because he writes non-fiction novels and, as I am working on a creative non-fiction piece of my own, I like to know the process others go through. I liked that he was very honest about the process it takes to create a novel. I think it is easy to sometimes forget just how long it takes to make a text as just an observing reader. It was also nice to hear that Aronson goes for topics that others usually do not. I’m very intrigued by the idea of going after the subjects that have been left alone for one reason or another. I think it is very true that some subjects have just been over-done at this point and it’s best to move on instead of trying to fix something that is not broken.

Now that The Change Project has concluded, I am very happy to have learned more about non-fiction. It was really nice to think about issues of social justice relating to war and protest. I probably would not have intentionally picked either of these topics on my own, but I was happy to see that I found them interesting and relatable to my current life. I think this is a good indicator that I can use non-fiction in my classroom and hopefully by connecting it to something as important as social justice will help my students find the material interesting as well.

The last thing that I thought about in relation to this topic and the project was inspired by Aronson’s book, “War is…” The novel was written as a collection of essays with different viewpoints. I’d love to do an activity with my future class where we pick a topic and each student researches and writes an essay from their point-of-view. I’d love to make a collection in the end and distribute it to my students.


Non-Fiction Reflections… Round Two!

My group completed part two of our class non-fiction study this week by working with the novel War is… by Marc Aronson. The thing I was most impressed about with this book was the style it took. There were two curators, Campbell and Aronson, who brought up opposing viewpoints of war. Then through the use of essays, they encompass even more viewpoints from different stages of the war process. I liked this because I think that non-fiction has the possibility to face bias when it gets away from strict reference style. By having multiple views, it was still interesting and informative without making the reader aware of how the author(s) felt about war from the first page.

Here is a link to our Glog created for the project.

I love the way it turned out and I think the quotes we used really depicted different viewpoints of war.

The other thing I appreciated about this project was the opportunity to spread my non-fiction wings some more. War is not typically a topic that I would ever casually read about. Having the opportunity to do it for class helped me to realize that I appreciate all subjects of non-fiction even if they are difficult for me to be interested in while in the fiction realm. I think it would be very interesting to see if other female readers who are usually not interested in “boy” subjects would have similar reactions and the same goes for males readers with “girl” subjects.


Making a Creative Bridge

I was really excited when I saw we would be discussing non-fiction novels this week. I am such a huge fan (David Sedaris is one of my favorite authors), and I was hoping to try and convert some of my classmates to be the same. Most of my thoughts are written in my previous post, but I guess what I wanted to reflect on is something that I have been considering this week- creative non-fiction.

I minored in creative non-fiction in college and I see it as the perfect way to bridge the English classroom for those teachers that are nervous about doing straight non-fiction. My teacher in 8th grade taught us about the holocaust. At the end of the unit, we wrote creative stories from the viewpoint of any person we read about in the non-fiction books and excerpts we had gone over in class. We had to use our realistic base to write these stories. I was able to research the names of people in concentration camps and even what certain positions were called and if Germans or Austrians held them. The story I wrote ended up being one of my favorite things I have ever written because I was so proud of how realistic I was able to make it sound and I knew that I could impact a reader because it meant something to me writing it.

I think there are some great selections of reading grounded in non-fiction and research that teachers could find and use. You would have to make it clear what this genre is exactly, but I believe it would be worth it!

I hope to really use non-fiction in my classroom and this week inspired me to continue writing my creative non-fiction book I have been working on since undergrad about all of my failed relationships since pre-school. Haha, it’s a winner!


Let’s Be Real…

I have always been a huge fan of nonfiction works, but I will admit that I have seen a lack of this genre in the YA lit world. Marc Aronson refers to nonfiction as a “neglected stepchild” because it is a type of text that is usually only brought out for specific research assignments and not general class reading. I think this is a very accurate depiction of what I experienced in my own schooling. It was up to me to seek out the nonfiction books I was interested in while I was in the library. I remember reading a nonfiction book about Anastasia Romanov and having my eyes opened to how exciting a book about a real girl, who happened to be my age, could be (side note: it stuck with me so much that I took Russian in high school and will be traveling to Russia for the first time this coming March!). I had seen the Disney movie, but reading her real story was more enthralling to me because it was real and more complex and multifaceted than fiction could compose.

I think boys would tend to be more attracted to many of the subjects nonfiction novels touch on because they are tangible. It seems like most female readers enjoy imagination and more unrealistic elements (hello, Nicholas Sparks-style and paranormal love stories). Boys are also often more scientifically and mathematically minded and strong in school. Nonfiction speaks to this kind of mind because it does not need to be dissected for meaning. You are having an event or person’s life recounted. I don’t want to go on with generalizations, because I always loved these novels even as an English-minded female, but I feel males could easily be sold on this genre and females could also easily relate and enjoy them.

I think we should include more nonfiction reading into middle and high school curriculums because it’s incredibly powerful to have something real to relate to. It doesn’t matter how much I like or dislike a movie… if that movie says it’s based off of a real-life story at the end, I’m hooked and more interested than I probably was the entire time I was watching it. There’s just something about knowing a story is real that makes it feel raw, authentic, and more relatable. You know that it could plausibly happen to you. Even the “Lifetime” network known for making films (admittedly very glamorized and over-exaggerated ones) based on real events has started a show entitled “My Life is a Lifetime Movie” with individuals recounting events in their lives without embellishment. I feel like students want to have stories that do not embellish and glamorize the hard things they are going through sometimes. It may be easier for certain novels to be fictional, but it is healthy and has great impact to know real ways an author or protagonist has dealt with something. A good way to include these novels in the curriculum would be thematically in units. A nonfiction book could fit easily in a theme if it focuses on a place or person involved in that theme. These novels could also be taught alongside fiction and the way the protagonist deals with something in each can be compared and students can discuss which they feel is more realistic to them. As far as writing, I think students should ALWAYS write about themselves and what they are going through. I hope more nonfiction finds its way into the classroom and I can’t wait to be a teacher and try my hardest to help the movement along.


Student Rights

I was really interested to think about the rights of my students and how I need to honor those in my classroom this week. I obviously want what any good teacher wants- to empower my students and give them their best chance to succeed in life when they exit the classroom.

In today’s time, I think that online opportunities to create and share are the most important area student’s need to be nurtured and have a chance to work and grow. Class activities need to have digital components to them so that students have a chance to work with the technology and build their skills for the future. To think that they will not be using technology in their future no matter what path they go down is just naïve. I hope to really do everything in my power, even if technological resources are hard to come by in my school, to get my students in front of the tools they need to use to create.

I want them to feel like they are part of the world around them and what they say and create is important to more than just themselves. They need to know that what they do matters so they will put their heart into what they are doing and work hard on it. My student’s right to read and create in general are also incredibly important, but I feel like those come hand-in-hand with technological usage.

It’s time to let my students stand up and have their rights so they can succeed!