Identifying ideas . . .
Aug 18th, 2013 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

I am preparing for a workshop tomorrow and will include a session to teach how to correct/comment on papers electronically.  Looking for a sample of student work, I came across Jon Morrow’s post “Seven Bad Writing Habits You Learned in School”  Jon has hit the nail on the head with #2 when he talks about PROBLEM FINDING.  There it is in a different domain, identified, as I often do as a necessary process that is often avoided in education.  Cheers to you, Jon!

2. Expecting someone to hand you a writing prompt

Looking through the eyes of an educator, I can see why telling students what to write about would be useful. You have a bunch of students who couldn’t care less about your curriculum, and making them write a paper about the assigned readings is a great way to force them to read the material.

Makes sense . . . but it doesn’t make it any less damaging.

One of the biggest challenges of writing is figuring out what to write. Whether you’re writing a memo, an article, or a letter to your mother, the process is always the same: you start out with a blank page, and you decide what to put on it.

Sure, that involves considering what your audience will want to read, but no one but you makes the final decision of what to put on the page. That act of deciding is what writing is all about.

The Network via Facebook
Aug 8th, 2013 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

The Soapbox:  I have maintained a Facebook page for the past 3 or 4 years.  I’ve never really understood the beast of the social network.  I’ve always found it kind of bogus that the utter-nonsense postings and musings of individuals who seem to appear to have far more time than I could ever imagine really made any difference or significance.  I’ve often wondered about a false sense of connectivity that Facebook diehards have with their “friends,” who probably, in many cases would not hold the label if it weren’t for the ease of click and point.

The Situation: I have been teaching at the Green Light Academy for the past 5 years in the summer.  This year, the Academy was scheduled for Maine.  Last year, my daughters joined me and my brother accompanied us to help me out while I was working.  Good times.  This year we wanted to do it again, but to no avail, I kept struggling to find a baby sitter. “No, not available,”  “Sorry, not this year, but it sounds like fun . . . ”  My wife suggested posting on Facebook.  I poo-pooed the idea – who in my network would have the right-aged sitter?

The Surprise:  Realizing that it was find a sitter or not go, I begrudgingly made a post.  Within several hours, I had multiple responses: on the Facebook page, through the Facebook message system, and via email.  I was really shocked.  And, as I thought, my network didn’t have that “person.”

However, what I found was that my network’s network had all of the connections I needed.  By the afternoon, we had confirmed someone and everything was a go.

I didn’t expect this, but it really goes to show that even those of us might not have  “believed” can find the power and success of the network

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