by Joan A. Rhodes
Kevin’s Meandering Mind is a fabulous collection of literacy activities from Kevin Hodgson, a sixth grade teacher at William Norris Elementary School in Southampton, MA and Technology Liaison for the Western Massachusetts Writing Project. Readers of this frequently updated blog will find a wealth of classroom literacy activities as well as reflections on the daily events in the lives of students and educators working together to integrate technology and writing.
Resource materials abound both in daily posts and in several sections in the sidebar. In the Workshop Resources section, Hodgson provides links to six resources ranging from Making Stopmotion Movies to using Webcomics in the Classroom. Of particular note, is an informative presentation, Threaded Adventures, which provides step-by-step directions for teaching students to develop Choose Your Own Adventure stories. Readers also have easy access to Hodgson’s personal examples of multimedia work, audiocasts, and student projects. Daily entries are categorized and easy to browse using the topic index in the sidebar.
Hodgson believes that teachers of writing must be part of the creative process, modeling writing in front of students. Hodgson definitely practices what he preaches. He describes modeling writing in a variety of posts and includes his own work on his blog. Hodgson participates in the annual Slice of Life competition where he has contributed more than 150 entries over the past five years. Kevin’s Meandering Mind also includes an archive of Hodgson’s webcomic, Boolean Squared, which provides a humorous look at learning, teaching and technology.
Hodgson invites input and comments to his blog. He notes that he wants to share his exploration of writing and teaching together with his readers as companions on a journey. Hodgson shares the challenges of working with adolescents in a digital world by not only describing school events, but by relating how the same issues play out in his family life. A series of posts related to the power of Facebook to create conflict that carries over into the classroom and home life were of particular interest among readers. The posts elicited multiple comments, suggesting that social media issues challenge many educators and parents.
Fans of the Kevin’s Meandering Mind blog should also take a look at Teaching the new writing: Technology, change and assessment in the 21st-century classroom, a book edited by Hodgson and two colleagues from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Anne Herrington and Charles Moran. No doubt, the text will offer additional creative means of incorporating technology with writing instruction!
Herrington, A., Hodgson, K. & Moran, C. (2009). Teaching the new writing: Technology, change and assessment in the 21st-century classroom. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Joan Rhodes is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Reading Program at Virginia Commonwealth University.
This article is part of a series from the Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).