Paul writes prolifically on his rich blog, and regularly drops in on me here with valuable comments. Against my better judgement – no, that doesn’t sound right – despite the fact that I might find it challenging to write a monthly post of substance, I decided to take up the offer.
Gold Rush is the August GPS theme, which means I get to recommend a website which is valuable to me. I’ve chosen the ning, The English Companion.
Created by Jim Burke, the English Companion Ning is a rich learning environment for English teachers. The subtitle reads ‘where English teachers meet to help each other’.
The English Companion ning has 6,146 members – I think that’s a good indication of how valuable educators find it.
So far I’ve been busy and have only dipped in and out, but this ning has so much discussion and sharing of resources and ideas, that I don’t know where to start. Although I may not the best person to talk about The English Companion since I haven’t been involved in conversations yet, I can definitely see how rich it is.
Just a quick tour through the tabs at the top:
Under Curriculum – there’s a whole variety of stuff on teaching: texts, writing, reading, through discussion, with technology, with blogs and wikis, and assessment, research, lit and language.
under multimedia: photos, videos and showcase
Events – Poetry round table, Ning book club
Community: Forum, blogs, groups, Diigo bookmarks
There’s so much here, I’ll just give you a taste.
Looking around recently, I found some great Shakespeare resources which support our curriculum, and I added them to my English wiki.
Shakespeare Resource Centre.
50 best Shakespeare sites
Romeo and Juliet resources and activities from Teachit.co.uk (free registration)
Romeo and Juliet Enhanced e-text with modern translation
Discover Shakespeare on the Folger Shakespeare Library
Shakespeare teaching resources on the Folger Shakespeare Library
Romeo and Juliet Interactive folio and study guide
What I love the most about the ning is the plethora of discussions on every topic imaginable. It’s like the cornucopia of English teaching. Here’s an example:
Kate Messner started a conversation about using Twitter in the classroom:
I’m meeting with our ed-tech coordinator next week about creating a classroom Twitter feed that allows my ELA classes to share what they’re doing & reading with followers as well as connect with other classes & authors. Since it would be a classroom feed, only I would have access to it and could carefully screen conversations before sharing them.
All I can say is go in, have a look for yourself. It’s a rich community of educators, all with ideas, questions, practical suggestions. The English Companion is a giant staffroom with many and varied conversations.